Okay peeps, I'm back. I've had this half finished for the longest time and I finally decided tonight, that by golly I was going to finish it, so here you are. I have to warn you that I didn't read back through it for grammatical errors so it probably isn't the best, but I figured if I put it of I would forget again, so here it is for better or for worse.

Also, I want to tahnk all of you amazing people who still read this and reviewed even though I haven't updated in a while. You guys are amazing.

Content for the first time in the presence of a guy, I settled into a more comfortable position and quickly fell asleep.

Chapter 9 - Hope


That night was pure torture.

In the middle of the night I woke up crying and screaming. I immediately noticed that Edward was there sitting next to my bed and he tried to comfort me, but the last day had been too much too fast. I flung myself back from him and ended up sprawled on my back on the floor. Quickly I scooted over to the corner and covered my eyes.

"Please," I sobbed. "Please just leave me alone."

I didn't see his reaction but soon Alice was in front of me trying to pry my hands off of my eyes. "Bella," she crooned softly. "Bella it's all okay Edward won't harm you – he's just here to try and help you." Gently she gathered me into her cold arms and rocked me back and forth.

I clung to her crying like a child. "I can't trust him!" I managed to choke out between sobs. "I can't trust any of them! They are all monsters and I hate them!"

Alice just kept rocking as she breathed, "Why is it that you hate them so much Bella?"

I just bit my lip and shock my head. I pulled myself from her grasp and buried my head into my knees, muffling my crying. I couldn't tell her, she would just start to hate me too and think me filthy.

Suddenly Esme was there also, and began repeating the same thing – it would be alright, no one would hurt me and though they didn't know it, saying those simple words only made it worse. I had people telling me my entire life that it 'was okay' or things will get better. But they had lied to me every time.

Suddenly Alice took my hands off of my ears and looking me in the eye said, "Bella, we are not lying to you – it will get better I promise." When I still shook my head at her, she continued more quietly. "I promise you Bella – I know from experience. As you know I am adopted too and when I was a little girl I lived with my real family, but my parents thought I was strange because I would predict what was to come. I freaked them out and my father started beating me thing he could 'get it out of my system'. It was terrible and I hated every minute of it.

"Then I was separated from my parents and after traveling around for a little while I came here to Esme and Carlisle. At first I was worried about what would go on, but slowly they showed me that not every one is cruel like my parents or like Phil – they loved me for who I was, not for anything I pretended to be." By this time I had stopped crying. I couldn't believe my ears – bright, happy Alice was once abused by her father. Yet here she was, trusting and self-confident, everything I wished I was.

Alice sensing that she had sensing that I was calming down went on with a small laugh, "You know what Bella? For many years I hated my parents for being so cruel to me but I realized if they hadn't done those things then I wouldn't have been able to be with Carlisle, Esme and the family that I have now. Now, this doesn't justify what my parents did," she warned, "but I realized that I could forgive them and that I could go on with my life."

All I could was stare in amazement at Alice. Suddenly I started crying again, but it wasn't in fear or anger – for the first time I was crying because I had hope. I threw my arms around Alice and whispered softly, "Thank you Alice, thank you for telling me."

Alice laughed and hugged me back as Esme beamed at us. "You're welcome, Bella." Then she was all business. "Now, if you think you can go back to sleep I'll leave you to do so, otherwise I can sit in here with you again till you are all right."

I let go of her and glanced down as I asked shyly, "Could stay with me just for a little longer?"

Alice patted my hand, "Just let me grab go grab something really fast and I'll be back." I nodded and she left as did Esme after giving me one last hug.

I watched them go and was startled when I saw Edward standing stiffly in the hall. His face was creased with worry and I suddenly recalled what I had said to him and was instantly ashamed and I knew I needed to apologize to him. But as soon as I began moving to get off the floor he jerked in surprise and disappeared. I blinked in shock and quickly walked out of my room. Edward was no where around but I didn't want to give up. I dimly remembered something Alice said about Edward having the room on the third floor and it having the best view in the house.

Carefully I treaded up the stairs trying no to make to much noise in case I woke any one else up. I finally reached the top floor and seeing that his light was on from under his door I timidly knocked. I heard soft footsteps approaching and then the door opened slowly and he was standing there with a wary and confused look on his face.

Instantly I blushed crimson and ducked my head, but I still murmured softly, "I'm sorry Edward."

I glanced up quick enough to see him blink as he became even more confused. I took a deep breathe and went on, "For being so rude and pushing you away."

He cocked an eyebrow at me. "It's not you fault that you have a bad impression of men…"

I cut him off, asserting myself. "Yes it is my fault, Edward. I let my hate for Phil and what happened to me cloud what was around me. Now I know that there are other men out there like him but I know that you aren't and that I shouldn't take it on you." By the end of my declaration I was staring him dead in the eye determinedly.

He looked shocked for a brief moment but then he smiled crookedly. "Alright then, your apology is accepted – don't worry about it any more, okay?"

I smiled back in response and turned to go back to my room when Edward stopped me with a light touch on the hand. I flinched involuntarily and then laughed sheepishly. "I guess figuring that out and actually applying it will be something totally different."

Edward smiled in response but I noticed his eyes were serious. Slowly he began, "Bella," he took a breath and then shook his head.


"It's nothing – sweet dreams Bella." With that he smiled one last time and went back into his room, shutting the door behind him.

"Bella?" Alice's voice came floating up the stairs sounding slightly worried.

I turned and hurried down the stairs as fast as I could trying to hush her, "Alice, quiet! I don't want anyone else to be woken up because of me."

She laughed, "Don't worry about it – we won't wake anyone up. They aren't sleeping anyways."

"How late is it? It must be 2 or 3 in the morning at least?" I was extremely confused.

Alice tensed up a little and glancing around, her eyes lighted on my left foot and she hissed in sympathy. My eyes shot down to my ankle and I to gasped – because of my preoccupation I had forgotten about having hurt my ankle and had just ignored the pain like I had taught myself. It had swelled to the size of a tennis ball and was an array of blue and black bruises.

"Whoops." I said.

"Ah, yah! – whoops is right! How can you still be alright – here lean on me and we'll get you sitting down!" Alice fretted.

I allowed her to lead me into my room and to the bed laughing, "It's not that bad – it looks a lot worse than it actually is. I'm no that fragile!"

"Mm-hmm." She looked skeptical. "Well, I'm not so sure. Besides, even if it is 'fine'" she made quotes in the air when she said that, "Carlisle still said you should rest it! So if you won't listen to me, listen to him."

"Yeah, yeah, only because its doctor's orders though!" I teased as I laid back on my bed hitting the pillow with a satisfying thump. I pulled the covers over myself and curled myself into a ball, comfortable and warm. Alice got up, turned off the light, then came back and stretched out at the end of my bed where there was a large, open space.

It was quiet for a few minutes until Alice suddenly spoke, musing aloud. "I'm going to guess that today wasn't your first time hurting yourself, am I right?" She looked over and I nodded, resigned. "If that is the case, then we should probably take you out of PE."

"But isn't it required for graduation?"

"Yeah it is, but I think that we could get you into home study."

"What would I do for home study that is less dangerous than regular PE?" I asked, curious but feeling a glimmer of hope of getting out of more pain and at least public humiliation.

"You could do hiking instead." Alice volunteered. "There are tons of different trails around here and close by that you could go to. I would go with you of course and maybe some of the others, but that way you can take it at your pace hopefully lessening your injuries."

I sat and thought about it for a minute, then slowly a grin spread across my face. "That sounds amazing."

Alice laughed at my excitement. "I'm glad you like the idea. The only thing is what would you want to replace that period with? There are computer classes, creative writing, you could TA I guess…"

I cut in suddenly shy as she trailed off. "Alice, are there any music classes available?"

"Oh yeah, there is an orchestra, band and choir class available." She looked at me, curious. "Do you play an instrument?"

I shock my head adamantly, but then amended. "I don't play a band or orchestra instrument, but I play the piano a little and sing. I love to do both, but I'm not very good at piano because I didn't usually have an opportunity to practice."

Alice laughed, surprising me. "We have to tell Edward that – he plays all the time. If you wanted you could practice with his piano and I'm sure if you asked he would teach you."

"He plays!?"

"Yep, you usually plays late at night since, as he puts it, that is when inspiration always strikes."

I looked at her fascinated. "Inspiration? Do you mean he composes as well as plays?" Alice nodded her head, smiling at my interest. "Wow." I breathed. "Now I really want to hear him play."

I was about ready to get out of my bed and see if he was playing right now when Alice pushed me back on the bed. "Bella," she scolded. "It is three in the morning and there is still school today – you need to go to sleep. You can ask Edward to play for you in the morning. Now go to bed."

I glanced at my clock to see she was right and flopped back grumbling. "Great, you get me all excited about him playing and then you go and tell me I can't hear him. Some friend you are."

Alice snorted. "I am a great friend, thank you very much. I'm making sure you are rested enough that when he does play you don't fall asleep in the middle because you were still tired and should've been asleep."

Still grumbling quietly I acquiesced I settled deeper under the covers. In the comfortable silence that permeated the room, thoughts of the day swirled in my head. I had pushed myself away from Mike in PE, but less than a minute later I had let Edward pick me up and carry me. Later I had been alright with Edward cradling me in his arms while we were driving home.

Home, I thought suddenly. Never before had I consider a place my home, yet I had only been here three full days and I thought of this huge house as home. But as I considered it, this wasn't home because it was larger and nicer than any place I had been before, no, what made it home was Esme and Alice. They had accepted me right off, helped me, and understood that I needed some space while I needed their affection and support. Like Edward, I realized abruptly.

Edward hadn't questioned me or gotten angry at my reactions but seemed to understand that while I did not like being physically close to him I enjoyed talking to him and spending time in his company.

As I drifted back to sleep I understood something that I had never felt before. The Cullens were not going to be just another foster family to me like the others were. No, Esme was already my mother, Alice my sister, and I could almost appreciate Edward as a friend at least. If these Cullens were like this than I felt that maybe, just maybe, I could learn to appreciate the other members of the family as well. Maybe there was hope for me yet.

Alright, there it is. I know where I'm going with this now, so wish me luck and I'll be back as soon as possible.