Chapter 9

It's Time


The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.


Carmen POV

As soon as I heard the word 'Dartmouth' come out of Bella's mouth, I knew there was no way Edward was going to allow her to attend.

To be honest, at this point, Eli and I weren't even sure what Edward thought about Bella attending college. Eli had tried to discuss Bella's education with him on several occasions over the past year. Edward, however, always managed to avoid the topic by changing the subject.

Knowing his own mother didn't attend college or value education for women, made me nervous that Edward would be of the same opinion.

I can't remember how many times I had heard Esme say the only reason a girl would have a need to attend college is to find a husband.

Lord.

That woman was a complete piece of work. Thank God, she never had any daughters. It's bad enough she spouts off that kind of nonsense around her sons.

When I found out that Bella had been accepted to Dartmouth, I was incredibly proud. I always knew my sweet girl was one smart cookie, but to receive a full-ride from such a prestigious school was no small feat.

The day she had received her acceptance letter, we had spent the entire afternoon talking about her hopes and dreams; how she planned to study literature and wanted to one day teach at the college level.

As a mother, you honestly desire nothing more in life than to see your children happy. I may not have given birth to her, but I considered Bella my daughter just as much as Alice. And after seeing the way her eyes lit up during our talk, I knew I needed to do everything in my power to make her dreams a reality.

Even if that meant calling my pig-headed nephew and begging him to see reason.

I felt guilty for not telling Eli that I planned to call Edward. We were not the type of couple who kept things from each other. My stomach churned at the thought of betraying him.

Eli was the one who always communicated with Edward about anything regarding Bella.

However, I thought maybe if I appealed to Edward as a mother, he would be more apt to listen, especially since I had more insight into Bella's feelings and what would make her happy.

I mean, if he was truly her soulmate, he should care about those things.

Right?

Convinced that I could make him see reason, I dialed his number.


When he answered the phone and realized it was me who was on the other end of the line and not Eleazar, Edward appeared to be surprised, to say the least.

"Aunt Carmen?" Edward answered in a questioning tone.

"Yes, hello Edward. How are you doing, sweetheart?"

"I'm doing well; just a week more of finals and then it will be winter break."

"Are you spending your time off at home?"

"Part of it," he began, before continuing with a chuckle, "you know Ma would have my hide if I missed Christmas Eve Mass."

"Yes, I imagine she would," I murmured.

"Listen, I don't mean to be rude, but I was just about to head to the library to meet with my study group. Was there something in particular that you called about?" he questioned, before adding, "does Bella need some spending money or new clothes?"

Did he seriously just ask me if I needed money to buy my own daughter clothes?

"Umm, no Edward. Bella doesn't need any spending money or new clothes," I replied, trying to hide the irritation that I was feeling by his offending question. "I was actually calling because I have some fantastic news to share with you."

Please let this go well, I silently prayed before finding the courage to say the words aloud.

"Bella just found out that she was accepted to Dartmouth College!" I said with forced excitement, knowing full well that this was all going to be met with his disapproval. But I had to try. Faced with his eerie silence, I continued, "and, if that's not enough, she even received a full-scholarship!"

After a few more moments of quiet, Edward finally replied. His voice was cold and hard. "So, whose idea was it that she should apply to Dartmouth? Because I sure as hell don't remember discussing it with anyone."

"Yes, it was actually a surprise to us as well," I explained. "Her counselor at Miss Porter's was the one who encouraged her to apply. I guess Bella did it on a whim not believing she would actually gain admittance."

"Well, I'm sorry that she wasted all that time because she sure as hell isn't going."

A sense of despair overwhelmed me. Somehow, I had to make him understand how important this was to Bella. "But Edward, it's Dartmouth, not some small community college we're talking about here. Don't you realize what an incredible opportunity this is for her?"

"For fuck's sake, I'm not some kind of an idiot, Carmen! I know how difficult it is to be accepted into Dartmouth. I'm not arguing that; the point is, I never gave permission for her to apply in the first place!" he huffed.

Did I just hear him correctly? Permission?

"Permission?" I asked incredulously. "Really, Edward!"

"What you seem to be forgetting is she's my soulmate," he spat, his words cutting through our conversation as sharply as a knife. "I know what's best for her. Me. I make the decisions."

Stifling the curse that was on the tip of my tongue, I responded, "that's where you are wrong! She's my daughter first and I know her much better than you do!" I paused to take a breath and added, "and if you had seen her talking about going to college and her future plans, you wouldn't be taking this away from her. You would be moving mountains to make it happen."

"What future plans are you even talking about?" he asked testily.

"She wants to study literature and hopes to teach one day."

"That's admirable and shit, but in all honesty, Bella isn't going to need to work a day in her life. Her place will be with me. Taking care of our family."

Hello, Edward. The 1950s called and want their archaic beliefs back.

"What about what she wants? Doesn't that matter?" I countered, annoyed by his caveman attitude.

"Yes, it matters, but Dartmouth is not happening. I'm not exposing her to all those horny, college boys who just want to get in her pants." Edward stated as if it should have been the most obvious thing in the world.

"You are absolutely ridiculous. You can't keep her segregated from the entire male population for the rest of her life! You're going to have to learn to trust her."

"Pfff," he snorted.

"I don't understand you one bit. Just because you had no issues screwing around on her doesn't mean she will do the same to you." I knew it was a low blow to mention his past indiscretions given that Edward had supposedly changed his tune, but I was beyond pissed.

In clipped tone, Edward hissed, "I think we're through with this conversation. Please let Eleazar know that he can expect a call from me later this evening."

The next sound I heard was a dial tone.

I couldn't recall a single time in my life when I was more upset with another person than I was with Edward Cullen.

He was acting like a complete asshole.

Soulmate or not, if that boy didn't get his act together fast, there was no way I would ever endorse a relationship between him and Bella.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, I decided I needed a plan. A contingency plan in case things got worse than they already were.

But where to begin?

Picking up the phone, I called the one person who would know what to do.


Bella POV

After the Dartmouth debacle, I didn't see the point in applying to any other colleges. It was obvious that I had no say in my own future. No control.

I was merely a puppet at the mercy of the great puppeteer, Edward Cullen.

Even though no one had confirmed that he was the one who had shut down my Dartmouth acceptance, I had absolutely no doubt in his involvement.

That shady bastard was always involved when anything bad happened in my life.

As angry as I was with him, I was angrier with myself for even filling out that stupid application to Dartmouth in the first place.

I mean, what made me think I could just pick a school and go to it like a normal person?

My life was anything but normal.


A month after getting my bogus rejection letter from Dartmouth, two matching envelopes from Wellesley College arrived in the mail. Alice and I both received admittance and full-scholarships.

Pretty amazing given that neither one of us had applied.

"Well, it looks like we're moving to Boston," Eleazar declared the next morning after looking over the paperwork. Setting the forms down on the table, he picked up his mug of coffee and took a drink.

In all honesty, I was a bit upset by his nonchalant attitude over the entire situation. I was resigned that I would be attending Wellesley, but why did Alice have to go as well? She had applied to several other schools and was really hoping to get into NYU.

Edward Cullen might be ruining my life, but he sure as hell wasn't going to ruin hers too!

"No!" I exclaimed resentfully, as I slammed my glass of orange juice down. Eleazar, Carmen, and Alice each looked up from their breakfast, surprised by my atypical outburst.

"Why does Alice have to go to Wellesley?" I began my voice cracking with emotion, "she has different plans. It's not fair. I understand if I have to go, but don't make Alice give up her dream."

"They're not making me," Alice spoke up, gazing softly in my direction. "I want to go with you. It was my choice."

"But what about NYU?"

"Wellesley's art program is just as good, if not better," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "Plus, Wellesley has an added perk."

"What?" I asked, wondering what it could be.

"My best friend is going there as well."

After wiping away the dampness from my eyes, I whispered, "Are you sure? I don't want you to regret it."

"Silly, Bella," she replied, giving me one of her warm smiles, "as if I could ever regret being with you."


As the next few months passed and graduation approached, we began preparing for our move to Boston. We flew up during our spring break to look at houses. Carmen fell in love with a colonial right outside of town. Eleazar purchased it on the spot.

Since all freshmen were required to reside on campus, Alice and I would be staying in one of the twenty dormitories during our first year at Wellesley.

Mike Newton would be making the move to Massachusetts as well. I had discovered this during one of our weekly chats at the coffeehouse. After our first confrontation there several months prior, we began a tradition of meeting on Saturday afternoon.

I always enjoyed my time with him. There was something freeing about our conversations. Since I had never told Carmen or Eleazar about our initial meeting, it was as if my time with him was mine alone. With such little control in my own life, having something that was just mine was invaluable - even if it was just an hour of conversation with a seventy-two-year-old mobster.

During our time together, Mike told me stories about his life as a young boy in Chicago. How like me, he had grown up without a mother. After living in seven different foster homes by the age of twelve, he had finally run away and had been on his own ever since.

I learned it had been during that time on his own when he first became involved in petty crime and started running errands for the Cullen family.

As he shared his life stories with me, I began to share mine with him. Mike always listened patiently to my endless prattle about school and other teenage nonsense. Stuff I'm sure a man of his age had very little interest in. However, he never gave me anything but the utmost attention. It was as if everything I had to say was of the highest importance to him. As if he honestly cared.

And even though a small part of me worried he might be reporting what I told him to Edward, a larger part felt confident that he wasn't. There was something about Mike Newton that made me think I could trust him.

Even with my life.


AN:

Thanks as always to my beta, SunFlower Fran and my pre-reader, AllTheWayIntoTwilight. I couldn't do it without you!

A special shout out of congratulations to my pre-reader/mentor, Gabby1017. Her amazing story Rescue Ink just surpassed 4800 reviews! If you haven't been reading it, go check it out right now. id: 11895298

I also wanted to give my sincere thanks to the ladies at The Lemonade Stand for recommending It's Time to their readers. It was truly an honor to be highlighted.

To my readers, I love you all. I am so blessed to have such a supportive group of people cheering me and my little story on. I wish I could bake each of you a plate of brownies to show my gratitude. LOL

Also, please check out The Age of Edward contest if you haven't already. I am submitting an entry - my second story ever - and I am super excited!

id: 9351628 and on Facebook: Age of Edward 2017

Finally, is anyone going to the Forever Twilight in Forks Festival next month? I am going for the first time and would love to say "Hello!"

Until next time!

HE