"'Bye, Dad," I shout to Charlie. "I'll be home Monday, after school!"
"'Bye, Bells," he says gruffly from the living room, not even looking up from whatever sport he is watching.
I grab my bag, wondering why I even bother. I have more clothes and possessions at the Cullen Mansion than I do in my own home. Nevertheless, I continue to persist in bringing my little bag with me.
I walk to my truck, and miraculously, I don't fall, slip, or trip.
I push the old Chevy's speed limit, for once eager to go fast. I miss my Edward, and I miss my family.
I reach the Cullen's impossibly long driveway, and eventually reach the house.
It's very quiet. They went out hunting today, and perhaps they're still gone. Oh, well. I have a key, so I'll just wait for them inside.
I unlock the door. My ears are assaulted by loud thumping and blaring music. I shudder. I guess some people got home a bit early. I have no desire to discover who; the time I'd interrupted Emmett and Rosalie is still fresh in my mind. Or how about the time I'd almost walked in on Esme and Carlisle? Emmett and Rosalie, my brother and sister, is one thing, but seeing Esme and Carlisle, Mom and Dad, like that would've scarred me for life.
Hm… Maybe today will be the day I finally figure out how to use this massive, intimidating TV that Emmett loves so much.
I pick up the remote and stare at the buttons. This is not fair. How is it possible to have this many buttons for only one TV?
I shake my head and put the remote down. I'll just wait in Edward's room; maybe I'll actually manage to surprise him when he gets home. Plus, I'd left my book in there last time I was here.
I walk up the stairs, taking time not to fall, as there was no one here who would catch me.
Finally, I reach the top landing, only to notice that Edward's door is closed, and the sound is coming from his room.
I sigh. Whoever is in there probably thinks that they're being hilarious- but I have to sleep in that bed later!
I'll just open the door and kick them out. It's almost my room too, right? The glittering ring on my left hand tells me that I'm right about that.
I walk towards the door and hear a moan. "Ooooh." Alice- I know that voice. I'm going to kill her and her husband.
Plucking up my courage, I push open the door.
To find that it's not Alice and her husband, like I'd just thought. No, Jasper is nowhere to be seen.
Instead, it's Alice and Edward. My Edward.
They don't look over towards the door. They don't pay any attention as I quietly shut it and head back downstairs. They don't hear it when I trip and fall- twice. They don't hear my tears, nor do they hear my sobs.
I reach the bottom floor and pull out the cell phone that had been a gift from the Cullens. They had pre-programmed it with all of their numbers.
I push the button for the number I didn't think I'd ever call.
A gentle voice, soft and flowing, like honey, answers. "Hello?"
I choose that moment to sob particularly loudly.
"Hello?" he says again.
"J-jasper," I force out.
"Bella?" he asks. I can hear his disbelief. "What's wrong?"
"Come home," I say, "Come back quickly."
Before he can ask any questions, I end the call and break down on the couch.
Jasper opens the door and dashes through, running to me. He stops a good two yards away, as if he's afraid of me. Or perhaps he thinks I'm afraid of him.
"What's wrong?" he says.
"Shush," I say, "Listen."
He does. He hears it all, being a vampire. Every word, every whisper, every touch…
His face contorts into a look of fury before he sprints up the stairs. I follow him, slowly.
He swings open the door as soon as I'm standing beside him. It slams into the wall, the crash resonating through the house.
The two of them break apart, looking up to see who has possibly caught them.
Jasper's fury doubles, and some of it rolls over to me. I feel myself get riled up, ready to find a baseball bat and take a swing at the two of them. Not that it would do much.
Jasper says nothing. He just pulls the silver band off of his left hand, the one he only wears when no outsiders are around, and drops it on the floor. Following his lead, I drop my ring next to his. He crushes them into fine powder under his foot.
Then he turns away, and I, too numb to do anything else, follow him.
We're sitting downstairs, on the couch, completely numb, when everyone else comes home.
"What's the matter?" Carlisle asks us. I say nothing, but Jasper jerks a finger upwards.
Everyone listens, hearing Alice and Edward as they begin to go at it again.
Rosalie's face is the picture of rage. She comes over and sits beside us, Esme right in her heels.
Emmett looks furious.
Carlisle marches upstairs.
I don't hear what he says, but, a minute later, he comes back, and the noises upstairs cease.
We sit in silence for a moment longer.
Suddenly, Edward and Alice stand before me and Jasper. Emmett hisses with rage, but Carlisle stops him from attacking his brother.
"We'd like to talk to you," they say in unison.
To numb to think of why this is a dumb idea, we nod and follow them upstairs.
Alice pulls Jasper to their room, and Edward leads me to his.
He pinches the bridge of his nose, the way he does when he's upset.
"Bella," he sighs.
Some of the anger Jasper sent me earlier comes back of its own accord.
"Don't you 'Bella' me, you scum!" I hiss furiously.
"I'm sorry you saw that," he says.
His words strike me as odd. "You're sorry I saw that. Are you sorry at all that you did it?"
"No," he says. He doesn't even sound apologetic. "I love Ali."
"You said you loved me," I remind him, pain creeping into my voice.
"I was lying," he says brutally.
I begin to cry again. No, not cry. Sob.
Normally, this is when Edward would hug me, comfort me, whisper consoling words in my ear.
"Oh, shut up," he says disdainfully. "All the crying is getting obnoxious."
That only makes me cry harder. Edward, Edward, what changed?
He slaps me.
Holy shit. A vampire just slapped me.
I can feel my jaw bone crack, and I sag backwards.
Before I hit the floor, I feel cold arms slip around me, pulling me back upright.
"Leave before I kill you," Jasper hisses.
Then I black out.