DISCLAIMER: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all the characters therein. This is my take on their further adventures. Enjoy! In this story, Bella grieved and got over Edward. She is happy and well adjusted. In short, Edward got his wish from New Moon. She moved on with her human life.
I smiled as I pulled up in front of the tiny apartment building near the University of Alaska in Anchorage. I couldn't wait to begin my new life here. With my grin still firmly in place, I grabbed the first box out of the trunk of my 4x4 rust bucket of a Chevy Blazer. I packed light – living on a student budget for the last 5 years with another 2 in front of you tended to make you value relationships instead of stuff.
I had rented an apartment in the building sight unseen, so it was with a sense of trepidation that I crossed the small parking area and climbed the stairs to the 3rd floor loft apartment. I scrabbled in my pocket for the key that had been mailed to me once I had signed the contract and slid it into the knob. The door swung open with ease and I walked into quite possibly the coolest (and cheapest) loft I had ever had the pleasure of living in. The building had once been a warehouse of some sort, but had been converted into lofts about fifteen years ago.
My loft had once been the office for the warehouse. It was a touch smaller than the others and was the sole apartment on the 3rd floor. The walls were weathered red brick and the floors were distressed native pine. It was perfect. I was stunned yet again at my luck in acquiring it. The price was right and it was within walking distance to campus. Since I had accepted a TA position, I would receive a meager stipend and free tuition in my Archeology Master's program. Living expenses would be paid out of my savings.
I set the box down in what would become my lounge and returned to my truck for the next and final box. As I reached the bottom floor and looked out towards my truck again, I saw the U-Haul pull up driven by Seth Clearwater. He & Embry had agreed to help me move. They had stuck with me even after Jake had imprinted and cut me out of his life 4 years ago.
I smiled and waved as Seth and Embry jumped out of the rented truck. It held the rest of my earthly possessions. Seth bounded across the parking lot and wrapped his arms around me before popping my cheek with a warm brotherly kiss. "Hey, Bella! How's the apartment?" he asked with a grin. "Not bad, Seth. Let's get that stuff unloaded and I'll let you see it!" I replied, returning his grin.
My werewolf pals hopped to it and started dragging furniture up the torturous stairway to my top floor apartment. That was the other drawback, no elevator. I could deal and Seth & Embry didn't really care. They could carry the furniture with no problem.
Three hours later, our work was done. All the furniture was in place and now I just had about 10 boxes to unpack. "Alright, guys, I'm starving and since you guys are always hungry, I'd assume you are, too. Pizza's on me today." I hollered with a smirk at Seth & Embry. I grabbed my cell and called the local Dominoes to have 3 large supreme pizzas delivered. Seth & Embry would eat a large each, so that would hopefully leave me with a few pieces for breakfast in the morning, maybe.
The boys made a quick run to the grocery for me as I started unloading boxes. About 45 minutes later, the pizza arrived and Seth & Embry grabbed beer from the fridge that had been stocked while we waited. We ate, laughed, and carried on for a couple more hours before I kissed them both and watched them climb in the U-haul heading back to La Push.
Alone in my new place, I curled up on the couch and took the last pull off my bottle of beer. I wanted a shower, but was feeling lazy, so I just sat there for a few moments. Just as I was getting ready to get up to head towards my small bathroom, my cell started ringing. I grabbed it and noticed it was a text message from Erika one of the other TAs in my department. I had met her a few months back at a campus visit. We'd hit it off and exchanged phone numbers. Smiling, I hit the menu button to see what was up.
Party 2nite? Plz? All TAs.
With a grin, I decided to go. Why not? I was young single and new in town. Quickly I texted her back my response.
K. When & where?
A few minutes later I had the details and a quick MapQuest search gave me directions to the address Erika indicated. I decided to shower off the grime. 45 minutes later, I was in the Blazer headed to the party.
I pulled up to the house and made my way inside. It didn't look like Erika had made it there yet, but everyone else in the world apparently had. There were people everywhere, though it looked like the best partying was happening in the fairylight lit backyard and patio. I made my way toward the kitchen and grabbed a drink before continuing on to the patio. There was great music playing and I began to absentmindedly tap my foot to the beat as I scanned the crowd for familiar faces. Finally, I saw a little cluster of TAs from the Archaeology department and made my way over. "Hi, Bella…glad you could come. Erika said she texted the info to you." Jeff said with a grin. I'd met my fellow departmental TAs at the orientation meeting a month ago. Jeff was a nice guy and pretty good looking, if I was being honest. I smiled in return and greeted the others in the group. We stood chatting and getting to know each other a little bit better for a few minutes. Over the course of the conversation, I learned that this party was put on by the dean of the grad school every year to welcome all the departmental TAs.
"Bella, want to dance?" Jeff asked, grabbing my hand. I nodded and let him tow me over to the grass where everyone was dancing. We were having a great time and after a few songs, Jeff went to grab us another drink.
I decided to dance some more by myself, when I heard a smooth velvet voice in my ear. "Bella?" he said, as I whirled around. .God. Five years had not dulled my remembrance of his honeyed tones with just the slightest Texas accent; I completed my turn and standing before me was the lanky frame of Jasper Whitlock Hale.
I couldn't believe who was standing in front of me; Bella Swan. She was just staring at me speechless; her only emotion was shock. Gradually, I could feel her joy slipping through as she threw herself into my arms and began to laugh. A few years ago, her closeness would have been unbearable, but the events of her 18th birthday had caused me to reevaluate my control issues and I could honestly say that human blood didn't tempt me the way it once had. I surely had her to thank for it.
"Jasper! How the hell are you?" she trilled excitedly, "What are you doing here?" she continued, with a grin. "I'm terrific, really good, Bella. It's great to see you. I'm a TA for the undergrad Abnormal Psych class while I'm working on my Clinical Psych Master's. What about you?" I asked, glad she was apparently as excited to see me and I was to see her. "Well, you know I had a tough final year in Forks, but I'm great now. I've moved on and I'm the TA for Intro Archaeology while I work on my Cultural Anthropology Master's." she replied, "Look at you, all social with the humans." She continued, teasing me lightly. "Yeah, well I've changed over the last 5 years. I owe that to you, Bella. I'm so sorry for what happened on your birthday, but it made me reevaluate my lifestyle and I'm doing really well. No slips for 5 years now." I replied, returning her teasing smile. She nodded and I could feel that she was proud of me.
"Hey, do you want to get out of here and go catch up?" she asked. I shrugged and nodded. Why not? Alice surely had seen me meet her here by now and I knew better than to return home to my hyper pixie of a wife without news to share. I watched as Bella made her way over to another group of TAs and excused herself.
"Follow me, OK? I'm in the green Blazer parked by the road," she said, grabbing my hand and leading me towards the front of the house.
This was turning into an interesting night. I was glad I had decided to come to the party after all.