What if the Cullens had not been in Forks when Bella went to live with her father. What if she had the life she was supposed to have with Jacob on the reservation in La Push. What if after several extremely happy years of marriage the Cullens did return to the area and Bella had to interact with them every day. Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
16. Chapter 16 - Party
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“So Quil,” I said, not bothering to raise my voice over the banging of the hammer as he put wood together to make raised beds for my garden, “I heard that you met a girl.”
Suddenly the banging stopped. A red cheeked Quil looked up and stared at me with his mouth agape. I had never seen Quil either blush or be at a loss for words, the boy was all bravado. This must be a special girl.
“So when are we going to meet the lucky lady?” I asked.
“I’m not allowed to see her,” he mumbled.
“Why on earth would you not be allowed to see her, Quil?”
“Well, remember when I was doing some roofing up at the Makah reservation last week? I met Claire there. But her parents aren’t thrilled about me.”
“What’s not to like about you Quil, and why does her parents’ opinion matter that much?”
Quil’s face was flaming as he said it. “She’s twelve.”
“Oh,” I said, “that would be a problem.” I got up from the soil I was digging up for our future strawberry patch and walked over to the distraught looking man. We had all heard the legends of Quileute wolf warriors imprinting on young girls and waiting for them to grow to adulthood. A girl’s parent might appreciate another loving adult and male role model in their toddler’s life. But when a large twenty-five year old man suddenly finds a twelve year old girl interesting, it is understandable that the parents would assume he was some sort of pedophile.
“I’ll invite her family over for dinner and we’ll see if we can’t convince them of what a decent person you are,” I said putting my arms around him. The giant man/wolf seemed very small in my arms as I comforted him.
“What’s going on here?” Jacob had returned from work and from his tone he didn’t like to see my arms around his brother. I knew it was my own fault, I was the one who fell in love with someone else, but really, Quil? I wasn’t interested in him in high school when he competed for my affection and now he was like a brother to me, fiercely protective and always good for a laugh. As fond as I was of Seth and Embry, Quil was my buddy.
“Quil was just telling me about Claire,” I said. “I think we should invite her family over for dinner.”
“Sure, sure,” he said. His tone was casual but his eyes sought mine to apologize.
“Now can I say hello to my husband,” I asked, sauntering up to him, a smoldering look in my eye.
“Hello,” he grinned and lifted me into his arms. We didn’t stop kissing until uncomfortable coughs from Quil reminded us that we had company.
“Hey, ten years from now you’ll be kissing Claire just as much,” Jake teased.
We spent the rest of the evening finishing up preparations for the garden. This was going to be the first time I was able to put one in. By the time school lets out it is too late to start a garden and during the school year I am too focused on my students. The boys convinced me to put in the strawberry patch. It was a lot of extra work, but worth it. Strawberries are great in Washington.
That evening we decided to invite Claire’s family over for a party. We could have a big one for the Quileutes, the Makahs and the Hohs. I could also invite David, my replacement. He had come to Charlie’s third birthday party and found that he got along well with the pack. Forks has a lack of young adults which made our easy friendship understandable.
The idea of a party had been bouncing around my head since August when I was in the car talking with Seth. Now that I wasn’t working I had time to do all those thing I had always wanted to do. To be honest, I was keeping very busy. We had elaborate dinners with homemade desserts every night. The boys and I walked through the woods or down to the tide pools every nice day. I got books from the library on the nature of the area and for the first time in ten years learned about what lived around me. With Billy and Charlie around everything became new and exciting and everything I learned was passed on to them.
Nearly every day we read from the book of Quileute legends. Billy started memorizing the stories, imitating his grandfather’s way of speaking. Charlie would act out the stories. He liked to be Taha Aki, the first Quileute spirit warrior to take the form of a wolf. We never read the story of the third wife. I told the boys that it was too scary for them and they could read it when they were older. In truth, I was afraid that Billy would understand it all too well. He already noticed that Dr. Cullen smelled funny and he was a bright boy who could easily put all the clues together. One day Billy would be a great leader of the Quileutes but now I wanted him to be a little boy who believed in legends the way small children should, without any proof of their existence.
Our house became homey the way that it used to be and the pack started coming for dinner almost every night again. Charlie, Sue and Billy were over every week. I was happy. Really I was. But deep down inside I knew that all this activity was just filling a void in my life. I was packing my brain with other things so that I wouldn’t think about Edward, so that I wouldn’t talk about him in my sleep.
Edward was like a drug to me. I would go through my week fine but when I was at the school with David I would find myself becoming anxious to see him.
“Why are you always so eager to leave me, Bella,” David asked one day. “I thought we got along pretty well.”
“I miss my boys. It’s hard being away from them.”
“I’m not stupid. You worked for five years and from what I heard you gave everything to this school. I also know that your father-in-law isn’t as sick as you all pretend he is.”
I felt the blood rush to my face. Damn my inability to lie.
“It’s that Cullen boy, isn’t it. I saw you speaking with him a few weeks ago. A few of the students stay late when you’re coming just to say hi to you, but he’s the only one I’ve seen you speaking with alone.”
I’m sure my cheeks invented a new shade of red. Not only did he figure out my secret, I didn’t like the idea of the students making special efforts just to see me. It reminded me of the goodbye party.
“Have you two had any inappropriate contact, Bella? He’s only fourteen.”
“No,” I said. “I swear to you that nothing like that has happened. He saved my life once… when I was lost in the woods. It created a connection between us.”
I had come too close to saying something I shouldn’t and my eyes were wild. Hopefully he didn’t notice.
“Two life threatening situations in one semester?” David raised a single eyebrow incredulously.
“I’ve always been very accident prone,” I said. “It makes Jacob frantic sometimes.”
“Does Jacob know about your incident in the woods?”
“Why do you think you’re here, David?”
“I think we should have our meetings at the coffee shop from now on. I would cancel them all together but you have been a huge help to me and I really enjoy seeing you each week. I believe you but if you get caught with Edward Cullen you could loose your teaching license even if nothing did happen.”
I nodded miserably.
“Go, Bella. Say goodbye to the Cullen boy and never see him again.”
I left the building and began wandering toward the parking lot. I stayed on the main path because I figured it would be best to say goodbye to Edward publicly. He always seemed to be waiting for me regardless of which direction I walked in so it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t see him. But when I got to my car Alice was sitting on the hood.
“I’m going to miss you, Bella,” she said. “You’re the best friend I ever had.”
“I’ll miss you too, Alice. All of my other friends are giant wolf-boys. You’re the only person I don’t have to strain my neck to look at.”
We laughed. I didn’t want to ask her about Edward. Alice and I were friends and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. But I started getting a little uncomfortable.
“He’ll see you on the way home, Bella. We could hear your conversation with Mr. Sweeny and he thought it would be best if you didn’t see each other here. Besides, he had to intercept Principal Greene. He was about to walk by and overhear everything. That could have been problematic.”
My laugh was a little hysterical.
“Goodbye, Alice. I hope we still get to see each other somehow. Jacob knows that we are close and while he doesn’t like it comforts him. He still doesn’t trust your family and he believes that our friendship protects me.”
Alice scowled but didn’t say anything. She just gave me a big hug and we parted.
Dinner at Charlie’s was a quiet affair. The boys stayed in La Push with Jacob this time. I left early claiming that I wasn’t feeling well. Really I was preoccupied with seeing Edward on the way home. I wasn’t sure how I would manage if I could never see him again. As I neared La Push I saw a flash of something coming from the spot where Jacob and I usually pulled off the road to go running. My heart sped up as I pulled into the familiar hidden drive.
Edward was standing there looking like Adonis.
Suddenly I was very nervous. Every time we had met before had been in a public place. There had always been the chance that someone might see us so the possibility of something inappropriate happening was never an issue. Now we were in the woods. No one would see us and I didn’t trust myself. I very nearly turned the car around and went home. But looking at Edward I knew that I would stay, even if it meant harming my marriage. I never should have come.
He opened the car door for me but then moved with inhuman speed to the far side of the little clearing. Even in the dark I could tell that his eyes were lighter than I had ever seen them before. He had prepared, sating his thirst before this encounter. Did he have expectations?
“Hi,” I said timidly, my voice managing to waver on the single syllable.
“I shouldn’t have lured you here, it isn’t safe for you to be alone with me.”
That explained his preparations. He didn’t want to harm me. I shuddered slightly imagining what kind of harm that would be.
“We can’t see each other anymore.”
“No, we can’t.”
The sadness in our voices was matched by the anguish on our faces. Edward stood before me, his hands on my shoulders. Slowly he bent down intending, I’m sure, for his lips to reach the top of my head. But I tilted my head up and our mouths met. A small moan escaped my lips and I reached for him but his strong arms held me back and I simply placed my hands on his chest.
“Go home, Bella. Go home to your family and forget about me.”
I did as he told me. I would do anything for that voice. But I wasn’t sure how I would get through the night without harming Jacob. Even if I could forget, if it were possible to forget the only person to awaken such depths of passion in me, Jacob wouldn’t forget if I spoke in my sleep tonight. I was certain of that.
When I got home I went straight to the bathroom and cried silently in the shower. I took two sleeping pills before coming to bed, telling Jacob that I thought I was coming down with something. My face was all bleary from crying making me look as sick as I claimed to be and so he made me ginger tea with honey and lemon. My beautiful Jacob deserved so much better than me.
“I love you so much,” I murmured just before falling into a deep comatose sleep.
Tomorrow I would start filling my head with plans for the party.
- Chapter 2 - The Cottage
- Chapter 3 - Dr. Cullen
- Chapter 4 - Council Meeting
- Chapter 5 - Message
- Chapter 6 - First Day of School
- Chapter 7 - Birthday Present
- Chapter 8 - Please Help Me Name This Chapter
- Chapter 9 - Accident
- Chapter 10 - Forbidden
- Chapter 11 - Cold
- Chapter 12 - Walk in the Woods
- Chapter 13 - Consequences
- Chapter 14 - Goodbyes
- Chapter 15 - Stolen Moments
- Chapter 16 - Party
- Chapter 17 - Lost
- Chapter 18 - Stranger
- Chapter 19 - Saved
- Chapter 20 - Decision
- Chapter 21 - Return
- Epilogue - Bella Turns 30
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- 06 Feb 09
- 12 Jun 09
- In Progress