What if Alice never saw Bella jump? Will Bella ever be able to let go of Edward?
Bella continues life in Forks with out Edward. Jacob has picked up the pieces, will she finally realize he is there for her? Will she ever be able to let go of Edward?
13. Chapter 13
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I slept like a rock that night, surprisingly enough; it was the first good night’s sleep I’d gotten in nearly two weeks. Alice surprised me with breakfast in bed on Saturday; pancakes with blueberry compote, basil scrambled eggs and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. It was the best breakfast I’d had in a very long time, and it was an excellent way to start a day that would either be extremely boring or extremely painful.
It turns out, shopping with Alice wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. She towed me off to Seattle for the day; she took me to all the trendy boutiques, filling dressing room after dressing room with expensive, high fashion merchandise. Shoes, necklaces, scarves, sweaters, jeans, jackets, earrings, hats and over priced t-shirts weighed on my arms as we skipped from store to store; the plastic handles of the shopping bags nearly cutting off circulation to my hands. I protested vehemently when she picked out a few pieces of fancy lingerie, but she insisted I would thank her for it someday. She giggled when I came out of the dressing room with the sapphire blue lace clinging lightly to my body; I blushed and returned to the safety of the small room immediately.
Over all the day turned out to be quite fun; I got to spend some much needed time with Alice, and she got to dress me up like a paper doll. By the time we arrived back home I was struggling to make it up the short walk into the house; my legs felt like jell-o from walking around all day. Alice carried all of my bags into the house and up to her room and was back downstairs before I had managed to plop myself down on the couch. She ordered some kind of Chinese take-out for dinner, and watched as I hungrily devoured every last stir-fry snow pea and chow mien noodle. We watched another one of the chick flicks after dinner; this one wasn’t actually so bad. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore really seemed like a match made in comedy heaven.
My mind wandered idly throughout the day; thoughts of last night creeping into my conscious mind. Edward had spent so much time with Nicole, asked for her to be changed, and waited with her through those days. I knew I should feel jealous of the bond they had created, but I just simply didn’t. No twinge of jealousy pulled at my heartstrings and the hole in my chest throbbed only with passing thoughts of Jake. I merely tried to push the thoughts aside and did my best to concentrate on having fun with Alice; if only I wasn’t so dang worn out from the day’s activities. The last thing I remember was stretching out on the couch, my head in Alice’s lap, as she played with my hair; I was out like a light as soon as my body was horizontal.
I woke up in a dark room, cool lips surrounding mine, and a light pressure on the length of my body. “E-Edward?” I murmured into the darkness.
“I’m sorry, Love, I didn’t mean to wake you. We got home earlier than expected and I just couldn’t wait until morning to see you.” He mumbled against my mouth, his hands locking in my hair. His mouth became rough as he pulled my hair lightly; my body automatically arched closer to his stone chest. I wound my arms around his neck and slowly parted my lips, tracing his mouth with my tongue. I braced myself for his rejection, but it didn’t come, he simply parted his lips to my searching tongue and allowed me entrance. I was confused and extremely excited by the sudden change in his normally very controlled demeanor; I made sure to take as much advantage of him as I could.
I slid my hands down his back and pressed up lightly on his abdomen, pushing him upwards ever so slightly. When his body lifted from mine I ripped the thin sheet from between us and tossed it lightly to the ground. I glanced down and saw my milky, white skin glowing in the faint light; blue lace ruffled at my hips, and the thin silk camisole bunched up around my chest. Edward glanced down and froze. His eyes made their way back to my face and he was instantly crushing his body to mine; his lips moving in tandem with mine. I pressed myself ever closed to him; his frigid heat radiating through the thin barrier to my body below, covering my skin in a sheet of goose bumps. My left leg hitched up over his hip as I pressed myself closer to his perfect body. His right hand wandered down to the back of my left thigh as he pulled my leg higher, widening the gap between my pale, white thighs. His breath came in gasps at my ear; my breathing was as labored as his, a sheet of sweat coated my body. “Bella…” He choked. “Bella…stop. We must stop.”
“Right…stop…” I breathed heavy, thankful that he had regained control; I was sure I would never have been able to stop us. He rolled off of me, stretching out to my right; he ran his hand nervously through his hair. We laid in silence for a long time; our breathing had returned to normal, or Edward’s had at least, before he finally broke the silence.
“Bella, we can’t let that happen again. It’s much too dangerous.” He sounded sick with guilt. I rolled to face him and peered into his eyes; they were burning, laden with fault.
“Edward, Edward please, this isn’t your fault.” My mind was racing; I had to do something to make him see it wasn’t his error. “Really, I shouldn’t have pushed you. Its ok, nothing happened. I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re both ok.”
“But it is, Bella. Things can quickly become out of hand. I could have killed you.” The pain was evident in his voice. My mind slowly thought of Nicole. I couldn’t be sure, but maybe that’s why Edward felt so guilty now. Because he could have hurt me like she had been hurt.
“You didn’t hurt me. I swear you didn’t. You could never hurt me…you could never hurt me like Laurent hurt Nicole.” He sat up, a mixture of pain and anger in his eyes.
“Alice told you.” He stated.
“Well, yes. I asked her to.” Guilt filled my eyes. “Is there a problem?”
His face relaxed and he lay back down next to me, his arm snaking around my waist. “No, I suppose there’s not. I just wasn’t expecting you to be so curious.”
“I’m sorry; I should have waited to ask you about it.” A yawn interrupted my apology slightly.
“You don’t need to apologize, Bella. You have a right to know. Now, I really should let you get some rest.” He leaned over and kissed my forehead lightly. “There is something I wanted to discuss with you, but it can wait until tomorrow.”
“Oh, yeah? What’s that?” My eyes were already shutting.
“Something I overheard Alice thinking about; it’s not really important right now. Sleep, my Love.” He lifted himself from the bed and was instantly at the door. “I missed you, Bella.” He whispered and then disappeared through the heavy oak door.
My mind was blank; my chest still heaving up and down as my heart pumped furiously behind my ribs. I was having trouble understanding what happened and what I was now feeling. I did love Edward, and the moment that had just happened between us was something I’ve longed for since the day he first kissed me. But it just seemed different than I had expected. It was different than I expected. I figured being close and intimate with him would be more of an emotional and spiritual kind of experience as well as a physically pleasurable encounter. I had imagined this for so long; the way his body, cool and hard, would feel against my own. His instincts taking control and ravaging the careful barrier he had created; the barrier for my protection. But the feelings flooding my heart and mind were not that of joy and ecstasy, but more of disappointment. This experience with Edward had been nothing like I imagined. My body lusted for him; to feel him around me, and inside of me. My heart beat fast in my chest not because of the love and adoration I felt for this man, but purely because of the physical reaction my inexperienced body was undergoing. In short, my body was only interested in the release that seemed so near. My heart just wasn’t in it.
“Bella,” Alice’s little voice whined in my ears. “Are you sure you want to go home so early?” Her pouty face had returned as she stared at the road ahead.
“Yeah, Alice. I have some things I need to get done around the house and some, eh, errands I need to run. But if it makes you feel any better I really did enjoy myself.” I smiled warmly at her. “Even the shopping wasn’t so bad.” Her eyes lit up with satisfaction at my words.
“Really? Maybe we could make this a more regular thing! Girl time weekends. GTW! I love it!” She squealed with delight; her eyes sparkling with anticipation.
“Sure, Alice. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad.” We pulled up in front of my house and Alice jumped out, quickly gathering my bags from the back seat, and met me around the front of the car.
Charlie was waiting for us at the door, his hands fumbling to help Alice with the many bags she balanced on her small frame. “Glad you’re home, Bells. I was beginning to miss your cooking.” He pulled me into a tight bear hug.
“It’s good to see you too, Dad.” I said sarcastically. Charlie’s chest heaved with laughter beneath me; I hadn’t heard him laugh in a long time.
“You know the cooking isn’t that important, if I had to I could just go down to Sue’s house. I’m sure she’d feed me.” He released me and headed back to his usual spot in front of the TV; a basketball game displayed on vibrate screen. Alice had already disappeared up the stairs when I turned around.
She was busily hanging my new garments in my small closet; tossing old, ragged looking pieces of clothing into the trash every once in a while. While I agreed with her on some of the tattered pieces of garbage, I couldn’t let her throw away my favorite sweatshirt and pair of sweats. I rescued them from the trashcan and quickly shoved them under the bed skirt with my foot. “Don’t think I didn’t see that,” Alice said while she continued to force clothes into my already full closet. “But I guess I can allow you to keep them; as long as you promise to never wear them in public.” Her tone was light and joking; I lounged back on the bed and waited for her to finish. She hurried to my dresser; replacing my worn out jeans with some new name brand; I didn’t bother getting up; I’d rescue them from the trash later.
When she finally finished, she flitted over to my bed and sat down next to me. She ran her hand through my hair, “Thanks for letting me make you over this weekend, Bella. I really loved spending time with you.”
“I did too, Alice. It was a nice break from reality.”
I could feel her cell phone vibrate in her pocket, sending miniature shockwaves across my comforter.
“I need to take this, do you mind?” I shook my head, but the phone was already to her ear. She spoke quickly, and in such a hushed tone that I couldn’t even distinguish who was on the other end. She snapped the phone shut quickly, startling me from my daydreaming. “That was Edward. He needs me to come home.” She smiled at me but it didn’t quite touch her eyes.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, not really. He just needs me to come home now.” She kissed me swiftly on the cheek and cross the small room to the door. “Take care, Bella. See you soon!” She shut the door behind her; I could hear her say good bye to Charlie, open and close the front door, start the car and finally speed off down the road.
I got up and went to my dresser to assess the damage. I opened the top drawer and it seemed to be filled with lacy undergarments. I should have expected that. I thought of last night and the blue camisole and boy shorts. The little sneak had conveniently ‘forgotten’ to pack me any sweats or shirts to sleep in; so on the one hand she at least tried to make up for the slip up by buying me something to wear. But on the other hand she had taken full advantage of the situation, knowing full well Edward would end up coming home early, and bought me the most tantalizingly blue lingerie she could find. Better than sleeping naked; just think of what that would have done to Edward.
I poked and prodded around my room, examining my new clothes and digging my old ones out of the trash; all the while my thoughts swirled around last night and the odd feeling of emptiness it had given me. I sat down on my bed and stared at my desk. Suddenly the little red and pink box caught my attention. Jacob had given me the box of candy hearts last Valentine’s day in exchange for lifetime servitude. Suddenly I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about him; I missed him. My heart was tearing and fluttering in my chest.
I decided a quick visit to La Push was just what I needed. It was much easier to pretend everything between Jake and I was fine; that we had gone back to being the best friends we used to be but unfortunately we hadn’t. It had been nearly a week since the bonfire and I hadn’t heard from him once. No call, no visit, no nothing. Not that I had expected him to be up for hanging out so soon, but I had certainly hoped he would have. I missed him; I missed my best friend. I missed the way it felt to be in his arms and I missed the way his lips felt on mine- ok, that’s far enough. You’re with Edward now. I shook my head, ridding it of the less than innocent thoughts and headed down stairs.
I pulled up in front of the little house and parked the truck quickly, anticipation building in my chest. I knew this wasn’t exactly going to be easy, for either of us, but I missed Jacob. Butterflies churned in my stomach as I made my way up the short path to the house. My fist connected with the faded white door three quick times; I twisted my fingers around themselves nervously. The butterflies were reaching my throat and I contemplated knocking again when the door inched open.
“Um, hey, Billy.” I peeked around his wheelchair. “Is Jake here?” I heard him take a sharp breath and I glanced down at him. He was glaring at me! He rolled his chair back slightly, enough room to let me by; I quickly darted inside and moved out of the way so he could shut the door.
“Jake isn’t here, Bella. He hasn’t been for a week.” He wheeled himself over to the kitchen table and picked up an open news paper and held it in front of his face.
I stood there awkwardly waiting for him to explain but he simply sat there. “I’m sorry, Billy. But I don’t understand.” I searched my brain trying to remember if Jake had told me about a vacation he had been planning.
“What don’t you understand?” He was aggravated. “You picked Cullen. You knew what that would do to him.” By now he had set his paper down, his eyes burning into mine.
“But- well, I know I did. But…what does that have to do with Jake leaving?” I was thoroughly confused now. Billy’s eyebrows pulled up at the center and he cocked his head to the left, confusion settling over his eyes.
“What do you mean ‘what does that have to do with Jake leaving’? It has everything to do with why Jake left!” His voice was becoming louder by the second and I suddenly regretted dropping by unannounced.
“But why? I knew this would hurt him, it’s hurting me too! What do you mean ‘everything’?”
“Bella, Jake imprinted on you! Did you seriously think he would be able to get over it like some high school crush? It’s not that easy.” He sneered.
My heart stopped. For one, infinitely long second I thought I might be sick as the butterflies that churned in my stomach turned acidic and tore at the back of my throat. Suddenly the room was spinning and a hollow whooshing sounded in my ears. I felt Billy’s hand reach out and guide me to one of the kitchen chairs; he made sure I was sitting before he pressed lightly on the back of my neck, willing my head between my knees. When my breathing finally evened out I lifted my head; my eyes meeting Billy’s distressed stare.
“Bella, are you alright?” Concern replaced his fury. My mind couldn’t comprehend; was I ok?
“He…imprinted…”I choked out. Billy sat up, his face screwing up with confusion.
“Well, yeah…” He stared at my horror filled eyes, and I could see it in his face as he finally understood. “…He didn’t tell you.” It was more of a statement than a question. I managed to shake my head once in reply. “But you came to the bonfire…you were there. You heard the stories for yourself.” He was staring at the floor, concentrating hard, his brow furrowed tightly above his eyes.
“I wasn’t listening.” I managed to whisper. “I was focused on Jacob. I knew…I knew that would be my last night with him. I’m sorry I wasn’t listening, I was just…distracted.” I apologized slowly as pain began to rip through my heart once again. Billy’s face focused on mine.
“No, Bella. It’s ok.” He was confused again. “It's just, well, we though Jake had already told you about him imprinting.” Guilt swept over his face. “We set up the bonfire so you could hear the legend of the imprint and what happens when the imprint is rejected.” He lifted one hand to rub the back of his neck sheepishly. “We were kind of hoping to guilt you into picking Jacob. But please believe me, he was against the whole idea; said you didn’t need to know.” He sighed loudly, “Now I know why. Bella, I’m so sorry.” Shame covered his face.
I couldn’t focus; I felt like I was going to pass out. How could this have happened? What could I do now? “Where is he?” I had to try to find him; I had to bring him home.
“I’m sorry, honey. We don’t know where he is. I mean, he’s stayed in wolf form so we know he’s ok, but Sam says they can’t see much through his thoughts. He could be nearby or he could be in Canada, but one thing’s for sure- he’s not planning on coming home anytime soon.” Pity filled the gruff, old man’s eyes as he looked at me. “I’ll be sure to let you know the second he comes back. I’m so sorry Bella.” I looked back at him and mechanically nodded my head; slowly, I rose from the table and headed for the door. “Bella, will you be ok? Want me to call Charlie?”
“No. I’ll be ok.” I shut the door quietly behind me and walked back to my truck.
I climbed into the empty cab and placed my hands on the leather covered wheel. My eyes were unfocused; my heart and mind completely and utterly confused. I drove back to my house, hardly seeing the road ahead of me as I tried to comprehend. Every time my mind began to understand the enormity of what had happened, the realization would slip though it’s grasp like sand through fingers. I knew under normal, rational circumstances I would be a total wreck right now; crying and hyperventilating like the over emotional girl that I was. But I wasn’t. Everything felt numb; wonderfully, comfortably numb. I enjoyed it. For once I wasn’t that girl; the typical stereotype, emotional girl. I pondered this, flipping it and turning it over in my mind as I scaled the steps to my house, hung up my jacket, and trudged up stairs.
I thought back to the night of the bonfire. Billy’s voice rang in my head as I remember what he had said that night, ‘…the world would shift; change. Suddenly she would be the center of his world. Everything he did, everything he thought would revolve around her. She would be his life…’ If Billy was really right about Jake imprinting on me, how could I deny his love? I had seen the way Sam looked at Emily; the way he touched her. It was almost sickening to watch; I couldn’t believe Jake had really felt like that about me; I doubted Edward ever had. It was odd; taking Edward back was just something I had to do. I couldn’t keep myself from going back to him. After all, I was in love with him before he left; I still was, wasn’t I? Since taking him back things seemed…different. I didn’t feel happy like I used to. It’s ironic really; I always thought I was just getting by with Jacob; that true happiness was just out of reach with my beloved Edward. I had been fooling myself all along. My heart twisted at this realization causing the hole in my chest to throb and sear around the raw edges.
The sun had settled into the western horizon, engulfing my room in total darkness. I got up, my head spinning slightly from the sudden change in altitude, and stumbled down the stairs to the kitchen. I dug through the cupboards and finally found a jar of spaghetti sauce and a box of bowtie noodles. The water boiled angrily as I dumped the entire contents of the box into the scalding liquid, tossing a handful of salt in after it. It didn’t take long to get dinner ready, and soon Charlie had wandered into the kitchen, taking a seat at his favorite chair. He stuck his nose up and took a deep whiff. “Mmmh. Smells good, Bella.”
“Dad,” I said rolling my eyes. “It’s just store bought pasta and sauce.”
“I know, but it smells good. And I’m pretty hungry.” He said patting his stomach. “I couldn’t really find much while you were gone.” I just shrugged and turned my attention to the sauce. It was beginning to bubble; little blood red aerial bombs bursting all over the brushed metal surface of the stove. “Speaking of which…The Cullen’s are back?” He lifted his left eye brow.
“Uh, yeah. I guess they are.” I stirred the sauce carefully, trying to avoid splattering my shirt with the death-to-cotton pasta topping.
“When were you planning on telling me this, Bella?” He seemed upset now; his voice becoming accusatory.
“I don’t know. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, really.” I turned towards him and folded my arms across my chest; two could play at this game.
“Well it is. After what he did to you last September, well, it’s a huge deal. I’m not so sure I’m ok with him just waltzing back into your life. He shouldn’t be playing with your feelings like that. It’s not right.” He said in a huff and picked nervously at the frayed knee in his jeans.
I drained the pasta and set out two plates after returning it to the large pot it was cooked in. I emptied half the pasta onto Charlie’s plate and half of the remainder onto my own; splashing each with a healthy dose of sauce. “I’m sorry, Dad. I didn’t think it would be a problem.” I sat down across from him and looking into his worried face.
“Bella, I just don’t want you getting hurt again. I mean, you were really messed up; for a real long time; and then you and Jake started hanging out and you came back to life. I just don’t want to see you all…lifeless again.” He shoveled a quarter of his pasta into his mouth and chewed noisily before swallowing. “You and…Edward, you’re not, eh, back together are you? You’re not just jumping into this blindly again are you?”
“No, Dad. We’re not really together. I mean, we still….have feelings for each other,” I kneaded the back on my neck nervously; neither of us were ever good at discussing anything besides the weather. “But, no. I’m not jumping in blindly, and I didn’t jump in blindly last time either.” I was somewhat put off that he thought I was such a typical teenage lovesick girl.
“Well, that’s a relief.” He turned his attention back to his plate.
We sat in silence for the remainder of dinner. I got up and cleared the table when Charlie had finished and began washing the dishes; ridding the plates of the bright red sauce.
“One more thing, Bella. What happened to Jake? I haven’t seen him around here in a while. Did you guys get in a fight or something? Is it because Cullen is back?” He sat, hand folded across his distended belly, staring at me.
“No, we didn’t really get in a fight. And, eh, kind of.” I turned back to the dishes; I heard Charlie humph before getting up and returning to the basketball game. I flicked the lights off as I left the kitchen, headed for my room. “’Night, Dad.” I was greeted by his loud snoring. “Dad, you should really go upstairs, you’re going to hurt your back if you stay there all night.” He snorted and rolled over in his sleep. Well, at least I tried.
I grabbed my bag of toiletries and headed to the bathroom; stripping down before I stepping into the steaming water. The floor was cold against my feet, a sharp contrast to the hot water pouring from the shower head. It seemed like this hot and cold pattern was beginning to rule my life. I sighed as I let the hot water roll over my body; massaging my shoulders and back as it slid over my skin. My hair and body was washed soon and I stood there for a while, just letting myself relax before I stepped out into the cold bathroom air. I thought about my day; what a day it had been. Why hadn’t Jacob told me? I suppose he was trying to protect me; allow me to choose the life I really wanted without the extra pressure of ruining his future. Slowly, very slowly, I allowed myself to feel what my mind was trying so hard to hide. My legs began to shake and I sat down quickly before I passed out; I was in a heap on the bottom of the tub. The water washed over me, mixing with the tears that now poured from my eyes, and swirled down the drain. Jacob had given me the chance at the life I thought I wanted even though he knew it wasn’t best for me. He loved me much more than Edward ever had. Just as he had said the night he returned, Edward was selfish; he not only couldn’t, but wouldn’t live without me. Jacob was truly selfless; letting me go even though he knew it would destroy him. I couldn’t deny it any longer. I was in love with Jacob Black.
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