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.
Many thanks to my wonderful beta and friend the lovely TwiDi. She cleans up my messes and tells me when I've gone way off base or right on track. Love ya bb.
So it's been awhile, this story is hard as hell to write. Many reasons a lot of it has to do with writing in 3rd person. Which I don't plan on doing again.
This update is short, but it's important and it gives you some of what you have been waiting for. *If you are still hanging around to read it after all of this time.*
"Explain." Bella demanded. Edward took a look at Jasper, then Alice, then his eyes met Bella's and he nodded. It was time for the truth.
"It's time, Edward, tell her the truth." Jasper said out loud. He just wanted to make sure that Edward understood the look he gave him, the one that said it's time. Jasper's guilt over this situation has never ebbed. He needed this to finally come out. Even though he got his precious Alice out of this mess, he still grieved the loss of his friend Bella and in a way… for the loss of his brother. Without Bella, it was as if Edward functioned and got through the day… but he was no longer alive, an essential part of Edward was missing.
"Bella, I honestly don't know where to begin." Edward moaned and ran his hands through his hair.
"Why don't you start with that morning? The one where I walked in on that slut, over there, wearing the shirt I helped you pick out." Bella told him through clenched teeth.
Alice groaned a little at being called a 'slut', but kept quiet. She knew that she deserved Bella's wrath right now, she just hoped that when the truth came out that they could become friends. Alice just knew that Bella would someday be as close a friend to her as Edward is.
"I've never slept with Alice." Edward began. He really had never slept with Alice. The short sprite was only a friend; never a lover. "That morning you came in, Alice had been in bed with Jasper, who had run out to get her some breakfast before you got there. That's why you never saw him."
"Wait! Jasper was like sixteen then." Bella says confused, she wasn't sure if she believed any of this. "And Alice was like thirty."
"Twenty two," Alice puts in, "I was only twenty two years old."
"I was almost seventeen." Jasper says sheepishly. "But I told Alice I was nineteen when we first met. We met at the party she was having for her new album release. Edward was invited there because he sold a song to her and she wanted to meet him. Edward let me come along. I was on vacation from school and Mom and Dad didn't know I was there, they thought I was camping with Peter and Garrett." Jasper looked at Edward for help then. Edward sighed and took over.
"I found out, two weeks before you found us, that the two of them had hooked up and declared themselves soul mates. I forced Jasper to tell her the truth about his age; and they fought. However, they couldn't stay apart. Jasper made me promise that I wouldn't tell anyone, he was terrified of Alice going to jail or having her career destroyed because of him. When I made that promise, I thought I'd lost you, Bella. You weren't there and you hadn't called or came to me, so I thought we were over.
"When you showed up, I was stunned, I couldn't grasp the fact that you were standing in front of me. Then you saw Alice and she overreacted. In her head, you had broken my heart. She didn't know all the details, only that I was hurting over you and she lashed out. She would have lashed anyone she believed to have hurt one of her friends. I mean, Jasper and Alice had to listen to my crying and moaning about missing you for a while; and she was like a Momma bear protecting her cub from more harm.
"Hearing about Charlie being gone, you standing there and with Alice's little tirade, I froze. I was shocked and couldn't react. It took me a moment, but I did race after you. I screamed your name and you never stopped, never looked back." He stopped to take in her ashen face.
"Please continue, son, I think we all need to hear this." Carlisle told his oldest son. He had never heard the whole story either.
"I gave you two days to get back home, to hopefully calm down. When I called, Rosalie answered the phone and told me you weren't there, that she thought you were with me. I guess you hadn't checked in and told them yet. I begged Alice and Jasper to release me from the promise to not tell anyone about them. I felt that they owed me that. I was allowed to tell you, but no one else. After calling for weeks on end and you never showing up, I got worried. I flew back to Forks, I stalked your house but you never came home. Finally, Renee took pity on me and said that you were fine, but that you didn't want to see me or talk to me."
"Mom talked to you?" Bella asked in shock. Renee had never mentioned this. On top of all of this information.
"Yes, Bella, it was brief and I think she did it out of pity for the pathetic boy who haunted her front step day after day." He shook his head. "I left then and went back to Nashville, I thought maybe if you had more time to cool down, then you'd listen to me. Less than two weeks later, my Mom called to tell me that she heard you were having a baby with some guy you met after…" He trailed off not sure how to put the weird break up they had.
"And you didn't think that I deserved the truth, because you thought I was carrying another man's child?"
"I lost all fucking hope, Bella. You were gone, having a baby with some guy. No one knew who the hell it was. I thought you hated me and had moved on. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that you were actually having my baby. I never thought that my sweet Bella would do something like that, have my child and never tell me." He said bitterly. "You'd moved on, who the hell was I to get into the middle of it?" He spat.
"You left me when I needed you the most, Edward!" She yelled, angry that he had suddenly putting all the blame on her instead of him. "I lost both you and my Dad the same damn day. Then when I find you, some girl is there, wearing your clothing. I was eighteen, pissed, hurt and I wanted to protect my child from that. You hurt me! I wasn't going to let you hurt my child. I didn't trust you to change my tire at that point; I didn't want you near Emma!"
"You were a woman scorned, Bella, you knew I wouldn't have hurt our child. You were selfish only thinking about yourself. You were protecting youself from me." All the bitterness that he had been holding back, the anger at being denied his daughter for so long was exploding like lava from a volcano. Bella was raging back though.
"You didn't try hard enough to find me, Edward, to tell me the fucking truth! You let the little harpy pedophile attack me while wearing your fucking shirt!" Bella just couldn't get over Alice wearing Edward's shirt.
"I was in fucking shock!" Edward bellowed in return. Bella stormed to the other side of the room, she turned and glared at him.
"In all the time you were gone, I had an address, Edward, that's all. You could have called. You knew my home number."
"You could have written. You were the one who didn't show up. I didn't call because I didn't think you wanted me to call." He retorted.
"Oh my," she spouts out sarcastically, "I was just so in the frame of mind to think about writing a letter. I couldn't even remember if I took clothes out of the dryer. I was so stressed and depressed. Why the hell would I think of writing a letter to a man who fucking left me?" She demanded of him.
"Can't we all just agree that you were both young, a bunch of crap happened and that both of you are to blame?" Jasper asked with uncertainty in his voice. He never liked conflict and Bella and Edward were about to wage world war three in the family room.
"Shut up, Jasper!" Bella and Edward yelled at him at the same time.
"Jasper, sit down and be quiet, please, they need to work this out." Esme inserted.
"Bella, we could sit here volleying back and forth over what I did wrong and what you did wrong. What the truth all comes down to is while I left, in an impetuous eighteen year old boy way, and hurt you, I never slept with Alice. I kept quiet for my brother due to an out-of-date sense of honor that says 'a man never breaks his promise'. God, I know better now. With age came knowledge. Today, Bella I would walk up to your door and demand to know why you weren't waiting for me. Today, I would have talked to my Dad instead of fight him."
"Edward, we can't blame it all on age and then do a list of 'could have', 'should have', 'would have's." She shook her head. "You broke me. I gave birth and struggled to raise a baby, all while dealing with a broken heart. I cried myself to sleep almost every night for a year." She glared at him. "How hard would it have been to say 'Bella, it's not what it looks like'? Or at least, to tell the pedophile to shut up when she was doing her attack on me?"
"Hell, Bella, you yourself just said 'would' couldn't play the 'should' have game." He looked her in the eyes. "Isn't it time we just put the past where it belongs and do what's right for our daughter?"
"I've always done right for my daughter, Edward." Everyone in the room felt a cold chill go up their spine from her tone. "Since before she was born, I've done everything to protect and love her. Don't you dare try to say different, Edward. Don't you fucking dare!"
"Bella…" She cut him off.
"I can't fucking do this, Edward, I just fucking can't." Bella stormed past the shocked people assembled in the family room.
"Dude, Bella was pulling out of here faster than a Nascar driver. What the hell did I miss?" Emmett asked as he joined everyone.
Rosalie watched as Bella came storming into the house. She went to stop her but, by the look on Bella's face, Rose knew it wouldn't be a good idea. Rose knew Edward was to blame for this and she was going to confront him. Grabbing her keys, she drove off to the Cullen mansion.
Esme answered the door looking frazzled. Rose greeted her politely and Esme smiled and pointed her towards the family room.
"What happened?" Rose asked her.
"Everything was going so well. Then Jasper showed up with Alice Brandon." Esme told her.
"The slut?" Rose replied automatically.
"Yes. The slut who had sex with my son when he was a sixteen year old boy; and is now married to him. And I guess they are having a baby as well." For the first time ever, Rose thought that Esme looked every year of her fifty two years of age. Esme looked like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders.
"Wait, are you talking about Jasper?" Rose asked confused.
"Yes. My baby boy. That bitch, that pedophile married my little boy. After she has kept him on the other side of the country since he graduated high school. Everyone thought it was Edward she was dating. It was Jasper all along." She sighed heavily. "And now she is carrying my grandchild. I'm so torn apart, Rose." Esme admitted.
"You are not alone, Esme. This is a messed up situation. You should have seen Bella when she came home. She rushed in and up the stairs. It was if she was locked into a world of her own."
The two women entered the family room where Edward and Emmett were pulled to one side talking in hushed tones together. Carlisle was sitting staring into the fireplace. Jasper and Alice were cuddled up together.
"So, who's going to take the blame for my sister's crying?" Rose demanded coming in the room.
"Rosalie." Edward groaned.
"Yes, Edward?" She snarled.
"We aired a lot of things out tonight, neither of us walked away unscathed. Just, please, don't make it worse." Edward begged. He really wasn't in the mood to fight with Rose.
"Hi." A bell like voice rang out from beside Rosalie. Rose turned and looked down at the oversized gnome beside her.
"Yes?" She asked coolly.
"I'm Alice, Jasper's wife. We've never met, so I just wanted to introduce myself."
"Seriously?" Rosalie turned on her 'bitch's face'.
"Yeah." Alice responded. Confused as to why this stranger was looking at her like she wanted to slit her throat.
"Well, Alice, 'Jasper's wife' let me introduce myself. I'm Rosalie Lillian Swan, little sister to Isabella Marie Swan. The girl you attacked and helped to break her heart years ago."
"Down, Rosie." Emmett cautioned from the sidelines. Thought, if bets were being placed, his money was going on the blond knockout.
"McCarty, did she lick your disco stick too? Is that why you are all team Alice?" Rose responded to Stud boy.
"What?" Alice asked looking perplexed.
"Rose, go home and take care of Bella." Edward told her gently. "I think we've all had enough for the night."
"Whatever, Cullen." Rose tossed her nose in the air and went home to be nearby in case the dam broke and Bella needed her.
"What is a disco stick?" Alice asked still wondering what the scary blond was talking about. Emmett couldn't help it; he started laughing followed soon by Edward then everyone else in the room.
"Oh, God, I hope she doesn't run again." Edward mumbled under his breath after he stopped laughing, but Esme heard him.
"Edward, you're just going to have to put faith in her right now." Esme sighed and continued, "both of you need to rebuild your faith and trust in each other if you want any kind of relationship together. Even if it is just a cordial sharing of custody one."
"I know, Mom. I just don't…" He trailed off.
"Edward, don't hurt her. She's fragile."
"Mom, I've never wanted to hurt Bella and I still don't. I just want…" Once again in his frustration he trailed off.
"Edward, what do you want?" Esme prodded softly.
"I want her back, Mom. I just want my family back." He admitted to her and himself.
"Well, then, we have some work to do." Esme smiled brightly. For the first time in a long time, she felt hope that her eldest son would find happiness again. Bella has always been Edward's happiness. Probably always would be. Only now, it included Emma. Esme's mind drifted to Emma, Edward and Bella in a happy family union, Bella pregnant with their next child. It would be wonderful. At least one of her sons could have a great family life, with the right woman. A small sadness encroached on her momentary glow.
Jasper. What the heck was she going to do about him?
Bella sat watching her child sleep wondering what to do now. She didn't know if she believed Edward and she wasn't sure she could forgive him. What she did know was that time might change many things, but it hasn't seemed to change the fact that Edward affects her like no one else. Be it love, or anger… he was the one who could pull it out of her. Now, she just had to decide what to do with that knowledge.
And she needed to figure out how to stop her body from reacting to his every touch.
Somehow, she was sure that it was neither going to be quick nor easily fixed.
AN2: I'm going to try and get another chapter out soon. Reviews will be a wonderful way of motivating me to write on it ;0)
For those of you reading Homecoming there is an outtake in the Fics for Nashville compilation. It's from the mind of Victoria. If you need the link for this it's on my blog.