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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:


7. Chapter 7, The explanation

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 5211   Review this Chapter

Chapter 7, The explanation

It was a normal Saturday morning as I sat on my bed delaying getting dressed and thinking to myself. I had nothing to do all day and just work in the afternoon. Normal, the very word caused me to shake with aggravation. Everyday my life took on a semblance of normalcy was another day away from the Cullens. Everything was going back to the horrible way it was, maybe even worse than before.

I felt like I was given a glance at what life would be like with excitement and adventure; only to be slapped in the face and told ‘this is not for you Bella.’ Alice was short with me as if we were never friends. And my encounter with Edward still played over and over again in my mind. He was avoiding me just like his sister; I was in a funk because of it. I wondered how I could survive the rest of the year. I shuddered at the thought.

No matter what I had to accept my defeat, that this like any other situation was beyond my control.

I heard the doorbell ring and the surprise in my Mother's voice.

"Oh, Edward, yes, she's upstairs one moment."

I had recognized the velvet voice in an instant, already out of bed pulling a pair of sweats on and an old sweatshirt. I paused in the bathroom rinsing my face and frowning at my reflection, pulling my hair into a ponytail. I did not care how I was dressed but the plainness of my brown eyes and hair annoyed me. Why was Edward here? Did it have anything to do with what happened yesterday? Had our encounter gotten to him as I wished it would?

"Bella, you have a visitor."

With a deep breath, I headed down the stairs, trying not to trip on my way down. He was standing there, an odd look of fear on his face. It was just like the moment I had been dreaming of. The moment when Edward would come to my door, ask to talk to me, and I would be forever changed. This was what I had wanted for the last three weeks, an explanation, something.

"Hi Bella," he purred. “Can I talk to you outside?" His voice awoke a longing inside me. I instantly began to wonder how long it would take before his voice didn’t make me go weak at the knees.

I nodded turning to my Mother, whom I was sure was listening.

"Oh sure, I'll, just be here," my Mother awkwardly stammered. I waved as I closed the door pulling my jacket from the couch.

As we walked down the drive, he lead the way, his shoulders were squared as if he was willing himself to take each step. He opened the door for me; all I could think of was those old movies with Carey Grant or Jimmy Stewart. I slipped into the Volvo as he gently closed the door. Suddenly, I felt like Audrey Hepburn, I blushed, blinking the idiocies away. He walked around the car carefully sliding into the driver's seat. He seemed as nervous as I was. When the door closed, he leaned back collectively on the headrest and I waited.

"I know you have some questions," he began as I sighed.

"What's with Alice?" I stammered.

He smiled to himself looking up, eyes filled with doubt but he answered me anyway.

"I asked her not to talk to you."

I couldn't believe it, was I right?

"Why?"

He shrugged.

"If it makes you feel any better, she fought me tooth and nail all the way through. She won't even speak to me now."

I laughed to myself, despite everything.

"Oh, I'm sorry." He winced at my awkward apology.

“So that fight in the hallway, was about me?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yes, my sister is very stubborn.” I bit my lip, wanting to change the subject.

"I know what happened," he started, tilting his head as he took a side-glance my way.

"You mean in gym," I added, as he nodded.

"Look, I know, I know what you are," I finally said, hoping to make this easier on him.

He looked up shocked.

"You know, what I am?"

I nodded looking out the window, avoiding his gaze. Fall was turning to winter shortly, I felt as if summer had just given way.

"Yes."

He smiled crookedly, almost playfully.

"And what is that?"

"I have my theories," I retorted. He sighed exasperated shaking his head

"Bella it was..."

"It was magical," I finished. "You were so fast and so strong."

He shook his head. “There is nothing magical about me.” He seemed disgusted, as if his own powers and habit of saving people was a curse.

"You are always cold, the way you behave and talk, it's old fashioned. Your skin is pale white and on sunny days, you guys don't come to school. I've never seen you eat, I know what you are."

"What am I?" he asked.

I shook my head; I couldn’t admit it. I did not want to scare him away. I felt once this was over, he would pull away from me for good. That all my nightmares would become a reality and my words would be the catalyst.

"I can't say it."

"Why not?" He tilted his head. I sighed, trying to avoid his gaze even though the thing I wanted most was to look into his eyes.

"Because if I say it, everything will be different."

He smiled painfully. "But everything is different already, isn't it?"

"Yeah," I said. "But I'll loose you... and Alice." I tried to cover quickly, my heart thumping. "I mean, you'll leave or something."

"Just say it." He closed his eyes, bracing himself for my words.

"You’re a vampire." It was as if he was holding his breath for an eternity, as he breathed out he seemed grateful.

"Are you afraid?"

I shook my head.

"No, I know I’m supposed to be. I'm actually surprised, but everything makes sense now." I could feel my lips curling into a smile.

He shook his head. "This isn't one of your stories, Bella."

I was shocked and embarrassed. "Oh, I know that, this is just so real." He averted my gaze.

"I should go," he whispered.

"Oh.” I looked down.

"I've wanted to tell you. Out of every human I've ever met, I wanted to tell you," he whispered so quietly as if talking with himself.

I met his eyes, immersed in his words.

"Me? Why?"

He laughed, looking towards me slightly amused and sad.

"Because you're you, Bella."

I was blushing; I knew it as I looked away.

"That day in gym." He nodded solemnly.

"You didn't have to save me, you know? You could have kept your secret."

He shook his head annoyed. "And let it crush you, Bella? You think I could have done that?"

He got quiet again, clamming up, clutching the steering wheel frustrated.

"I should go," he whispered again, strained.

“Is that what you really want?” I asked, studying him, wondering why he even came to talk to me in the first place.

He looked away from me as I stood my ground, my hand on the handle of the door as I debated on leaving him.

“No, but it’s what I should do.” I shook my head, confused.

“Why? Because of what you are?” He smirked slightly, his hands releasing their grasp as he rubbed his hands on his perfect pair of jeans.

“We’re different,” he started and I didn’t want him to finish, I didn’t want him to end whatever it is that he started.

“I don’t care.”

He laughed lightly shaking his head. “Unfortunately the world does. Nothing is what it seems and we all have a part to play.” He shook his head at his own words, a scowl of determination on his face.

“I’m not playing any part,” I answered, confused by his words.

“Aren’t you? We all pretend, Bella. Especially in high school.” I gave a quick nod. His words were hitting me like a ton of bricks. He spoke almost in rhymes and I knew he wanted to leave.

I slid out of the car, turning to him.

"And Alice?" I asked hopefully

He shrugged. "There's nothing I can do, at least now maybe she'll talk to me."

I smiled; nodding as I carefully closed his door, hope taking over fear.

"Thanks Edward."

I could feel his gaze on me as I made why way into the house. I heard the Volvo peel down the street as I closed the door.

"What was that about Bella?"

I looked up at my Mother.

"Oh, nothing just some school stuff." She was trusting enough, to not catch my obvious lie.

I headed back to my room.

"Going back to bed?" she mused.

"Maybe,” I answered as I closed my door heading to my laptop.

I scrolled across the desktop opening up my latest file, the one I had been obsessing over. The story about vampires. What did Edward mean about my stories? Had he read my mind, or my writings? I was nervous now. There were obvious characters from school in this story. But the latest one had a very particular hero, with bronze hair. My heart fluttered as I thought about Edward reading my work. I shuddered remembering a few weeks ago, awaking to an open window, when I was so sure I had closed it before going to bed.

After I finished password protecting my files, I checked the lock on my window. It was working fine and I sighed fighting an uneasy feeling. I kept the window locked as I made my way downstairs. I couldn’t avoid my parents much longer, I had to get to work. Renee smiled a welcome to me before looking back down at her book. She was studying to become a yogalates instructor at the YMCA in town. I knew Charlie was happy to get her out and about.

“Need a ride today, Bells?” Charlie asked.

I shrugged. Driving around town with my father was the closest thing to humiliation. He insisted on taking the cruiser, to stay connected via radio. Despite being on call and having a cell phone, my father was old school.

“Maybe, Dad. Thanks,” I responded as my father grunted looking back to the TV while I sighed pulling a box of cereal down from the cabinet.

When it was time for work I slowly slipped my hands into my jacket, I was not excited to have to reject Mike tonight. I wish void was really written on my forehead. If guys didn’t ask then I wouldn’t have to say no.

“I’m going to take the Chevy; I’ll see you guys in a few.”

My Mother looked up from highlighting passages in her book as she grinned.

“Drive carefully, Bella.”

I gave her a strong nod as Charlie looked to his watch, debating on going into the station himself.

“Bye.”

I waved closing the door looking up into the grey sky. It was a typical afternoon, but I felt dreadful. My mind was still racing about the Cullens.

“Bella,” a singing voice called, and I looked up to find Alice leaning against my truck. A wide grin plastered on my friend’s pixie face.

She danced towards my way, meeting me in front of the truck.

“Do you forgive me?” she asked. I smiled nodding.

“Of course,” I replied sheepishly; she beamed pulling me into a hug while bouncing with excitement.

“I’m so sorry, I’ve treated you awful. These last few weeks have been torture for me.”

I tilted my head trying to push the past away.

“Edward explained everything to me, I don’t blame you, Alice.”

She looked as though she believed me as the concern melted away. She reminded me of the old Alice, and I sighed wondering if things between us would go back to the way they were.

“You’re going to work now, right? I’ll come along.”

I laughed as she walked around the truck letting herself in.

“I don’t know, Alice; you’ll be pretty bored sitting at Newton’s waiting for me.”

She chuckled, looking around my truck, taking in all the scents.

“Oh it’s okay, I’ll keep myself busy.”

She looked back, sighing before shaking the sadness away.

“I’m so glad you and Edward talked.” She stretched up as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

“Oh,” I said, unsure how to broach the subject.

“I knew he would tell you but it took him forever.”

I looked at her confused.

“You knew?” She shrugged as if it was a given.

“Of course, I see things,” she looked away trying to make light of the conversation.

“You see things?” I inquired, my friend smiled as I started the car, trying to process all she was saying.

“Edward should have told you, he was going to tell you. Maybe he changed his mind?” she mused silently to herself.

“Like a psychic?” I asked before she nodded nonchalantly.

“Just don’t ask me to help you place any bets,” she laughed, a glint in her eye.

I couldn’t help but laugh as we drove to Newton’s while Alice talked animatedly.

“I’m so sorry to leave you to Mike Newton for the past few weeks. If I had any other choice,” she paused the last few weeks seemed to be as hard for my friend as they were for me. “I told him you were suffering, that you would understand everything. But what you said yesterday coupled with Mike’s proposal.” I turned to her shocked.

“His proposal?” She giggled, shrugging.

“He asked you to the dance,” she answered matter-of-factly. It was going to take some getting used to, Alice knowing everything.

“Edward’s worried you’re going to say yes to Mike.” She motioned toward the store as I pulled the parking brake on the truck, before slipping out with Alice.

“But you know what I’m going to say, don’t you?” I asked, happy that she had let me in on her secrets.

“Yes,” she said with a sigh. “But I’ve been torturing him and I won’t show him…I believe that is why he finally came to you today.”

She paused, shrugging as she looked to the surrounding woods by the edge of the parking lot.

“He’s going to come in tonight, but don’t tell him I told you,” she laughed gracefully waving as she disappeared into the woods.

I shook my head amazed at what I had just seen. Alice was almost flying, her legs moving so fast propelling her into the forest. I couldn’t contain my instant fear though. Edward was worried about Mike and I? He would come into the store today? It was a lot to handle in twelve hours. My theory on the Cullens verified and finding out they had quirks. What do you do with a psychic best friend? I shook my head bewildered. Edward’s words from this morning made me blush as I walked through the doors of Newton’s, half-heartedly waving at Mike tying my apron on.

”So have you given any thought to Homecoming?” I was lost in thought when Mike asked. My elbow leaning on the front counter. We had just restocked the bug spray in back. My shift was almost over as I eyed the clock with a sigh.

“I did, I’m sorry Mike but I’m going to be in La Push that weekend.” I thought about crossing my fingers, but decided I’d go to visit Jacob anyway so it wasn’t a lie.

“Oh,” he sighed, trying to smile.

“Well maybe next time.” I winced, trying to pacify his feelings.

“You could always ask Jessica, I’m sure despite everything she’d say yes.” He barely brightened at the mention of taking Jessica to the dance. I wasn’t sure if he was over their relationship or not, but hoped the alternative was enough.

“It’s my best friend’s fifteenth birthday so...” I tried the lie, shrugging as Mike nodded looking to the door as the bell rang.

“We’re closing in five minutes,” Mike stammered as he turned away, annoyed at the customer.

“Thank you.” I instantly recognized the velvety, seductive voice and tried to take a steadying breath. Alice was amazing, I was sure she was outside somewhere laughing.

I turned to him, smiling.

“Can I help you?” I asked as he smirked, shrugging.

“My family likes to camp, but our gear is wearing thin.” I nodded, trying to play along.

“Well we are closing in five minutes.” He smiled, my knees turned to mush as I held onto the counter as he approached.

“Hmm, these GPS devices look interesting.” My jaw dropped as I followed his gaze to the small electronic section we kept behind lock and key.

The GPS devices were new and very expensive.

He leaned in close to me, his breath extremely inviting as he whispered.

“Mike seems a bit depressed, doesn’t take rejection well, does he?” he flirted. I was crimson with embarrassment.

“I-if you are interested in the device, I can call someone for you?” He smirked reveling in my awkwardness, leaning closer on the counter.

“What’s in La Push?”

“You heard that?” I asked, amazed and annoyed.

He didn’t answer as Mike locked the front doors, glaring at us.

“Can I help you with something?” Edward gave Mike a curt nod, pointing to a GPS device behind the glass.

“I’ll take the 75 Garmin model.” He smiled; his brilliant whites sent my heart fluttering.

Mike was instantly flustered as he processed Edward’s purchase. I kept watching the two boys as I made my rounds checking the store. It was like the discovery channel, two Alpha males trying to show their dominance. Except instead of two bucks running at each other at break-neck speeds with antlers thrashing, they were glaring at one another.

When Edward finally left the store, I locked the door behind him watching. He seemed to feel my stare as he turned smiling leaning on his Volvo. He was waiting for me outside and I was eager to see him again, despite my nervousness.

Mike was annoyed as I said goodbye.

“You going to the dance with Cullen or something?” he asked frustrated as I fingered my keys.

I shook my head. “I’m not going to the dance, Mike. I told you I’ll be in La Push that weekend...so goodnight,” I said with more anger than intended.

When I stepped out into the night air, he was still leaning on his car.

“So what other, special abilities do you have?” I asked, leaning against the door to my truck.

He smirked while shrugging. I was annoyed at his coyness. I unlocked my door and jammed the key into the ignition. The car didn’t start and I shook my head embarrassed. He just watched smiling, before tapping on my window. Mike was locking the doors to the store as he watched us.

“I think Alice is playing a game, Bella, ” he said my name like a punch line to a joke. I shook my head, completely flustered.

“I can give you a ride, Bells,” Mike shouted as he walked towards us.

“It’s alright, I’m heading that way,” Edward answered as Mike stopped. I slipped down from the truck, as Edward instinctively steadied my stance. I wondered if that super hearing of his, could sense my heart racing at his touch?

“T-thanks Mike, but Edward offered.” Edward smiled at the boy, waving him away.

“I know a good mechanic,” he snarked as he opened the door to his Volvo.

I waited for him, pinching my arm to make sure this was real. He laughed, noticing me as he closed the door starting the Volvo. I clicked my seatbelt ready for anything as we pulled out of the parking lot.

“Alice told me about her, gift,” I announced hoping for some sort of reaction from him.

“I know.” I looked at him trying to decipher his reactions.

“So do you have super hearing or something?” He laughed at me, enjoying my clueless nodding.

“I knew it.” He looked at me as the woods raced by.

“You don’t mind if I take you home the long way, do you?” I knew he was speeding, but I didn’t care. I still felt safe as he broke a hundred, his Volvo racing the whole way.

“But it’s more than that, isn’t it?” He quirked an eyebrow as if this was a game.

“Maybe.” Was he enjoying this, I wondered.

I was silent for a moment, a hundred questions flooding my mind.

“What are you thinking?” he asked, the smile erased from his face and replaced with frustration.

“You know things, you hear things. Alice can see the future. What about Rosalie and Emmett?”

He laughed, “not all of us have extra abilities.”

“So these are extra to the strength, and speed,” I shuddered “and the coldness, and the paleness.”

“And my aversion to the sun,” he laughed.

“But I see you all the time, I mean it’s not like you catch on fire or anything?”

“Myth,” he chuckled. “I can hear people’s thoughts,” he said reluctantly, unwilling almost as if I was pulling it out of him.

“You hear my thoughts?” I was scared, everything I had ever thought, I shook my head.

“I hear everyone’s thoughts except yours,” he added comically, a hint of frustration mixed in his voice.

“Except mine,” I repeated, “except mine.” The fact that my mind was still safe from Edward brought a smile to my face.

“Alice can see the future and…why can’t you read my thoughts? Am I defective?” I asked as he shook his head laughing.

“I can’t smell you either. Carlisle thinks it is some sort of a… shield.”

“A shield?” I pondered as he shrugged.

“He can’t really explain it either,” he answered quietly.

“Carlisle, you talk to Carlisle about me?” He looked down embarrassed and nodded.

“I share everything with him.” I bit my lip; I had delved into some part of his life that he didn’t want to divulge.

“Of course you do, that makes sense.” He smiled crookedly.

“You haven’t gotten to the most important question,” he laughed. “Sometimes I really can’t figure you out, Bella.”

I looked at him, unsure of his meaning.

“Because you can’t read my mind?” I inquired, happy that he couldn’t.

“Sure, and because you know what I am and still you’re avoiding that one very pressing question.”

“Blood,” I said.

“Blood,” he nodded.

“I know you won’t hurt me,” I answered. “I just figured… I don’t want to think about it,” I said matter-of-factly.

He nodded, sobering up to the thought.

“Do you remember when you first visited? And Esme was so concerned about your eating habits?” I nodded, he wasn’t in the room at the time but with his hearing, I figured he had heard it all.

“And Emmett made the comment that we are vegetarians too,” he laughed at the private joke. “That is because we do not feed on humans, of course.”

He said it wincing slightly, waiting for my reaction.

“So….?”

“We hunt animals, Bella.” It all began to make sense.

“The camping trips?” He smiled, seeing the fog clear from my eyes.

“The camping trips,” he confirmed.

“Oh. You always returned from those trips so happy and full-of-life.” I smirked as it dawned on me.

He sighed, leaning back as the car sped forward. I could tell he was heading towards my house but I didn’t want the night to end. I remembered the blush on the Cullen’s cheeks when they returned from a trip, and how after a while in-between, they would go pale, and their eyes grew darker.

“So you all?”

“Yes," he replied.

“For how long? I mean, how old are you really?”

He laughed. “I was turned in 1918, if that answers your question. At the time, I was seventeen.”

“Wow,” I gasped. His gestures, the way he opened the door for me. He was truly a gentleman because he was raised to be that way. Edward was from a different time.

“That’s a long time ago.” I wasn’t sure of the words that were flowing from my mouth. I wished for an edit button, or a rewind. Everything that came out sounded ridiculous.

“And, Carlisle?”

“He changed me, he’s the oldest,” he said solemnly.

“He changed you?” I let the words sink in, the next question on the tip of my tongue.

I paused for a moment, debating on whether to ask the next question, the one that sent my heart beating rapidly.

“Have you been in my room?” I asked, closing my eyes tightly when he gripped the steering wheel, feeding my suspicions.

“I mean, what you said this morning about my stories. I’m sorry, I’ll stop writing them, I’ll destroy them.” He let out a bated breath, before smirking.

“I invaded your privacy and you’re apologizing to me?”

“I didn’t know, I haven’t even written in weeks. Not since I had figured it out.” I hoped I was making sense.

“You’re not going to leave now are you? Now that I know?” He was silent for a moment, encouraging my fear.

“You know I won’t tell anyone,” I added, pleading.

“Alice knows that,” he finally said, through a clenched jaw.

“But the others? Rosalie and Emmett, Jasper, your family?”

“They trust Alice.”

“So you’ll stay?” I whispered pushing the emotion from my heart, he looked at me pained.

“I’ll stay,” he sighed as if he was indebted to me. “Alice, well, I don’t think they could convince her to leave, not now.”

I smiled, relieved slightly. “I know how she feels.” He looked at me, a smile playing upon his lips. I wondered if he knew I meant it towards both of them. Alice and Edward not talking with either of them, how I wanted them both in my life forever.

We reached my house, I was nervous.

“I don’t…” I tried to find the words, “I don’t mind if you do come into my room.”

He didn’t say anything, I didn’t know if I was embarrassing him or myself.

“Why not?” he finally asked, no doubt wondering what was going through my mind.

If I said exactly what I was thinking, what I was feeling, would he reject me? Maybe I was just some oddity for him. He couldn’t read my mind, or smell me. Sure Bella Swan, the experiment for the local vampires, let’s see how long you can stand her. I sighed.

“It’s embarrassing,” I finally answered.

He gave a quick nod before asking another question.

“Do you have to work tomorrow?” I turned smiling, happy for the change of subject.

“Alice hasn’t told you yet,” I retorted, happy to be let in on the secret.

He shook his head.

“I’m not working tomorrow,” I answered matter-of-factly, not wanting him to wait any longer.

“May I see you tomorrow then?” he asked with a smirk, it was odd.

“I guess.” I nodded.

“I want to show you something,” he added and my heart raced at his words.

“I’ll be here,” he looked solemnly at the night sky as the sun dipped beneath the trees.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Bella?” he asked, as if I would be the one to disappear.

“Yes,” I answered.

As I moved to slip out of the car, he was gone quickly within a blink of an eye, opening my door. I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of Mike Newton trying the same maneuver. Edward was truly a lost breed. I wondered if he would walk me to the door. He didn’t disappoint as he lead the way.

“Thank you, Edward,” I said. “For this, everything it finally makes sense.” I shook my head unable to suppress a laugh.

“What?” he asked, his white teeth reflecting the porch light and his eyes studying mine.

“Nothing, it’s just I had promised myself that this year would be drama free. And yet, I’m glad you guys came to Forks.”

He winced shaking his head.

“I tried to stay away from you, Bella, but I couldn’t. Despite everything, I was too selfish.”

He left me then, glancing back for a moment before getting into his Volvo. I held my breath. What did he mean, he was the selfish one? I hadn’t even noticed my Chevy in the driveway. And wondered if Alice was the one to drop it off.

My Mother greeted me with a smile when I stepped through the door.

“Alice stopped by, she said you had some car trouble and Edward took you home?”

“Yeah I…”

She smiled some secret between Alice and her danced in my Mother’s eyes. Leave it to Alice to charm her way with my parents.

“It’s okay, dinner’s on the table.” I glanced at my father, devouring his steak dinner, next to a plate for me filled with vegetables.

“Thanks Mom,” I tried to act nonchalant as I sat next to my Father.

He grunted a hello, as he eyed the game on the TV in the corner of the living room.

”So Alice brought the steaks, seems the Cullen family are into hunting.” I looked down as my father cut into his venison steak.

“Yeah,” I answered. “they hunt all the time.” I wasn’t sure if Alice was joking with me, if this was her version of a practical joke. But I couldn’t help stifle a laugh as I speared a piece of zucchini into my mouth.

When it was time for bed, I debated on unlocking the window. Biting my lip, I played with an idea as I released the latch. If Edward were coming into my room, if he did want to see me, I would not stop him. I willed him to come, I didn’t care. Let the drama in, I thought if it meant having Edward by my side. The very fact that this beautiful creature wanted to be by my side was bewildering enough.

I dressed and washed up mechanically. I had taken in a lot of new information in such a short span of time. I knew that Edward was a vampire and that his family was like him. But I was surprised by all the extras that went along with it. I was amazed at how well I had handled everything. Sure I was still in shock, or maybe it hadn’t fully hit me yet. There was also second thought, maybe I had known it all along?

I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to fall asleep, I was determined to wait for Edward. I laughed, realizing he was probably waiting for my parents to go to bed and Charlie was still watching a late game in the living room. I sighed; the Cullens were changing my life. But then again, there wasn’t anything special about my life before the Cullens came into it. I was willing High school to speed by and hoped College was the answer. As my mind drifted to sleep, I suppressed a slight giggle, leave it to love to make me act like a teenager.