I can't begin to thank y'all enough for supporting my little story! I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I hope you'll like this chapter as well. A huge thank you to my awesome friend and beta BITTENEV for making me look like I know what I'm doing.
The song for this chapter is "Earth to Bella Part 1" by Incubus.
Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight. I own Saints playoff tickets that I can't use.
Chapter 3—Earth to Bella
I needed to forget about my conversation with Edward, and I figured the best way to do so would be to cook. Chicken enchiladas were one of my favorite things to make, and I was fairly certain that Charlie hadn't eaten real Mexican food in ages.
After a quick stop at the grocery to pick up the ingredients, I headed home and began cooking. I lost myself in chopping and dicing. Once everything was on the stove to simmer, I got started on my homework. I became so engrossed in what I was doing that the ringing of my cell phone startled me. A quick look at my screen told me it was Alice. "Hello."
"Hey, Bella! Whatcha doing?" Even on the phone Alice was way too perky.
I chuckled at my friend's enthusiasm. "Just doing my homework and cooking dinner. What's up?"
"Well, I was on my way to cheerleading practice today when I thought I saw Edward talking to you by your truck. Care to confirm or deny?"
I shook my head and rolled my eyes even though Alice couldn't see me. "Yes, Alice, that's what you saw."
"What did he want?" she asked impatiently.
I sighed in frustration. I really didn't want to talk about it, but I knew Alice wouldn't give up. "He said he wanted to be friends."
"That's a good thing! Why do you sound so glum about it?" Alice was getting way too excited.
"Because I need to know that if he's going to be nice one day he'll be nice again the next!" I felt bad about taking my frustrations out on Alice, but the subject of Edward had that effect on me.
Thankfully, Alice didn't take offense at my tone. "I don't think he'll be that way. He must really want to be friends if he made the effort to find you and talk to you. That's uncharacteristic of Edward. He's usually much more reserved."
"If he wants to be my friend, he needs to prove that he's capable of being one," I said with finality.
"Sounds fair." Alice echoed Edward's words from earlier. "OK, on a different subject, we're having a sleepover Friday night."
"Why do I have a feeling that my idea of a sleepover is a lot different from yours?" I had only known Alice a short time, but I had a bad feeling that I was going to be assaulted with a makeover. She was a typical girly girl, while I preferred comfort over style.
"Oh Bella, don't be a party pooper!" Alice whined. "We can give each other facials and manis and pedis. I'll get Rosalie to come too. It'll be fun."
I bit my lip, again realizing Alice couldn't see me. "I don't think Rosalie likes me."
"Rosalie likes you. She just doesn't always show it," insisted Alice. "Rosalie isn't the most outgoing person, and it takes her a while to warm up to people. She's not like Edward, though. She's fiercely loyal to her friends. Besides, if she didn't like you, you'd know. I promise you that."
"OK, Alice, whatever." I knew there was no way I'd win this argument, so I didn't even try to argue.
Alice was pleased. "Good. I'll see you at school tomorrow."
"All right. See you then." I ended my call with Alice and got back to cooking and homework.
Charlie was pleasantly surprised when he came home to find real Mexican food. We had a pleasant dinner, and I even joined him in front of the flat screen for a while to watch a basketball game. We had a great evening, and I slept well.
Alice was all abuzz the next morning about our impending sleepover. If she was this excited now, I was afraid to see what she was going to be like by Friday night. I just shook my head and chuckled. I really was looking forward to spending time with my friend, but I was afraid of the girly torture she was most likely going to put me through.
I headed to biology with butterflies in my stomach. I was anxious to see which Edward was going to be in class today. Apparently it was Friendly Edward because he smiled when I sat down.
"Good afternoon, Bella," he said. "How are you today?"
"Fine, thanks," I said warily. I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"Glad to hear that. So, I hear Alice is having a sleepover tomorrow night." His smile was a dazzling white that almost made me melt. Almost.
"Yeah. I'm worried about that." Crap. I couldn't believe I had admitted that.
"What are you worried about?"
Double crap. He wasn't going to let it go.
I hesitated. I really didn't want to confess my insecurities to Edward Masen. I just had a feeling that he wasn't going to let me off the hook. He was being way too outgoing today.
"I've never really done the whole girly sleepover thing," I finally admitted.
"Really?" Edward was genuinely surprised.
I didn't respond. I looked down and let my hair fall around my face. Edward was being friendly enough, but I didn't know if it would last.
"I'm sorry if I'm making you uncomfortable, Bella," Edward said. "I meant what I said about wanting to be friends. I'm just not very good at it."
Thankfully I was saved from responding by Mr. Banner beginning class. Edward and I exchanged glances, but we didn't speak again for the rest of the period.
I managed to survive gym and head home for the evening. Alice called after dinner to finalize our sleepover plans. She promised to keep the girly stuff to a minimum so I wouldn't be too uncomfortable. I was excited about the sleepover as long as Alice didn't try to make me over.
As expected, Alice was very excited the next day. I could only laugh because I knew there was no calming her. In fact, our whole group was rather animated. We were all so busy talking and laughing at lunch that Angela, Ben, and I made it to biology just as the tardy bell rang. As a result, I didn't get to talk to Edward before class began. He gave me a small smile as Mr. Banner began class.
Any good mood I was in vanished as soon as Mr. Banner started the lesson. He announced that we were going to be blood typing. I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. The smell and sight of blood made me sick. I knew this class wouldn't end well .
Edward noticed my apprehension, and he probably saw the color drain from my face. "Bella, are you OK?"
I couldn't say anything, so I just nodded. Edward was watching me out of the corner of his eye, but he didn't say anything.
Then it happened. Mr. Banner demonstrated what we were to do by pricking Mike Newton's fingertip and squeezing it so the blood would flow. I put my head down on the cool lab table, hoping to keep the nausea at bay, but it wasn't working.
"Bella? What's wrong? Bella?" Edward seemed genuinely concerned . At least I think he did. The room was spinning, and I wasn't sure I was hearing correctly.
"The blood. The smell." I couldn't lift my head.
"Mr. Banner? I don't think Bella is feeling very well." Edward had just announced it to everyone. Great.
"Take her to the nurse," Mr. Banner replied.
I groaned. Not only did the whole class know that I was going to be sick, but Edward was going to be the one to take care of me. I prayed that a giant hole would open in the ground and swallow me. I knew that was highly unlikely, so I stood up and let Edward steady me. He grabbed my bag and led me out of the classroom.
Neither of us said anything until we were outside. I sat down on the nearest bench and breathed deeply. "I just need some fresh air. Give me a minute."
Edward sat next to me. "You're looking a little green," he observed.
"Gee, thanks," I spat, but I was sure I was really too green to sound angry.
"Just stating the obvious," he said with a smirk.
"OK. I'm good to go." As I stood up, though, I felt dizzy and nearly fell. Edward caught me before I did, scooped me up in his arms bridal style, and headed towards the office. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Carrying you to the office. What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Put me down!" I said as forcefully as I could while beating him with my fists. Unfortunately I was too dizzy to really make my point.
Apparently Edward got my message because he put me down. Actually, he pretty much dropped me. "Fine. You don't want my help. Take care of yourself then." He threw my bag to the ground, turned on his heel, and walked back to class .
I sat on the ground for a minute trying to get my bearings and process what had just happened. I could have been more polite in my request to Edward to put me down, but he didn't have to drop me. Asshole. I managed to stand up and somehow make my way to the office.
"Bella? Are you all right?" Mrs. Cope asked as I walked into the office.
"No. Blood typing in biology." I laid my head on the counter.
Mrs. Cope walked around the counter to me and helped me to the nurse's office. As I plopped in a chair, Mrs. Cope explained to the nurse what was going on. The nurse ran to get a cool compress for my forehead. I leaned back and closed my eyes.
"What class do you have next?" Mrs. Cope asked me.
Mrs. Cope laughed. "Don't worry, honey. You can stay in here. I'll let Coach Hebert know where you are."
"Thanks," I managed to say.
Surprisingly the last hour of school flew by and the day was over. I was feeling much better, but Mrs. Cope wasn't convinced I should drive home.
"I don't know, Bella. Perhaps I should call Charlie," she said worriedly.
"Please don't," I practically begged her. "I promise I'm OK. I don't have far to go." I knew Charlie would freak out, even if it was just on the inside, if the school called and said I was sick.
Mrs. Cope relented. "Oh all right. Just please be careful."
"I will," I promised her. "And thanks."
As I made my way to my truck, I heard Alice calling my name and saw her running towards me. "Bella! Angela told me what happened in biology. Are you OK? Can you still come over tonight?"
"Yes, Alice, I'm fine and I'm still coming over," I assured her.
Alice smiled knowingly. "So, I heard Edward was the one to take you to the nurse."
I bit my lower lip. "Well, sort of."
"What do you mean 'sort of'?" she demanded.
I hesitated, but Alice gave me a look that said she wasn't going to back down. She stood there with her hand on her hip looking positively scary. I bit my lip again.
"What happened, Bella?" she asked. "Don't tell me it was nothing. You'd better spill."
I figured I might as well tell Alice what went on. "Fine. Edward was walking me to the office when I got dizzy. He picked me up and carried me."
"What's wrong with that?" She sounded confused.
I went on. "I didn't want him to, so I fought him. Then he dropped me and went back to class."
Alice unsuccessfully stifled a laugh. "Are you serious? He actually dropped you?"
Now it was my turn to glare at her. "It's not funny. He could have just put me down and continued to walk me to the office. He didn't have to drop me. Yesterday he tells me he wants to be friends, and today he drops me. What's his problem?"
Alice was still laughing. "I'm sorry, Bella, but it is funny. I don't think Edward's shown this much personality in months."
I became exasperated and got in my truck. "Whatever, Alice. I'll see you tonight." Alice was still laughing but waved as I drove off. I really wasn't mad at her, though. It was impossible to be mad at Alice.
I got home and did a couple of loads of laundry to pass time until I left for Alice's. Charlie was stopping at the diner for dinner and would be going to LaPush to go fishing with Billy tomorrow, so I didn't have to worry about him. I packed my bag and headed over to the Cullens about 6:00.
Alice basically pounced on me as soon as I walked in the door. "Bella!"
"Alice, you just saw me three hours ago." I laughed as I hugged her back.
"I know, but I'm so excited you're here!" She dragged me through the house toward the stairs.
"Hi, Bella!" Esme called out as we passed the kitchen. Alice stopped and then pulled me into the kitchen.
Alice let me go long enough to hug her mother. "It's good to see you, Esme," I told her. "I hope you can protect me from your crazy daughter."
"Sorry, but I can't help you with that," Esme replied with a smile. "Carlisle and I are meeting some friends for dinner in Port Angeles. You're on your own tonight."
"Too bad, Bella! You're stuck with me!" Alice trilled as she dragged me out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and into her room.
I rubbed my arm and shook my head. "Alice, for a little person you're freakishly strong." We both flopped on the bed, and that was when I realized I had left my phone in my truck. "My phone's in my truck. I need to get it in case Charlie or Renee calls. I'll be right back."
I quickly ran down and got my phone. As I was heading back upstairs, I ran into someone. I looked up to see Edward falling on his rear end.
"Fuck!" he yelled as he put his hands back to try and break his fall. "Would you watch where the hell you're going!'
"I'm so sorry, Edward," I stammered as my face turned a hundred shades of red.
"You need to be more fucking careful!" Edward got up and examined himself. "Fucking awesome. Look at this!" He held out his right arm, where a bruise was already forming.
Thankfully I was saved when Esme appeared at the top of the stairs. "Edward! Watch your language!"
"She knocked me down!" he replied, seemingly amazed that his aunt had corrected him.
"I'm sure it was an accident, so there's no reason to carry on like that," Esme chided. Edward pushed his way past me and continued down the stairs. "Bella honey, are you all right?"
"I'm fine," I choked out as I made my way upstairs, trying not to cry.
Esme stopped me when I reached the top of the stairs. "I'm sorry. He wasn't always like this. It's no excuse, but I don't think he means it."
I just nodded, not trusting my voice. Esme squeezed my arm, and I went back to Alice's room.
"What happened?" Alice demanded as soon as I opened the door.
I couldn't talk. I sat on the edge of the bed as the tears finally fell.
Alice was furious. "What did he do to you?"
"It was my fault," I told her. "I was coming up the stairs, and I wasn't watching where I was going. I knocked him down. I didn't do it on purpose. I'm just so damn clumsy."
"It is not your fault! It was an accident. They happen." Alice sat next to me and put her arm around me. "Are you OK?"
"Yeah. No physical injury. I only hurt what little pride I had left." I leaned into Alice and put my head on her shoulder.
"Hola, bitches!" Rosalie entered the room but stopped short when she saw Alice and me. "What's wrong?"
Alice sighed in frustration. "Edward."
Rosalie sat on the other side of me. "What did he do now?"
Thankfully Alice answered for me. "He and Bella had a little collision on the stairs and he yelled at her like she did it on purpose!"
"He what?" Rosalie stood up with her hands on her hips. "I know he's all emo and shit, but that's ridiculous. What's his problem lately? Do I need to kick his ass?"
"Can we please just drop it?" I pleaded. "I want to forget about him and have fun tonight."
Rosalie sat down again. "Bella, I know I'm not as crazy and outgoing as Miss Alice Sunshine here, but I like you. You fit in well with our group. I don't warm up easily to new people because I've been burned before by fake friends, but I can tell that you're not like that. Edward's been through some heavy shit, but he doesn't have to be mean. You know, I think he likes you. He likes you, but he doesn't know how to approach you like a human being because he's got his head up his ass."
"That's it! That's got to be it!" Alice squealed, causing me to jump. "He's known Rose and Jasper for years, so he's nice to them. But now you've come along and he has no clue what to do."
I looked at them warily. "I think you're both crazy."
Alice wouldn't give up on her theory. "Seriously. Edward's been depressed and has kept to himself since his parents died. Now you're here, and his world just got shaken up again. He wants to like you, but he's too sad to let you in."
"Whatever, Alice," I said in frustration. "Now can we have some fun?"
We did end up having fun. The girls gave me a manicure and pedicure, but thankfully I wasn't subjected to an extreme makeover. We also ate popcorn and laughed as we watched chick flicks. I was truly enjoying myself.
About midnight we went downstairs to put our popcorn bowls in the dishwasher. When we got to the kitchen, we ran into Edward drinking a bottle of water. I hung back, but Rosalie wasn't shy about speaking her mind.
"So, Edward," she began, pointing a perfectly manicured fingernail at him, "what's your problem with our Bella?" Apparently Rosalie didn't believe in beating around the bush.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Edward replied innocently.
"Oh I think you do," Rosalie insisted. "Why on earth would Bella deliberately knock you down on the stairs?"
Then Alice chimed in. "And what's this I hear about you dropping her at school today when you were supposed to be bringing her to the nurse's office?"
I felt myself turning beet red as Edward stood with his mouth open.
"You did what?" Rosalie practically shouted. "How could you?"
Edward found his voice. "She didn't want my help. I wasn't going to force her into something she didn't want."
Rosalie was livid. "So you just dropped her? You couldn't have just put her down? That's the lamest excuse I've ever heard."
"I—I wasn't thinking," Edward replied nervously.
Then Alice spoke up. "No. You weren't thinking. I don't know what your problem is, Edward, but you need to get over it. Bella's my friend. She's not going anywhere."
Edward's response was to storm past us out of the kitchen.
Alice turned to me. "I'm sorry, Bella. I wish I knew what was going on with him."
I sighed. "Don't worry. I'm just going to ignore him. I don't need his drama."
Alice and Rosalie seemed satisfied with my response. We went back up to Alice's room to make plans for a shopping trip in the morning. Alice and Rosalie seemed like world-class shoppers, which frightened me. I hated shopping and avoided it at all costs.
Esme got up early the next morning to cook breakfast for all of us. Emmett, Alice, Rosalie, and I were enjoying our pancakes when Carlisle came in with a worried look on his face.
"What's wrong, dear?" Esme asked him.
Carlisle frowned. "Edward's sick again. He's running a fever of 102 along with chills, and his whole body hurts. His ears and throat are clear. I don't know where this is coming from."
"What are you going to do?" asked Esme worriedly.
"I want him to see Dr. Hunter on Monday. She's an infectious disease specialist," Carlisle explained. "I'm hoping she can come up with something. I have no idea what's making Edward so sick."
Breakfast was soon finished, and the girls and I went to get ready for our shopping trip. On our way out, Alice stopped in Edward's room to check on him. Rosalie and I waited in the hall.
Alice came out a few minutes later. "Bella, Edward wants to talk to you for a minute."
Rosalie looked at me questioningly, but I just shrugged my shoulders as I went into Edward's room.
I had to go up next to Edward's bed to see him because he had the covers pulled up to his chin. He was as white as a ghost except for the dark circles under his eyes. He looked awful. I wasn't going to let that cloud my judgment, though.
"What do you want, Edward?" I asked him, not bothering to hide my irritation.
Edward didn't seem surprised by my tone. "I really need to apologize, Bella. I thought long and hard about what Alice said last night, and she's right. I'm so sorry for the way I've treated you, and I promise to be kinder. I know you have no reason to believe me, but I do have a nice side. I just hope you'll let me show it to you."
Despite his sickly appearance, I saw nothing but sincerity in Edward's eyes. I could tell he finally meant what he said. Could I give him a chance, though? Could I allow myself to become friends with Edward? Only time would tell.