A/N - As always thank you to everyone who read, favourited, alerted and reviewed. Especially those who reviewed - reviews are love :).
A/N 2 - So I couldn't decide whether to write this chapter from Bella's point of view, or from the point of view of someone in the house, to show what happened after she left. I went with Bella, simply because I wanted to write her and Jake talking. LOL.
I wasn't sure how long I ran for, feeling the breeze flick my hair around my head, feeling the rain fall and sweep across my face, almost like tears, doing nothing to ease the anger that had returned, making me scream in frustration.
I was shocked when something hit me from the side, pinning me to the ground, a low growl emitting from the large wolf on top of me.
I froze, staring up, it taking me a second to figure out who the wolf was.
"Jake?" I asked, swallowing hard.
He cocked his head to one side, eyes running over my face, a look of sadness entering them, as he backed off into the woods.
"Jake?" I whispered as he disappeared, feeling my heart break again, a dry sob leaving my throat.
"Please," I whispered again. "Please don't leave."
I slowly sat up, curling myself around my knees and shaking. Reliving what had happened, telling the Cullen's what had happened, had brought a rush of emotion that I was struggling to deal with.
My head snapped up when I felt a warm hand squeeze my arm.
"You shouldn't be out on your own, Bells," Jake said, sitting down next to me, no sign of discomfort on his face. "I'm starting to think you really do like danger."
I gave him a weak smile and shrugged, turning to gaze out over the woods, soaking in the warmth that he radiated, and feeling myself start to relax.
"Are you alright?" he asked, picking up a stick and digging it into the ground.
"Not really," I replied, looking up watching the clouds roll by.
"What happened?" he asked, looking at me with concern in his eyes.
"The Cullens," I said. "I told them about what happened after they left, to you an-and Charlie."
I felt him stiffen next to me, not turning my head to look at him, already knowing the look I would see in his eyes
"That's why you're out here?" he asked, his voice tense. "Too much at one time or just needing to get away from them?"
"I don't know," I replied. "I guess when I was in there, with them, I felt angry and wanted to blame them."
"But I don't blame them, not really," I said, shaking my head. "They would've come back if they'd known, would've helped. I just, I don't know what to do, Jake. When I'm with them, I can't help but want to forgive them, to give them a chance, but when they leave I remember. I don't know what to do."
Jake ran a shaky hand through his hair, before shrugging, face turning up to look at the clouds as well.
"They played a part," Jake said quietly. "But they aren't responsible, Bells. If you're going to blame them, then you might as well blame me and the pack, too."
I looked over at him in shock, shaking my head and reaching out for his hand. He flinched a little as my hand curled around his.
"I don't blame you," I said. "Jake, it wasn't your fault."
"And as much as I hate to say it, it wasn't the Cullen's either. When it comes right down to it, it's Victoria's, Victoria's and her coven. They were the one's who hurt your friends, who hurt your family. We could've changed some of what she did; the Cullen's might have been able to help too. But even if they'd been here, they probably wouldn't have been able to stop it, Bells. Even with … Alice and Edward's … gifts. It's easy to play what if, Bells. But you don't move on doing that."
I squeezed his hand, giving a small smile as he looked over at me.
"You know you look just like the boy I knew," I said. "But when you say things like that, I realize how much older and wiser you really are."
"So you'll give them another chance? Leave the past in the past?" he asked, an eyebrow raised in question.
I smiled as I felt the rain start to fall lightly.
"I'll try," I said.
"You know," he said, nudging me with his shoulder. "I would've paid to have seen you going off at them, to see their faces, would've been classic."
"I didn't really 'go off' at them," I said, nudging him back.
We sat in silence for a few moments, the soft fall of the rain and the wind in the trees making me feel at ease.
"So," Jake said, his voice sounding uncertain. "Uh … I've been thinking about, you know, us trying to be friends again."
I turned and stared at him, seeing him staring intensely at the ground, a worried look on his face.
"And I, ah, have these bikes I've been working on," he said, hand running over his head in a nervous gesture.
I tried not to smile as he talked, remembering that we had become much closer friends when I had brought the bikes to Jake, just after Edward had left. Him asking me to help him on the bikes made me think he was willing to give our friendship another go, after all I knew nothing about bikes. I'd mainly just ordered the food when we had gotten hungry.
"You want me to help?" I asked, trying to keep the happiness out of my voice.
He looked up at me, rolling his eyes when he saw my face.
"You could pretend that the offer was serious," he replied, grin slowly crossing his face and I couldn't help but smile at him.
"I missed you," I said, staring down at my hands.
"Why'd you do it, Bells?" he asked, pain laced in his voice. "Why … I helped you last time, when Cullen left, why didn't you trust me to help you this time?"
"It wasn't you, Jake," I replied. "It was … me; I couldn't live with it anymore. I … I didn't find, Will. I didn't go looking for a vampire, I went to stop Victoria."
Looking up, I saw shock cross his face as he realized what I had planned to do.
"You were going to … Bells, I …" he trailed off, arms coming around me, pulling me towards him. "I never knew you felt like that. I mean I knew you were upset and depressed, but not that you would hurt yourself."
"I didn't want to hurt myself," I muttered into his chest. "I just wanted her to stop. She'd gone after everyone I cared about. She'd almost killed you, Jake. I just wanted to stop her."
I felt him sigh, his chest moving my head and his breath ruffling my hair.
"You always were too self-sacrificing, Bells," he said, hand stroking my hair. "Always had to make the most dramatic gestures."
"I do not make dramatic gestures," I said, pulling away and giving him a glare.
He laughed, the sound making me laugh.
"Sure, sure," he replied, eyes dancing in amusement. "You'd never do anything dramatic. Like date a vampire who found your blood addictive, be best friends with a werewolf, try to kill yourself so that a psycho vamp leaves the rest of your friends alone."
"Well," I huffed. "When you put it like that."
He laughed again and I rolled my eyes, trying to stop the smile that wanted to cross my face.
"You suck," I said, which seemed to only make him laugh harder.
"I hope I'm not interrupting," a quiet voice said behind us.
I stood up quickly, grabbing hold of Jake as he snarled.
"Alice," I said. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to talk to you," she said, walking towards us.
"I'll see you around, Bells," Jake said, nodding at Alice, before disappearing back into the woods.
I glanced back, seeing Alice looking at me with a serious expression.
"What is it, Alice?" I said concern in my voice. Alice was the most cheery person I knew, she was always smiling and laughing, always finding the bright side of life.
"I thought," she said, moving closer towards me. "I wanted to, tell you … about what happened to me, before I was turned."
I took a step closer to her as I saw the pain on her face. I already knew some of the story, already knew that James had been drawn to Alice, the way Edward had to me. Except that James had no inclination not to drain her dry.
"Alice," I said, trying to figure out a way to tell her that she didn't need to tell me, that I already knew the story.
"No, Bella," she said, shaking her head. "I know you think you already know part of it, but … I want you to know my story. I know, some, of what you're going through, Bells."
I nodded my head, following her lead and sitting down across from her.
"I was fourteen when the visions first started," she said. "At first, it was just in dreams, little things that I could forget, but as the year went on, they started showing me big things. Family getting hurt, friends moving away … I tried to ignore them, but then they started during the day."
"I didn't tell my parents until I was sixteen," she continued. "I'd … I'd seen them in an accident and I couldn't keep quiet, not when in the vision I saw they'd died. It was around the same time that James found me."
"He, he really was an animal. He hunted me, my family, my friends. He attacked them, hurt them. My visions weren't the only reason my parents put me in that asylum, Bella. They had strong beliefs, I did too. James was a demon to us. And I seemed to be having these visions … I don't hate them for it. Things seemed easier at the Asylum, my doctor, he and James-"
I noticed the way she stiffened and found myself reaching out, gripping his hand.
"It's okay, Alice," I said. "I know."
"I just," she said, shaking her head. "I can understand what you're saying, Bells, probably more than anyone else."
Looking into her eyes, I couldn't help but feel pain as I saw the sadness and hurt in her eyes.
"What we did," she said, shaking her head. "I don't know that we'll ever be able to make up for it, make up for what you lost, but we want to try. Try to make up for how much you lost. I missed you. I was so close to coming back so many times. I only wish that I had. Maybe I could have stopped any of this from happening."
I shook my head, my heart breaking at the look of regret and pain in Alice's face.
"Alice," I said, squeezing her hand. "I … we can't take back what happened … in the past. But we can try to move on, maybe get to know each other again?"
I couldn't help but smile when she beamed at me, the shadows of her past blown away by her sunny smile.
"Excellent," she said, pulling me up as she stood. "You won't regret this, Bells."
I hoped she was right.
We walked back to the house in silence. It didn't seem to bother her, as she hummed and skipped along. I wondered how she was able to forget what had happened to her, put it to one side and not let it affect her life.
I could sometimes, but if I was reminded of what had happened or had a random thought about Forks, it usually took me awhile to recover. But Alice seemed to bounce right back, as if it was just water off a duck's back.
"How do you do it?" I asked suddenly, wondering if there was some trick to it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her face me, a confused look on her face.
"Do what?" she asked, taking a step closer and looping her arm through mine.
"Forget about what happened," I said, looking at her. "Forget what happened to you, how do you do it?"
"I don't know," she replied, shrugging. "It's not something you can learn, you just have to work your way through it. There's no set time on it. Some people can move on quickly, others never truly move on."
I nodded as we started to walk up the stairs to my house.
"I think," she said, stopping me from entering the house, "Jasper helped a lot too, and my family. And your family, Bella, they're wonderful and protective, and while I'm sad that what we did hurt you so much. I'm happy that it brought you these people."
As she entered the house, I couldn't help but smile.
That was definitely a silver lining in the storm clouds that were my past.
A/N - I didn't want to go too much into Alice's past, but hopefully I wrote enough that you could understand. As always, let me know what you thought :).