"I was thinking more like 'debonair.'"
Charlie blushed. Alice took his elbow and tugged him around into a slow spin to showcase the pale gray tux.
"Now cut that out, Alice. I look like an idiot."
"No one dressed by me ever looks like an idiot."
"She's right, Dad. You look fabulous! What's the occasion?"
Alice rolled her eyes. "It's the final check on the fit. For both of you."
I peeled my gaze off the unusually elegant Charlie for the first time and saw the dreaded white garment bag laid carefully across the sofa.
"Go to your happy place, Bella. It won't take long."
I sucked in a deep breath and closed my eyes. Keeping them shut, I stumbled my way up the stairs to my room. I stripped down to my underwear and held my arms straight out.
"You'd think I was shoving bamboo splinters under your nails," Alice muttered to herself as she followed me in.
I paid no attention to her. I was in my happy place.
In my happy place, the whole wedding mess was over and done. Behind me. Already repressed and forgotten.
We were alone, just Edward and me. The setting was fuzzy and constantly in flux—it morphed from misty forest to cloud-covered city to arctic night—because Edward was keeping the location of our honeymoon a secret to surprise me. But I wasn't especially concerned about the where part.
Edward and I were together, and I'd fulfilled my side of our compromise perfectly. I'd married him. That was the big one. But I'd also accepted all his outrageous gifts and was registered, however futilely, to attend Dartmouth College in the fall. Now it was his turn.
Before he turned me into a vampire—his big compromise—he had one other stipulation to make good on.
Edward had an obsessive sort of concern over the human things that I would be giving up, the experiences he didn't want me to miss. But there was only one experience I was insisting on. Of course it would be the one he wished I would forget all about.
Here was the thing, though. I knew what I was going to be like when it was all over. I'd seen newborn vampires firsthand, and I'd heard all my family-to-be's stories about those wild early days. For several years, my biggest personality trait was going to be "thirsty." It would take some time before I could be me again. And even when I was in control of myself, I would never feel exactly the way I felt now.
Human…and passionately in love.
I wanted the complete experience before I traded in my warm, breakable, pheromone-riddled body for something beautiful, strong…and unknown. I wanted a real honeymoon with Edward. And, despite the danger he feared this would put me in, he'd agreed to try.
I was only vaguely aware of Alice and the slip and slide of satin over my skin. I didn't care, for the moment, that the whole town was talking about me. I didn't think about the spectacle I would have to star in much too soon. I didn't worry about tripping on my train or giggling at the wrong moment or being too young or the staring audience or even the empty seat where my best friend should be.
I was with Edward in my happy place.