Pre-Edit Count: 7,111 words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Maybe by Sick Puppies
Bella looks up at them. What she just listed and what the Cullen’s confirmed as correct, matches what Jacob had told her and what she had found out later. For some reason she had been and still is obsessed with vampires. She wonders why she didn’t realize it from the beginning as she looks up at them and answers, “Vampire.”
Edward and his sisters watch Bella as they wait for her to turn and bolt. Not that they would blame her, it is not something anyone ever expects, to find out that the supernatural world is real. But they need her to understand and to trust them. With the decisions she has made today, they feel like this may be the best chance. Alice being seer blind worries them. Especially with Bella’s safety being entrusted to them. That is why Edward decided to tell her, in the hopes she will open up to them and tell them who Jake is.
Bella just stares at them as she waits for them to react to her statement. When they don’t say or do anything she clears her throat and asks, “So what now?” She is nervous. Why don’t they answer? Is there something wrong with her?
Rosalie then starts laughing. She looks at her sister and tells her, “My God, do you have spunk Chica! You just figured out we are vampires; who need blood to live, that part of the myths is correct, in case you are not aware, and you just ask us what now?” She is still grinning at Bella as she gestures. She would not have been shocked if Bella had run from them, but then most humans are never this comfortable around them. And Bella has not only spent the day with them, she has been touching them and has not flinched once.
Thinking over what Rosalie just said, Bella starts chuckling as she shares her reasons out loud, “Well, I figured that if you wanted to kill me, you would have already done it, I was in your house alone for God’s sake, no one knew where I was. So obviously, either I am just that unappetizing, or you don’t want to kill me.” She is still trying to figure out if there is something wrong, since they didn’t seem to want her blood.
“Oh, baby sis, you are so very appetizing,” A gruff voice tells her as he grabs her and pulls her into a hug.
Bella is surprised by the hug, “Emmie! Breathing is necessary!” But she relaxes as Emmett puts her down carefully. She looks up at him, smiling still, “What do you mean I am appetizing?”
Jasper materializes next to her and smiles as he pulls Alice into his arms. His body relaxes with the knowledge that his mate is with him as he tells her, “Bella, there is no contest, you smell insanely good for a human. And with my history, I would know. But, as much as you smell good to normal vampires, you smell even better to Edward.” He grins, knowing that he just opened a can of worms, but if Edward wants to start this conversation now, Bella deserves to know as much as she can handle.
Turning to Edward, Bella raises an eyebrow, plainly waiting for her friend to explain Jasper’s comment.
Edward is still standing there, watching her carefully. He sighs as he realizes that his newest sister and friend is stubborn. Which is good, she will be able to handle Carlisle, hopefully. He gives Jasper the evil eye. He hears Jasper’s mind tell him, It’s best to tell her all of it now. She is actually calm, plus you are the one who made the call, brother.
Edward nods, accepting that Jasper is right. Then he lifts his eyes back to Bella as he answers her, “To expand on Jasper’s comment, there is me and one other that you will always smell different to, more intense. For me, the reason is that you are what they call my singer. Your blood calls to me more strongly than anyone else’s. Even for those who have given up the normal lifestyle and are vegetarians.” His eyes darken, but he is calm. Alice’s plan has worked, and while he will not be immune to her blood if it is spilled, not yet at least, he can stand being around her. He can be her friend and brother, he can help her when she needs it. “But, Bella, the Tinkerbelle came up with a plan, and it has worked. You’re my sister, my friend. I care more about you being alive than I do your blood. Though, I will admit, you are way more potent than the shirts Alice has been bringing me for years.” He chuckles dryly.
Bella jerks and then she looks at Alice as she accuses her, “You’re the reason my shirts have gone missing?”
Alice laughs and admits, “Yes, but I left better quality behind!! Bella, you need to dress more for your body, not the shapeless clothing you have!”
Bella shakes her head at Alice and tells her, “I have been going nuts trying to figure out how my favorite shirts were disappearing Alice! You made me seriously doubt my sanity…” That was the truth, she had thought for awhile that she was losing it, and not being able to keep clothing had been making it worse.
Alice looks slightly apologetic and tries to explain, “Well, it wasn’t like I could walk up to you and ask for your shirts for my vampire brother who needed to sniff them so he wouldn’t kill you the minute he met you!” She’s looking at Bella, trying to make her understand.
Bella just gapes at her as Emmett starts laughing. But she soon recovers enough to ask, “And Rosalie was fine with you giving Emmie my shirts?” Bella feels freer than she has in a long time, and the snarkiness that had made her friends in Phoenix has been hidden for a long time. Bella turns pensive, realizing that Jacob had slowly smothered her until she became this shell.
Emmett is leaning against a column, laughing. Rosie is grinning as she tells Bella, “Oh, I was fine with it, as long as he knew he couldn’t touch me for days afterward. Amazing how effective withholding sex can be.” Choruses of “TMI!” rang out among the family.
Edward shakes his head and moans, “Rose!! Please!!! I need some bleach for my brain now!” He is chuckling, and as Rose teases him, it is obvious that the two of them are close. In fact there are really no outsiders with the family; they are all close to each other.
Bella watches them, and she notices the family is all in pairs, except her and Edward. And more shockingly, they are arranged in a pattern that will allow no one to get to her without them knowing. But she can leave. Then the significance of that thought strikes her and she whispers to herself so softly, “I can leave.”
Jasper is shocked by her happiness about that statement. He asks gently, “Bella, what’s wrong?” What has happened to her that she is so overjoyed by being able to leave?
Her head jerks up quickly, surprise at his question written on her face. She is still giddy about the fact they are not trapping her as Jacob would have. But she realizes, as much as she is thrilled that they are giving her a choice, she doesn’t know enough.
Bella asks hesitantly, “May I ask a few questions, then I will get to the… other stuff.” The reluctance is clear in her voice. She has never been able to ask questions without having some sort of ridicule heaped on her. God, Bella, can you not just enjoy the moment without questioning it? Bella, you ask more questions than most of the world. Bella, can you just NOT ask a question, are you incapable of just sitting there mute? The memories roll through her.
Edward watches the expressions change on her face, to settle as though she is waiting for someone to slap her. Containing his growl at how it is is becoming clear that Bella has had a hard time and that someone had dared to try to reign in his sister, Edward promises himself he will work to make her understand that being herself is perfect. Moving closer to her, Edward drops down to crouch at her feet, looking up into her eyes, “Bella, you can ask whatever you need to now or later. And while I don’t want to hurry you, we need to do your shopping and then take you home.” He smirks at her, trying to get her to smile.
She tries to concentrate on what she needs to know. But the first question that bubbles to the surface can’t be denied. She gives in and asks him, “Why do you still want to go shopping, Edward?” Then the other half of the question makes itself known as a mischievous smile graces her face as she slyly adds, “You can get out of your bet with Alice this way…”
The rest of the Cullens almost fall over as they start laughing again at her comment. Jasper takes pity on Edward as he sits there, still in shock that Bella is picking on him. But then he doesn’t blame Edward. Her emotions are like a roller coaster. He tells Edward, “There is something really wrong. Normal people’s emotions are not all over like hers are. It is almost like she has been emotionally starved, and is only now feeling free to experience them. Edward, we have a long road ahead of us, hopefully Carlisle can control himself long enough to realize she needs him.
While that conversation was going on with Edward, Jasper is asking , “Bella, after you tell us what is wrong, we will all be joining you. If you think that any of us will be leaving you alone after that phone call, you are sorely mistaken. We will also be using the time to strategize. Then when we get home, we will be going into more detail about everything. But right now, ask what you need to.” He holds Alice to him, basking in the joy around him, soaking it up. It is not often that the family is this happy.
Bella is still smiling and she just asks, “Who is the other?” Her curiosity is one of her faults; her family has told her that many times. Renee has mentioned that she should have been called Alice.
Everyone freezes, and then they all look at Alice. She is searching the future and then looks up to them all, with her face showing how scared she is. “Go ahead and tell her everything. I- Our afternoon is now completely blank. I can barely even see Carlisle anymore, the last clear thing I see is him arriving as we have discussed. What is going on?” The last is said with her frustration and fear evident. Jasper pulls her to him, and comforts her as the rest of the family looks at each other, worried. Then they all turn to Edward. As Carlisle’s first, he is generally in charge when Carlisle isn’t there. With his abilities, and his willingness to solicit help from his siblings, he makes the perfect Beta, closely followed by Jasper.
He thinks, trying to find a way to make sure Bella is not frightened. Edward hates to be this blind, He can’t read Bella’s mind nor with Alice’s sight being blocked does he have access to her visions. He sighs in frustration and then nods as Jasper sends a wave of calm.
He then gently pulls Bella’s attention to him, “Bella.” When she is looking back at him he looks up at her and smiles. He then takes her hand gently and starts her education on vampires. “The answer to your question is simple, the other person is Carlisle. He was actually running here to be here for and with you, until Alice called and told him to drive, that we needed to talk with you first, but he is close… He is speeding and pushing his car as fast as he can to be here. The reason why? Well, that is when it gets complicated.” He runs his hands through his hair and tries to think of how to tell her. This is not as easy as one would think!
Rosie can tell Edward is having problems with this and she moves from Emmett’s arms to sit next to Bella. She tells her, “Bella, the way a vampire is made is to be bitten by one, then if they don’t drain you, you suffer for three days as the venom makes over your body. It is an intense feeling of being on fire. And a vampire never forgets anything once they are one.” She shudders as she remembers her own transformation. “Once you are a vampire, all of your traits as a human are enhanced. My beauty was enhanced as was Emmett’s strength. These are called our talents, and it is thought that no talent is completely duplicated in our world. But some vampires have other talents.” She looks over at Edward, her eyes questioning him.
Bella looks at her and then back to Edward. She bluntly asks, “What does this have to do with Carlisle?” Why is she so drawn to his name? What is going on?
Alice can’t help it, she laughs and as soon as she can, she answers her, “Everything. To be very blunt, Jasper was very empathetic when he was human and used that talent to raise himself to the rank of Major in the Confederate Army. He was turned and now he can not only feel the emotions of those around him, he can affect them as well. Edward was very good at reading people as a human, and now he reads all minds but one. I woke with no memory of my past, but I see the future.” She figures being blunt will help save time, they need to get moving before too long. Alice is worried about not being able to see much further, everything is greyed out and she likes this feeling less and less.
Bella blushes in complete embarrassment of her thoughts which Edward has been reading all this time! I don’t like being in my own head much, let alone having him see my thoughts! And my odd fascination with Carlisle…
Before she can do anything else, Edward growls, “Alice!” Bella looks up at him, surprised and can see him glaring at his sister. He then turns back to her and tells her gently, “Bella, your mind is the only one I have met that I cannot read.” He heard her heart race and saw the blush that had covered her face. Edward is upset, and plans to talk to his siblings about helping him build up her confidence. But then, Carlisle may help with that. Mates and mating help each other become stronger.
She gasps and then asks before she can think, “What is wrong with me?” Great Bella, word vomit much?
The Cullens can’t help it, they start to laugh again. They just can’t believe how well she is taking this!
Bella sits there on the bench watching them laugh at her. But before she can be too upset, she notices they are not laughing at her as much as they are surprised. Emmett is the one who finally clues her in when he gasps out, “Bella! First you are told vampires are real, and surprisingly have no trouble with it, other than thinking you must smell awful. Now you are told that Eddie here can read everyone’s mind but yours and you ask what is wrong with you? Dang girlie, can’t you just be normal?” He has blurred over to her and at the end of his question, hugs her gently, grinning down at her. He sits her back down on the bench, then sits down beside his Rosie.
Sighing as she watches him put an arm around Rosie, Bella just simply states, “I have never been normal. So why should I start now?” She tries to ignore the wistfulness she feels, wishing she could have someone for herself like that.
The melancholy note in her voice catches their attention. Edward decides to first finish addressing her questions, then they will discuss her comment. But first, Edward continues her lesson, “The reason we are telling you this is, besides the fact we very much want and need you to be comfortable with us, it explains about Carlisle. You see, Alice has seen you for a long time. However, it wasn’t until 23 years ago that she had a name to go with the person.” Edward smiles at her and is happier when she relaxes and smiles back at him. He proceeds with the history lesson, “Alice is the one who tells us when and where to move. She begged us to wait and then to come here now. What we didn’t know at the time is that she has seen that you are Carlisle’s mate, and has seen this for a long time. You are the one person who is his other half, the one who will complete him. But Bella, he is also the one who will make you feel whole, the one who will complete you, love you more than you can ever imagine. He will give up everything if you ask it of him. Bella, our mates are more important than anything. It supersedes everything, even the Rule.” He swallows and looks away, trying to get a handle on his emotions. He nods a thank you to Jasper as he helps him.
Rosalie takes up for Edward, knowing this is extremely painful for him. “Carlisle was unaware of all of this until earlier today. Alice saw that he was going to come here, after the pull we all feel for our mates got stronger. He was unaware of what the pull was and it had honestly gotten to be too much to resist. And that would have been bad, disastrous for you both in fact, in all of Alice’s visions. Alice has told us, and we were all working to make it possible for you two to meet. But, you have done something none of us thought possible: You have changed Alice’s visions.” She watches Bella’s face, trying to see how she is taking this.
Barking out a short laugh, Edward stands up and turns to face the road. “Alice’s visions are not set in stone. If you make a decision, it can change.” He knows this and has seen it happen. But to be truthful, he has seen it more today than any other time.
Bella cocks her head to the side and then asks, “How can her visions be possible? Because you have to decide to have them happen.” She is trying to grasp what they are saying, but her mind has always worked oddly, and this question just slipped out while she is trying to understand.
The rest of them stare at her in amazement and then Jasper comments, “Bella, you are perfect for Carlisle. For now, let’s get past this. What these two are saying is that when you changed your mind so many times today, you changed Alice’s vision so it will be possible for you two to see each other. And to my mind, that is a huge relief.” Carlisle will be better at protecting his mate. Plus, Jasper would not be able to ever face him if something were to happen to her. Nor would he be able to look himself in the mirror.
Shaking her head, Alice dances away from Jasper and states, “I helped make this possible too. Carlisle will be able to control himself, and once he knows you, Bella, you two are going to fly…”
Edward is still facing away as he quietly states, “Not if he finds out why Bella needed to know all of this now.” Edward smoothly turns back to Bella and drops back down to be able to look her in the eye. “Bella, we need to move, we need to be in the mall before Carlisle gets here. That is the last thing Alice has seen, and I fully intend for it to happen, to give you two the best possible start. This can be the most wonderful thing in your life, Bella. You just need to give it a chance, please.” He begs her, not only for Carlisle, his father, his best friend, his Sire…but for himself.
Looking into his golden eyes, Bella debates with herself. Can she really lead someone into false hope? She stares into his eyes and her own fill with tears. She tells him so softly that if they were not vampires, they would have never heard her, “Oh Edward, I would love to agree. But I can’t love. It just won’t be fair.” The despair in her, in her voice, moves Rosalie.
She puts her arms around Bella, telling her, “Chica, we will talk, but please, just meet him.” When she receives Bella’s nod, they all relax, knowing that just allowing Carlisle to meet with her will solve so many issues. Mates recognize each other, no matter if they are human or vampire. For a human to meet their human mate, it is called love at first sight. When a human meets their mate and they are a vampire, it is much more intense, because the vampire is aware of what is going on. The most intense is a vampire mated to a vampire.
Rosalie continues to hold her, but Jasper is the one that taps Edward’s shoulder for him to move. He moves into Edward’s place, crouching as he looks up at Bella. He gently asks, “Baby sis,” At her negative nod, he gently states, “and don’t deny it, you are like my own baby sister. Tell me, who is Jake?” That is the million dollar question, the one he needs to know so he can start planning what they need to do.
Bella closes her eyes as her fear almost overwhelms her. Then she feels it being pushed away and her eyes fly open and meet Jasper’s golden ones, genuinely taken aback that he would help her. No one voluntarily helps her.
He smiles and tells her, “No more. Not while I can help. Now tell us. Just the short version, we need to leave here soon, or your meeting with Carlisle may not go as well as it needs to.” He smiles at her, putting her at ease.
Taking a deep breath, feeling Rose’s support as well as the rest of the family, she tells them, “He is my friend from childhood —my best friend— who helped me make mud pies. When I moved back to Forks for my junior year, he was fun, and so enjoyable to be around. But something happened and during that summer, he shot up and bulked out. He had always been flirty with me, but he became…” Bella paused as she searched for the right word, the rest of the family listening and patiently waiting for her to continue. Bella didn’t like the word, but it fit, “possessive. My friends pressured me into going out with him, but he became worse… and I didn’t help.”
The way she stated that, made them think that there was so much more to that statement, but they let it go… for now.
Continuing the tale, “He has steadily gotten worse. The move here, well I thought it would be a chance to get away, but… he is worse than ever now. I have no idea what happened to my friend.” By the end, tears were coming down her cheeks, and Bella just couldn’t find it in her to tell them more. Not right now, even though she knows they will need the whole story, soon.
Jasper reaches up and wipes her tears away. “There is more?” He is more than ready to tear into this so-called friend, he has abused the friendship Bella had gifted him with.
Bella nods as she answers, “You wanted the short version.” She cannot stand being sad, it doesn’t fit with being around them.
Emmett laughs as he gently rebukes Jasper, “You asked, she gave.” Emmett sees Bella trying to cheer up, and he will help her out, he would like her to be happy when she meets with Carlisle. Plus, Bella is not one that should be sad.
They all grin, even Bella at Emmett’s comment.
Jasper nods in acknowledgement and he tells her, “Good enough. Now you four get back to the car. Emmett and I will meet you at the mall. Carlisle will meet us there. Once you two meet, we can decide what to do next. Is that alright, Bella?” He is making sure she realizes she has choices, keeping in mind her earlier comment. He wants her to be confident.
She just looks at him, worried. But before he can say anything, Emmett plucks her out of his mate’s arms and hugs her. “Belly. You are my little sister. Just not the littlest since munchkin over there owns that title. But trust me, I never will allow anyone to hurt my sisters. Look around, none of us want you hurt, we are all worried about you. Alice and Edward are scared for their sister and best friend, my Rosie is fierce in wanting you safe. Jasper will go through hell itself for you. And Carlisle. Just wait until you meet him, once you do, nothing will stop him from making sure you are not only safe, but happy. Even if it kills him. Trust us. We will not leave you alone.” Emmett does what is rare, shows his true self.
Staring into his face then looking around at the rest of them, Bella realizes that this is what she has been missing most of her life.. These people think of her not as a friend, but as family. Her eyes widen as she realizes that is what they are. A family to her.
Jasper stands up effortlessly and tells her, “Yep. We love you. And while for you this is sudden, you have to realize we have all known about you for a long while. But we really need to get moving.” He glances up at Edward and apologizes, Edward, I know you are in charge, but-
Edward nods, saying out loud, “It’s fine Jasper. I understand.” He smiles at Bella as he blurs to the car, opening her door. Emmett carries her over to it. Bella notices that Edward has also opened the doors for Alice and Rose. Her sisters are close on Emmett’s heals and get in. He puts her in the seat and asks her, “Please buckle up, Belly. Jasper and I will be waiting for you.” When she does, he grins at her.
Emmett gently closes the door and taps the roo;. Edward takes off.
Jasper and Emmett glance at each other and turn to run to the mall. Both of them are intent on getting there before their mates and Bella.
As Bella sits there thinking, the three vampires keep an eye on her, patiently waiting for her. They give her what time they can to assimilate the massive amount of information they have given her. This is extremely important to all of them that Bella accepts them.
Bella’s mind is clicking away. She thinks about everything she has been told and then asks, “Why is it so important to be in a mall? Is he going to hurt me?”
Edward shakes his head as he answers her, “No. Carlisle will tear off his own arms before hurting you. It is just that he will not overwhelm you there.” He looks over at her and smiles. She relaxes, and it makes him grin even larger.
Then Alice asks quietly, but loud enough for Bella to hear, “Bella, do you have any idea why I cannot see this afternoon?” She doesn’t expect her to answer, but maybe…
Bella looks at Alice and sees the worry she has. Bella smiles at her, and tells her, “No, but you still see us all tomorrow right?” She is trying to think of anything positive for Alice to think of.
Edward answers her, “She can, but it is uncertain. Bella, don’t worry. We will protect you. You will understand more tonight.” He is already searching as they get close to the mall, searching for anyone that may want to harm Bella and looking for Carlisle as well.
Before Bella can ask anything else, they pull into the mall. And then she gasps as she sees Jasper and Emmett standing at the curb. How did they get here already?
Rose laughs and tells her in her ear, “We are really fast. Edward is the fastest, but we are all pretty quick.”
Smiling, Bella comments, “Well I guess there is more to the whole vampire bit than just blood?”
They all chuckle as they get out of the car. Jasper and Emmett are standing there with their mates as Edward moves to Bella’s side. He then leans down and tells her, “You cannot say anything where anyone can hear, Bella. We will tell you more later, but the number one Rule is to keep the secret. Now, I will be by your side until Carlisle gets here. Later tonight, we will explain it all. Just be aware that he will need to be by your side.”
Edward hugs her briefly, then escorts her into the mall with his siblings spread around them. To a casual observer, it may look like a group of friends enjoying the day at the mall. And while it is that, they are also positioning themselves to allow nothing to come close to Bella. She is in the middle, with Edward as the first, and last defense for her.
They spend an enjoyable hour in the mall, all of them teasing Bella until she starts to laugh at Alice. She is relentless in trying to get Bella into new clothes. Finally Bella gives in and starts to enjoy herself with her brothers and sisters.
They enter yet another store and Bella manages to slide to the side so that she can watch them all interact and how they are so careful with her, but yet effortlessly bring her into their lives. Maybe I am a dreamer, but I have always craved this. While she is off to the side, they have shifted to have her remain in the middle of them all. She smiles, acknowledging how safe they make her feel.
Then Bella gets this odd feeling. Like something monumental is about to happen, that her whole life is about to shift. She slowly turns toward this sharp pull in her chest.
Edward is enjoying the time with his siblings and the joy they are having with Bella. This bonding time is essential for Bella, but there is no denying that they are all having fun teasing their youngest sister. But then Edward’s head snaps up and he looks for Carlisle, shocked that he had actually blurred to be here. Carlisle never fails to act human in public places!
Edward finds him just standing there, in front of them, barely moving, gazing, awestruck at Bella. He glances over and sees Bella just staring back at him. He smiles and glances at his siblings.
Alice wants to jump up and down in glee. Carlisle remembered! He is trying to control himself, and surely he is seeing that she is not running. That she is here, and staring at him as intently as he is staring at her.
The rest of the family watches their leader, happy he has now finally found his mate. And that Bella is now not alone. There is no question, nor has there been, since Jasper was absolutely right, they were made for each other.
Carlisle moves carefully to her, and unable to keep his hands off of her anymore, he cups her beautiful face tenderly in his hands. He stares into her breathtaking brown eyes, shocked to see his emotions and more reflected in them.
Bella can’t believe it. This is Carlisle, their older brother? He is standing there in light colored jeans, wearing a dark blue, almost black button down shirt that is untucked, the sleeves are rolled up to show off his arms. His hair is this unbelievable shade of blonde, above a face and body that the Gods themselves would kill for. But his eyes, his eyes are a golden color that is brighter than the others, and they are filled with emotion. Then this amazing man moves towards her, her! and upon reaching Bella, cups her face in his hands. She feels this emotion she cannot understand well up in her and she closes her eyes in relief as she finally feels safe, her body completely relaxes for the first time since she was 17, when her personal trials and nightmares started.
Carlisle studies everything about his mate. He notes when she gives into the beginning of the bond, as her body relaxes for what seems to be the first time in a long time. He releases her face to only pull her to him and hold her. He will never let her go, she is now his life. His eyes close in complete bliss, having the other half of his soul in his arms is a blessing from God.
The two of them are a picture, and the rest of the family smile as they watch them. They move around shopping, trying to hide the couple with their movements.
Edward is the first to move towards the couple, unwilling, but he can hear the questions start in someone’s mind and he only moves to where Carlisle can see him. The rest of the family is aware they need to be careful right now, Carlisle is going to be protective of Bella to begin with, but with the feelings from the mating bond, he will be even worse. Not to mention the threat to Bella.
Carlisle senses another male and opens his eyes quickly so that he can defend his mate. He only relaxes a little as he sees it is Edward, nodding to him, acknowledging him, but unable to let her loose from his arms. Here she is safe, with his own body as her last defense.
Jasper lets out a sigh of relief, Carlisle is keeping himself in control, but he himself, as well as the rest of the family, knows that this is temporary. They need to get the two home, but at the same time, the longer they are here, the more time Bella has to accustom herself to Carlisle. Though, to be honest, she has shocked him with her feelings, they are as intense as Carlisle’s!
Edward is careful not to stare in Carlisle’s eyes and makes sure he is in no way challenging as he advises him, “Carlisle, we need to continue shopping, to keep moving to other places in the mall.” He knows that Carlisle will not miss the hint, the shock of finding his mate is enough to make him be still.
Carlisle understands quickly and he looks down, calling out his mate’s name gently, “Bella, love, we need to move.” He is amazed that he is in the presence of his angel. Carlisle thought that there had been no chance of this ever happening. And now that he knows what a true mating feels like, he feels guilty. But this is pushed out by the woman in his arms as he feels her need for him. Bella will always come first. Always.
Bella looks up to his face, and he smiles down to her. He hugs her, then putting his arm around her, they move back to the family. Close, neither seems inclined to be apart from the other.
Alice is quick to purchase their items and sighs as she is smiling. I guess Bella won’t be available for trying on any more outfits.
Edward smirks and he glances at her as he remarks, “Like you and Jasper were, or still are, any better!” He is so happy for his best friend and his Sire. He can see that they are just awestruck by the other.
The rest of them chuckle as the guys gather the bags. Carlisle doesn’t grab any, but the rest completely understand, he will be extremely protective of her and could not have the bags impede him. Plus he literally is unable to keep from touching her. They move out of the store, back in the same formation but with Carlisle and Bella in the middle, Edward following close by.
The two are completely wrapped up in each other, causing no end of amusement for the others as they watch their Alpha being so very tender with Bella. But they understand and are quite frankly amazed at Carlisle’s control.
Carlisle’s need to claim her as his is only slightly mollified by her complete surrender to him. But he is still fighting the urges, knowing that taking things slow will only strengthen Bella; his mate is broken and will need to be treated carefully. Though he, as any male would be around her, truly cannot wait until he can claim her as his, to take all the time necessary to mount her, thrusting himself into her warmth, finding his heaven in her as he leaves his mark on her, as many times as he can, as often as it takes to completely please his mate. And then, he will start all over until she is hoarse and exhausted. Once she is rested, he will continue, nothing would be more otherworldly than to be buried in her as many time as he can be. Even if they live forever, there will never be enough time for him to show his love and devotion to her.
Carlisle closes his eyes briefly to help himself calm down. He needs to find out what is wrong with his mate, and help her mend. He also will make sure she is never frightened again, or if she is, he will be there to protect her.
Bella feels Carlisle’s arm tighten around her and when she glances up at him, he smiles down at her. They are standing together in Charlotte Russe, him holding her, her back to his front. His arms are around her, caging her, letting her know he is protecting her as he also is showing his dedication to her.
It is during these quiet times that you would think they would talk, instead they have found such comfort in being next to each other that no words need to be exchanged. Plus, tonight will be the time for talking, for Bella to understand what is going on.
Edward is leaning against the column, near the two, guarding them as well as keeping an eye out for trouble. Alice cannot see anymore, whatever is blocking her, is here. He keeps glancing at them, smiling at their obvious joy in each other.
Then he straightens in shock as Jasper moves to his side, the rest of the family close behind them. They instinctively surround Carlisle and Bella, only making it seem normal with great control on their part. The coven is reacting to the danger that the two males have sensed to their Alpha’s mate and their sister.
Immediately conflicted on wanting to be on the offensive, but everything in him screaming for him to defend his mate, Carlisle growls, asking Edward, “What is it?” Finally giving in, he moves so he is by Bella’s side, ready to move in whatever direction it will take to protect her. Bella is first. But how he would love to attack whatever is threatening his mate!
Edward himself is growling at the thoughts that are bombarding his mind. He spits out, “I believe Jacob is here. We need to leave Carlisle. This is no place in case he attacks.” He is barely controlling himself at the words and images that Jacob has of his sister. He is glad that Carlisle doesn’t have his talent, since there would be no way he wouldn’t attack him.
Jasper is growling at the emotions he is feeling from the boy, and from Edward. Edward is one of the calmest among them, unfortunately he had to learn to control his feelings from the beginning. But this made him one of the most effective Beta sthat Jasper has heard of.
Carlisle fights within himself; he feels as though he is being challenged for his mate and wants to deal with it now. But he looks back at Bella, and seeing how frightened she is, makes the decision to have them leave.
He moves quickly and the rest of the family keeps up with him. Alice had convinced him to bring the Mercedes into town and he had done it only because she told him Bella would need him to take her home. He shakes his head, wondering if the fairy will be using Bella to get him to do what she wants.
They move to the car and Carlisle escorts her to her side. He looks down at his mate, seeing she is still frightened, and tells her, “Bella, you will be safe. I promise you, I will do whatever is needed for your safety. Please, do as I ask, and I will explain as soon as we get home.” He is barely able to keep himself in check, but feeling his mate’s terror is enough to ground him. Carlisle knows they need to find out why Bella feels this way, and then he can do everything in his power to fix it.
Bella just nods with her head down. She is struggling to not be so frightened, but her thinking earlier has shown her that Jake is gone, only Jacob remains. Then Bella feels the cool hands of Carlisle on her face, bringing it up to meet his eyes. His face relaxes and smiles down at her before he kisses her gently on her lips. The static charge she has been feeling all day as they touch is even more intense as his cool lips move against hers.
Carlisle can’t help it; he needs some type of contact. But shortly after starting, he quickly finds that he never wants to stop kissing her soft lips. It is only his intense will which enables him to stop and he stares into her eyes, a smirk on his lips as he can see that she is breathless from his kiss. He helps support her until she can stand, then he opens the door for her, and once she is in, he closes the door and moves quickly to the driver’s side. Before he gets in, he glances around, trying to find his adversary; his growl growing in intensity, his Bella should never feel that way.
Edward catches his movement, and he tells him softly, “Not now, Carlisle. Please. Let’s get Bella home where we can guard her better. Plus we need to talk to her, find out who he is. Then we can deal with him, and you can start to get to know each other.” He needs to make sure they are home. There is less chance of their being exposed if Carlisle should lose control. Then Edward laughs at himself, who is he kidding? All of them are on the brink of attacking the motherfucker if he comes out here. As Beta, he needs to get them to safety. Then, if the idiot is stupid enough to find them, they can unleash their wrath on him.
Carlisle is still softly growling, but he knows Edward is right. He nods quickly and gets in the car. His hand reaches out and holds Bella’s in his, needing the contact with her. He glances over and pulls her hand with his as he gently strokes her jaw with the back of their hands. His growling is gone, he is again mesmerized by this amazing angel sitting beside him.
Edward and the rest of the males go to his Volvo, leaving the girls to join Carlisle. They are less likely to be on the receiving end of Carlisle’s protectiveness as the males would be. Everyone is watching, not wanting to be caught unaware of whatever this Jake is.
The cars pull out together and head to their home. Carlisle straightens as he thinks he hears a wolf howl. Surely it cannot be… not after all this time!
The cars pull in, Edward behind Carlisle, and the males form a barrier for the occupants of the car in front of them. Carlisle blurs to reach Bella’s door, and she gives him a look of shock, that he is opening her door. And then her surprise is even more puzzling when he holds his hand out to assist her up.
Carlisle chuckles as he is privately dismayed, how has she been treated before that my opening the door for her is such a shock? He quietly tells her, his English accent evident, “Luv, you may as well get used to this. I will always treat you with the utmost respect; to do otherwise is to not only insult you, but myself.” He smiles as she puts her hand in his and once she stands, he pulls her to him, holding her to him. His head dips to her ear and he softly thanks her, “Bella, luv, thank you. But please, will you come inside with me so we can speak?” He waits there for her to answer him, starting the process of fixing his mate.
Bella is overwhelmed, nothing is the same, but maybe, maybe it is time to change. Carlisle is making her feel like she hasn’t in a long time; cherished and loved. She actually can’t remember a time that she has ever felt cherished. And, more importantly, he does not repulse her or make her skin crawl when he touches her. In fact, she relishes his touches, his looks, anything he gives her. She nods to him, not trusting her voice.
Carlisle smiles and he steps back, his hand dropping to her lower back as he escorts her into his home. Edward is already at the door, opening it as he steps back to allow them through, the rest of the family follows them. Alice skips ahead to show Carlisle the way to the living room.
Once they enter, Carlisle glances around before he guides Bella to a loveseat that was not near a window or door. Edward and Jasper look at each, both noting that Carlisle is now in full protective mode. They nod, knowing that they have to be really careful; he will not accept any challenges to his authority right now. And they both look at Alice, knowing they need to let her know not to pull any stunts.
Carlisle seats Bella and then sits down next to her, pulling her close to him. Once he is assured that she is comfortable, he turns his gaze to the rest of his family. “What is going on? And why has Bella been upset enough that even though we have not bonded, I can feel it?” His words, along with the alpha compulsion are commanding. Carlisle wants answers.
Gasping, Bella asks, “What?” What did he mean he can feel it?
Alice moves closer and then drops to the floor. This will help, she will be below her Alpha and his mate, and will help keep him calmer. “Carlisle, I am not sure how you are even aware of her. But, from what we understand from the answer Bella gave Jasper, the person is Jake. He seems unable to take no for an answer.”
Carlisle can’t help it, the growl erupts from him. That someone would not be able to accept no from anyone is enough to make him upset. But the rage that he is working on calming with Jasper’s help is due to the fact that someone is disrespecting his mate. And even more damning to this child, he has been doing it in a way that has frightened her, and is challenging his status.
Looking at Carlisle, Bella is surprised that she is not frightened. Actually she feels very safe. Part of it is when Carlisle started to growl; he pulled her closer to him, his arms surrounded her. His hands soothe her, rubbing her arms…she feels precious and instinctively knows that his reaction is for her, not at her. She turns and looks into his eyes, not surprised to see they are black. She watches as those eyes drop and look into hers, and his arms tighten around her as he lays his forehead against hers.
Gazing into his mate’s eyes, he calms himself by resting his head against hers. He tells her softly, “Bella. Please tell me what you know. I have this strong need to protect you. And I promise you, I will do everything in my power to make you not only safe, but happy and well. But you need to talk to me, tell me what is going on. As we get closer, the bond between mates will help.” He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath of her scent. Opening his eyes, he continues, “And in return we will all answer and tell you everything about us and about mating, so you can understand what is going on between the two of us. Well to the best of our knowledge, since as Alice has commented, we seem to be unusual.” He smiles at her. Carlisle is also thinking furiously, he remembers how mad Jasper and Edward had been in the mall. Just who is this Jake?
Bella just looks at him and murmurs, “Are you real? Or is this a dream? Has this whole day been a dream and nightmare all mixed together?” First she was mad at Jacob, then frightened of him. She meets this family, and has her hope of salvation from Jake dashed. When she thinks all is hopeless, Alice and Edward insert themselves into her life, then Rose joins them to help her out. She had to buy a vehicle that she had no idea about, but Rose saved her and helped her out. Alice and Edward became her best friends, but on their way to a fun day, Jacob called and terrorized her. She found out her friends are vampires, but they love her and think of her as family. They tell her someone is coming for her and take her shopping because that will be the best meeting place for them. Then she meets Carlisle and is lost in the amazement that he wants her, to find out Jacob was somehow there. How much more can she take?
Carlisle just gazes into her eyes as he softly answers her, “I am as real as you are, my luv. And I promise this is not a dream, since I can’t sleep and this is happening to me as well. Bella, luv, tell me what has you so frightened.” He can feel her confusion through the bond, but he is trying to remain calm. Right now he needs to find out what is going on with Jake. Later, he will deal with her emotions and have her understand that he is here for her. But right now, he needs to help her learn that he will do anything for her.
She looks to the side, unsure of his answer and what exactly her feelings are, but Carlisle cups her face in his cool hand to bring her eyes back to him, murmuring, “Never hide your beautiful eyes from me, please. Luv, there is nothing to be ashamed of; there is nothing to be scared of. I am here now, and I will never leave your side.”
Looking into his eyes, she asks, “Why? What is happening? Why do you not repulse me like everyone else?” She is grasping for something to make sense. She had given up long ago, accepting that Jacob wouldn’t let anyone close to her. And since he repulses her as does Mike and anyone else when they try to touch her, why would she believe otherwise?
Carlisle sighs as he caresses her cheek with his knuckle. He looks up at the mates surrounding him and tries to think of a way to explain it.
Rose stands and with her head down, she asks softly, “May I, Carlisle?” She is being careful, but the pain in her sister’s voice is getting to be too much. She needs to help her.
Carlisle nods, as his arms surround Bella. He knows that Rosalie will never harm his mate, nor would any of his family. But he can’t help it, he has waited so very long for her. Nothing will harm her again.
Rose smiles at Bella as she sits down on the floor beside Alice and tells her, “Ok, Chica. Here’s the deal. Carlisle is your mate. Now from what you just described, that reaction is normal for mates that are fully mated. I am not sure how you felt this way before, but I am sure Carlisle is so very happy it is true. You see, Carlisle is your other half. He will never leave you, and will do everything in his considerable power to ensure your happiness.” She looks into her sister’s eyes and she softly tells her, “Bella. This is real. This is why we came, but we will do anything for you because we love you. Chica, we came for Carlisle, but will stay for you. You are my sister, and the mate of my alpha.” Rose is being so very sincere and she wishes she could even touch Bella to relay her emotions, but she is aware that Carlisle will not be able to prevent himself from defending Bella. His mate is in pain and his instincts are telling him that he needs to protect her. But how do you protect someone from their own memories?
Edward laughs as he watches Bella’s face and hears her heart. They are making this difficult for her. It really is very simple, he calls to his friend, “Bella, please accept this. Let me put it to you in a very easy, understandable question. Just answer truthfully, there is no wrong answer. You feel comfortable with Carlisle, right?”
Nodding her agreement, Bella feels Carlisle’s arms pull her closer to him.
Edward’s smile gets bigger and he asks, “Bella, you feel at home with him, don’t you?” He will keep asking her question after question until she either understands or tells him and Carlisle what is bothering her.
Thinking over her answer, Bella nods as she comes to a decision. She decides to ask what to her is a very important question. “But, how do you know I am his mate?” When she feels Carlisle jerk, she continues speaking to him, “Maybe you’re mistaken or will change your mind later?” It is getting to be too late, but she needs to know if she should guard her heart from any more damage.
Carlisle growls, wishing he really had everyone who has ever hurt her in front of him right now. He answers her calmly, but with love evident in his voice as it falls into the accent of his youth, “This is no whim, Bella. You are my mate. You are it, there is no other for me. Even if you send me away, I will never find another.” He cups her face and gently tugs it so that he looks into her eyes, so she can see the truth in his face. “Bella, luv. I have waited almost 400 years for you. It may seem sudden to you, but that is how it is with my kind. When we find our other half, that is it. Just like the bird you are named for, Beautiful Swan, we mate for life.” He watches her eyes, nothing is more important to him than her decision.
Bella stares into his eyes and she blurts out, “I really want to believe. I do! But, why me? I’m nothing! Nobody but Jacob has ever tried to get close to me, especially after the first time I-.” She chokes off, her tears are pooling in her eyes, she desperately wants this to be real. She wants this amazing man in front of her to really be hers. But too many times she has tried to love, and had it fail on her. Why would this time be any different? However, at the same time, the revulsion, the feeling of being physically disgusted and sick at another’s touch is not present.
Alice clears her throat and leans closer, putting her hand on Bella’s knee. Carlisle’s growl is instinctive, but Alice is just trying to support her sister. She looks at him with a slight twinkle of amusement in her golden eyes before she turns her attention to Bella.
Carlisle shakes his head, but Bella can feel his amusement. Alice tells her softly, “I am sorry, Bella. I am the reason you can’t believe. I had us wait so that this would be easier on everyone. There would have been so much heartbreak if we had been here earlier. It seems that the heartbreak wasn’t evaded, but faced by you alone. I am so sorry. But, Bella, Carlisle is your mate, he always has been. I have seen you for 81 years. Your face was the second one I ever saw in my visions, the first was Jasper. Later, when I found Carlisle, I saw you with him. Always. He was a shadow beside you in that first vision, but always since then I have seen you both. Just open your heart. Trust me. Once you do, you will understand better than any of us can say. Please, Bella.” Alice begs her, hoping that she hasn’t ruined their chances with her meddling.
Bella stares down at the diminutive woman in front of her and the eyes that are pleading with her. She then looks around the room at her family. She sees the same look on their faces, pleading with her to accept them, to accept Carlisle, to accept herself. She closes her eyes and then looks at Carlisle. He is still holding her tenderly but securely. His face and his eyes have the same pleading that the rest do, but there is more there. She stares into his eyes, seeing his feelings there for her. But he is waiting, waiting for her to choose him.
Carlisle knows what is going on, this is the time when she will make the decision whether to completely accept the bond or not. Wanting her to be aware of everything, he softly informs her, “If you choose me, Bella. I will love you until the end of time, I will keep you safe, loved and do everything in my power to make you happy. You will have all of me. But, I need to warn you, you will be mine. In every definition of it. I will do anything you want, but if I tell you to do something, I will expect you to obey me. I promise you, Bella, that it will always be in your best interest. I cannot act against that. I am not trying to sway you one way or another, I want you, need you to choose me.” He holds her hands as he pleads. He wants his mate to choose him because she wants him. Not because she has to.
Closing her eyes, Bella tries to figure out what she wants. This is a novel thing, to be asked what she wants. Never has anyone asked her that. Jacob has ordered her around for the longest time, only now he is being obvious about it. Her father tried, but Jacob had basically forced her to tell him no. And to be truthful, now that she is thinking about it, her father had not tried to really force her into anything. Jacob was the one that convinced her of that. All of a sudden, her life since she came to Washington flashes in her mind. Jacob. Everything that she has been miserable about tracks back to him.
She opens her eyes and looks into Carlisle’s eyes. And she realizes the basic truth. Carlisle feels so right. He loves her, she can see it in his eyes as he waits for her answer. And he, like the rest of them, gives her the choice of what she wants to do. In that very second, she understands, and she accepts it all.
Carlisle feels her acceptance and he smiles as he pulls her to him. He holds her to him, softly thanking her, promising her, “Bella, luv, thank you. You will never regret this. I promise you. God, I will never make you regret this for the rest of our lives.” He cannot believe his luck in having her accept him. He will make sure she will never be upset that she chose him.
Bella buries her head in him as she feels the most incredible feelings ripple through her. She gasps and smiles as she actually feels his love and devotion. Even as she smiles, her brain is still clicking and she wonders how she can feel his emotions.
The rest of the coven grin, overjoyed, as they feel Jasper projecting the couple’s happiness to them all. Everyone relaxes as they bask in their love for each other, with the Bond settling into both of them. It won’t finish for awhile, it will take them Mating for that, but it has definitely started.
But then too soon, Bella’s phone rings, Werewolves in London. Carlisle growls as he feels Bella’s happiness turn into fear. He tells her softly, “He can’t hurt you ever again. I won’t let him.” He kisses the top of her head, trying to soothe both of them. Her fear, along with his rage is not a good mix.
Edward had also growled with the rest of the family at the ringtone. Then he snaps his head up, his eyes turning pitch black with pure rage. He says softly, “Jasper, seal the house. He’s here, and now is not the time to deal with him. Bella needs to talk to us.” But afterwards… Oh yes, he can feel the rest of the family agreeing. The first one to get a crack will be Carlisle, then Edward will get his turn with whatever is left over.
Carlisle’s growl grows louder, but he nods to Jasper to do as Edward has said. Jasper blurs out of the room, and then Bella hears the sound of metal shutters coming down over the entrances and windows of the house.
She looks up at her mate, still scared. He is staring out at the only window that is not yet covered, and she can see him fighting himself. She reaches up to hesitantly touch his face. When her fingers touch his skin, his stare is broken and he looks down at her. His face turns tender and he rubs his face into her hand. She smiles at the sight and he smiles back at her. He slowly moves and kisses her nose as he sighs out her name, “Bella.” He doesn’t take his eyes from hers as the last of the metal shutters close over the window.
Alice looks up at Bella and she asks her, “Can you tell us now? I think we need to know what has happened to you.” She is blind, but she really wants to know what happened to Bella. She has a funny feeling the reason she didn’t see this is the same reason she can’t see anything right now.
Bella looks down, and her mate lifts her head with his finger, admonishing her, “Didn’t I tell you, luv, I need to see those brown eyes of yours. Bella, you feel my love for you. Nothing you can tell us will ever make my love ever diminish for you. Tell me what has happened to you, luv. Please?” Carlisle sends his love to her, as he attempts to put her fears to rest. He hates to do this, but the sooner they know, the sooner he can start to heal her. After he takes care of whoever hurt her.
Bella nods her head. She tells them, “It seems funny, but I didn’t realize how many things Jacob has been involved in and even responsible for.” She takes a deep breath, realizing she cannot put this off anymore. She nods to them, and she begins her story. “I moved to Forks, Washington to live with my father when I was 17…”
Final count: 10,793 Words