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The Ripple Effect

Summary:
What if Bella’s parents never divorced & she was a normal girl. Best friends with Jacob Black for all her life & suddenly the Cullen’s moved to Forks. Everything is Alternate Universe, Romance, drama and friendships galore.


Notes:


3. Chapter 3: Edward

Rating 0/5   Word Count 5186   Review this Chapter

Chapter 3, Edward

I followed my Volvo from the woods making it to Newton’s place before my sister and Bella. I watched perched high in a tree as Bella stammered with Alice before waving goodbye. I had become Bella Swan’s stalker, unable to resist the urge to watch her. The distance between us was becoming unbearable. I began rationalizing my urges to be near her, to listen in on her conversations. Alice was making it worse, testing my limitations. Even today knowing Bella was in my house, I couldn’t keep away; I was drawn to her like a magnet.

Watching her at work, through others’ eyes was as close as I had gotten until today. Now having been so close, I was drawing new lines. I had to create new boundaries, to replace the old ones. I growled while waiting for Bella to emerge from work, my jealousy sparked as Mike Newton drove her home. I followed her again, like a lovesick puppy monitoring Bella’s every move. I saw into Mike’s mind, he was imagining leaning over and kissing her. I laughed at the image of me ripping his car apart and rescuing Bella. She would hate me forever, the look of fear I could foresee on her face. I watched as she evaded his suggestions, leaving Mike more confused than ever as she closed her door.

The boy sighed, wondering how to ask Bella out to the Homecoming dance. Venom filled my mouth with jealousy. I sighed, shaking my head patiently waiting, as I had every night for Bella and her family to go to sleep. I could hear Charlie’s cruiser pull into the driveway, his thoughts muddled thinking of some game that was on. Sighing with relief, Bella would be safer with her father in the house. Pained, I turned back to forest to leave her for a few hours. I could not rationalize the long wait as she got ready for bed when I knew the Sheriff would protect her.

When I arrived at home, the house seemed to be buzzing; I could hear Alice talking quietly with Carlisle about the object of my affections. The name Bella rolling so sweetly off my sister’s tongue, I joined them quickly as Alice sighed a welcome.

"None of us can smell her, so there's no temptation," Alice rationalized, despite her worries.

I shook my head exasperated. As Carlisle looked at us, sitting on his leather couches in the study.

“And Jasper?”

Jasper concentrated, trying to piece together his thoughts. He was a military man and saw Carlisle like a commanding officer. Every answer he gave, he wanted it to contain the utmost information. My brother was afraid of what he might do to Bella. Afraid any moment her scent would return and he would have no control. He was almost as afraid of himself, as I was. Jasper tried to focus his thoughts.

“I can’t sense her emotions, my gift,” he paused, annoyed that his gift had no affect on Bella, “doesn’t have any affect, but it was easy to be near her. Without her scent.”

Jasper looked down, upset. He was still new to our way of life. The impulse to attack humans daily at school was a constant fear for us. Alice was so excited to find a human who did not entice the love of her life to kill.

I sucked in a hasty breath, annoyed at Alice as I read her thoughts.

"Alice, we're not like the Vultori," I countered reading her mind, knowing where her thoughts were going. She shrugged.

"I'm not talking about turning her."

"Alice," I said again, my teeth clenched. She wasn’t talking about it, but she was thinking about it. Even though the thought had crossed my mind before, I couldn’t imagine Bella being one of us.

Carlisle raised his hand silencing us, as Rosalie and Emmett joined in on the discussion.

“There’s no trace of her anywhere, it’s like she never was here,” Emmett beamed, excited at the oddity.

A human that left no trace, the ideas began to filter through his head. Despite his good intentions, he too could not help but think of what a gift Bella would have if she was one of us. How good she would be at hunting, if the animals did not sense her. How he could challenge her newly changed form to test his strength. How fun it would be to try to find her, an impossible chase.

"Don't I deserve to have a friend, Edward?" Alice asked, her voice so high with a trill that was un-needed her tone was enough.

"Yes of course," I answered. "But you have Jasper."

"Yes, and I love him," she retorted sincerely, grabbing for Jasper’s hand lovingly.

I knew I was grasping at straws, but Alice was stubborn. She had made up her mind to befriend Bella the moment we could not sense her. Her visions were still perfect though, she could see Bella in her mind’s eye.

"And you have Rosalie and Esme," I countered.

"Yes, yes. But Bella's different, she's special," Alice smiled, lost in thought.

If my heart could beat, it would have thudded in response. Bella was no doubt special, even if I could read her mind I would have admitted to that. She brought a part of me that I thought was long dead, to life.

"You know it."

"Yes, she is special, she is different. I understand...but you are thinking."

"I won't turn her; we don't have to turn her." She shook her head, willing it to be true.

I tried to block the voices and images that were filling my head, as they imagined Bella turned.

"Yes, Alice, but that is what you are thinking. What she would look like, smell like, how powerful she would be."

"It's not that it's just..."

"No, Alice." I saw another look into her mind. The two paths Bella as us, or dead. I gritted my teeth.

"Alice..."

She opened her mouth to protest, closing it immediately as another image flashed and she imagined a picture of the American flag to thwart me. Jasper wrapped his arms around her, easing her emotions as Rosalie watched us intently. Emmett seemed more at ease as Esme joined us finally with a smile.

“If Alice wants a friend, who are we to say no, Edward?”

Her words burned me, Esme had a motherly way about her that guilted me to the core. She had been my mother longer than my birth mother had. Her words were always gentle and caring. She was right; Alice did deserve a friend. However, my feelings for Bella, as confusing as they were; made me want to protect her from where that friendship would go. I saw another opaque image from Alice’s mind, as I turned to her confused.

"Alice?"

The image was blurred, it looked like Bella and I, but I could not be certain. She turned from me, walking away with Jasper by her side. The conversation was not over but Alice was done.

“She is a special girl,” Carlisle smiled.

My family could tell the way Alice and I bickered over Bella Swan for the past few weeks, that I had changed. Feeling this way was new. Esme hummed a tune in her head trying to shield her thoughts from me, as Carlisle thought of work tonight.

“One of a kind,” I answered him.

The experiment was over. Carlisle and the rest of my family now understood that Bella Swan was indeed a find. I left the study and my family stewing to sit at the piano. Beethoven turned into something else, as I waited for the nightly football game to be over, when I would be at Bella’s side.

The next morning, Alice was ready bright and early, waiting expectantly. I entered through the balcony off the dinning room, calmed from a night of being with Bella. I smiled to myself as Alice followed me like a hungry kitten.

"Come on Edward," she begged.

I scoffed, passing my sister as she bounced excited. I needed to change and shower; even vampires had to go through the motions.

"Alice we still have another half an hour. It doesn't take us that long to get to Bella's."

"I know I'm just..."

"Excited?" Esme guessed, as she headed to the kitchen.

"Yes, excited, I've never been to a friend's house before."

I rolled my eyes, racing up the stairs with ease. I could still hear my sister’s pleas from down below.

"Alice, please." She leaned on the balls of her feet as Jasper came to calm her. There was no need for us to communicate in the same room; our hearing was heightened to the point where walls meant nothing.

"Please, Jasper, keep her occupied," I asked pointedly. As she giggled, Jasper wrapped his arm around her shoulders, leading her into the den.

It was days like this where I felt Alice and I really were brother and sister. She held the most affection from me, being my favorite sister. I laughed thinking of Jasper elated from his love’s emotions before finding a book to occupy my time.

In truth, I was just as excited to see Bella again. The nights I spent sitting and watching her sleep weren’t enough. I had timed my gazes perfectly, my skills useful when she would wake suddenly. At school, I could always see her turning my way, but she never caught me staring. When we finally arrived at Bella's house, I idled the Volvo outside.

"Before we go in, please, Alice, behave yourself."

"I know, Edward," she answered petulantly.

"You're so worried about her," she retorted, sarcasm dripping from her words as she slipped out of the car ignoring my growl.

"Are you afraid of what she'll think of us?" she beamed as I followed her towards the house.

When we knocked on the door a beautiful middle-aged woman answered, she looked like Bella.

"Oh, you must be Bella's friends, we were expecting you, come in."

Alice beamed as she flitted into the living room and I followed smiling with a quick nod. The house smelled different downstairs, I had never opened Bella’s door afraid I might disturb someone. Renee’s scent was interesting a mix of what I had gathered in Bella’s room, there was a hint of Charlie’s scent as well and I filed them away for safekeeping. I imagined the two scents mixed, as Bella.

"Bella, your company is here!"

She turned to us smiling.

"I'm Renee, Bella's Mom."

We shook hands with the woman introducing ourselves and I felt nervous.

Why was I so nervous? I had been in this house many times before. Maybe it was because this time, I was invited and came through the front door. I felt truly seventeen again, and my one hundred years melted away. If I could have broke out in a sweat, I would have as I heard Bella moving upstairs.

"It's very nice to meet you."

"Oh hi, thanks Mom," Bella greeted us from the bottom of the stairs.

Her Mom nodded, walking back into the kitchen.

"Well we can um, work in the dinning-room," she offered, trying not to meet my gaze. She looked wonderful.

"Or we can work in my room, the laptop is upstairs.” Alice grinned and my sister’s thoughts turned to mischief.

"We can work upstairs."

I groaned, following the girls up to the second story. I paused before entering Bella's bedroom; I had been here every night for the last three weeks. Alice laughed, noticing my scent lingering in the room.

'Been here before Edward?' she thought.

"Oh," Bella sighed nervously, as I sat on the love-seat in her room. It was where I was most comfortable; I spent my nights here watching her.

"So do you two want something to drink, or to eat?" I looked up at Bella, hoping to get a flicker of what she was thinking. Her heart was racing.

"No, we're fine." Alice grinned; I nodded with my sister pulling out my work.

She shrugged.

"Oh, okay. Well I got most of my part done last night." She pulled a few copies of the project out, handing them to both of us.

"Oh," Alice said looking over her work.

"Us too," Alice smiled as she handed Bella our part of the project.

I couldn't help but watch Bella as she fidgeted with her hair, trying not to look my way. She was beautiful but didn't know it. I wished I could smell her, but was also grateful I couldn't. It was hard enough to sit in her room at night, smelling two humans. Being so close to her, hearing her heart beat and feeling her warmth it was torturous. I was happy I couldn't know her scent, the scent that would burn the back of my throat. With Bella I was drawn in, she was an enigma. I wanted to be as close to her as possible, but I didn't want to hurt her. I knew inevitably, I would.

The hour sped by so quickly. A few times, I caught Bella looking at me and I knew I shouldn't stare.

"So..." Alice mused, "I guess we're all set."

I knew what she was thinking, she didn't want to leave.

"Yeah," Bella answered as she closed her notebook.

"Well, I can print this out tomorrow, looks like we're done."

Alice was happy, her eyes lingering around the room.

"What kind of music do you have Bella?" I groaned, this was Alice's way of playing matchmaker.

"Oh, this looks a lot like..." she stopped, staring at me, "Edward's collection."

Bella turned crimson, as she looked towards me. She was even more beautiful when she blushed.

"Oh," I said not breaking my gaze.

"Mendelssohn, Mozart... They're all even in alphabetical order."

"Yeah, do you guys want to listen to something?" Bella jumped from the bed walking towards Alice.

"No."

"Yes."

I looked at Alice annoyed.

"No, I don't want to trouble you," I covered.

"Oh, it's no trouble," Bella stammered.

"We should get going, right, Alice?"

My sister looked deflated, before she beamed with an idea as I moaned seeing her thoughts.

"Bella, do you have to work today?"

Bella glanced up startled; she had looked lost in thought. I leaned forward waiting for her response; as much as Alice was annoying, I enjoyed the benefits she reaped for me.

"Oh, yeah." She peeked at her watch.

"We could take you," Alice said smiling.

"Oh no, I don't want to..."

”No, it's not a problem," my sister interrupted grabbing a CD as she approached her friend.

"What time do you have to be there?"

Bella looked at her watch again.

"About a half an hour."

"Great," Alice sang. "We can take her, right, Edward?"

Alice knew I could not say no, not to more time being so close to Bella.

"Yeah, sure."

"Great, it's settled." My sister bounced, as we packed our things heading downstairs. Bella grabbed her iPod stuffing the device into her pocket. Alice and I exchanged a conspiring smile.

The night before Bella’s birthday, we had both planted the present under a stuffed animal by her loveseat. Alice was sure she would find it and I meticulously had uploaded all her CD's into the device. It was beneficial having a psychic for a sister. We had settled on the color pink, even though I was sure it was nowhere near Bella’s favorite color. Alice was not going to budge and mentioned that it would match her cupcakes.

It killed me to leave Bella that morning, I watched and waited before the sun came up as she tossed and turned. The depression that had come over her the day before had me worried. But I saw clearly in Alice’s mind that Bella would love her present. It was that image alone that gave me solace, as we left for the day to go hunt along the Canadian border.

"Mom, Alice and Edward are giving me a ride to work."

"Fantastic," Renee gushed.

"Do you want lunch?"

"Mom, we already ate," Bella answered embarrassed.

"Right," Renee said. "See you in a few hours."

I smiled, "Do you have a ride back, Bella?"

"Oh, right," Bella paused, "I'll just ask Mike for one."

Jealousy reared its ugly head again as I turned away annoyed.

"No need," Alice chimed. "We can bring her back."

Bella blushed my way, before looking towards the door. I instantly wondered if she wanted a ride from Mike. If Alice was pushing her own agenda, despite Bella’s wishes.

"Thank you, Alice," It was obvious; my sister was making an impression.

"We should go then," Bella mused slipping her sneakers on before grabbing a jacket.

"Bye Mom."

I held the door open for them, as they walked under the threshold. My eyes never left Bella as I watched her every move. The way she pushed her hair away from her face, how she crinkled her nose at some random thought.

"Thank you, Mrs. Swan."

Renee blushed; the crimson hue reminded me of her daughter as she waved us away.

"This is very kind of you," Bella cautiously said as I opened her door watching her get into the Volvo. Alice was letting herself into the back seat; I shook my head to her obvious thoughts.

'I see you together.’'

I growled annoyed as I closed Bella's door.

Alice chattered excitedly on the way to Newton's place. I tried to keep my speed down; since I knew it made Bella nervous. She was holding onto her bag tightly as she politely responded to Alice’s excited chatter.

When we idled outside of the store, I looked to Bella, my eyes fully on her face.

"What time should we pick you up?"

"Oh," Bella stammered, flushing. "You don't have to really..."

"Yes, we do," Alice sang.

"Well, I get off at six," she answered

"We'll be here," my sister beamed.

She nodded nervously, letting herself out of the car without my assistance. I didn’t want to scare her, even though I ached to not help her out. My hands locked on the steering wheel as I fought my impulses.

"Well thank you again, bye." She waved closing the door.

Alice laughed, as the door shut and I shook my head.

"That was...interesting," she chimed.

"That was meddling," I countered.

She laughed again, light and breezy, thinking of Bella and I holding hands, kissing.

"It can't happen, Alice," I growled

"It will happen," she retorted assured, "just a matter of time."

"No," I growled, even though I wanted her visions to come true more than anything. Alice seemed to think I could control myself that Bella would respond to me the way I longed for.

"Yes," she smiled.

I drove away, annoyed. She watched the trees pass by, thinking of the colors and smells. She was trying to keep me out of her mind.

"Alice?" I asked, trying to get into her head.

"Yes?" she answered, like a child hiding a cookie behind her back.

"What are you thinking?"

"Oh nothing," she said before gliding into the front seat.

It was always like this with us, she was my favorite sister. However, she was also the one sister that got on my nerves as no-one else could. Her powers being mind related gave her an advantage over the others. She could control her thoughts, but with Alice more times than none, her excitement would give way.

"Edward, sometimes you have to understand that there are things better left..." she paused for a moment smirking, ‘Unsaid,’ she finished in her head.

I looked at her confused as she filled her mind with more mundane things. Alice opened up one of Bella's CDs she had taken and fed it into the CD player. Debussy began to waft through the air as she lightly hummed along.

I waited outside Newton’s place, twenty minutes early, my mind counting all those inside. I growled listening in on Mike’s thoughts. I should have been used to a teenage boy’s mind by now, but seeing him undress Bella in his thoughts made me want to rip him apart. I could see Bella though this way, and I winced tearing my thoughts from his as a customer interrupted him. I found another person asking her a question and smiled that this was an elderly woman hoping to get her grandson a fishing lure.

When I knew it was time for Bella to get off her shift, I idled by the front door.

Mike was the first to notice the silver Volvo and I saw instantly that I ruined his plans to drive Bella home. I smiled to myself evilly; it had been a long time since I meddled in a teenager’s aspirations. Bella seemed confused as she saw me waiting. I winced wondering if she had expected just Alice. Her heart fluttered, and I tried to smile hoping to calm her nerves. Her heart skipped a few beats and I could not help but watch her intently as she approached the Volvo. I rolled down the window, as the CD player clicked to another CD.

“Alice sent me, she said she’s sorry.”

Bella blushed as I smiled widely, she slipped into the car and I listened to her heartbeat erratically. I wondered if I scared her or if she could possibly feel the same way for me as I did for her. My feelings were so strong; in the instant I saw her and could not read her mind, I was perplexed. After a few hours of listening to everyone else’s thoughts, I began to fall deeply in love with this fragile beauty.

“Thanks for picking me up,” she whispered as Debussy began to waft through the air. She blushed deeper as her eyes widened.

When she reacted that way, I couldn’t help but feel the monster creep up inside of me. But lately the monster yearned for more than just blood, the redness flushing her cheeks awoke desires in me that I thought impossible. Desires that were once just voices in my head foreign to me, now they were my own and I was unable to keep them at bay.

“Oh,” I said, slightly embarrassed. “Alice is a bit of a Klepto, this is your CD, I believe?” I added with a smirk, as she nodded reaching to turn the volume up.

“It’s one of my favorites.” She smiled shyly and I could feel the heat emanating from her as I took off towards her house.

It was moments like this where I wondered if I was dreaming, but I haven’t had a dream in decades. Being so close to Bella, the torture of not being able to read her thoughts. I had only my other heightened abilities to clue me in on what she was thinking.

We were silent for a few moments. I could feel her looking at me and glancing at the speedometer. I could not help but laugh slightly, but she caught it smiling.

“What?”

I turned to her playfully.

“I won’t speed, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

She shrugged, biting her bottom lip as I sighed.

“Your Mother was very nice," I mused, wondering if the comment was awkward instantly. She winced apologetically, before turning away from the window.

“I hope she didn’t do anything too embarrassing?” she asked her cheeks taking on a tinge of pink.

I shook my head enamored, before looking away, gritting my teeth. I could not let myself go with Bella. She was still human and I was still the monster. Her blush had an instant effect on me, the hunger aching my throat. I tensed, disgusted with myself, before answering. Lust and hunger was a bad combination and I was struggling with them.

“No, Bella, your mother was great.”

She nodded still embarrassed as I turned onto her street. She sighed; I wished with all my heart that I could know the reason behind it.

“What?” I asked, unable to resist knowing her thoughts.

She shrugged as ‘Clair De Lune’ began to play. Her eyes brightened and she could not help but smile.

“This is another one of my favorites," she admitted, and it was as if she had given me another treasure.

“One of mine as well.” We held each other’s gaze for an instant, but it was not enough for me.

We were already at her house before either of us spoke again. It felt like a spell and I was unwilling to let her go. I instantly felt ashamed, she was not mine to have, I reminded myself. Though I had waited many lifetimes to find her, I could not have her. The ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was just a fairy tale, and despite the supernatural aspect of my living for over a hundred years, this was not a fable.

“Well, thanks again," she added, smiling brightly, it was no wonder the boys of Forks High thought of Bella Swan as being lovely.

I gripped the steering wheel as tight as I could, without crushing it under my force. My legs ached to open the door for her, to walk her to her house. However, that would be stepping over a line that we could never cross.

“She isn’t yours Edward,” I whispered, nodding as I watched Bella walk into her house. She turned again before disappearing through her door and gave a small nervous wave.

“See you soon.” I smiled to myself, before taking off down her street.

When I parked in our garage Alice was waiting for me, perched on the hood of Emmett’s Jeep.

“Heading to Bella’s?” Alice asked, already knowing the answer as she followed me into the house.

“I’ll be back in the morning.”

Emmett laughed as he shook his head looking to Jasper who was lost in thought.

“Spending every night there, Bro?” Emmett commented as Rosalie joined his side, a sneer on her face.

“I don’t like it, Edward," she added, her blonde hair wafting as she switched it to her right shoulder.

“Nothing is going on, I’m just watching.”

Emmett laughed as Rosalie tightened her grip on his arm.

She was angry and jealous. Angry that I was so close to a human and that Alice and I were threatening her family. And jealous, that I found a girl so intriguing. Rosalie was used to being the center of attention. She always thought that since I could never find a woman engaging, that her charms were not lacking. She loved Emmett dearly, but her hurt pride after my rejection to the very thought of being her mate, during the first years of her new life was still a sore spot. She had no affection for me other than that of an annoying brother, but Rosalie was not used to rejection of any kind.

My family smiled leaving me be as I headed for the back door. It was easier to cut through the woods, the trees breezing by, as I picked up speed lunging and swinging my way to Bella’s back yard. When my feet touched the damp grass, I glanced up. I could not hear anything and excitedly climbed up to her window. I focused my hearing, three distinctly slow heartbeats drummed and I opened her window sliding into her room with ease.

It was the same every night, but Bella was a talker when she slept. These moments when she would whimper a name or a sentence were very engaging. I could not help but smile as she held onto the iPod while she slept. The ear buds still in her ears as she turned slightly reacting to some unknown disturbance. I slipped into the loveseat and watched her intently.

“Edward?” I looked up stunned. Her heartbeats were still steady, signaling she was dreaming.

I shook my head; she had said my name, of that I was sure of.

“No, Edward.”

I laughed quietly, if only I could have read her mind. I balled up my fists, fighting the urge to approach her bed, to watch her eye lids flutter.

She was dreaming about me, there was no doubt about that. All my reservations, my doubts about this beautiful being in front of me melted away. She dreamed about me, then she probably thought about me. My boundaries were failing; I was completely lost to Bella Swan. My heart was hers and there was no way I could be away from her. I loosened my grip on the loveseat hoping there was no damage as I imagined living life-watching Bella. I smiled envisioning being with her, observing her. However, was it enough?

I had always thought I could be an outsider in Bella’s life. The idea had given me hope, but the more I was around her, the more I wanted. I tried to shake the selfish feelings; I was a danger to Bella, even sitting in her room... I shook the thought away, I would not hurt her, I couldn’t even bare the thought. Bella would grow up; she would go to college and move away. I flexed my fingers as I thought what she would do with the rest of her life. She would get married, fall in love; the last thought always pained me. Bella would fall in love and marry someone, she would belong to him. I sighed looking back at the object of my desire, instantly jealous of any man lucky enough to have her.

I never slept, but daydreamed. Sometimes about being a human, being able to marry Bella, to give her everything she wanted. Other times, I would imagine holding her close to me. I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable future. Bella would forget about me and move on. Maybe I was to become a high school crush, or fantasy. I had experienced it with other girls, their affections always waning when a human boy paid them some attention. However, Bella never looked at the boys at school. She cringed when they approached her hoping for a date. She held them at arms length, and they waited to see if she would one day pick them. I laughed thinking of the torture she was putting some of the boys at Forks High through. Tyler Crowley and Mike Newton especially, both boys had hopeless crushes on the brunette beauty.

Time as always flew by with Bella, when she sighed to the morning light creeping into her window I took a deep breath. It was the closest thing I had to her scent. Her shampoo and soap, the laundry detergent Renee used. It was Bella to me and I was glad that this was one aspect I could control. Her heartbeat and warmth was enough of an attraction, without a scent it was easy to be near her. I slipped out of the room just in time as I heard her alarm clock go off. Smiling to myself, I counted down the minutes until I would see her again as I disappeared into the forest.