Disclaimer: Neither Twilight nor Pride and Prejudice belong to moi.
Chapter V: The Truth
I trudged down the stairs sleepily and plopped down onto the couch beside Jasper who was watching television. His hair stuck up in several directions, his mouth hung open slightly and he wore nothing but a pair of boxers. I had yet to look in a mirror, but I was sure I didn't look much better. Charlie and Sue were really the only 'early risers' in this family. Not even Rosalie looked like her usual spectacular self at this hour.
Sue's head poked into the room. "Charlie forgot his lunch. Would one of you mind running it over to him? I would do it myself, but I'm expecting an important call."
I looked over at Jasper. He stared at the television like a zombie. With a noise that sounded like a mix between a sigh and I groan, I heaved myself up off the couch and grabbed the brown paper bag from the hands of my step-mother and trudged back up the stairs to make myself presentable.
An hour later, I was on my way. I elected to walk to the station since it was actually sunny and warm outside for once. Within fifteen minutes, I was there.
"Hey Mark," I said with a nod to one of my dad's coworkers and good friends.
"Hiya Bella. What are ya doing here today?" I held up the bag. "Ah, the chief forgot his lunch, huh?"
"Well, you better go give it to him. Have a good day!"
"You too!" I called as I disappeared down the hallway.
When I reached the closed door to my dad's office, I pushed open the door and let myself right in. James stood there with him, looking very engrossed in whatever my dad was telling him. Both men looked up at me with blank faces.
"Oh, sorry…" I mumbled, my face heating up.
"Not a problem, Bells," Charlie said cheerfully. "Is something wrong?"
"You forgot to get your lunch from Sue…" I trailed off, setting it down on his desk. James began to snicker and Charlie shot him a half angry slash amused look.
"Haha, laugh it up, buddy. Keep on laughing tomorrow morning when you're making your lunch and my wife's making mine for me."
"So, I guess I'll be going, then," I said with a slight wave. Just as I began turning toward the door, James spoke.
"Hey, wait up a minute. Chief, can I have a half hour break?"
He shrugged and nodded but there was a look of warning in his eyes. "Sure, go ahead."
James smiled and walked out of the room, gesturing for me to follow. I said goodbye to my dad quickly and then James's hand was wrapped around mine, pulling me outside to the courtyard.
"What are we doing?" I asked as he pulled me further out to the forest.
He just shrugged and replied, "Hanging."
I nodded once. There was an awkward pause for a minute until James asked me a few questions about myself. From there, the conversation started rolling. We talked for about fifteen minutes straight and I found myself actually having a good time.
"So, what are you doing this weekend?"
I pursed my lips. "Tonight I'm going to go to Emmett McCarty's party, and I believe that Sue invited the Cullens over for dinner on Saturday."
James's face took on a troubled expression. "Right. Esme and Carlisle requested that some of the police go too to keep an eye on the party. You're dad is thinking of sending me." It was quiet for a minute. "So you'll be with Edward Cullen?"
"Sort of. I probably won't talk to him all that much."
The troubled expression deepened. "Try to avoid him."
My curiosity got the better of me. "Care to explain what happened between you two in Port Angeles?"
He thought for a moment. "We don't exactly get along."
"I can see that. Why not?" He frowned and I apologized quickly. "Sorry, you don't have to explain. I'm being really nosy and I—"
"Forget about it. I'll tell you. It's not a secret or anything." He took a deep breath and launched into his story. "Edward and I were childhood friends. His grandfather lived with him and I was at his house almost everyday. Senior Ed Cullen was very, very rich. Everyone in the family always searched for his approval on everything. He liked spending time with Edward and me, but he liked me better than his grandson, and Edward got jealous. When Senior Ed passed away a while ago, everything went to Edward. In his will he specified that he wanted five-hundred thousand to go to me, but Edward refused to give me any of it. I wanted the money to go to school to become a doctor, but the dream went down the drain. So now I'm training to become a police man."
I gaped openly at him for several seconds after he finished. "That is utterly…" I struggled to find the right word. "Terrible, cruel, selfish, awful, disgusting and a million other things!" I exclaimed. James looked at me sadly and shrugged helplessly.
"It is what it is."
"JAMES!" Mark called from the building. "It's been forty-five fucking minutes! Get your ass in here now!"
With one last wave, James was gone, leaving me to stew in my own anger.
"This would look absolutely amazing on you, Bella!" Rose exclaimed. I barely heard her. She had convinced me to use some of my savings to buy a new outfit for the party in a few hours. I hated spending money on things that weren't necessary, but this time I had caved.
"Huh-LO!" Rosalie yelled, waving her hands in front of my face. I finally focused on her. "What the hell is wrong with you today? You're totally out of it."
"Nothing. I'm fine."
She rolled her eyes. "Puh-lease. You can't lie to me. You suck at it."
"I don't want to talk about it right now, okay?" I said irritably. My talk with James was not something I felt like sharing at this moment. She sighed.
"Fine. If you won't tell me, then snap out of this weird funk that you're in and at least pretend that you're having fun. I mean, honestly? When was the last time you bought new clothes? Three years ago?"
I shifted uncomfortably. "Maybe."
"You can't save forever."
"I'm not going to," I protested. "I just want to finish school and get a job this summer, hopefully out of town, and save up enough money that I don't have to feel guilty or worried about spending some of it on luxuries."
She heaved another sigh and pointed to the shirt she had tried to show me earlier. "Wanna try this on?"
I touched the material and looked at it critically, pretending as if I wasn't that interested in it, but my small smile gave me away.
"Kay, awesome, go," she said commandingly as she grabbed the shirt and threw it at me. "And hurry up!" she yelled.
By six-thirty Rose and I had each bought a new outfit. We got dressed and after a long argument, I conceded into letting her 'work magic' on my face and hair. I didn't have much hope as she worked and was extremely bored the entire time. After a half hour, Rosalie whipped out a mirror and held it in front of my face. I gasped.
Who was that woman? I had always felt as though I looked like I was stuck in high school, but now I felt like a sexy, full grown woman. And it scared the living shit out of me.
"What did you do to me?" I shrieked.
"Are you saying you hate it?" Rosalie demanded.
"Yes! No! I don't know!"
"You'll get used to it," she said offhandedly. "Get your bag and let's go."
Jasper was already in the driver's seat of the car and he honked the horn just as we opened the front door.
"Rosalie! Bella! Wait!" Sue called, running down the hall with Mike. Rosalie muttered something under her breath that sounded like 'oh fuck'. "Take Mike with you, okay?"
I was about to protest but when I saw her face I knew I had no choice but to bring him along. With a sigh, I nodded. Rosalie stomped to the car and shot me a look that clearly said, "I babysat him in Port Angeles. You're the unlucky fucker this time." Again, I nodded sullenly and climbed into the vehicle after Mike.
An hour later, we pulled up to the house. Cars were everywhere and music blared. I had never really been to one of these kinds of parties before. As a teenager, I had been shy and was never invited to any of them. And as an adult, all the parties I went to were calm and somewhat sophisticated. So this was a new experience for me.
"See what you were missing out on now?" Rose asked, noticing my excited stare. I laughed and nodded. I was about to ask Jasper to help me watch Mike, but he was already inside, lost in the crowd.
"Traitor," I muttered under my breath.
"Rosie!" Emmett's booming voice called out as we ascended the stairs to the porch. She gave him a huge hug and he spun her around. When he set her down, he wrapped me up in another bone-crunching hug and I nearly suffocated.
"Great to see you, too, Bella!"
I laughed weakly and smiled. He grasped Rosalie's hand and they took off inside together.
"I need to go find someone, Mike, so why don't you go get some punch and finish reading that book?" I said, pointing to the novel in his hand.
"Only if you promise to dance with me three times tonight."
I hesitated. "Fine."
He beamed at me and skipped off into the crowd. I walked through room after room, searching for James. There weren't many people I knew at this party, and if I couldn't find him I would have to hang out with Jasper. Sadly, from what I could tell, he was not here.
"Looking for someone?" a velvety voice whispered in my ear. I spun around and met the eyes of none other than the man I wanted to avoid.
Edward's face hardened. "He isn't here."
"So I see." With a sigh, I leaned against the wall. To my great surprise, Edward did the same.
"You look…different tonight," he commented after several minutes of silence.
"I'm not even going to respond to that," I muttered angrily. Of course he decided to talk to me now that Rose had made me pretty.
"I meant a good different," he said hurriedly as if this was what I wanted to hear.
"Are you trying to defend yourself with that comment? Because it has only made me angrier."
Several seconds passed. "I don't understand."
"You are a very curious girl, Isabella Swan." Something in his voice made me feel as though he was talking to me like I was a child and he was the grown-up.
I rolled my eyes. "Girl?"
"Did I offend you?" he asked, surprised with my tone.
"No, not really."
"Then what is it?" Boy, was he in a talkative mood tonight. I wondered how much alcohol he had drank to get to this point.
"You act and talk like you're seventy-five years old as opposed to twenty-five."
"Is there something wrong with that?"
"Not exactly." I thought for a second. "Actually, yes there is something wrong. I have never in my life met a man you're age who walks around like he knows everything about the world and as if he's above everyone else. Which causes me to wonder why it is that you are this way. I know for a fact it wasn't the way you were raised, since Esme and Carlisle are extremely modest people and act like they're younger than they actually are. I also has nothing to do with your money, since I know a guy about your age who is like a naïve little boy and has about the same amount of cash as you."
He stared at me with wide eyes as I rambled on and on. I stared back at him with a pensive look for almost a minute. Then I had a revelation. I wouldn't have been surprised if a light bulb literally appeared above my head.
"It's because you like to have control, isn't it? You don't have relationships with anyone because you don't like giving people power over you!"
For a brief moment, disbelief and fear colored his eyes. Then they were gone, replaced with a hard gaze and an angry frown.
"Do you honestly think that?"
"Yes I do, and stop with the questions!"
"No," I said carefully. "I'm right. You pretend to be caught up in work and you pretend that you don't care about the things that you have missed and are going to miss by skipping over this period in your life. But you actually do care. You put on a really good face, but there are times when you almost slip up." I took a step closer to him and lowered my voice. "And there are times that you want to."
He stared at me for a long time, our faces just inches apart. Finally he closed his eyes, and when he opened them, they were lighter than before.
"Dance with me."
"Sorry?" I asked, sure I heard him wrong.
"I said dance with me."
He shrugged. "Why not?
I sighed. "Maybe another time."
I glanced around the room, biting my lip.
"Fine. I will dance with you later, before I leave tonight."
"Dance with me now?"
"I said later."
"Why now now?"
"Because I said later."
I sighed in an angry huff. "I'm not backing down with this one! I. Will. Dance. With. You. Later."
With another sigh, I turned around and was very surprised to see Jasper standing there.
"Until later, Ms. Swan," Edward said as he passed us. When he was gone, Jasper raised an eyebrow.
"Did you really just agree to dance with Edward Cullen?"
"Only once," I said defensively. "And I don't want to dance with Mike for the whole night so dancing with Edward will be a step up."
Jasper stared at me uncertainly for a moment before pulling me away to a small nook in a dark hallway. He pointed to a closet at the end of the hall.
"What?" I asked, unsure what this was all about.
"Rosalie and Emmett are in there."
"Doing what?" I asked, eyes wide.
"I sure as hell don't want to know," he said with a nauseous look on his face. I giggled and shook my head, happy for Rose and amused by Jasper's reaction.
Mike and I danced three times like I promised him and when he asked for another, Edward cut in, thankfully. As he wrapped one hand around my own and one around my waist, that stupid electrical current zipped through my body again. I would have to hang onto James's words from this morning and remember that Edward Cullen was not a nice man, no matter how sexy and beautiful he looked. And maybe after a couple of shots, I could question him about him and James's relationship and find out more about what happened.