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A Second Chance at Love

Summary:
Bella dismisses Edward when he returns in New Moon. She moved on with Jacob, and promised Edward that he would find happiness and love someday. With the letter she wrote him in hand, he believes her and moves on with his life, in search of his love. Forty years later, he and the rest of the Cullens re-enroll in High school. Two new students throw his world out of orbit and he’s faced with the reality of the promise Bella made him. AU after New Moon. Edward is a little OOC because he doesn’t want to repeat history, otherwise, canon couples with the exception of Edward of course. Note: Jacob was a werewolf, but Bella wasn’t necessarily all human herself. Rated NC-17 for language and content in later chapters. Yes there will be lemons but not at first.


Notes:


10. Chapter 10. I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay.

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4263   Review this Chapter

Arbie PoV

“Edward Cullen, I presume,” a dark haired one greets, extending his hand in greeting. I step forward blocking Edward from being able to shake his hand. I heard stories about the Volturi and their gifts with touching one’s hand.

“I’m Arbie Bentley,” I say, grasping his outstretched hand, letting him feel the inhuman strength in my grip. “Who might you be?” I ask, my tone full of friendliness. The surprise in his expression is not hidden. He has a talent and it is clearly not working on me.

“I’m Aro, of the Volturi. Are you Arbie Bentley as in A.R. Bentley, heiress to Bentley Motors?”

“The very same, and this is my brother, Jeb. Or you may know him as J.E. Bentley,” I reply, gesturing to Jeb who has now walked up beside me. We are both now blocking Edward from Aro’s hands.

“I always thought you were vampires,” he states, surprised. “Usually when CEOs or leaders of large companies never show their faces, it means they’re immortal and—“

“I am immortal,” I say, cutting him off, “even harder to kill than you are.” Let him see the veiled threat, I decide. “Please do come in, Aro. How rude of me to not invite you in. I do apologize.”

“No apology necessary. I understand our arrival is somewhat of a surprise. Felix, Demetri, please join me.”

“Yes, please come in, Felix and Demetri was it?” I ask, extending my hand in greeting. Edward likely has figured out that I’ve made it so that anyone has to be expressly invited in to this house by me. Felix and Demetri both eye me as if I’m something to eat, even though I know I have no scent to them. Edward leads them all into the living room, careful to put as much distance between him and Aro as possible; he glares at Felix and Demetri before taking my hand securely in his as we sit down on the sofa.

“Please elaborate, child. How is it that you are immortal?” Aro requests. I almost snap at him and say I’m not a child, but even Edward’s century and a half will seem like infancy to his millennia. “I can smell no scent from you, at all. You must not be human.”

“My father was a shape shifter and my mother was a descendant of a half mortal.”

“Was?”

“They’re both dead. Murdered… by a vampire.” His eyes tell me he wants more to the story, but I’ve already given him more than I care to share. “Do you mind if I ask the reason for your visit?”

“I was in Alaska, visiting some acquaintances there. And figured I couldn’t pass so close to the Cullens without stopping by.” I can feel Edward tense up behind me, telling me that Aro is not being entire truthful, and has an ulterior motive swimming around in his mind. “Tell me, young Edward. How many is your coven now?”

“Our family has five pairs now, including my mating with Arbie. But we’re split up at the moment.” Aro’s eyes light up at Edward’s mention of our being mates. In fact, it’s the first time Edward has even used the term with me. “Carlisle and his mate are in South America presently. I live with my sister and her mate at the moment, while the other pair is currently traveling in Australia, visiting some old friends. Arbie here lives near us with her brother and their adoptive parents.” It shocks me how smoothly Edward is able to lie to Aro about his family’s whereabouts. I figure Alice will see his decision to tell Aro this and make sure everyone is where he said they’d be in case Aro decides to confirm Edward’s claims.

“Adoptive parents?” Aro asks, likely assuming my moms are humans.

“Vampires,” I clarify. “They found us after our parents were killed and raised us as their own.”

“How lovely, my dear. It is really too bad Carlisle isn’t here with you. I would so have loved to catch up with him. It’s been too many decades between visits.”

“I shall pass along your regards to him when I speak with him again,” Edward promises.

“I thank you, son. Arbie, my dear, I am most curious. How old are you?”

“Thirty-six” I reply. “We aged at about twice the rate of a human until we were eight, and then stopped all together. We haven’t changed since.” Jeb nods along with me, agreeing. Aro asks if we are twins. “Yes, though we don’t know which one is older,” I joke.

“How fascinating!” Aro exclaims. “And your parents passed away you said. At the hands of one of my kind. How tragic. Do you know what happened by chance?”

“Yes,” I reply. He reaches out to grasp my hand, and is too quick for me to move before he grabs it. Edward stiffens at my side, but doesn’t show it in his face. Aro squeezes my hand gently, turning it over in his hand a few times before releasing me. He’d grasped my hand earlier but apparently wasn’t satisfied with the idea that his mind reading ability does not work on me.

“You are a marvel,” he states. “I can’t see anything from you at all.” I figured he wouldn’t be able to see anything; most vampire abilities are useless on me.

“That does not surprise me,” I state. “I’ve yet to meet a vampire whose abilities work with me. Same goes for Jeb.” I glance at Jeb who looks like he’s sizing up Demetri, trying to figure out which of them would win a fight. Looking at Demetri, my money’s on Jeb.

“I wonder if that’s a genetic anomaly or an ability of your own,” Aro wonders.

“Or both,” I add. He smiles and nods at my words. Clearly I’ve intrigued him much more than I intended. This could turn out to be very bad. I need to find a way to steer his intrigue somewhere else, making myself seem boring. “Now back to the story you requested,” I say, steering the conversation away from topics of abilities.

“A very sick minded vampire named Victoria had a vendetta against my mother. Victoria’s mate was allegedly killed at the hands of Bella, or so she told me when I met her last week.”

“You met Victoria?” Aro asked. “Did she know who you were?”

“Yes, she came into my house, kidnapped my brother, strung him up in a tree and lured me to her by leaving a message written in his blood on the wall in my living room.”

“Oh dear heavens!” he exclaims.

“I have a twin bond with Jeb that tells us where the other is pretty much at all times. We’ve never tested the distance but it was an hour’s run at a vampire pace to find him. She told me she killed our parents in vengeance of her mate. The moment she said it, I saw red and killed her myself.”

“So you’re capable of killing vampires?” Aro muses.

“Yes, that was the first and only time I’ve done it,” I reply. I’d rather not have him classify me as a slayer of some sort. He asks my brother if he’s ever killed one, and Jeb replies, “No.”

The conversation carries on, with Aro asking question after question about our encounter with Victoria. Evidently, she sought out the Volturi’s assistance a decade before, requesting Demetri to help her track Jeb and I. Though Aro didn’t know at the time that we were the ones she was looking for. Demetri wouldn’t have been able to help in any case, even if the Volturi had said yes. Aro had seen her lunacy in her thoughts, believing that she had made up the whole affair. “Edward, it appears Victoria knew you as well,” Aro stated. “I remember seeing her standing in a clearing with you and the rest of your family.”

“I am the one that killed her mate,” Edward admits. “He threatened a human that our family cared very deeply for, nearly killing her. Once we dispatched him, we left the area, so she could not be affected by our supernatural presence. I have not seen or spoken to her since.” I know Edward is lying through his teeth, but I also know that if Aro finds out he revealed himself to a human then left her without changing her, he’d be rather upset. Who knows what punishment he would decide to carry out on Edward should he find out what actually happened.

“Can you tell my why that human was with you all in that clearing that I saw in Victoria’s memory?” Aro asks.

“Family picnic,” Edward replies, lying so smoothly. “We had to maintain the human illusion, of course. I remember choking down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottle of water. Absolutely vile.” Edward grimaces, as if remembering the sensation of eating human food.

“And this human girl, I believe Victoria referred to her as Bella. She never found out your true nature?” Aro asks.

“No, she never did. The closest she ever came was wondering how it was that we all had the same eye color, but then chocked it up to her own eyes playing tricks on her. She was a very helpless human, stumbling over her own feet, attracting danger left and right. It was hard for us not to feel protective of her. Which is why we all had such a strong reaction to James trying to hunt her. The entire family banded together to protect her, killing James in the process. Victoria must have thought that Bella was romantically involved with one of us, and felt to exact her vengeance in a mate for mate fashion on Bella rather than on me, or another member of my family. If Bella died because of me, it’s one thing I’ll be forever sorry for. I can only hope that her daughter, Arbie will forgive me for that one day.”

“I already have,” I whisper, taking his hand in mine.

“Wait just a moment, are you telling me that this Bella, a human, was your mother?” Aro asks, dumbfounded.

“She wasn’t human,” I reply. “Not entirely anyway.” I explain the mechanics of dhampires, to which Aro acts as if he’s never heard of such a thing, though I can tell that Edward suspects otherwise. Aro takes everything in like a sponge, though I can tell he’d rather just extract the information from our minds, rather than wasting time with this drivel called conversation.

It appears we’ve come full circle in the story and Aro has all the answers to the questions he’s asked. Once they’re out of earshot after they leave, I will certainly be asking Edward what was going on in their minds.

“Listen Aro, while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being questioned like the Spanish Inquisition,” I remark, not bothering to hid the sarcastic tone in my voice. “I have to wonder at your true reason for being here.” He begins to speak but I cut him off with a wave of my hand. “As I am neither vampire nor human, I am not bound by your laws, so I will speak freely, and you will listen.” Aro sits down suddenly, as if I’ve slapped him, but keeps his mouth shut.

“You mentioned you were in the area and wanted to ‘visit’ Carlisle. We all know that is a lie. The Cullen family is the only group of vampires in this region, so you being here for another reason is hardly fact. Alaska is not close enough to ‘mandate’ a visit to the Pacific Northwest, and we both know it. You worry that this family or coven as you’d call it has grown too large and too talented. You fear that we may attempt to overthrow you.”

Aro nods, which surprises everyone in the room but me. I can be very persuasive when necessary. It’s all in the eye contact. “What you need to understand is that neither Carlisle nor any member of this family has any desire to rule. We merely want to live our existences in peace. Unlike you and many in your lot, none of them chose this existence. Carlisle was not turned by choice, merely by accident. A feeding interrupted or a meal gone awry, if you will. When he found a way to exist in this world and not harm humans, he jumped at the chance. You know this rather well, as you’ve known Carlisle a very long time. When he grew too lonely, he took it upon himself to create a companion, consequences be damned. He created Edward, followed by Esme, Rosalie and Emmett. All of whom were at death’s door and had no other options for survival.

“Carlisle made a judgment call in each situation, having no prior knowledge of whether any of these dying individuals would carry with them a gift into immortality. In all truth, only one of the vampires he created awoke with a tangible gift. Two others joined the family some time later, interested in pursuing the ‘vegetarian’ lifestyle as they call it.

“I joined the family when Edward and I met a short time ago, learning we were mates. So there you have it; the story of the Cullen family, spelled out in detail. And you didn’t even have to touch someone to find it out.” Demetri holds back a snicker at my remark. Aro is sitting still as a statue, taking in all my words.

“What you say is true, child. Carlisle Cullen has no lust for power.” He’s saying it as if he’s in a trance. “Felix, Demetri, come. Our work here is done.” Aro rises from his seat and glides out the door, Felix and Demetri on his heels, both with confused expressions on their faces. They get in their car and drive down the road, leaving us in peace.

“How in the hell did you do that?” Jeb asks.

“What he said,” Edward echoes. “It was like you had him in a trance. He couldn’t not listen to you. He couldn’t not believe you. Even if he thought deep down that what you said was a lie, he was forced by some unknown power to believe you. I don’t think we’ll ever have to worry about the Volturi coming after us. At least not an attack from Aro, that is.”

“I can be very persuasive when I need to be,” I reply. “I could tell that when you mentioned that the family was now five mated pairs, he became uneasy. Ten vampires or even nine vampires, and one whatever-I-am in one coven is a lot. Bigger than his even, save the guard. He had trouble comprehending that a big coven does not necessarily mean a greed for power or authority. We all love each other like family. We are family.

“I can’t guarantee that the other members of the Volturi will agree with Aro, though. From what I’ve heard, Caius can be rather ruthless. He may find my existence a danger to vampire-kind.” Edward growls at my side. “What? It’s not like it isn’t true. He may view Jeb and I as a threat that needs to be eliminated. We may have won over Aro, but Caius will be another matter. We can only hope that Caius listens to Aro and believes that we are not a threat to their regime.”

Edward PoV

I want to throw both Demetri and Felix into the fiery pits of hell. After dismembering them, cell by cell of course. The vile thoughts they were thinking about my mate made my skin crawl. I can’t believe I was able to keep an even tone and serene facial expression throughout Aro’s interrogation. Both Demetri and Felix were eying Arbie as if she were some feat they both needed to conquer. Felix was even entertaining the idea of “double teaming” with Demetri, whatever that means. I’ll have to ask Emmett about that some time.

“I cannot be held responsible for my actions should I ever run into Felix or Demetri ever again,” I say.

“Why?” Arbie asks.

“Suffice it to say, they both were having rather impure thoughts about you.”

“So you’re saying they wanted to shag my brains out,” she replies, crassly. My jaw drops. “Oh don’t be such a prude Edward, you know you’re the only one that gets to do that.” She winks at me. Jeb makes a gesture as if he’s about to lose his lunch at the idea of his sister and I having relations. I can’t blame him though, I’ve had similar feelings at the thought of my sisters in the same situation.

“Now that they’re in the area, do you think it wise for the rest of your family to come here?” Jeb asks.

“Good thought, no it’s not a good idea. In fact, they should probably head to the places I mentioned they were already at.” My phone beeps with an incoming text message. The ringtone indicates it’s from Alice.

*Already on our way to each location – Pixie

I show the text to Arbie and Jeb. They seem appeased by Alice’s message. “Good, I really don’t want to have to take down the Volturi this decade. Let’s wait a few decades before we attempt that,” she jokes. Or is she not joking? Shaking the thought from my head, I change the subject.

“Did you want to head over to Charlie’s house, love?” I ask.

“Yes. Jeb, are you ready to meet our Grandpa?” Jeb nods with a tentative smile and we head out the door. I’m planning to stay in the car again; there’s no telling if Charlie will remember or recognize me, nor what would happen if he does.

Once we arrive, the nurse is taken aback by the hulking form of Jeb. He is nearly as tall as his father and almost as solidly muscled. This nurse never knew Jacob Black, but Jeb’s size would be a shock to anyone. A part of me wonders if he’ll ever phase like Arbie seems to do. Maybe he’ll even become a full on wolf some day. I try not to listen too closely as Jeb and Arbie spend time with their soon to depart grandfather, but I can’t help but hear Charlie’s surprise at Jeb’s likeness to his father. It actually causes his heart to skip a beat, which in his condition is not safe. Luckily, he calms himself down quickly.

Charlie Swan truly is a wonderful man; he loved his daughter more than his own life, and very nearly gave up his in an attempt to save her. He still has no idea that his daughter was surrounded by creatures that belong in mythology, nor that his grandchildren are a new breed of supernatural creatures. He’s noticed that they don’t look nearly as old as they should, but he’s chocked that up to a weird Quileute trait like his stepson, Seth.

“Jeb, you look just like your dad,” Charlie wheezes. Through his thoughts, I see him reach for a photo album that’s resting on the nightstand. Jeb rushes to his side to help him. Charlie takes the book and places it on his lap, opening it to one of the last few pages. “Here’s a photo of your folks on their wedding day. They were so happy and in love. I’d never seen two people that love each other that much. And they stayed close all through their marriage, Jacob was overjoyed to learn they were having twins. But always worried. I guess he realized how tiny Bella was and how big he was, and worried that any baby of his was gonna be big, too. He worried you both wouldn’t fit in her tummy,” Charlie jokes. I wince at his memory of Bella’s swollen belly. Even being part dhampire, her body was barely able to contain two half shape shifter babies.

“She wasn’t pregnant very long. Only six months. But she was so big, we couldn’t tell if something was wrong or if you guys just grew extra fast.” Charlie strokes a photo of a very pregnant but smiling Bella before continuing his story. “I was so proud of my baby girl. She somehow was able to push you both out with no pain medication, and she hardly complained at all.” Yep, that sounds like Bella. She never liked to let anyone know she was hurting.

“Your Grandma, Renee, was beside herself the entire time. She passed away right around the time your mom and dad did. I think it’s because of a broken heart,” Charlie says, sadly. He’d flown down to Florida to attend the service shortly after having one in Forks for his daughter and son-in-law. So many people close to him died all at once. Victoria was to blame for all of it. I only wish I could bring her back from the truly dead, just so I could tear her apart all over again. Why, oh why did I have to go catatonic when I saw her that day?

The conversation continues between Charlie and his grandchildren for some time. Even when the nurse tries to insist that Charlie needs his rest, he shoos her away stating he’s missed out on thirty-six years of bonding with his grandkids. She hovers nearby for a while before Arbie gives her a glare and tells her that should she be needed, she’ll be called. Having been persuaded, or compelled as I think, the nurse scurries out of the room and back down the stairs, busying herself with cleaning the already spotless kitchen and checking on the roast she’s cooking every twelve seconds.

Before long, Arbie and Jeb are saying their goodbyes, promising to stay in contact with Charlie. He sincerely hopes that they do, as he’s not sure how much longer he’s going to be around. I’m not sure either. His health had taken a downward spiral shortly after Bella died, and he hasn’t come back up much since. Though now that he’s gotten to spend some time with his grandchildren, he’s feeling much better. It’s amazing how much simple human contact can do in regards to improving health.

Arbie slides silently into the car as Jeb hops in the back seat. “Where to?” I ask.

“I’m starving. Let’s go get some food somewhere. I don’t feel like cooking,” Arbie responds, a melancholy tone in her voice.

“What’s wrong, love?” I ask. I reach across the center console to take her hand in mine. She squeezes back affectionately.

“I just wish we’d found him sooner. I would have loved to have a grandpa all these years. Seth too, I mean he could have helped us so much through all the changes we went through. Our moms did what they could, and they’ve been wonderful, but now more than ever, I feel robbed of my family. I could kill Victoria all over again just for what her killing my mom did to Charlie.”

“Me, too,” I agree.

I drive to Port Angeles and we select a little mom and pop diner that boasts the best friends in the pacific northwest. Jeb mentions that French fries are by far his favorite food. The waitress seats us immediately and is staring intently at Jeb the entire time we’re there. I guess around him, I don’t need to worry much about women constantly ogling me. Or perhaps the fact that I’m head over heels in love with the most beautiful woman on the planet is showing on my face, and they know to steer clear of me. Especially with how intimidating Arbie must be to them. I certainly never want to be on her bad side. I’d seen in Jasper’s memory how easily she tore Victoria to shreds, and I saw how she dealt with the Sharpe twins back at school.

School. I’d completely forgotten all about it. It feels like an eternity ago that we were there. I wonder if we’ll ever go back. The waitress asking for our order pulls me out of my thought process. Arbie orders two double cheeseburgers, French fries, a chocolate shake, and a cherry coke. Jeb makes a similar order, only throws in a side of mozzarella sticks as well. I order a burger with fries, hoping that somehow between the two of them, they’ll be able to eat my meal as well. Arbie winks at me, conspiratorially, telling me that it’ll be no trouble. Jeb seems excited at the prospect of more fries.

As soon as the food arrives, they both dig in vigorously as if they haven’t eaten in days rather than just a few hours. Every couple minutes, Arbie leans over and takes a bite out of my burger for me; Jeb continuously steals my fries. Soon, the waitress appears to refresh their ever draining sodas and ask how everything is. Jeb replies with his mouth full which causes Arbie to erupt into a fit of giggles. “Brother of mine, you have absolutely no tact at all. It’s a wonder the female population ever wastes their time with you. You’re such a caveman.”

“What? I’m hungry. A guy’s gotta eat.”

“Mm hmm” Arbie hums.

Just then a woman in her mid to late fifties walks in and stares at me as if I’m a ghost. I delve into her thoughts to see if I recognize her somehow. The answer causes me to freeze in place.

“Edward? Edward Cullen? How can this be?”