(Twilight theme by Stephanie Meyer)
"Carlisle, have you spoken to Tristan lately?"
"I talk to him every day you know that. What in particular were you curious about?"
"Do you think he is planning to skip town?"
"No, we have our schedules for the next few weeks planned out in great detail, why?"
"Well, he has been especially unreadable lately and they don't even bother talking out loud anymore."
"I have noticed, but I think that Bella is keeping you from reading his mind for your sanity not his. I thought you preferred not hearing us."
"I do prefer silence as I am sure you all do, but it seems as though she has been going out of her way to do so lately. I can't remember the last time I heard anything from him. He is not the most trustworthy person."
"I beg to disagree Edward. He tries very hard to be a part of this family, he sometimes uses methods that are not very forthcoming, but ultimately it is for our good."
"I don't see how his never ending quest for attention is ultimately in our best interest Carlisle."
"I don't see how his loneliness is for our best interest either Edward."
"I suppose you are right, but he is making a spectacle of himself at school. I think he is a few posters away from being class president."
"I agree that it is not how we are used to doing things, but he is only bringing attention to himself and the rest of you are flying under the radar. Let's try it his way for a while and if it doesn't work at least he will understand why we insist on our rules. He is younger, but we can't treat him like a child."
"I think there would be great benefit in treating him like a child…" I said as I walked out of the study. I followed Bella's scent into the living room and found them reading a book. They were sprawled out on the couch and Bella was resting against him. Their legs were cris-crossed on top of each other's and each of them held a side of the book. I knew that it was completely innocent, but I could not help but feel that jealousy that had become such a dominant emotion lately rear its ugly head. I stopped just behind the couch.
Ahem… I cleared my throat loudly. They tilted their heads back to peer up at me then returned to their reading.
"Hey babe, you wanna join?" Bella said as they turned the page.
"Seems a little crowded…" I said.
"Don't be ridiculous, you could just sit with me." She patted the couch next to her and Tristan moved his legs so they hung off the couch and his feet were on the ground. I took a seat next to her and swung her legs onto my lap so she wouldn't have to shift.
"What are you reading?" I asked unable to see the title without the dust cover on the book.
"Houdini's biography." She said without looking up.
"I didn't know you were interested in stage magic."
"I'm not, but he was interesting and I don't know anything about him, well, in a hundred fifty pages I will know a bit more." She said her eyes quickly scanning the page as Tristan waited for her to catch up.
"You good?" He said and without responding out loud the page turned again. I was content to sit with Bella, so the next hour while they finished their book went by quickly.
([~] Bella [-] Tristan)
~ Okay well I doubt they will let you and I go for a hunting trip on our own. At least Edward won't.
You can't just ask for some time away?
~ I don't want time away from him; even though I can't blush anymore he will still know that I am lying.
I don't want you to lie; I just don't want to risk another messenger coming here. It was dumb luck that we intercepted the last two without them finding out.
~ I understand the whole old world mentality from Marcus, but no phone? Really? This could have been ended long ago if we could have just called him.
Or when we failed to show up for the St. Marcus festival.
~ I think maybe we should try things the Cullen way before we start planning on ways to get away. We aren't kids living with Renee and Uncle Roger anymore.
True, but that hasn't stopped them from treating us like children.
Edward's intentional noise broke us out of our conversation. We were on the couch relaxing and trying to glean some tips on deception from Houdini's biography. We tilted our heads back to look into Edward's eyes. His face had that irrational jealousy on it again.
~Let's make some space ok?
Of course, just try and keep your expressions blank. I really don't want to fight with your beau tonight.
~ I will just concentrate on the book.
Edward sat with us and Tristan and I kept our conversation going.
I think we should send a letter to Volterra and just end this.
~ They have Alice watching Volterra, if Marcus makes a decision based upon our letter they will find out. I don't think it is such a great idea to do anything behind their backs. I feel guilty enough as it is talking about this behind Edward's.
"I didn't know you were interested in stage magic." Edward said and the smile he had on his face just made me feel like dirt. It was the smile he used when he thought he learned something new about me. I loved the fact that even after a couple years of knowing each other he was still excited to discover something new. I know how hard it is for him to share my time with Tristan and it doesn't help that Tristan knows all the little things about me that Edward is excited to learn. He doesn't understand that he is the one who knows me better than anyone else. Tristan is my best friend, but Edward is my husband. There is a part of me that only he has seen...
Hiding things from him wouldn't help him to understand that fact though. I was getting lost in my head partly due to the fact that I was trying to drown myself in guilt when Tristan came to my rescue as always.
"You good?" He said out loud then in our way said,
Bella, sorry; I don't think things through all the time. I will stop scheming, we will just keep intercepting the visitors until we finally move and get lost.
~ Thanks Tristan. I know you are just trying to resolve this… I just… just…
I know Izzy. It's cool. Let's just finish up the book, this guy was a little on the interesting side.
The last few months have been so quiet that my A.D.D. has kicked itself into overdrive. I gave up all my extracurricular activities in an attempt at making Bella's conscience rest easy. Carlisle's experimenting finally reached a plateau and I had so much more free time that I may have been letting my control slip lately. I like to think of this time in my afterlife as the terrible two's. I am two vampire years old now and that means, more inherent control and more intentional misbehavior. I prefer the word fun, but my family doesn't exactly see things my way all the time. Today is one of those particularly boring school days. My vampire hearing is focusing on the ticking second hand, and even though I know it is not moving slower than a second per tick, I feel like it is. Each tick is sounding off louder than the previous one and the inane chatter all around me is driving me crazy. On my left I hear Betty and Veronica fighting over Archie while to my right I have Jug head and Moose staring at the board with a puddle of drool forming under them. It is just too much today.
In a motion, maybe a little bit too fast I raised my hand high into the air.
"Yes, Mr. Swan do you have the answer?" He raised his eyebrow at me expecting one of my patented smart ass remarks, but I decided to play nice since I was asking for a favor.
"Yes, the answer is Darwinism… may I have the lavatory pass?"
"Very good! … and yes, it is on the hook."
I glance to the oversized pencil with 'LAVATORY' in big bold letters sprawled on the side. I grab my backpack without the teacher noticing and leave without the giant writing utensil to hinder my escape. I sent out some mental feelers to find my best friend and was led to her English class on the other side of campus. This class was on the second story of the small school, but one of the perks of being undead were the coordination improvements. I scaled a tree that looked over the building and as I climbed I noticed that this tree was not empty. A flash of vampire white flew towards me and I jumped out of the tree landing soundlessly onto my feet ground level.
"What do you think you are doing?"
"Edward, what a delight it is running into you here. What were you doing in a tree? Very odd place to be don't you think?"
"If you are bored, cut class. I really don't care, but please stop trying to drag Bella down with you."
" Drag Bella down with me? Wow, you sound like Phil you know that? He didn't understand my friendship with Bella either. He used to assume things like you are doing right now."
"I am not assuming anything Tristan. I know that you were on your way up that tree to flag down Bella and make her miss class."
"So you came to stop me before she got a chance to choose to come with me or not?"
"She wouldn't have gone with you."
I am not sure what got into me, maybe it was the annoyance I felt knowing that I was stuck here against my will, but I decided to drop the super respectful tone I used when I spoke to Edward.
" You think Bella enjoys your overly possessive shit all the time? She does like to have a good time once in a while. Get over yourself."
It was like I could see a fire light behind his eyes and he snapped.
"Why can't you just give her one damn day to herself?"
"A day to herself, or to yourself? You have seen my relationship with Izzy; I am not trying to take your wife from you." I spat the word wife as if it were a disgusting taste in my mouth. Bella used to have the same reaction to the word before she met him. She and Renee had this unspoken deal about her waiting till she was thirty to get married and Bella thought thirty may even be too soon. Now she was here in her early twenties or early twos married and locked down for eternity with no fun.
"You think I am threatened by you? She chose me, I have nothing to worry about. I am talking about your constant need to compete with me for her attention."
"Well, if this-" I made a motion between the two of us, "is a competition as you say, then the main reason you are upset must be that you are losing."
It was with those words that the fire behind his eyes made their way to the surface and I felt his stone fist against my equally solid jaw. While growing up school yard fights were a weekly occurrence, so it felt like a reflex when I made contact with his jaw half a second later. Each blow was louder than the last and I was vaguely aware of how many humans were in the area. At this point I did not care I just wanted to get this over with. Edward and I had been tip toeing around each other ever since they returned from their honeymoon. I had Edward on the ground and was about to wail away on his face when I was suddenly pulled off him by huge arms, which had to belong to Emmett. I saw a white flash take my place on top of Edward and when I was able to focus I saw Jasper trying to calm him down. I composed myself and shook free of Emmett's steel grasp. Emmett and I had bonded in the months I spent with them while Bella was on her honeymoon. He knew when I was in control as we would frequently wrestle while my newborn strength was still able to overpower him easily. Edward quickly stood up and I could tell he was only in control because the humans were about to come out for a passing period. As it was they knew something had just gone down and the whispers started. They heard the fight and the way we were standing when they exited the classrooms confirmed it.
"I heard that Isabella's brother doesn't approve of her boyfriend. That's why they were fighting behind the gym…"
"I heard that Tristan and Isabella are together… you know…together and Edward found out."
"Eww, that's gross! Aren't they all like brothers and sisters?"
"I don't think by blood, I mean, they are always touching and c'mon no one gets along with their sibling like that."
"I heard Tristan caught Edward and his sister behind they gym and kicked his ass…"
"I saw it dude! It was crazy yeah they were full on making out and Tristan attacked Edward …"
Each rumor grew more and more ridiculous. I found myself laughing as I heard some of the more absurd ones. I even felt a little smug when I heard that the majority thought I was winning when the fight was broken up. The one thing all the rumors had in common was the tension between me and Edward because of Bella. It's true, there is always a little bit of truth in each rumor.
The gossip took over the student body quickly and the attention on my family became too risky and we had to pack up and leave town. The family was annoyed, but Carlisle reassured me that they would rather leave due to rumors than because one of us mistook a student for a snack.
I hated when they used food analogies. I would always picture humans as walking talking Jell-O cups or other snack food. It was kind of disturbing and a little disgusting. All my favorite foods now made me wrinkle my nose in distaste. I used to love to eat, but now sitting in a cafeteria just made me want to gag. On the flipside the appearance of a deer or mountain lion made me salivate. Man, this new life was messed up.
Bella refused to talk about the fight after it happened. She would just shut down and I could feel her annoyance when we tried to get her on our side. Edward thought she would yell and scream at me and truthfully I expected the same towards him. Instead she just ignored it and avoided us. After three days of the silent treatment I borrowed Emmett's jeep and found Edward. I drove to a field where he liked to think and stopped inches away from him.
"Get in." I said.
"Go away Tristan."
"You have two choices Eddy. One you could get in the damn car and we go settle this or option number two you can wait it out and see how long it takes for her to forgive you."
He knew I was right, but I knew he wasn't happy to be anywhere near me at the moment.
"Stop trying to nickname me it is annoying." That is all he said as he grudgingly got into the jeep. We drove for a few hours finally arriving at Yosemite national park. I drove us deep into a rarely used camp ground. I started a fire and scattered a few props to make it look as if we would actually be sleeping here. This whole trip had been silent and tension filled. I sat next to the fire and cleared my throat to get his attention. He didn't make eye contact with me, but he began after a moment. "I should not have hit you, but you were baiting me."
"Yes, I was baiting you, but I do that to everyone."
"Well, you and I are not just anybody. We are involved in a unique situation and your immature provocation is not appropriate."
"Unique situation…" I repeated his description of the tense relationship we shared, "I don't understand why you put up this wall instead of trying to get along with me."
"I think you misunderstand my actions. I am trying to set boundaries between you and me."
"Why would you feel the need to do that?" I said trying to limit the sarcastic tone, but failing miserably.
"I need to have some time with Bella without you around; you don't seem to understand that."
"Please! I gave you a whole two months free of any communication with her. She would call or text me every day! Did you know that? I never called or wrote her back out of respect for your alone time. Do you know how hard that was for me?"
"Yes, I do. I appreciated the effort you showed, it was what happened when we returned that became the problem."
"What the Fu-…Ahem, what did I do that was so wrong?" I caught myself before I flew off the handle. I need to keep the conversation civil or this is going to go nowhere.
"You've kept her all to yourself. The two of you float alongside the rest of us."
"The only person who gets real alone time with her, Edward, is you."
"I am her husband! Of course I should have alone time with her!" He threw his arms in the air and began to pace on the other side of the campfire. I saw the frustration in his eyes, but I was equally frustrated. I liked Edward because I knew he made Bella happy and he was a good person, but he was very controlling and he needed to learn how to let go.
"I know, but I have a reason to be this way…"
"Stay out of my head!"
"Sorry…" He looked at me apologetically but continued anyway, "Bella and I are mates, in our world that means she is the most important person to me. I should be the same to her, but that is not true, you and I both know it."
"You are wrong." I said quiet as a whisper, but of course he had no trouble hearing me. "We don't see each other as separate. She is part of me and I am part of her. You are the most important person in her world, trust me Edward. I would never knowingly come between that."
"You are affecting our relationship whether you know it or not. You are keeping her separate from the family."
"We barely spend any time alone together; we always have one of your designated chaperones. You think I don't see what you are doing Edward? You are too paranoid."
"It's true that you do not spend a lot of alone time together, but you think that the rest of us feel included while you two are having your silent conversations alone on the other side of the room?" He was ignoring my paranoid comment.
"Hey, we ignore your constant eavesdropping, give us a break."
"I don't flaunt it."
"Why don't you just tell me what you want?"
"I want you to leave…"
"… but since she will never forgive me for asking for that, I guess we need to set ground rules."
"Finally, we are getting somewhere Eddy."
"Fine, let's be serious…"
"Pick something you and Bella can do just the two of you and the rest of the time no silent conversations or separating from the group."
"If I agree to this, you will lighten up?"
"As much as I know I will regret this, yes."
"Great, hope you enjoy hunting solo, Eddy."
"That's what you are choosing?"
"I should run it by her first, but something tells me that she won't object."
He had this look that said he was victorious, but I don't think he understood that hunting could take days depending on where you went for your meal. We were always itching to travel lately; this would give us the freedom to do so. The fact that we went to talk it out would also win me points in her eyes.
"I heard some grouchy bears over that way. I'll see you later Edward." I made sure to emphasize his full un-nicked name.
He just rolled his eyes, but managed to look amused by me.
Once I was far enough away I thought in exaltation our next hunting trip will include a quick stop over in Volterra…
(Hello faithful readers! I am so sorry that I am not updating. As I mentioned in my previous a/n I have a few chapters written out for Re-education through labor. Unfortunately I was the victim of senseless theft and my all important flash drive that holds all my stories was among the items taken. So as I am sure you all can imagine I am a little annoyed at having to start over without my rough drafts and notes. Thanks for patience and if there is a silver lining from this negative experience it is the fact that I have had many ideas for new stories. Including my first AH FF. When I am in a better mood I will post a snippet from this story in my profile. Thank you again for your patience and I will do my best to update soon!)