Author's Note: This is my first fanfic so I'm a little nervous. Please leave me a review and tell me what you think. A special thanks goes to my wonderful Beta cullen818! Without your help I doubt that I would have the guts to post this!
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or the characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
This was just another reason to hate my birthday. What a fiasco turning eighteen turned out to be! It would've been perfectly fine if people would've just listened to me and not made such a big deal, but of course I could never know what was best for me. I was just a silly, fragile, human teenager with not much experience in the world.
Okay, I know that wasn't fair. I know that Alice just wanted to make me happy in her own way; and I know that it was out of love that the Cullen's threw me a birthday party. But you would think that my best friend would know how to make me happy by now. The whole party was definitely more about making everyone else happy than about my happiness. If it had been about me, it wouldn't have even happened.
You would also think that my best friend would grant me one simple wish on my birthday. I just wanted to treat the day as if it were any other: nothing special, definitely nothing extreme; just the same as yesterday and tomorrow. Was that so difficult? Obviously it was.
Edward didn't even try to help me; instead, he totally took her side and made a big deal of the stupid party. Doesn't anyone understand me? Does anyone really know me or care about what I think or feel? After that horrible day I highly doubted it. Since then I have felt so alone. Yes, Edward was here; but he was so distant. I haven't even seen another member of the Cullen family since that horrible night. How long was this going to last? I couldn't take much more.
I knew Jasper didn't really want to hurt me. Now he was going to doubt his control even more, and it was all my fault! How could I be so careless?! I should've been more careful with opening my presents! Something so simple, and yet, I was still able to screw it up with my clumsiness. I knew that if there was a way to be injured, I would find it.
When Jasper lunged toward me, I knew that I was safe; that I would be protected. Don't get me wrong, I was scared out of my mind; but I knew that Edward or any other Cullen family member would protect me from being drained completely. Maybe I was unconsciously hoping that he would bite me and I would become one of them. So close, yet so far away. That would definitely have fixed this impasse business between Edward and me.
I hoped this didn't cause problems in the Cullen family. Oh who was I kidding? I knew that Edward was mad at Jasper, but I hoped that they could work this out. I hoped that the rest of the family was being supportive. I was sure that Alice had her work cut out for her, trying to calm down Jasper.
It was now my second night without Edward here; trying to find sleep was beginning to feel like an Olympic sport. After my restless night last night, I had hoped that the Sandman would take pity and visit me tonight. He could put me into a deep sleep that would make me forget all that was going on around me. I needed to forget about the dull, throbbing pain in my arm, my increasingly distant boyfriend and my seemingly absent extended family. My arm still hurt from my most recent injury despite the aspirin that I've been taking on a regular basis for the last two days. Edward has been so distant; he only talks when I initiate the conversation, and sometimes it's as if he doesn't even hear me talking. He always looks so deep in thought, but I've been too afraid to ask him what he's thinking about. Besides, I'm pretty sure that it has to do with my birthday party, since that is when he started becoming quiet and distant. It would help if I had seen Alice recently, she would be able to tell me how to fix this; but she hasn't been to school and I haven't even seen a Cullen, other than Edward, since my birthday party.
My body felt so lethargic, but my mind refused to shut down. Without Edward here to comfort me and hum my lullaby, sleep continued to evade me. The turmoil that refused to leave my thoughts was making me grasp the notion that tonight would be no different than the last; it would be just as restless. I turned over onto my stomach and hugged my pillow firmly, catching the red glow of my alarm clock; 2:17am. Great, I was going to look like a zombie in the morning!
I hugged my pillow closer to my body wishing it was Edward. It was too soft and warm. I tried to flip it over to feel coolness against my face, but it just wasn't cool enough. My thoughts drifted from Edward, but not very far.
Where was Alice? She hadn't been at school for two days now; that didn't seem right. I had so many questions for her. I wished she would call me at least. Then it dawned on me; why didn't I just call her?
I slowly raised my head from my pillow and listened for any noise in the house; nothing. I crept out of my warm bed into the cool air of my bedroom. Before going any further, I decided to peak outside in case Edward decided to show up; no such luck. It was raining lightly, but I still had a clear view of the empty yard that was lit with the orange glow of a street lamp. With a soft sigh, I gradually made my way to my bedroom door. Holding my breath I listened again to hear Charlie snoring quietly in his room. I let out a breath of relief and silently opened the door.
Tiptoeing down the dark hallway, I realized that Charlie was, in fact, a deep sleeper and I didn't need to go to so much trouble to silence my steps. I quickly made it downstairs and turned toward the kitchen. Through the window I could see the moon shining brightly; I let my gaze follow the path of light into our small kitchen, landing on my destination. The bright white light of the moon was shining on the phone making it shine as if it were just out of the box. I hoped that this was a message from a higher power that I was on the right path.
As I walked to the phone I let my mind wander again. I hope she answered her phone. What if Jasper was still doing really badly? Would she be mad at me for causing his pain? I needed to talk to someone, and Alice was the best choice because she understood the full situation and could give me some much needed answers. Not to mention that she is my best friend. Besides, it was way too late to call someone like Angela; she was probably having a great night's sleep, and I didn't have the energy to come up with lies in my story to cover for my vampire family. Since Alice didn't sleep, she was definitely the only one who could help me at this late hour, but I was still slightly nervous to call her.
Taking a deep breath, I lifted the receiver from its base to my ear, and raised my now shaking right hand to dial Alice's number. I waited for three rings. Maybe she was busy? Maybe she was too angry to talk to me?
"Hi Bella," her solemn voice rang clear, sounding similar to tinkling wind chimes, over the line. It amazed me how her voice could still sound so beautiful even when she was obviously upset. I slowly let out a breath that I hadn't realized I was holding in. All the anger I had been harboring for her regarding my birthday party vanished instantly.
"Alice? S-sorry to bother you, I just need to talk to someone before I lose my mind." I whispered in a rushed, gravelly voice; hoping she would understand what I was saying.
"I know. I knew you were going to call," her quiet voice admitted sadly.
"Are you mad at me Alice?" I questioned cautiously, quickly adding, "I understand if you are."
"No! Bella, I'm just having a difficult couple of days. You're my best friend and I miss you."
"I miss you too," I exclaimed quietly as I felt tears start to form in my eyes. "Why haven't you been at school? Is Jasper still upset?"
"No, he's fine now. How is Edward?" I wasn't expecting that. Wasn't he at home with her?
"Actually I was hoping you could tell me. He hasn't been here for two nights now and he is so distant at school. Isn't he at home with you?"
"We're not at home Bella." The words crashed into my mind, the prickling in my eyes vanished as I felt my hands begin to tremble in alarm and dread. Where else would they be? Why wouldn't they be here?
"Well where are you then? Haven't you talked to anyone else who is at home?"
"Edward is the only one of us remaining in Forks. The rest of us are in Denali." What?
"Okay… well when do you guys plan on coming back home?" Please be soon. Please be soon.
After a brief pause she whispered, "I don't know if we are."
"What's that supposed to mean?" How could she not know? She is a freakin psychic!
With a sigh of exhaustion she answered, "I've already said too much. This was a bad idea; I shouldn't have answered your call."
"Alice, please! I don't know what to do! I'm freaking out, my boyfriend is being distant and now my best friend and new family are gone without a word! Please tell me what's going on!"
"I can't Bella," she sobbed. "I've seen so many different futures happening, and most of them aren't good. I don't want to make things worse."
"I'm sorry. I just don't understand what's happening and I don't know what to do." That sounded whiny even to me.
Alice didn't seem to notice, or at least she didn't say anything about me sounding like a helpless child. I waited for her response, but nothing came.
"How is the family? Are they all mad at me?"
"They're mad," she scoffed, "but not at you of course. You haven't done anything wrong Bella, well other than date a temperamental vampire." I could hear the joking smile return to her voice at her last statement; it made me smile.
"How are you Alice? What have you been doing? Is there any good shopping in Denali?"
She giggled, "I thought that you didn't like shopping Bella? You wouldn't be trying to butter me up, would you?" she teased.
I could feel the blush in my cheeks immediately; thank goodness she wasn't here to witness it. "No, I've just missed you so much! At this point I would even be willing to play Bella Barbie." I answered sheepishly.
"I'm fine, shopping is okay. And I'm holding you to that invitation for a later date."
"Fine, but if I have to actually endure that torture I expect payment; information to be exact."
"Bella…" Alice warned.
"Just humor me, please. What happened after I left on my birthday?"
She hesitated. It was so quiet; I almost thought that she had hung up on me. As I felt my heart rate begin to race, she began. "Well, after we got Jasper to come home, we had a family meeting."
There was another long pause. "And…?" I coaxed.
"And, we talked about what happened during the party." Duh!
"Well what was said Alice?" Do I really want to know the answer to that?
She took a deep breath, "It was obvious that Jasper needed to be removed from Forks for a while, but that's the only thing that we all seemed to agree on. Nobody wanted to leave; but nobody wanted Jasper to be left alone with his guilt. You know how he struggles and we were afraid that he would give up on our way of life. So we all decided that it was best to come with him, for support.
"We were really sad to leave, but we do what we have to for family." She hesitated; then continued. "I don't know how long we'll be gone, only that we won't return until we're all able to." Well that was a little cryptic.
"Haven't you seen how long it will take Alice?" I asked skeptically. I could feel my heart rate pick up again. Why wasn't she giving me clear answers?
"I already told you Bella," Alice started with a stern voice, as if she were dealing with a petulant child. "My visions keep changing. We may not even come home! This can end in so many various bad ways that I can't seem to keep a grip on reality."
"I know I messed up! I'm sorry for causing this! Please tell everyone that I'm sorry, especially Jasper. I'll stay away from the house if it will be easier for him; but please don't just stay away! I love all of you!" I was starting to feel frantic and couldn't seem to control the flow of pleas rushing through my lips.
"I know you love us Bella, we all know. I promise it will get better, I can't give you any details, but I know it will. Can you please just trust me?"
"Of course, I could never bet against you Alice."
"Good. Now all I can say is that you need to find some inner strength. You'll need it for the next couple of days. You also need to get some sleep. It's already after 3:00 in the morning," she scolded.
"I know, thanks Alice. I'll try again, but can I call you tomorrow?"
"I was already expecting it," she giggled, but it sounded a bit strained. "Now get some sleep and calm down, everything will work out fine," she said reassuringly. "Oh yeah! You will have a pop quiz in Spanish tomorrow so be ready. Angela could help you study at lunch."
"Thanks Alice. What would I do without you?"
"I don't know Bella. Good night."
I hung up the phone feeling a little bit lighter, but only a little. A small weight was lifted off of my shoulders, but only a pea in the whole crop that was my burden.
Pieces of my conversation with Alice replayed in my mind as I stealthily snuck back to my room. The family wasn't mad at me. At least, according to Alice; but she had never given me reason to not believe her before. Everyone was gone other than Edward; except that Edward was really gone in all but body.
After closing my door and snuggling back under my covers, I remembered all of my questions that I forgot to ask her; they mingled with new questions that our conversation brought to the forefront of my mind. What exactly had everyone said at the family meeting after my party? Specifically what had Rosalie said? What visions did she have of the future? Were all of them bad? Why was Edward so gloomy? Was it because he missed his family or something much worse?
I guessed that they would all have to wait until I could call Alice tomorrow. For now I needed to follow her advice and get some sleep. Tomorrow promises to be a challenging day and if Alice was right, it would probably require a herculean effort. No more throwing pity parties for myself, it was time to be a new Bella, a stronger Bella. Alice said I needed to find my inner strength and that I would need it tomorrow. I was determined to find it, even if I wasn't sure why I needed to do it.
I was leaving the girls locker room at school as the final bell rang to end the day. I stepped out of the building and into the light drizzle that was beginning to fall. I looked around for Edward but he wasn't there. Weird, maybe he got held back after class. Without much worry or thought, I headed toward the parking lot to meet him at his car.
I kept my eyes on where I planted my feet to keep from falling into the mud, when I heard a musical laughter ahead of me I stopped short. Standing not fifteen feet in front of me was Edward and he was surrounded by a group of guys, they were all laughing. Included in the group were Mike, Tyler, Conner, Ben and Eric; none of them acknowledged my presence, not even Edward.
I slowly made my way to the group, bypassing a large puddle that formed between us; and walked up to Edward's side, where I found Jessica nestled under his arm!
Edward continued talking to the group without even acknowledging me. I reached out to grab his hand, but he stepped away from me. "Edward? What are you doing?" I asked him quietly.
No answer. He didn't even acknowledge my presence; Jessica looked at me with a sly smile. "Edward!" Now I know that he has been distant, but he would never ignore me like this; and he would never give Jessica the time of day!
He slowly turned to face me; the look on his face was pure annoyance. "What do you want, Isabella?"
"What's going on? Why are you holding onto Jessica!? You never call me by my full name! And, you know I need a ride home, you drove me here today!"
"You can get a ride from someone else. Just leave me alone! Can't you take a hint? I don't want you anymore."
"And what about her?" I sneered.
"Oh, Jessica? She's just a pretty little distraction."
His words shocked me. I heard a scream and I shoved Edward with all of my strength. I plowed right into him and we both fell to the ground. I then proceeded to raise myself up slightly and punch him continuously in the chest.
I wasn't sure if the wetness on my face was from the rain or my own tears. I could sense his new group of friends watching us but refusing to pull me off of him; good. I realized that the screaming that I heard was coming from my own mouth, originating deep within my chest. Edward didn't hit me back, he didn't even try to stop me. He just lied there with a mask of confusion and horror.
"I hate you so much! Why would you embarrass me like this! Why don't you love me?" I never stopped long enough for him to give me an answer. I didn't want an answer; I wanted him to be hurting as much as me.
I heard sirens in the distance. How would I explain this to Charlie? How did he get here so fast? The sirens got louder, but they didn't sound quite right.
I looked down at Edward and he was gone, only to be replaced with my bedroom floor.
I shook my head to clear it for rational thought. It was a dream; only a stupid dream. Of course I could never actually push Edward to the ground. He's a freakin vampire! And I would never purposely hurt him. Hitting him like I did in my dream would actually only cause me serious injury, not him; but I still wouldn't ever attempt that either. I swear my dreams get crazier by the day.
I slowly crawled back into bed from the cold floor. My alarm clock was still blaring showing the time to be 6:08am. I turned it off and let my thoughts wander to shake off the uneasy feeling of that dream. I thought of the meadow and the first time that Edward told me that he loved me. A smile stretched across my face. I'm sure everything will be okay if we can just get through today. I was going to talk to Edward today and we were going to resolve these issues.
I stretched my hands above my head and brought them down in front of me. I smelled the salty copper before I saw the blood trickling slowly down the side of my palm. As soon as I saw it, I ran for the bathroom holding my breath. Stumbling towards the sink, I turned on the water and let it clean my new wound. It was only a small slit that was already clotting over to stop the blood from flowing out of it.
With a sigh I reached into the medicine cabinet for Neosporin and a Band-Aid. While doctoring my wound the thought occurred to me; Alice told me to find my inner strength. Could this crazy dream mean that I found it? No, I didn't think that what I did in that dream is the kind of strength that she meant. But I was determined to find that strength and make it through the day successfully.