Chapter Fifteen

The Aftermath

"How was your break?" the stupid boy asked.

I glared at the asshole, and Jacob popped him in the back of the head. "How the fuck do you think it was, shit head?"

We probably shouldn't have been so hard on the guy. Maybe he was the only person on the entire campus that didn't know the hell we had been through. Perhaps he lived under a rock and never watched the news. That would be the only way he could have missed the recent media explosion broadcasting about our Spring Break gone wrong.

When our group of eight made it out of the mountains, I was surprised to find my dad along with Carlisle and Esme and a full search crew about to head in. Since no one was taking him seriously, Sam had called for reinforcements. After hearing our story, Charlie was relieved I was okay, pissed that I hadn't escaped at the first available opportunity, concerned about how I would cope with everything I had been through, and finally, proud that I didn't just run away like he originally wished I would have.

The information that Renesmee swiped from Aro's office ensured that the rest of us avoided any real interrogation. We were questioned at the hospital, but allowed to go home not long after. I figured they were so accommodating and generous, so our parents wouldn't go crazy on them. They didn't know Renee.

Regardless of all that, I was back at school. It was Friday and my last class had just ended. Jacob and I were hanging out in the student center. They had killer smoothies.

Emily passed by and gave us a small wave. Until she could have cosmetic surgery, she was rocking a head scarf and big ass sunglasses. At first, she felt really sorry for herself, but when she found out what happened to the others, she decided that she was lucky. Had her face not been mauled, she could have ended up just like Jessica or Lauren.

Across the room, Leah was playing pool with Seth while Sam worked on a paper that was probably due the day before. Leah scratched, causing Seth to do an obnoxious yet funny victory dance. He sobered up immediately when she threatened him with her cue. Sam rolled his eyes with a smile and tugged his hostile girlfriend over to sit on his lap.

I hadn't seen much of Ben or Angela. Future doctors always had a shit load of homework to do. They were working their butts off, just so they could get into another school for even more work. It wasn't completely crazy. They would save lives one day and probably make a good living doing it.

Eric, on the other hand, I saw him everywhere. He was still the same guy, a little shy and freakishly intelligent. However, now he had a small fan club. Tanya must have talked him up pretty good.

I had to laugh when I thought about Tanya. She was going through withdrawals already. Her first day out of the mountains, she went to church to make her donation and met a very charming youth pastor. Trying to get a man's attention without using sex was new to her, but she was up for the challenge.

"Ready to go?" Jacob asked, handing me a smoothie.

"Yep," I smiled. We were way past the awkward post-breakup stage. Near death experiences really make you appreciate the people in your life more.

On our way to his truck, we passed the area where the gardeners were putting together a small memorial garden for Tyler, Jessica, Mike, Lauren, and even Royce. It was Rosalie's decision to keep what he did to her on the down low. She claimed that his parents were probably suffering enough without knowing their son was a rapist.

I was surprised at her. Rosalie had always been the vindictive type to those who did her wrong. Her new outlook was partly due to the therapy we were all receiving. Of course, Emmett should receive some of the credit as well. He was the only person on the planet who could make a pissed off Rosalie crack a smile. She wasn't ready for another relationship yet, but when the day came, Emmett would be there.

When we got to the truck, I had to wait for Jake to unlock it. He was preoccupied with his phone. "Who are you texting?" I asked, although I already knew the answer.

"Nessie," he grinned. "She says to tell you 'hi'."

"Nessie?" I asked.

He shrugged, "Takes too long to text her full name."

I laughed, getting in the truck. "Tell her I said hey."

After hearing her story, Esme and Carlisle didn't think twice about taking her in. Renesmee finally got to see what it was like to have a normal, loving family, and she wasn't taking it for granted.

Alice had gone back to school. We decided to stay in touch, so I got random calls and texts from her throughout the week. She and Jasper were still together. He was opening up a paintball arena in Washington, since Alice wanted to live close to home.

"Thanks for the ride," I said when Jake stopped in front of my apartment building. We would normally hang out together, but he insisted that he had to do his homework. Jacob Black never did his homework on weekends. It was unheard of.

"See you later, Bells," he grinned, before driving off.

I sighed and headed upstairs to my little on-campus apartment. On my way, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket; Edward's name was flashing on the small screen. I frowned and sent him a busy signal.

Contrary to how things were supposed to occur, we did not ride off into the sunset and enjoy happily ever after. I came back to school; Edward went back to work. That still didn't stop him from trying to tell me what to do. If he sent me one more text, telling me to be careful, I was going to head back to the mountains and take Jasper's place as the crazy hermit.

I pulled out my keys to unlock my door, but I stopped before reaching the keyhole. My door was already cracked open. "Shit." I ran for it. My phone was vibrating again, but this time I ignored it all together. I flung open the door to the stairwell only to find someone waiting there for me.

"Hello Bella," he said.

"What the hell are you doing here?" I asked.

"I told you if you stopped answering my calls, I would come after you," he replied, moving towards me.

I bolted down the hallway, trying to get back to my apartment, so I could barricade myself inside. I was almost to the door when his strong arms wrapped around me, lifting my feet off the floor. He kicked my door open the rest of the way and carried me inside.

"Put me down, you bastard," I growled, fighting to get free.

"That's no way to talk to your boyfriend." I could hear the smile in his voice as he let me go.

Damn Alice. Edward hadn't told Carlisle or Esme about his little trip to the mountains, not wanting them in danger. To distract them from killing him, Alice introduced them to his "girlfriend". I stood there opening and closing my mouth, looking like a damn fish, while Charlie took Edward aside for a talk, and I was left with an overly excited Esme. Before the day was over, our wedding date was set and our children had trust funds.

I turned around and tried to glare at him, but it wasn't working.

He reached over and tugged the elastic band out of my hair, letting it fall down on my shoulders. "I believe you owe me a date, Miss Swan." He ran his fingers into the curly mess and smiled.

I finally caved and smiled back. "How long are you going to be here?"

"I have to leave Sunday, but I'll be back next Friday. If you refuse my company, Jacob offered me a place on his couch. I believe he's trying to stay on my good side, since Renesmee is now part of my family," said Edward.

Edward staying with my ex-boyfriend couldn't be a good thing for me. "You're staying with me," I told him. If he could be demanding, then damn it, so could I.

"I was hoping you would say that," he smiled. "You ready to go?"

"Hell no," I replied. "I'll be right back." I rushed to my bedroom to change clothes and do something with my hair. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was.

When I came back, Edward was leaning against the wall near the door. He stood up straight and offered me his arm. "You look beautiful, Bella."

He was full of shit, but sweet. "Thank you."

We went to a cute Mexican Restaurant in town. "I remember reading that you were burned-out on Italian," he explained.

"Did you really read all of my columns?" I asked. It just seemed so unbelievable to me. As much as I loved it, I'm sure most people found it pointless.

"I still have them," he admitted. "You really have no idea what you did for me."

"But it was just a silly column," I replied lightly. "It was nothing for you to risk your life over." Yet, he had.

He smiled at me. "I thought you were going to stop being such a cynic." I did recall saying that at one point or another.

"It's a tough habit to break," I laughed.

We were in the middle of dessert when the hostess came over to our table. "Isabella Swan?" she asked, and I nodded. "I was asked to give you this." She handed me a medium-sized gift box.

I looked at Edward, thinking maybe he had something to do with it, but he appeared just as confused as me. I lifted the lid and moved the tissue paper aside. My heart jumped to my throat when my fingers touched the porcelain skin of a doll. I dropped the box on the table and stood up.

"Bella, what is it?" Edward asked. He pulled the box across the table, so he could see inside. His face paled, and I assumed it was because of the doll. However, he reached in and pulled something else out, a charred scrap of fabric with the words "Property of the Chief of Police" embroidered with black thread, a piece of my pack that I had lost in the mountains.

I ran to the bathroom to splash water on my face. It helped calm me down a little, until I heard his voice. "Hello, baby doll." I screamed.

"Bella?" Edward wrapped his arms around me. "Baby, it was just a dream. You're okay. I've got you."

I was breathing heavily and sweating a little as I looked around. I was in our bedroom. Edward was next to me wearing nothing but the bed sheets. "Sorry," I whispered. I hadn't had a dream like that in almost a month. They were getting few and far between.

He soothingly rubbed my arm and kissed the top of my head. "They told us we would have nightmares. It's completely normal," he replied. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"It wasn't anything new," I told him, and it really wasn't. "I'm fine," I said truthfully.

"Okay." He kissed my neck where it reached my shoulder. I smiled as he left a trail of kisses across my skin. "I hope you don't think I'm just going to let you go back to sleep."

"God, I hope not," I laughed.

My back hit the pillows as he climbed on top of me. His lips met mine, making me forget all about the damn doll house.

The End

AN: I hope no one was disappointed in this story. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started it. If you want something scarier or more intense, I encourage you to write one. I'll read it. Thanks for reading! You guys have been awesome.

There has been a few questions about Edward's involvment in this whole mess, so hopefully this will clear it up. Edward had never heard of Aro or the Doll House before this story. Aro knew of Edward when he was little. He wanted to adopt him and make him his first living doll. Carlisle and Esme got Edward instead. When Aro found out about Edward's feelings for Bella, he decided to use her (and Alice) to get Edward to finally join his family/guard. Therefore, in his messed up mind, Aro believed that Edward was the reason Bella was brought there.