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Never seen the light of day

Summary:
When Bella runs into Alice and Jasper after three years of living separate lives, a chain of events is set into motion that holds surprises in store - and Bella's life takes a turn she would never have thought possible... Banner1


Notes:
My first fanfic in the Twilight universe.
It's been rotting away in my writing folders for a year, now finally it's being rewritten and continued.
I really hope you like it! Feedback/constructive criticism is greatly appreciated :) Disclaimer: The Twilight characters aren't mine. I just borrowed them from Stephenie Meyer to play with. ;)


3. Chapter 3

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3086   Review this Chapter

Chapter 3

If I leave you
At the wrong time
I've got nothing left to come back to
(Mando Diao - If I leave you)

"She's what?" Alice's mouth fell open as she stared at me in shock.

"She's my sister. Well, half-sister to be exact." I stared at my hands on the wheel, watching my knuckles turn white. "Renee and Phil had a baby the year after our graduation. It's her you've seen with us; I'm a hundred percent sure."

My heart was racing and in the back of my mind, my thoughts resembled pieces of a jigsaw puzzle falling into place.

"But-" Alice was still looking at me, her eyes wide. I could see comprehension dawning in her expression. "That means-"

I cut her off, finishing her sentence myself. "That I've made a terrible mistake, yes."

And with every second, the extent of this mistake sank in deeper. I had thrown away my life - the love of my life - for nothing. I wouldn't have had to leave him, there hadn't been any danger. All Alice had seen was the outcome of Renee and Phil's decision to have a child of their own.

I grimaced with pain, turning my head to stare out the window. We would be together by now, happily married and I would be changed already, possibly even able to walk among humans again.

Hot tears welled up and I started breathing frantically.

"Bella..." Alice gently put her hand on my forearm, slightly squeezing in a comforting gesture.

I looked at her and in her eyes the same desperation was visible, though she seemed so composed on the outside. I on the other hand, was trembling now.

"I'm so, so sorry, Bella," she whispered.

"Don't be," I responded, my voice nothing more than a quiet croaking. "You couldn't have known..." I bit my lip, trying to regain my composure, but it was impossible.

All the months of fighting with myself, fighting the pain and the urge to run back to him - it had been worthless. I - had only been able to go through with it because I knew it would save the people I loved, even if it meant not seeing them ever again. And, in the back of my mind, I had always had the knowledge that one day, I would be over it. Now I didn't even need Alice's foresight to know that this would never be the case.

All I could think of was the last memory I had of Edward, the sad look on his face before he had climbed out the window that day. I hadn't seen him again after that, as I had left early the next morning to go to Renee. I never had said a proper goodbye to anyone, just explained my decision in various letters I had left for the members of my mortal and immortal families.

All the pain they had gone through - I couldn't possibly make them forget it, even if I went back. And Edward- what was he going to say? My stomach gave an uneasy tug as I thought of my former fiancé.

"What do I do now?" I whispered, leaning my head on the side window. Could I go back to the Cullens, just like that? Could I just forget everything? Could he? I cringed as I remembered the thought of him with another girl.
No, I just couldn't see him now. Not yet. I needed time to think about this, properly and thoroughly. Taking a deep breath, I turned to Alice.

"I think I should go home now," I said, putting one hand on the gearshift. But before I could exit the lot, Alice had - in the blink of an eye -- left the car and opened my door.

"You can't drive like this," she stated resolutely, "I'll drive you home."

"But you're-" just as distraught as I am, I wanted to say, but was cut off.

"I just saw us crashing at the intersection two blocks away!" Her voice had a shrill undertone that revealed her distress - this was so unlike her, it scared me. "Now, would you please let me drive?"

I sighed, climbing out of the car. She was right, I really was too shaky to be able to drive: my knees almost gave way under me. When I had somehow gotten into the passenger seat, Alice was already sitting behind the wheel, staring out the rearview mirror.

She slowly pulled out of the parking lot while I fumbled to hook my seatbelt with shaking hands. I leaned back, closing my eyes.

"So, where do I go?" Alice askedquietly.

I told her the address. She nodded and pulled out, not asking about the direction - built-in-mind GPS, I guessed.

We drove in silence for a few minutes; I felt silent tears running down my face as I stared out the window, thinking about the last three years.

"Edward, you idiot," Alice suddenly muttered to herself and I flinched at the name. Why was she blaming him now? It had been me who had fled like a chased deer after all. It wasn't his fault - he hadn't forced me to do it, it had been my own decision. I watched from the corner of my eye as Alice went on.

"I never should have stopped watching out for you Bella! I might have seen this happening; I might have realized that we had misunderstood. If he just hadn't-" She stopped as she looked at me, taking in my confused expression.

"Did he-" I began, but couldn't bring myself to finish the sentence.

"Yes, he asked me not to, right after you took off to Florida. At first I thought that it was stupid - I didn't want you disappearing out of my life like that. It made me feel better to know what you were up to." I gulped, feeling incredibly guilty suddenly.

"But then, I realized that he suffered enough already without seeing you in my mind every day-" She stopped abruptly. "I'm sorry, I really shouldn't tell you this."

"No, it's- okay," I responded quietly. Maybe it was my masochistic personality trait, but I wanted to know what had happened.

"Well, I let go of your future then - kind of like erasing your number from my speed dial. And I promised him not to look out for you anymore. He was convinced you would be fine and didn't need us; the vision of you and the child was proof enough for him."

I looked back out into the blackness, hiding a new wave of tears. So he really had banished me from his life completely - just as I had banished him. He'd probably moved on already...maybe even met someone else...

Was that the reason Alice hadn't said much about him until now?

My stomach flipped at the thought. Yesterday I would have been relieved to know that he wasn't miserable anymore; now the image of him with another woman made me sick.

It has always been him, I thought. There never was someone else and there never will be.

"So, I figure he'll be furious - I mean, when he finds out that you've seen me?" I asked cautiously, trying to get her to spill the beans without asking her directly. Better get it over with so I could deal with it.

Alice didn't answer immediately, just kept staring out the window. She's acting weird - what is she thinking about?

"Yeah, I guess he will be," she said quietly, still staring ahead at the dark street. For a split second I was sure I saw something like a strange shadow appear on her face, but before I could identify what exactly it was, it was gone again.

Of course he will, I thought. This was probably the last thing he needed. But I didn't dare ask her about it, I was too scared that she would prove me right.

"Here we are," Alice stated a minute later as she parked in front of my building.

"Thanks," I said quietly. I was still upset, although I tried my best to keep my composure - breaking down on the street wasn't an option. Still, I felt completely worn out, my throat hurt from all the crying and I could feel a headache coming.

"Should I come upstairs with you?" Alice asked as she got out and closed the door.

"No, it's okay. I'll just go to bed and -think I guess. What are you going to do now?" I asked, not sure where to go from here. In fact, I wasn't sure about anything anymore.

"I'll go get Jasper and tell him... This is so unexpected - I mean, me and unexpected!" She gave an annoyed snort before looking at me with a concerned expression. "Are you sure you'll be alright? I can stay...?"

"It's okay, really." I ran my still trembling hand through my hair. "I just need time." And I'm used to dealing with-things like this alone, I added mentally.

"Mhm," she replied, looking away for a second, "I think we all do."

I smiled at her awkwardly. This definitely was the weirdest situation I'd been in since - well, since I left Forks. "So...I'll see you then?" I said quietly,

"Yes," she answered, also smiling sadly. And with that, she was gone.

***

I entered my apartment, letting the door fall shut behind me. I leaned against it, closing my eyes and taking in the faint trace of the vanilla candles I had lit before I'd gone out. To the left of the entrance was the small kitchen, and turning the corner I entered the living room that held my desk, several bookshelves and a sofa. On the opposite wall, next to the TV, a sliding door led to my bedroom, which was all but completely occupied by my bed. Another sliding door led from that room through the closet into the bathroom.

It was small, but more than enough for me.

Right now it was convenient not to have to share an apartment with a roommate anymore. I really wasn't in the mood for any more lying and making up explanations for why I was so upset. Thanks to a scholarship I was given at the beginning of this year due to my excellent grades, I was able to afford this small, but cozy place on my own.

I walked over to my dresser and looked at myself in the mirror above it.

The eyeliner I had put on this afternoon to complete my costume had made its way down my face, staining my cheeks with grayish spots.

My hair was a mess and my eyes were expressionless, my whole appearance reflected my feelings only too well -- blank and confused and devastated as I was.

My thoughts were still racing and I tried to get hold of them one by one and sort them out. But I couldn't grasp even one, they were too tangled and confusing.

I had left him, knowing the only way to keep us both alive was to cheat destiny before it could separate us forcefully. But deep inside I had always doubted there would be someone other than him.

Still, if it hadn't been for Alice's vision, I probably would have stayed, despite the obvious threat. So who should I blame now? Edward for trusting Alice's vision? Myself for believing him and ignoring the doubt that had been nagging -at my mind?

I didn't know. What should I do now?

The idea of seeing him scared me - I had no idea how to react. For all I knew he had moved on, so what good would it do? It would only cause me more pain. would it make other than causing me even more pain?

But my future was gone - in fact, I had never had one after I left Forks. I should have asked Alice what she saw for me now. But did I really want to know?

Slowly I made my way into my bedroom and automatically took off my clothes. I went into the bathroom and stepped into the shower, although it was already almost 12:00. But I didn't care about my neighbors, let them give me hell for the noise I was making.

When the hot water started running over my head, I leaned back, letting my confusion wash away.
After what felt like an eternity, I turned the water off and wrapped myself tightly in a towel. I felt better now, though the sadness was still pressing my insides into a tight lump at least I my thoughts weren't a tangled mess anymore.

I grabbed my old sweatpants and an old t-shirt from my bed and put them on, then went back out to get a glass of water from the kitchen.

I slid the door open, still absentmindedly drying my hair with the towel. I stopped abruptly when I saw Alice and Jasper in my living room. They were sitting casually on the couch, looking back at me.

"Sorry for breaking in Bella, but we had to hurry," Alice said apologetically.

I noticed from the corner of my eye that the window was open. Fifth story, I thought, impressive. I just hoped no one had seen them climbing up the outer wall of the building.

"Good to see you," Jasper greeted me, smiling slightly.

"Yeah," I responded. He probably was the reason I felt so calm. How could I possibly have managed that on my own?

"Bella, we're going to Boston, we really need to talk to Carlisle about this," Alice said. She looked even worse than before she had left, strained and worried. Jasper put his arm around her shoulders, apparently trying to comfort her.

"Just pack lightly, our plane leaves tomorrow morning at 5:30," he said, looking at me expectantly.

"Wh-" I just stared back at them. Did I get that right? "You mean I'm coming with you?"

"Of course you are. It's all about you, isn't it? We need to solve this." Once again I had the impression that Alice wasn't saying what she wanted to - that she was keeping something from me. But before I could ask what it was, Jasper spoke again.

"Look Bella, this is a big deal. We really shouldn't discuss it with him over the phone. And I think it would be better if you were there."

"No. I'm not going." I knew that I wasn't ready to see Edward. The thought of looking him in the eye in less than 12 hours was more than frightening - I needed more time than that. I started to panic again, but then felt a wave of peace wash over me. "Jasper, stop it," I complained, but he ignored me. After a few seconds, I was completely at ease again.

Still, that didn't change my decision; it only made it easier to stick to it. I wouldn't go with them.

And I really didn't understand why they were in such a hurry. They had more than enough time after all, and Edward would know what had been going on regardless of me being there. It was better if he found out on his own and had time to make up his mind, he didn't need my presence there, influencing him. I hadn't even sorted it all out, didn't even know if I wanted to see Edward again, let alone pick up where we left off.

And even if - wasn't I already too old for him? Ridiculous as it sounded, the idea of being - at least physically - 5 years older than him was weird.

"Really, Alice, I can't. Not yet." For a second I thought I saw Jasper move and quickly whisper something into Alice ear, too low for me to understand. But apparently she didn't notice anything, so I went on.

"Look, just tell Edward what happened. I don't know why you avoid speaking about him, so I guess it would probably hurt me." Alice flinched slightly, which confirmed my guess. "But please go back to Boston and tell him. If he still wants to see me he can call- or something."

"Bella, it isn't like-" Jasper started, but Alice knocked her elbow into his side before he could go on, shooting him a warning glance.

"Well, if you don't want to..." she answered. "I can't make you go...well, I wouldn't make you if you're not ready."

Then she got up, walking towards me.

"I'll call you - you won't get rid of us again, I swear." She smiled slightly, putting on hand on my shoulder.

"Should I give you my number?" I asked, but she shook her head.

"You don't have to. I just saw you writing it down."

"Okay," I said, shrugging slightly. Vampires and their impossible minds.

"I'll see you around, sis," she said, squeezing my shoulder slightly, then turned toward the window.

"Bye, Bella." Jasper added and followed her.

"Er.." I started, interrupting them in their movements. "Would you mind taking the stairs? The neighbors, you know..."

"Oh. Yeah, sure," Alice answered.

I smiled, raising my right hand to wave at them, then watched as Alice pulled Jasper into the kitchen and around the corner. With another "Bye" they were out the door.

As soon as they had left and Jasper's influence was gone, I was trembling again, my thoughts instantly going back to crazy mode. I was not sure that the events of the night had really happened, it had been more than weird. And somehow, certain parts of the conversation seemed to have been nothing more than a well-acted play. There was something they hadn't told me, I was absolutely sure about that.

I felt the exhaustion creeping over me as I made my way back to my bedroom, sitting down on the edge of my bed. This had been an all too crazy night, more than anyone could take. All I wanted was to go back in time, back to my life when I'd had been happy, and I would never try to change anything again. I didn't realize I had started crying again until I heard the first sob escape my lips. After that, there was no holding back.

Curling into a ball on my bed, I mourned everything I had lost, grieving the life that was out of my grasp now.

With hot tears spilling out from under my closed eyelids, I cried myself to sleep.