Author: siDEADde PM
TW/MS Alice's POV. Canon "Where Jasper and I were halves of the same whole, Edward and I were the same half. We understood each other more than the family understood us."Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Alice & Edward - Chapters: 20 - Words: 66,720 - Reviews: 412 - Favs: 454 - Follows: 417 - Updated: 08-17-09 - Published: 04-08-08 - id: 4185814
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: I have nothing. Just fail. Hopefully this makes up for it, plus I've actually started the next chap already.
MUCHO GRACIAS to Gustariana for the Spanish. I par-lay nada espag-nol. Go read her stories. She pwns! Also uber-thanks to Ava Sinclair for the beta! Tnuccio is on vacy in Mouseworld, and I didn't want to pester her while she's relaxin with the fam.
To all of you who have continued to read, review, rec, add as favorite, alert, and/or PM me, THANK YOU. I'd burned myself out a bit with the one-shots, but your continued support helped me find Alice again. I chose not to translate outright the Spanish parts in this chapter because they are pretty vulgar and disrespectful. If you're dying to know the conversation either plug into a translator, find a Spanish speaker, or PM me. DO NOT ASK YOUR SPANISH TEACHER IN SCHOOL. YOU WILL GET IN TROUBLE!
PS: Sorry for the double alert. I realized I missed several editing marks, and left out section breaks. DUH ME.
"Yes, Edward, I'd be perfectly willing to take that heap of rust back to her house," I muttered low enough that Jasper looked at me questioningly.
We'd left school in a hurry, racing through forest and field to the relative security of the deep wood. Jasper had downed several deer, and I'd taken one of my own, but more out of companionship than thirst. From there we'd gone home to clean up, and then took Rosalie's car to Port Angeles to talk to the three boutique owners who had agreed to stock my line. Starting the lines was my favorite part of designing. I loved the interaction with owners who were as passionate about their stores as I was about my clothing. They would inspect each piece by hand, checking each stitch and hem for quality. Each inspection and interview was like an audition and for a brief moment I could pretend I was human again. My stomach would flutter and flip, and although I'd seen that they would agree to sell anything I showed them, there was always a chance they could change their minds.
The day had taken a positive spin until this newest little event.
"What are you mumbling about, darlin'?"
"He didn't skip school, Jazz; he decided to stay in his car in the parking lot. Who would have guessed that Bella has blood issues and he had to play knight in sparkly armor? He's driving her home right now, and is going to tell her I'll bring her truck to her house."
It was easy sounding indignant if I focused on having to push that wretched hunk of metal without being seen. I needed indignant too, because the other part of my mind was busy rewinding and replaying the image I had of the two of them in the Volvo, rain streaming down the windows with only Bella's side fogged. I wonder if she noticed. My mind jumped, back and forth. Oh the planning this would entail.
"We have to get back to school. Rosalie and Emmett didn't leave either, and Edward is going to give me the key to Bella's truck when he comes to pick them up. You know Rosalie would be furious if she had to run home in this rain," I stepped into my favorite pair of canary-yellow Fendi rain boots and grabbed an overcoat from my own collection.
"Going to test a little of the merchandise?" Jasper's amused grin held me still for a moment. He was so much more at ease now that we'd talked about Bella and the jealousy and guilt I had been trying to hide. I was nervous about talking with Edward, but it had to be done.
"Of course! I couldn't offer it in good conscience if I didn't." I returned Jasper's smile, but then stopped dead seeing my reflection in the mirror behind him.
"I can't believe you were just going to let me leave like this." I muttered, attempting to tame several errant strands of hair, "You're supposed to look out for me you know."
Jasper swallowed his grin, but his eyes still crinkled at the corners as he pushed away from the wall and walked behind me, wrapping one arm around my waist then leaning down to whisper unnecessarily in my ear.
"It wouldn't be fair to let Edward walk around alone in his own personal hairicaine." He slid the fingers of his free hand up through my hair, pulling the smoothed style on end. "Plus I like the chaos, it suits you."
This was why I loved him: he knew exactly what to say and when to say it. Living with Rosalie could wear on a girl, especially a small, dark one who didn't have the satisfaction of knowing she was gorgeous before the change.
"Now go on." I leaned back and accepted the kiss he dropped on the top of my head, "You had better get back there before he does. You know if he sees Rose and Emmett without you, he'll dig himself a bigger hole by leaving them there."
His words stirred up a blurry image of a seething, soggy Rosalie sitting on Edward's couch, waiting. I slipped from under his arms, pulling on the overcoat as paused in the doorway. "I'm going to take Rose's car. Give me her keys."
"Why do you need to take Rose's car, Lis?" The crinkles deepened as an eyebrow raised. " You know what I think? I think you're looking to keep Rosalie all fired up so when you meddle in this more, Edward will be too occupied with Rose to pay much attention to you."
I snatched the flash of silver out of the air as Jasper threw me my cell phone instead of the requested keys. "Go, run to school, then call me and I'll pick you up from her house."
"Edward's not going to drive Emmett and Rose home,. Rose is, in her car that I bring." I rattled off the fib with my eyes closed, and held out my hand for the keys. Jasper never questioned an eyes-closed request. The only member of this family stubborn enough to bet against me was Edward. Really though, it didn't take a psychic to see that Rosalie would much rather drive herself home than stew in the Volvo.
"Anything else in that little head of yours, darlin?" His voice slipped so deep into West Texas that I shivered. I kept my eyes closed and actually focused, the quiet rumble of the Ducati and the effortless lean into the tight mountain turns as I pressed my cheek against the smooth leather on his back. His smile matched my own, sultry and knowing.
"I'll meet you later, apparently." I blew him a kiss as I walked out the door.
I pulled up to school just ahead of Edward. The bell hadn't rung yet, so I zipped the M3 into Edward's vacated spot and waited for the flash of silver in this dreary grey day. The rain continued in earnest, and I rested my head against the window and traced the crystalline trails of water as they snaked down the glass. He'd be here soon, and when he saw Rosalie's car in the lot, I'm sure he would park by Bella's truck.
"Might as well meet him there." Apparently now I felt it necessary to explain my every move to inanimate objects. Maybe I was losing my mind. I left the keys in the ignition for Rose; Forks was small and this car was just way too flashy to be stolen without someone seeing who did it. After scribbling a quick note to Emmett letting him know Edward would be taking me home, I slipped out of the car into the cascading rain.
I can't imagine what Forks ever did to make you cry so. It was a fleeting thought thrown at the weeping sky from the relatively dry spot under my umbrella. It was just so damp and gloomy; was it even possible for vampires to suffer from seasonal affective disorder? The umbrella spun in time with my nonsensical thoughts distracting me enough that I bumped, rather ungracefully, into the rusted bumper of Bella's decrepit truck.
"Dammit!" Rust was such a pain to get out of clothing, and I had a good-sized spot on my hip now. She won't notice one more dent in this heap. I pulled my hand back to leave my own mark on the truck but was stopped by Edward's unamused scowl flashing in front of my eyes. Fine, fine. I walked up to peek into driver's side window. The keys hung in the ignition, surely because this truck was just as remarkable as Rosalie's car. Anyone crazy enough to steal this aging eyesore would be caught immediately.
I heard the hum of the Volvo's engine before the car arrived in my peripheral vision. I yanked the door open, the hinges protesting against the abrupt movement. The import didn't move. Hopping up into the seat and pulling the door shut behind me, I cranked the key in the ignition and the engine jumped to life with a coughing roar. The Volvo revved behind the bed of the truck but stayed still. What do you want? His eyes met mine in the rearview mirror, and the two of us at our meeting place by the river flashed in my mind. He raised an eyebrow, and I nodded with a roll of my eyes. Only if you will give me details. I'm tired of working for free, Edward. The car sped off before I saw his response.
Thank goodness Forks was a small town. Everyone knew where everyone else lived, and the Chief of Police was no exception. Bella's house was a little Cape Cod built before the trend became building houses one on top of another. There was a decent amount of yard between her house and those of her neighbors', and dense forest ran along the backs of the cut lawns. I cut the engine at the beginning of the street, and once I saw no one would notice an 85 pound girl pushing a one-ton truck, I shoved it into its parking space on the side of the road in front of her house. No doubt she'd wonder how it got there without her knowing. There was nothing like a little intrigue to keep the mystery alive. The Volvo purred up beside me and I plopped my soaking wet form into the front seat.
"Thanks for bringing Rosalie's car up to school."
"No thanks needed, I'll cash in for a favor eventually. You're in quite deep, brother of mine."
Silence. I let my mind go blank since Edward usually only stopped talking to search out the correct direction in which to angle conversation. He was going to have to do this the normal way.
"I'm sorry Alice…" I cut him off before he could continue.
"No, stop. You're not sorry about what you did, you're sorry that I'm angry and irritated. You knew staying at school could have potentially been a giant disaster, and you did it anyway. You only apologize for accidents, Edward. Just man up to the fact that I'm pissed and that you are going to have to deal with it."
More silence. More searching. I mentally recited the Act of Contrition in Latin just to keep him out of my head and in his own.
"You're right." Damn straight I am. "I didn't care how any of you felt about me meeting her at lunch." He pulled to the side of the road and turned his body to face mine. "But I just had to do it, Alice. I had to. I don't know what drove me to behave like that. I've been mulling over it for the last 2 hours."
"Look Romeo, that uncontrollable drive to do crazy things not recommended by your siblings and parents, that's called LOVE. You're in love with Isabella Swan, Edward. Once you admit that to yourself you might be able to get a little control over yourself." The silence pounded in my ears, broken only by Edward's measured breath.
"I'm not in love with her Alice. She confuses me. The fact that I can't read her mind intrigues me. It's simply curiosity. I've never met someone whose every move I didn't know the same time they did. Do you know how dull that gets?"
"Again, stop right there. You can't even begin to comprehend dull. I see things before they happen, remember? I live déjà vu. That would be my superhero name if I had one, or maybe Cassandra, since you don't believe me half the time. Knock off this woe-is-me attitude. Believe what you want Edward, but it's love. Come to me when you're ready to admit it so I can say I told you so."
He shook his head and shoved the car into gear; gravel flew from the spinning tires as he pushed the accelerator to the floor. The Volvo jumped onto the road, squealing almost as if in pain as it fishtailed towards home. I waited, switching from Latin to French and knowing full well he understood every word I chanted in my head. Tu l'aimes! Tu l'aimes!
"Enough Alice, or you can walk. I do not love her."
"Get out of my head and you wouldn't have to defend your actions."
He growled, and I didn't need Jasper in the car to tell that he was actually beginning to get angry. Good! I was done with the self-righteous denials, and being caught up in his games, and feeling like I was the one he put in charge of cleaning up his messes.
"Why then, Edward? Why me?" It was a demand that was thrown with all of the force of my pent up frustrations and stifled anger. I could see his jaw clench as I continued. "Esme could have come and picked you up. She could have taken your car home and you could have brought Bella her truck-"
"Because I've seen the way you look at her, Alice. I've never seen you covet something as much as you do that girl's humanity."
If my heart had been beating at that moment it would have stopped still. He slowed the car to a standstill at the entrance of the driveway and sighed, resting his forehead against the steering wheel. "I thought that maybe you'd like to be friends with her at least."
"I… I-" I sputtered around the burning in my chest. "I don't need your help making friends, Edward. I'm not the one with the personality disorder! I told you she will either be one of us, or she'll be dead, and I want her to be one of us."
The flare of indignation couldn't burn away the hurt., I refused to break the silence that now stood between us. I can't believe you said that to me Edward. Before he could respond I was out the door, running for the comfort of Jasper's arms.
Even though his arms were wrapped around me, I could feel the tension singing along his muscles. I had managed to stop the threatening sobs, but Jasper saw through my shaky composure. The only thing between Edward and dismemberment was me, and my hold was tenuous. Jasper would forgive Edward his infatuation with Bella, Rosalie's cattiness, Emmett's incessant teasing, but never my pain. The fact that it was obviously Edward at the root of it was enough for Jasper to justify lex talionis. It was only my protests that kept him here with me, instead of pounding Edward into the ground.
Every time I closed my eyes, I could see Edward pacing around our rock. He'd stay until I showed up to talk, the stubborn fool that he was. Although his comments hurt, they were more truthful than I would have liked to admit. She was important to me too, almost as important as she was to Edward, just for different reasons. He should have had more tact, but he said nothing untrue. I hated being unable to stay angry with him for long. I sighed and moved to pull away, but Jasper's arms tightened around me holding be firmly in his lap.
"He's not getting another chance to hurt you, Lis."
"Honestly Jazz, it's not like we've never had disagreements before. He was out of line, and he knew it. I'm sure he would have taken it back if he could have. He just wants this so bad and he doesn't know how to get it."
"What did he say to you?"
"Don't worry about it. I can take care of it myself. He regretted it the minute it left his lips. We needed to step away from each other for awhile, so that's why I came here."
He didn't believe it for a moment, and I could almost feel him testing the air around me. I closed my eyes and leaned back against his chest, willing the hurt away.
"That's bullshit, Alice. I haven't felt you that upset in a while, at least not at something someone had said to you. You're not talking to him until I talk to him first."
To argue was useless, so I shrugged in resignation. "I'm going with you, Jasper Hampton Whitlock. You will not hurt him, hear?" The threat left my lips without thought, the vowels lengthened and the tone was nothing Forks, or any northern city for that matter. What?! I gasped and I clapped my hand over my mouth.
"Alice?" Jasper's voice was tentative.
My mind raced, all thoughts of Edward and Bella cast aside. South, that was southern. I'm from somewhere in the south! My body started to tremble, and tendrils of inky blackness curled around the edges of my sight.
"NO! Not now!" I launched myself away from Jasper and shook my head to clear the vision. "Not now, I can't lose this all now."
"Did you hear that?" I whipped myself around to face him. "That's never happened before. It's southern; I'm southern. I have an accent…sometimes." I stopped when I heard how ridiculous it sounded.
He nodded slowly, and spoke very carefully as if he thought about each individual word before he said it. "I heard, darlin', and I can tell you that's not Texas in your voice. I can't tell you what it is though; not enough to work with."
He got up carefully, his eyes intent on mine. "What did you see right after, Lis? It would be good to know what might have triggered such an event."
"Nothing. I stuffed it before I saw anything. I didn't want to forget what I'd just heard." I had a pretty good idea what had been coming, but that was best dealt with later.
"I think there's more than the future rolling around in that mind of yours. I wish I knew how to get it." His hand cupped my face, thumb brushing across my temple. The strokes, like his voice, were heavy with regret. I relaxed for a moment and turned my face into his hand to press a kiss against his palm. For the moment that I accepted his comfort, it was easy to breathe, easy to think. My mind didn't jump from moment to moment. I was now, not soon, and it was so easy I almost succumbed to the temptation to forget everything that I'd seen about Bella. Forget Edward's hurtful accusation, Rosalie's righteous anger, and Emmett's surprising concern. With only a word from me, Jasper would leave them all because I was his life; I was all he needed. And then there was me, seeking happiness in a human girl. It was shameful, really.
Human. And again she was there in my mind, turning my thoughts to where Edward paced, waiting for me to reassure him.
"Jazz. I have to go talk to him. He didn't mean to say what he did. He's probably tearing himself up over-"
"Well he should be, if not I'll help him along. Why insult your biggest supporter? I'm talking to him before you do. I've let you handle things long enough, he needs to know that my wife will be respected, or I will intercede."
The nineteenth century Texan in him took over, and I stepped aside letting him lead the way. If he got this out of his system now, there would be far less tension between the three of us afterwards. Plus, there was nothing like chivalry to make a man forget the subject at hand. I turned my mind to Bella and Edward and tucked away the little southern slip for another time.
I stopped a step behind Jasper thanks to a vision warning me of his sudden halt. Mist blew in off the river, and the fog that surrounded the towering boulder lent it a mysterious air. Edward leaned against the stone and if it weren't for his set jaw and tense posture, I would have called his stance rather cavalier.
Stepping past Jasper's still form, I walked out into the clearing. Edward stared over my head into the tree line and nodded, the muscle in his jaw ticking. He held out his hand to me, but still didn't meet my eyes, the other hand pushed up through his hair.
"I understand, and it won't be necessary." He just barely kept the edge of irritation out of his voice, dropping his gaze just quick enough to offer me an honestly apologetic smile. Jasper would not be brushed off, however, and Edward's brow furrowed at an unsaid comment.
"Alice," His eyes dropped to mine but he raised his voice slightly, obviously speaking to Jasper, "Jasper believes I have dishonored you in my comments earlier in the car. I agree. I am truly sorry, and I should have kept my head. It won't happen again."
"Thank you for the escort, Jazz." I squeezed Edward's hand as I turned and waved towards the shadows where Jasper stood. I could still feel him behind me, glaring balefully at Edward. Emotions were harder to fake than thoughts, and Edward still had guilt pouring off of him. I closed my eyes and smiled softly, projecting as much trust and love into the space around me. You had best feel more regret than guilt if you want him to go. Another moment passed and I heard a twig snap in the distance. Edward and I stood silent for a moment, the atypical awkwardness a thin barrier between us. He spoke first.
"I never should have said that. I don't know why I said it. I didn-, I mean, I don't want to hurt you. You're really all I have in this right now. I know you want to be friends with her, Alice, and I thought you'd enjoy helping out."
Suddenly fatigue set in, unusual for our kind, but the recent simmering emotions left me feeling drained. Apologies, especially those glossing over the real issue, were unwelcome and he needed to know it. I was done playing games.
"You aren't thinking of me, Edward, you're thinking of you. But that's ok, you should be thinking about you. I'm just feeling manipulated here. You know I want a relationship with her too, and you're taking advantage of my feelings. Just be upfront with me from now on, ok?"
As the words left my lips I felt a little tinge of guilt. The two of us rarely had secrets before Bella, but now our relationship was built on hiding places and distractions.
Edward pursed his lips at my request, then blew out a whistle of air. He was going to ask me for another favor, I closed my eyes and waited until he decided how to ask.
The flash of Emmett and Edward alone in the Jeep heading north to Goat Rocks was my reward. He intended on spending the weekend, glutting himself on puma and bear, so he could spend more time with Bella at school.
"You want me to keep an eye on her this weekend." I opened my eyes and caught his pleading gaze. "I don't approve of this stalker-mantle you've put upon yourself. It's unhealthy and abnormal. Humans don't sit outside of their love-interest's window at night watching them sleep."
"Enough of the L word, Alice. I'm serious." He bent his knees and jumped up to the top of the rock, pulling me with him, "Plus, I'm the reason she needs surveillance. You said she was going to die because of me, and I said I was going to prevent it. That means I have to watch out for her, all the time. There could be a house fire, or home invasion. With her luck, it would be something that humans wouldn't be able to rescue her from, so I need to be there."
Twisty twisty. I knew my previous prediction would come back to haunt me. I turned my back to his and looked out over the river, water as clouded as the overcast sky. Fine, I'll watch out for her, but if something happens, Edward, I'm not going to let her die.
I felt him stiffen behind me. "Never mind then. She is not to be changed, Alice, not without her say so."
"So if she agrees to the change, then it's ok?"
"She'll never agree to the change, because she isn't aware of such a thing. And you are not to make her aware either. She can't know about us, Alice. Think of the ramifications!"
"That's ridiculous. You're going to take her to Seattle in a week's time. What are you going to talk about there? How are you going to explain all of the coincidences? Do you think she's an idiot, that she'll never question you again?" I shook my head and continued the rest of my diatribe in my head. We all heard that conversation in the cafeteria. She knows something's not kosher and she's not the kind of person who just gives up. Don't forget
Silence stretched between us, but it was comfortable as we were back to our bickering. I saw that he was still going to go hunting with Emmett, confident that despite my threat, I would take care of her. Slumping forward with my chin on my bent knees, I stared ahead blankly, the water blurred to a black slash of interstate puddled with mirages. The sun flared, but it was muted by the tinted glass of the Mercedes. Jasper's blond hair peeked from beneath the back brim of a brown cowboy hat where he sat in the driver's seat; the passenger's seat was vacant.
"Do you often have visions without you in them?"
His voice was quiet, but I jumped just the same. Without me…?
"It was me in the backseat. You were seeing it from my perspective."
As the words left my lips I realized this wasn't the first time that vision had come. It took me a minute to remember when the last time I saw myself in the back of Carlisle's car; the smile popped to my face before I could stop it. I'd been happier then, but at that time I'd naively thought that we'd just about worked out our issues.
"Why do you think you've seen that before?" His voice sounded nervous, hesitant.
Before I could answer, Emmett's angry bellowing cut through my mind. I could see him stomping around on the porch, shouting for Edward and complaining that all of the good game would be hiding by the time they got to the park. An ultimatum was muttered, and it seemed that Edward would be hunting solo if he didn't return soon.
"If you leave now he won't even get a chance to finish saying that. Go on. I'll babysit her. Keep your cell on and I'll call you if I need to." The water glimmered dimly in the fading cloud-filtered light, I felt him shift and press a quick kiss to the top of my head.
It was the most simple and honest thing he had said to me today.
Watching Bella Swan wasn't hard, especially since she seemed to work so hard at being seen. On Friday, Jasper, Rosalie, and I slogged our way through the typical school day. As the end of the school year approached, the lectures started to blend together. The charade became so tiresome that at lunch, Rosalie had reached her limit. She spent the entire hour perfectly mimicking Mrs. Goff's high sing-song voice and overdone accent. I laughed and joked when appropriate, but I focused most of my attention on Bella.
"Hola estudiantes. ¿Como están hoy?" Rosalie rolled her r's hard and Jasper smirked. His response was off the cuff and rather intricate, but spoken with an overtly flat American accent. My ears burned.
Bastante jodidos. ¿Estamos en la escuela, no?
The part of me listening snorted at the obscenity of the response.
Rosalie smothered a snicker, and retorted in perfect Goff-style. "Señor Hale, a nadie le impresiona su vulgaridad."
"Bueno, me imagino que será mayormente porque no tienen la menor idea de lo que acabo de decir. Para ser honesto estoy sumamente impresionado que usted me entendió."
Rosalie dissolved into laughter, and even I had to giggle. Jasper's grin cut from ear to ear, and for a moment it was like old-times; before Edward and his Pandora and the storm left in her wake.
Bella scrutinized our every move behind her heavy curtain of hair. Her hands fiddled with lunch equipment as she tried to hide her interest in our table. Her features had fallen immediately when she didn't see Edward. The attempts at clandestine observation amused me.
She turned her head and attempted to pay attention to the table whose occupants were abuzz with plans for a party at La Push Beach.
"I just don't know why Bella doesn't just sit with the Cullens from now on."
Apparently I wasn't the only one who noticed Bella's misplaced attention. The towheaded Mallory girl sneered her comment to Mike Newton. I bristled, waiting for his response, but missed it when Jasper laid a concerned hand on my arm.
"I'm fine." The response was a bit more snappish than I intended, and he raised an eyebrow. A quick look over Rosalie's shoulder and he put two and two together, then frowned.
"He put you on lookout, didn't he?" He spoke low enough that Rose didn't hear.
My lack of response was as affirmative as a straight out answer. The lunch bell rang and Bella's friends raucously filed out, jabbering about their beach party and the fun they'll have. Bella hung back from the group to dodge Mallory and her crew.
I leaned over and pecked Jasper on the cheek and smiled brightly at Rosalie. He gave me a disapproving frown, but grabbed Rose's arm to walk her to class. I smiled gratefully; a distracted Rosalie is the easiest kind to work with. I love you, and with that thought I focused on all of the love I'd ever had for him, just so he would feel it down the hall.
I was off to tail the girl to biology, ensure she makes it to P.E. in one piece, and then hang around her little house until she gets up and goes to the party tomorrow. I shuddered at my infringement on Bella's privacy. How does he not feel like a creepy lunatic?
Ahh,love. It made the crazy seem normal…
"She's still suspicious."
Jasper rolled over on the bed to face me and waited for me to continue.
"She asked her father about Goat Rocks. When he explained why it would be a bad place for hiking and camping, she didn't explain further. In fact she diverted the conversation, claiming to have heard wrong. She's covering for us, but still digging for info."
"Have you seen anything that we should be worried about?"
I rolled my eyes and stuck out my tongue. "Would I hide something that serious from you?"
He hesitated then shook his head. "No, I hope you wouldn't."
"Ouch. Your lack of confidence stings." I pushed him playfully, hoping it hid the real hurt there. The last thing I wanted was an argument. "Plu-oh!" I jumped to the side table as my phone rang in my head. A second later the shrill chiming filled the room.
"I told you I would call you if anything happened. I haven't called, so nothing's happened. Goodbye Edward." The phone snapped shut before he could get a word in edgewise. I held it, waiting for it to ring again. I wasn't disappointed.
"Quit calling me. She's at La Push and it's sunny, so there's nothing I can do today anyways. Go hunt Edward, so you can get yourself home and stalk your own girlfriend." I pressed the end button and held it until the phone shut off. The recorded voice of my voicemail box echoed in my thoughts, warning me about the 137 messages that will await me when I turn the phone back on. I threw the phone in the bedside table drawer and jumped onto Jasper, pulling my shirt over my head in the process.
"There's a much better way to spend my time rather than agonizing over the fact that I can't babysit Edward's girlfriend at the moment."
Jasper growled in agreement and pulled my lips to his.
Late Saturday evening I left a satiated Jasper in his study and went off to prowl around the Swan home. Bella lay on her bed, asleep despite the caterwauling blaring from the headphones. I sat on a branch in the tree outside her window, and swung my legs to relieve the sudden attack of boredom. Pulling myself completely onto the limb, I leaned against the trunk and closed my eyes: my attempt at focus, a mockery of Bella locked in the land of nod. Jasper and I hadn't spoken about my slip of the tongue since the night it happened, and it was nice to have a moment alone where I could contemplate without setting anyone off.
So many southern states, but I could eliminate New Mexico and Arizona seeing as it was doubtful they were states yet when I was born. Maybe my family had a beach house in the Carolinas, or they were like Emmett's big hill family, but in Arkansas. I could have been a Tennessee debutante or a Virginian farmer's daughter; the fanciful dreams took over my mind and pushed the smaller flickers and flashes aside. Minutes slipped into hours and those hours summoned the dawn, as soggy and dismal as only dawn in Forks could be. Bella would be up soon, and there was cleaning up to attend to chez moi. I thought about popping home for a quick shower and change.
She moved as I started to swing down from the branch, her quilt and sheets rustling against each other. A frightened whimper followed, so I pulled myself back up and onto the limb. She's dreaming. I stood stock-still and stared, partially in fascination, partially in envy. Tendrils of hair laid in a tangle across her face and fanned back on her pillow. The snarl grew thicker as she tossed and turned on the bed. One of my hands crept up to worry the chaotic mess above my ear, and I realized how much I wanted to smooth back her hair, to soothe her. Even in sleep, her face was frightened and confused. The powerless feeling in me grew, until she jerked upright in bed and screamed out.
I dropped like a stone from the branch, the thud of my landing luckily synchronizing with the crash of her CD player as it fell from her bedside table to the floor. I couldn't wait around and see if she was alright; I may have already been spotted. Home, home, home. My mind chanted, but I was afraid to risk leaving her. Edward would kill me. It would be for such a short time, twenty minutes at the most. How much trouble could she get into in such a short amount of time? A quick peek told me that nothing dire lurked in Bella's future. The shower called and I answered affirmatively in relief.
Jasper was out when I got home, so I was greeted instead by a note in his fine hand letting me know two more buyers had called from Seattle and would like a meeting Monday evening. I took the quickest shower imaginable, and threw on my oldest pair of jeans and a dark sweater. Before I could decide which boots to step into, a vision of Bella wandering in the forest by her home popped into my mind.
"Damnation girl, can't you just stay put for moment?" The muttering was loud enough to be heard downstairs, even camouflaged by the ungraceful thumps as I hopped into a pair of hiking boots. I needed something with better traction and less flash than the Fendis.
I had about ten minutes to get back. Possible, but improbable, as it was bright enough to notice a tiny blur running along the road. Instead I kept to the forest, which took me a good ten miles out of my way. By the time I found her, Bella sat on a downed tree deep in thought. Her face ran a gamut of emotions, and I stood quietly behind a giant spruce, a witness to the fear that froze her features as she opened her eyes.
I knew then that she'd put some of the pieces together. But how many? My phone hummed in my back pocket, no doubt Edward calling for yet another update. As loud as a hive of bees, I cringed as the buzz seemed to echo through the sodden forest. Bella didn't notice however. Her posture relaxed at the sight of the trail, and she got up and slowly walked out of the forest. I hung behind until she went into her house. By then my phone had rung five times with voicemails left each time. I flipped open the phone and punched the send button twice.
"That was ridiculous, YOU are absurd, and I'm going home." Again, I didn't give him a chance to respond. Instead of waiting for the callback which I knew he would try, I turned off my phone and stalked off into the woods, leaving Bella to her own devices.
Now I had to go look and try to see what dots Miss Swan had connected.