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.
8. Chapter 8 - Please Help Me Name This Chapter
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I had been so proud of myself when I arranged for our trip to the cottage and now everything was ruined. Jacob spent the rest of the weekend grumbling about the "damn leeches" and I was increasingly certain that I would never get to see my beautiful birthday present again. By the time Monday arrived I was thrilled to be going back to school. At least there I would only have to worry about getting killed by the damn leeches, which wasn't really a concern. Besides, if I were dead then I wouldn't have to listen to Chief Grumpypuss anymore. Ah, marriage. The people we love the best always seem to annoy us the most.
I wasn't surprised when Alice waltzed into my classroom at the beginning of lunch.
"I wanted to apologize about this weekend, Mrs. Black," she said. "My brother returned unexpectedly and he didn't know about our arrangement. He was curious when he caught the scent of werewolf in the woods and went to investigate."
"That explains the scent my husband caught that morning." It didn't explain the feeling I got that I was being watched. It shouldn't take more than a few seconds to figure out that Jacob and I weren't a threat but I didn't say anything. "He was very upset and I'm afraid he is unwilling to return to the cottage so we won’t need to worry about future misunderstandings."
Then what she had said sunk in. "Is Edward going to be in my class this afternoon?"
"If you don't mind," Alice replied. "We all prefer being in your class because we don’t have to work so hard to pretend around you. Edward was horrified by his behavior last week and wants you to know that it will never happen again."
I didn't ask why Edward had behaved like that on the first day of school but it niggled in my brain all through lunch. I wanted to like him. His essay revealed a thoughtful and very spiritual person. But I was terrified of him. How could someone so gentle on paper be such a monster? Maybe Jacob was right about vampires. Of course, none of the others seemed threatening. Sure Rosalie still glared at me but I couldn't expect to be loved by all my students. And Jasper was intimidating but I never felt personally threatened by him. I had to trust in the legends. Edward had been here all those years ago and there weren't any problems so there was no reason to believe there would be problems this time. Something else was bothering me too. I should have been disgusted by the idea of Edward watching me sleep with my husband but I was oddly pleased. Did I have latent exhibitionist tendencies?
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Black,” Edward said as I entered my classroom before fifth period. He was standing at the far end of the room with Alice, a miniature body guard I was sure.
“Hello, Edward. How can I help you?” I began to approach him but he stiffened and leaned away from me so I stopped.
“Alice informed me of the assignments I missed last week and I would like to turn them in.” He nodded towards a small neat pile of papers in the middle of my desk.
“Thank you,” I said, confused. “You didn’t need to do that.” Why would he feel the need to turn in all the assignments when attending high school was just a farce to appear normal? I already knew what he was so there was no need to pretend.
“Yes, I do. The way I treated you last week was inexcusable. I am grateful that you allowed me to return to your class without raising any alarm either in Forks or in La Push. You will not regret that decision.”
He thought I was brave. Little did he know that I made my decision out of fear. I could not have Jacob and his bothers get hurt, possibly killed, defending me from something that never happened. I was not hurt.
“There is nothing to excuse,” I said. “Nothing happened.”
“Thank you,” he murmured, looking down, as if ashamed.
Students were beginning to return from lunch. I stumbled back to my desk and Edward took a seat in the far corner of the room next to the door. When handing out papers I avoided his corner. It wasn’t too hard as I had tripped going down the previous aisle and had a slight limp.
Alice entered my classroom a few days later during lunch holding a box wrapped in silver paper.
“Happy birthday, Mrs. Black.”
“Alice, you know that students shouldn’t bring gifts to teachers. Someone might think you were trying to get special treatment.”
“This isn’t from me,” she said innocently. “Carlisle wanted to thank you for helping to ease our family’s transition to Forks. You and Chief Swan have been very good to us.”
I opened the gift and saw the sculpture Jacob had made for me. A lump rose in my throat as I stroked the smooth wood, my fingers lingering on my Jacob wolf.
“How did you know?” I didn’t have to ask. Edward must have seen it in the cottage. Fortunately Alice ignored the question and danced her way out of my classroom.
The sculpture remained on my desk. Jacob would never know that I had it. He had seldom visited me at school before and now he was avoiding Forks like the plague. The vampires were the plague.
I found myself thinking about the Cullens more and more. Well, one of them if I were being honest with myself. Edward was an enigma to me. In class he was exceptionally polite and his papers showed insight and passion that had to be born of more than just life experience but he continued to frighten me. I often caught him staring as if he were trying to figure out what species I was and he still stiffened and got a dark look in his eye every time I approached him. I was desperately curious to reconcile the seemingly disparate parts of his personality.
The teacher in me was disappointed that I had not met Edward before he was a vampire so that I could have witnessed the flowering of his intellect as I exposed him to new ideas and ways of seeing the world through books. All I could do now was to marvel at all he had to show me. I enjoyed the mental stimulation and realized that it had been missing from my life for the past few years. I had been so happy that I never knew it was missing until Edward came along. I wished we could sit and talk like friends but I knew that could never happen. Teachers were strongly discouraged from befriending students even when the student wasn’t the mortal enemy of the teacher’s husband.
I was beginning to befriend Alice. She was in my office at lunch time once or twice a week.
“I hope it doesn’t bother you that I join you so often,” she said as she entered one day.
“No, I enjoy your company. I guessed that sitting in the cafeteria with the other students can be hard for you.”
“Being away from Jasper is hard too,” she said with a frown, “but he said that you are nervous around him and Emmett and he doesn’t want to upset you.”
I didn’t know what to say. Jasper did make me nervous. Emmett seemed harmless enough, though he looked like he could take on a bear in hand to hand combat, but I didn’t really like being laughed at constantly.
“How long have the two of you been together?” I asked, trying to shift the conversation away from my own insecurities.
“I found him in the early 1950s. We found the Cullen family two years later. I was all alone for three decades before that. Meeting Jasper was like meeting my other half and finding the Cullens was like coming home.”
“No wonder we get along so well, we have a similar life story, mine is just shorter. I had only my mom before moving to Forks. I never really got along with other people. Jacob was my other half and I tried to leave him because I was uncomfortable with our age difference. When we got married the Quileutes became the large family I always wanted.”
I hadn’t intended to reveal so much about myself to this vampire girl. But I have a hard time making friends. All of my friends on the reservation were male and Angela, my only true friend from high school, was in Northern California. Jake and I actually were responsible for her looking up Ben Cheney.* They had always been crazy about each other but neither said anything because he was 6 inches shorter than her and they were both insecure. After years in a terrible relationship she saw how happy I was with Jacob. It was all she needed to look up Ben and they have been together ever since. He had even grown 4 inches in the intervening years.
“Why don’t you eat lunch with the other teachers,” Alice asked. Like Angela, she was perceptive.
“I have too many secrets to protect and there is a certain family that they want to talk about all the time,” I said wryly. She looked a little uncomfortable with that.
“I never ate with the other teachers much. I use the time to grade assignments so that I have more time at home with my family. My life is in La Push more than it is in Forks. Also, I have always gotten along with the students better than I do with the teachers.”
“I hope you don’t mind me being so forward Mrs. Cullen. My entire family likes you, even Rosalie despite how she treats you. From what we know about your family it makes us nervous that you go home to them every night. We would all be quite distraught if something would ever happen to you.”
“From what my family knows about your family they are nervous having me come to work every day. If anything happened to me they would be quite distraught.”
Alice laughed and I didn’t call her out on her lie. Not everyone in her family liked me. Though Edward was a model student he continued to avoid me and still stared at me with loathing and anger if I ever approached him.
- 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