Bella is a Punk Rocker
Well, dear reader, here it is~after an incredibly long hiatus filled with enough real life medical, financial and emotional drama to fuel a hundred fics, I have finally posted what is to be the last chapter of Bella is a Punk Rocker. But don't fret...an Epilogue will follow shortly :)
As always, I don't own Twilgiht. I only manipulate the characters created by Stephenie Meyer to do the things I imagine for them in good fun. I thank her for letting me do so and for being such a good sport when it comes to our community.
So, without further ado...Chapter 35...Bella is a Punk Rocker :)
Carlisle sat at the head of the long table in the dining room, hands folded in front of him on the dark wood, his wife, Esme, at his right. Alice sat slumped against the back of her chair next to her mother, staring straight ahead, arms crossed, lips pursed. Clearly, she was pissed off and she wanted everyone in the room to know it. Across from her, Jasper sat up straight, hands folded in his lap, eyes on Carlisle.
Only Edward sat with his head down.
"This is a difficult decision for all of us, I know, but ultimately, whatever we decide has to be ok with Edward."
"We all live here, Dad, not just Edward." Alice didn't look at her father as she spoke.
"I'm well aware that Edward is not the only person to live in this house, Mary Alice." Carlisle kept his voice soft and even, only showing his ire with his daughter by using her full name. "However, as he is the person that the most damage was done to by Rosalie, the ultimate decision as to whether or not we let her and Emmett back into our family lies with him."
"I reserve my right to respectfully disagree with you."
"As is your prerogative. Disagreement duly noted."
"Alice, be reasonable…"
"Jasper, I will not be reasonable, so please stop asking me to!" She snapped, sliding down lower in her chair.
"Alice, darling. Please, your posture." Esme frowned.
"Oh good grief!" Alice sat up straighter in her chair, crossing her arms over her chest again with a huff.
"Edward?" Carlisle looked at his son.
"I…I don't know…" His voice trailed off and he sighed, shaking his head. "It's like…I mean…" he looked across the table at his mother, searching her face. "I think…no…I know that if I say no, I don't want to give them another chance, well, that doesn't make me any better than them, you know?"
"That's very true, son." Carlisle leaned back in his chair, his face glowing with approval.
"But…I can't just act like nothing happened the last few years, you know?" He sat back, running a hand through his messy bronze hair. "I mean, Rose cost me a lot, Dad. She cost me my relationship with you and Mom the last few years. She cost me…Bella."
He sighed, shifting his weight nervously. "But, by the same token, as much as I hate to admit it, even though she intended for it to break me, without her, I'd never have known about Alec."
"That's the truth, sweetie." Esme smiled at her son.
"All very valid points on either side of the argument, son." Carlisle looked at Jasper. "Jasper? You were on the other side during most of this. Do you have anything to add?"
"Well," Jasper's voice was low. "I admit to being in on the crap with them, I do. And I am truly sorry for taking the easy way out. I want you all to know that. My decision to not make a decision and just let them, well…let Rosalie bulldoze me, well, again…that was wrong. I've said my apologies, and I know that no amount of apologizing could ever make up for what I've done, or what I've stood by and allowed to be done to both Mom and Edward. But, I think Edward is right. To shut them out? That makes us just like them."
"Oh, for fuck's sake!" Alice blew an exasperated breath out, her bangs flying away from her forehead with the breath.
"Alice!" Esme stared at her daughter. "Such language!"
"Oh, Mom…what the fuck? What the fuck is wrong with you people?" Alice's voice was strained. "I mean, Rosalie fucked you over. Totally, totally fucked you over! Each and every one of you! Fucked!"
"Alice!" Esme's voice was a warning.
"No, Mom. No! Rosalie screwed this family seven ways to Sunday! How can you even consider letting her back in? How does she deserve to be a member of this family?" Alice slammed her hands down hard on the table.
"Alice," Esme's voice was tight. "Yes, Rosalie created all manner of problems for this family. But she apologized. She said she was sorry."
"Oh, so she said she was sorry. That makes everything ok. Rosalie is sorry so everything's bright and shiny!" Alice waved her arms around, exasperated. "Why don't we bow down and kiss her feet too? Maybe hand her the keys to Edward's car? Oh hell, why not just sign the house over to her because she's sorry!"
"Alice…stop." Edward sat with his head buried in his hands. When he looked up, the wear was evident on his face. "Aren't you tired? Aren't you just tired of…hating?"
"When it comes to Rose? No, I'm not," she sniffed.
"Allie…all this…hating. It makes us just as bad as her. No…don't look at me like that. It does. And you know it does."
"Fatherhood has made you soft, Cullen." Alice sneered.
"Maybe." He sat back in his chair, sliding down and leaning his head back. The last few weeks had taken an emotional toll on Edward. He felt worn to the bone. "But, maybe it's also allowed me to look at things through different eyes. Get a different perspective."
"So, tell me." Alice folded her arms across her chest, chin raised in defiance. "If someone did to Alec what Rose did to you, what would your perspective be?"
Edward's green eyes hardened as he glared at his sister. "That's not fair, Alice, and you know it."
"It's completely fair. You know it is."
"No, it's not."
"Answer the question, Edward."
"Why? Because you know your answer would make you a hypocrite?"
"Alice," Edward hissed between gritted teeth.
"I'm right. You know I'm right. I'm always right Edward."
"Alice, stop goading your brother." Carlisle stated firmly, finally putting an end to the argument.
"I'm not goading him. I just want him to be honest, Dad. I want him to realize how I feel."
"Believe me, I know how you feel. You've made it crystal clear," Edward snorted.
"I don't think you do, Edward." Her voice grew softer. "I think, sometimes, you get so deeply inside your own head that you don't realize what's going on outside of it."
"I do not!"
"You do too! You—"
"Enough!" Carlisle stood up, slamming his palms down on the table, and commanded the silence of the room. "This is not what we are here for. This fighting? This is what we are trying to stop."
He looked around the table. Edward sat with his head down, eyes closed. Alice stared back at him, deviance on her face. Esme's eyes were watery with tears. Jasper alone nodded his agreement with him.
"Now," he slowly sank back into his chair with an exasperated huff. "Let's get back to the reason we're all here. You can argue with each other about who's more self righteous later. Everyone gets to state their case. Alice, while we all know how you feel, I welcome you to explain to us~without raising your voice~why you think that Rose and Emmett should be shut out of the family."
"Well," she started slowly. "You know how I feel. I don't want them back. I don't want them back because of the trouble they started. They divided this family. And," she held up her hand. "I know that she apologized. And yes, I know that she appeared to be sincere. And perhaps she was. But, what's to prevent her from reverting back to her old form once she's comfortable with her acceptance? Nothing. And we will repeat the cycle again." She looked around the table. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I certainly don't want to go through this again."
"Point taken, Alice. And, for the record, you do raise a legitimate concern." Carlisle nodded. "Esme?"
Esme smiled sadly at Alice. "Alice, I do respect your feelings, but sweetie, you know that I can't agree with you."
"I know, Mom."
"I love all my children, and I'm willing to forgive Rose and Emmett. I would like them to be part of our family again."
"All right. So that's three for and one against." Carlisle held up three fingers on his right hand and one on his left to illustrate his point.
"What are your feelings, Carlisle?" Esme asked.
"Well, I tend to agree with all of you. You all had valid points. But, we can't have it both ways. So, I propose a compromise."
"A…what?" Alice's voice was shrill.
"A compromise, Alice. You remember what those are, don't you?"
Alice glared at her father.
Bella waited patiently for her phone to buzz. Alice had told her everything that had happened with Rosalie and Emmett's visit. Now she waited to see the outcome of the family meeting.
If she was being honest with herself, she knew that she could see it going either way. She knew how much Esme Cullen loved her children and how hard she took it when Dr. Cullen had banished Rose and Emmett from the house. But she also knew how much Esme loved Edward, how special that boy was to her. Bella could see Esme not wanting to risk going through what that family had been through again.
Bella tried telling herself that she didn't have a horse in that race, but she knew otherwise. She knew that there was only one choice that mattered: she wanted the choice that would bring Edward back to her.
"Ring". Bella stared at the phone propped up against the lamp on her bedside table. "Ring now."
The phone stared back blankly.
"Now. Ring now. Ring, damn you!"
Frustrated, she flopped down onto her pillows and covered her face with her hands. What was taking so long?
The phone buzzed and Bella sat upright, snatching the phone from the table.
"What a fucking joke," Alice hissed on the other end of the phone.
"Edward, of all people, wanted to let Emmett and that twat back into the family. Edward!"
"Are you kidding me?" Bella tucked a stray hair behind her ear.
"Nope. He said that by refusing to forgive them, it would basically be as bad as what Rose did. Can you believe that?"
Bella thought for a moment before answering. "I…well, I can actually understand where he's coming from, Al."
"Are you kidding me?" Alice was incredulous.
"Well…no…I mean, think about it."
"I have, Bella. I've thought about it and I've lived it," Alice sighed heavily. "I've thought about it day and night. I saw what horrors Rosalie Hale wrought on my family. I saw the hell Edward and Mom went through. I saw the evil glee that Rose got from it all. And I saw how the rest of us took the easy way out by going along with it." Her voice was sad. "I've thought about it and I've cried over it. But, unlike my brother and my mother, mine is not a forgiving heart. Rose has to pay for what she's done."
"I do understand, Al. Really, I do. I mean, what she did cost me everything. I lost Edward because of her."
There was silence on the other end of the phone.
There was an ironic laugh. "You never lost Edward, Bella. He's always been yours. You have to know that."
Now it was Bella's turn to be silent. She thought hard about what her friend said.
Finally, she spoke.
"Maybe…maybe he feels that way, but, well, he's never said anything to me. Nothing about being together or getting back together or anything."
"Think about it. Look at the gift he sent you for Christmas."
"A heart charm."
"Exactly. Do you think he did that randomly? I mean, Bella that bracelet belonged to his grandmother."
Bella fingered the delicate crystal heart dangling from her wrist. She had had no idea where Edward had gotten the bracelet. "I guess not…"
"It was the only way he could express how he felt about you at the time. Bella, he was so screwed up. Rose totally fucked his mind over."
"I know she did, Alice." There was sadness in her voice.
"Anyway, that's ancient history now."
"So, you are supposed to welcome Rosalie and Emmett back with open arms?"
"Well, I was the only one who was dead set against the whole idea of letting them back in. Mom and Edward were the ones who were really for it. Jazz kind of agreed with Mom and Edward. But Dad said that I made good points, so he offered a compromise of sorts."
"Yeah…like, we invite them over for Sunday dinner next weekend. See how that goes. You know, and then take it from there."
"Yeah. Fucking joke."
"Well, that will ease into things, won't it? You'll get to see how Rose behaves."
"Are you dense too? Of course Rose will be on her best behavior. She wants back in. Life with the Cullen's is a good life, Bella. We have a big house. Nice cars. We travel first class. She doesn't want to lose that. Sure. She'll ease in. But once she gets a firm foothold? Who's to say she won't revert back to form?"
"But who's to say she will? She's been thrown out once. She knows Carlisle will do it because he has. She knows everyone is wise to her now. No one will believe her anymore or be intimidated by her. It won't work this time."
"But she'll still be rewarded."
"No, she won't. She knows one false move and it's over. And it'll be over for good next time."
Bella heard Esme calling for Alice.
"I better go. Mom's calling." She breathed out heavily. "I'll see you at school tomorrow, ok?"
"Sure thing. Night Al."
Bella sat nervously at the lab table, trying to pretend she wasn't aware that her classmates slowly filtering into the room.
Would Edward be there? Would he sit at their lab table?
Mike Newton flopped down at the lab table in front of her.
"So, where's Cullen?"
"I dunno…he wasn't at lunch because he has a lot of work to make up."
"So they took his lunch away?"
"No, he eats in the library while doing work to catch up. It'll probably only be a week or two, so wipe that smirk off your face, Newton."
"Hey, I was just askin'." Mike held his hands up in front of himself defensively.
"Yeah, well, it's none of your business. Edward Cullen is none of your business."
"Jeez. What crawled into your hummus and died, Arizona?"
Edward Cullen walked quickly into the classroom, heavy backpack slung over his shoulder. He walked with his eyes cast down, avoiding all of the stares and whispers as he moved to his spot next to Bella. Dumping his backpack onto the lab table, he slipped into his seat.
"Cullen! Welcome back to the land of the living!" Newton wore a shit eating grin that Bella tried to ignore. "So how was the windy city?"
"Windy." Edward sifted through the textbooks in his bag, finally fishing out his biology text and his notebook.
"No one knew what happened to you, Cullen. Your disappearance was very mysterious." Mike Newton's eyebrows shot up for dramatic affect.
"I'm sure my sister told you I had a family emergency, Mike." Edward flipped through his notebook until he came to a blank page.
"Yeah, well…there were rumors, you know. Rumors about drugs and alcohol. Teen pregnancy~"
Bella slammed her textbook on the table loudly.
"Mr. Banner asked me to give you a copy of my notes, Edward." She interrupted Newton without looking at him. "Here. I made copies for you."
"Thanks." Edward's voice was quiet as he took the sheaf of paper from her.
"No problem. If you need any help deciphering my scrawl, just let me know." She smiled warmly at him. Edward could only manage a painful twitch of the lips back.
Mike Newton watched as Bella went back to her notebook, writing a note to herself absently, pretending she couldn't feel both boys' stares.
"I'll tell ya, Cullen. You're one lucky sonofabitch." Mike lowered his voice as he leaned back in his chair, moving closer to Edward, who could only stare.
"I mean, every guy wanted to have at Arizona there when you were away. Thought you were gone for good, you know? Figured strike while her heart was broken. But she wasn't having any of that. She's your girl, even when you're gone."
Edward swallowed hard, trying not to show any reaction.
"That kind of loyalty? That kind of…love? You have a one of a kind thing there, Cullen. I hope you appreciate her."
"Ok, class! Let's get started!" Mr. Banner stood at the blackboard, calling the class to attention.
Mike nodded at the still staring Edward and then turned around in his seat, facing forward, pretending to focus his attention on the teacher.
Edward stared at the front of the room, but all he could hear were Mike Newton's words echoing in his head.
"Bye Bella! I'll call you later!" Alice waved as she got into the front passenger seat of the shiny silver Volvo parked next to Bella's trusty old truck. Jasper started the engine. Edward appeared out of nowhere and hopped into the backseat, waving as he slammed the door.
Bella opened her door and got into the truck. It wasn't until she was sitting that she noticed the note on her windshield tucked under the wiper.
"Oh, what now?" She opened the door and leaned out, snatching the paper. A twin pack of lighters toppled out from under it and slid off the hood to the ground. "Ah…crap." She hopped out of the cab and picked up the lighters. One black. One leopard print.
"Edward," she breathed and opened the note to Edward's elegant script.
I thought maybe we could start fresh. Hello. My name is Edward Cullen. Do you like Chinese? There's a great place in Port Angeles. Maybe you would like to go there with me sometime…
Underneath he had drawn two squares, one labeled "YES" and the other "NO". Beneath that, it said check one.
Bella smiled as she hugged the note to her chest and laughed heartily. Edward. Edward Anthony Mason Cullen. He was still hers. She pulled a pen from her bag and put a bold red X in the box marked "YES".
Thank you so much for sticking with this story! I truly appreciate it! An epilogue that will tie up loose ends and answer any questions will follow shortly! I hope you enjoy will enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying the writing of it!