Author: Midnight Seductress PM
After Twilight. When Alice leaves to find her future, Bella makes a her a promise that will change everything.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Bella & Jasper - Chapters: 25 - Words: 169,045 - Reviews: 2,545 - Favs: 1,548 - Follows: 1,366 - Updated: 08-10-09 - Published: 03-16-09 - id: 4926581
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An: I only have one thing to say here: My internet and computer are fixed YAY!!!
Oh, and thank you ladyofkeegan for being a fabulous beta! I think that's two things, but never mind...
Chapter Twenty Five
I kissed Jasper as fiercely as I could manage before he jumped into the back of Carlisle's car and sped away. I knew he was going hunting for a reason, so that we could be more intimate with less risk, but I so very badly wanted him to stay. This would be the longest time we'd ever been apart since the morning Alice had left.
I wandered despondently back into the house and grabbed my purse. I didn't much feel like spending the weekend at home alone as Charlie was fishing, but at least my house was a small place to be alone in. Already bored, I wandered outside and started counting down the hours until they came back.
"And where do you think you're going?" The booming voice, while instantly recognisable as Emmett, scared me witless and I toppled to the ground in my haste to turn around.
Emmett scooped me up, not the least mindful of my rapidly developing bruises and slung me over his shoulder. Before I had time to ask what was going on I'd been dumped in the passenger seat of the jeep.
"What are you doing?" He was turning the key with one hand and roughly strapping me in with the other. "And what are you doing here? I thought everyone was going hunting."
"What, and leave the world's most accident prone human all alone for the weekend? Not likely. I volunteered to have some brother/sister bonding time."
"Did Jasper ask you to stay and look after me?" I asked irritably, thinking of the way Edward used to do that as if I was incapable.
"Nope." He grinned, driving too fast already and we were only on the driveway. "It was my idea."
I settled down, feeling a little guilty about jumping to conclusions. "Where are we going then?"
"Bowling then dancing." He declared swerving wildly to overtake a Prius.
I clutched my seat and closed my eyes. "I don't dance Emmett. Do you want me to kill myself, or innocent bystanders? I didn't think so. Please slow down, breakable human in the car."
"We'll see." He said smugly. "And I'm already driving slowly."
We got to Port Angeles faster than I ever had before, and while I was glad I wouldn't be alone all weekend, I didn't think I should have to have so many near death experiences in Emmett's Jeep to earn some company.
Emmett was his usual impatient self, lifting me out of the car and across the lot before dragging me inside and up to the counter. While I tried to regain at least some sense of balance, he paid for a lane, declined shoes, and then dragged me over to an empty booth. It was only when we were at our lane, that I noticed the huge duffle bag he was carrying. He dumped it on the table between us and pulled out two pairs of bowling shoes. The first were red and black with metallic silver writing down the side spelling McCarty. The second were a much smaller white and blue pair with Swan on the side.
"Emmett McCarty?" I guessed. He beamed at me and dropped my shoes in my lap. "Thanks. How long have you been planning this?"
"About four and a half days." Shrugged tying his shoes. "Esme likes bowling too, but she thinks it's embarrassing so I can hardly ever get her to come, so I decided you could be my new victim."
"What makes you think I like bowling?"
"I have no idea, but I figured that with your wonderful sense of balance and awesome coordination this would be an experience whether you liked it or not."
He amazed me by pulling out two shiny bowling balls, one red, and one blue, again sized to match.
"I'm not that bad." I huffed, lifting the blue ball experimentally. "I'll have you know I'm quite good at bowling actually.
Bowling was fun aside from Emmett showing off so much that we had a crowd around us for the last game. When we'd finished he'd sent me into the bathroom with the duffle bag to change. Inside I found a skirt and top that I was sure didn't actually belong to me and pair of shoes that I knew were Rosalie's. He really had thought of everything and despite the fact that dancing and I didn't get along, I wanted to give it a go for his sake.
Once I was done I found Emmett and discovered he'd swapped his t-shirt for a black button up. He eyed me critically for a moment before smiling and nodding to himself.
"Where exactly are we going then?" I asked hesitantly. I hoped it was somewhere small and dark where no one I knew would witness my lack of dancing skills.
"We're going to check out a club that just opened in town. It's called Sugar. Hopefully it will be a little better than most of the dives around here." He explained already dragging me back to the car. I'd never met anyone with less patience in my life. "Oh, you'll need this."
I took the little card he handed me and turned it over. It was a driver's licence with my picture on it. According to the information, I was twenty two, and called Isabella Alice McCarty. I now had a fake ID. Charlie would kill me if he found it. "When did you get this?"
"Me and Alice got Jasper to do it for your birthday, and we were going to take you out, but Edward found out and wouldn't let us give it to you. He said we were trying to corrupt you and get you into dangerous situations. But, he's not here now, and I promise not to let you get too corrupted."
I scowled at an imaginary Edward for a minute before cheering up again. "Why haven't I got my own name?"
"Well since it was from me and Alice, we wanted it to remind you of us too. Plus, Alice said that if we ever needed to use it in some sort of emergency, you could pass for my sister easily enough. You don't mind do you? I'm sure we could get you an Isabella Whitlock one too." He sniggered. I blushed and poked him.
Eventually we pulled into a lot behind a huge building on the outskirts of Port Angeles. Emmett was grinning and bouncing around like a little boy on a sugar high, while I was trying to think of a brilliant excuse for not dancing at all. Once again, he grabbed my hand and towed me to the front of the club, where a long line of people stood waiting to enter. Emmett glanced along the line, shook his head and walked directly to the bouncers at the front of the queue. I could almost feel the furious gazes of everyone waiting in line as I handed over my ID while Emmett slipped them some cash, grinning all the while. The formerly stoic men smiled back and stepped out of the way to let us in.
The club was mostly dark inside, the lights being trained on a huge dance floor, leaving booths around the sides dimly lit. I could feel the music pounding in my chest and wondered how anyone could stand it so loud. My first experience of a club was fairly overwhelming.
"Drink?" Emmett yelled in my ear. I nodded hopefully and followed him through the slowly building crowd towards the bar. I reached him just in time to see the bar tender set two multi coloured concoctions down in front of him. He picked one up, sipped it and set it in front of me, grimacing. He soon did the same with the other.
With no idea about what I was drinking and very little previous experience with alcohol I had to trust Emmett not to give me anything that would make me ridiculously drunk or give me alcohol poisoning. I drank the first fruity drink quickly, mainly for something to do. I felt uncomfortable in the club, and the more crowded it got the less I wanted to be there.
Emmett turned around the barstool I was sitting on so that I was facing the dance floor and put one arm around me. He was still grinning and looking like there was no where he would rather be so I made more of an effort to relax.
"Look at them all." He chuckled loudly. "You're about to witness something really special. Drunken humans are the very best kind, in about an hour's time most of them will be flailing about and thinking they can dance really well, and there'll be fights, people falling over, and everything. It's like one of those nature programmes only much, much better."
I sipped my drink and scanned the room. There were already quite a few people dancing worse than even I did. He was right; this was the best stage for people watching. Emmett laughed at girls trying too hard and guys not trying nearly hard enough.
In the first half an hour alone seven girls offered to buy him a drink, he turned them all down politely, until an attractive woman in her forties asked him to dance. I expected him to turn her down too, but after a quick glance at me he led her out onto the dance floor.
I couldn't take my eyes off them. Emmett was twirling her around the floor, almost taking out several other dances as they passed by. The woman looked at least ten years younger as she laughed wildly in his arms. I wondered what had made him agree to dance with her when he wouldn't even let anyone else buy him a drink.
I reached behind my to set glass down, and before I'd even turned around again a fresh drink was placed in front of me.
"What's this?" I asked the grinning bar tender.
"Your boyfriend told me not to let your glass get empty." She told me before moving along to serve someone else.
Boyfriend? The thought of me and Emmett as a couple had me giggling furiously. I looked around for him while I calmed down and tried not to choke on my drink. A hint of worry prickled along the back of my neck when I couldn't find him, but it was soon gone when he appeared at my elbow.
"Where's your friend?" I asked hoping he hadn't simply run away from her.
"She went back to her friends. She told me I should take my little sister for a spin." He held out one hand, grinning broadly. Little sister was more like it. "Ok." I agreed a little reluctantly. "But please don't spin me around like that."
Emmett pouted as we made our way out into the pulsing crowd. "That's the only fun way to dance." He whined loudly.
"But no one else is dancing like that." I pointed out, which was true.
"That has nothing to do with it." He grumbled. "You're not telling me you'd rather do the weird bouncy thing that they're doing?"
I followed his eyes to a group of girls that were doing exactly what he'd said, and to be fair to him, they did look fairly ridiculous. Besides, I'd learnt that it wasn't easy to change Emmett's mind if he was set on something, so I ended up letting him twirl me around the floor at sickening speeds.
We spent the next hour alternating between dancing and sitting out so I could have a drink and recover from motion sickness while Emmett fended off the advances of anyone who came in our direction. He was particularly good the few times I was offered a drink. One poor man had literally run out of the club when Emmett had growled at him.
I noticed that as the night wore on Emmett started watching me with an unguarded look of anticipation every time he handed me a new drink. I had a fair idea that he'd decided it would be more fun to watch a drunken Bella than any of these strangers. I felt fine though. Half an hour later I had to upgrade fine to brilliant. I wasn't sure whether it was the alcohol that had given me a sudden sense of confidence, or whether I'd just got used to the club, but I was feeling pretty inspired and strutted off into the middle of the dance floor to writhe with the masses to he beat of the latest song.
I had no idea where Emmett was, but that was ok, all was right with the world and I was sure he'd turn up soon er or later. It turned out to be soon, the minute I was joined by two men -who looked perfectly harmless to me- Emmett was at my side again. It didn't bother me in the least, I just wanted to dance, and it didn't matter if I was dancing alone or with someone else. He handed me the bottle of beer he'd brought with him and I drained it quickly as my thirst caught up with me.
"Want to make a scene?" Emmett whisper yelled at me. I'd just noticed that when the UV lights streaked across him you could just about make out the sparkles. People probably thought he was wearing body glitter or something.
I ignored Emmett as I had no idea what he was talking about and I was too busy laughing at his glitteryness to ask him to explain.
"Are you even listening?" He yelled over the music as I grabbed his arm to make him dance with me.
I shook my head and concentrated on moving my hips along with the beat. We should do stuff like this more often. Emmett pulled me over to the bar and handed me a disappointing glass of water. He waited until I'd drunk half of it before taking it off me. "Now listen carefully. I'm bored, and I want to see if we can get kicked out. I haven't been kicked out of a club for years. So I'm going to go and dance with someone, and all I want you to do is wait about a minute, and then come and pull me away from her, and then start shouting at me as loud as you can, k?"
I nodded and decided I'd do no such thing. I watched Emmett walk away and find a woman to dance with as I grabbed another drink. These cocktail things really did taste good. I downed it and wandered back on to the floor in the opposite direction from the one I'd seen Emmett take. I didn't want to be kicked out; I was having too much fun.
I wasn't alone for long, quickly finding a man to dance with. I briefly lamented the fact that Jasper wasn't with me. It would have been much more fun to dance with him, and I was sure I could have driven him mad. This guy would have to do, even though I couldn't dance with him the way I would have danced with Jasper. The guy put his hands on my waist in leaned in close to slur something indecipherable into my ear. His hot breath made me shudder so I quickly disentangled myself from him.
Both sides of where the DJ was I could see raised platforms with people dancing on them and one of them was free. I wanted to be up there. It took my nearly two minutes to wriggle through the crowd and climb up, but it was so worth it. I could see everyone in the whole club from up here and I could dance however I liked without anyone getting in my way.
Across the room I saw Emmett staring at me wide eyed as he was surrounded by a gaggle of women, all trying to get his attention. I stuck my tongue out at him and continued my energetic moves. I wasn't sure what I'd ever been worried about before, I was clearly a fantastic dancer. I was even gathering a little crowd of guys around the edges of my podium.
I looked for Emmett again, to make sure I could see how awesome I was and saw he was beginning to look a little desperate. With every step he took away from the girls more seemed to crowd in to fill the space. If Rosalie were here, she would have scared them all off or at least marked her territory. I felt a smile stretch across my face as I realised I could get rid of them for him.
I jumped back down the floor, amazed at myself when I only stumbled a little. The guys that had been watching me dance groaned and moved away as I strode towards Emmett. I pushed through the group maybe a tad rougher than I needed too and made my way to my poor, terrified brother and wrapped my arms around his neck. "Hi honey." I yelled. "Did you miss me?"
A few of the girls backed off, but most of them looked fairly persistent.
"Sure did Baby." Emmett shouted back, putting an arm around my waist to spin me around. A few more of the girls left, only three stayed nearby. He eyed the remaining women and grinned down at me. "We'll have to go soon or the babysitter will want more money." He added.
Their shoulders slumped. "I can't believe he's got kids." One of them grumbled as she walked away.
Oh that's nice, kids put them off, but when they thought I was his girlfriend that did nothing to get rid of them. The newly free and smiling Emmett walked me back over to the bar, asking me to yell at him all the way there. I tuned him out until he bought me a new drink; my last one had somehow gotten away from me.
"Did you see how good I was dancing up there?" I interrupted him.
"Yeah." He laughed. "Did you see the crowd of guys looking up your skirt?"
"What? Oh." I groaned. "I thought they liked my dancing." I tugged half heartedly at my skirt and scowled at my knees. "Can we go now?"
"We're not leaving unless we get thrown out." He told me crossing his arms.
"I'm tired." I tried. Actually, I was wide awake, I was just getting bored of this club and to be honest, I was a little embarrassed about the fact that a fair number of people in here had now seen my underwear.
"All you have to do is get us into trouble." He smiled gleefully. "You're a McCarty tonight Bells, play the game."
I glanced down at my drink and contemplated throwing it at him, but decided that would be a waste, so I finished it quickly and threw the glass at him, knowing it wouldn't hurt him but it would have a good effect. The glass hit his chin and shattered and I saw him grin for a second before he grabbed his jaw and yelled.
"How could you?" I screamed as loud as I could. "I hate you!"
"It's not my fault you're such a cold bitch!" He growled back. I had no idea what our fake argument was supposed to be about, but it was actually kind of fun. He picked up someone else's drink up and brought it to his lips.
I snatched it from him. "I think you've had enough! Why do you always have to get drunk and act like this when we go anywhere?" I slammed the drink down on the counter, red liquid sloshed over the sides of the glass and onto the floor.
"Me?" He roared waving his arms around like a maniac. "You're the one who was flashing your panties at anyone who cared to take a look."
Out of the corner of my eye I could see two huge men striding towards us, and decided that with one more little push we were sure to get thrown out. A crowd had gathered around us and the music seemed to have got a lot quieter.
I pulled my arm back, winked at Emmett and flung it forward. My fingers hardly touched his cheek as he threw himself into the club security as if I'd hit him with a baseball bat. The two men went down beneath him.
Emmett scrambled up and flung himself towards me one of the men grabbed his arms and held him back. "Enough." He shouted. "You two need to leave now." The other man grabbed my elbow and pulled me along behind Emmett who was pretending to struggle while he swore like a sailor.
I had a hard time trying not to laugh as I made my own poor attempts at getting away from the man who had a firm grasp on my arm. They made us have our pictures taken before they let us go, so that we would be recognised if we tried to come back. Emmett crossed his eyes and pouted while I stuck my tongue out.
Emmett and I shoved each other around a bit until we were out of sight, then broke into laughter as he swung me onto his back and galloped around the lot. "Wasn't that fun?"
"It was... an experience." I agreed as he tossed me into the car.
"C'mon, you know you enjoyed it. You should come out with me and Rosie sometime and see her in action. She likes the attention see." I spent most of the ride home trying to convince myself I wasn't drunk while Emmett prattled on about all the places he and Rosalie had been kicked out of. He also told me that Esme and Carlisle were never allowed to find out.
As soon as we were home I flicked the TV on, kicked off my shoes and made a sandwich while Emmett disappeared. Five minutes later he came back with twister under one arm, a bottle of something clear and pale yellow under the other and a deck of cards and two shot glasses in his hands.
Part of me was worried, but the larger, drunker part of me was excited. "What are we doing?" I demanded as Emmett sat crossed legged on the floor on the other side of the coffee table.
"Strip poker with shots, followed by drunken Bella twister." He announced.
"Nah uh, I am not taking any clothes off, and I can't play poker." Shots and twister sounded fun though.
"We'll see." Emmett laughed. "There's no one here but me anyway." He added as if that made me feel more comfortable about getting naked.
At first I thought I was dreaming, but with every crash came an inexplicable throb of pain right behind my ears and eyes. Irritatingly jolly 'music' was playing somewhere nearby and I had the urge to smash whatever it was coming from if only I could be bothered to move. Something was digging into my hip and with every inhalation I could smell plastic and what might have been bacon. I also felt fairly sick, and I was sure I had never once been this uncomfortable in my life.
Reluctantly I opened my eyes and wondered why it was still dark for a moment before I realised I was lying on my stomach with my face pressed into the crook of my arm. I lifted my head slightly and something crackled all around me. I licked my dry lips and noticed my mouth tasted a lot like I'd licked the floor of a pub while I tried to work out what was going on.
After about a minutes struggling I unrolled myself from what turned out to be the twister mat. Deep red creases scarred my skin from where the folds of plastic had pressed into me. I was also wearing only my underwear. I rested my face against the cool, but broken coffee table while I tried to summon the courage to remember how I had ended up like this.
"Sleeping beauty awakes." Emmett said far too loudly from behind me. I jumped and my head throbbed again. I remembered his 'games' the night before and growled quietly. This. Was. All. His. Fault. I turned to face him very slowly, not willing to jeopardise my precarious grip on the contents of my stomach.
He was wearing only a pair of red boxers and a single green sock as he held out a bottle of water. I swallowed half of it and pulled myself onto the sofa while he laughed at me.
"I hate you." I grumbled as I remembered dancing on the coffee table wearing only what I had on now. He had taken a picture and called it insurance. Insurance meant blackmail material.
"You love me really." He chuckled, slumping beside me to continue a brightly coloured flashy game on his Xbox. That was where the horrible noise was coming from.
I leaned on his shoulder. The cold was helping with the headache.
Everything ached actually, and a quick inspection showed a few mild bruises, mostly on my knees, and two patches of something slightly shiny that wouldn't come off, one on my forearm, the other on my shin.
"What the hell is this?" I whined, trying unsuccessfully to scratch it off.
Emmett glanced down at my leg and laughed. "Super glue."
Something hazy was prickling at the edges of my mind, but I couldn't seem to grasp it. "What about the piano."
"I wanted to glue all the keys together because you said I couldn't beat Edward up remember? But you said that was too mean and actually wrestled the glue off me. Wrestling a vampire three times your size, only you would do that. The only reason you managed to get it away from me, by the way, was because I had to be careful not to squish you."
I walked on wobbly legs to the piano and pressed a few keys just to be sure Emmett hadn't done it after I'd fallen asleep. I still couldn't remember it happening at all. Emmett's shirt was on the piano bench so I put it on and decided to sit there instead of trekking all the way back to the sofa, which I was sure had deliberately moved further away while my back was turned. I rubbed my eyes and my fingers came away black with flaky mascara. I knew I must have looked as bad as I felt, and I didn't even dare touch my hair to see what sort of mess it was in.
"I hope you had to throw up a lot of tequila." I snapped when Emmett laughed at me again.
"Fair bit." He admitted. "Shame it didn't work on me though. I was pretty surprised you weren't sick actually."
I drank a little more water and found my bag under the piano bench. A mint would have to do until I could summon up the energy to go upstairs and brush my teeth. I also really needed to use the bathroom but I didn't think my legs were up to taking the stairs yet.
Something in the kitchen was burning, but I decided not to tell Emmett, he could figure it out for himself. I really didn't feel like breakfast anyway. Making him eat it might have been fun though. There was even smoke by the time he realised his cooking skills had led to disaster and he disappeared into the kitchen mumbling a string of profanities.
Someone knocked at the door, and I sluggishly got to my feet and went to answer it knowing Emmett was a little busy. Hopefully, it would just be a package or something quick so I could get back to recovering. I pulled open the door and blinked furiously at the sunlight, and worse than that, the shimmering vampire in front of me.
"Wow. You look like shit." Kate said as she pushed past me and into the house. "What have you been doing? Or is it who have you been doing?" She asked tugging on the stolen shirt I was wearing. It occurred to me that I probably shouldn't have answered the door wearing only this.
I gaped at her as no answer formed quickly enough in my mind.
"Oh my god." She said half a second after Emmett came back into the room.
"I killed breakfast Bells and I'll have to repaint above the stove later." He announced, failing to acknowledge Kate. He had sooty patches on his face and bare chest.
"Damn Bella, you're joining the wrong coven. First Edward, and from the sound of his whining Jasper too, now Emmett. How do you do it?" She asked animatedly pulling me over to the couch. "We never managed to crack any of them."
I opened my mouth to explain but was cut off by Emmett's booming laughter. "Bella the succubus!" He crowed. "Oh Kate, you should come down here more often."
"There nothing going on between me and Emmett except too much tequila and a game of strip poker." I explained curling up in a ball at the edge of the couch. Kate looked a little disappointed.
"Watcha doing here anyway?" Emmett asked as he handed her a controller so she could join in.
"Alice said that Bella needed to be taken to a few places today." She shrugged.
"I don't." I grumbled. "I'm going to bed and not moving 'til Jasper comes home."
"Oh that's why." Kate exclaimed. "You really are with Jasper now. Edward thought it was just a onetime thing, but he did say you had some human boyfriend for now."
"That wasn't even a thing. And Edward doesn't know about me and Jasper yet. And there is no human. I'm going for a shower."
I heard them sniggering at my miserable mood as I dragged myself upstairs and into the bathroom. A quick glance in the mirror woke me up better than anything else had so far this morning. I really did look horrific, panda-eyes, nest-hair, the odd bruise and a shirt that looked more like a tent. It wasn't a good look, and I was sure that in a few years, when I'd finally recovered from the hideous hangover, I would find it in me to be embarrassed that Emmett and Kate had seen me in this state.
I stayed in the shower for almost an hour as my mind slowly filtered back. I made a firm resolution never to drink again. Actually, I was never going to go out with him again either. I can't believe he convinced me to stage an argument so that we would get kicked out of a club or that he made me dance. I shuddered and turned the water a little hotter as if that would somehow rid me of the humiliating memories.
I hadn't really done anything worse than make a fool of myself in front of a few strangers, and Emmett, who made a fool of himself on an hourly basis. It was that thought that convinced me to get out of the shower and get dressed. I wanted to see exactly where Alice thought I needed taking.
As far as I was aware there was nothing I needed, there wasn't even anything a wanted right now, and even if there was I could certainly manage to get it for myself. I liked Kate and didn't object to spending time with her, but I felt like I was being babysat. Why on earth had she come all the way from Alaska because of something that sounded fairly trivial?
I threw on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt I found on our bed. I wasn't too sure who it belonged to, but it was clean and that was really all that mattered until I felt better. My hair was a loss as far as I was concerned, so I put it up without brushing it, grabbed a hoody out of the closet and made my way back downstairs.
Emmett and Kate were still playing on the Xbox, but they were also talking about Edward and I wanted to know how he was doing. I reminded myself I'd promised to call him a week ago too, and I'd have to get around to that at some point.
"What, still?" Emmett asked as I plopped down between them.
"He's always been good at brooding, you know that." Kate laughed, "But this is the longest I've seen him mope over one thing."
"Is he at least hunting regularly?" Emmett liked to say Edward was an ass, and he did still want to 'kick the crap outta him', but he cared too. Edward was his brother, and while he enjoyed tormenting him and laughing at his expense, like all good siblings, at the end of the day he was still in his corner.
"Yeah, he hunts. He plays miserable music. He talks about Bella all the time and whines about Jasper. The usual." Kate shrugged, easily beating Emmett in their current game. I'd never seen him lose before.
"He's ok though, right?" Like Emmett, being mad at him didn't stop me from caring. And I couldn't pretend that I wasn't at least partly responsible.
"He's fine, just more miserable than usual. It's hard to tell the difference really." She laughed. "Are you going into town like that, or do you own any clothes that actually belong to you."
"I'm not going anywhere." I said again. "Where does she think I need to be taken anyway?"
"A salon, a lingerie store and a hardware store." She ticked them off on her fingers.
"Kate... that's a fairly odd combination, don't you think? Did Alice say what she thinks I'm going to be doing?"
"Nope, but I'm guessing she wants you prettied up for Jasper. Have I ever mentioned that this is a weird family? She wants her ex's new mate all primped for a night with him. Very odd." She rambled. "The hardware store is for solvent, she said something about glue? I wasn't listening. And Emmett needs to get some paint. And you should probably replace the coffee table too."
Five hours later, yep, that's right, a whole five hours later, Kate let me come home, said goodbye and ran off again. I had been trimmed, waxed and plucked to within an inch of my life. My hair was a little shorter and now came with snazzy new highlights, and I had single handedly given the sales assistant in the lingerie store so much commission that she had booked a holiday as I was leaving.
Well, Jasper had given her that much commission. Kate had brought his credit card with us. Another of Alice's instructions. I had of course protested, but I might as well have not bothered. Kate cut me off with a single growl and told me to suck it up. The clothes were for Jasper's benefit anyway. I didn't like it, but really, who am I to argue with an angry vampire.
Emmett, who had driven us to and from Port Angeles, raised an eyebrow as I waived away his offer to help with the bags. He knew exactly what I'd bought as Kate had told him though. On the way home, I'd had the 'Just because Jasper's been hunting doesn't mean its ok..." talk. Thankfully, it was obvious he wasn't being serious.
He seemed to have bought a lot of stuff too, the trunk had been full of paint and other stuff in bags, and there was something huge strapped to the roof of the jeep. It had started to rain and the cardboard it was wrapped in was getting soggy.
I went upstairs to put my new underwear away, all the while wondering about which of it Jasper would like, and what would happen when he got back. I had to wait until tomorrow to see him again, and I'd really started to miss him. I wasn't worried about him, and I knew he was coming back, but I missed the feel of him, and the smell of him, and I missed talking to him. Life just wasn't quite as bright when he was away from me.
Plus, since our first date, which couldn't have been better, I'd been dying to go further with him. The unexpected effects of him sharing his feelings had left me with a vague knowledge of what my body was capable of, and I was sure that doing more physically would make things even better.
Jasper had said he wanted us to go slowly, and I wondered if he thought we'd had enough practise yet. I wanted to make love. I felt my cheeks burning. Somehow, while I was actually with Jasper, nothing seemed too much. He was the first man that had ever seen me topless, and I hadn't been at all embarrassed, but thinking about it while I was alone made me feel all squirmy with nerves.
I sat down on the bed and watched the rain making patterns on the glass of the window while I listened to Emmett running up and down the stairs. I wanted to know what he was doing, but I was tired, and the lack of Jasper, along with my slowly fading hangover had put me in a bit of a bad mood.
A rumble of thunder in the distance reminded me of the way Jasper sort of purred when he was content, and then a louder, nearer one reminded me of his growls. I missed him more. Lightening streaked across the darkening sky and a thud sounded in the next room. Edwards. I hoped Emmett wasn't doing anything too bad in there.
Just as I was about to drag myself down the hall to check on him my phone bleeped at me. It was yet another message from Edward. In two whole months, not a single day had passed without a message from him, and they were really grating on my nerves. They were annoying, but worse than that they made me feel guilty, and I knew I shouldn't really. It wasn't like I'd deliberately stopped loving him. I just... had. I was sure if he could stop moping he would see that we really weren't right for each other, and then maybe he could find someone who meant as much to him as Jasper did to me.
This time his message was just four lines, and unusually for him, it wasn't poetry, or a quote from Wuthering Heights.
Without you I am nothing
I love you Bella
Let me show you
Let me come home.
I sighed. Stupid boy. He would be fine without me if he just tried to be. And I didn't want him to show me he loved me, I would much prefer it if he just stopped loving me all together. I tried to tell myself that I wasn't stopping him from coming home, but I knew deep down that I was. He had hurt me, and he wouldn't come back until I told him it was ok to. And I hadn't told him that. The main reason for me wanting him to stay away was that I didn't trust him not to try to hurt Jasper when he found out about us. My other reasons mainly involved not wanting to hurt him by displaying my new relationship to him, and I had no intentions of staying away from Jasper, so it was unavoidable.
A board outside the room creaked, alerting me to Emmett's presence. "Penny for your thoughts?" He asked from behind me.
"Do you have a penny?"
He came and sat beside me on the bed, rummaging in his pocket. "I don't know, let's see." He mumbled laying out what he found on the bed between us. "String. Bottle cap. A dollar. Elastic band. Clean white hankie. Cell phone. Swiss army knife." He said as he set down each item before turning to another pocket. "A half eaten humbug. Lint. AA pamphlet. Couple o' notes, shiny pebble. Wedding ring. Nope, no pennies. Would you accept a dollar and the shiny rock?"
I stared at the strange assortment of junk next to me. I couldn't even form a sentence for a few seconds. "Why?" I said eventually, internally praising myself for my incredible eloquence.
Emmett sighed. "Because I don't have a penny. I'm offering you this instead." He explained, holding out the pebble and the dollar.
"That's not what I meant. I'm wondering why you have all this stuff. Half of it is trash, and almost all of the rest of it should probably be somewhere else. Why are you carrying around a wedding ring?"
"Found it under the bed, I break them a lot so I have a few on hand."
"Ok, why do you have an AA pamphlet?"
"Some woman handed it to me today and I wanted to read it."
"Why didn't you throw the sweet in the bin?"
"I thought you might want it." He told me, pulling the lint off it and handing it over. I dropped it on the bed and inched away from him deciding I'd heard enough.
"No thanks. I'll take the pebble, you can keep the dollar." The little bluish stone really was pretty shiny.
"So what's on your mind? All I've heard for the last ten minutes are sighs, and we'll, you know, your heart beat, and your breathing and a bit of shifting around, but they don't count."
"I was thinking about Edward." I confessed. "He sent me another message asking me to let him come home, and I was worrying about it."
"Let's see." He demanded, swiping my phone. His fingers seemed almost to vibrate as he found the message. A few seconds later he handed it back, grinning like an idiot.
"What did you do?" I asked fearfully.
"Replied." He smirked.
I found my outbox and saw that he had indeed replied to Edward.
I thought that I could love no other,
That was until, I met your brother.
"Have I told you I hate you today?" I groaned. "You do realise he's probably going to work out that I really am with Jasper now and come down here. What if he hurts him? Hmm? Did you think of that?" I slapped his shoulder; he only smiled while I hissed at the pain in my hand.
My phone played Debussy and I cringed. My thumb hovered over the reject button then moved to accept the call. I had never wanted to speak to anyone less. I pressed the button before I could chicken out and raised the phone slowly to my ear. Emmett snatched it away.
"Hello?" He said in an oddly breathless voice, all the while grinning at me evilly.
I couldn't hear Edward's reply, but I could hear something, which meant he was probably shouting.
Emmett's grin widened. "We're a bit... busy... right now..." He panted, pushing down on the mattress making it creak between his words. With horror I realised exactly what he was doing and lunged for the phone.
"Emmett!" I yelled, pulling it out of his hand.
I had to hold the phone away from my ear because Edward was yelling so loud. Emmett winked and bowed. I was going to kill him.
"Edward. Calm down." I snapped. The snarling cut off instantly.
"Bella? Are you ok? I'm on my way." He said frantically.
"Stay right where you are. Emmett sent that message, and he's being an ass. He's just trying to annoy you. Do you honestly think there's anything going on between me and him?" My headache was returning full force, and Emmett had moved from the position of big brother to the top of my hit list.
Edward talked at an indecipherable pace for close to two minutes before I cut him off and told him I hadn't heard a word.
"Edward please calm down. Emmett is still entirely with Rosalie, and has no interest in me in that way. I think of him like a big brother. Doing anything like that with him would be disgusting." I genuinely shuddered thinking about it. Emmett, who was still smiling widely as he listened in, mimed stabbing himself in the heart and flopped back onto the bed, pouting at me.
You want me really. He mouthed, waggling his eyebrows. I hit him in the face with a pillow and went to stand by the window where it was easier to ignore him.
"Bella? Promise me nothing is happening. Emmett is worse for you than I am; he has almost no ability to contain his strength at all." Edward babbled, this time just slow enough for me to understand.
I thought of Emmett's hugs, while often a little painful, he'd never really hurt me. I thought about how easy he'd found it to apply makeup to my delicate eyes. Either Edward was blithely lying to me, or he just didn't know his brother. What the hell would he say when he found out I was really with Jasper? He wouldn't even have to lie there. Last time Edward had seen Jasper, he really had had massive issues with control, it was something he found easy now, but as far as Edward knew Jasper was still dangerous to humans in general. There was no point him trying to make me change my mind anyway; he had no hope of doing that.
"You know what Edward; it's really none of your business." I snapped. "You can't make decisions for me anymore; you couldn't even make them when we were together."
I watched Emmett's reflection in the window sit up and begin a silent round of applause. I forgave him a little bit without meaning to.
"I care about you. I love you. Can't you see that I'm only trying to protect you?" Edward whined. Had he whined this much before?
"You're trying to protect me from things I don't need protecting from, Edward." I sighed, exasperated. "What I do isn't your business anymore. If I want your advice I'll ask for it. Why don't you worry about yourself for a while? I'm happy Edward, you should try it."
"You're happy?" He said in a very small voice.
I wondered if he was upset by that. Did he think I was pining over him the way he seemed to be doing with me? The line stayed quiet for a few seconds.
"Yes, I'm happy." I said quietly, suddenly wishing Emmett would leave as my feelings towards Edward softened a little. "I wish you were too."
"How can I be when you're not with me?"
I had no answer for that. I tried to put myself in his position. How would I feel if I still loved him and he'd left me? If I was away from my family? Exiled. I wanted very much to tell him to come home, but selfishly, I also wanted a few more days of peace. Not to mention I was still worried about what he might try to do to Jasper.
"It will get easier." I said eventually, cursing myself for the stupid cliché.
Edward laughed flatly. "I very much doubt that Bella." He was quiet again for a moment. "Would you at least tell me the truth about Emmett?"
I bit my tongue for a moment to stop myself snapping. It was a moment too long.
"She can't get enough of me bro." Emmett said needlessly loud. "You're missing out man."
"Why, Emmett?" I hissed.
"Why? Because you want my sexy body." He grinned.
I dropped the phone on the floor and launched myself at him. Maybe his eyes weren't as durable as the rest of him and I could scratch them out. Of course, he caught me before I could do myself any damage, or attempt to do him any. With one hand fitted around each of my wrists he smiled innocently, and then stuck his tongue out at me, shaking with silent laughed.
Then he moaned. "Oh baby, yeah... just like that..."
My face burned and my whole body seemed to wilt with resignation. No way was Edward going to stay away now. Emmett abruptly let go of me, picked up the phone and handed it over. "He hung up." He said, sounding disappointed.
I was so angry I couldn't even form a coherent response. All that escaped was a growl.
"Don't look at me like that." He complained. "You know he deserved it. I was just teaching him a lesson."
I clenched my fists and closed my eyes. "When I'm a vampire..." I said slowly. "The first thing I'm going to do is beat you until you cry."
"You're telling me you didn't find that funny?" He said sounding almost offended.
"What do you think he's doing now Emmett? He's almost certainly on his way here. And what do you think he'll do to you when he gets here? And then what will he do when he finds out it's actually Jasper that I'm with?"
Emmett looked at me blankly.
"You just caused us an awful lot of trouble." I moaned.
"Sorry?" I growled. "Now you're sorry?" I had never wanted to hurt anyone more in my life.
Emmett shrugged. "Ten bucks says he calls Rose to tell on me instead of coming down here."
I felt a small prickle of hope but kept my glare steady.
A few seconds later, Emmett's phone, which was still on the bed amidst his other pocket junk began to ring. He winked, flipped the phone open and hit a button. I could clearly hear Rosalie's voice when she spoke.
"Hello sweetie, care to explain?"
Emmett winked again and sank back on the bed as if he was getting comfortable ready for a movie. "Explain what?"
"Explain why I just got a call from Edward, who seems to think you're having an affair with our little sister." Strangely, she didn't sound worried or angry, only a little resigned.
"Oh that." He said, bouncing slightly. "Some of my best work I think." He gave her a quick run down of his stupid behaviour, and included my attempt to attack him, and my promise to make him cry.
Rosalie laughed. "Serves him right." She said. "He was telling me that you must have dazzled her into it, as she'd never 'lower herself' to act that way otherwise." I knew she knew I was here, but she was still talking to Emmett as if I wasn't. "He's just called Carlisle, who's currently trying to talk him down."
"Do you think he'll come home?" I asked.
"I doubt it." She answered lightly. "Once Carlisle makes him see the truth, he'll probably start feeling like an idiot for falling for it. He'll stay in Canada to save face."
After a bit of mumbling in the background Jasper started talking. I snatched up the phone.
"I miss you." He said first. Emmett began to retch loudly.
"I miss you too. When will you be home? I need you to murder Emmett for me."
Jasper chuckled. "We'll be back before lunch tomorrow. Cut him a little slack, he could have told Edward the truth, which would probably have been worse."
"Don't you defend him." I pouted while Emmett smirked triumphantly at me. "You didn't have to hear him moaning and everything."
"I have to hear it for real often enough." He laughed, and I heard what I assumed was Rosalie slapping him. "At least you're not bored."
I couldn't argue with that, there hadn't really been a dull moment. "I guess." I could hear Rose clamouring to get back on the line so I said my goodbyes quickly. "I love you. See you tomorrow."
"Love you too angel."
"Can I speak to my husband please?" Rose said.
Within seconds Emmett was graphically describing what he would do to her when she got home and I made a hasty exit, heading downstairs and well out of earshot.
What I found in the living room baffled me. Edwards couch was upside down by the fireplace and the floor was full of boxes of CDs. His shelves had been taken apart and most of the pieces were simply scattered about the room.
I gave the boxes a cursory glance to make sure he hadn't smashed all the CD's or anything. Everything was fine. I wondered why he had moved everything out and cautiously went up to Edward's room. In the middle of the floor was the cardboard box I'd seen on the roof of the jeep. One little kick and the packaging fell open to reveal a princess bed, complete with turret and slide. A tool kit lay open next to it, presumably for Emmett to put it together.
There were also several pots of paint, brushes, rollers and trays.
He came into the room and gave me back my phone, smiling expectantly.
"What is this?" I sighed.
"You said I couldn't hit him, so I'm simply redecorating his bedroom. I haven't broken anything of his, so you're not allowed to object."
I'm not even all that sure how it happened, but I somehow got roped into painting while he built the bed, and then helping him with posters of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers.
Hours later we stood back to survey our handy work. It was horrible. Every single thing in the room was either pink or purple, the bed was a monstrosity that looked like it would be more fun to play on than to sleep on, on faces of teenaged singers grinned down from almost all of the available wall space. Edward may well cry.
Emmett had even carefully painted 'Princess Eddikins' on the ceiling in glow-in-the dark pink. The lampshade had glittery tassels. He'd decided that Edward was now forgiven as long as he didn't do anything else stupid, and had promised me he wouldn't wind him up again. He'd also given me back the photos of me dancing on the table to make me forgive him for being an ass.
It was three in the morning by the time we'd finished everything, so I brought my pillow downstairs to sleep on the sofa away from the paint fumes while Emmett tidied up the living room, installed the new coffee table and covered up the smoke marks above the stove in the kitchen.
By the time I woke up Jasper would be on his way home, and I had already roped Emmett into running me up to the cottage to surprise him. I couldn't wait.
An: So, I'm really curious, did you enjoy the Emmett/Bella bonding time, or were you just annoyed that there was no Bella/Jasper? Let me know and I promise to put lots of Bella/Jasper goodness in the next chapter.