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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


22. Secret & Lies

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Chapter 22: Secret & Lies

Jasper POV

Living in Los Angeles California was not ideal for me, but I came here following the person I loved. I could never be happy without her in my life and I did everything I could to ensure that she was happy. It was easy to be happy when she was, like it radiated off of her, and seeped into your skin. It was for Alice that I had followed her here, knowing it wouldn't be the best situation. I knew how Rosalie felt, she had voiced her opinion every chance she got. After our move things got worse and Rosalie finally exploded, leaving wreckage and chaos behind. I wasn't angry so much at her words, but at what her words had done to Alice and Edward.

Rosalie's words had truly affected my family in the worst possible ways. Edward knew there was no looking back and kept making mistake after mistake while we watched. He continued with Vanessa by his side. He continued to wallow in his self pity and slept around with woman after woman. Alice blamed herself endlessly, as he made each mistake, or rather repeated it. It took a long time to get Alice happy again and finally accept that she couldn't control Edward. A lot of work was put in to help repair the damage that Edward and Bella had caused. Of course, no one blamed Bella in what happened, how could we? We wanted to blame Edward, but he was just so pathetic and lost we couldn't. I knew the outburst Rosalie had was the last straw for her and I wouldn't see her again. It would take a miracle to reunite, not just me and her but my whole family.

I was out on an errand, for Alice. After tasting the bake goods at this small bakery in Glendale, Alice became obsessed with their menu. Almost every other week, I would come by to keep my woman happy. Unfortunately, this meant going out of my comfort zone and leaving the North Hollywood area. I had to drive for almost 2 hours, getting lost and stuck in traffic just to get here.

I was hoping to find parking in the front but found the street full, making me park in the back. When I finally made it inside, I saw a huge line and began cursing the bakery for making such great food. I hated waiting in line; I was a man of action and detested having to stop for anyone.

I began to count the tiles on the ceilings when I felt my phone vibrate with a text message from my friend Peter.

The little lady has you busy today? The text message read.

Yeah she does, I responded and put my phone on silent. Peter had always teased me that I was pussy-whipped, something I never really denied, and he never let me live it down.

I looked up to continue my tile counting when I saw a woman exit that looked jarringly familiar. I took a double take and froze. Bella? No that’s impossible... she’s dead.

I began to follow her, my line in place forgotten, and realized that it was in fact Bella. I was dumbfounded, Bella was... alive? I found it extremely unlikely; I thought I was going crazy, so I decided to call her name to ease my mind, “Bella!”

She turned around and looked at me with wide eyes. Holy shit! Bella was right in front of me.

My mind was trying to figure out what was going when I finally I blurted out, “Bella, what’s going on?”

She hesitated when she spoke and finally asked me to follow her back inside. I wasn't sure if I wanted to hear what she had to say, seeing Bella after so long was just so unnerving, I didn't know if I could handle all the emotions surrounding this revelation. A million thoughts ran through my head. What did this mean for her and Edward? Alice would be happy, and I hoped that it would bring Emmett and Rose back to us. I was happy at that idea because I knew first hand how much Alice had been hurting. Despite that sense of hope, I was angry and felt betrayed by her lie. She obviously knew what she was doing and didn’t think about the consequences of her actions.

After Bella’s death it was really difficult for Alice to let me back in, but after proving to her on a daily basis how much I loved her she let me back in and agreed to marry me. I thought she had lost her mind when she accepted Vanessa so easily, but when I asked her about it she wouldn’t give me a straight answer. It wasn’t until Rosalie’s stupid outburst did she admit she only accepted her because she thought they wouldn’t last and didn’t want to plague Edward with more drama. When things got serious, she felt helpless and stupid for not seeing it coming, and decided to just be the sister Edward needed at that moment, despite her discomfort.

Edward had been through a lot, after Bella’s supposed death, his liver took a great beating. I knew he started sleeping around, hoping to feel anything and when Vanessa came along and offered him a small glimmer of hope he couldn’t help but react to her. When the dream ended and their cards were laid out for them, he knew there was nothing left, and yet he stayed with her, he owed her that much.

His only true love was gone, and he saw no point in attempting to move on. He stayed with Vanessa, not because of love, but because of guilt and laziness. Alice and I tried to be there for him since day one, but Rosalie and Emmett thought it was best to not caudal him. I couldn't blame them for how they felt. Emmett was the type of person who just went through life enjoying every minute of it and accepted the bad, but when something didn't sit right with him he would voice his opinion. Rosalie wasn't as easy going as Emmett but was extremely passionate. It didn't surprise me when they didn't approve of Vanessa, I hadn't either. I knew I was wrong in supporting Edward in his decision to marry Vanessa, but he needed someone to be there for him. It wasn’t until I saw Bella that I realized how wrong I was. My anger and sadness over the revelation that Bella was alive, was taking a toll on my emotions.

We sat in the corner while she quickly texted back and forth and sat their in silence. I got frustrated with the silence and asked her to explain. When she admitted that Rosalie and Emmett knew, I was beyond angry. More so at Rosalie, than at Emmett. She thought she was so much better for never being there for Edward and for staying loyal to Bella’s memory. She had been so judgmental about everything, always seeing the negative, and acting superior, it sent my anger into overdrive.

The anger I felt that day was indescribable, much to the anger I was feeling now. She purposely kept Bella and Edward apart, most likely to punish him for marrying Vanessa. In her eyes Edward was lower than low, for cheating on Bella. I didn’t necessarily agree with what he had done, but I understood it. He was intoxicated; it was his bachelor party and must have thought it to be Bella, not her sister. But I never voiced that to anyone except Emmett who I thought felt the same way.

Rosalie arrived, and I couldn't contain my anger and began giving her a piece of my mind. It was my turn to tell her what I thought. I couldn't say much because Emmett intervened and I lost any shred of civility towards them. He actually stood up for himself. This whole time I thought he was a coward for not voicing his opinion that faithful day, but really he must have agreed with her. I finally calmed down when I looked at the scared look on both Bella and Rosalie's faces.

Hearing his words answered the question we had all asked ourselves; why had Rosalie decided for that day to snap? I knew that she was somewhat right but the way things went down, were hurtful. They had known then, and sided with Bella. A part of me understood why they had decided to cut us from their lives; I should have known that it would take a lot for them to abandon us. Now that I knew the reason for the split, the news wasn’t so painful. I remembered how much Rosalie hated her when she first started dating Edward and how quickly her opinions changed once she was gone. I was still unsure of her motives, but didn’t question her right away.

I was piecing the puzzle little by little when Rosalie let it slip that Bella had a daughter, destroying the previous puzzle completely. Bella quickly changed the topic, which blazed a warning light in my mind that her daughter must have been Edward’s.

After some arguing over what had occurred, Bella told me about her life as a con artist, how she fell in love and risked it all for Edward, and how she failed miserably. She then told me about how she wanted Edward to redo his life and meet someone worth while, not Vanessa. She also told me about Carly and how amazing she was. They all were really vocal about how dangerous Renee and Vanessa were, and how vital Carly’s safety was. I could already picture Alice going shopping for her and even worse shopping to make up for the last five years of her life. I knew they wanted me to keep all of this a secret, but I knew that Edward and Bella belonged together, despite the threat Renee and Vanessa were.

After admitting that I wasn’t going to lie for them, Emmett surprised me again by asking Bella to leave us so we could talk. As soon as Bella was out of earshot he spoke, “Jasper, I know this is asking a lot, and I wouldn’t ask you to unless I knew it was for the best. Bella isn’t ready for Edward yet, she is still trying to deal with the fact that he married Vanessa; she's having a tough time moving on. Before we ran into her she was at a standstill, she hadn't even begun to move on. Little by little we've tried to help her move. It's not as simple as you may think."

"There is nothing you can say to change my mind. Who she was, and what's she's done are enough for me to know that she doesn't deserve my help. If, in some alternate reality, she and Edward belong together they will make it through this," I countered.

"Not if she doesn't want to fight for him," Rosalie said.

"Why wouldn't she want to fight for him? Especially after finding out her sister married the man she loved. In fact, I'm extremely surprised she hasn't tried to fight for him sooner?" I voiced.

"That's just it, Jazz," Rosalie said. I cringed at her use of my nickname, coming out of her mouth seemed foreign and misplaced. She ignored me and continued, "She hides behind the threat Renee and Vanessa are, but we all now she can handle them. What she really is worried about is Edward; she doesn’t think they can work anymore. She’s both disappointed and afraid of who Edward has become and she doesn’t think she is strong enough to face him yet. She was doing well after we ran into her, she was even considering going back to him and she almost did.”

"Why didn't she?"

"She had been working up to it, slowly getting that much closer to him and when she finally did she saw him with another woman, who wasn't Vanessa, and was broken. She's had to start over more than once, and each time it keeps getting more difficult," Rosalie said.

"Jasper, Bella just needs more time to see that the same Edward she loves is still there, it's just taking longer than we thought," Emmett said.

“Emmett, she needs to deal with the consequences of her actions today, not tomorrow. There is a reason her new life hasn't worked out for her, and that's because it's incomplete. Bella shouldn't judge Edward based on what you've told her, she needs to hear everything form Edward himself. There is a lot she doesn’t know about Edward’s relationship with Vanessa. Furthermore, she has no right keeping Carly from him, especially considering all that she's done,” I said firmly.

“Hold on a sec, what do you mean there’s more she needs to know about Edward and Vanessa?" interjected Rosalie. Crap! I forgot that they didn’t know.

“Never mind that, that’s for them to figure out. The point is Bella and Edward belong together, the sooner they realize this, the better,” I said changing the subject.

Rosalie eyed me but remained silent. Emmett stepped in and said, “Look Jasper, I know you think that this is a quick fix for them, once all is revealed, but Bella has built these massive walls around her heart, and no matter how big Edward’s love is for her, she’s just not ready for him. The reason I’ve kept this going is because, it isn’t my place to interfere in their relationship. Bella needs to be the one to go to him; she won't do that if we force him on her, she'll just run. She's tried it before.”

His last statement threw more for a loop, the Bella I thought I knew was so different form the one they had described, and from the one I saw in front of me. I watched her sip her coffee from afar and saw the lack of drive in her eyes, but I couldn't do as they asked. “I understand that Emmett, but sometimes people need a little push," I said trying to reason with them.

Rosalie answered before Emmett, “Yes, but telling Edward ourselves would not be a little push it would like jumping off a plane without a parachute. Bella just isn’t ready. Edward seems to be at a standpoint, even after so long a few more months won’t hurt him. Who knows, maybe he’ll come to his senses and realized what a douche he is.”

“Rosalie, Edward’s known how royally he messed up, for longer than you can imagine,” I said, noticing how Rosalie eyed me again. “He didn’t need you to tell him that day, he was already suffering long before. And even if you’re right I can’t just ignore that Edward has a daughter he doesn’t know about and that the love of his life is in the same city!”

“All we’re saying is to not say anything, just yet. Technically, it’s not lying if no one asks you about it. We’re willing to risk, no we have risked our friendship with him, Alice and you because we think this is what’s best for both of them. And deep down you know it’s true,” Emmett said.

“Yeah I know… but what about Alice? I’ve never lied to her before and you know how clairvoyant she can be?”

“Jasper, you have to do this for us, for Bella, for Edward, and even Alice, but more importantly for Carly. Jasper you have no idea how much she needs him. And I know it’s contradictory to keep him away but she won’t get the family she wants unless we help Bella realize that Edward loves her, despite his mistakes, and that they belong together,” Rosalie said.

"You keep blaming this all on Edward, what about Bella? She's done some more than questionable things and you don't blame her? You, of all people should have been happy to find out that she was in fact a gold digger and that she wasn't as sweet as she painted herself to be. Isn't that what you wanted to be right? Now you sit before me begging to hide her secret, I just don't get it, why? She doesn't deserve all that you've done, even if you think she's changed."

"It's much more complicated than that, Jasper. Bella is so different from the woman we met before. Even though she seems lost at times, she's determined to be the woman she was supposed to be, before Renee tainted her innocence. And it's not just that, before when she was trying to be amicable I could tell it was hard for her to do, it wasn't her. Now she actually cares about other people, almost like she recovered her humanity, Carly and the rest of her family has a lot to do with that. It's hard to explain, because you haven't interacted with her like I have. When we first saw her, she was content, playing with Carly and I could see a light in her that she never had before," she said.

"I just don't know if in the end it will be worth it?" I asked.

"I swear to you, it will," Rosalie said.

“How can you be so sure that they even belong together? Maybe all we're doing is preventing them from moving on? Clearly, things were not meant to be, when they meet again the results you're hoping for may not come true? Why are you going through all of this for her?” I asked.

In that moment Rosalie's demeanor changed completely, no longer did she look tough and strong but rather weak and sullen. “I have to believe that they can be together, Jasper. Edward is like my brother too, and I know it doesn't seem that way but I do care for him and I've never wanted nothing but the best for him. Now, I know that Bella is the best choice for him and he the best choice for her. Look at how they've fallen apart without each other? Right now, Bella just needs someone to believe in her and not push her into this. The way Renee pushed and manipulated her into becoming that woman was intense, to say the least. Bella was broken before Edward, she was practically dead after him-she only survived because of Carly, now she's finally taking the steps to be a better person. I feel bad about lying to Edward, it kills me, really it does, but I just have this feeling that they both aren't ready to see each other again. The instant I realized Bella was alive, I knew that we were all getting a second chance, it wasn't until she explained everything that I realized it would take a lot of work,” she said, firmly.

I soaked in her words and tried to find an argument, but I couldn't. The way she talked about Bella and the whole situation was enough to let me know that she too had changed. She wasn't as pig-headed as I thought her to be. I gave in and said,“Ugh, fine, but when the truth comes out and things don’t workout I will personally feed you two, to the lions.”

"Jasper, trust me, soon everything will work out," Rosalie said.

"I just worry about how I'm going to face Alice, knowing that's she still hurts over this," I said.

"She's stronger than you give her credit for," she assured.

"For the record, this doesn't mean we're okay now," I said, getting up.

"I understand," Rosalie responded.

I walked away and headed to where Bella was sitting. I watched her for a few minutes as she looked through her phone, a worried look in her face. Never had I seen Bella look so sad and lost.

“She looks like you, you know?” I said leaning in to look at the pictures more closely.

“Yeah, she’s so much like him. Very stubborn and too smart for her own good.”

“That does sound like him,” I offered. I looked through a few more pictures and saw that light Rosalie was talking about in Bella's eye. Realizing that she and Emmett may be right I said, “After talking to Rose and Emmett, I think it’s best to keep things under wraps. But if it becomes too much I will be forced to tell Alice.”

“Really?”she asked a shocked look on her face. I could see the relief written all over her body and knew I had to protect her. “You have no idea how much I love you right now. You’ve just prevented me from having a mental breakdown,” she said.

“Bella, please don’t make me regret this decision,” I whispered.

Tears began to stream down her face and she asked, “Promise?”

I nodded my head and she smiled. Needing to return home, I said goodbye and Bella gave me her cell phone number.

"We'll keep in touch," I said, walking away.

I came home and was relieved to find it empty, never had I been happier that Alice worked long hours. I tried to go about my day as best I could, trying to find a way to cope and deal with the fact that I had to look at the woman I love in the eye and lie to her. I wasn't sure I could harbor such a secret from her, never had I lied to Alice, especially such a huge lie, but I knew that I was right. The change in Rosalie, the way she spoke about Bella had been enough for me to know it was right, but I couldn't ignore the sacrifice I would be making. It was more than just keeping a secret it was keeping a key to our happiness hidden.

When Alice arrived, I was sitting in my office, hiding; I wasn't sure I could face her just yet. She got settled in and began trolling the house calling out for me.

“Jasper, where are you?” she screamed into the empty corridors.

“In here,” I responded, my voice hoarse and strained.

“Jasper, I have some good news,” she said, walking in.

“Oh yeah,” I ask, clearing my throat, “what is it?”

“I'm going to be putting together a fashion show to get some new buyers, Nieman Marcus and Saks are interested, can you believe it?” she said, jumping on my lap.

“I'm so proud of you, that's amazing,” I respond.

“What's wrong? You seem off,” she asked me getting off my lap.

“Just a long day, that's all,” I offered.

“Is the editor giving you a hard time about the deadline?” she asked.

“No, just needing to get a lot of work done, that's all,” I lied.

“Are the department heads bugging you to teach more classes again?” she wondered.

“No, it's just book stuff, you know trying to get it just right,” I lied again.

“Okay, did you want to order in?” she asked, eying me.

“That's fine,” I responded.

“Okay, well I'll go do that, come down when you’re ready,” she said, kissing me softly and walking away.

In that moment I knew I needed to man up and get it together. I went downstairs and joined my wife for some take-out and crappy reality TV. I listened intently as she laid out her plan for launching her new collection and her strategy on gaining more buyers. Once she finished telling me her plans, she became silent for a while before warning me that she would have to work long hours and that she wouldn’t be around as much. I didn’t complain, knowing full well it was for both of our benefits she stay

Quickly we fell into a routine, whenever I had plans with Bella, Rose or Emmett, always coincided whenever Alice was too busy to be with me. Instantly the lies became easier for me, something that left me uneasy. I never wanted to lie to my wife, and it pained me to do so but I knew it was for the best.

Things were not exactly perfect with Rose, Emmett, or Bella, but we were working on being better friends to one another. I didn’t realize how much I missed them, until Rose had invited me to their home to visit my new nephew, Wyatt.

I was hurt to know that I hadn't even received a phone call when they first got the news they were getting a child, but I understood their reasoning to a certain extent, another secret for me to keep. I hadn't seen much of Bella since that day in the cafe; she had been too busy with getting ready for school and Carly.

I finally got a chance to see Bella in action when I had gone to visit her on Carly's fifth birthday. I could see the new life she had built herself; Charlie played an important role in her life. He really tried to offer Bella the best possible life and offered his love and support kindheartedly. I met Jacob and Leah and was happy to see that Bella had made good friends who loved her and accepted who she was.

Carly was an impressive little girl. She was bold and curious, as soon as I walked in with Rosalie and Emmett she asked me who I was.

“Who are you?” she said, her eyes wide in surprise.

“Hi, I'm Jasper, a friend of your mom,” I answered.

“Another one?” she asked, more to herself than anyone else.

Everyone chuckled and Rosalie said, “Carly, how about you show Jasper your scrapbook?”

I knew what she was doing and had prepared myself for the emotional blackmail I was expecting, but somehow it didn't seem to help.

Carly grabbed my hand and led me upstairs.

“Hey, where are you going?” Bella asked as she walked into the living room.

“I'm going to show him something,” Carly said, tugging on my arm.

I shrugged and followed her to her room. Her room was the only splash of color I had seen in the entire house, it was the only room that looked like it was really lived in. Carly went straight to her bookshelf and grabbed a pink book and walked back to me.

“Auntie Rose knows how important this book is to me, and if she told me to show it to you, it means you’re special,” she said.

She thumbed through each photograph and told me why she loved the pictures. There were several with Bella, no surprise there, that showed both of them change with age. She had pictures with Leah, Jacob, Charlie, Rosalie, Emmett, and most recently with Wyatt. The last page held two pictures, of Bella and Edward on their wedding day and one of just Edward, with a huge smile on his face.

“Who's that?” I asked, already knowing what the answer was.

She sighed and said, “My daddy,”

“You look kind of like him,” I offered.

“Thank you,” she said, her brows furrowing.

“What's wrong?” I asked.

“I just don't understand,” she said.

“Understand what, darling?” I asked, dreading her answer.

“Why he's not here. I've only seen him in pictures and stories Uncle Emmett tells me but I've never seen in him, for real.”

“I'm sure there is a good reason why,” I offered, uncomfortable with the situation.

“Maybe,” she said.

“Come on birthday girl,” Bella screamed from downstairs.

“We should go,” she said, pulling on my arm.

I rejoined the group and Rosalie said, “I hope you saw what I meant.” And I did, Carly needed Edward and we needed to help her.

We enjoyed the rest of the party, and I went home. Alice still hadn't arrived and I watched the nightly news.

Time progressed and it became somewhat easier to deal with my secrets. Alice’s show came and was a huge success. The night of show, I was stunned to see Edward arrive with Vanessa by his side. I had yet to see him or Vanessa after seeing Bella and hadn't expected to see him that night.

I kept my distance, in fear of loosing control, and watched them interact. Edward looked pained and lost like he always did and Vanessa had her famous smug smile on her face. I knew Edward was unhappy and I had the power to make it better, but I couldn't I knew it wasn't the time. It did, however, worry me that that day may never come. I shook the feeling and hoped for the best.

After Alice's show, buyers from several department stores bough her line at large amounts, taking her away from me some more. I couldn't have been more proud of my wife and was a little relieved that I had time to spend with Bella and Carly. Rosalie, Emmett, and I had finally come to an agreement and made sure to coexist peacefully.

Soon the New Year was upon us and I finished my book. After several years of research and writer's block, I was able to finish my book on Texas history. My publisher's were happy to finally have it finished and were working on a marketing campaign. I continued teaching at UCLA and moved on.

The months passed and June was approaching all too quickly for me. I knew I would have to face Edward again, and after successfully avoiding him through the holidays, I couldn't ignore his birthday. The spring had brought Alice and me some peace and things were beginning to settle down for her and she was coming home before six.

I had been so used to her being gone most of the day that I had stayed even longer at Bella's and was stunned to find my wife crying, cuddled into a ball on the couch.

“Honey, what's wrong?” I asked wrapping my arms around her tiny figure.

“Do you really have to ask at this point?” she said.

“I'm sorry, I know, what triggered it this time?”I asked.

“I don't know I think it had just been so long since I hadn't let myself go there that it all came at me at once. I thought I saw Bella today, but of course it wasn't. Just thinking about her led me to thinking about Edward, so I called him and he was cold and distant. I just don’t recognize him anymore; I felt helpless,” she shrugged.

“It's not your fault,” I reassured.

“I know, but I feel like it is. If I had talked some sense into him sooner rather than later, we would be at a different place right now,” she said.

“You don't know that. Alice, did you ever stop to think that there are things in this world you can't control. People make their own choices whether we like them or not they make them and we have to live with them”

“That's true, but it wasn't like we knew that Bella's death would be the catalyst that started everything. Maybe we could have done something after to help him, or even before to reunite them,” she said, repeating the same theory like she had before.

“It would have taken a lot more than just us to fix that,” I said.

She shrugged and said, “Now we'll never know if they were meant to be.”

She fell asleep in my arms and I took her to our bedroom so she could sleep. I laid her down and watched her pained expression on her face, even in her dreams she couldn't be happy. Frustrated, I called Rosalie.

“Hey Jasper,” she whispered.

“Rosalie, I can't do this anymore, I going to tell her and Edward,” I said.

“Wait, don't.” she said, her volume increasing.

“Save it, Rose, I'm done,” I said.

“No, wait! She may not be here,” she said.

“Why not?” I asked.

“I can't say, but it's bad Jazz, real bad. I got to go,” she said, hanging up.