AN: This is an unplanned chapter that manifested in my head after I posted chapter 15 and read everyone's reaction to James. I typed it out and since I was pleased with it, I decided to post - Annie
I had been trying for weeks to approach Bella Swan.
Tanya Denali had me on a wild goose chase in the role of a stalker.
At least that's how I felt about the whole situation.
Tanya wanted to know the ins and outs of Bella Swan's relationship with Edward Cullen and felt that with my charisma and charm, I could figure it out.
Bella was sitting at a table by herself reading a book. I decided that this was my chance.
I heard a heavy sigh as she looked up from her book.
She flinched slightly, narrowing her eyes as she sat her book down, "Yes."
She was pissed judging by the daggers she was throwing.
Smiling at her, "I'm James."
She was silent again.
I offered her another smile laced with warmth and sincerity. "Would you mind if I joined you? I hate to eat alone."
Not the smartest thing to say considering she wasn't eating.
"Sure." She still didn't sound certain that she wanted me sitting with her.
I had managed to get her to say four words before she ignored me by reading her book again.
"So, you're from Forks?" I asked as I sat down.
She signed again, clearly not pleased that I was disrupting her again.
Glancing up from her book she replied, "Yes."
Well, I'm on a roll, another one word reply.
"I was raised in Biloxi, Mississippi, an air force brat. My dad was stationed at Kessler Air Force Base," I said as I picked at my food with my fork.
She just nodded, reading her book again.
I was disappointed in myself. My charm wasn't working on her.
I wasn't ready to give up yet. "What are you reading?"
Turning the book over to show me the cover she answered, "Wuthering Heights."
"May I?" Showing genuine interest since I was curious to see what she was so engrossed in.
As she handed me the book I added, "I've never read any of the classics." Which was true.
I looked down at her hands as she handed me the book and was shocked at what I glimpsed.
Bella Swan had approximately a three-inch tattoo on the inside of her right wrist.
I couldn't make out what it was but imagined it to be a Chinese symbol of some sort since there was a saying underneath.
"The classics are my favorite," she said.
Finally more then two words out of her.
A child's sloppy handwriting caught my attention on the inside cover as I flipped through the pages of the worn paperback:
To my best friend – Ali Cullen
As I continued to flip through the book, trying to comprehend the possibility that Bella had known the Cullen's for years, a bookmark fell out.
Picking up the bookmark I said, "Sorry." Slightly embarrassed that I had lost her place.
Turning it over, I discovered it wasn't a bookmark, but a picture taken at a photo booth that had been laminated; a childhood keepsake of five kids, four clearly pleased with themselves and one with nostrils flared.
I realized almost immediately that it was a picture of Bella and Doctor Carlisle Cullen's kids, possibly taken ten to twelve years ago judging by their ages in the picture.
I finally understood that special connection she shared with Doctor Carlisle Cullen. She grew up with kids.
The unguarded look of admiration she bestowed on him when he was near had been noticed by most of her peers. Everyone speculating on what their relationship was.
Myself included, had thought something illicit, an ongoing affair or she was his secret lovechild. The list went on and on.
Obviously, I had jumped to the wrong conclusion, as had everyone else.
I understood now why she held him in such high regard; he was a Father figure.
While my conscience was telling me I owed her an apology, she laughed to herself, possibly remembering the event in the picture.
I wanted to ask what was so funny but since I had no right I asked another one. "How long have you known the Cullen's?"
"Nineteen years." A hint of a smile appeared as she answered.
"Hmm…that's a long time."
I was shocked. I wasn't expecting that and I wanted to ask more questions since I wasn't ready for our conversation to end.
The only details I knew about Bella were the ones Tanya had told me after her run in with her several weeks ago.
Supposedly Bella and Edward Cullen were married years ago. That just didn't seem possible considering their age. Not to mention the comment that they hadn't seen each other in six years.
After placing the picture back in the book, I handed it back. "Sorry for losing your place."
"It's okay." Holding her hand palm up so she could grasp the book.
Looking from her wrist to her face, wanting to say something but the words wouldn't form.
Her tattoo wasn't a Chinese symbol as suspected.
It was a footprint, a baby's footprint to be precise with two simple words underneath Our Angel.
Could it be possible?
Edward projected an aloof, smug exterior with no emotional involvement, which in Tanya's warped mind, meant he had a since of superiority.
And Bella's preferred isolation. Where again Tanya thought she was hiding something.
I felt a moment of unease as my mind took flight.
Plain and simple, they were grieving.
It was odd, the pain that image caused me. And that made no sense since I only knew them in passing.
I appeared to be a man possessed as I stood up abruptly, "Thanks for sharing your table. I'll see you around."
I was full of so many conflicting emotions as I left the cafeteria.
First and foremost I needed come up with something to tell Tanya because she would be ready for a rundown of what I might have discovered about Bella and Edward.
I was so disgusted with myself for listening to Tanya. If my revelation was true, Tanya didn't need to know. She would twist it to her benefit.
Standing at the elevator waiting for the doors to open, lost in thought, I didn't hear her approach. I should have known she would be watching.
"What's the story?" Tanya asked just as the doors opened.
Stepping inside I replied, "No story."
"Oh, come on. I saw you talking to her."
"Did you found out about her and Edward?"
"No." Trying to end this conversation.
"No? You had to find something out. You're good at reading between the lines."
"Let it go, Tanya."
Pouting she asked, "One hint?"
Any other time, I would have fallen for it but the fifteen minutes I had spent with Bella Swan cleared my head on the manipulative nature of Tanya Denali.
She was still speculating and by ignoring her I was making it worse.
"You owe me." She stated as a matter of fact.
"I don't owe you anything. I sat with her and that's that. I ate my lunch while she read a book."
"You talked to her."
"About the book she was reading." I nearly growled at her.
She was angry now. "I gave you one task, find out Bella Swan's hold on Edward Cullen."
"For once give up gracefully. Maybe you never had a chance." I said as the elevator doors opened.
I could see it in her eyes, she was furious before she turned and walked away.
I had witnessed more then one career destroyed over something or rather someone she wanted.
I wouldn't come out unscathed if I went against Tanya but at least I would have a clear conscience.
Please review after reading – Annie