Look at that! My second update in one week! That's never happened. This one is short too. I've decided that to pump these chapters out, I have to keep them shorter. Chapters 10, 11, 12 and maybe 13, I originally planned to be just Chapter 10. But I'm splitting them up so you guys can get them faster!
"This is silly. Please let me carry something for you," Alice whined. She held the classroom door open for me.
"No, no I got it." I had my briefcase clutched in my right hand and a stack of books balanced on my left arm like a waiter carrying dishes. Jonathan's jacket was draped around my shoulders.
I inched slowly down the hallway making adjustments as I walked, careful to keep the items perfectly balanced.
"You're not seriously going to ride the bus home this way are you?" She had the most quizzical look about her.
"This is nothing. You should have seen me in college," I laughed. "I carried books to and from school like a pro."
I looked to Alice expecting to see a huge grin on her face. Surely scenarios of me juggling books like a clown conjured up a couple of funny images.
My own smile disappeared when I saw her solemn expression.
"I wish I did see you in college." Her voice was hushed, full or remorse. "I missed so much."
I quickly switched the subject. I didn't like to see Alice so sad.
"So…..tell me what's been going on with you guys," I asked more upbeat, trying to lighten the mood.
Her expression softened a bit. "There's not much to tell actually."
I felt a lump in my stomach. I had asked the question, but I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to actually hear her answer. I was hanging on the cliffs of sanity by the tips of my fingers. I didn't want to know about…..his distractions.
"I won't forget. But my kind…we're very easily distracted."I distinctly remember his tranquil smile after he breathed those words to me. So many sleepless nights I wondered what or better yet, who would be Edward's distraction.
We had reached the end of the hallway. I waited as Alice pushed open the door, revealing the cool mist outdoors.
My body shivered in response to the sudden exposure to the cold.
"We didn't do much the first year," she continued. "As soon as Edward came back, we went to Alaska to visit some family friends. We took a break from the whole school routine. This is the first one we've attended since Forks."
My legs went limp. Edward left his family? Why? Where did he go? Who was he with?
"Bella, what's wrong?" Alice stopped walking, her voice saturated with worry.
I took a deep breath, letting the cold air refresh my senses and calm my racing heart.
"Nothing," I said in good spirits. "I'm just having some difficulty carrying all this stuff. I thought I could handle it, but I guess not…..could you help me?"
Would she buy my cover? My voice sounded too chipper….
If my lie was obvious, Alice didn't say anything about it. She just smiled and took the books from my hands.
"Alright, follow me," she exclaimed brightly.
Wait. Where was she going? "My bus stop is this way," I said gesturing toward the street.
"Nope….you're going with me." She looked behind her shoulder and flashed me a grin that touched her eyes.
I looked around the parking lot. I could count the number of cars on one hand. We were walking towards the huge, black jeep on the side of the school.
"Alice, I can't go with you," I pleaded.
"And why not?" she asked with great buoyancy.
"Oh I don't know….because I'm a teacher and you're a student. I can't get into the same car with you." Did I really have to spell this out for her?
"Is that what you're worried about? There's no one around to see you."
She paused briefly.
"Besides, I already see you coming with me and everything is fine…And I'm holding your books for ransom, so there's no point fighting fate." She lifted the stack of books easily above her head and continued walking towards the jeep.
"Fine," I relinquished. A ride home wasn't the worst thing in the world.
I placed Jonathan's coat and my briefcase on the backseat. Getting into the passenger seat was more difficult that I had expected. The jeep was quite large, and high off the ground. I used all my forearm strength to pull myself up into the vehicle. The smooth leather seats were cool against my skin.
"I take it this is Emmett's car," I asked, almost out of breath.
"How could you tell?" she teased. I watched with envy as Alice lifted herself into the driver's seat with the greatest ease and delicacy. Her tiny frame looked funny behind the wheel.
I buckled my seat belt and inhaled the crisp, sweet air in the car. My heart longed for more. It smelt like home….it smelt like them.
"So….if you have the car….how did everyone else get back?"
"I made a call."
"Oh…?" I inquired.
"I had Esme come pick them up."
"Is that right?" I smiled. Alice and her visions…. "I take it you already know how to get to my house then?"
She pulled out of the school parking lot, maneuvering the big rig with confidence and skill.
"Actually, in my vision we didn't go to your house."
"Ok…" I was afraid to ask. "Where did we go?"
She didn't have to say anything. Her hopeful expression spoke volumes.
"No." I began to shake my head. "No."
Was she crazy? It was bad enough to see Edward 6th period, but to see him after school too? No.
"Please?" she begged, her golden eyes taking on a look of desperation.
"No way Alice. I can't." My head still shaking, I lifted up my arms in protest. "I can't just pop over to your house and hang out with everyone. Things are different now."
"Not for us! We all still love you."
I was getting irate. How could she say that? We all still love you.
"No Alice." I said firmly.
"Please Bella? What about Carlisle and Esme? They miss you terribly. The rest of us at least get to see you at school. When are they going to get there chance unless you come over?"
"Parent-Teacher Conferences," I mumbled in anger.
An awkward silence fell over the car. Both of us pouting, both of us unwilling to budge on the matter at hand.
The trouble was….I did want to see Carlisle and Esme. I wanted to see Emmett and Jasper. Lord help me, I even wanted to see Rosalie. I missed them with every fiber of my being. I just couldn't face him….not yet at least. It was one thing to be Ms. Swan during 6th period, but I couldn't just be Bella around him. I might fall to pieces.
"Would it help if I said Edward wasn't going to be there?"
The clamp around my fears abruptly vanquished. I was overwhelmed with a gush or relief.
Alice could tell that this news comforted me. She tried one more time. "Please Bella."
My body relaxed, and she new that I had conceded.
"Thank you Bella. Thank you! Oh Esme will be so happy to see you! You don't know how we've missed you."
I let myself smile, excited to see the family I knew I would have been apart of if they never left me.
The drive wasn't far. A couple of turns, and we were in the emerald Seattle forest. Their house was on a private hill overlooking Lake Washington. It was perfect. It reminded me so much of their home in Forks.
As we pulled into the Cullen's driveway, the lump in my stomach returned.
"I don't think I can do this."
"It's just us. There's nothing be nervous about." She opened her door and jumped out of the car like a ballerina.
I looked up at the big, beautiful house and tried to push out my nerves. Alice went to my side of the car, and opened up the door.
"You'll see Bella. Everything will be fine."
I took her stone hand and hopped down, squeezing it for reassurance.
"Alright…let's do this then."
Thank you to all my faithful readers! I still have many. I've lost some of you. I knew I would. I mean...it's been a year! But thank you so much for those of you who are still around. Please review, so I know you're there!