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Choices

Summary:
Choices Banner This story takes place in Eclipse when Riley goes to Bella’s room to gather her belongings for Victoria. This is what could have happened if Bella had arrived while he was still there, and the events following. Written pre-Breaking Dawn, so that book will be disregarded here. This will include my idea of how the series would have ended.


Notes:
Choices Banner *Written before Breaking Dawn was released, so that book will be ignored with this story.


28. Normalcy

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1744   Review this Chapter

Chapter 28: Normalcy

BPOV

The days immediately following the demise of Victoria were mainly quiet. Everyone was concerned about me, wanting to make sure I was dealing with everything all right. Thankfully, I had been able to quit feeding everyday, which made me happy, but only added to my family’s confusion. They had lost the link that allowed them to understand me so easily, and they were finding it to be a bit unnerving.

Truthfully, I was doing quite well. I had struggled a bit immediately following Victoria’s death. A lot of emotions had fought their way to the surface. It didn’t last long though, and soon the relief of closure had begun to drift through me.

Edward was a different matter entirely. Immediately following the fight, he had been concerned - he could still hear my thoughts, and understood what I was going through, and saw the difficulty of my emotions. After I stopped feeding, his concern grew to panic. He had become accustomed to being able to know exactly what I was going through, and having suddenly lost that, he was completely thrown. I tried to reassure him, but I could see the concern still etched across his face, day and night.

After about a week of this, and out of desperation for him to clearly understand, I went hunting with Alice one afternoon. When we returned, I immediately sought out Edward. As soon as I found him, and he saw that the honesty of my words matched my thoughts, relief settled through him, as he realized I had been completely truthful when telling him I was healing. He held me close, and as I studied his thoughts, I understood everything he’d been feeling - all the uncertainty and concern. We connected, and each of us knew we were moving on - together.

Another thing I had come to realize after that last feeding was the anxiety Edward had been feeling with me not hunting. He was so worried that I would end up weak and miserable. It was then that I made the decision to feed at least once every few weeks. It was just easier - otherwise, I knew Edward would be distraught with worry every day, constantly concerned about me. Besides, it was nice to an extent - it allowed us to still have those private moments every so often, when we didn’t need to speak out loud.

One afternoon, Edward had decided to show me what his family had been able to salvage from both Charlie and Renee’s homes. Esme had taken Charlie’s wedding band, and quite a few letters and photos. Jasper and Emmett had taken photo albums, along with childhood craft projects I had made, as well as some of Renee’s jewelry for me. I was incredibly grateful.

The next couple of weeks were spent adapting to normalcy - well, what was normal for the Cullens, anyway. One morning, Alice came bursting through our door. "C’mon, you guys - Emmett wants to play football!" She bounced toward us, pulling me from Edward’s embrace. He growled lightly.

"Oh please, Edward. You guys are in here together all the time - enough already! We miss Bella too!" she trilled, dragging me from the room, Edward following.

As we reached the bottom of the stairs, I was greeted by Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper. We all proceeded out front, where Jasper told us to divide into teams.

Rosalie flew to my side. "Bella’s on my team," she stated.

I looked at Rosalie. "You know I haven’t fed for a couple weeks, Rosalie. I can’t offer you any special advantage..." I trailed off.

Rosalie threw her arm around my shoulders, pulling me into her. "Bella, you don’t need any advantage. I just want you on my team," she said, grinning at me. I smiled warmly back at her. I was incredibly thankful we’d been able to become so close.

The football game was hilarious. Between Alice seeing things before they happened, and Edward’s ability to hear everyone’s plan, it was ridiculous. Halfway through, Jasper decided to throw a ton of insecurity at everyone, which only made things more chaotic; everyone would try and get rid of the ball as fast as they could, even willingly handing it over to the opposite team, just to be rid of it. Later, we all reconvened in the living room, where we told our tale to Esme and Carlisle, who laughed at our antics. They started a whole new war when asking who had won - none of us could agree, blaming Jasper’s interference.

Eventually, I had gone upstairs to our room to shower and change out of my muddy, soaked clothes - it had been raining quite hard. I barely made it into the room before I heard movement behind me.

Edward slipped quietly into our room, firmly closing the door behind him. Before I could question him, he reached out and spun me around, pinning me against the door. His eyes sparkled as he took in my expression of surprise.

He leaned in, softly kissing my neck. "I believe they’ve had enough of your attention for the day, Bella. I, on the other hand..." he trailed off, lightly growling, his kisses becoming more urgent. He sent shivers down my spine, as I wove my fingers into his tousled hair; moments like this were becoming much more frequent for us now that I was healing, and I was enjoying every second of them.

After a while, when we were both gasping for unnecessary air, he forced himself away from me, and left me alone so I could clean up. As I stepped out of the shower, I found that the clean clothes I had placed on the counter were gone. In their place was a note - it was in Alice’s handwriting. Instantly, my suspicions rose.

Bella,

Sorry I took your clothes - it was one of my favorite outfits I had bought for you, after all. I put it back in the closet - maybe we’ll have you wear it tomorrow.

Edward had something else in mind for tonight...you’ll find your outfit hanging on the back of the bathroom door.

Have fun!!

Oh - I bought some fantastic shoes to go with it - they’re on the floor near the door. Don’t forget your accessories!

Love,

Alice

I set the note down, and closed my eyes, bracing myself to look at what she had replaced my outfit with. Anytime Alice was in charge of shoes, I knew it couldn’t be good. I may not be as clumsy as I used to be, but I old paranoia dies hard sometimes.

Turning to the door, I gasped. It was the midnight blue dress from the boutique that Alice had specially ordered, and had customized. It was amazing - it almost looked entirely different than the one that had been in the shop originally. The neckline she had changed made all the difference. I felt embarrassed as I imagined putting it on - it was really low. It almost reminded me of the neckline on Rosalie’s prom dress. Thankfully, the sheer lace inset helped to provide more coverage, keeping it just a bit more conservative.

I returned to the mirror, and quickly dried my hair, smoothing it out, letting it fall in soft, graceful waves across my shoulders. After the finishing touches were done, I went back to the dress, reached up, and removed it from the hanger. I carefully slipped it over my head, took a deep breath, and looked in the full-length mirror.

Wow. Maybe Alice knows what she’s doing after all. The neckline I’d been so worried about was stunning. Feeling a bit more confident, I glanced over at the shoes she’d picked out, which I’d been avoiding. Of course they were stilettos. The detail was incredible - there were only two thin straps, one that went over the toes, the other looping around the ankle. The straps were made up of tiny dark blue glass stones, which shimmered under the bathroom lights. Deciding to examine them further before putting them on, I timidly approached the box they sat on top of. When I got closer, I saw another note, again, from Alice.

Just put them on Bella, they’re not going to kill you!

She knew me too well. Smirking, I reached out, and one by one, slipped them on. I had to admit, the sparkling stones were gorgeous against my creamy white skin. Suddenly eager to see what was in store for me, I opened the bathroom door, ready to go find Edward. Instead, I ran smack into Alice, who had been hovering outside the door.

She grasped my arms on either side, looking me up and down. "Bella, that dress is perfect on you! And the shoes - I knew they’d be just right - I can’t believe you actually have them on. Maybe we’re making more progress than I realized, after all..." Alice uttered that last bit under her breath, but I heard her, and couldn’t help but giggle in response.

"Hair’s good, although maybe we should have put it up...no, never mind - Edward likes it this way, we’ll leave it. Hmm...no makeup, huh? You’ve got to have at least a little, Bella," she said, pushing me back into the bathroom, where Alice proceeded to apply a light coat of mascara, a bit of blush, and a touch of sheer lip gloss.

"There! No, wait - I thought I told you to remember your accessories? I specifically set this out, Bella," Alice scolded me, as she fastened a choker necklace around my neck made up of sparkling little white stones. How on earth had I missed that?

"Alice, please tell me that’s not real..." I trailed off, staring in the mirror at the beautiful necklace.

"Well, it better be, or those ladies at Tiffany’s have a lot of explaining to do," she replied, smirking. "Don’t panic, Bella, I’m only loaning it to you; I’m not asking you to keep it. Although, if you decide you want one, I have been dying to look for a matching bracelet - we could make a trip out of it!"

I shook my head, still in awe.

"All right, that should do it. You look perfect, Bella. You have to go now - Edward’s waiting for you downstairs. Have fun!" Alice smiled mischievously before running back out of the room.

What on earth was I in store for? Suddenly I heard the sound of my lullaby drifting up the stairs. Smiling, I left the room, and headed towards the beautiful music.