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When the Cullen brothers come across an injured Bella on the side of the road, they take her home to care for her. They quickly realize that she is their soul mate and will do anything to protect her. And they'll never let her go. J/E/B/E


4. Family Trees

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Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. I'm just experimenting on it.

A/N So, it looks like my story vanished for a short time, but it reappeared, so Yay! I'm going to blame FF for this. I guess it was just a glitch. I apologize, though, to everyone who was affected. I've seen that happen before. The story would have a new chapter, supposedly, but it wasn't actually available to read yet. It always arrived, though, at some point.

Anyway, I think a lot of people are worried about Jasper being so unreasonable, and he is, but that will change. He's just awful at handling his emotions at the moment and is used to getting his way, no fuss. Edward isn't as harsh, but still deluded. Don't worry, they will change. I think Emmett's always going to be a bit of a sweetheart, though.

Oh, and it's been raining all day where I live. It's kind of been feeding my mood and making me tired!


Chapter 4 – Family Trees and Severed Branches

When Edward was a kid, his father took the whole family down to their lake house for the summer. What he loved the most about those summers were the boat rides. Carlisle Cullen would take his sons, his father, and his brother, Marcus, out for the whole day. Esme would have dinner ready by the time they got back and everyone would gather in the dining room and eat and laugh for a couple of hours. It was one of the only times during the year when they were all together.

Edward was twelve when his grandfather died. His father didn't say a word for nearly a week afterward, but sat silently with his sons and wife and grieved. Suddenly the summers were a little less fun.

A year later, Uncle Marcus' wife died in a freak accident. She was struck by lightning, and no one could quite fathom it. It was devastating, especially for Marcus and their daughter Alice, who was ten at the time.

The family seemed to be breaking up at that point. No more summers at the lake and no more boat rides. Even if they had gone, the boat mysteriously blew up awhile back.

There were more tragedies to come later on, but what never changed was how close-knit the Cullen family was. Carlisle and Esme were the best parents.

So when Bella told them that it was her father who played the villain, imagine their horror. It was bad enough when they believed it was a boyfriend or a stranger, but her own father?

How could someone do that to their child? What kind of person would do that?

Still, it didn't change how they wanted to deal with the son of a bitch. They knew that he was a doctor and that his name was James. Bella didn't say what their last name was.

It couldn't be too hard to find out. It was possible that Bella was a student at Forks High, assuming she lived around there. But why hadn't they seen her, then?

And maybe…yes, maybe their dad knew this James guy. They were both doctors, and Carlisle knew everyone there was to know in his profession. Edward made a mental note to call his dad later.

Saturday morning arrived with a thunderstorm. Bella was asleep on the couch, having refused to take any of their beds, not out of kindness, but because the thought repulsed her.

She had made a friend of Emmett, and so it was him who kept guard in the living room to make sure she didn't flee. She was aware of what he was doing, but preferred him to Edward or Jasper.

Edward, for one, was smacking himself on the head for being such an ass. He considered himself a gentleman, but he had barely restrained the urge to kiss her last night, although he wasn't insistent like Jasper had been. He was aroused at all the wrong moments. He couldn't believe how inconsiderate he'd been. Of course she was scared of them. Of course she was freaked out by their behavior. Who wouldn't be? She had every right to be scared, and he had been thoughtless of her true feelings, only believing what he wanted to.

Despite the anger he possessed towards her father, despite her tears, Edward was unable to relinquish his attraction to Bella. She didn't need to be pawed at by a bunch of horny guys. It was wrong to desire her in that way at such a time.

He knew his brothers were having the same dilemma. Her dropping into their lives like that was just so sudden, but it's not as if they didn't expect it to some degree. And it was overwhelming, like they were told it'd be. They weren't accustomed to dealing with so much lust.

Guilt ate away at him. He was certain that Bella disliked him immensely. He wanted nothing more than to make it right, to prove himself. It seemed Emmett was the only one succeeding at that, however.

Jasper had secluded himself in his bedroom after Bella blatantly told him she'd like him to go away, preferably forever. He'd promptly stormed off, slamming the door behind him. He hadn't even come out for breakfast.

Edward emerged from his room early, having gotten barely any sleep. Bella was curled up on the couch with a blanket thrown over her small form. She was still wearing his t-shirt, and she had gratefully accepted a pair of Emmett's boxers since her panties were in the washer. They were way too big, but she was unwilling to go bare. Emmett pretended that he didn't mind.

Edward looked in on her as he made his way to the kitchen. She was so adorable. Her hair obscured her lovely face, and he had to resist going over and smoothing it away.

Emmett was snoring in the recliner. So much for being on watch.

Edward considered waking Bella up for breakfast, but decided not to disturb her. She was in desperate need of sleep, and there'd always be food waiting for her when she was awake.

He poured himself some cereal. Jasper was the one who made eggs and toast and all that. Edward couldn't be bothered and Emmett was dangerous with any sort of cookware. So cereal it was.

But what if Bella wanted eggs? It's not as if he didn't know how to make them. And she looked starved. God, she probably was being starved. That's it. He'd cook her breakfast.

He set to work, determined to make her a healthy meal.

Soft footsteps padded towards him as he stood in front of the stove. He turned around, coming face to face with Bella. She looked half-asleep, and he worried that he'd woken her with all the ruckus he'd made in the kitchen.

"Bella…" he caught himself staring again, and composed himself. Do. Not. Ogle. "Good morning. H-how are you feeling?" He was pained to see the purple bruising surrounding her left eye and the way it stood out against her pale skin.

Bella wiped at her good eye and yawned. "Sore, but okay otherwise. Thanks for asking." She offered him a small, sleepy smile, before eyeing the eggs he had going in the skillet.

"Hungry?" He asked, knowing she was. Bella nodded, somewhat embarrassed. She hadn't eaten since…hmm…Thursday night? Could it have been that long? Yes, it must have been. She remembered that she couldn't stomach food on Friday, knowing what the day would bring. She'd been nervous and was afraid that eating would make her throw up. Now, though, she was ravenous.

"I made eggs for you, if that's alright. I don't know what you like. There's fruit, too, and toast. I'll get you something to drink. Let's see, we have orange juice, apple juice, soda, beer, coffee, tea, water-"

"Water's fine." Bella grinned, amused by his attentiveness. She sat down at the table, putting her head in her hands.

Edward placed a plate of eggs and toast before her, along with a cold glass of water. He sat across from her. He fully intended to respect her space. It would destroy him if he scared her away.

He cleared his throat. "So… you're still here."

Bella lifted her head to look at him. "I thought you wanted me here." Or demanded it, but whatever.

"I do. We do. I just thought that with Emmett out cold and Jasper holed-up in his room, you would make a run for it."

Bella seemed thoughtful for a minute. Truth was, she hadn't been thinking about leaving when she woke up. "Well, it's not like I have anywhere to go. I don't have any friends around here or family. Would you even let me if I tried?"

Edward averted his gaze.

Would they? Would he? Probably not.

"I…I don't know, Bella. I admit, we want you here for personal reasons, but there's also the matter of your safety. I don't think I could let you go knowing that you weren't safe." His eyes met hers. "But I want you to be happy. I want you to treat this house as your own, and I don't want you to feel forced into staying. Just…can you give us a chance?"

Bella's eyes widened. What did he mean? "I'm not gonna have sex with you."

Edward's brows shot up. "That's…that's not what I meant." He stuttered. Shit, is that all she thought they wanted her there for?

"Good. I'm not a sex toy." Okay, maybe she didn't have to say that, but she started panicking about the whole "give us a chance" thing. He seemed nice enough, not like a guy with a secret sex-dungeon and a collection of whips. But he was a guy. Period. Guys want sex. Not that women weren't sexual, too, just not as…needy.

"Bella," he took her hand in his own, forgetting about giving her personal space, "it's not only lust we feel for you. I mean, obviously we are very much attracted to you," he took a deep breath, "but…and I know you don't believe this, but we do love you, as insane as that sounds. I know we just met and don't really know each other yet, but it's true. And we'd love to get to know you and for you to get to know us. I can't wait to learn everything I can about you. Please, can we do that?" He was aware that he sounded desperate, pathetic even, but he didn't care. She should be left with no doubt in her mind of what their intentions were.

Bella examined her hand in his. Honestly, her situation was awful. She had almost died and if she went out alone with nowhere safe to go, then she might as well have never been saved in the first place. At least here, with these three men who claimed to love her and want to protect her, she knew she had backup. And who would find her here?

For all her father knew she was dead. Eaten by a bear, perhaps, or fallen on a rock. She wouldn't be surprised if he and his goons went searching for her, but it was unlikely they'd find her here.

So she agreed. She had absolutely no intentions of becoming romantically involved with these Cullen men, and certainly not sexually involved, but she was willing to be friends. Maybe they'd realize they didn't love her after all if they spent more time with her and got to know her. Dad always told her how unlikeable she was. He told her she couldn't make a friend if she tried. That wasn't true, of course. She didn't want friends. Nobody was allowed to find out about her home life or what he was really like. She didn't have much of a choice in the matter.

"I'd like that." She said.

Edward beamed. "Great. Can we start now?" He was eager, he confessed. She found it kind of endearing.


"Good, so…what's your favorite color?"

Bella chuckled. "You do ask hard questions, don't you? Um, blue. Or purple. I like both. And you?"


Bella nodded. "What do you do?"

"We're teachers."

"What, all of you?" Bella couldn't imagine these guys as teachers. They were nothing like the teachers she had at school. They were just getting more and more unusual to her.

"Yes. At Forks High."

"Ah. That's funny. I've never heard of siblings working in the same school. Is that weird for you?"

Edward laughed. "It was at first. Jasper and I started at the same time. Seeing him walking down the hall every day reminded me of our highschool days, only now we were teachers. It's nice, though. We can relate to each other in that respect. We have the same problems with students, the same problem students, and the same stresses. Except Emmett. Emmett doesn't stress all that much."

This was going well, Edward thought. They weren't arguing. That was a good start.

"So, do you go to Forks High?" He asked, taking a drink from his coffee. He'd been wondering that since they met.

Bella hesitated, finding the table interesting all of a sudden. "Uh…no."

"Oh, where do you go? I figured this was the only highschool to go to in Forks. Do you not live here?"

Bella pursed her lips. "I do now. We moved last year."

"From where?"

"New Mexico. We've lived in a lot of places."

He wanted to ask about her father. The questions were on the tip of his tongue. What did he do to you?Has he been doing it for a long time? Where's your mom? Where is he? What does he look like? Would you mind terribly if I ripped his head off?

But she might not want to talk about him. He wondered, too, if she loved her father at all. It seemed unthinkable when you put a black eye and a million bruises into the equation. He couldn't wrap his mind around the idea of loving someone who would do that to you. But he was her father, and that might hold some weight with her. She might not want to let him go. She might feel obligated to stay with him.

The possibility that she may go back to that monster horrified Edward. Under no circumstances would he allow that.

Edward strived to control his thoughts. There was no reason to get worked up. She didn't say she wanted to go back to him. As far as he could tell, she intended to stay as far from him as possible.

She was done with her toast and eggs, he noticed. Now she was moving her cup from hand to hand. They had fallen into the awkward stage of the conversation. He hated that. He loved hearing her talk. Simply being in her presence, especially when she wasn't mad, made him happy.

"How's you cut?" He motioned to her bandaged chest and collarbone.

Bella had almost forgotten all about it. "It's fine. A little uncomfortable, I guess, but I've had worse."

Bella froze then. She hadn't meant to say that. Edward froze with her. He sensed his anger making a comeback, but did his best to squelch it. He'd save his rage for when James was in front of him.

"We should change the dressings." He declared, hoping she'd relax. He made up his mind not to press her for information just yet.

"Oh, do you think I need it? It feels fine, and it's only been on since last night."

"Better safe than sorry. I'll do it. My dad taught us how to do these things at a young age. I don't want you to get an infection."

Bella was slightly uneasy. Did she have to take the shirt off? Ugh. Was he going to see her topless? And where had they put her bra? She would get it back soon, she decided. She had to have her dignity in tact.

"We'll see." She said.

Emmett came rushing in then, a frantic look on his face.

"Bella is—"

He stopped when he saw her, sitting innocently, clad in his boxers and a big-ass t-shirt with a glass of water in her hand. He heaved a sigh of relief. "Thank god! I woke up and you weren't there. I thought you'd left." Emmett dropped into the chair next to her, slumping back and turning his enormous body towards her. "It's good to see you. Feelin' okay?"

Bella nodded, smiling.

"What do you guys want to do today?" Emmett asked, as if they did this everyday and Bella was just one of them.

Edward glanced at her, gauging her reaction. Emmett was so casual and easy to be around. He wished he was like that. "I have to grade papers later. But that can wait."

"Eh," Emmett waved his hand in the air, "I'm just going to fail all of mine anyway, so why make it a workday? Let's have some fun. Oh, I know! Let's watch a movie!"

"On a Saturday morning?"

"Duh. Weekends are for relaxing, Dorkward. That means movies, popcorn, and bad TV. What do you say, Bells?"

A movie? Actually, that sounded great. When was the last time she watched a movie?

"I'd love to." She replied. Emmett and Edward were glad and surprised that she was so excited by the prospect.

"What movie?" She wanted to know.

Emmett smirked. "One of my all-time favorites, 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!' You ever see it?"

Bella giggled. "No."

"Well, that's going to change! Come, Edward and Bella. Onward!" And he ran into the living room like the maniac that he was. Bella couldn't stop giggling.

"I like him. He's funny." She said.

Edward rose, offering her his hand. He already felt better. She was starting to warm up to them, and it was only a matter of time before she loved them, too…

Emmett shoved the recliner closer to the TV, a large flat screen, while Bella took the couch with Edward at a safe distance next to her.

"Bella, get ready for the experience of your life!" Emmett exclaimed. "You will never look at tomatoes the same way again!"

Bella and Edward laughed.

Bella truly felt comfortable, which hadn't been the case for a long time. And after last night, she'd been sure that wouldn't change.

The movie began, and Bella paid close attention. She was looking forward to a good laugh.

A few minutes in, she felt the space next to her dip down. She looked over to her left, and there was Jasper staring at her.


A/N I hope this gets through okay this time. Lol. Have any of you seen "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?"