Chapter 8, Part 2
Author's Note: Hello Everyone! It has taken me a little extra time to finish this chapter and get it posted but I wanted it to be a well written as possible. I would rather give you quality than quantity. So, thank you if you have stuck around during this slow time. I also wanted to let you know that the next update will probably not be for two weeks. I am spending this weekend at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Breast Cancer 3-Day. It's a 3-day, 60 mile event to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. This will be my third year participating, but my first year not walking (I'm a crew member this time around). For 3 days I will be sleeping in a tent and have no access to an electrical outlet, heck, I won't even have a toilet that flushes, just a porta potty. (Not the greatest, but it's all for a really good cause!) So, I won't have access to my computer. I'm really sorry that it will take so long to update again but I hope you all understand. Thank you everyone who has reviewed or alerted me! I promise I will be responding soon, even if it is two weeks later! Hehe! Have a great weekend everyone! Enjoy some more Cullen family fun!
Chapter song – Why Don't You by Ingram Hill
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not the characters and not the song, I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry. Thank you wonderful Stephenie Meyer for creating the characters I so lovingly play with.
My eyes scanned over the fragile girl in my lap as she slowly ate the pasta with our gentle prodding and I felt a mixture of emotions rise in my throat. Fear that our suspicions were correct; anger that my sweet Bella had become this way; concern about how I was supposed to help her and if I could at all. Somehow happiness that I had her back at all snaked in there but I felt oddly guilty for being happy right now, even in the slightest form.
I caught Carlisle's eye, his thoughts filtering through my head in the silent conversation that we had grown so accustomed to.
"This is not good, Edward. She was always fairly small, but she's lost a lot of weight." He thought, his gaze turning back to her face. I tipped my head slightly, nodding in reply. What were we to do about it though? Carlisle had said earlier that it would be best if Bella sought our help on her own, that we didn't force her. I knew that it would drive me mad to simply watch her when I had these nagging thoughts that she was unhappy or in pain somehow, but what else was I supposed to do about it? How was I to help my Bella?
I glanced at her and noticed that she hadn't eaten anymore, that her eyes had glazed over and she had zoned out again. "Bella? Bella, are you with us?"
She blinked slightly and turned her head to me, the haze in her eyes clearing as I snapped her out of whatever thoughts she was lost in. Damn whatever glitch that kept me from reading her thoughts.
"Oh sorry. I was just thinking."
"Bella you need to eat more than that. You've only had one bite." I chided gently.
"Fine." She huffed, putting another forkful to her mouth. I overheard the soft canter of Esme's thoughts flit through my mind; she was afraid for Bella and upset that we found her in the state she was in. Understandable, Esme thought of Bella like she was a daughter. Bella was saying something about the apartment when I heard the elevator hum and the voices of my siblings drew close.
"Sounds like everyone's home from class." I mumbled as the elevator doors opened to allow even Bella to hear Emmett singing.
"I kissed a girl and I think I liked it. The taste of her cherry chapstick. I kissed a girl just to try it. I hope my boyfriend don't mind it."
"You kissed a girl now did you, Emmett? And who might this girl be?" Rosalie interrupted Emmett's solo.
"Ah now Rosie, you know I'm talking about you."
"Well, who's the boyfriend then?"
Without a pause Emmett turned to Jasper, batted his eyelashes and said, "I love you Jasper."
"I love you too, Emmett."
We were all laughing at Emmett and Jasper when I saw Alice turn to Rosalie wearing an expression of evil scheming. I quickly took a trip through her thoughts and saw all that had transpired this afternoon at the furniture store, just before she said, "Rosalie I guess we know how they broke the bed now."
"Yeah, But I always thought Edward was the pillow biter."
The smirk on my face from seeing my brothers being tormented was immediately wiped away by Rosalie's comment.
Esme, thankfully, chose this moment to interrupt, asking the room at large, "So, did you kids learn anything new in school today?" while her mind was chanting "It's best not to know, It's best not to know."
I glanced down upon the beautiful woman in my arms, the fork frozen halfway to her mouth, a look of bewilderment etched upon Bella's face, reminding me exactly how beautiful she was when she didn't completely understand the jokes from my siblings. I nudged the fork so that she would move the food to her mouth. It was taking all my restraint to keep from snatching the fork from her hand and shoveling the food into her mouth myself, yet I knew that was neither the most appropriate nor tactful way to handle this delicate situation.
My siblings walked over to the dinner table to sit down as Emmett called out, "Hey, family, what's up? Oh, what's that horrible smell? Dang, Bella, that food is nasty looking!"
Rosalie and Alice swatted the back of his head in turn as I glared at him. "That's not helping." I muttered to him low and quickly so Bella wouldn't hear. Her bewildered eyes looked at me, but I was more concerned with the curious thoughts radiating off of my siblings. "Edward, don't be rude to Emmett, we all know the food smells horrible. Besides, Emmett used to tease Bella all the time and you never got mad. What's up?" Of course Rosalie's thoughts would be all about my anger towards Emmett. "Hey Edward, so sorry man. What's up?" Emmett's thoughts were full of sorrow for possibly hurting Bella and confusion since he had previously teased her relentlessly about eating "human food". Alice simply shot me a questioning look as she gracefully sat down next to Esme while Jasper worked his own brand of magic and sent a wave of calm across the large table.
I had yet to have the opportunity to talk to my siblings about Bella's condition. I assumed since they did not already know about Carlisle and Esme's predictions that Alice had been too engrossed in shopping to "see" our earlier conversation at the hospital. Thus, as soon as Bella was sleeping we would hold a family conference. As much as I wanted to fix whatever was wrong with Bella, by myself, I knew that was impossible, it would take the entire family joining together in a united front to prove to Bella she could once again trust us, and allow us fully into her life again. It pained me to see her like this. My earlier emotions were still present; leaving me conflicted as to my true feelings I'm sure not even Jasper could tell me. I looked up from Bella to see Jasper staring at me with a puzzled expression on his face, obviously trying, as I was, to decipher my emotions. I mouthed a quick "sorry" in his direction. He nodded and gave a small smile, thinking at me; "You've got so many emotions right now I'm having a hard time telling what is what. We're all going to work together to make sure Bella's okay. It's alright to be happy that she's back, she won't be broken for long." Jasper's silent support and optimism assured me enough to allow a crooked smile to grace my face.
A quiet voice distracted me from my thoughts; Bella was finally speaking up. "So, you're all in college this time around? What are you studying?"
Ever eager to talk, Alice was the first to respond, practically jumping out of her chair in an effort to beat the others. "Yep, we decided to take a break from high school for a while and try college again. As for me, I'm in the fashion design program at NYU. The last time I studied fashion design, parachute pants, oversized t-shirts and huge shoulder pads were popular. I'm so glad the country recovered from those hideous fashions. I mean, really, what were we thinking? "
"Oh, Alice, do you remember the red leather members-only jackets and single gloves that Jasper and Emmett wore constantly?" laughed Rosalie. I was immediately bombarded with images of Jasper and Emmett trying to dance like Michael Jackson, causing me to laugh out loud. At my laughter Bella began to laugh too; it was a sound I never wanted to forget.
Once the laughter had died down from everyone, including Esme and Carlisle, Rosalie spoke up. "This time around I'm majoring in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on Automotives, which is really just a fancy name for auto shop. You should have seen the looks on all the guys faces the minute I walked into class! It was like they had never seen a woman before; they were falling all over their selves trying to do stuff for me. I've had a blast showing them what I can do. It serves them right for treating me like I'm breakable. As if!"
At Rosalie's little joke our uncontrollable laughter broke out again. I saw Bella and Rosalie lock eyes, both smiling. Maybe this is what Bella really needs, our family. She still hadn't touched much of her dinner and Carlisle noticed, taking this moment to interrupt our laughter. "Bella, you need to eat more than that. Please take a few more bites." Bella glared at Carlisle and then her plate of food, something I never thought she would do, before taking another tiny bite. All my siblings were staring worriedly at Bella, not knowing what was going on. "Edward, what is going on?" Alice screamed at me in her thoughts; she hated to be out of the loop. I shook my head an infinitesimal amount, letting her know now was not the time for this discussion.
Once again, coming to the rescue, Esme spoke up. "Jasper, why don't you tell Bella about your major?"
" Well," Jasper began, "I'm a major in the Psychology department. I thought what with my, um, talent, I might better be able to help people by truly being able to feel the emotions behind their words. Anyway psychology is an incredibly interesting subject, something I've never studied before. "
"I think you would be a great psychologist Jasper." Bella quietly commented before taking another small bite of pasta. At least she was eating more of her own accord. I'd have to ask Jasper later what he felt from Bella during dinner. Perhaps with his gift and studies in psychology he could assist us in helping Bella. Turning her head, Bella looked at me and asked, "What is it that you are studying, Edward?"
"Yet again I am a music major. This time I have focused the majority of my studies on music composition rather than performance, though I do have a fair number of performance classes. But, enough about me, you really do need to hear about Emmett's major."
"Awww, Eddie, I don't need to tell Bella my major."
"Emmett, what's your major? PLEASE, pretty please, tell me," begged Bella. I hadn't seen this side of her in so long, it gave me hope that not all was lost and that somewhere deep down my Bella, the Bella I left behind in Forks, still thrived. My confidence that Bella would indeed be fine slowly grew with each laugh and smile. As long as my original Bella was in this shell of a woman somewhere, we could heal her.
Never one to be able to resist Bella's begging, (Emmett loved her too much like a sister) he grudgingly acquiesced, saying very quietly, "I'm an English Lit major with a focus on Shakespeare."
"What?" gasped Bella. "Why? Don't get me wrong, you're very smart Emmett, but I never pegged you as someone to take English Literature, and especially Shakespeare, seriously. I tend to see you more as the auto shop, engineering type of a guy. I can even see you enjoying chemistry, you know, learning how to make things explode. But…"
"Bella, please don't encourage him with the chemistry stuff." Rosalie interrupted, "It will just put ideas in his head and I don't want to have to worry that the house will explode. And he's majoring in literature as the result of a stupid bet. While we were in South Africa Emmett childishly bet Jasper he could beat him at Guitar Hero. Alice told him not to make the bet, but did he listen, NO! Of course not! The result was Jasper winning and Emmett having to major in Shakespearean literature the next time we enrolled in college. Now all he does is moan about how much he hates his classes." Rosalie's voice got louder and louder with each sentence.
Bella looked as if she was having a hard time holding in her laughter, shaking in my arms. Tears were silently rolling down her face, making all who saw the happiness on her face smile. When she gained control Bella asked, "What would Jasper have had to take if Emmett had won?"
Jasper quickly replied, "Physical Education."
"That doesn't seem so bad, you wouldn't have had a problem with that."
"It's not that I would have had a problem, it's more that it would have been exceedingly tedious and boring. It would be like you trying to make picking up a paperclip 20 times seem hard," Jasper tried to explain.
"Oh, I understand. Well, Emmett, I'd be happy to help you with your studies."
I interrupted their conversation, "Bella, love, are you done eating? "
"Yes, can I go to bed now? I'm really tired." Bella's voice was suddenly shy and reserved again, once again retreating into her shell. What could I do to bring her out again?
I picked Bella up and she waved goodnight to the family as we walked swiftly out of the room and up the stairs to our bedroom. Our bedroom, how I loved the sound of that.
"Here we are Bella, it's time for you to see the bed Alice picked out for us." I opened the door, already knowing what the room looked like, having seen it in Alice's mind.
Author's Note: Ok, just a little tiny cliffhanger there. I'm sorry to leave it like that, but I promise it's for the best. In the next chapter we will hear from Jasper and have the family meeting. I hope this chapter made you laugh, I laughed a lot while writing it! If you don't mind, a review is very much appreciated! I like to hear what you are thinking! Pretty please with a Cullen on top!