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Seducing Ms Swan

Summary:
AU Post-New Moon. Bella never jumped, Alice never had her vision and Edward never came back. Six years later, Bella is struggling to make a new life for herself as a teacher in Rochester, New York. How will she fare when a very familiar student crops up in her classroom? Will she be able to remain professional, or will old ties get in the way? Edward is convinced that getting Bella back is just a matter of 'persuasion', but Bella isn't prepared to be that cooperative. What's more, she's in the grip of a dark secret which threatens to prevent her from loving ever again. Bella Swan is slipping under...


Notes:
Thankyou to twike for beta work. Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


2. Mrs Robinson

Rating 3.6/5   Word Count 4414   Review this Chapter

9 :15

9 :18

*~*~*~*

I come to find a refuge in the
Easy silence that you make for me
It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me

*~*~*~*

9 :24

9 :37

My eyes followed the clock as the second hand moved, mercilessly slowly, towards my reprieve.

" Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any other-"

I was hardly even aware of the constant mumbling soundtrack of monotonous narration, as each student reluctantly read a passage of 'Pride and Prejudice' aloud. I willed time to move more quickly, all the while being deadly sure not to let my eyes stray anywhere near Edward's seat.

" ‘I would not be so fastidious as you are,’ cried Mr. Bingley, ‘for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I never-'"

Was it possible that the clock had stopped working all together? Could it have, in fact, started going backwards instead of forwards? The idea scared me so much that I surreptitiously glanced at a student's watch. No, although the seconds seemed to draw on like eternities, time was apparently moving perfectly normally.

"' Only think of THAT, my dear; he actually danced with her twice! And she was the only creature in the room that he asked a second time.'"

From the corner of my eye, I glimpsed Edward move an infinitesimal amount as if angling his gaze towards mine. I could not look up however; I had no desire to again subject myself to his expression of emotionless indifference. I dug my nails into the palms of my hands as I felt my body tremble. Only twenty-five minutes to go, I thought desperately. Don't let yourself fall apart now, Bella! No, it would not do to break down now; there was plenty of time for that later. Plenty of time to cry, shout and shake later, once I was safely out of the classroom and far, far away from his burning topaz eyes.

" She was therefore obliged to seek another branch of the subject, and related, with much bitterness of spirit,"

Seven minutes to go. I hadn't been this excited for a lesson to finish since my last ever calculus lesson before my finals in Forks.

Six.

Perhaps I can skip classes this afternoon, I pondered to myself, racking my brains for an excuse plausible enough to explain why I was unable to complete teaching on the very first day of term.

Five. Four.

I furtively began to slide my folders into my black bag, trying my hardest not to make too much noise.

Three, Two, One-

"Okay people," I exclaimed, my heart pounding as I jumped up from my chair and interrupted a skinny girl with short blonde hair mid-sentence, "that's enough for this morning. Homework: make notes on the first three chapters to bring to the next lesson. That's all." Then, to the obvious astonishment of my class, I threw my bag over my shoulder, only slightly fumbling with the clasp and half ran half fell through the door, slamming it behind me as the bell rang.

I darted down the corridor wildly, unsure of where to go. I knew that I only had a split second before students began to spill out of classrooms from all directions and blocked my escape routes. I was also acutely aware that, in the unlikely chance Edward wanted to pursue me, he would have no trouble catching up. I had to go somewhere he wouldn't know to follow. I turned left, then right, then another left. I could hear distant rumble of hundreds of adolescents on the move as students poured out from their lessons, their footsteps, whistles and raucous laughter echoing off the polished floors. Then, I saw it: the small office I shared with several other teachers. I went through the doorway and closed it behind me with a thud, pushing my body against the door as I let my bag fall to the floor.

The room was cramped and non-descript, the walls painted a gloomy shade of khaki green. An extended desk ran round the walls, on top of which were two whirring computers. The limited floor space was mostly taken up with grey filing cabinets, but in the corner there was a single battered arm chair that had definitely seen better days. The room was not comfortable; my colleagues and I hardly ever used it, but it was out of the way and as good a place as any for me to privately break into pieces. I slumped against the door and slid to the ground, my arms closing tightly against my chest as the first waves of anguish hit me. For the first time I was finally able to let myself go and cry without fear of detection or observation. The emotions I had been so far restraining: the shock of being reunited with Edward, the nightmarish circumstances under which he had come back into my life and his apathetic reaction to me sprang forward, overwhelming me with their weight. I succumbed to the grief, unable to fight it any more.

I don't know how I survived the rest of that day. I moved from class to class as though in a dream, my movements robotic and automated as I tried to maintain a façade of normality. If anybody had bothered to take a closer look it would probably have been blindingly obvious that I was breaking into pieces, but nobody did. As I had learnt in the years after Edward's departure, it is surprisingly easy to fade into the background.

I did not see Edward again. Not at lunch, where my eyes raked the crowds of seated students for a flash of bronze; nor between lessons, when I furtively glanced through doorways into classrooms. I tried to persuade myself that his absence was a good thing, but I could not banish the nagging sense of disappointment it caused. The fact that he had not sought me out after our meeting could, I was sure, only be confirmation of his lack of feelings towards me. It was a dismal conclusion, but not a surprising one. He had not loved me for six years- had perhaps never loved me- how could a single hour change that?

By the time school finally ended and I had boarded the bus home, I had convinced myself that Edward and his family, who had presumably come to Rochester with him, were probably already long gone. I wondered what explanation he would give them. Would he tell them that he had seen me again? Or would he just leave, as he had done all those years ago after our first Biology lesson, and wait for them to follow him? No, I decided, Alicewould have Seen it. She had probably known we would meet days ago. But why hadn't she told him? Maybe she wanted to see me again? Or maybe, the voice of realism remarked as the bus came to a halt at my stop, she just doesn't care.

I sighed as I shrugged my bag over my shoulder and got off the bus. I wrapped my arms around the front of my coat and hugged it close to my body, something which both protected me from the cold and eased the aching hole in my chest. I mounted the snow covered steps to my building and then trudged up the long flight of stairs to my apartment. The elevator had been broken for about two weeks, but luckily for me, I only lived on the second floor.

I let myself in to the darkened living room, my hands shaking from the cold as I fumbled with the buttons on my coat. I shrugged it off and turned to hang it on the hook by the door, my movements measured and slow. I bowed my head, pressing my cheek against the cool wood and closed my eyes. I was finally alone, with no sound but the quiet purr of traffic from the street below, and no light but for pale yellow pools cast through the windows from the street lights. I expected a repeat of this morning but, to my surprise, I did not cry. In fact, all I really felt was tiredness. I had already journeyed to my emotional limit and back again today and now all I wanted to do was sleep. My bed seeming the most inviting way to spend the rest of my evening, I walked towards my room. I had just reached the door, when the phone rang.

I froze. I looked at it, unsure of what to do. Was it Edward? My first reaction was to wonder how he got my number, before I rolled my eyes. It would hardly be difficult for a wealthy, intelligent, well-connected, computer-hacking vampire to procure a phone number. More to the point, did I want to speak to him? What would I say? I had just decided to pick it up, when the answer machine clicked on.

Hi, you've reached Bella' s answering phone, please leave a message after the tone.

I waited with baited breath.

"Hi Bella, it's me," a distinctly un-Edward voice emitted from the machine. I let out my breath in a rush as I lunged for the phone and mentally scolded myself for being so silly in the first place. As if he'd call.

"Hi Jacob," I gasped, bringing the phone to my ear and crossing back to the wall to flick on the lights.

"Bella!" he cried, and I could practically hear him smiling down the phone, "So you are there. Why didn't you pick up?"

"Sorry," I replied, flopping onto the couch, "I tripped over the rug." It was hardly even a lie; I fell so often. Jake's chuckle confirmed that he wasn't any the wiser.

"You're a liability," he said, "it's a wonder they even let you teach. I'm surprised you haven't inadvertently injured one of the students."

"Oooh, long word Jake," I teased, "where'd you get that one? Has becoming Alpha made you brush up on your vocab?" Jake tutted with annoyance, but spoilt the effect by laughing. Sam had 'retired' two years before, after the birth of his and Emily's first child. This had made Jacob the leader of the pack, something which- although he complained about a lot- he took very seriously. That being said, I knew that he was looking forward to the day he too could step down.

"Yeah well, I've clearly spent too much time with you," he joked, "your habits have started to wear off on me."

"Sure, sure," I said, grinning. He laughed and I felt my body relax at the sound as Jake launched into a cheery monologue about the recent events at La Push. Jake had always had a talent for cheering me up, and by the time he had finished updating me on the lives and antics of the pack, the memory of my meeting with Edward had faded to little more than an unpleasant shadow at the back of my mind.

"…so I said to Quil," Jake continued, "that he should just buy Claire a doll or something, I mean that's what eight year old girls like, right?"

"Are you kidding me?" I said, shaking my head at Jacob's typical male unawareness, "Claire isn't really the doll type, Jake. Her favorite pastimes are football and racing werewolves. Tell Quil to get her a basketball net. That way he can nail it to the side of her house and her brothers can play too."

"That's an awesome idea Bella!" Jake said. I nodded, forgetting he couldn't see me, and got up off the sofa to get myself a drink, the phone balanced on my shoulder. "I'll tell Quil tonight. He and the guys are coming over to celebrate."

I paused, a bottle of soda in my hand, the fridge door hanging open. "Celebrate what?" I asked, perplexed.

"Oh, nothing," Jake replied, over-casually. I knew him well enough to detect that he was keeping something from me.

"Ja-aake," I whined, closing the fridge door and leaning against the counter top. "Tell me!"

"Fine, seeing as you asked so nicely," he snickered and I could hear the enjoyment in his voice. I rolled my eyes and started to unscrew the soda bottle. "Carole's pregnant."

I shrieked, ripping the bottle top off in my shock, causing cola to shoot out in a fizzy jet, completely soaking the front of my shirt. I swore and dropped the phone as I lobbed the still-foaming bottle into the sink. Then, I fell to my knees and grabbed the now sopping wet phone, holding it to my ear as my hand searched blindly behind me for a cloth.

"Bella?" Jake sounded concerned, "are you still there? Did you hear what I said? Carole's preg-"

"I heard," I gasped, "Oh my God Jake, that's fantastic! I'm so happy for you! When did you find out? How far along is she? When is it due? Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?"

Jake laughed at my barrage of questions. "We found out about a month ago, but Carole didn't want to tell anyone until she was past fourteen weeks. They're due in June sometime and no, we don’t know the sex."

"They're due in June?" I said, unbelieving, "you mean…"

"Twins," Jake confirmed, his voice reverberating with happiness. I squealed again and wished more than ever that he was standing right here beside me so I could give him a huge hug. For the next twenty minutes I fired questions and grilled him for details, even making him hand the phone over to Carole so I could give her my congratulations.

"I can't believe it," I told Jacob after he had come back to the phone; "I can't believe you're going to be a Dad."

"Neither can I," he replied, a hint of nervousness creeping into his voice and I was instantly reminded of the fifteen year old boy I had made friends with when I came to Forks.

"You'll be brilliant," I said sincerely, "the best Dad in the world! I just know it."

"Thanks Bells," he said gratefully. We fell silent for a few moments. I still couldn’t quite process the information. Jake was three years younger than me, only 22, yet he was already married and about to have kids. He was enjoying his healthy, normal, 'human' life and all the benefits it involved. I on the other hand… I wondered vaguely to myself what would have happened if Jake and I had stayed together. Would we be married? Would I be pregnant with his children? What if Edward had never gotten bored with me and left? We would probably have gotten married straight out of High School in a small, private ceremony. Renee would have blown a gasket- not that that would have stopped me. We could have had a similar story to Jacob's… without the children of course. No, that could never have been possible for me and Edward. In the intervening years, I had often asked myself whether I would have missed that element of my humanity, each time coming to the same conclusion; I did not want children. Even now, when there was no chance of ever being presented with such a choice, I would still choose Edward over having a baby. This realization depressed me.

"Bella?" Jacob's slightly irritated voice broke me out of my reverie, and I realized that I had zoned out on him again.

"Hi Jake, sorry, I was just daydreaming," I said quickly, before he hung up. I brushed the back of my hand across my eyes, wiping away the tears that I had unwittingly begun to shed. "What was it you said?"

"I asked you how things were going, in Rochester-" he trailed off. I waited expectantly for him to end his sentence, but he seemed to already have finished. I ran his question through my head again, wondering how best to answer.

"Things are… fine. Yeah, fine, pretty much same as usual." I didn't want to lie, but I couldn't exactly tell the truth.

"Been seeing any guys recently?" The question caught me off guard. Define 'seeing', I thought to myself dryly. Dating? No. Unexpectedly running into the ex love-of-my-life in a crowded classroom? Yes, actually, would you like the details? I shook my head. Whatever I said would be repeated back to the rest of the pack, all their wives, Billy, Charlie and, no doubt, Renée. I had long since decided that they were all unhealthily preoccupied with my love life- or the lack of it.

"No Jake, I…"

"Yes?" he said after a short pause.

"Nothing," I sighed. This was ridiculous, how could I even contemplate telling Jacob about Edward? He would go crazy. He had never forgiven Edward for… well let's just say he had never forgiven Edward, period.

"Bella," Jacob said, sternly. "Talk to me. There's something wrong, isn't there?" His deep voice was so comforting, so reassuring. It took me right back to Forks; if I closed my eyes I could see him standing before me, his arms wide and welcoming, First Beach in the background. Snap out of it Bella! You can't tell him!

"N-no," I stuttered. I sounded pathetically unconvincing, even to my own ears.

"Come on Bells, I promise I won't tell anyone." I snorted with disbelief. "I won't! Werewolf promise."

I closed my eyes, a small laugh escaping despite myself as I imagined Jacob dressed head-to-toe in Boy-Scout uniform, his huge hands held in a salute.

"You'll be angry," I murmured, my resolve wavering.

"With you? Never," Jake said, his voice completely genuine. "You're my best friend Bella, whatever you tell me I'll support you."

"I-" I stopped again, unable to make up my mind.

"Please, Bella," Jake coaxed softly, "let me be here for you."

I cracked.

"Fine, I'll tell you," the words spewed out in a rush, "but you have to know that I didn't plan this; I didn't even know he was in town until this morning and I didn't do anything; it wasn't my fault and it doesn't mean anything, I didn't even speak to him, so-"

"Whoa, slow down!" Jake interjected, "what doesn't mean anything? Who are you even talking about?"

I paused. It was now or never.

"Edward," I whispered. "Edward Cullen."

There was a second's silence, in which he processed what I had just told him.

"What does the bloodsucker have to do with this?" Jacob asked, a harsher edge to his voice. At the mention of the vampire he had instantly become 'Alpha-Jacob'.

"He's here, Jake. Here in Rochester," I said, bracing myself for the fallout. I was not disappointed.

"WHAT?!"

I cringed, my grip on the phone tightening.

"WHAT THE HELL IS EDWARD CULLEN DOING IN ROCHESTER?" Jake yelled, his voice so loud that I actually had to move my ears away from the handset.

"Jake, calm-"

"ISN'T HE HAPPY WITH MAKING YOU CATATONIC FOR FOUR MONTHS? DOES HE WANT TO RUIN YOUR LIFE EVEN MORE?"

"Jacob, it-"

"WHY CAN'T THE LEECH JUST STAY AWAY? YOU WERE JUST GETTING BETTER FOR CHRIST'S SAKE! WHAT RIGHT DOES HE HAVE TO COME WALTZING BACK INTO YOUR LIFE AFTER ALL THIS-"

"JACOB BLACK, LISTEN TO ME!" He fell silent almost at once. I wasn't sure if it was because he cared about what I had to say, or if the hysterical note my voice had taken scared him. I spoke slowly, my breathing heavy. "Firstly, Edward didn't know I was here; he was just as surprised to see me as I was him. Secondly, I'm certain that he doesn't want to get involved with me again, quite the opposite." I paused as the hole in my chest tore slightly wider. I took a deep breath and continued, "Thirdly, I doubt he'll hang around much longer, he'll probably be gone by tomorrow."

A short pause followed my words, before Jacob was off again, ranting and interrogating me. I was forced to recount the entire story, from my arrival at school this morning to seeing Edward, to leaving the class. I faltered there, not wanting to admit the extent of my breakdown. Jake must have understood this; he did not ask me any more questions on that subject. He seemed to have calmed down somewhat, but it still took me the best part of half an hour to persuade him not to get on the first plane to Rochester from Seattle. This was turning out to be a long phone call.

"It's weird to think that he's six years younger than you now," Jake said thoughtfully, after I had retold our meeting for what felt like the hundredth time. "It must be horrible to always be seventeen." I did not pass a comment; until not so long ago, being permanently seventeen was something I had longed for. "Eeew Bella, you've made out with one of your students! You're like one of those creepy teachers you see on the news, the ones who seduce young, innocent men." Jake said, laughing. I sighed gratefully. The fact that he could joke about the situation showed that he was past the anger he had felt earlier.

"Carole is four years older than you," I reminded him. It was true- Carole was a college friend of Rebecca's.

"Yeah, but didn't we already establish this? Physically, I'm almost 25…"

"…And Edward is actually 112. So really if anyone a Mrs Robinson around here, it's him."

Jacob instantly became suspicious. "What do you mean Bella? You can't seriously be thinking about taking the leech back, can you? After all the things he did?" He growled, "After the hell he put you through? Don't you remember what happened your senior year? Remember-"

"Yes, I know," I interrupted bitingly. As if I needed any reminder of my hellish senior year and its devastating consequences. I turned away, looking out of the window at the swirling snow. I hadn't thought about it for so long…

Jake seemed to realize he had upset me; he was quiet for several moments. I didn't like the silence, but when he finally spoke again I found myself wishing it had lasted longer.

"I went to visit Brady last week," Jake said, haltingly. "I wanted to tell him about Carole." (What is the back story here? The youngest werewolf has been Seth?)

I didn’t reply. Brady. The guilt I felt at the boy's name was crushing, even now, after all these years. I despised myself for even being able to think of Edward after what had happened to the youngest werewolf…

"He seemed to be okay," Jake continued, seemingly unaware of my anguish, "No better, no worse. But, as I said to Sam, he-"

"Please don't," I whispered, by voice broken, "please don't talk about him now. I can't- not after everything-" I paused, my self-loathing increasing with every word, "not now. I'm sorry, Jake."

Jake didn't reply, and I winced; I couldn't bear his being disappointed in me.

"I'm so sorry Jacob," I whispered. He still didn't say anything, and I moved to hang up the phone, my head bowed.

"No, wait," I heard his voice coming from the receiver and put my ear back to it, feeling relief despite myself. "I'm the one who should apologize Bells," Jake muttered, "It wasn't fair for me to bring up Brady, not after the day you've had." I hated the fact that he felt the need to apologize to me, but I was too despicably weak to stop him. Jacob continued. "But you'll have to face up to it someday Bella. You can't run from what happened forever."

I did not reply; I couldn't. Tears were already running down my cheeks, marring my vision.

"Please be careful Bells," Jacob said, his voice imploring, "don't let Cullen hurt you again. I can't be there to put you back together, not like last time." I was shocked. It was the first time Jacob had ever verbally acknowledged what we both knew: that he had been my reason for living after Edward left.

"I-I don't think you have to worry," I whispered brokenly, "he- Edward- doesn't feel that way. He left me, remember?" I didn't quite manage to hide the pain in my voice when I said this last statement, and I knew Jake had picked up on it.

"He was mad," Jake said softly, "absolutely insane, to give you up. You're more than any man could ever ask for."

"How c-can you say that?" I said, half sobbing, "After everything I've p-put you through? After what I did? After what happened to B-Brady?"

"Listen to me Bella," Jake's voice was fierce, "what happened to Brady- that was not your fault. I would never blame you for that. If it was anyone's fault, it was-" he stopped when he heard my intake of breath and redirected his sentence, "-well, you know whose it was. But it wasnot yours. Do you understand me?"

"Yes," I lied. We had had this conversation several times in the last six years, and although he said the same thing every time, I never believed him. He knew this, but that didn't stop him trying nonetheless. He was about to say something more, but I cut him off.

"Jake, it’s getting late. You've got the guys coming over later; you don't want to talk to me all night."

"I can cancel on them," Jake assured me, calmly.

"No, there's no need," I said, "I'm tired anyway; I need to go to bed. I'll speak to you soon." He finally agreed to let me go, after I promised to ring him the minute I needed him.

"Night Bells, be careful."

"I will. Goodnight Jake," I murmured, slowly hanging up the phone.

I went to my room, wondering to myself whether or not I had been lying. By the time I had gotten into bed, I decided that it didn't matter. I was sure that I wouldn't see Edward again. He and his family were probably already aboard a plane to a far-flung part of the country… speeding away to another 'distraction'.

I sunk into the pillows, tears streaming down my face as I let sleep claim me.