AN: Well, thank you so much for being patient with me and now I bring you another chapter of TEOS!
I HUGE shout out to my beta, BamaBabe. Not only did she make this chapter infinitely better but also she went through the trouble to edit it even though I sent it to her in the wrong format. So, a huge hug and kiss goes out to her, she's amazing!
It was brought to my attention that the links on my profile were down, but they are now fixed so check it!
Another shout out goes to Crushed Hale.x, your support and fast response is deeply appreciated! Not to mention I love, love, love your stories! Please continue with Not Afraid!
Thank you for all the support that you all have given me so far and please keep it up and review!
Follow me on Twitter for previews and updates!
Much love and Enjoy!
Disclaimer (I am aware that I don't put these in…sue me) – SM owns all
Previously on The Emblem Of Souls…
"I don't mean to pry, but it is obvious that Edward is not the father. So where is he?" Rosalie didn't strike me as the type to beat around the bush, but I was definitely not expecting her to be this blunt.
I decided that if she really wanted to know, I would tell her. For some reason, even with all of my troubled thoughts earlier, I knew I could trust Rosalie.
"I was raped" I deadpanned
I saw Rosalie stiffen and her response was not one that I was expecting.
"So was I" then so quietly, I had to strain to hear her, she added, "twice.
The realization that Rosalie and I had more in common than I thought made me want to sink to my knees. The gorgeous girl in front of me knew the same pain that I did.
I could tell that this was not a topic that we were going to delve into today, so I rushed to reassure her that she could trust me,
"We'll leave that conversation for another time." I said lightly, hoping to sound as comforting as possible.
A grateful smile in response told me all I needed to know, she understood, and she agreed.
I knew a change of subject would be a welcomed thing so I quickly stood,
"So, does Aurora like peanut butter and jelly?"
Squeals of delight and clapping of little hands told me all I needed to know.
"Here, I'll help you," Rosalie said, standing up as well.
I picked up Tristan while Rosalie got Aurora; we had an extra booster seat in storage from when Alice got overly excited while baby shopping. The prospect of shopping always got Alice out of a funk and with a rapidly growing baby in the house, let's just says Alice was one happy camper.
When both of the children were happily seated in their high chairs, I went into the pantry to get the peanut butter, then to the fridge to get the bread and strawberry jam.
"Is strawberry okay?" I asked Rosalie, knowing my son, kids would try everything at least once, but getting them to eat it again if they didn't like it the first time was hell, just like how peach jam and Tristan did not get along…at all.
"Yes, that's her favorite," Rosalie responded softly, "Can I help?"
"Sure," I smiled and got out an extra cutting board, butter knife and spoon to scoop out the jelly, and together we got to work on our children's favorite afternoon snack.
"So, I have to say, Tristan is quite the charmer." Rosalie started conversationally.
I let out a little chuckle and remembered all the times Tri got his way by flashing his little crooked grin that he picked up from Edward. I found consolation in watching as even the tiniest characteristics passed from father to son, were slowly erased, and replaced with the quirks and mannerisms of those I loved. It was as though my son was being cleansed from the inside out, if only for my benefit.
"Tell me about it, this little devil gets almost everything he wants." I poked Tri's nose with my free hand and was rewarded with a childish squeal.
Rosalie and I shared a laugh together at the spoils that our children bask in.
"I've got to say myself, Aurora is a beauty, she must get it from her mother." I smiled.
Rosalie's cheeks turned a light shade of pink while she thanked me.
"I wonder what time the rest of the guys are going to get here." Rosalie mused aloud.
"Probably in about fifteen minutes." I responded while finishing up Tri's sandwich and cutting it diagonally, just the way he liked.
"Here you go buddy," I handed Tri his snack and watched him hungrily take a bite that would make any grown man happy. I smiled at the thought that if Edward were here, he would probably scold him for not waiting for Aurora to start eating first, but before I could correct anything, Rosalie handed Aurora her plate and she too greedily dug in.
"Kids and their snacks," Rosalie mumbled with a bright adoring smile on her face while she watched our kids eat.
"Yeah, just don't get in the way of Tri eating, he might bite you," I only half joked.
Rosalie looked at me with wide eyes, trying hard to hide her laugh, as though she didn't know whether to be concerned or not.
"Alice tried to take away his cheerio's before he was done one morning. She got the shock of her life when his little mouth clamped down on her hand. Let's just say if Alice wasn't fully awake before that moment, she was definitely aware and ready to go after." I finished, snickering at the memory
"Oh my goodness," Rosalie said in between giggles. I was glad that she wasn't concerned, it's not like Tri is a rabid dog.
Just then I heard cars and the distinct sound of motorcycles racing down the street and knew that the others were here.
"They're here." I told Rosalie, just in case she didn't hear them coming down the street. I looked out the window just in time to see Alice with Emmett in the passenger seat of her Ferrari whip into the driveway at a very unsafe speed.
Edward and Jasper followed closely behind her on their bikes. I have to admit that I spent a great deal more time than necessary ogling Jasper on his bike, and then Jasper getting off his bike, then Jasper taking off his helmet— more like a model than a thirteenth year student— then Jasper stretching his limbs waiting for Edward, then Jasper walking up our driveway...
A chuckle behind me brought me out of my little Jasper-induced coma.
"Oh hey there Bella! Is that a little drool I see there?" Rosalie teased. At first I was shocked, Rosalie didn't seem like the type to warm up to people easily, let alone tease with people whom she just met, but then again, I wasn't just anybody. We were technically in the same boat together. Perhaps that created a certain bond that transcends the awkward 'no trust' phase of a friendship. I snapped out of my little reverie enough to let what Rosalie had just said soak in and blushed bright red. But then I thought about what I had seen all day before I left to get Tri and smiled mischievously at her.
"Oh ha ha, very funny. Don't think for one minute I didn't see you ogling Edward," I teased right back causing Rosalie to blush bright red.
Good, we can be tomatoes together…
"We're homeee!" I heard Alice sing from the garage door, the same time I heard a whistle of appreciation.
"Damn this is a nice crib you guys got," a deep voice I recognized as Emmett's, boomed.
"…how does she handle?" I heard the last of Edward's question that was directed at Jasper as they came in last.
"Like a beauty" Jasper responded, his southern lilt made my body tingle in foreign places. I couldn't let him get to me so I tried to tune their conversation out.
Alice suddenly appeared in the kitchen, followed by Emmett who stopped dead when he saw Aurora and Tristan sitting together eating.
Next, Edward and Jasper made their appearance and they too stopped abruptly, all conversation lost. Alice seemed to be the only one that was unaffected by whatever the others were thinking about. She bounced over to where Tristan was finishing up his snack and cooed at him, giving him a kiss on the forehead before moving onto meet Aurora.
"Hello there, gorgeous! My name is Alice, what is your name?" she cooed at her.
Aurora smiled shyly at Alice's excitement and said quietly, "My name is Aurora."
Emmett seemed to snap out of his trance first and followed Alice's lead, except he walked over to Aurora and gave her a kiss and then introduced himself to Tri.
"Hey buddy. Names Emmett, what's your name?" Emmett said in a playful voice, trying hard to hide his shock.
"Tristan!" Tri screamed excitedly clapping his little pudgy hands together happily making everyone melt and laugh at his little display.
Edward shook his head a little like he was trying to clear whatever he was thinking about from his mind. He walked over to me and pulled me into a hug.
"Are you sure you're comfortable with them seeing him so soon?" He whispered into my ear.
I didn't answer, simply shrugged my shoulders while he released me, it was too late to say anything anyway, they had already all seen Tri and Rosalie had already broken down some of my barriers.
When Edward stepped away from me I looked to where Jasper was standing. He had the oddest look on his face. I could clearly pick up awe and confusion, but was that jealously I saw as well? What did he have to be jealous about?
He took a step towards where I was standing near Tristan and the steps following the first, seemed subconscious, like something was drawing him closer rather than his own will to come forth.
He caught Tristan's eye and a beautiful smile broke out onto his face, it was almost painful. Tristan immediately giggled and shot his arms out.
"Up!" He demanded from Jasper, which surprised me. When Tristan wasn't around me he was the most reserved baby in the world, scared and unsure of almost everything. Granted I was currently standing right next to him, he still usually looked at me for reassurance and definitely never demanded others to pick him up. He was even wary of Edward and Alice at times, and he's known them since he was born for fucks sake!
Jasper's smile got even bigger if that was possible and the last few steps were taken at a much faster pace towards where Tri was sitting with peanut butter all over his face and hands.
"Up! Up!" Tri squealed
"Okay, okay little tiger, geez," Jasper playfully mocked irritation. I could see something foreign in Jasper's eyes when he looked at my son. Something akin to my own when I was with Tri or even when I simply talked about him. I saw glimpses of it in Alice and Edward's eyes, but never completely found it. It was almost as if both Alice and Edward loved him out of obligation rather than pure and everlastingly like I did. Therefore, it was still foreign for the reason that even though Alice, Edward and I shared a bond deeper than siblings; I had yet to see this…this look in anyone else other than myself. Even if I know that E and Ali loved Tri beyond that brotherly and sisterly obligation, this was still completely different. Jasper was not tied to Tristan in any way, he was not bound my brotherhood or even friendship, this was pure. I needed time to think about this, time to re-evaluate my feelings. So, I pushed these emotions, that threatened to overtake me, away and simply looked at my son and the glorious man holding him with so much love it hurt.
"What yor name?" Tristan asked Jasper while patting his cheek, ultimately smudging peanut butter all over Jasper's face.
"Oh my, I'm so sorry!" I frantically tried to get Tristan out of Jasper's arms and wipe the peanut butter off of his face simultaneously; I must have been making quite the scene.
I continued this embarrassing act, you could say, until something warm and confident, that sent tingles throughout my entire body grasped gently onto my wrist, halting my efforts.
"Calm down, darlin' it's not big deal, just a little peanut butter," Jasper said soothingly. Then he did something that made me melt at his feet and also made my panties go from dry to wet instantly. He took one of his one fingers and wiped it across his cheek – the muscles in his arm rippling at the movement, and in turn, making all of his ink dance across his skin – and slowly put it in his mouth, licking off all traces of peanut butter.
I involuntarily let out a little whimper and Jasper's cerulean eyes darkened to the shade of midnight blue. I wanted him so badly, and this fact alone scared me to death.
Someone clearing their throat brought the both of us out of the trance that we put each other in. We looked towards the source to find Emmett standing there grinning like mad at the two of us. From my peripheral vision I could see the smirk on Jasper's lips and that made me smile.
Then it hit me. The way Jasper was looking at my son. They way that only people bonded by something deeper look at each other. The way that you look at something that you truly hold dear.
Adoration and love, that's what I saw in Jasper's eyes. That's how he was looking at my son. That thought brought happy tears to my eyes.
To say I was surprised when I walked into Bella, Edward and Alice's kitchen would be the fucking understatement of the century. I was fucking floored.
I was confused when Alice told me that we were going to go over to their house after school and that Rosalie was already there, I knew that she went to go pick up Aurora. But, I pushed that confusion aside thinking that maybe she got the daycare to watch over her for a little while longer.
But she was so fucking anxious to pick up Aurora, why the hell would she leave her there any longer than necessary?
Dammit, I couldn't keep fighting with my inner thoughts. It was probably unhealthy.
I knew something was up, I just didn't know what it was. I pulled Emmett aside after the second to last class of the day and asked him if he knew, he got pretty cozy to Alice all throughout the day, and I already could see that he liked her a lot, and it was easy to see that she returned those feelings. He simply reiterated what I already knew. We were going over to their house after school and Rosalie was already there.
I texted Rose to see if she was okay, but never got a response. By the end of the day I was fucking fidgety and in dire need of a cigarette.
We got to their house and I wasn't surprised that it was nice. It wasn't huge, but you could see how much money and effort they put into it. I quickly got off of my bike; still fidgeting not knowing what the hell was going on. I had to wait for Edward to dismount and then followed him inside where Em and Alice had already disappeared.
I took a little while to marvel at the interior before Edward picked up our conversation from before we left,
"Your bike sounds sick man, how does she handle?" He inquired.
"Like a beauty," I responded, "and your bike is known as the fastest in the world, she must be your prized possession." I observed.
"Yeah she is definitely by far my favorite mode of transportation," Edward stated with a smirk, "we should race one of these days."
"You're on, buddy." I retorted
Alice and Em must have disappeared into the kitchen, which was where we were heading. When we got to the entryway to the kitchen, I stopped dead in my tracks.
It seemed like I wasn't the only one though, Edward and Emmett were also frozen. Alice however, like the bundle of energy that I observed she is, waltzed right over to where the most gorgeous baby boy was sitting, eating what looked like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She sweet talked him and gave him a kiss on the forehead before moving to the left.
That was when I noticed Aurora sitting next to the baby boy, also eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which I knew was her favorite snack.
Their introductions were lost on me; I was still staring at the baby boy who was oblivious to me standing here. A small part of my brain registered Em walking over and introducing himself, but the only reason I noticed was because the few seconds it took for him to establish himself, he cut off my view of the boy.
I saw movement to the right of the gorgeous baby and pried my eyes away to where Edward had made his way over to Bella. He pulled her into an embrace that instantly made me jealous.
He didn't have anything going on with her right? I saw him looking at Rose all day…
As soon as the jealousy came, so did confusion. I had no idea what was going on; Bella had a kid? It was definitely not Alice's she would have said something no doubt, and it was obviously not Edwards…right? That meant that he had a father, and where was said father? Was she still with him? When Edward released her, she shrugged her shoulders minutely, like she was answering something that Edward had asked. Then suddenly she looked at me and I got lost in the deep pools of brown that were her eyes. I could feel my legs carrying me closer but it wasn't of conscious effort.
I looked back over to where Bella's son was sitting and caught his eye. The smile that overtook my face was uncontrollable even if I tried to hide it. This little boy had some kind of pull and hold over me and I didn't even know his name yet. My body went into double time and I got over to the little boy as fast as I could.
"Up!" he ordered just as I started to pick up my pace towards him.
I could feel my smile widening so much that it almost hurt.
"Up! Up!" Boy this little sucker was demanding. I chuckled; he was the most adorable kid I'd ever laid eyes on, Aurora included, which is saying a fucking lot since she is my own flesh and blood.
"Okay, okay little tiger, geez," I said in mock exasperation while picking him up into my arms. He was a sturdy baby and from what I knew about Aurora's size, since she was small for her age, I'd say he was about a year younger than her since they were around the same size.
"What yor name?" he asked me while patting my check getting something sticky and warm on my face. It could only be one thing; little kids were messy eaters anyway. I couldn't find it in me to care, but Bella seemed to think otherwise.
"Oh my, I'm so sorry!" She was scrambling, trying to wipe the shit off of my face and get her kid out of my arms at the same time. I had to let her know that it was fine, it was better than fine, her kid was amazing.
I reached out to grasp her wrist gently, trying my hardest to ignore the tingling feeling that ran up and down my spine when I touched her skin.
"Calm down, darlin' it's not big deal, just a little peanut butter," I said in what I hoped was a comforting voice. Her face was just so goddamn distracting, I wanted to kiss her, worship her and so much more, but right now I needed to calm her down.
To prove my point, I let go of her wrist and slid my finger across where her boy patted my cheek, transferring most of the peanut butter from my face onto my finger, then without breaking eye contact, I licked all of the peanut butter off of my finger, sucking a little longer than necessary when I saw her eyes glaze over and turn almost black. She elicited a small whimper that made me instantly hard.
Someone clearing his or her throat brought me out of my Bella induced haze, and I looked over to the source. Emmett was standing there with a shit-eating grin on his face, his eyes darting back and forth between Bella and me. I smirked at him and from the side of my vision I saw a smile spread across Bella's face and that made me uncontrollably happy for a reason that was beyond me.
I looked down at the little boy who was still in my arms only to be met with identical brown orbs that seemed to be looking straight into my soul. Then I remembered that he still didn't know my name and I still didn't know his.
"My name is Jasper." I smiled at him, causing him to grin up at me showing his little white teeth, "What's your name you little devil?" I asked, hamming my southern accent up a bit.
"My name is Tristan!" he said happily.
I always loved that name.
"Well it's nice to meet you, Tristan." I attempted a sweet voice, but come on now, I'm a fucking man, not a woman.
"You too, Japer." He said, butchering my name the same way Aurora did. It made me smile yet again.
Would this kid ever let me frown? At this rate…no
"How old are you, Tristan?" I asked, truly curious
"This old!" Tristan shouted gleefully holding up three little pudgy fingers. I was a little surprised. He was really small for his age, especially for a boy. Perhaps he, like Aurora, was premature, that would explain it.
I looked over to Bella, who had remained deafeningly quiet throughout the interaction between her son and me. When I saw tears in her eyes, I wanted to drop Tristan and rush over the few feet to her side and hold her until whatever was bothering her went away.
What the fuck? Where are these feelings coming from?
But, alas, Tristan was too precious, and instead I went for staring at her with what I knew was a concerned expression, silently asking her what was wrong.
'Happy Tears,' she mouthed to me causing me to raise my brow in question. What made her so happy that she wanted to cry? Bella simply shook her head at me, ending our little silent exchange just like that.
She quickly swiped her eyes with her hand and turned to face the others who were conversing silently with each other, Aurora in Rosalie's arms with Edward watching over them with an adoring smile lighting his face. Usually, I would turn into an overprotective fucker when some guy tried to get with Rose, and even more so when Aurora was around, but for some reason I knew Edward was perfect for Rose, just like Alice was perfect for Em.
"Shall we go to the living room and talk?" Bella asked politely
We all nodded and Alice waltzed right out the entry opposite from the one we came in though. We all followed her and were soon in a room with tall ceilings and a stone fireplace in the corner. Above the fireplace hung a plasma television that was at least sixty inches, and I could see the wheels in Emmett's mind contemplating how he could sneak our X-Box into here to play.
"Don't even bother Emmett, we have a bigger screen downstairs that already has X-Box and a PS3 hooked up, so you won't have to sneak anything in," Alice said without looking back at him.
Emmett froze from where he was standing and openly gaped at Alice who was now sitting on the corner of one of the three loveseats in the room with her legs pulled under her, effectively making her look even more like a little girl. She had an innocent expression on her face, but knowing Alice, she was anything but innocent.
"How…how…how did you know?" Emmett stammered looking like a lost puppy with a confused expression on his face.
"I could see it written all over your features, big guy," She said slyly, and patted the seat next to her. Dazed, Emmett walked over and sat down next to her, earning chuckles from the rest of us.
Oh yes, they would make the perfect couple.
"Mommy sit over der! By da window!" Aurora squealed from Rose's arms, trying to squirm her way over to the loveseat closest to the windows faster. For a small three year old, I knew Aurora was strong, and I could quickly see that Rose was loosing her grip on her. Edward must have seen this too and quickly but gently scooped Aurora out of Rose's arms and carried her to her desired seat. Rose followed with a grateful smile on her face and sat down next to Edward who now had Aurora conveniently placed in his lap.
"Japer! Sit!" Leave it to Tristan to shout out orders.
He would make a good little general…
I laughed and looked to Bella with mirth clearly written all over my face.
"Well you better sit before he starts patting your cheek and demanding," Bella said with a laugh. She of all people knew how direct her son was and could be when he wanted something.
I guess our two-second exchange must have been too long for Tristan because right when I was about to start moving I felt his little hand on my face.
"Japer come on! Sit!" he ordered patting my cheek with a little force.
Bet this kid packs a punch…
I laughed at his antics and went over to sit, knowing that Bella was right behind me. I sat down on one end of the sofa, putting Tristan in my lap, but he wasn't having any of that. He crawled to the middle, leaving just enough room for Bella to come and sit down. I looked down at him with adoration and then looked up to Bella who had just taken a seat. The look of love she gave Tristan made my heart ache. As though she sensed my eyes on her, she looked up at me and we shared a smile.
When we broke our little moment, I looked around the room at everyone else, and suddenly the atmosphere changed from one of happiness to one of seriousness. Bella chose that moment to speak. I was surprised at how strong she was, she didn't seem like the type to take leadership, but it seemed like she was doing exactly that all afternoon.
"Well as you can see, I have a son" she started, "he is three and his name is Tristan, as you already know." She paused and took a deep breath.
"He apparently made friends with Aurora at daycare today, and supposedly they are now best buds." there was a pause as we all smiled about the budding friendship.
"I met up with Rosalie at the daycare center when I was about to leave, but Tri and Aurora demanded that they wanted to spend more time with each other, so here we are." Bells closed her eyes and let out a cleansing breath.
"Rosalie and my... the circumstances..." she stuttered, "as far as the conception of our children, are..are the same. Which is why—" She was cut off by what can only be described as growls sounding throughout the room, noises that I noticed I myself was making, and were emitting from Edward, as well. Alice and Em just looked lost and sad.
"Please, don't be mad," Rose said looking at Edward who clenched his jaw but nodded with a tight smile.
I looked at Bella, who had her head down and eyes shut tightly. I reached over and grabbed her hand, rubbing soothing circles across her knuckles. I was relieved and also a little happy when she grabbed onto my hand and held it tightly. At the same time, Tristan reached up and patted his mother's cheek.
"Don't be sad, Mommy. Tri and Japer are here for you" I was astonished by how much this little being knew and understood. He truly was a remarkable child, wise beyond his years.
"Please Bella, continue," Rose said soothingly, I could tell that she admired Bella a great deal. I found that I did, too. Her strength and will alone was enough to drop me to my knees and worship her for eternity.
Bella looked up at Rose, gave her a watery smile and continued.
"—Which is why we came here and why all of you are here right now." Bella finished, and I was so proud of her. This was all new to me, all of these feelings.
Never in my life did I care for someone more than I did myself, other than Rose and Em that is, but they were family. Though the reputation that we earned wherever we went was mostly based on false assumptions and frivolous rumors, there was still fact in each word said, no matter how trivial that fact may be, it was still there. People had every right to be scared of us, simply because we guarded what was ours with our lives, we were probably some of the most passionate people out there. Let alone being only nineteen, there were some fifty-year-olds that didn't have half of the drive that we had. None of them knew what it was like to live for nothing, yet everything at the same time.
At our age, you would expect that we lived for only ourselves; for petty problems and fight for irrelevant things, but that couldn't be more off the mark. We fought to live; we fought to free ourselves from the chains of abuse and addiction.
We fought for each other.
And never had I felt the need to protect anyone other than Rose and, on the off chance that he needed my help, Em. But Bella was different, and even Alice and Edward were worming their way into my heart.
These people were in every way my family, just like Rose and Em were and that surprised the fuck out of me. After one fucking day, I knew this.
One fucking day…
But I couldn't bring myself to care any more about it other than the initial surprise that came with it.
Though nothing was set in stone yet, I knew that everything would work out in the end.
All we had to do was get there…
Reviews make me ridiculously happy :)