Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she sought happiness outside the home. What happens when outside reached back? Twilight has been KANKed. All human, AU. Canon pairings, eventually. REVISED.
Okay, so I got the idea for this after watching KANK. If you've watched it perhaps this will put an interesting spin on KANK's plot. If you haven't, this should be brand-new for you.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Never Say Goodbye
Chapter 1— Unforgettable
"It's the final match of the season, ladies and gentlemen. As we approach the bottom of the ninth inning, we're still not perfectly sure which of the teams will pull through. Although, it seems almost foolish to ask," The sports broadcaster said, nudging his companion. "Both teams have had near perfect seasons this years-unheard of in the majors!"
"Two minutes to go, the score stands at one-oh-one. And look who's at bat! It might as well be Casey, Paul. Well, the crowd certainly has a favorite. Listen to them cheer...what's that they're saying?"
The announcers paused to let the stadium's cheers be heard: "Cullen! Cullen!" The crowd screamed.
"Favorite he may be, but he's got a tall order to fill. He's got to send everyone home – the bases are loaded – and get there himself."
"But, keep in mind who you're talking about," said the second with a roguish wink at the camera.
"And then there's that." He chortled. "I guess baseball isn't the men's game anymore – check out the stands." He motioned to the stands and the TVs flashed with shots of women of all ages who held up signs that said, 'Go Edward!' and 'We love Edward!'"
Down on the field, Edward chuckled to himself, observing his face, magnified a hundred times on the screen. Unconsciously, he rubbed the tattoo on his forearm, which could be read as a V or an A. V for Victory; A for Alice.
"He's in position," said the first sportscaster. "The pitcher's winding up."
Edward bared his teeth at the figure on the pitcher's mound. The pitcher spit on the dusty ground, his russet locks waving, his face a scowl as he threw the ball toward the batter.
"Aaand…it's a ball!" The announcer shouted into the microphone. "Thing are heating up. He's messing with the pitcher, getting in his head. Classic Cullen."
And, so it went.
"Ball." The sportscaster wiped sweat from his neck. "If there's one more, he'll be walked–-gee, I didn't think they threw balls anymore…and they'll lose by default-oh! It's a strike! Gee whiz, what a game it's turning out to be!"
Edward narrowed his eyes, and tousled his bronze hair.
"Cullen! Cullen! Cullen!" The crowd had worked itself into a frenzy.
"The last pitch could go either way: if he doesn't hit a home run for himself, they'll lose. Doesn't look too great for the Vermont Vampires. Maybe the Wyoming Werewolves will take home the gold."
"I wouldn't bet on that," Edward muttered to himself, with a grim smile.
His vision had tunnelled. Now all he could see was the pitcher and the ball, which was coming to him at a breakneck pace. Somehow-–he did not know how-–he managed to bring his bat around fast enough…to-crack-smash it into the ball, with a satisfying sound, which immediately disappeared. He was running so fast he was surprised he didn't disappear from the eyes of the crowd.
At first, he glanced up and his heart sank. The ball was nose-diving toward the center-fielder. It was near impossible to miss unless...
And at that moment, the sun chose to come out from behind the cloud and the wind rushed in his Edward's and the center fielder, blinded, made a blind swipe in the sunlit air and missed as the ball veered with the gale.
The stadium erupted in cheers as Edward rounded third and head home, where the ball, too, was headed. He stopped breathing and pushed himself that much further...
Then he buckled his knee and slid.
When the dust cleared, he was leaning casually up against the fence as the catcher disbelievingly stared at the ball on the ground. His teammates swarmed out from behind the fence and engulfed him.
When Alice stepped in from the bright sunlight, into the relative darkness of the corporate building, she had only two things on her mind, her three-year old shoes and slightly worn Birkin.
She had hoped to make an impression by going classic rather than contemporary, and what was more classic than a comfortable pair of red-bottom pumps and a matching statement bag?
She let out a sigh as she entered. She would fit in perfectly here; she could feel it, looking around at all of the mannequins. School in Milan and the shows in Paris had prepared her for this. She breathed deeply, taking in the smell of brand new clothes and the constant mist of perfumery in the air, squared her shoulders, and marched toward the receptionist.
"Gianna, where is Mr. Hale's office?" She asked smoothly, reading the name off the bronze name-plate upon the desk.
"Three-seventeen," the receptionist answered automatically. When she glanced up, her face clouded. "But, you're not allowed in there without an appointment!"
Alice ignored her and headed for the elevator. "Third floor," she announced to the help in the elevator.
"Is Mr. Hale expecting you?"
He would be telling her story for year, how he never saw her coming. When the floor arrived, she got off and looked around. No one stopped her, of course. She did look the part, and in this industry, that was half the battle.
She walked to the end of the corridor.
Jasper Hale, editor-in-chief, read a sign on a door.
She knocked purposefully.
He looked up as she entered.
He was tall and leonine with golden-blonde hair and well-built. She allowed her eyes to enjoy a quick perusal across his fit form. And he definitely deserved to head a fashion magazine, she decided approvingly, if his attire was any indication.
"Hello, Mr. Hale."
"Hello," He smiled politely, "May I help you?"
"No," she said shortly. "But I think I can help you. My name is Alice," She said crisply, surveying what she was sure would be her new boss by the end of this meeting.
Jasper put down his pen and gave the barely five-foot woman his full attention. For such a small woman she certainly commanded his attention, and he could sense what she had to say would interest him.
"My name is Alice Cullen; I came to your recruiting manager for a job at this company."
"Alice, if a job is what you're looking for, why don't you seek out Jane or Alec for a job. I'm sure we have some spots in ad sales that we can fill," he said patiently, although brusquely. He glanced back down at his laptop dismissively.
But Alice was a woman who dismissed herself.
"You don't understand, Mr. Hale. I know I could do ad sales, but I also know that I am destined for better. I came to apply for a job as your creative director."
He looked surprised, and then he smiled, composing himself. "I'm sure you do want the job, but it is a very competitive position. I couldn't give it to any design major off the street."
But she simply kept smiling that cheeky, suave smile at him. He stood up and came around his desk. "If you don't mind me asking, how did you know we had an empty spot there?" He asked, curiously. "We haven't officially announced our current director's resignation."
"I have my sources," She smiled mysteriously.
Jasper, too, smiled; this petite but clearly remarkable woman had piqued his interest. "You have my interest, Mrs. Cullen. I have a wedding in three hours. But do you have any proof that might convince me that you are the one and only for this job in such a short time?"
Alice grinned. "Of course; I came prepared," She said sweetly, reaching into a Gucci bag almost as big as she was. "The first thing I aim to fix as creative director is your readership. Your magazine does remarkably well with women from eighteen to forty-five, but your readership outside those margins is abhorrent and largely negligible despite the fact that youth and post-menopausal women make-up a huge portion of the consumer beauty industry. Now, here's what I plan to do to fix that..."
"Bellaaa!" Rosalie screamed, pulling on her blond locks.
"I'm right here, Rosie," Bella said calmly.
"I can't do this. This wedding is a catastrophe." Rose massaged her temple with one hand and her pregnant belly with the other. "Your groom hasn't checked in. The harp player isn't here. And your dad is drunk and picking a fight with the bougainvillea!"
"Okay, listen: I'll handle my dad. You find the harp player and get Emmett to track down Jasper."
Rosalie sighed and nodded, waddling purposefully away.
Bella went out into the garden and found her dad picking apart the bougainvillea with one hand and trying to light a lighter with the other. "Dad! Get away from there!" Bella shouted.
The lighter flared and sparks fell onto the bougainvillea and the entire vine went up in flames.
"Bougainvilleas are flammable…" She finished lamely.
"I sure showed you!" Charlie was slurring.
Bella sighed and led him back to the bar inside. "Make sure he doesn't go anywhere," She ordered the bartender. "And give him only club soda!" She instructed sternly.
Glancing around, she chanced upon Emmett and darted over to him. Before, she reached him, Bella tripped over her heels and landed hard on her knees. "How's the air down there, Swan?" Emmett snickered, looking more gargantuan than ever because of the angle.
"Ghastly. When did you last shower, McCarty?" she snapped. "Wanna give me a hand?" He pulled her up easily. "Good thing I wasn't wearing my dress," She said relieved, gesturing to her pink work suit. He grinned and mussed her brown hair. Pushing hair out of her face, "Have you been able to track down Jasper, yet?" She looked around him, as if he might be hiding her fiancé behind his musculature.
"Yeah. He's on his way as soon he's finished with one last meeting, he says."
"Okay, good. All we have to do now is–-what is she doing?" Bella exclaimed, staring past Emmett.
Emmett followed Bella's gaze and his jaw dropped. "Rosie, babie, nuh uh!" He started toward the harp, followed closely by a horrified Bella.
"Rose, what the hell are you doing?" Bella demanded.
What she was doing exactly was playing the harpsichord, wedging the instrument between her legs and in front of her turgid stomach. "Guess that music class in high school paid off, huh?" She asked cheerfully.
"Rose," Said Emmett seriously. "No. Just no."
Her eyes flashed. "There is no harp player. She apparently eloped with her ex-husband, so there will be no harp if I don't play!"
"But Bella doesn't mind, do you, Bella?"
"No, I don't. You should be taking it easy, Rose," Bella wheedled, gesturing to the wheely chair Rosalie had been using this morning to commute from station to station.
"Good idea," Rose nodded her head. Emmett, relieved, pushed the chair toward her. She lifted herself off the hard wooden chair and plopped herself onto the wheelie chair, resettling the harp and starting to strum again.
"No, Rose, what we meant was -" Emmett tried.
"You're not going to stop me, Emmett," She said severely. "This wedding is going to be perfect."
"Speaking of which," Bella trailed off guiltily. "My dad sort of set the bougainvilleas on fire."
"I never liked them anyway," Rose sniffed and turned back to the harp.
"Rosie," Emmett tried again. "You're nine months pregnant. What if you have the baby here? You need to take it easy, honey."
"Oh, he wouldn't dare…" Rose glowered at her stomach. "This needs to be perfect. Bella made my wedding perfect. What kind of a friend would I be if I didn't return the favor?"
"Bella wasn't pregnant then!" bellowed Emmett, red-faced. "Forget the damn harp."
"Details." Rose stuck her tongue out at her husband.
"Hey, Emmett!" They all turned to see an unfamiliar guest speaking to Emmett. "Aren't we going to the after party?"
"Nah, Edward. My wife here is going to kill herself if I don't watch her every single second." He glowered at Rosalie, who played on innocently, looking like a fair-haired angel.
"Oh, hey, Rose," Edward grinned. "Milk him for his money's worth, won't you?"
"Sure will," She grinned and fist-bumped Edward. "By the way, Edward, this is Bella, the bride."
He glanced at her and smiled. "Congratulations are in order, I guess."
"Thanks," Bella nodded, proffering her hand. "Nice to meet you, Edward."
"You, too. I guess I'll hang around then."
"Go ahead," Said Rose testily. "I'll show to you the wedding crashers' seating area." She made to get up, but Bella pushed her back down.
"Please, I'll show him, Rose. Jesus, calm down."
"Sorry, if I'm trespassing," Edward said, looking after Rose with a discomfited look on his face. "When Emmett said party, I didn't realize he meant wedding."
"It's fine," Bella said with a sigh. "The more witnesses the better anyway when my mother tries to kill me. She's got severe issues about marriage." She added by way of explanation. "I just told my stepfather and I figured that he'd find a way to get her up here and – it's not like she could stop the wedding halfway, right?" Bella asked hopelessly.
"Well, I'm pretty sure that's what the 'speak now or forever hold your peace' clause is specifically designed for," Edward teased her.
"Oh no," Bella paled.
"Just kidding," he chided. "No mother would do that to her daughter," He assured her.
"I hope so. Why aren't you dressed for a party, anyway? If you were going to gate-crash, you might as well have done it inconspicuously," Bella deadpanned, eying his jeans and t-shirt.
"I just got back from a game with Emmett – didn't expect to crash here." He shrugged apologetically.
"You play baseball? Do you know Phil Dwyer?"
"No. What team is he?"
"Well, he's Minor League, so you wouldn't know him. What team are you on?"
"Vermont Vampires. Star hitter." Edward said, smug. "Emmett's catcher."
"I know. One of my friends plays on the Wyoming Werewolves…wasn't that game today?"
"We won," Edward said complacently.
"Jacob wasn't too happy. He pitches, you know, and he said something about a lucky home run–-here; you sit here." Bella motioned to a seat. "See you around…"
"Or not," Edward called after her, laughing.
Weaving through traffic, Jasper checked his watch.
Was it just him or was time going faster than usual while traffic proceeded slower than usual?
"Dammit!" He hissed, hitting the brakes as he came to another halting stop behind another accident.
Whose grand idea was it to leave work an hour late? Oh yeah, his. But after meeting Alice, he couldn't leave without seeing her presentation. She was going to send sales to the moon, he just knew it. She had the audacity for something new and that was just what the company needed.
And that last bit: "I'm married, Mr. Hale and I know that my husband needs an amount of keeping, but I always keep work and life separate but satisfied."
"Admirable sentiments, Alice, but working at a fashion magazine, especially as an editor, is a demanding task and my company requires much of your time."
"Your company doesn't need time; you need me."
Jasper gave a start, causing the car the honk as his phone went off. "What is it, Emmett?"
"Where the hell are you, Jasper?"
"Don't get your panties in a twist, Em. I'm right around the corner." Jasper turned into the complex of the church in time to see Emmett run out of the church waving wildly. He stopped in front of the church and tossed his keys to a valet and then jogged to meet Emmett.
"You've got about seven minutes before Rose starts looking for you with a big stick. I can't deal with this pressure." Emmett whined.
"Don't you basically lift weights for living?"
Emmett raised an eyebrow, amused. "Excellent. I'm rubbing off on you. But Bella's hysterical over here and Rose is trying to play the harp…"
"Rose is-Bella's WHAT?"
"Why?" Jasper demanded as they raced over to Esme who was standing in front of the bride's room. Jasper made to go in but Emmett blocked him. "Emmett McCarty, this is not the time to cock-block me," Jasper snarled, angrily.
Emmett laughed soberly. "Rose will be pissed as hell if you see Bella before you guys get to the altar."
"I can't just stand here and do nothing! Where the hell is my sister?"
"Chill, Jasmine, Rose and Edward are in there with her?"
"I – Who is Edward?" Jasper demanded.
"The hitter on my team; chill, man."
"So some guy off the street can go comfort my wife and put his hands all over her when I can't even see if she's alright?" Jasper asked furiously.
"That sounds about right," Emmett laughed. "Now, get into your tux. Let me take care of your wife until you have to."
"It's okay, Bella. I promise it'll be okay," Edward said soothingly.
"It'll never work," She cried, tears running down her face, ruining Rose's carefully done make-up. "He'll leave me, I know it!"
"No, he won't," He reassured her. "Although it would help, if I actually knew the groom, then I could say for sure." He added in an undertone to Rose.
Bella stared at him.
Rose glared at him. "Are you an idiot?"
"Kidding!" He laughed nervously. "He loves you. He wouldn't have let it go this far if he didn't."
"I was a fool to think a high school love could ever last…we'll be over before we even reach the altar…"
"Be right back," Rose mouthed at him. "I have to check if he's here yet."
Bella sobbed into her hands. "He's probably not even coming."
Edward knelt down and took Bella's hands. "Listen to me. Your name is not a lie. You are a beautiful, funny, perfect woman and he's a fool if he doesn't see that. I mean, come on, I saw it in the few minutes that I talked to you. Go out there and show him the woman he fell in love with."
Bella stopped crying and looked at Edward.
"If I wasn't married myself and completely in love, I would want totally marry you," Edward said.
That wasn't a lie really. But if he wasn't married, obviously the situation would be different. Alice was wonderful, snarky, and good in bed, but…all of thoughts of his significant other slipped from his mind as Bella let go of his hands and buried her face in his shoulder. Her last tears slipping down her face and wet his shirt. The space between them filled with the scent of strawberries and freesia.
She lifted her head slightly and murmured, "Thank you."
"You're welcome…" He murmured. Her lips were awfully red…they might leave a stain. "Are you still afraid?" He whispered. She shook her head. "You have nothing to be afraid of. Just do what you think it right. The worst thing you could do is marry someone who you don't love. But, you do love him, don't you?"
And he swore later that her eyes darted down to his lips and then back to his eyes–-the universal sign for KISS ME!
"I…do…" She mumbled quietly. And then Bella giggled.
"Bella! Time to go!" Rose called as she came in. "Jasper's here!"
Bella glanced at her friend and gathered her skirts, letting go of Edward. Edward fell backward into a sitting position and watched her get ready. Rose salvaged what she could of Bella's make-up.
Not that she really needed any, he thought. "I've got to go," he said to Emmett who was hurrying all of them along. "Alice wanted me home tonight."
"I'm sure she would understand, Edward," Rose said, reapplying blush to Bella. "It is a wedding after all."
"No, I'm afraid, I have to go." He glanced at Bella who looked upset. "Sorry."
"See you around…or not." They laughed shortly and Edward walked out, banging the door unnecessarily. He didn't understand the feeling that had congealed in the form of a lump in his throat.
But he forgot all about it though when, as he bumped into a blond man in a tux hovering outside the bride's room, Alice called him with good news.
"The first thing Bella asked Jasper," Said Emmett loudly. "Was what sodomy was."
The crowd sniggered.
"According to Jasper, she actually said, 'Can you tell me what so-do-me means?'–-more snickers–-"then, according to Bella, he said, 'Better yet, I'll show you.' Unfortunately for both of them, this exchange took place during a test so they were both given zeros and after-school detentions."
"Did you have to pick him for the priest?" Bella asked, cringing.
"If I had any idea this was the story he was going to tell, I wouldn't have bothered," Jasper said through gritted teeth.
"Obviously, the teacher thought this was punishment for the two previously-stellar students, but she decided otherwise when she returned an hour later to find them…otherwise occupied. 'The only explanation Mr. Hale offered,'" said Emmett in a falsetto, imitating the teacher, "was that 'he answering the question she asked him during the test.'"
The crowd was howling.
"That's a lie!" Bella whispered to Emmett fiercely. "All we did was neck."
"It makes a better story," Emmett whispered back and then, louder, "And today, we come here to witness the solemnization of a bond between a woman and man. When Bella fell into Jasper's life–-and yes, I mean that literally-–she turned it upside in a way that only she could, changing Jasper from a model student and soon-to-be businessman into a lewd, distracted young man who Esme is embarrassed to call son."
"Hey!" Jasper objected as Esme laughed calmly.
"In a few years, towheaded children will be rushed to ERs across the country."
The congregation stuffed their fists into their mouths to stay the laughter.
"Are there any who wish to raise objections to this instance of matrimony?"
Bella gulped and squeezed Jasper's hand, holding her breath.
"No? Well, then forever hold your peace." Emmett winked at Bella. "Now, Jasper Whitlocke Hale…do you take Isabella Marie Swan as your lawfully wedded wife, through richer or through poorer, through health or through sickness, through life and until death do you part?"
"Isabella Marie Swan, do you take Jasper Whitlocke Hale as your lawfully wedded husband, through richer or through poor, through health or through sickness, through life and until death do you part?"
"So do I, or should I say 'so do me?'" Bella said, smirking at her almost-husband.
"Oh, I will." He shot her a lascivious look.
Emmett stuttered as he heard the exchange. "I-I now pronounce you–-wait until we get off the altar, you horndogs-–man and wife. You may kiss the beautiful bride."
Even as he said this, Jasper swept Bella up in his arm for a kiss he was sure she wouldn't forget.
After a minute: "Dude, her parents are watching," Emmett whispered to the couple glued together by the lips. They didn't move. "Jacob, can I get a little help here?" Emmett asked halfheartedly.
Jacob, Jasper's best man, separated from the marital entourage and helped Emmett unglue Bella and Jasper who were both bright red as the crowd cheered and someone wolf-whistled.
"Get her garter, Jazz," Rose hissed from the band.
Jasper knelt down and lifted her white wedding dress, baring her leg to the thigh. Then he pulled the garter down and off her foot, holding it up triumphantly and throwing it into the crowd. Bella turned back around to Emmett and, closing her eyes, threw her bouquet wildly at the same time.
As the crowd swallowed them up, Bella cast a glance at her husband. "Save me the last dance, Mr. Swan," Bella said, smiling.
"Of course, Mrs. Hale."
After her dances with Jacob, Emmett, Phil, and Charlie, Bella finally sat down, content.
Edward had been right, she decided. She'd shown Jasper what a beautiful, wonderful, funny woman she was; what a catch she was. And he was besotted with her, she thought happily. And who wouldn't be?Edward himself had said he would have married her if he hadn't been married. And she probably would have married him if Jasper…what was she saying?
She glanced onto the dance floor and watched Jasper dance with Renee. Thinking of what had almost transpired made her burn with guilt. An hour away from her "I do," she had nearly kissed a man she'd known for mere minutes. Emmett had left her alone with Edward because he had trusted Edward and trusted Bella, but if Rose hadn't come in...
But it hadn't actually transpired – almost but not actually. So she should consider that it had never happened. After all no one had caught on so in reality, nothing had happened. But if that was true, why was she reasoning with herself?
Finally, Jasper found her.
"Mrs. Hale, I'm sorry to make you wait," Jasper told her sincerely.
"You're forgiven, I suppose. As long as you make it up to me."
"Oh, I will," He goosed her through the dress as she led him on to the floor and she giggled. But even as they stepped back onto the floor, a long piercing scream was heard.
"Rosie, baby, are you okay?"
"No, idiot! My water just broke!"
Alice opened the pantry door and fetched a bottle of 1978 Bordeaux; it was definitely time for celebration what with her new six figure job and Edward's victory. The phone rang. She nudged the pantry door shut with her heel.
"Edward, where are you?" It wasn't Edward. "Yes, this is the Cullen residence…yes, this is Alice…about Edward? Why? What's wrong?"
The bottle dropped from her fingers and shattered on the floor, red wine spilling across the floor like intoxicating blood.