Song I listened to for this chapter: The World I Know by Collective Soul
Bella wakes up the following morning and groans as she tries to move. If she ever gets her hands on Jake he will see the wrath of Bella Swan! At least Seth told her what happened to him last night, after apologizing to her for five minutes straight without letting her say a word.
Bella sighs, Jake probably forgot again. He has been quiet and withdrawn, again, after their last try at dating. Each time Bella tries to tell him it won’t work out, but he insists and they try again. She is hoping that the Jake she loves will be here, not Jacob.
It breaks her heart to see him try so hard. But, she has never felt anything but friendship for him. She always feels like there is someone out there for her. However, lately, she is thinking of just giving in to Jake and just faking love for him for the rest of her life.
The bathroom was done in dark colors, yet the walls, for some reason, make her think of water sheeting down it. There is a bathtub area that has live bamboo growing behind the sunk in tub and a turquoise skylight done as some sort of leaves all over it, with the light pouring through the leaves. There are curtains on the side that can be closed to give her privacy if she wishes. And at night, there are soft lights to keep the turquoise glow continuing. The walk in shower and the rest of the bathroom follow the scheme throughout, having bamboo or similar plants growing all around, with the lighting the same as well.
Bella walks over to the shower and turns it on. As she waits for the water to get hot, she unpacks the towels and her shower stuff. Looking up into the mirror, she studies herself as she can’t seem to get away from the morose thoughts going through her head.
Why can’t she just fall in love? With anyone? Jake definitely deserves it after relentlessly chasing after her all these years, but something about him rubs her the wrong way. They are great as friends, but when he tries to be close; her whole body feels like it’s being touched by the most disgusting thing in the world. Her skin actually crawls. And when he kisses her, she wants to gag.
Jake is great looking, all her friends have tried to get her to notice that he has this rockin’ bod, a sweet smile and loves her to death. And he won’t take no for an answer. Luckily they haven’t gone far, mostly due to her backing off from him, but Bella is worried that he will not back off if they ever get that far and she says no.
Bella sighs and turns back to the shower. At least with this new house, no one but her has the keys. Jake has been in and out of her house in Forks many times over the years, and it was really starting to creep her out. He has started to ignore boundaries, almost as if he is hoping to find her undressed. She locks her windows and even got black out curtains after he made some remarks. Here, the windows are large, but there is an alarm system, and the windows are supposedly strong. The best thing? The metal shutters that are on all the windows in the house. This is the first time in a long time she will be able to sleep feeling somewhat safe from prying eyes.
Bella starts washing her hair and thinks of the good times, the reason why she remains friends with him. When he isn’t pushing for a relationship, like how he is backing off right now, he is a lot of fun to be around.
Thankfully her step brother Seth listened to her one night as she poured out her fears to him. He tries to be around as much as possible to prevent Jake from making her uncomfortable. And as long as he’s there, Jake acts like her best friend, the one she knew before the summer of her first year here, when he had been so sweet. After that time, he’d had a growth spurt that you would never believe and he bulked out. That was also when he started to get a little possessive over her, and when it seemed like everything in her life fell apart.
Bella reached out and gripped the wall beside her as the sobs ripped through her. She cried, the pain of losing a loved one never quite leaves you. Her therapist told her she has to let go of it and then she will begin to heal. But then, Bella has never been normal. She slides down the wall and hugs her middle as she cries.
When she finally stops, Bella lifts her head up and lets the water hit her face and body, relaxing her. Maybe this is why I don’t allow myself to love anyone. I get people hurt or killed.
Bella finally gets herself up and finishes her shower. Walking out of the room, she grabs a towel and dries off, then tries to towel dry her hair as much as possible. Shrugging on her robe, she moves into the bedroom and grabs one of the bags on the floor. Getting out a grey thermal and a pair of jeans as well as her underwear, she gets dressed quickly. Bella has learned in the past that when she gives in to her emotions like that, she needs to keep busy or she’ll crawl back in bed and not move for at least a day.
Walking through her house, she heads to the kitchen for some coffee. Once the coffee maker is started, she folds her arms around her and looks out the windows: It is still darkish outside. Shaking her head at how she can’t seem to sleep in anymore, Bella grabs a coffee cup, fills it up, and then turns around to start unpacking the kitchen. She has awhile until the time Alice wants her over.
Alice frowns at the vision in her head of Bella crying. What has happened to make her that upset?
For the first time, Alice wonders if she did the right thing in delaying their arrival. But all the problems she had seen had made it seem like there was too much drama for them. And Edward, poor Edward. All of the torture he has put up with through the years would have been worse if they had come here earlier.
Jasper wraps his arms around his mate and asks, “What’s wrong, pixie?” He nuzzles into her neck, trying to soothe her and he sends his love to her, as he blocks the pain from next door. As of yet, he can’t do anything about that.
Turning in his arms, she kisses him quickly and asks, “Can we go for a quick hunt?” She knows Edward is not here, but she doesn’t want to worry Emmett. Jasper is only here since there was a chance that someone would have seen him on his bike in the sunlight. Rosalie and Edward are on their way.
Jasper pulls back from her and studies her eyes. She hunted last night, why does she want to hunt again already? But he answers her, “Sure. I take it Emmett will be watching over Bella?”
Alice nods and she pulls him up and with her out the window as she calls back, “Emmett, watch Bella!” After seeing that he will answer in the affirmative, she takes off with Jasper right behind her.
After they are beyond the hearing distance of everyone, Alice stops quickly and then flings her body into Jasper’s arms. “Jasper, I just saw Bella sobbing in her bathroom. Something happened to her, and I-”
Jasper quickly put his finger on her mouth and asks her, “Are the visions still true?”
Alice cocks her head to the side and then, seeing the outcome she has watched for 23 years appear, she nods.
Relaxing, Jasper moves his hands to frame her delicate face and steps up next to her, saying to her as he looks down at the reason for his existence, “Alice, you are doing what you can. From what you’re telling me, everything would have been so much harder on everyone if we had come earlier. Now, now everyone will be accepted. You have done what you can, even for Edward. I do not envy him or his choice. But he is willing to do this.”
Jasper puts one finger under her chin and raises it up so he can stare into her honey colored eyes. “Alice, we will do all we can to make this happen. You know I support you; I cannot stand how the family has been… torn apart. You tell me Bella will make it all better, heal everything. And for that, she already has my love. I already consider her my sister.”
Jasper lowers his head and kisses Alice with love on his face, open for the world to see. Their lips move together with the familiarity of years, but with the passion of soul mates.
Edward drives up to their house with Rosalie following behind him. This is the hard part. Well, one of them at least. There will be one other who has no idea what is going on, why he may act oddly to her. And they want to keep it that way. For now at least.
Edward looks down at the sweatshirt that Jasper had brought him last night. He has spent the past couple of years trying with all he has in him to not attack Bella. His Singer.
Edward stops the car and sits there, his fingers pinching the top of his nose. He has seen in Alice’s visions how important Bella is to him. Without her, his life will be one of even worse torment than it is now. And now, now he needs to go inside, and soon make friends with his Singer, the one person on this earth that their blood sings to him, that is made for him to drain. Edward sighs and wishes that something would come easy for him.
A knock sounds at his window and he glances up. Rosalie is standing there looking worried. He breathes out, grabs the sweatshirt and inhales the scent that makes his throat burn even worse. When he can control himself, he opens the door.
Rosalie stands there, watching him carefully as he inhales the air around him. When he freezes, she gets prepared to tackle him and hope Emmett can get there to her to help restrain him before Edward can attack Bella.
Then Edward relaxes and looks up at Rosalie. She watches the black drain from his eyes and the rise and fall of his chest. Edward has passed the first test; the first time that Alice’s visions show him trying to kill Bella.
Standing, Edward tells his sister, “Thanks, Rosalie.”
She smiles at him and tells him softly, “No problem, Edward. We are all here to help you. Just let us know if you need it and we will get you somewhere safe.” Safe for Bella, not for him. There is little that can hurt Edward physically.
Edward looks at her and tells her, “If I go crazy, call Carlisle. He will be the only one who can protect her. Especially if he sees her for the first time and I am threatening her. He won’t be able to help himself.” He knows what will happen, but he would do that for his oldest friend. It would actually be the least he can do for Carlisle.
Rosalie freezes. “Edward, you have got to be kidding. He will tear you apart. We can deal with you. Carlisle will be here soon enough.” She is panicking; she can’t lose her oldest brother that way! Then Rosalie hardens with the resolve that Edward will not have a chance to hurt Bella.
Looking at his sister, he lets some of his misery out and tells her, “If I kill Bella, he will end me. You know this. And I will want him to.”
The stark honesty on his face shakes her to her core, making her resolve even more to protect him.
Rosalie woke to this life in anger. But watching her brother and the misery that is his life made it so she can never hate him. He has taught her to be more loving and forgiving. And he helped bring Emmett into her life.
Edward had been getting ready to go hunting when he heard her crying as she ran with Emmett, broken and bleeding in her arms, her half of the mating already begun. He ran to join her, and seeing Emmett so close to dying, he had taken him from her arms and rushed to Carlisle. Without his greater speed, Emmett would have died. Instead, he woke to this life, saw her and they mated instantly. For his sacrifice, Rosalie will do anything for her brother.
Rosalie walks with Edward to the house. When they get close enough, Emmett throws open the door and has her in his arms. They cling together and then Emmett tells her softly, “I missed you, Rosie.”
Edward watches them, his face and body becoming still. Then he sighs and walks inside the house, unable to watch their love.
Alice is standing in the foyer and watches her brother. They are doing this all for him too. His misery is only shown when Carlisle is not around, and for a long time, he hid it from everyone until Rosalie came in and broke down his barriers. She was the first one, and now they are all Edward’s confidants. But, even more importantly, they are also here for Carlisle. Edward, most of all, wants this for Carlisle.
She looks at him and tells him silently, She will be here shortly. I will, in fact be leaving to go get her. She has been up for a while unpacking.
Edward nods as he answers her, “I will be in my room. Have Jasper on the stairway in case I can’t control it.” He starts up the stairs to his room, he can smell his belongings.
Alice nods and softly calls to him, “You will be fine Edward.”
He stops and then nods his head as he continues up the stairs. He knows she means more than just the intended meeting.
Bella has completely unpacked her kitchen and her personal rooms. She will need to go shopping to get some things, but looking around, she feels like she accomplished a lot today.
Then her phone rings: Werewolves in London. She has no idea why Jake chose that ringtone for himself, but he laughs each time he hears it.
Bella stares at the phone and then goes to answer it, unsure of which Jake she will have. “Hey Jake.”
“Bells! I promise I didn’t forget! I am so sorry, I tried to be there, but I got hung up by a tribal meeting and-”
Rolling her eyes, happy he is the old Jake. She tells him, “No problem. You owe Seth a favor since he called me last night to make you guys’ apologies already.”
“Sure sure! I will grovel at your feet, his feet, whoever’s feet, as long as you forgive me. Bella, I never want you mad at me.” Jacob’s voice was dropping, as is his wont when he is trying to convince her to love him. Oh well this respite didn’t last long.
“Jacob. We have already talked about this. There is nothing between us.” The tiredness of the argument is clear in her voice.
“Why Bells? I love you. Just give me another chance!” Jake’s voice is pleading with her.
Then there is a knock on the door and Bella tells him, “Look Jake. I gotta go.”
His voice sounds anxious as he asks her, “Who’s there?”
Bella frowns into the phone as she tells him, “None of your business, Jake. I will call you later.”
Jake’s voice is practically growling as he demands, “Bella. Who is there?”
Her temper is getting worse, and she snaps back at him, “None of your damn business!” And she hangs up. She walks to the door and throws it open to reveal Alice. Her phone starts to ring again with the same ringtone.
Alice is surprised by the look on Bella’s face. She cocks her head to the side and starts to think. Then she hears the ring tone. She lifts an eyebrow at Bella.
Bella shakes her head and tries to calm down. “Morning Alice. I would say it is a good morning, but…never mind. Let’s go.”
Alice asks softly, not wanting to spike Bella’s anger, “Do you want your phone?”
Shaking her head, Bella tells her, “No. Let’s go, please?”
Alice silently steps back and she calls to Edward silently, There is something really wrong Edward. Whoever that Jake is, he sounds like trouble. Can you read her mind?
Her vision flashes and Edward looks confused then shakes his head no. We need to be careful. She is really upset! I don’t know what it is, but her anger…
She sees Edward concentrate and then nod. Yes her anger is odd. It is too intense for a human.
During this conversation with Edward Alice had been bubbly, telling Bella about how great it is to move. And that they had decided to redecorate the house before they moved in, leaving only buying the furnishings until they got here.
Bella for her part is replaying the phone conversation in her head. She realizes that Jake is beginning to lose it. He never cared in the past about other people in her life. But he had sounded so possessive… she makes a quick decision and stops.
Alice stops along with her and asks, “What’s wrong Bella?”
Bella looks over at her, “Can I borrow a phone?” Subnconsciously, her arms start to wrap around her middle.
Alice thinks and tells her, “Mine is dead as is Jasper’s. But I think Edward or Rosalie has one, just come inside and we’ll get you one. They just got here a little bit ago,” Alice watches Bella and her visions.
Rosalie hears Alice and asks below a frequency that Bella can hear, “Edward’s? You want to expose them to each other now?”
Alice answers back the same way, “Yes. There is something wrong. Edward can track her now somewhat. But after he meets her, her scent will become unforgettable in any form or fashion. The only one who will be better is Carlisle, and that would be a bad idea. The worst idea in the history of bad ideas.” She hides the shudder at the vision.
By this time, Alice has opened the door and gestured for Bella to precede her. Jasper is at the stairs as agreed upon earlier, and Emmett is on the couch with Rosalie cuddled next to him.
Bella looks at all of them, and feels dowdy. They are all so perfect! And she is so ordinary…
Emmett bounds up and sweeps her into a hug, exclaiming, “Belly! You need to meet my Rosie!”
Bella grunts and gasps out, “Breathe… I need to breathe, Emmett!”
Emmett is shocked and he hastily puts her down. “You ok, Belly?” He checks her out, anxious that he may have hurt her; he already considers her part of the family, his little sis.
Bella takes a deep breath and then smiles at Emmett. “I’m ok, Emmie.”
He grins back at her, moves back to the couch to help Rosalie up, and turns to Bella. “This is my Rosie.” The love for his Rosie is very evident in his voice.
Rosalie shakes her head as she reaches out to shake Bella’s hand. “My name is Rosalie, but you can call me Rose. Emmett has talked nothing but you since I got here with two of my brothers. Nice to meet you. Now if you can keep him from his video games, I will appreciate you even more!” Her golden eyes twinkle with laughter, hoping that the woman in front of her will be a friend to her; Alice is a little wearing with all the bubbliness.
Bella’s smile grows bigger, but Rose sees that it does not meet the expression in her eyes. Her eyes seem so dead…
Then Jasper clears his throat and walks toward Bella. He nods his head to her and welcomes her, “Hello Bella. Alice has told me all about you and how you guys are going to be best friends. Guess that means I will be seeing a lot of you. Name’s Jasper.” He smiles and sends calming waves her way. The pain she is feeling, along with the anxiety, worries him.
Bella smiles, feeling calmer in his presence. She watches him put an arm around Alice and his laid back presence is a perfect match for Alice’s overindulgence in happiness. “Hi Jasper, Rose. Nice to meet you.”
Then there is a noise and Bella looks up and sees a young man, standing casually at the top of the stairs, staring back at her. His hair is an odd sort of bronze color. It looks like he ran his hands through it many times. He is wearing a black thermal with dark jeans and has the family trait of pale skin.
Then Bella notices that it seems like he is holding onto the balustrade tightly. And his eyes are black, not the honey color of his siblings.
Edward is momentarily overwhelmed with bloodlust as he stares down at his Singer. He grits his teeth and feels Jasper trying to help him.
Luckily Alice’s plan seems to be working because Edward is not so sure he could have prevented himself from attacking her if this was the first time he smelled her.
He closes his eyes for a second and centers himself. Then he moves from the landing and starts down the stairs, aware of his family being there to support him.
Bella watches him warily. She is not scared of him, but something tells her that he is important. But with everything going on with Jacob, she doesn’t want another love interest!
Edward stops and stares down at her. Then he reaches his hand out, holding the cell phone she had wanted earlier. As she stares down at it then back at him, he tells her sheepishly, “My window was open and I heard you ask Alice. Let me introduce myself, my name is Edward Cullen.”
Bella looks at him and says, “Hi Edward.” Realizing that she needs to make that call, she swallows her pride and informs him, “Thanks for the phone; if you will excuse me, I need to make an important phone call.” God, she sounds like she is so hoity-toity. She needs to relax, but right now she is too stressed out.
He nods and watches as she leaves the room. They hear the phone being dialed and then, “Seth?”
“Hey, Bella! Look I said I was sorry last night!! How many times are you going to make me grovel? And who’s phone is this?” A young man’s cheery voice comes through.
Alice starts talking so that Bella doesn’t think they are listening, as they pay close attention to her conversation.
Bella sighs in relief as she hears them talking, then tells him, “Seth, Jacob is bad. Please come here, I’m… worried. Just for a couple of nights.” She is trying so hard not to plead. She can’t let go of her pride for even the feeling of safety. But then what else did she have other than her pride?
Edward jumps up and stares at Alice, pleading with her to tell him that Bella will be ok. The rest of the family is staring at her too, their faces all show the worry they have for her. Alice frowns and then grows more worried as she can’t see Bella. She looks at Edward, her face expressing her panic as Jasper’s arms wrap around her to calm her as she continues to babble, covering them.
Seth’s next words worry them even further, “I can’t, sis. I will make sure he is here, though. I will try to get up there as soon as I can. You have an alarm on that house, right? Set it and do not open the door.” They can hear the worry for Bella clearly in his voice as well as the frustration that he is unable to be there for her.
Bella feels her heart drop. However, she sounds normal as she imparts to him, “Its ok. I’m probably overreacting. I gotta go. I don’t want to use up this guy’s minutes. Thanks, Seth,” and she hangs up before he can say anything else. She won’t be able to hold it together if she lets him talk to her anymore. Her last beacon of hope is gone for the night.
She takes a second to gather herself, forcing her mask into place. She then walks out and hands the phone back to Edward, “Thanks.” She is working hard to keep her emotions in place.
Edward is feeling… protective of her. And he knows the rest of the family does too. But he has no idea of how to ask, how to help, how to do anything for her, when Emmett bluntly asks, “Are you in any sort of trouble, Bella?”
Bella looks up at Emmett and can see the concern on his face. She mentally reminds herself that she does not know these people that well, they just met yesterday! And even though she has this feeling that she belongs here, to trust them; her life and, more importantly, Jacob has taught her not to trust. She shakes her head and tells them, “No. But, I need to go. I have some errands I need to finish today.”
And with that comment she immediately turns around, leaving out the front door. Bella is moving as quickly as she can to get to the safety of her house where she can fall apart. She doubts that she will be able to hold in her emotions if she delays too much longer.
Jasper lets out a deep breath. Everyone turns as one and stares at him. He raises his hands to placate them and to have them give him a moment. He frowns and then looks up at Edward. He advises him, knowing everyone is listening, “She is scared. Very scared and worried. In addition to that, she is so, so confused. She feels like she can trust us and Emmett’s question almost broke down the walls she has built. She… shit Edward, she’s a mess. She’s keeping it all bottled up and she needs to let it go before she hurts herself. But from what I felt this morning, she let it all out just a few hours ago, and it didn’t help. What is going on?” His voice portrays his frustration in not protecting her. Jasper can’t believe all the emotions she went through in the short amount of time she was here. If he didn’t know any better, he would say she is in the midst of mating. But how can that be?
Alice looks down and starts berating herself again. I should have kept a better watch on her. But she kept disappearing. I thought it was because I didn’t know her… what have I done?
Jasper starts and whips around to his mate. He has never felt self-loathing and condemnation coming from her; that normally comes from Edward. He immediately sends her the love from not only the family surrounding them but his own love, his own desire for her.
Edward starts listening to her thoughts and he verbally answers her, “Alice, you did the right thing. Remember, I saw what and more importantly why you did what you did. I also saw the consequences if we went against your request. And, yes it would have been bad. She was dead in a lot of your scenarios, by my own hand a lot of the times. This way I have had years to get used to her scent. The rest of you had the time to get used to it too. You even saw Jasper ready to kill her in your visions, no doubt driven there by my own blood lust added to his own. “
Edward moves forward to his sister and holds her arms gently with his own. She looks up at him and he tells her gently, “Alice, you have done more than anyone could ask to make this turn out right. It is not your fault. But, I do not understand, what did you mean she disappeared? I thought you saw her from the moment she was born.” He is worried; they all thought Alice would see if Bella would need them sooner. And if she did, and was in enough danger, they would have made sure she was safe before anything else. Even if it came down to telling Carlisle, they would have.
Alice closes her eyes, searching as always for where their missing members of the family are. Finding everyone, she relaxes. She opens her eyes and seeing the gratitude in Edward’s gaze is enough for her. She smiles and tells him, “I have. Up until she was 17. That summer she started to disappear from my visions. The ultimate vision never wavered, though, it never changed so I was not as worried. That’s when I came up with the idea that I needed to get to know her. Maybe I wasn’t been looking as close in the past for her?” She starts to worry that she has failed them all.
Edward shakes his head, “No, Alice. You have kept a very good eye on her for her entire life. There is more to this. And you said she disappeared from your visions for awhile tonight?” He is trying to get to the bottom of this. He has a bad feeling that there is more to this than they think.
The worry comes back into her eyes and she murmurs, “Yes. After the phone call with Jake. Someone made a decision.”
Rosalie folds her arms across her chest as she leans back against Emmett, needing to feel him and his reassurance. She thinks for a second and asks, “What are we going to do? Call Carlisle? Have Edward go over? We have done so much for this, not to keep her safe.” The pain she saw in Bella’s eyes shook her, no person should suffer that.
Alice tries to picture the scenarios and tells them, “I have no idea. She is not ready for Carlisle. And Edward, she will not accept him either right now. No one, not even Emmett and I can do anything. The best thing is to keep an eye on her. She is still gone, but Emmett and Jasper are gone too. I think they are the ones that will be guarding her.” She has an idea though that what she sees will work for the rest of the day, and will start the bonding process…
Edward straightens and asks, “Why them?” He needs to be the one keeping her safe. This is going to be his trial to suffer through.
Shrugging, Alice answers, “I really don’t know. Edward, you need to concentrate on being her friend. Get to know her. She will trust me, but she really needs to trust you completely.” Then she looks quickly up at him and asks, “What was she thinking?” She remembers the confusion on his face from her vision earlier.
Edward looks away. After a minute, he answers, “I can’t hear anything from her. Nada. Zip. Zilch.”
They all look at him, horrified. Edward’s ability is the one they were hoping to be able to help keep an eye on her with, to make sure they don’t overwhelm her with everything. And he is telling them he can’t hear her.
Bella sags against the door after she shuts it. This is just happening too fast for her. She can’t trust them, she has only just met them!
Her head hangs down. She feels defeated already. Why? Why can’t I be normal? Would this even be happening to me if I was normal? Why can’t I just fall in love? These questions are the same questions that have run through her head most of her life.
Don’t get her wrong, Bella loves. She loves her parents and she loves her friends. But the love she is craving? The love that she has denied Jacob and has now driven him mad; those she cannot feel. And how she has tried, she has done everything. Bella doesn’t want to be the one that shatters hearts. She cares too much for that.
However, Bella always feels like there is something, someone out there. To be honest, though, Bella is tired of being the empty one. The loner, the odd one out. To be the one laughing as her tears roll down her face, to fool everyone into thinking they are tears of happiness. Sick of it all, the move here is a blessing, though. She can just concentrate on college and get through it. After graduation, she has no idea what she is going to do.
Pulling herself together, Bella heads for the kitchen and grabs her keys. She can’t just sit here waiting for Jacob to show up. Since she needs to get her vehicle, she will head to the dealership.
Bella goes to the front door, and there is a knock. She jumps and barely manages to hold back the scream. She calms her heart and then walks to the door; taking a deep breath, she opens it.
Standing outside it are Edward and Alice. Edward has his head bowed as he leans against the wall and Alice is standing there bouncing. She looks excitedly into Bella’s eyes and informs her, “We wanted to get to know you better. And since you said you have errands, I was hoping that we could join you.”
Alice leans close to Bella and whispers to her in confidence, “Edward lost a bet. He has to go shopping with me and do whatever I tell him for an entire day. Help me out and let me get back at him for all the horrible pranks he’s pulled on me in the past. Please?” Alice bats her eyes at Bella, begging for her to allow them to come along.
Bella looks over at Edward and then back to Alice. She doesn’t really want company, but maybe it will keep her mind occupied. But, what about Edward? She looks at him, he lifts his head and looks back at her and, seeing her expression, winks at her.
This helps her decision and she turns back to Alice. “Sure.”