The Future of History
Ten years after Edward leaves Bella, she has grown into a stronger yet cautious person. When the Cullens come back into Bella's life she finds herself in situations that are unpredictable and finds herself struggling to let the Cullens back in.
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Chapter 1: Grace
“Bella?” the voice repeated in a shocked but quiet tone.
“Please shut the door so we can speak, Alice,” I said just as quietly.
“Bella? What happened? I don’t understand,” she said her voice rising slightly.
Irritation flashed through my body because I realized she had yet to close the door.
I sighed. “Alice…the door?”
“Oh,” she said as she quickly closed the door behind her.
We stared at each other in awkward silence for a few seconds.
“Please have a seat,” I said cordially.
As graceful as ever, Alice made her way to the seat opposite my desk. The chair basically swallowed up her small frame.
“Alice I have to ask you to stop calling me that please,” I tried to say without irritation. If we were going to have any type of conversation that name would have to stop being said immediately.
“What do you mean? That’s your name! Why would I not call you Bella?” her words came out so fast and quietly that I knew she must be feeling some type of strong emotion.
“I no longer go by Bella, my name is now Grace,” I said calmly. Actually I was calm I thought with surprise.
“Bella please explain this to me, I’m confused what happened-” she said in a rush before I interrupted her again.
“Alice I must insist that you do not call me Bella. I really don’t think this will be a productive conversation unless we can get that correct,” I said firmly, marveling at my calm demeanor.
“Ok…Grace…tell me everything,” she said anxiously with a hint of irritation.
That’s when my calm demeanor vanished I felt a surge of anger roll throw my body. Why should I explain anything to her? They left me! Then I felt another emotion go through my body and quickly assessed that this was disappointment. I was disappointed in myself. I made a vow a few years ago not to waste any type of emotions on the Cullens at all. And here I am sitting behind my desk feeling angry at a person who I once considered a sister.
I took a deep breath before launching into my speech.
“Alice, I have been living in this area for about three years as Grace Collins. I understand you may have some questions as to what happened to me and how I came about living here but I must assure you that this is neither the time nor the place to discuss such manners,” I said this very quickly and quietly but I knew she would be able to understand.
Alice eyes widened as I finished my speech. I guess she didn’t expect this reunion to go this way.
I stood up slowly. “Now if you would please excuse me I have to get back to work,” I said as I motioned toward the stacks of papers and open books.
“Can we please talk?” Alice pleaded with desperation in her eyes.
My resolve wavered as I looked deep into the eyes of my old friend. Even though she hurt me I could never cause her any kind of pain.
“We can talk, but it will not be now,” I sighed.
Her eyes brightened minutely. “Of course, we have a house near this area and we would all love it if you could come by at your earliest convenience.” She said this while jotting down an address, directions and several phone numbers in elegant script.
I took the paper from her hand when she completed and sighed.
“Bella, please just come and talk to us.” She said with a touch of hurt in her eyes.
My eyes flashed angrily as I fought to keep my voice as low as a whisper. “Alice this will be my last time saying this, my name is Grace, Bella is gone. I will not tolerate being addressed as Bella and I hope you will carry this message of to the rest of your family.”
“Of course, please forgive me,” she said in a polite but slightly hard voice.
This actually surprised me a little I’ve never known Alice to speak with that tone of voice. Ignoring the slight change I continued “If it is ok I will come over some time this Saturday night at 8:30.”
This comment made the old Alice resurrect “But it’s only Thursday,” she whined “why can’t you just come over later today?”
I almost smiled, “Because I have obligations here,” I stated.
I quickly crossed the room to open the door. Alice stood slowly and somewhat reluctantly and turned toward the door.
“Grace, I’m so happy to see you I can’t even begin to describe what this means to me,” she said as her voice shook with emotion.
While her words were kind my rational mind acted instinctively and refused to believe any of her previous words.
As she walked to the door she raised her arms as if to embrace me. Seeing what she planned I raised my arms up to defend myself.
“Please stop,” I said quietly.
The amount of hurt in Alice’s eyes almost made me run across the room and embrace her tightly. Almost. My rational brain sneered at the possibility of hugging someone who hurt me so badly.
“I don’t mean to be rude, I just need time to sort this out,” I said calmly hoping to alleviate some of her hurt.
It didn’t work. She looked at me sadly and nodded her head. As she walked toward the door a question appeared in my mind.
“Alice? Why did you come here anyway did you actually need some help with the historical reference section?” I questioned as my professional instincts took over.
She rolled her eyes then smiled. “I came here for you,” she said simply, as if this were an obvious answer.
Before I could get another word in she walked quickly out the door and closed it behind her. Finally the significance of her visit became too much for me to handle. I walked back to my soft leather chair and closed my eyes, replaying the entire conversation. I should have known they would have a house here; they have a house pretty much everywhere. I thought back over the conversation and heard Alice say “we” more than one time. Could the entire family really want to see me?
Carlisle and Esme always treated me with so much kindness and respect. In the short time that I knew them I started looking at them as parental figures. I smiled as I remembered how all the doctors in the hospital Carlisle worked at treated him with complete respect and adoration.
Then I thought about Emmett. I couldn’t help the wide smile that appeared on my face as I thought of his massive frame but his kind heart. I truly began to see Emmett as the older brother I never had. Of course thinking of Emmett I couldn’t help but to think of Rosalie as well. My memory preserved her perfectly she was breathtaking and that was the only way to put it. But surely she wouldn’t be happy to see me. She saw me as nothing but a danger and a nuisance to her family. I bet she was elated to find out they were all leaving me behind.
I thought back to Alice, even though we didn’t know each other that long our bond became strong and I loved Alice as a sister. When she left me without even saying goodbye the amount of pain that caused me was significant. My thoughts moved on to Jasper. I sighed as I thought about my birthday party. I know Jasper would never mean to hurt me so I couldn’t be angry when his instincts over powered his rational mind. I only hope that he knew he was forgiven.
I knew it was inevitable as my thoughts cautiously went to Edward. I smiled darkly to myself, there was a time when I could not even say his name without the hole in my heart ripping itself wider. How would he feel about seeing me? I still remember the day he cruelly told me good bye in the woods. After he left my first reaction, of course was immense sadness. After my sadness I realized that anger had replaced it. How could he just leave me? After all the times he said he loved me; after all the times I pledged my love to him he just threw it back in my face. Once my period of anger was over I went into a period of self-loathing. I knew he was too good to be true. What could I, an average clumsy girl possibly have to hold on to a wonderful creature such as Edward? After gaining more friends I slowly moved to a level of acceptance. The love between Edward and I was an experience that I couldn’t forget even if I wanted to. I decided to embrace it and work on bettering myself.
Glancing up at the clock I realized that I had wasted the remainder of my work day thinking about the Cullens. I stood up slowly and began to straighten my office before leaving. I took another look around my office before turning to leave the library. It was just as quiet as it was when I arrived this morning; meaning just about everyone had already gone home. As I left the library I felt the inevitable sadness weighing on my shoulders at the thought of leaving work. Taking a deep breath I slowly made my way back to my house.
I opened my door and slowly walked inside. I sat down on my couch trying to find something to do that could keep me entertained until it was time for work again. I tried flipping through the channels to find something interesting to watch but of course nothing interested me. Sighing I walked out onto my balcony and looked up at the clear night sky. I wondered if someone was playing some kind of sick joke on me by dropping the Cullens back into my life.
Feeling tense I went back inside and went to my bathroom to take a shower. I paused and looked at my reflection. To anyone looking at me I would be considered beautiful. My skin was flawless and pale. My previous 5’4 frame shot up about half an inch due to my improved posture. I had always been slender but now I was more toned and yet at the same time I still had curves in all the right places. My mahogany hair cascaded thick, wavy and luxurious to the middle of my back. My eyes were framed with beautiful long lashes. My cheekbones were prominent but soft allowing my face to have a heart shaped quality. My lips were full with my top lip being just a tad fuller than the bottom. I looked deep into my eyes remembering a time when I would see warm pools of chocolate. I used to think my brown eyes were boring and dull. Now I realized they symbolized the life that I would no longer have. I frowned slightly as I examine the cold topaz eyes that replaced my warm chocolate eyes. My eyes looked clear and empty.
While I was satisfied with my life I never allowed myself to think too deeply about myself or my past. This was one of the few times I actually examined my appearance in the mirror in a long time. I turned the water on as hot as it would go and waited in anticipation for it to warm up. Once I stepped into the shower my body immediately relaxed as the warmth from the water soothed my skin. It’s not as if I were cold before hand, of course, however the warmth was simply delicious.
I stayed in the shower until the hot water ran out completely. After I dressed more comfortably I went to my favorite spot of the house which was the chair next to the fireplace. I made a fire then looked through my books for something to keep my mind occupied. I soon started reading a prayer book written by Queen Elizabeth I. I’ve read this many times but it never ceases to hold my attention and interest. Feeling the warmth of the fire I felt myself relax even more. I know I am no longer able to sleep but this is the closest I can get.
As I closed my eyes, I thought again of the Cullens. How would this reunion work out? Not knowing what to expect made me feel extremely nervous. I disliked anything that deviated from my normal routine of life. Thinking about the Cullens made me extremely restless and I soon found myself pacing around in front of the fireplace. I sighed knowing it would be a long night.
As I got to work the next morning I quickly made my way to my office without stopping to exchange pleasantries with anyone. I was a nervous wreck. The previous night I allowed myself to constantly think about the Cullens and now I felt irritated that this situation has taken such an emotional toll on me.
I smiled as I got to work because I knew the remainder of the day would be filled with solid facts. Translating some old Latin text I allowed myself to interpret the message I just found.
“Darkness encompasses more than the lack of light,
It can include lack of faith, lack of hope, lack of life.”
I quickly turned to another page before I could think to deeply about the text. Like always time flew by when I was working and all too soon it was time for me to go home.
As I got back to my house I felt my anxiety come back even stronger. Maybe there was someway I could get out of this visit. I thought about some excuses I could give as I retrieved the piece of paper Alice had given me. Taking a deep breath I dialed Alice’s cell phone number and waited.
The phone was answered immediately.
“Hello?” her soprano voice rang.
“Hi Alice, this is Grace,” I said politely.
“Hello Grace,” she said sarcastically. “How are you?”
“I’m well thank you. I called because I will not be able to make it to visit you all tomorrow. Something has come up and I’m not sure of my schedule anymore,” I lied smoothly.
There was an awkward silence before Alice spoke again. “Please don’t do this,” she pleaded.
Her voice sounded hurt but it did not sway me. “I’m sorry Alice,” I continued firmly “I just don’t think I can make it.”
“What about now?” she asked desperately.
I sighed “Alice it’s pretty late, I don’t think now would be a great time for me to visit.”
“That’s nonsense! You’re always welcome here no matter what time of day it is! Always!” she said with an angry voice.
Once again her words were kind but my rational mind refused to have any of it. I couldn’t allow myself to believe her.
“Well I don’t know….” I trailed off not really knowing what else to say.
“Bella please, we just want you back in our lives,” she said sincerely.
I sighed at the fact that she had, once again, called me Bella, but instead of feeling anger I was actually touched by the sincerity of her words.
“Okay I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said warily.
“Great! I can’t wait to see you, I’m so excited! Thank you for changing your mind! Now we can finally catch up, you wouldn’t believe how much we missed-”
“Alice,” I cut her off too sharply “I appreciate your enthusiasm but I need to go. I’ll see you soon.” I said quickly before hanging up.
I knew she was going to say how much the family missed me. My mind sneered at that possibility. I could not allow myself to let any of the Cullens back in my heart.
Sitting in my favorite chair in front of the fire I allowed myself to make a mental itinerary for the following day. I would hunt in the morning come back home, straighten up my already immaculate house then mentally and physically prepare myself for the family awaiting me.