"Hey, Bella, do you have the details for that event next month?" Alice asked.
I scoffed. "That event?"
Alice smirked. "I'm sorry. The after parties to end all after parties." She giggled.
"That's more like it."
Edward looked up from his phone. "I'm sorry, but are you referring to our wedding reception as an after party?"
"That's what it is." I laughed. "And if we don't run out of whiskey by the end of the night, I'll be highly disappointed. So, make sure the groomsmen bring their A-game." I instructed as I pulled out my planner.
Edward smirked. "Yes ma'am."
We had been settled into our house for just about three months when Edward popped the question. We had been down to the wire house hunting and even had to stay in the studio above the bar for a month, waiting to close. When we finally moved in, it was easy to find our little rhythm and when he proposed, there was no freak out. Only a couple 'Oh my Gods' and tears and nodding. And now, a little over a year later, we were only a month away. It was a December wedding, allowing for lots of greenery and a deep color palette, which I was very excited about.
Along with the engagement, I had also been promoted at the bar, and I had taken the special events coordinator position that Edward and I had vaguely discussed a few times. I found the talent for our weekend shows, planned and managed any private and public events at the bar, and partnered with local businesses and vendors to help spread our reach and name in the community. I never did finish going to get my degree, but it had been a while since I let that bother me. It was something I rarely thought about anymore.
Jasper walked over to the bar and clapped Edward's shoulder. "Ready to go fuck up some ducks and bucks?"
Edward chuckled. "Always."
His bachelor trip was just a weekend at the Cullen camp with his groomsmen to drink too much, deer and duck hunt, and fish. I fully expected him to return home nearly half-dead and complain that he was 'too old for this shit', but I knew he'd have fun while they were there.
"Have fun. Please don't die." I said and gave him a kiss over the bar.
"I'll try my best, baby. Have fun planning your after party. And don't get into too much trouble tomorrow night."
Jasper and Edward left to go pickup Emmett before they headed to Louisiana. His other four groomsmen were his buddies from back home, and they'd meet them there at the camp.
My bachelorette party was also this weekend, but I had been to so many places and bars before with the band that I really just wanted a nice, old fashioned slumber party with my girls, drinking cheap wine and watching cheesy rom coms. Bree, who was my youngest bridesmaid and events assistant at the bar that I had come to completely adore, was very distraught about it, and Rosalie, who was pregnant and five months along, was very excited about the fact that she could sip her sparkling grape juice and have in on the fun with the rest of us. The other bridesmaids, which were Alice, Carmen, and Irina, were all very content with going along with whatever I wanted to do.
"Are you sure you want a private ceremony?" Alice asked.
I nodded. "Just bridal party and family. I'm still having the Runaway Bride nightmares. I'll see everyone here afterwards."
"Okay. Well, everything is all set. When the decorators are through with this place, no one will ever know this is just another old honkytonk."
"Candles and greenery?"
"On every single surface."
"Drapery for the ceiling?"
"Not a board will be visible."
I gave her a hug. "Thank you so much, Ali."
"Don't thank me until that patio bar is finished. I'm really trying, baby doll."
"It'll be alright. The builders said it'd be done this week, so it'll be done this week."
She sighed. "I wish I had your optimism, Swan."
"It's going to be perfect, and even if it isn't, it will be." I assured her.
She nodded and gave me a meaningful look. "So… now that Edward's gone, may we discuss the elephant in the room?" Alice asked me.
I sighed. "Your mother says that she has it taken care of."
"Lizzie's a loose cannon, Bella."
"Yeah, but after last Thanksgiving, do you really think she'd try to show up and fuck with Esme?"
"If anyone is dumb enough to, it would be Lizzie." Alice said.
Carmen poked her head into the conversation. "What happened at Thanksgiving? This is the crazy aunt that's banned from the wedding, right?"
"Yes." I sighed. "I have a complicated past with Lizzie. It all came to head last Thanksgiving, and Edward's mom… might have gotten a little physical."
"Physical?" Carmen asked.
Alice snickered. "She pulled her out of the house by her hair and then told her that if she ever came near Bella again, she'd feed her to a pack of wild hogs."
Carmen's jaw dropped, and I cringed. "I can't fucking wait to meet your mom." Carmen laughed and then went back to wiping down the bar.
"She's awesome." Alice gloated.
I rolled my eyes, laughing. "Again, I really don't think even Lizzie is dumb enough to make an appearance. It'll be a perfect day. So let's all just stay calm, alright? There's nothing to be nervous about." As many Runaway Bride fears as I was having, I felt oddly calm about the wedding. I didn't have cold feet or any jitters or nerves. I was just ready to be Edward's wife.
~ Coffee & Bourbon ~
"I think I'm gonna throw up."
"You need to eat something. You haven't eaten since the rehearsal dinner last night." Rosalie chided as she braided my hair in front of the mirror on mine and Edward's dresser.
"I can't eat. Did you not just hear me? I'm gonna throw up." I groaned.
"Bella, you're going to be drinking all night. You need something." Alice said, shoving a protein bar in my face.
I huffed and took it from her. Each bite hit my stomach like a rock.
Twenty minutes later, my hair and makeup were done, and Alice and Rosalie helped me into my dress. Since it wasn't a very formal affair, my dress was a simple, long sleeve and backless white column dress with chunky lace designs and a long train. I stepped into the dress in front of the mirror and stared wide-eyed at the person in the mirror as Alice zipped me up.
Carmen came into the room, seemingly on a mission, but she stopped in her tracks when she saw me. "Holy fuck. Bella."
I laughed and wiped my watery eyes before turning around. "Thanks, Car."
"The photographer is here." She told me, handing me my bouquet. It was big and full with jewel toned peonies, hanging Amaranthus, thistle, greenery, and other types of flowers I didn't know the names of.
I nodded and from there, the rest of the morning was a whirlwind of pictures and keeping track of bouquets and bridesmaids and touching up makeup and hair. At one o clock, the bridesmaids hid me away upstairs in my bedroom as the guys came in.
We weren't doing a big procession since it was only family and bridal party. Everyone would be in the backyard while Edward and I met downstairs privately for a few minutes and then two of us would walk out to meet the officiant and say our vows.
I took a few deep breaths to calm my nerves, and at one fifteen, Alice knocked on my door and told me that Edward was waiting in the living room. I followed her downstairs, and she went to the backyard through the door in the kitchen as I carefully made my way to the living room.
Edward was sitting in one of the armchairs wearing a simple charcoal colored suit and brown boots. His elbows were on his spread knees, and his head was hung down as he looked down at his clasped hands. He looked up when he heard my heels on the floor and immediately stood up. His lips curled up into a smile as he walked towards me.
"Bella…" His hands rested on either side of my neck as he looked into my eyes. "Baby, you're breathtaking."
I smiled. "You don't look so bad yourself, E." I whispered.
He kissed my lips lightly, as if he were afraid to ruin my makeup. With good reason. Alice would kill him if it got messed up at this point. "I love you." He said.
"I love you, too."
He kissed me lightly again, his eyes a little red and watery as they met mine.
I blinked back my own tears. Fuck, Alice is gonna kill me.
"Ready?" He asked softly.
He offered me his arm, and I took it before he led me to the backyard where everyone was waiting.
The ceremony itself was a blur. All I remember was him and the look of pure joy in his pretty forest green eyes as he said his vows and we exchanged rings. Before I knew it, we were at the bar being greeted by two hundred already very tipsy guests. The D.J. called Edward and me to the dance floor for our first dance, and Edward pulled me in close as the opening notes to our first dance song started to play.
"Well, is it everything you wanted?" Edward asked softly in my ear.
"Even more perfect than I imagined." I replied.
He kissed my forehead, and I rested my head on his shoulder for the rest of the song. It ended too soon and then we were being pulled in about twenty different directions at once. We cut the cake, did the bouquet and garter toss, and let the older folks leave before things got too rowdy.
By nine o' clock, the party had been going for seven hours, and most of the guests had left. We had, in fact, drank the place dry of whiskey, so by seven, I had started settling on Coors, to which I received many scowls from Alice about the ugly brown bottle in my hand. The photographer had long since left, so I wasn't worried about it.
There were only about thirty people left lingering, mostly the bridal party and our parents. I was talking to my dad on his way out when I realized I didn't see Edward anywhere. After I gave my dad a hug goodnight, I snuck away from the main barroom and went out onto the patio.
Edward was alone smoking a cigar and sitting at a barstool at the patio bar. He had a whiskey bottle from Jasper's office and two glasses on the bar in front of him. I walked over to him and hugged him from behind, and he looked over his shoulder at me, smirking.
"Hey, bellbottoms, why don't you stay for a couple rounds?"
I smiled up at him. "I'll stay for one."
"Wasn't true the first time." He chuckled, pouring us each a glass of whiskey. "I doubt you'll hold yourself to it this time."
"We have guests." I giggled, hopping up in the stool next to him.
He pulled my chair closer to his and wrapped an arm around my waist. "They've had us all day. I think we deserve some alone time on our own wedding day, don't you?" He said, picking up his glass.
I nodded and took the other glass on the bar.
"What are we toasting to?" He asked.
I thought for a minute. "To law school and bellbottoms?"
Edward smiled crookedly and touched his glass to mine. "To law school and bellbottoms." He agreed softly.
We each sipped the whiskey in our glasses, and then I pulled Edward down to me for a kiss.
I saw an all too familiar gleam in his eye when he pulled away. "You ready to go home, Mrs. Cullen?"
I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face. I looked into his eyes and scratched his scruffy cheek. It was the type of moment that I never wanted to forget. "Yeah, E. Let's go home."
Bella stopped traveling with the band, but she would go on to continue writing songs for well-known artists.
She and Edward travel often, toting with them their three children: two sons named Stetson and Evan and a daughter named Lennon. Edward will, in fact, start to have gray hair by Lennon's high school graduation. She's like her Momma.
Edward made partner at the law firm, but he went to every meeting with a thick beard and in boots. He traded in the Volvo for a truck that could pull a trailer to his kids' stock shows.
After raising their family in Fort Worth, they'll retire to North Louisiana to a little wooden house on eighty acres, surrounded by dogs and grandbabies that call them Paw-Paw E and Honey.
They still start every morning with a mug of coffee and end every night with a glass of bourbon.
A/N I'll see you at the next story, bebs. Let me know if you want a sneak peak. ;) Until then, I'll continue to be updating Silent Sweetheart. Thanks for sticking around.