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The Dreams of the Boy In the Nighttime

Summary:
Bella Swan has had a tragic and abusive childhood; everyone knew it. But not everyone knew of the bronze-haired boy who visited her in her dreams. He was the only one who knew the true Bella. But Edward wasn't real, was he? Banner made by Anne Cullen :)


Notes:
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. Twilighted Supervisory Beta: qjmom Twilighted Validation Beta: Twilightzoner


8. Dragging Herself through Hell and Back

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2757   Review this Chapter

Rose pulled herself away from Alice with her lips curled up into a smile around her pearly white teeth.

"So, who's this new roommate of yo-" She stopped mid-sentence as her icy blue eyes locked on Bella's shocked brown ones. She raked them up and down Bella's body, making her feel more and more self-conscious with every bat of her long eyelashes.

"Oh, sorry, this is Bella. Rose, Bella. Bella, Rose." As she introduced the girls to one another, she held her arm out to indicate who was who. There was a short silence. The tension was palpable, though Alice still didn't seem to grasp it.

"We've already met," Rosalie said, trying to keep the acid out of her voice.

"You have?" Alice's eyebrows pulled together in confusion. She had no idea how the two could've possibly met before.

"Rosalie's my cousin," Bella said, cluing Alice into the situation.

Alice's eyes widened instantaneously, and her mouth pulled into a grin that seemed too big for her small pixie-like face. "This is great! Rose, you have to tell me what Bella's been like for the last eight years." She turned her smiling face to Rosalie, her eyes full of excitement. Rose's eyes flickered to Bella's, and Bella could see the visible threat that they held, but silently hoped that she wouldn't say anything too unforgivable.

"Sure!" Rosalie said, trying to mimic Alice's enthusiasm. Thankfully, Bella was the only one who could see through Rose's façade.

"Come on, then!" Alice said, tilting her head in the direction of the door with both her hands clasped around the upper arms of her two friends, silently indicating they should follow her out the door. She let go of them and started walking. Once she'd seen that they were following her, she continued her walk out. On the way out, Bella pulled the door back behind her, locking it carefully with her new key.

She flinched as she heard a sugary voice speak close to her ear, way too sweet to be sincere. "Listen here, Bella." Bella could almost hear the sneer in her cousin's voice as she spoke her name. "You're not going to blow this for me, hear that? This Alice kid has connections, and if you tell her anything, you're life is going to get so fucking screwed in this little ‘haven' college of yours that you'll be begging for the last eight years. Remember, I have the power to make her turn on you. I have the power to make everyone turn on you. Got it?"

Bella wasn't one-hundred percent sure of the truth of Rosalie's implications, but she couldn't deny that she was afraid of the tall, intimidating girl, and didn't want to test her limitations, so nodded.

"Good."

"Bella, Rose? What are you guys doing?" Alice was standing at the end of the hallway, her hands on her narrow hips and her face contorted into one of confusion.

"Oh, I just had to tell Bella something," Rosalie said, her face quickly returning back to her friendly demeanor.

"Oh, okay." Alice smiled, waiting for the two other girls to catch up to her. As they reached her, she turned on her heel, chatting enthusiastically to the both of them as they made their way towards the elevator. The doors creaked slowly open, and Alice skipped over to the many buttons on the wall, pressing the one that was labeled “G” for the ground floor.

The walk to the restaurant wasn't a long one. just a couple of blocks. The restaurant was very posh, and each of the tables was covered with a pristine white tablecloth, wine glasses placed neatly atop them. In each place was a crimson red napkin folded intricately to resemble a swan.

If Bella didn't know any better, she'd assume they were at a wedding reception; everything was so ornate. It always struck her as absurd how things were presented in a restaurant. After all, it was really only a place for eating, and how the room looked made no difference to the taste of the meal.

"A table for three, please," Alice said to the man behind the podium. He wore an immaculate tuxedo and had cropped black hair with a thin layer of stubble covering his jaw. He looked Italian.

"Of course, ladies, follow me, please." His accent proved Bella's suspicions right, and they followed after him to one of the many identical tables, though theirs was larger than the more frequent tables for two, and able to seat four if need be. Bella thanked him softly for the table as they sat in their places, though she'd always been a quiet girl and she doubted that he'd heard her.

Alice sat next to Bella, and Rosalie sat across from the petite girl. Alice's fast talking had turned into an incomprehensible babble to Bella, but Rosalie seemed to be able to keep up with her, smiling and nodding at certain things Alice said in the one-sided conversation. Bella lifted her menu, looking at all the confusing and foreign dishes the restaurant had to offer. The talking suddenly stopped, to be replaced by soft moans as Alice read through the mouth-watering descriptions of each dish on the menu in her hands.

Bella quickly decided what she wanted, not really caring either way. She'd come more for the company than the meal -- and though she sorely regretted the decision, she'd never admit that to Alice - so she looked around the room. Really, it was very elegant. There were several huge Victorian windows in both the front and back walls, the front showing onto the wet concrete sidewalk and road, and the back giving a view of a small garden containing plentiful greenery with a fountain in the middle.

Over the windows were long floor-length curtains in the same crimson red as the napkins. They were tied by golden ropes in a simple knot that looked too plain in comparison to the rest of the room, the gold reflecting the orange light from the dimmed spotlights and candles. The two others had finished reading the menus and returned to their conversation.

It seemed as if Alice had finally met the shopping partner of her dreams; designers and labels were being tossed around left, right, and center.

"Hey, guys, I'm just gonna pop to the ladies' room, okay?" Bella said, her thumb pointing over her shoulder and to the bathroom.

"Kay, sure," Alice said, quickly resuming her conversation. Bella felt very much like the third wheel and battled the surge of jealously she felt. Instead of heading to the bathroom as she'd said, she turned to go outside. It's not as if they'd notice, anyways, Bella thought bitingly.

As she stepped out into the humid air, hoping to hell that her hair wouldn't frizz - an indication that she hadn't really gone to the bathroom - she pulled out her phone, flipping the screen over and watching it light up as she pressed down on the red button. It took a few minutes to load, an infuriatingly long time, but soon she could operate the buttons without the "please insert SIM" message that usually appeared when she rushed the ancient technology. I should really get a new phone, she thought.

She went onto her “messages” folder, and opened a new message, quickly typing a message to Jasper.

Jas, please come rescue me.

It was short, and she hoped that he wouldn't question it; she didn't have much time before she'd have to go back to order her meal. It was only a few seconds before her phone vibrated in her hand, shocking her slightly, and she flipped the screen open again, reading the message.

Why do you need rescuing?

Fate must hate her. She hoped for one thing, and it deliberately did the opposite. She hurriedly typed her reply.

Alice's “friend” was Rosalie, and I don't think I can stand it anymore.

He texted back almost instantly.

I'm on my way.

Bella slid her phone back into her pocket, tapping her foot impatiently against the sidewalk, hoping that his presence would stop her from feeling so left out.

"Bella?" she heard a voice call from down the street, she turned her head in response and smiled as Jasper's body ran towards her. As he reached her, she could see that he was visibly out of breath and panting deeply.

"You know, Jas, you didn't have to run."

"Well the term ‘rescue' goes under the ‘emergency' listing in my books," he said, slightly irritated after hurrying all the way from his dorm half a mile away from the restaurant.

"I'm sorry, Jasper," Bella could see the annoyance in his expression, "I'm just glad you're here." She squeezed him around the waist, atoning for making him mad.

"S'okay," he said, tapping her head comfortingly.

"Bella?" Alice's soprano voice called out from the restaurant door.

Bella pulled away from Jasper before she spoke, "Alice, over here." Alice made her way over to them, confused at the sudden appearance of the tall, blond, good-looking man at Bella's side. Bella quickly explained. "Al, this is Rosalie's brother, Jasper. I invited him tonight, but he said he couldn't come. Turns out he can, after all," she lied quickly.

"Oh," Alice said, smiling at the realization that Bella was related to this very good looking man. When she thought about it, he did look quite similar to Rose. "Nice to meet you, Jasper. Come sit with us."

Both Bella and Jasper followed her in back to their table. Jasper's eyes darted around the room, taking in all the details as Bella's had. Though he was used to grand luxuries, he wasn't the type to brag about it. He knew that he was a lot better off than many people and counted himself as lucky. He took in his surroundings generously, as if he were a beggar and not some millionaire surgeon's son.

"Emmett!" Alice exclaimed, and she rushed forward. Emmett turned his head, opening out his arms to welcome her to his embrace. It didn't go past anyone's notice how close he had been to Rosalie. In fact, if you looked intently at her face, you could see a soft blush underneath her layers of foundation.

Emmett picked Alice up in his arms, so her legs were dangling several feet over the floor. She grinned at him as he did the same, his eyes full of surprise and happiness at their reunion.

"Emmett," she said as he put her back down on her feet. She held out her arm behind her, indicating Bella as she spoke, "Bella Swan." The look of surprise on his face amplified hugely, and he immediately, as if it was not a conscious decision, ran towards Bella, scooping her up into his arms as he had done to Alice, twirling her around in circles.

"Emmett... can't... breathe..." Bella managed to get out, and Emmett, realizing her problem, put her back down on her feet. She stood back, trying to regain her balance and her breath, but in doing so, fell backward, only to be caught by Emmett's strong capable arms.

"Still got balance issues, I see," he said cheekily, grinning widely at her and chuckling softly.

"So, guys, shall we sit?" Alice said, breaking up the moment.

"Sure. You know what? My shift ends in five minutes. I'll be back then," Emmett told them, turning back to the bar to finish his work.

Rosalie directed one questioning look at Jasper, but didn't voice her thoughts. Emmett returned to the table a few minutes later, and the whole group immediately immersed themselves in conversation. Well, Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett did. Alice hadn't seemed to have gotten over the fact that Jasper was Bella's cousin and was officially one-hundred percent obsessed with him, already. She seemed to want his opinion on every single topic she brought up, and he humored her wishes.

Emmett and Rosalie were a whole other thing altogether. Rosalie was shamelessly flirting with Emmett, and he seemed to oblige her, leaning in towards her throughout the meal and whispering things in her ear that the rest of the table couldn't hear -- things that made her blush.

It seemed a little strange to Bella that Rosalie would have a large lunch when she knew that they would be going out for dinner that evening, as she claimed, but she didn't question her as Rosalie dug into her salad. She wouldn't dare question her.

Their two separate conversations continued on throughout their meals. Bella felt more and more left out by each word that was uttered by the others. She felt like she was intruding on a double-date, rather than this being a group meal. She flipped open her phone distractedly. The time read 8:23.

"Are you okay, Bella?" Alice's voiced, perhaps finally catching onto Bella's visible discomfort.

"Actually, I think I'm coming down with something," Bella said.

"Oh, do you want me to come with you?" Worry was etched into Alice's face, her forehead crumpled.

"No, it's okay. I'll head off by myself."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I just need a good night's sleep." Bella plastered on a hint of a smile, the corner of her mouth pulling up to try and reassure her friend.

"Okay...if that's what you want..." Alice said, analyzing Bella, looking for signs that she was lying to her so that Alice could stay and enjoy herself. She was, but Bella was good at lying. She needed to be.

"Yeah, thanks. I'll see you tomorrow, Alice."

The group uttered different farewells to her as she waved to them, headed toward the front of the restaurant and out the door. Keeping in mind that they could see her through the windows that lead out to the street, she kept up her contented pretense as she walked past them, only letting her guard down when she crossed to road to the next block.

When she got back, she twisted her key in the lock, turning the handle around and opening the door into the room. She froze as she realized that the light was on, and she froze even more when she lifted her gaze to who was standing in her and Alice's room.

She almost didn't recognize her, but when she did, her mouth pulled into a wide grin at the woman.

"Bella?" her voice asked incredulously in shock.

"Yes, it's me," Bella said, as the visitor walked forward and wrapped her arms around Bella, pulling her head to her shoulder. Bella's sobs started as soon as she made contact; she couldn't help herself.

She cried from both happiness and sadness. "Shhh, Bella. It's okay..." Esme whispered into her ear. "Shhh..." she repeated when Bella's crying didn't cease. "It's going to be okay."

---

"Who does Rosalie fucking Hale think she is? She can't just go around screwing up my fucking life. You know what? I'm not going to take her shit anymore! I'm sick and tired of the way that she's treated me, and she's not going to get away with it anymore." Bella finished her rant slightly out of breath.

Edward stayed silent as she spoke; he'd never seen Bella this angry before. And, as she stopped pacing a path in front of him, he admittedly felt even a little scared of her, but also proud as he saw the girl he'd known for his whole life stand up to the one who'd traumatized her for the last eight years. There was also a part of him that, what? Liked her anger? He didn't understand that part of him though, and pushed all thoughts of liking it away from him.

"But, Esme's back. That's a good thing, right?" He spoke cautiously, not wanting to set her off again.

"Yes, that's a good thing." She fell to the grass, crossing her legs in front of her, taking deep breaths to try and calm down. Once calm, she looked up from where her eyes had been fixed on her agitated hands.

"It's a good thing," she agreed, crawling the couple of feet to Edward on her hands and knees, who was sitting up against their tree, and placed her head in his lap, looking down the hill to the lake.

"Beautiful," she said, all thoughts of Rosalie Hale down the drain.

"Yes." Edward begrudgingly pulled his gaze from Bella's face and to the scene in front of him.

Beautiful, yes, he thought to himself, but nothing in comparison.