My life since breaking up with Edward Cullen had become quite literally a nightmare. I couldn't face the Cullen family any longer, the judgemental scowls and his broken hearted puppy dog looks so I decided to go back to Renee and Phil. It had been no one's fault, I had loved Edward or at least I'd thought I did but then the nomads came into my life. I ran terrified with Alice and Jasper while Edward and the others tried to lead James away and kill him. The plan backfired because he caught on and followed me to Phoenix. If only he'd found me a little sooner perhaps things would have turned out differently but he didn't. I had the night in the hotel room, something I couldn't change and wasn't sure I even wanted to, guilty though I felt.
"I'll go down and check with Carlisle. I won't be long"
Alice left the room smiling as she did so leaving Jasper and I alone together. I felt nervous but only because I hardly knew him, we'd exchanged about a dozen words that was all.
"Are you OK Bella? I can help you relax if you're feeling scared."
I shook my head,
"I'll be OK but thank you. I feel guilty that's all"
"I know but I'm not sure why."
"Your family are scattered chasing a psychopathic nomad and taking all kinds of chances for me and Rose doesn't even like me"
He smiled and my heart stuttered just a little. I'd never noticed how handsome he was, how his face lit up when he smiled.
"You don't think you're worth it do you?"
I shook my head blushing,
"No, after all I've only brought you problems, arguments about Edward and I and now...well this mess."
Something pulled me closer to him, his golden eyes growing in my vision, what was happening to me?
"You are worth it Bella. I've never met a human like you before. You have such a beautiful soul, don't ever change will you?"
I stopped realising we were almost toe to toe and shook my head unable to form words. A small voice inside was telling me this was all wrong, that I was far too close to this enigmatic man but I shut it off and our lips met. My arms snaked around his neck pulling him closer as my mind screamed "what are you doing?"
I wasn't sure who instigated the kiss but neither of us were willing to break it off only doing so as we heard the door knob turn slowly. We parted as Alice entered and I noticed her customary smile was missing although she didn't say anything to us at the time.
I had to get away from the strange feelings I had for Jasper and when James threatened my mother I took the decision to sacrifice myself for her safety. Of course it was all a lie but I almost lost my life anyway. Only Edward and the others appearing just in time saved me although I had been bitten. Edward, true to form, refused to allow me to change and sucked out the venom. When I woke up next in the hospital I remembered nothing, only relief at seeing my Edward again. It wasn't until I got back home to Charlie that I saw Jasper again and it was only a glimpse as he dropped Alice off. She had become my angel of mercy, helping me with all the tasks I couldn't manage and my father couldn't help me with.
The glimpse brought back the memory of the kiss and although Alice still didn't say anything I suspected that she knew. It was there in the reproachful glances she gave me sometimes. Edward was solicitous and insisted we go to the prom even with me in a cast. We danced and talked to our friends but things had changed, for me at least. I just didn't feel the same way about him any longer. Once I would have died if he'd left me, now I just didn't care enough, not the way I should. I couldn't get past that kiss in Phoenix.
I soldiered on for a few months but I couldn't hide the change in my feelings and even dad remarked on it eventually.
"Loves young dream fading is it?"
I just frowned but he was right, my love for Edward wasn't strong enough any longer, I couldn't give him what he wanted and the tighter he held on the more I let go until one night he confronted me.
"Something has changed Bella, what is it?"
"I don't know. I'm sorry Edward but I think we should stop seeing each other."
"Stop? But I love you Bella."
"I know Edward but I don't feel the same way any longer. I'm sorry."
He tried everything to persuade me to change my mind but it was too late, much too late. I lived for the few glances I got of Jasper at school and I felt eyes on me, not his so much as the others. Edward was unhappy so the rest were unhappy and let me know it. Rose couldn't look in my direction without trying to petrify me with her glare. Emmett looked sad and Alice...well Alice looked strange and I wondered when she would speak up, let out our secret. She didn't, or not that I ever found out but things became so uncomfortable that I decided to leave Forks and the Cullens behind.
Charlie was upset and even Carlisle tried to persuade me to stay but I just couldn't. I knew Edward had suspected Jake of breaking us up but he had imprinted on a girl from a neighbouring tribe for which I was grateful because I thought there might have been trouble between the two of them otherwise. So, I said goodbye to my friends and my dad and moved to Jacksonville, to my mothers new home with my step dad Phil. They made me welcome and I knew I'd done the right thing but I couldn't stop thinking about Jasper, he haunted my dreams, his face, his voice, I wanted to see him again but I couldn't. I immersed myself in my new school but I couldn't bond with anyone, it was as if the most important part of me was still in Forks. My life here was hollow and then the nightmares started.
I dreamed of blood, of bodies ripped apart, of the screams of the dying and became scared to sleep. I forced myself to stay awake as long as I could but as soon as my eyes closed it would start over again. This went on for days, weeks, months, and I knew I was going slowly mad with lack of sleep and fear. My mother sent me to doctor after doctor but none made any difference and even sleeping tablets didn't help, they just meant I couldn't wake up from my nightmares so the horror went on longer and I prayed for it to end but it just went on and on until I was so weak and ill that I was hospitalised for two weeks and the nightmares stopped as abruptly as they had started. I was relieved, perhaps now I could start my life over and I rejoined school once I was discharged.
There had been some changes while I'd been off, a new history teacher and two new girls in my year. One of them seemed to be interested in me, I found her watching me in class and she joined the next table for lunch always sitting where she could see me, or was I becoming paranoid now? Then one day she introduced herself,
"Bella Swan? My name is Aggie. I hope you don't mind my talking to you but I used to live in Forks and it's nice to have someone who knows some of the same places"
It turned out she had lived with her maternal grandparents on the reservation and knew of the Blacks and the Clearwaters although she'd left there when she was only four. I understood that it was nice for her having something in common with someone else at a new school but I didn't want to talk about Forks. I was trying my hardest to forget my time there and what had happened such a short while ago.