Bella had almost forgotten about him. But why would he be here of all places? Unless…"You think he's spying on me?"
Jasper's eyes met Bella's. "Unfortunately, I think it's a real possibility. He's still convinced you're his mate. In his own twisted mind, he probably thinks he's protecting you."
"Protecting me from what?" Bella asked confused. Rosalie wasn't here and last she had heard from Edward he wanted to protect her from Rosalie.
"Me," Jasper replied. "My weaker control. Even before Port Angeles," Bella winced, "he would warn me about staying away from you. Not that I planned on getting close." He winced. "Sorry, I didn't mean for it to come out like that."
Bella waved away the apology. "It's fine Jazz. We weren't friends yet."
Jasper led her back to the entrance. "There is something I should tell you, in case he tries to bring it up." They stopped outside, far enough from prying ears. "In the beginning, after Edward saved you from the van and we realized you were suspicious, we, Rosalie and I, wanted to kill you, to protect our secret."
Jasper eye's closed and waited for the anger, the fear, disgust, anything. But nothing came. Bella touched his cheek. He opened his eyes, not realizing he closed them.
"I'm not mad," she said. "It makes sense. I was a threat. I get it."
Jasper sighed in relief. "Thanks Bella," he said hugging her. "I know it's been bothering Rosalie."
"Why didn't she tell me?" Bella wondered.
Jasper opened the car door to let Bella in. He was in the driver's seat before Bella could buckle her seat belt. "Fear," Jasper said answering her question. He sped out of the parking lot and through the streets of Seattle. "You don't know how much it hurts Rosalie to know she wanted you dead at one point. She will spend the rest of her existence trying to make it up to you."
"She doesn't have to…" Bella started.
"And deep down she knows that," Jasper interrupted. "But it doesn't make it any less difficult."
"Can I ask you something?" Bella questioned.
"Anything," Jasper said.
"What's with vampires and driving fast?" Bella asked in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Jasper laughed. "If you could move faster than a speeding bullet, would you want to be stuck driving a slow car?"
It made sense to Bella but she didn't think she would ever be obsessed with sports cars. "Is he still nearby?" Bella asked as Jasper got onto the highway.
"I don't know," he answered. "I don't hear or feel him. Rosalie is following behind us, just in case. She'll call if there's something to be concerned about."
"Why hasn't Alice called?" Bella wondered.
"She must not see anything new," he said.
"Which means he doesn't get me," Bella muttered to herself.
Jasper still heard. He took his eyes off the road to stare at her. "He won't get you Bella," he promised. "No matter what we will keep you safe." The entire time Jasper stared at her the car never moved. That had to be a vampire thing.
"What can we do to convince him I'm not his mate?" Bella whispered.
"I don't know Bella," Jasper said with a sigh. "I'm not sure anything can be done at this point. He's never had a mate and he doesn't know what that feels like. There's no real way to show him unless…"
"Unless what?" Bella pressed.
"Unless he were to find his own mate," Jasper finished. "But the odds of that happening are so small, especially in a town like Forks."
"So, there's no hope," Bella said sadly.
"I wouldn't say there's no hope," Jasper said gently. "Just not much."
"Jasper," Bella said after a few minutes of silence. "What happens when you guys eat?"
Jasper laughed. "Eventually our venom breaks down the food but until then it is rather uncomfortable."
"You know I asked Edward once and he wouldn't tell me," Bella commented.
"He didn't want to mention anything related to venom," Jasper said. "He was afraid you would want to become one of us." Bella looked down. "It's okay if you don't. Rosalie would never force you to turn."
It didn't take long for them to find the familiar streets of Forks. "Where to take you," he muttered to himself. Bella didn't respond. She wanted to go home but she didn't want to risk Charlie's safety.
Jasper's phone rang. "Take her home," Alice said before Jasper could say anything. "Charlie wants to see her."
Jasper hung up the phone and pulled into the driveway. "Don't worry tonight," Jasper told her. "Rosalie will be by soon and one of us will always be near."
Bella undid her seat belt so she could reach over and hug him. "Thanks Jasper," she said. "Even though we had to leave early, it was still great."
"I had a great time too. Sleep well Bella," he said.
Bella got out of the car. She grabbed her house keys from the glove compartment and made her way to the front door. Jasper waited until she was inside before driving away.
"Bella?" Charlie called from the living room.
"Yeah Dad, it's me," she confirmed.
Charlie made his way to the hallway. "You're back early. How did it go?"
"It was great," Bella said honestly. "We were both getting tired so we came home early but I had a lot of fun."
"That's good Bells. I like that boy," Charlie admitted. "Are you and him—?"
"I'm not dating Jasper," Bella interrupted. "He's just a really good friend."
Charlie frowned. "What about anyone else in town? Anyone caught your eye?"
"No," Bella lied. Charlie looked relieved. "Dad, you… uh, you like the Cullens, right?" Charlie nodded. "So, if I…uh, if I did want to date one of them…" Charlie's eyes narrowed, "hypothetically of course."
"Hypothetically, I may be okay with it. Depending on which one it was," Charlie said. "That big one looks too old for you."
Bella laughed. "Emmett's a senior," Bella told him. "But no, it's not him."
Charlie stared at his daughter. "Well, when you're ready to tell me, I'll be here," he promised.
"I'm going to head to bed. Goodnight Dad," Bella said.
"Goodnight Bella," Charlie said, watching her walk up the stairs. There was something about their conversation that worried him. It wasn't that his daughter might end up with one of the Cullens, he had a theory as to who it would be, it was more what being with them meant. He worried he was going to lose Bella soon and he wasn't ready for that.
Bella pushed open the door to her bedroom and was surprised to find Emmett lounging on her bed, reading her worn out copy of Romeo and Juliet. Well, not so much reading as flipping through.
"What are you doing here?" Bella asked confused.
Emmett put the book down. "Rose wants to talk to Alice and Jasper before coming here. I figured Jasper got to spending the evening with you, so it's my turn." Emmett took a moment to study Bella. "You look nice Bella."
"Thanks," Bella said blushing. She stared at Emmett who made no move to get off her bed. Bella sighed.
She grabbed her pajamas and left Emmett alone on her bed. She quickly changed before cleaning off the make up and brushing her teeth. By the time she was finished she felt more like herself.
She wasn't surprised to see Emmett still lounging on her bed. It didn't look like he moved while she was in the bathroom. "You don't have to babysit me Emmett," Bella told him.
Emmett frowned. "I'm not here to babysit you." Bella raised an eyebrow at him. "Okay, I am here to keep an eye on you. But I also wanted to come. I like hanging out with you, even if you don't like being with me."
It was Bella's turn to frown. "Why would you think that?"
Emmett shrugged. "You spend so much time with Jasper," he commented. "I mean I get the emotion control is helpful but…"
Bella walked over and hugged him. He tensed up for a second, at her sudden closeness, before relaxing and wrapping his arms around Bella. "I'm sorry you feel neglected," she said. "I'm supposed to go on a double date with Rosalie, Paul and Angela tomorrow. Maybe we can hang out Sunday?"
Emmett's eyes lit up. "Yes," he exclaimed happily. "We can play video games and read comic books and there's a Lego store in Seattle. I've been wanting to get one of those giant Millennium Falcon."
Bella laughed. Shopping was never fun for her but shopping with Emmett sounded entertaining. He was like a kid in a candy store, so excited over everything.
A knock at the window caused Bella to jump. She wasn't afraid. She knew Emmett would protect her if Edward came. She was merely startled. She hadn't expected anyone to knock.
"It's just Rose," Emmett muttered, getting up to open the window. It was a rule that the window stayed locked. It was everyone's hope that Edward wouldn't come in if he were locked out, although everyone knew he could get in if he wanted.
Rosalie jumped through the open window and stood right in front of Bella. Bella threw her arms around Rosalie. "I'm glad you're back," Bella mumbled into her shoulder. "I missed you."
"I missed you too Bella," she said.
Emmett looked between the two and took that as his cue to leave. "I'm going to go. I'll see you Sunday Bella. I can't wait."
He jumped out the window, leaving the two women alone. "He's really excited you know," Rosalie commented, pulling Bella to the bed.
"Were you listening?" Bella asked settling into the bed.
"No. Alice had a vision when you agreed to spend the day with him," Rosalie answered. "You should have seen some of the activities he was planning. At one point he was planning a trip to Disneyland," Bella's eyes widened in surprise, "until he remembered the sun."
"Disneyland," Bella repeated. She shook her head. Only the Cullens would plan a trip to Disneyland for a day trip.
Rosalie laughed. "No Disneyland. Not this time at least. Maybe in the future if you wanted to go," Rosalie said thoughtfully. Bella yawned. "You should get some sleep love. I'll be here when you wake."
Bella laid her head on Rosalie's cold shoulder. "Is it weird that you don't feel cold to me?" Bella asked yawning. "I mean your body is cold but I like it. It's almost as if you were warm."
Rosalie laughed. "You're tired love. Get some sleep." Bella closed her eyes and was asleep.
Alice appeared within minutes of Bella falling asleep. "You didn't lock the window," she commented.
Rosalie shrugged. "Edward's not stupid enough to come here while I'm here," Rosalie said.
Alice sat in the rocking chair. "You should talk to Carlisle," Alice said.
Rosalie growled softly. "Why? So he can accuse me of stealing the golden boy's mate again?"
"He's going to figure it out Rose," Alice said. "I'm not sure when or how but I do know he will realize he is wrong."
"Carlisle admits he's wrong?" Rosalie asked in disbelief.
"I didn't say that," Alice said. She frowned. "Actually, I don't know if he will admit anything. But he will learn the truth."
"You don't think Edward will do something that makes Carlisle realize there's no way Bella could be his mate?" Rosalie questioned, tightening her grip on Bella.
Alice didn't meet Rosalie's eyes. "Unfortunately yes," she said. She couldn't bring herself to look at the expression on Rosalie's face. She knew it wasn't good.
"I will kill him if he tries anything," Rosalie swore. "I will not allow something like Port Angeles to happen again."
Alice met Rosalie's dark eyes. "You know Emmett, Jasper and I will be there for you, no matter what. We all love Bella too."
Rosalie's eyes softened. "Thank you Alice. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have you guys on my side." The two sat in silence for a while. Rosalie listened to Bella's even breathing and steady heartbeat. "Alice, the future… is it the same?"
"You mean you and Bella?" Rosalie nodded. "Yes, that has never changed. Her future is becoming more and more clear. The only thing that constantly changes is how and why she gets changed." Rosalie pushed some hair from Bella's face. "I don't know if it matters or not, but in all my visions she never asks to be changed. We only change her because she is dying."
"She doesn't want to turn?" Rosalie asked. She wasn't sure if she was upset or relived by the news.
"Right now she doesn't," Alice said. "I think it has more to do with Charlie. She doesn't want to hurt him." Rosalie nodded. She agreed with that. "Because of that she may never want to get changed while he is alive."
"I'm okay with that," Rosalie said honestly.
Alice shook her head. "I know you think so now, for now I completely agree, but there will come a day when you want her to turn rather than risk her dying."
"I won't take away her life," Rosalie said firmly. "If its what she wants… I won't argue. But I won't turn her so I don't lose her."
"No matter what happens, no matter what you decide I still see her as one of us," Alice told her. "And when it comes down to it, I know Bella would rather you be the one to turn her." Rosalie tensed up. "You don't have to decide now. You really don't have to worry about it now. We will keep Bella safe from Edward." It grew quiet again. "Rose, there's something else I need to talk to you about." Rosalie raised an eyebrow at her. "Hunting. You've been hunting so much and I got curious. You're not hunting until you're full. You're simply getting an animal, or human, whenever you can."
"I'm fine Alice," Rosalie said. "It's not ideal but I'm dealing."
"I know you're fine for now and I know you're doing it for Bella's sake but you need to be fully sated. For the sake of everyone else," Alice said. "Bella will understand."
"I don't want Bella to suffer because of me," Rosalie said softly.
Alice shook her head. "She's not suffering. Yes, she needs close contact with you but she's strong. So, Sunday while she's with Emmett you're going to hunt. You'll have a few hours since they're going to Seattle. If you give her a sweater or a jacket, she will be fine. I promise."
"I…" Rosalie started. She sighed. "Fine. I will hunt while they go to Seattle."
"Good," Alice said satisfied. "There's one more thing." Rosalie groaned. "It's your diet." Rosalie glared at her. "Don't give me that look. You know I don't care if you feed from animals or humans. But you need to make a decision. The constant changes are giving me a headache. If I could make a suggestion…" Rosalie raised eyebrow at her. "We still need to keep up appearances, and I know you hate those contacts. So, stick to animals for now. The year is almost over and if you want human blood after that then I'll support you."
Rosalie sighed. "You're right," she admitted.
"I usually am," Alice said with a grin. Rosalie rolled her eyes. Alice grabbed one of Bella's many books.
Bella rolled over so she was almost completely on top of Rosalie. "Rose," she sighed in her sleep. Rosalie gently stroked her face. Alice watched her sister. She had never seen Rosalie happier, even if she didn't realize it. "Love you," Bella muttered.
Rosalie froze. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. She looked at Alice. One look at Alice's face and she knew she did in fact hear Bella correcting.
"Did you have any doubt?" Alice asked.
"She never said anything," Rosalie muttered.
Alice rolled her eyes. "Of course she didn't," she said. "She's never been in love before. She's scared Rose. I don't need Jasper's gift to know that. Give her time. Eventually she will say it."
Rosalie held Bella close. "Alice," she said after a few more minutes of silence. Alice put the book down that she had picked up in her boredom. "Thanks for everything. I really appreciate everything you've done for us."
Alice's face softened. "Of course Rose. That's what sisters are for." Alice stood. "I'm going to go home and spend some time with Jazz. Call me if you need anything."
Alice didn't wait for a response. After one final look at her sister she jumped out the window, leave the two mates alone.