I heard the door shut. I turned and saw Edward was gone. I had been so focused on my Civil War assignment I had forgotten he was there. That was probably a good thing. Being around Edward was uncomfortable. Deep down I knew he wouldn't do anything to me. With all the vampires here, even if he wanted to hurt me it would never happen.
"You okay Bella?" Jasper asked concerned. "We can do this later."
"No, I'm fine." Jasper raised an eyebrow at me. "It's… I forgot Edward was here. Not until he just left."
Jasper nodded. "Good. Alice wanted to keep you distracted."
That didn't surprise me. I wondered why Alice brought up my assignment so soon after Edward arrived. The point of him coming was for us to get a chance to talk. But not much talking had occurred. "I feel bad. I didn't really talk to him but I know I should have."
"Did you feel comfortable talking to him?" Jasper questioned, even though he already knew the answer.
"No," I admitted. Edward was here and trying to do the right thing. Yet I felt so guilty for being uncomfortable around him. True he tried to kill me. But he was a vampire, like I told him. It was part of his nature to drink from humans and I was bleeding.
"It's okay to feel uncomfortable," Jasper said. "It's part of being human."
Rosalie walked over and wrapped her arms around me. "Jazz, Alice mentioned you were a Major in the Confederate Army," I began.
Jasper glanced at Alice. She shrugged. "I was," he confirmed. "Actually, I was the youngest Major in the Confederate Army. I lied about my age so I could enlist."
"Why would you lie?" I questioned. Rosalie and Alice settled around the table to listen.
"It was my dream to join," Jasper answered. "So, I did what I have to in order to join. Back in those days serving in the war was the greatest honor."
"Is that how you got changed?" I asked. I glanced at the others. They looked like they were trying not to pay attention.
"Yes," Jasper said. "I was riding back to camp when I ran into three women. Being a southern gentleman, I stopped to help. None of the women were in need of help. Instead she was waiting for someone to come by. Her and her two companions were vampires, though I didn't know at the time. They were looking for someone, someone special. Maria liked me, told me she hoped I survived, before biting me."
I gasped. After hearing Emmett's story, I assumed they were all changed because they were dying. But that woman, Maria, changed Jasper for no real reason. That woman took away his life for petty reasons.
"Why are you so angry Bella?" Jasper asked confused.
"She took away your life for selfish reasons," I exploded. "I thought… when I heard Emmett's story… I guess I assumed everyone was dying when they turned."
"That's Carlisle's policy," Rosalie said gently. "He only turns someone if they're dying. But Jasper wasn't turned by Carlisle."
"It's okay Bella," Jasper said softly. "My life is better now. My upbringing wasn't the best, but I'm happy now. All that pain was worth it." He smiled at Alice and I understood what he was talking about.
"Why are you so hesitant around me?" I asked him.
Jasper turned his attention back to me. "Maria and her companions were building an army. I was turned in order to help with that army. I'm not sure if she had a gift that allowed her to detect gifts in others or maybe she was just hopeful. Either way when she found out I could control the newborns; I became her second in command. Newborns are never more powerful than their first year. So, I would train the newborns and after their first year…"
"You disposed of them," I finished.
"Yes, it was my job to kill the newborns when they were no longer useful," Jasper said.
"What changed?" I questioned. "What made you leave?"
"I was tasked to dispose of a newborn and his mate. We had become good friends and I struggled," Jasper explained. "I couldn't kill them, so I let them go."
"You shouldn't feel guilty about that," I told him. I grabbed his hand.
He stared at me. "Sometimes I wonder if you have my gift." I laughed. "Anyway, killing newborns was starting to affect me. I could feel their emotions, their fear before I ended them. I couldn't handle it. So, I disappeared, feeding only when I had to. Then I met Alice and she showed me another way. We've been here ever since."
"I'm happy you got your happy ending," I told them both.
"You'll have yours too," Alice said, glancing at Rosalie.
Rosalie glared at her. "Alice…"
"Oh, calm down Rosalie. I'm not telling Bella she has to marry you or anything," Alice said rolling her eyes at her sister.
Rosalie crossed her arms over her chest. I scooted my chair over so I could lean on her. "Relax Rosalie," I told her before kissing her cheek. "I know what's going to happen in the future. I may not be ready for it but I'm not mad about it."
Rosalie wrapped her arms around me. She kissed my cheek. "How are you handling all of this?"
"I figured Jasper would tell you," I said looking at Jasper. He grinned at me.
Rosalie shook her head. "I want to hear it from you, not him."
Jasper grabbed Alice's hand and led her out of the room to give us some privacy. "I'm… okay," I said slowly. "Being around Edward was hard but I'm okay. He… he seemed normal, like that day he saved me from that van."
"He is normal again," Rosalie said. "Without the temptation of your blood he's himself. You'll never be alone with him so you don't have to worry about that and Alice is keeping an eye on your future's."
I heard a gasp from the doorway. I turned to see Alice with a dazed expression on her face. I recognized the look. She was having a vision. I was starting to worry something bad was going to happen. Then Alice snapped out of her vision with the biggest smile on her face.
"What?" I asked nervously. Her idea of something good didn't always match mine.
"A thunderstorm is coming in one week," Alice announced.
A thunderstorm. That was what Alice was excited over? What was so special about a thunderstorm? I had no idea.
I glanced at the other vampires, hoping someone would explain. All of them looked equally happy. "Thunderstorms are the only time we can plan baseball," Jasper explained.
Baseball. Vampires were excited over playing baseball.
"Why?" I asked. "Why can you only play during thunderstorms?"
"When we hit the ball. It sounds like thunder," Rosalie explained. "It's how we cover the sound."
I stared at Rosalie. "You're excited too."
Rosalie nodded. "We all love baseball. Even Carlisle and Esme."
Somehow, I couldn't picture Carlisle and Esme playing baseball with the 'kids.' Another thought just occurred to me. "I'm not going to have to play, am I?" I asked horrified at the thought of playing.
Alice snorted. "No Bella, you won't have to play," she said. "Just trying to catch the ball would break your arm, or detach it."
I blushed in embarrassment. Of course, I wouldn't be able to play with them. "You could come watch?" Rosalie suggested. "Alice is pitcher so she can't cheat. Esme's usually the umpire."
"I like to keep the rest of them honest," Esme said walking into the room. She sat a plate of homemade lasagna in front of me.
"Thanks Esme," I said gratefully. It was nice not having to cook all the time, plus Esme was a wonderful chef.
She beamed at me before heading back to the kitchen. "What are you doing tomorrow night?" Rosalie asked me.
I quickly chewed up my mouthful of food. "Nothing," I answered. I paused my eating to stare at her. "Why?"
"How do you feel about having dinner with me?" Rosalie questioned.
My eyes widened in surprise. "Are you asking me on a date?" I asked unsure.
"If that's what you want. Or it can be dinner, between two people, one of which that isn't eating," she answered.
I looked to Alice. There was no point in saying yes if I wouldn't be able to go. "Charlie will be okay with it," she assured me. "Course that depends on you saying yes."
"Alice," Rosalie warned. Alice rolled her eyes but didn't say anything. She must be used to Rosalie's antics by now. She didn't seem bothered by Rosalie being angry.
"Yes," I said interrupting Alice and Rosalie's potential argument.
Rosalie turned to face me. "Yes?" she questioned, unsure if she heard me right. Which was ridiculous considering her prefect hearing.
"Yes," I repeated. "I'll go on a date with you."
Rosalie wrapped her arms around me. Her grip was tight but not painful. She knew exactly how much pressure she could use without hurting me.
"We need to go shopping," Alice exclaimed clapping her hands together.
"No," I practically shouted out. Alice pouted. "We went shopping today Alice. I have plenty of clothes to wear."
Alice crossed her arms over her chest. "Fine, but I'm doing your hair, and make up."
I stared at Alice. Jasper shook his head. "Okay," I agreed, knowing there was no way to stop it.
Rosalie wrapped her arms around me. "You know you can say no. I won't be offended."
I shook my head. "I want to go," I assured her. I wasn't sure at first but now I knew I made the right decision. Besides, it was just a date. There was nothing wrong with going on a date with Rosalie. It wasn't like I was deciding our future. I already knew my feelings for Rosalie were changing. I wanted to see just how much they changed.
I glanced at Alice and she looked thoughtful. My thoughts had made some decision that she could see. A decision I wasn't even aware of. It was weird knowing every decision I made affected my future, even if the decision seemed small. Whether or not it was a big change was hard to say. Did Alice ever get frustrated when her future changed over something so small?
I didn't get a response. Not that I expected one. I would be very concerned if Alice could read my mind. It wasn't the first time I was glad that Edward's gift didn't work on me. I couldn't imagine how horrible it would be if someone was able to hear all my thoughts. The lack of privacy the Cullens got was horrifying. Then again they were used to it by now.
"Bella, are you okay?" Rosalie asked concerned.
"Fine," I told her. Rosalie raised an eyebrow at me. "I'm fine," I insisted. "I was just thinking how you guys have no privacy with Edward around."
The others laughed. "We've adjusted," Rosalie said. "Our minds are capable of thinking multiple things at once. It allows us to hide our thoughts from him."
"I've also learned to block out their thoughts," Edward added, stepping back into the room. I tensed slightly at Edward's sudden reappearance. "Sorry Bella, I didn't mean to scare you."
"What are you doing here?" I blurted out.
"I can leave," Edward offered, not answering the question. I couldn't tell if he was deflecting on purpose or not.
"No, it's fine," I said quickly. "I was just curious."
Edward stared at me, like he was trying to figure out whether or not I was lying. Even though I knew he couldn't read my mind I still felt like he was trying. "Okay," he said after a minute. "There is something I wanted to talk to you about Bella."
I glanced at Rosalie. Whatever it was Rosalie didn't seem to know. She was frowning at him. "What is it?" I asked slowly. Rosalie didn't look mad, just curious.
"I would like to come back home and go to school," Edward admitted. "Of course, I won't do so if you don't feel comfortable with me here. So, I want to ask, can I return home?"
All eyes went to me.