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    Dark Shadows

    I saw pale kings and princes too,

    Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;

    They cried—“La Belle Dame sans Merci

    Hath thee in thrall!”

    La Belle Dame Sans Merci
    John Keats



    I sat at the narrow table, watching my husband. He was talking to Alice, the light form the window making his marble skin glow and reflect off the walls. His russet hair, shot through with chestnut, was unruly as he ran his hands through it, his face with the prominent cheekbones intent as he focussed on his discussion with his sister.

    My gaze travelled up to his face, saving the best for last. His eyes. Molten pools of gold, at times as black as the night sky when he became overcome with thirst. I stared at him, my heart singing with happiness. I didn’t regret making this decision, because now I could be with the love of my life for all eternity.

    I looked around and saw everyone enjoying him or herself. My family, friends, protectors. Now, after tonight, I wouldn’t need to have others take care of me; I would be able to take care of myself.

    My eyes landed on my best friend. He was talking to his father, and I could recognise the anguish hidden behind his eyes as he strived to act normal. I felt angry towards myself for hurting everyone I loved, time and time again, but it was my nature. He didn’t have to be best man at our wedding, but he had come –

    For me.

    He only cared about my happiness.

    My throat felt tight, and I glanced away, only looking up at my husband. He stopped talking to his sister and took my hand wordlessly, worry and concern in his eyes. I smiled at him, and reassured him with my eyes. Satisfied, he went back to his conversation, and I looked at our intertwined hands, his diamond ring gleaming on the fourth finger on my left hand. I smiled to myself, adjusting my veil, and stifled a laugh.

    Mrs Bella Cullen.

    Who would have thought that I would end up married at 19 to my boyfriend who was ‘17’, and go off to college with him? My mother hadn’t been happy with it, but she had anticipated this for some time, and hadn’t been surprised.

    My father, on the other hand, had been disgruntled but regardless gave us his blessings, letting us go ahead with the wedding.

    I sat here amongst my family and friends, happy, content, but fear always lurked at the back of my mind. My smile slipped away, and I sat, contemplating, a frown on my features.

    What if…?

    My eyes strayed to the clock on the wall, its brass pendulum swinging underneath. The small hand was on 9, the large hand resting on 11.

    I sucked in a sharp breath and glanced at my love. My eyes strayed back to the clock, watching the third hand tick towards the twelve.

    The room was still as noisy as ever, and I stayed in my seat, trying to keep the words from slipping out from between my lips. The words that, at long last, I could initiate. I had been waiting for this moment since years, and now my wish was coming to fruition.

    He had promised me.

    Now it was time to fulfil that promise.

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