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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:


5. Chapter 5, The incident

Rating 0/5   Word Count 5200   Review this Chapter

Chapter 5, The incident

It was three weeks since I had last spoken to Edward and the dreams were getting more intense. Alice and I had made it a habit to hang out every Friday at my house. My world was adjusting, fitting into a new groove. Renee and Charlie loved Alice, as I knew they would. She was offered dinner every Friday night, only to decline and head for home. It was sweet of Alice to be so kind to my sometimes-overbearing parents.

I found myself dreaming of Edward, as odd as that sounds. He was the epitome of perfection, always cordial to the freshmen girls who ‘accidentally’ threw a ball his way. Even the female teachers had some problems concentrating when Edward dazzled them. That was the only way to describe the Edward effect. He would flash a grin and a hall pass would magically appear. I watched him in study hall, willing him to look up. I wondered if the time we spent together weeks ago was already forgotten.

I was immersed in my writings as of late. My characters were all taking shape. I laughed at the thought of letting Alice read this story. The way her eyes would go wide, when she learned who everyone was. My heart poured into every detail, I wasn’t getting much sleep as I leaned over my laptop, working too late into the night. I had tried to read a story to Renee last year; she didn’t even remember the situation. It was embarrassing, as my Mother asked odd questions, or started to lose focus as she washed dishes. Charlie just smiled, whenever I raved about a perfect chapter. I had written one of his cases into a story two years ago, being the sheriff’s daughter did have some rewards.

Charlie’s answer was always, 'focus on school and then major in English Bells.'

My father was very adamant about college. Renee and Charlie never made it that far before getting married and having me. Neither of them suffered since Charlie took some criminal justice courses over the years. Renee dabbled in whatever classes that held her interest. Although, I couldn’t help but wonder if they wanted more.

I closed my laptop as I heard Charlie turn the TV off downstairs. I listened as he walked slowly up the staircase; Renee was invested in some self-help books and welcomed him into the bedroom.

“Maybe we should try this seven day diet, Charles,” my mother commented as Charlie groaned.

“I’m as healthy as an ox, Nay; I don’t need to go on a diet.”

I heard my Mother sigh.

“It’s not a diet; it’s just something to try.”

He didn’t answer her as he walked into the bathroom closing the door sternly.

I hugged my new iPod to my chest, clicking to one of my more soothing playlists as I fixed the ear buds in my ears. No doubt an argument would be coming once Charlie was out of the shower. My parents were very predictable and I wanted to be lost in a dream before they started.

Halloween was on a Monday this year, any excuse for a party or dance. I groaned walking into the cafeteria as I spotted the lunch ladies were preparing all ghoulish food dishes. It was the week before the annoying holiday and already dead, squished fish and vampire venom was on my tray. I shrugged faking a smile as the lunch lady beamed, wearing a witch's hat. Balancing my lemonade, I groaned at the fake spiders clinging to the protective glass.

"Three more days," I whispered paying for my lunch.

The room was decorated in bright, green spider webs and fake hanging ghosts.

“Does every holiday in this town have to be so over done?” I asked, gritting my teeth while sliding next to Angela. My friend tore her eyes away from Ben, before answering.

“It’s just Principal Skinner and his No Child left behind theory,” Angela giggled as she rolled her eyes.

“Speaking of, you going to Lauren’s Halloween party?” I shook my head at Mike.

“Sorry Mike, I’m booked volunteering at the Police station all weekend. They’re expecting it to be pretty bad on Saturday with all the parties. Who’s jealous that my Dad’s the sheriff?” I looked around annoyed, but also grateful I didn’t have to make an appearance at any party.

Since my thirteenth birthday, I volunteered for community service and helped operate the phones at Forks Police station. That year ruined Halloween for me. Not many people realize the vast amount of prank calls that come through to the police on Halloween.

Tyler gave an apologetic laugh as I sighed taking a bite of my dead tuna fish sandwich. The table began to talk about their costumes as I tuned them out scanning the room. My eyes as always fell upon the Cullens. Alice had her back to me, holding hands with Jasper. I smiled. Edward was sitting next to Emmett, they were laughing about something. I wondered if it was a story from one of their many camping trips.

I was jealous; Edward’s eyes met mine for a slight second before they moved on. He must have been looking for something or someone. I sighed leaning back as I finished my lemonade. Maybe it would rain on Halloween that would subdue all vandalizers but not the trick or treaters. I didn’t mind the well behaved kids, it was the smashing and toilet-papering that annoyed me.

I was the first one into the Biology room; Alice was late arriving just as the second bell rang. Mr. Grodner was fast, handing us all our first test of the year. I moaned, last night after an hour of studying my mind was reeling. I figured forcing the information into my head wasn’t working. Now as I gazed at the test, I was nervous. Alice smiled a hello at me before looking down at her paper. She wasn’t her usual self, in fact she was avoiding me. Even during quizzes, Alice would slip in a comment or two, but today she was all business.

I struggled through the test, checking my essay at the end. I had made most of my reasoning up. Hoping my writing style would confuse Mr. Grodner and he would pass me, despite my lack of verified facts. The bell rang as soon as I dropped my pencil exhausted. Alice jumped up smirking, as she gave me a wink handing in her paper.

“I have to go, Bella, enjoy Basketball,” she sang. I winced; following her lead as I reluctantly handed in my test.

It was the most dreaded day, basketball drills. My classmates, knowing my weakness had me on ball duty. The bleachers were out; the automatic ancient structures protruded for the basketball tryouts that started tonight. I rolled my eyes as Margaret, one of the more athletic girls in the junior class, called for 'ball' as it rolled under the bleachers. I ducked beneath the dusty orifice, reaching for the ball as a whine came from under the structure. I heard someone scream my name.

Panic took over my body, my feet turned to lead as I struggled urging them to move. As the bleachers began to close around me, I knew it was no use to run. I was in the middle, even if I had perfect coordination, I wouldn’t make it in time. My legs went from lead to jelly as I felt a cold grip and a whoosh. My gaze was fixed on the closing wooden structure as it came so close. A hand shot out holding back the metal barrings as we slipped past the danger.

Looking up, I saw a pair of gold eyes, pleading. My mouth hung open as I blinked to my surroundings. He was holding me in the corner of the gym, a good fifty feet from where I was a moment ago as the bleachers slammed closed. There were a few cries but all I could see was Edward. My heart was pounding from his embrace and the brush with death.

I was confused, enamored, and filled with a million questions.

"How did you?"

"I followed you under the bleachers, Bella," he said it with so much authority.

I shook my head, the story swirling in my brain as he looked into my eyes pensively.

"Please."

I couldn't say no. My heart was beating so erratically and he was still holding me close. I looked down at his chest as he gently pushed me away, making sure I had my balance. I wanted answers, but I wanted him to keep holding me more.

“Are you okay?” he asked his voice so quiet, so tense.

“Y-yes,” I stammered breathing in his scent; trying to tattoo the memory of his arms around me forever.

"I'll explain everything," he promised, urging me to follow his story.

I gave him a nod as our gym teacher and a few others came running towards us.

"Oh my God, Bella, are you okay?'”

I looked up at Edward, who had moved away from me slightly. Swallowing, I tried to smile.

"Yeah, Edward followed me in; we were right by the edge when the bleachers started to close." I was a horrible liar, but the truth would have been even less believable.

The Gym teacher gave a quick glance at Edward, frowning as he shrugged.

"Well, you can sit the rest of the period out if you want." I sighed, glad for the reprieve making my way to the locker room.

My mind was racing, every glance I tried to steal at Edward he avoided. His jaw was locked tight, as I kept thinking about a few moments before. I was definitely in the middle of the bleachers, Edward was nowhere near me, and then he was there. I could feel the dust whiz by us, as in a blink of an eye we were freed. He was fast, very fast, and I was sure I was in his arms. I shook my head trying to calm my heart.

Alice didn't meet me after Gym as she had the last few weeks, it was odd. I waited to talk to Edward but he was avoiding me too. I tried to shake the feeling that the Cullens were hiding something from me. My mind raced through everything I knew about Alice’s family. Billy and Charlie had an argument when they first moved in, something about a Quileute legend. Charlie had refused to talk about it again, and Jacob rolled his eyes when I mentioned it.

Everyone had heard about the incident by study hall. My near-death experience was spreading like wildfire. I just hoped no one called home. It wasn’t protocol for the school to let the parents know of a near-death, no harm, no foul. But I wasn’t just any student, the Sheriff’s daughter had to suffer unlike anyone else. I groaned hoping the call wasn’t made. Renee loved to overreact.

Mike and Ben came over and sat at my table asking weird questions.

“Did your life flash before your eyes?" Mike hit Ben lightly at that one.

I shrugged trying to play cool as Edward’s gaze bore down on me. Did he really believe I would tell them the truth? Did I even know what the truth was?

“N-no it was nothing like that. I was just trying to get the ball. And I was almost out from under the bleachers when I heard it groaning to life. Edward Cullen was there and luckily helped me out. With my luck, I would have tripped or something. But no white lights, no lovely montage of my life thus far.” I laughed hoping I was convincing them, as both boys stared at me wondering; it annoyed me.

“I’m okay, typical Bella, you know, if it wasn’t the bleachers it would have been something else.” The boys smiled easing a bit, as they each gave a quick nod trying to change the subject.

“So what are you doing for Halloween? Going trick or treating?” Mike asked; a smile playing upon his face as I shook my head.

“No, I’ll just cozy up with a popcorn ball and maybe some Elvira, or a Friday the thirteenth movie. How about you two?” I questioned, hoping to turn the conversation away from me. I couldn’t help but peek at Edward, I could have sworn he was watching from the corner of my eye.

Mike shrugged as Ben bit his lip, nervously.

“Not sure,” I smiled trying to help my friend.

“Yeah, Angela usually goes out with the twins. I feel really bad I won’t be joining her this year.” Mike elbowed Ben as he blushed, hopefully taking the hint.

I was glad for the end of the day bell but annoyed as Edward raced out of the cafe. I knew he could have gone faster, heck he could have jumped through the window unscathed if he wanted. Angela met me outside of class and squeezed my shoulders as the boys followed us. I was annoyed at the attention, and everyone was staring at me. Any questions coming my way were thwarted by Angela, as she told people it was fine, and not to worry. They saw I was alive, no broken limbs or a scratch on me.

“This is Forks,” Angela tried to surmise as we made our way to the student parking lot.

“You have to admit when was the last time someone was threatened death by bleachers?” I faked a laugh as my eyes found the Cullens, watching. Jasper was staring intently with Edward. They looked worried.

“Well, I’m fine,” I said, giving Angela some good news. “Just lucky, Edward helped me out, you know how slow I am.”

I looked towards Edward wondering, Rosalie was watching now angry but Alice was nowhere in sight. I bit my bottom lip annoyed.

Did they really think I would say anything? I shrugged to myself as Angela flirted with Ben before unlocking her doors. Mike waved and I nodded, as we drove away from the school.

“You should ask Ben to go trick or treating with you this Monday,” I offered, hoping Angela would bite.

“You think?” she questioned as I nodded smiling.

“Absolutely, I’m pretty sure he’s waiting for the invitation.” I giggled as Angela blushed pulling to a stop in front of my house.

I was still shaking from earlier today. A rusted beat up Chevy parked lazily in the drive, as I waved Angela away and headed into the house.

The Blacks greeted me as Jacob lounged on my living room couch. Sarah Black, Jacob's Mom, was at the kitchen table sampling some new herbal tea Renee was hooked on. I greeted the women before sitting down next to my best friend.

"Are you finally getting rid of that Chevy?" I asked, as Jacob smiled innocently. I felt my shaking body calming; Jacob had that affect on me.

"Better you, Bella, than me, that thing is a tank but it'll run for two more years."

I laughed punching Jacob on the shoulder before stealing the TV remote from him.

"What are you taking miracle grow, is that another inch?"

Jacob smiled his bright, white teeth, they were stark against his russet skin. "Two inches this month."

"Do something about it Bella," Jacob's mother pleaded from the kitchen.

"He's eating us out of house and home too."

Jacob rolled his eyes, still smiling despite his mother’s words.

"This way, Bells, I can work on the rabbit in time for my sixteenth."

I laughed throwing my legs up next to his, I was tall for most girls; but Jacob was already six foot one and my feet barely connected with the table. I had two years and two months on Jacob but he looked like my older brother. Except for the face, Jacob’s baby face still gave him away despite the height.

I sighed hoping to change the subject. I had Cullens on the brain and I needed someone to talk to. Jacob being my BFF was the best choice.

"So, how are you guys getting home?" I inquired before Jacob laughed, turning from the TV.

"Your Dad's dropping us off at the Rez,” he replied as I nodded nonchalantly.

"So, our Dad's are speaking again?"

Jacob shrugged, obviously not wanting to talk about our fathers.

"I just thought after the whole Cullen thing."

Jacob smirked, "they got over it I guess, as long as no one mentions the Cullens."

I nodded smiling. “They're a pretty nice family; I'm friends with Alice Cullen."

He frowned, shifting away from me slightly. I noticed the exchange.

"What?"

He smiled awkwardly, trying to cover his earlier reaction.

"Nothing, Bella, just stupid stories that's all."

"What stories?"

"You know the legends of the cold ones, those stories they tell every year at the bon fire to scare us?"

Memories began to flood my mind, those scary stories the Quileute elders would tell. We would laugh scared, but I never thought anything of them.

"But they're just stories, right?"

Jacob nodded halfheartedly, as he left me for the kitchen.

"Got any snacks?"

I shrugged as he continued towards the cupboards. My heart raced, ‘the cold ones’, I thought. Edward's hands were cold as he held me, Carlisle's cold hands. I shuddered, thinking of the stories from my childhood.

Jacob changed the subject as soon as he had a bag of Doritos and stole the TV remote from me. He could have said anything, but typical Jacob; he just changed the channel back to a game and sighed.

“I’m heading upstairs, you coming?” I asked swinging my legs down to the floor as my friend watched me.

“To do what?" he questioned, slightly annoyed that I was leaving.

“Listen to music; I don’t know I can’t stand this game.” I rolled my eyes at the TV as Jake followed me.

“We’re heading up to hang out,” I called to our Mothers as Jacob took the stairs behind me two at a time.

Jacob fell on my bed grabbing a stuffed animal as I switched my CD player on. He whistled holding up my iPod in the air.

“How many weeks did you have to suffer through Mike Newton to afford this Bells?”

I smiled as music began to fill the room lying next to my best friend, as he scooted over for me.

“None. My parents caved. I’m expecting the other shoe to drop soon.” I wondered if it already had, if the bleachers were a product of my bad luck or the cosmos realigning.

Jacob played with the device.

“Right, because it’s not possible that your parents gave you a gift without anything bad happening.” I turned to him as he examined my gift. His eyes were narrowed as I sighed.

I was still shaking from this afternoon, and from Jacob’s words. I wanted to tell him what happened. Out of everyone, he was the one person I knew who would believe me and not tell a soul. But I had promised, not that Edward had kept his side of the deal.

“You’re acting weird today, Bells, like you fell into a well or something and don’t want Charlie and Renee to find out.”

His eyes were on mine, he was so perceptive, he could read me like a book and I shrugged.

“No, just Halloween’s coming...”

He laughed gently placing the iPod on my dresser as he played with my teddy bear.

“I still don’t get your aversion to one of the best holidays ever.”

I shook my head; Jacob loved Halloween he used to come trick or treating at my house when we were kids. I mostly gave him all my candy, even at a young age, All Hollow’s Eve didn’t thrill me.

“You still volunteering at the station?” he inquired while I gave a quick nod with a sigh.

“Yeah, you wanna come keep me company?”

He shook his head laughing.

“Bon fire, you know how important this day is on the Rez. It’s not just about candy and parties for us.”

I smiled looking at the ceiling for a bit as the CD skipped to the next song.

We laid like that for about an hour; I was deep in thought and not much fun. But spending time with Jacob wasn’t about having fun all the time. We had seen the best and the worst of each other. He was there when I broke bones and when my eyes were black and blue. I was there when we found out Billy wouldn’t walk again after his scare with controlling his diabetes. Everything our families went through, we did it together. It was always the Swans and the Blacks, Jacob and Bella.

When Charlie came home, Jacob jumped up to great him. I awoke from my thoughts, following my best friend outside as everyone examined Jacob’s handiwork on my new truck.

“Looks good, Jake,” I added after my Dad had kicked all the tires and looked at the engine.

I knew Jacob blushed, he was so proud of being mechanical. We would spend weekends as kids as he’d take apart trashed engines and try to put them back together. Quil and Embry, his two best friends from the Reservation, would help. Those summers seemed so far away, as I numbly went through with my goodbyes to the Blacks.

“So, when are you coming up to La Push to visit?” Sarah asked hugging Jacob to her side. He towered over her but it didn’t matter.

I winced; the last time I was in La Push was three weeks ago, we had to pick up Charlie after the Last Chance Derby. My father had one too many beers with the guys and a cooler full of fish.

“I don’t know. Can this make it back?” I asked wrinkling my nose teasingly at Jacob. He looked lost in thought but laughed at my joke.

“Question is Bella, can you handle her?” I punched his arm lightly as our Mother’s laughed.

“I’ll call you sweetie, maybe Bella and I can come next weekend,” Sarah smiled as she waved goodbye to my Mother slipping into the front seat of the cruiser.

Jacob tensed as he waved before getting into Charlie’s cruiser in the back.

”I hope you’ve learned your lesson, Jake.” I winked trying to tease him about being the perp but he rolled his eyes, annoyed at the old joke.

I wondered if I had asked too many questions about the Cullens. I didn’t think Jacob cared, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe they weren’t stupid stories after all. My heart began to skip beats as I remembered Edward’s strong arms holding back the bleachers from crushing me. I knew what my mission was this weekend; find out everything I can about the Cullens.

I spent all night looking up every legend I could on the cold ones. I couldn’t accept any of the explanations. By the time Charlie dropped me off at the station, I was slightly annoyed. I noticed a familiar car outside, it was Mike Newton’s, and I wondered what he was doing here. I smiled as Angela, Ben and Mike greeted me by the phones.

“We decided to help out,” Mike beamed as Angela took a quick glance at Ben before nodding.

“Great,” I said signing in as I took the phone next to my friend. We really could use all the help but I wondered, why was Mike part of the deal?

“Mike was with Ben when I invited them,” Angela whispered, guessing my unasked question.

“He seemed way too excited, sorry Bells,” she smiled, although she wasn’t really sorry. Angela worried about me, how fussy I was, how I didn’t talk about boys.

“Are you sure we can’t convince you to come out with us tonight Bells? You never come to any of Lauren’s parties?” Mike asked as he hung up the phone.

I shook my head taking a call as he waited for his to ring again. When I transferred the call to the main operator, I looked to Mike, he was still waiting.

“Sorry, I’m going to be here late, plus I don’t think Lauren likes me much.”

Mike narrowed his gaze thinking. It was just like him not to notice those little things. Like how cold Lauren was acting towards me, ever since freshman year it had gotten worse.

“Who cares, you can come with us what’s she going to do?” I rolled my eyes.

“I wasn’t invited Mike,” I finally said bluntly. He stammered shaking his head.

“No way, she said she invited you.” I laughed taking a deep breath as

Angela hung up her line. “Lauren lies Mike,” she saved me, as Ben gave her an admiring smile.

“Well then I won’t go,” he huffed as I shook my head.

“Right and miss one of her ragers, look Lauren and I are like oil and water, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out. I’ve accepted the fact that we’re never going to be friends.” I had hoped he got the hint, he seemed to let it go as the hour passed by and their shift ended.

“Are you sure?” Mike asked again; sliding his arms through his jacket, I smiled nodding.

Mike was acting strange, first Tyler, now Mike. Two more boys to act cold to at the appropriate times with a good balance of kindness, it was exhausting.

“Have fun,” I called as Angela smiled shyly while Ben held the door for her. I shook my head looking back to the phones.

My friends tried to help, and their company provided me with a break from thinking about Edward and what happened. What they were or could be? I shook my head, almost missing Mike and his awkward questions. The phones continued to ring as the night progressed, I was glad for it. The night went by with a few emergencies but a broken window and a disturbing the peace was a cakewalk for the Saturday before a holiday.

When Charlie finally got back to end the night and pick me up, he looked happy. I smiled as I shut the phones down and sat next to his desk.

“Could have been worse right,” he looked up grinning as he gave a quick nod zipping his coat up to brace the cold.

“You got that right.” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and I eased in his embrace. It was typical, my father always made me feel safe.

We drove home in silence as the cruiser hummed along the road.

“It was nice of your friends to help out this year,” Charlie added; quirking an eyebrow.

“The Newtown boy seems persistent.” I winced; leave it to Charlie to notice something embarrassing.

“He’s a good friend.” My father grunted.

“Does he know that?” he asked shaking his head as he laughed to himself.

“It’s not like I encourage him,” I replied dryly as Charlie cleared his throat.

“No of course not, Bells.” He looked to me apologetically before changing the subject. “So, no Alice this weekend huh?” he asked, as I shrugged.

“She’s been busy lately.” He smiled, taking a deep breath as we turned onto my street.

“She’s a nice girl, comes from a good family,” my father added and I could only nod.

“You good, Bells?” he asked; the concern was obvious in his voice.

“Yeah, I’m good Dad thanks.” I tried to smile as I turned away watching the night sky pass as he pulled into our driveway.

I laid in bed all night thinking, my imagination running ramped. Vampires in Forks? This sort of thing didn’t happen in real life. These occasions were saved for a good novel or some WB show. I wondered if my friends had a good time tonight. I hoped that despite everything, they had enjoyed themselves. I wasn’t one to go to parties but that didn’t stop me from enjoying them vicariously.

Sunday brought plenty of distractions as I tore myself away from my laptop clicking it closed before descending the stairs in my work clothes. I got to work with Mrs. Newton which I actually enjoyed. She was nothing like Renee, where my Mother worried about little things Mrs. Newton took them in stride. She kept me busy with projects, I was grateful, even restocking the bait section and organizing the fishing rods helped pass the time.

I laughed as I worked. Sunday’s a few years ago were spent at church and then lunch at the diner. Ever since my Grandmother’s death, my Mom had given up going to church, which meant for my Dad more ESPN. But for Renee, church had been a spiritual sanctuary and with her second parent’s death, she branched out of Christianity. To my dismay, she tried everything else; the Kabala escapade of 2002 was enough to make me shudder. But I understood my Mother’s questioning. When death touches you, it can change you, make you re-evaluate everything.

My shift at the station was much quieter than the last. None of my friends showed up but it didn’t matter. The phones rang enough times to make my presence needed, but I was also able to do my homework efficiently. When it was time to go home, Charlie came to get me by the phones. He smiled as I shut the system down.

“I’m really proud of you Bells,” he said, unfolding his arms from across his chest as he followed me outside.

“Yeah, thanks Dad,” I answered as we slid into the cruiser.

“You know you can put this on your college application. We’ll have Cindy write a letter and everything. There’s nothing like volunteering to catch those College Dean’s attention,” he shook his head laughing.

“Volunteering,” I smirked, teasing him, “so I’m not getting paid this year?” He looked at me oddly blinking as I shrugged. “Joking,” I smirked as he cracked a smile.

“So did you eat any of the pizza Bob ordered?” I shook my head, peeling pepperoni from your pizza wasn’t appetizing and I didn’t have the heart to tell Bob I wasn’t a meat eater.

“Good,” he laughed turning into the diner. “Renee already ate; I thought we could grab a bite together.” I smiled as we parked outside the Forks Diner.

We eased into a comfortable booth as Sandy our server greeted us, handing over the menus.

My father would eat at Forks Diner every night if Renee let him. He went weak at the knees for Tommy’s NY strip and I didn’t mind the onion rings much myself. Being a police officer got you a free cup of coffee and Charlie smirked to a few locals before sipping his soda.

“So do you know what you want Bella?” he questioned without looking up.

‘Yes.’ I thought. ‘I want Edward Cullen to look at me and for everything to go back to the way it was. I want it to be Tuesday already and I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.’

But I sighed, “veggie burger and onion rings, maybe?”