Chapter Four: Separation Anxiety

(Edward's POV)

I found myself watching the door even though I knew I would hear the car coming long before Bella and Jasper actually walked into the house. I had been beside myself with worry ever since I got off the phone with Alice and rushed back to the house. Anxiously, I waited until Bella was physically in my arms again before I could exhale. Until then, I was determined to hold my breath. The wait was agonizing, and I kept myself busy reflecting on what I could have done differently to prevent this near-disaster.

Something had been bothering me ever since I'd gotten off the phone with Jasper, and I knew exactly what that 'something' was. I was ashamed to admit, even to myself, that I was slightly annoyed that Alice and Rosalie would leave Bella alone in the house with Jasper. I loved my brother, but I couldn't help thinking about what happened on her birthday. I didn't blame him for what happened that night; I'd long since forgiven him for it all. But I was scared it could happen – Correction, I knew it could happen again… I was terrified that it would. And even amidst that fear, I had still wanted to give him the benefit of doubt.

When he called to ask me if it was okay for him to accompany Bella to Port Angeles alone, I was perplexed. He assured me that he was in control and that he could never hurt Bella after what happened – the events that led to Alice almost being hurt in the wake of it all. I'd thought about how I overcame my desire to kill my one true love, and I wanted Jasper to overcome his bloodlust in the same way. So foolishly, I'd let them go. Was it naïve? I had to believe that Alice would see if something was going to happen to my Bella. She would have prevented them from going all together.

No. I had to be sure. I picked my phone out of my pocket, flipped it open and hit the speed dial. It rang once.

"They'll be fine, Edward. Really." I could hear the aggravation in Alice's voice. I didn't bother wondering how she'd known what I was calling about.

"Are you quite sure, Alice?" I didn't want to voice my insecurities about her husband to Alice, but I wouldn't allow anything to happen to my angel.

"I think I would have seen if something were to –" She stopped abruptly. My dead heart dropped into my stomach... Or at least it felt that way.

"Alice? Alice!" I yelled. Emmett hissed beside me as I scared his prey off. I didn't care… I only cared about Bella.

"Edward, something is going to happen but Bella willbe fine." What? I tried to make sense out of what my sister was telling me.

Frustrated, I almost growled into the phone, "Alice, what the hell are you talking about? What's going to happen to Bella?"

Emmett finally pulled his attention away from the hunt and looked at me with concern in his eyes. "Bella? What's wrong with Bella?" He reached to take the phone from my hand, and I almost snapped at him with my razor sharp teeth. Carlisle and Esme appeared at my side, having heard us. They too were concerned for Bella. Esme gently stroked my shoulder.

"She's going to run into someone from her past; from the night you rescued her from a group of human men." Alice finally explained. "He won't recognize her at first – he'll have a hard time placing her, but once he does remember who she is, he'll grab her arm." I growled. I wished I were near Alice right now, seeing the vision for myself instead of having to wait for her to tell me what was going to happen. Better yet, I wished I were in Port Angeles where I could protect Bella myself. Alice continued, "She'll fall down trying to get away from him, and Jasper is there." Great… if Jasper lost his temper, who knew what would happen then? It was taking all my inner-strength to stay where I was. I tried to keep listening. "Jasper scares him away, and they're fine. I can't see what happens immediately after that, but I do see them both coming home."

"When is this happening?" I demanded.

"In a few seconds. I'll meet you at home, Edward," she replied before hanging up.

I was relieved, but I still desperately wanted to have Bella in my arms. I dared not call Jasper, not wanting to delay him before he got to Bella. It hurt me to think of her in any kind of fear or anxiety… especially due to this sad excuse for a human. Why was he out around in public anyway? I distinctly remembered Carlisle taking care of him and his friends that same night they'd cornered Bella in an alley with every disgusting and evil intention in mind. When I'd read their thoughts that night, I had wanted to rip their tracheas out with my teeth. Fortunately Bella's presence and the priority of her safety sobered my desire for vengeance. I had settled with asking that Carlisle take care of them later that evening. His idea of taking care of them was to round them up and turn them into the local police. The next morning, I had seen and heard it for myself on the news:

"Alonzo Calderas Wallace, suspected serial rapist and murderer wanted in the states of Texas and Oklahoma, was apprehended last night in Portland, Oregon thanks to an anonymous tip."

So why was he roaming Port Angeles a free man now? I'd have to find out somehow. The only thing that mattered at this moment was Bella. My Bella… my angel.

I rushed back home at full speed to wait for my love's return, leaving Emmett and my parents in the wilderness.

Finally I heard the car approaching and I rushed out to the driveway to meet them, desperate to hear Bella's heartbeat as I held her once again. The car pulled up in front of me and I flitted to the passenger's side door, opening it. I leaned in, smelling Bella's sweet aroma as I unbuckled her seat belt for her and helped her out. "Bella, love, are you quite alright? Does anything hurt? How do you feel?" I fought the urge to simply tear the door from the car. I could feel Jasper trying to calm me with his extra faculties, but I was having none of that at this moment.

"Edward, I'm fine. My head hurts a little but I'm okay, really." Bella tried to assure me but I could still detect the slightest shake in her voice. I stifled a growl as I heard she was hurt, and gently felt the back of her head for any bumps.

"Is this from when you fell?" I thought I felt the slightest lump, but I knew Bella would physically be fine. Emotionally, however…

"Yeah, you know me. I told you I fall down a lot – no point in running, really." She chuckled nervously, trying to lighten the mood.

"Didn't you think about running?" I'd asked.

"I fall down a lot when I run."

I shook the memory off… it felt like a lifetime ago. "It's not funny… " I looked into Bella's deep brown eyes. "Now, are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm just fine, Edward. It was scary, but thankfully Jasper was there."

I looked at my brother then and I too was thankful. He nodded at me. I'd barely noticed Jasper's presence when they first arrived home; I was so focused on my Bella. My eyes flickered from him to Bella and I hoped Jasper would get the message.

'She's a little shaken, but I think she'll be fine after a few hours. She really wanted to get back to you,' Jasper told me in his thoughts. I held Bella tightly to me, wanting somehow to be so close to her that her problems would become mine. I was careful not to be too eager… it wouldn't do to crush her after today's ordeal. Bella shivered slightly, and I reestablished some distance from her so that my cold body didn't freeze her extremities off. My hand on the small of her back, I led her into the house.

The rest of my family waited in the living room as we came through the door. Esme rushed to Bella's side and squeezed her shoulder gently. "Are you alright, dear? We were so worried… how fortunate we were that Jasper was there with you." She looked up to smile proudly at my brother.

Bella nodded, "I'm fine Esme… Thank you for asking. And yes, I was lucky Jasper was there…" She turned to Jasper, "Really, I can't thank you enough."

"Me neither." I chimed in sincerely, and Jasper looked slightly embarrassed by the attention.

Alice and Emmet came to join us then, followed by Carlisle, who took Esme's hand.

Alice stood on her toes to embrace her husband, "I'm so proud of you." She looked deeply into Jasper's eyes and I refocused my attention on Bella, not wanting to intrude on what seemed like a very private moment between them. But then, Emmett came up behind Jasper and slapped him on the back.

"Yeah, good job Jazz… you totally kept your cool, huh? That guy really came close to getting completely mauled." Emmett snickered, and Rosalie rolled her eyes from across the room.

'He wouldn't have been so lucky if I were there. Slime. I don't care if I can't stand the girl, no one should have to go through what I went through' Rosalie's thoughts surprised me, and I looked across the room at her. She caught my eye and looked away quickly, walking up the stairs. Rosalie and I didn't have the best relationship, and it was obvious that she would never get along with Bella, but I was thankful that she still showed some concern.

Carlisle spoke then, and I pulled my eyes away from Rosalie's back. "Bella, I'm glad you're okay. But you must be hungry… you should eat something after an ordeal like you just had."

"Oh Bella, perhaps I can make you something in the kitchen." Esme's eyes brightened, wanting to help Bella in any way she could.

"I'm not all that hungry," Bella started, but I shook my head.

"You should eat, Bella. Will you just get something in your stomach?" I thought about the first time something had almost happened to Bella, and how I'd forced her to eat before I took her home. It was the night she'd first acknowledged me as a vampire – the same night she told me she didn't care that I was a monster, though she'd never use that word. I smiled at Bella, trying my best to dazzle her. "Please?"

Bella sighed, "Okay, maybe some eggs…"

Esme flashed to the kitchen, opening our rarely used refrigerator. Soon the smell of her cooking filled the first floor, and I sat Bella down at the table. Jasper was at the computer and I tuned into his thoughts, interested in what he was about to find. I wanted to know why Alonzo Calderas wasn't in jail. I watched the computer screen through Jasper's mind as he navigated his way through the police database. Finally, he found the information we were both looking for. I grinded my teeth together while I learned that Calderas' case was thrown out due to the mishandling of some evidence. That's it? That was the reason a drunken serial rapist was allowed to roam the streets and threaten myBella? Unacceptable. I could tell from Jasper's thoughts that he was along the same line of thinking. Venom filled my mouth at this complete atrocity, and I clenched my hand into a fist in my pocket.

Jasper cleared his throat, 'Edward, calm down.'

I could tell that my anger was affecting him, and I tried to control myself. I was barely keeping it together when Bella took my hand. I forced myself to regain my composure, not wanting to scare her.

"Will you help me study?" Bella asked, looking slightly perplexed. I looked down at her plate and saw that she was finished eating. I wondered what she was really thinking... she never needed help with her studies. Did she notice how furious I was getting? Maybe she was trying to distract me. I leaned down to plant a kiss on her temple, thankful again that she was here.

"Of course, love." I put my arm around her waist and led her to the stairs.

'She's extraordinary…' My ears perked up at Jasper's thoughts. 'I thought he was about to lose it, but he's totally calm now.' I smiled. Bella did have that effect on me. I didn't want to think about what had almost happened to her again… I was just glad that Bella was with me now, perfectly safe – perfectly perfect.

Not the best chapter, I suppose. I struggled a bit with this, but hopefully the next will be better. Reviews wanted!