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Bless the Broken Road

Summary:

Thanks to lunamoon for the awesome banner please show her some love Bella and her family are con artists. Her path crosses with Edward and the opportunity is too great to pass up, making him her next mark. Edward is blissfully unaware, and it will take a lot of mistakes to finally lead him back to Bella and the truth.


Notes:
No copyright infringement intended. All things Twilight belong to SM


20. No More Curve-Balls

Rating 4/5   Word Count 5023   Review this Chapter

Ch 20: No more Curve-balls!

BPOV

I hadn’t intended on telling Rose anything but as I began to tell her my lie, I realized that I really hadn’t learned much from my experience. So when Rose saw right through my bullshit, I felt relieved. I decided not to tell her everything just yet, we both needed to establish a bond of trust before I could truly confide in her.

Something inside me changed, I finally felt like I was at a place in my life where I was content with my decision and with my life. I decided there was no harm in staying, as long as Rosalie stayed true to her word, which I knew she would, I would be okay.

After my draining morning, I drove straight to Charlie’s, much to his surprise.

“I figured you would be at the airport by now,” he said, coarsely.

“Change of plans, I’m staying. Rosalie was a lot smarter than I gave her credit for,” I assured.

“I’m glad, but how long will this last?” he countered.

“That’s not fair, you know I can’t face him,” I said.

“Bella, for someone who made her living off of reading situations and anticipating other people’s actions you sure are clueless to this whole thing. I’ve told you time and time again that seeing Edward again is unavoidable. Rosalie may keep your secret for you, but fate has a twisted sense of humor. Sooner or later you will see Edward again.”

“Could you please stop saying that!”

“Why? It’s the truth,” he said, calmly.

“For now let’s just let things cool down and we’ll see what happens.”

I hadn’t realized how much, me leaving would affect him, until he gave me a speech I will never forget.

“Bella, this has gone on for far too long. I’ve let you make your decisions, but when those decisions begin to affect Carly and me, I just don’t know if I can support you. If your past is coming to catch up with you it’s for a reason. Even if Rosalie would not have kept your secret I would ask you to stay. Not for me, or for you but for Carly. She has a family here, she has Leah, Jacob, and she has me. If you ran I would have brought you back kicking and screaming to face the music because, sweetheart, running away would be the selfish thing to do and that’s not you anymore. I’m glad you’re staying it really is for the best. I don’t know if I could survive without seeing my two best girls. So, whatever happens, just know that I love you and will always do what I think is best for you. You know how I feel about the whole situation, so that later on you won’t be surprised,” he said.

I pondered his words and realized he was right, as much as I hated to admit it. Whatever happened was because of my doing, if Edward found out I would have to own up to my mistakes. Although I wasn’t sure if I would be strong enough to tell him everything. I would have do it, for my daughter’s sake. No more running away. I resumed my life and was beginning to feel the weight of my secret lighten.

Rose called me on Wednesday to meet up; I invited her over because Leah was still not up for babysitting. Carly and I were playing in the living room when she arrived. I sent her to play upstairs while we talked.

“Bella, I have to be honest with you,” she said, wasting no time. “It’s about Edward.”

I shook my head 'no,' wishing I hadn't heard those words. “Rosalie, I don’t want to know anything about his life,” I said sternly.

“Bella this is important.”

I shook my head again, I didn’t want to know. “No, I don’t want to hear it… wait is he happy at least?” I needed to know that much. Whatever restraint I had in not asking was short-lived.

“Honestly, no,” she said. “Let me just tell you or you’ll be kicking yourself later.”

“Okay, fine,” I said. Her response had me worried. I knew it would not have been easy dealing with my death, but I had hoped that by now he would have learned to live and move on.

“Bella, I think your plan may have backfired. What I mean is, well he got remarried,” she said trying to gather thoughts.

I didn’t respond, unsure of how to react. I reminded myself that this is what I wanted, for him to move on. I just hadn’t expected to hear that. I held back my tears, saving them for when Rosalie left.

“Rosalie, I wanted him to move on, to love again. I don’t understand how my plan backfired? I mean it hurts to know, but that was what I wanted.”

“He married Vanessa,” she blurted out. “I’m sorry.”

In that instant everything that had been keeping me from falling apart, shattered. Everything I felt for Edward gone; my sacrifice useless. This whole time I thought he was different, worth all my heartache. He was the one that deserved better than me. I gave up my happiness, our happiness, so that he could end up with... with …Vanessa.

Suddenly, that pity and shame I had felt for using him in our little game was gone. Because, honestly, if he was insensitive enough to marry her after cheating on me, the woman he supposedly loved, then he deserved to be with her. I knew know what Rosalie meant about his unhappiness, Vanessa was a soul sucking leech who left destruction wherever she went. At the very least they deserved each other.

Disappointment and sadness hit me as I realized as the weight of her words sunk in. Edward married Vanessa. He had obviously felt something for her. He cheated on me with her and then married her after I died. A part of me, the more sensible side, was glad that I had dodged a bullet, but a bigger part of me was broken. Edward never really loved me. Renee was right. I had given him everything so that he could be happy and he ruined it. I gave up everything for him, I turned my back on Renee because I thought she was too jaded to ever understand, maybe she just knew what I refused to see. Love was a myth and money was happiness.

I finally broke free of my downward spiral when I felt Rosalie’s arms around me. “Bella are you alright?” she asked softly.

I nodded and sobbed into her arms for what felt like eternity. I began to think about how shitty my life was. I had been living in a bubble, thinking he would find someone better than me, someone worth giving up what we had. He really was like every other guy in the world if he thought marrying my sister was okay. Even if she had put on some phony act, it was not okay for him to marry her. I wondered if I ever really knew him at all. The Edward I thought I knew would have never married Vanessa, because he said he loved me like no other. It was clear to me that Edward and I were never truly meant to be, he wasn’t who he said he was and neither was I. When I started to hiccup I knew I had to stop.

I took a sip of the water Rosalie had brought earlier, to calm myself. She sat there unsure of herself and what to do next. After the bomb Rosalie dropped on me I thought it fair that I tell her the truth. If this wasn’t a test of her loyalty, I didn’t know what was.

“Rose,” I said softly.

“Yeah, Bells,” she replied, unsure.

“I need to tell you something, and I don’t know how you’ll react but you need to know,” I said not meeting her gaze.

I was about to continue, when Carly came running down the stairs. It was time for her to eat. We sat awkwardly in the kitchen, watching her eat. Carly began chatting up Rosalie.

“You’re pretty,” she said in between bites.

“Why thank you, Carly, you’re a pretty girl too,” Rosalie said, in an animated voice.

“I’ve never seen you with momma before and now I've seen you twice,” she said, taking a sip of her juice.

“Oh, well that’s because I’m an old friend from before you were born, and I haven’t seen her until a few days ago,” Rosalie responded.

“Why? Did you know my dad? Wasn’t he handsome? Momma only has one picture of him it’s in my room. Do you want to see it?” she asked eagerly.

Rosalie looked at me for any hesitation but I encourage her to go ahead, as I needed time to collect myself. I kept thinking of what my next move should be. I was so angry at Edward for what he did and was equally angry at Renee and Vanessa. I couldn’t understand why they thought Vanessa marrying Edward was a good idea.

I racked my brain, trying to come up with a solution that didn’t involve running away. The only one I could really see fit was to live my life and take care of Carly. I was counting on Rose’s understanding to help keep my secrets and be there for me like she has been the last week. She deserved that trust after telling me about Edward.

I wanted to get revenge on them somehow, but I was trying to be the bigger person and found it difficult. I battled from feeling hurt to angry at the situation. I was so disappointed and wounded I didn’t know what to do, but I was also extremely pissed. After that, I had nothing. For once in my life I had no plan and that scared the shit out of me.

It wasn’t until twenty minutes later that Rose finally came down the stairs. She had a few stickers plasters all over her face, Carly’s purple boa draped over her shoulders, and a warm smile on her lips.

“Wow she really is a great kid,” she said, taking the boa off. “She showed me her room, toys, and her photo album. We played dress-up and she even gave me her boa, because I’m her new friend.”

It was now or never. “Yeah that sounds like her.” I hesitated for a nanosecond and began again, “Well, back to the task at hand. I need to tell you this before I chicken out.”

“Okay,” she said, bracing herself for the bomb I was about to drop.

“When I said I was attracted to Edward because of his money, it was an understatement. You see that’s what I do-did; Edward wasn’t the first guy I’ve married for money.” I stopped to look at Rosalie’s reaction, her nostrils were flaring and she looked royally pissed.

I went on despite her face. “My mom, Renee, taught us everything we ever needed to know, she was the one who got us into the game. She and my dad, Charlie, used to con people out of their money, but when I was born Charlie wanted to quit and she didn’t. So she left him and began to con others until she met Aro, Vanessa’s dad. It was until then that she settled down. When he died, he didn’t leave much, except a trust fund for each of us, that couldn’t be accessed until we turned thirty or got married. So that’s when it all began.”

She didn’t let me continue and said, “I can not believe this! You’re a scam artist, this whole time I thought you were different and I though I could trust you wait- are you scamming right now? That whole story about why you left and loving Edward? Is anything you’ve said real?”

“Rose, wait before you curse me out, there’s more. Although you may not believe me, I do love Edward. He changed me, he made me want to leave that life, and he made me want to be a better person. I tried, Rose, I really did. I fought for us with all my might.” I stopped to gather myself and wipe the tears that had already fallen.

Her anger faltered slightly, and she waited for me to continue.

“Part of our con was to make my husbands cheat on me, so that I can get all of their money in the divorce, you know, guilt money. When it came time for that, I made a deal with Renee. If he passed a test, we could live happily ever after, but if he didn’t we would use it against him and take him for all he had.”

I saw Rose’s anger diminish immensely as she heard this; most likely putting two and two together. She didn’t respond and I continued.

“I thought I could outsmart them by convincing them to hire my friend, Jessica, who pretended to agree and help them. This next part may sound crazy and even a little twisted. There was still some doubt on my part; I just couldn’t ignore my years of experience. So I went to his bachelor party in disguise, but he recognized me,” I hesitated, remembering our last night together. I was so happy I honestly thought things were going to work out. I didn’t count on them sending Vanessa, I had begged Renee not to send her if things ended badly, but she obviously didn’t listen. The pictures they brought proved that he had cheated.”

I was in tears now and Rose was by my side, comforting me. “I still didn’t believe them, you know. I had absolute faith in Edward; I thought they were lying to me, but his admission, on our wedding day, was enough to know he had done the deed. That’s why I faked my death. I forgave Edward almost immediately, at the time he just seemed like another pawn in my sick world. I left because I didn’t want him to suffer the ramifications of my actions. The money didn’t matter to me only to Renee and Vanessa and they were hell bent on getting it. I knew that they would never let me be happy if I just left; I had to convince them that I was dead so that they could move on and leave me alone. Everything after that is the truth, I didn’t find out about Carly until after my demise was announced.”

She didn't respond and I continued. “I thought he was worth it, Rose, I thought I would give him an opportunity to be happy again, I never once thought my family would choose him as their next victim. I swear to you I love him, more than I ever thought possible. I left for him because on some level I always knew I was never going to be good enough for him. Your revelation today has left me truly broken, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to recover from this.”

She sighed and said, “Bella, I’m trying really hard not to punch you right now. What you did was conniving, low, and just pathetic. I knew my instincts hadn't failed me. I'm really disappointed in you.”

I braced myself for what was to come. She wasn't going to feed me to the lions and everything I had worked for would go down the drain.

“However, all that you’ve gone through has my head spinning and I can’t imagine how this must feel for you. I don't know how to explain it, but I believe that you have changed for him, that you loved him. If you hadn’t you would have stuck around and drained his bank account. In a way, I’m glad you told me.”

“Really? Why?” I mused.

“Because now that I know the truth, it’s time to fix it. It’s time to fix this mess once in for all. Vanessa doesn’t get to win. At least you love him, you’ve changed for him, and you have a daughter with him. You deserve to be with him. When I saw them yesterday, how smug she looked and how pathetic he looked; I lost it. They're lucky I didn’t punch he-,” she stopped talking when she saw the look of horror on my face.

“Wait, what? When you saw them yesterday? What do you mean by that?”

“Bella, they live here, so do Jazz and Alice,” she responded, apprehensively.

In that instant I knew Charlie was right, eventually I would have to face my past. By some stroke of luck or misery my past had followed me here. I knew my world was about to fall apart, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to survive.

“This changes everything Rose,” I said.

“How?”

“Well, for one thing I pictured him in Seattle, not here. Rose, what the hell happened?”

“He got offered a position here and took it. Ironically, I think he was fleeing from your memory. Alice must have gotten lonely because she followed soon after, with Jasper along for the ride.

“And he didn't protest?” I wondered.

“Are you kidding me? Jasper would do anything for his crazy wife,” she said, teasingly.

'They got married? Of course, they did. Time doesn’t stop moving, does it?”

“No,” she said softly.

Reality hit, I could feel tears begin to form in my eyes. I wiped them before they could fall and I didn't respond.

We sat there, hearing the kitchen clock tick in the background, until I heard Carly stirring. I braced myself for the possibility of her walking in on my catatonic state, but she never came down, she had always been very independent.

“Rosalie, I know you have every right to deny me this, but could you please make sure that no one ever finds out about me or Carly? I promise to be out of here soon,” I said.

“Bella, you can't hide from this,” she began.

“Save it, I've heard it all before. If you don't want to do it, that's fine. Either way, I'm gone, I can't do this. I know I'm being a coward, but I have to think about my self preservation and Carly's future.”

She met my gaze, staring at me intently, her face rigid. I wasn't sure what was going through her mind until she spoke. “Bella, why are you so afraid of seeing Edward again? Especially, knowing what you know now, the playing field has been leveled. You can't let your sister stay by his side.”

I close my eyes and attempted to control the tears that started falling. No one had ever really asked me that. Her question was like a key that unlocked a part of me I wasn't ready to discover. I hadn't given myself the opportunity to explore why I was so afraid. I just knew that I couldn't handle it.

“I've never... It's just that...My whole life I...” I attempted to explain my reasoning to her but nothing came out.

“It's okay, obviously you're struggling with a lot of baggage that I may not be aware of,” she said, rubbing my shoulder for comfort.

“Wait, you're right I am dealing with a lot, but I just know that confrontation is something I can't handle.”

“I understand; Bella, I must admit the reason why I told you all of this was because yesterday something big happened,” she said, eying me.

“What is it?”

“Well I kind of blew up on them, Alice, Jasper, Edward, Vanessa, and even Emmett. You should have seen your sister's smug look when she walked in, it infuriated me. And seeing Edward sulk, and feel sorry for himself, was just too much to tolerate. Next thing you know, I was yelling at Jasper and Emmett, for not avoiding the whole mess and Alice for accepting Vanessa so easily,” she said shrugging the last part.

“Wow, did you do that because of me?” I wondered.

“Not completely, your appearance was kind of like a catalyst that helped me say what had been building for a while now.”

“Was it bad?” I asked, not needing to elaborate on the aftermath of my death.

“Yeah,” she said awkwardly. “A lot of sadness, not just from Edward but everyone. Bella, what do you have planned now? I mean are you just going to sit there and take it? I know you're not ready for a confrontation now but maybe in the future you could try.”

“This is a lot for one day. I honestly don’t know what to do,” I said, letting the words sink in.

“Well for one thing, you could fight for him. Now that I know the whole truth, I can’t let you be unhappy and that trash be with Edward. Despite his mistakes he deserves to be with you.” I knew on some level she was right, I just couldn't bring myself to admit it.

“Rose, I can’t just go to Edward and say ‘hey honey I’m not dead, I just pretended to be, so I could hide the fact that I’m a con artist, oh and by the way you have daughter, sorry I lied,’” I responded sarcastically.

“I know that Bella, but are you really just going to let her win?”

“Of course not, but I can’t risk Carly’s safety. Renee and Vanessa are dangerous people. What if they go after her?” I said, worried. As soon as I said those words I knew them to be true. Renee and Vanessa would be extremely vengeful once they found out what I did with the money.

“Why would they go after her?” she asked, in confusion.

“Oh right, you don’t know. When I left, I stole their money, all of it, and it’s not like I can just give it back to them.”

“Why not?” she asked, with the same confused look, as earlier.

“Because it’s gone,” I said flatly.

“What happen to it?” she asked.

“Well, after feeling so damn guilty about how I got it, I donated a good chunk of it to various charities. I kept some, I’m not stupid, just not a greedy amount. I kept enough to keep Carly and I afloat for a long time.”

“Wow, if I had that kind of money I don’t think I would part with it,” she said, as she looked around my living room.

“Yeah well, maybe when you got it the way I did, you would understand,” I said jokingly.

“So what now?” she asked.

“Honestly, I don’t know. My heart is too broken right now to make any type of serious decision,” I said flatly.

My first instinct, again, was to run, but the conversation Charlie and I had earlier rung in my mind. I would do nothing for the time being. I would focus on taking care of Carly and hope that Los Angeles was a big enough city to get lost in.

“So that’s it? You’re just going to give up?” she asked furiously.

“No, not exactly, I just need time to … regroup. Umm can you tell me where they work and where they live so I can avoid the areas at all cost.”

“Fine, whatever. I’ll make a list. Although, running into them would probably be for the best,” she said. I couldn’t tell if she was serious or joking, instilling a panic within.

Rosalie left after assuring her I wouldn't run and that I would be okay. I managed to keep myself together for the rest of the day, keeping my emotions in a locked drawer. I knew I wasn't ready to handle anything at this point. All I wanted was to get lost with Carly and never come back, but there was too much a steak to just runaway, I would have to deal with my emotions as best I could.

Charlie thought I was being overcautious, he figured that if I hadn't run into them thus far, it would be highly unlikely I would run into them in the future. His logic would probably make sense to any other normal person, but I wasn’t normal. Renee had always taught me to be two steps ahead and aware of the consequences and that was what I did.

I kept a set of costumes in my trunk, with wigs, sunglasses, scarves, and hoodies, to hide my identity. If I was going somewhere unfamiliar I would wear a costume, just in case. Everyone thought I was being ridiculous, and probably was, but I couldn’t take the risk. I was a coward and I knew it.

It was hard knowing how close I was to Edward and yet so far away. I could easily walk into the hospital where he worked and find him, but the very thought of him with Vanessa stopped my every time. I had come close several times, when the loneliness set it in and I craved his touch the most. Each time I made it that much closer to him.

The first time it happened I made it halfway to the hospital before I turned around. I hadn’t even realized I was heading his direction until the bumper to bumper traffic slowed me down. After that I kept getting closer and closer to him. Soon I made it into the city limits before I turned around. My expeditions were not often and very erratic.

Several times I passed by his hospital before turning away. I never bothered going near his home, in fear of running into Vanessa or worse, running into him. I finally made it to the parking lot but I never stayed more than a few minutes. Each time I knew I was playing with fire and I didn’t care. I was like a junkie in need of a fix and the rush of each excursion fueled that obsession.

On my last expedition I had made it to the parking lot and actually parked my car. I got out and slowly walked into the entrance of the hospital. My feet froze when I saw Edward walk out. He was still the same Edward I remembered. Unruly bronze hair, piercing green eyes, and his signature crooked smile. He leaned into the railing outside the emergency room, looking at the setting sun. In that moment, nothing else matters, I knew the Edward I loved was still there. He may have taken a few wrong turns but the man I loved was still there. Remembering Rosalie's words at that moment, “ Despite his mistakes he deserves to be with you.”

In that instant I knew why I was so afraid of seeing Edward again, because I knew I would never hesitate to be with him again, no matter how much he hurt me. I had been so afraid of how much I loved him, at how easily I could forgive and see no wrong. I loved that stupid angel and I wanted him back. That vulnerability frightened me and yet I could easily ignore it. My feet reacted before my brain could tell them to start walking to him.

Amazed at how much I wanted him I took another small step toward my angel. The miniscule pieces of broken glass I had worked to rebuild were completely destroyed when a blonde woman, who was not Vanessa walked up to him. He wrapped his arms around her and she giggled at something he whispered into her ear. She slipped her hands down the back of his pants and walked away, and he trailed behind her.

My heart broke at seeing the man I thought I knew behave the way he did. I turned around and hurried to my car, and cried. Stupid Bella, you should have never come here, my conscious echoed. I drove home and stayed in the driveway and sat there unable to resume my life just yet. I cried for several minutes. I cursed myself for playing with fire; I had always known I’d get burned. I wished desperately that I could take back this day; at least yesterday I hadn’t admitted to myself just how much I loved him. I cried some more because I knew that if he ever came back into my life I would forgive him for this. I had never felt so fragile and alone. Frantic sobs escaped me as I wondered how much more I would have to wait until I got to be truly happy.

I noticed Leah’s car pull up and I attempted to hide my tears, but as she walked by me and saw my blood-shot eyes, she got into the passenger side of my car.

“You went to go see him, didn’t you?” she asked.

“How did you know?” I wondered.

“If I had the opportunity to see the man I loved again, even from afar I would, especially after so long,” she said, pulling me close.

“He was with someone else,” I said, softly.

“Oh sweetie, I’m sorry,” she said, patting my head.

“I’ve never felt so low. I feel …empty,” I whispered.

“I know how you feel. Do you want me to call Rose? I know that my friends really helped me when I was where you were,” she said, a warm smile on her face.

I nodded ‘yes’ and she said, “Get yourself cleaned up and I’ll call Rose. And Bella, you shouldn’t feel empty you’ve got the love of a huge family and more importantly you have Carly. Don’t let the pain of his betrayal taint your life.”

“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” I responded before I went inside to clean my face. Rosalie arrived shortly after and spent the night. She and Leah comforted me until I fell asleep and were there for me the next day, and several after.

I never attempted to see him after that; I couldn't risk the pain of seeing him again.

Slowly, I rebuilt my life with my new family and was able to look the future without fear, almost.