Disclaimer -- It's all Stephanie Meyers'.
What would have happened if the vote had gone the other way? This piece takes place during New Moon. If the Cullens had not voted to change Bella how would the future be different?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"All right then," I said coolly. "Let's vote."
I looked towards Edward this time; it would be better to get his opinion out of the way. "Do you want me to join your family?"
His eyes were hard and black as flint. "Not that way. You're staying human."
I nodded once, keeping my face businesslike, and then moved on.
I turned toward Carlisle. I was nervous. I was sure that this was the vote that counted more than any majority.
Carlisle wasn't looking at me.
"Edward," he said.
"No," Edward growled. His jaw was strained tight, his lips curled back from his teeth.
"It's the only way that makes sense," Carlisle insisted. "You've chosen not to live without her, and that doesn't leave me a choice."
Edward let go of me and buried his face in his hands. As my confidence rose I couldn't help but wish to comfort him. His misery cut me to the core.
I was still grimacing when I looked at Esme.
"Yes, of course, Bella. I already think of you as part of my family."
"Thank you, Esme," I murmured as I turned to look towards Alice.
He hesitated. "No," he said, his voice grave. I was a little surprised; I didn't think he'd vote against Alice. However, I hadn't been at all sure of his vote – I suppressed my reaction and prepared to move on.
Alice couldn't reign in her feelings however.
"Jasper! How could you?"
He stared at the table, guiltily. But his voice was strong as he turned to face the center of his universe.
"Alice, your emotions are getting the better of you."
While his tight control usually erased the Southern twang from his deep voice, his native accent slowly crept in as he explained himself – his emotions getting the better of him as well.
"We've come closer to exposure than almost any time before since Bella joined our family. Well, except for Calgary. We're happy here, there's so little sun we can be almost normal. All of our lives revolve around keeping Bella alive. Keeping our secret and keeping Bella alive are almost mutually exclusive. I don't want you to be exposed, Alice. You are my only priority. How hard will it be to live here if she were to be changed? A newborn, Alice! Do you know how much trouble newborns are? I do. I've seen it. I've lived it – hundreds of times over. Thousands of times. While Edward won't thank me for my reasons, he's happy that I agree with him."
Alice's head spun to look at Edward so quickly I didn't even see her move. One second she was staring as Jasper incredulously, the next she was biting her lip, focused on Edward.
I glanced at Edward. Jasper was right. The look on Edward's face didn't betray any annoyance at Jasper's reasoning. The tension in his face was easing. Almost, I thought I could see a smug smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. I was not blind to his ability. He was sampling the thoughts of his family. I felt my confidence waver.
She hesitated, biting down on her full, perfect bottom lip. "No."
I kept my face blank and turned my head slightly to move on, but she held up both her hands, palms forward.
"Let me explain," she pleaded. "I don't mean that I have any aversion to you as a sister. It's just that… this is not the life I would have chosen for myself. I wish there had been someone there to vote no for me."
I nodded slowly, and then turned to Emmett. Happy-go-lucky Emmett. Being the deciding vote was more pressure than he'd felt ever in his existence. It was almost unfair to lay this decision on his shoulders. As broad and strong as those shoulders were they couldn't bear this burden. His support, his only support, was Rosalie and I could hear his vote in his sigh before he spoke the word. He wouldn't negate her vote with his own.
Edward let out a whoop of pure joy as hot tears filled my eyes. He scooped me up and we flew up the stairs to his room. As he settled me on the leather couch the tears spilled over and I became aware of a horrible wracking sound. I immediately realized the sound was coming from me. From deep in my chest unstoppable sobs were issuing forth.
Edward knelt in front of me; taking my face in his hands he kissed my cheeks, kissing the tears away. However, they kept coming and the sobs weren't subsiding. Rejection washed through me, instinctive and strong.
Edward gave up on drying my face instead sitting beside me and pulling me onto his lap. He shushed me like I was a child, rocking slightly and patting my back. My head was tucked under his chin and he tilted his face down to kiss my hair. I don't know how long we sat like that – hours certainly, not speaking, my sobs subsiding as my brain tried to shut down. The Cullens' rejection was like physical pain and my body craved healing sleep. My eyes closed as I inhaled and exhaled brokenly. I heard Edward begin to hum my lullaby until complete unawareness stole over me.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I was in my own bed when I awoke. The filmy grey light of dawn was just filtering in my window and I could hear Charlie moving cautiously in his bedroom. I had no recollection of Edward carrying me home, but was sure that he had only recently left – probably in response to Charlie waking. I heard Charlie's door open and his steps move down the hall. He tapped a finger on my door and opened it without waiting for me to answer. I feigned sleep and heard him quietly shut the door before moving to the stairs and down.
I sighed. As I lay there, remnants of the plan that had been forming in my mind the night before drifted back to me. As horrified as I was by the Cullens' rejection I loved them too much to let them be in danger because of me. I hadn't been kidding when I said I'd present myself to the Volturi to protect them. I knew that there were some major flaws in my plan, but I believed I had a way to work around them. A way that guaranteed Alice wouldn't be able to see the results of my actions.
I flipped over onto my stomach and grabbed the phone. Quickly, I dialed Jake's number.
"'H'lo?" a deep, sleepy voice answered.
"Jake, it's me, Bella. I need your help. Can you come get me?"
"Bells? Where are you? What's going…?"
"Jake, I'll be in my truck. I'm driving to your house. Meet me along the road."
I hoped that since I'd made my decision to throw my lot in with a werewolf I'd have disappeared from Alice's vision. A little bit of lucky timing was all I'd need to be in Jake's company and then I knew I'd be invisible to her… and to him.