So first I just want to say thanks for being so patient. Unfortunately, my aunt passed away this past weekend and I haven't had a lot of time to work on this. Thanks for sticking with me. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays wherever you are!
I never mentioned the package and letter I sent to Edward, to Alice. I know that she's my best friend and I would normally tell her everything, but for some reason I just wanted to keep this specific fact a secret. Mostly I knew she would start hopping around like a jackrabbit on crack and possibly even start hyperventilating on me. How Jasper dealt with her was his problem. So while this secret communication with him was small, it was still something special to me. At first I hadn't wanted to send his ratty flannel shirt, back. I slept in it the first few nights I had it, simply because if I tucked my head into my shoulder or brought the bottom up to my face, I was engulfed in the scent of Edward Cullen. His scent always took me back to that night but in a different way than I originally thought it would. Instead of being scared or upset, it reminded me of how safe I had felt on the car ride back to the Cullen house. The tender way Edward had taken care of me.
But I also realized that he probably deserved better than some lovesick teenager stalking his scent. So ultimately I made the decision to send his shirt back to him.
The Cullen's had been a godsend through this whole ordeal. Esme didn't try to smother me or push me, rather just let me know that if I needed anything or anyone to talk to, that she was there for me. Like a normal mother would be. Dr. Cullen kept small tabs on me and was constantly reassuring Charlie that I was in fact ok and would just need some time to process and sort through everything on my own time. However he would recommend me someone to speak to professionally in a heartbeat. With Rene being so far away and Charlie being wrapped up in work (apparently there had been a spike in crime on the reservation and they had reached out to the local authorities,) I needed that aspect of family more than ever. Our quiet dinners every night just weren't enough.
I had eventually asked Esme what Edward's favorite cookie was so that I could send him a sort-of thank you. She didn't pry or force me into answering all of the questions I knew she was bursting with. She simply just gave me a knowing smile and replied with "oatmeal chocolate chip." I had mailed Edward his shirt and package the very next morning after an intense battle with Charlie's ancient oven.
School was starting to get easier because people stopped staring so much. I think it was mostly due to the fact that Lauren and Tyler were caught naked in the backseat of his car at the La Push High football game on Friday night. Charlie got the pleasure of putting them in the back of his cruiser and giving them a ticket for public indecency. Oh, how I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at Lauren's house when Charlie explained to Pastor Mallory that his sweet and innocent daughter was caught screwing in the backseat of a car. Rumors started swirling around that Lauren and her family had visited St. Mary's, a private boarding school for girls, in Seattle the following day. Tyler and Lauren seemed to be a lot more popular and exciting to talk about than plain Bella Swan, which was totally fine by me. I tried my hardest to feel bad when I saw Lauren walking down the halls, but couldn't when I remembered that she was putting on a one-woman show blaming me for what had happened the night of the party. Insinuating that I was a slut was now hilarious since I know knew what she did when she thought no one was looking.
"BELLA!" Dropping my books onto the floor I quickly spun around in alarm and slammed my head into my locker door, instantly bringing tears of pain into my tear ducts. Emmett quickly bent down to pick up my books and deposited them back into my empty arms.
"Oh Bells! I'm sorry! I seem to forget how easily you injure yourself."
"So funny Alice. Screeching my name at a decibel I'm sure even dogs can hear would scare pretty much anyone."
"Ha Ha, Good one Swan!" Emmett started laughing as he reached out his hand to give me a solid fist-pump like he was another cast member of the Jersey Shore. Alice sent Emmett a scowl and turned her back to him.
"Anywayssssss, like I was about to say before you tried to give yourself a concussion, I was thinking about heading up to Seattle to surprise Jasper this weekend since we have Monday off and I was wondering if you would want to road trip up there with us?"
"First of all, who is "us"? And second of all, when did you come up with this coughbrilliantcough idea? I mean, I saw you this morning and you didn't mention anything about it."
"Well Ms. Swan, it wouldn't be an amazing road trip without Emmett here," she said while putting an arm around him. She had obviously gotten over the fist-pumping incident of only a few seconds before. "And then of course you and me."
"Ha! Alice you're out of your fucking mind if you think that Charlie is going to let me go anywhere."
"Oh Bells, how little faith you have in my wonderful powers of persuasion. Because if I remember correctly, wasn't it I who convinced the Chief into letting you go to Port A with us?"
"Yeah Alice, Port A is a lot different than take a road trip 3 ½ hours away." This girl was out of her ever-loving mind. Charlie would probably laugh in my face if I even mentioned it to him. He had enforced a strict policy of "No social life for Bella." Besides going to the Cullen household, I was told that I was allowed to go to the Forks Public library, the Reservation to visit Jacob and Billy, and home. But let's get serious; I would probably never go back to the reservation because I knew that Paul lived there. Charlie didn't want to take any more chances with my safety, therefore putting me under house arrest. Before we could even talk about it anymore, the warning bell went off letting us know that we had 60 seconds to make it to class.
Wandering into my English class I reached into my pocket to pull out my vibrating cell phone.
-Don't worry Bells; I'll take care of everything. Just have urn bags packed & ready 2 leave Friday after school. - Alice
When Charlie got home later that night, I was just finishing up with dinner. We weren't very formal in the Swan household, seeing as how dad had 4 plates, 4 cups and 4 sets of silverware before I moved back. God forbid we had more than 4 people in the house or we would be eating with our hands. However it was kind of nice I guess, that Charlie made sure that he was always home for dinner. He would have to return to work afterwards sometimes, but always made it home so that I wouldn't have to eat alone. I think it had something to do with me telling him about the random diets and health kicks Rene would always be on. I would usually just end up cooking for myself and eating alone in my bedroom.
We ate in silence, words not being necessary to enjoy dinner. I wasn't at all surprised when Charlie stood up when he was finished and deposited his dirty dish into the sink. He walked over to the door and proceeded to put his jacket back on. It seemed like he was never home anymore with all of the issues going on back at the Reservation. He shot me a sympathetic smile, reminded me to lock the door behind him, and told me he would be home by breakfast before heading back out into the drizzling rain.
I spent the rest of the night listening to music off my iPod, which had been a gift from my mom's last boyfriend who had been trying to get into my good graces. It didn't work. It would take more than an iPod to get over his bad breath and horrible Hawaiian-print button downs. I had some bio and history homework but wasn't really in the mood to mess with it. I knew that I would be able to finish it all during tomorrow's homeroom. Therefore I spent the rest of the evening singing along with Mumford and Sons and reading into the lives of Noah and Ali. I would never admit to anyone that my guilty pleasures included cheesy Nicholas Sparks novels.
The next few days had been repeats of the previous days and nights. If I weren't such a laidback person, I would probably wither away from boredom. Alice reminded me constantly that I lived the life of a slug. Personally I enjoyed it. Charlie made it home every night this week except for Tuesday because there had been a break in at the local convenience store, apparently they decided to raid the beer and beef jerky- clearly the work of some drunken high schoolers. He had stayed late at the office finishing up paperwork and hadn't come in until way after midnight. Surprisingly, Alice hadn't really mentioned anything about the trip for the rest of the week. This was huge since we were talking about the girl that could write a 10k word essay about what she ate for breakfast, let alone driving to surprise her long-distance college boyfriend. I was thinking that maybe Emmett had talked some sense into her for once. Not that I didn't want to go! Jasper was actually really nice once you got to know him. He would message me on Facebook every once and a while when he had some questions about gifts or ideas pertaining to Alice. And although Emmett and I weren't the best of friends, we got along really great and had way too much fun picking on the shortest of the bunch. It really would have been fun and I was slightly bummed that I wasn't going to be going with them. I knew that this would be a great bonding experience for us-Who was I kidding? I really wanted to go so that I could possibly see Edward while I was there. I would be playing stupid if I tried to convince myself otherwise. I never heard anything back from him as to whether or not he received my package, but I never got the package with a 'return to sender sticker' back either. That had to mean something, right?
The door closing shut quickly brought me back to reality and I realized the pot I had been stirring was about to overflow. Daydreaming about Edward had caused me to almost burn the pasta for tonight's dinner. I really needed to get a grip.
"Hey kiddo, sorry I'm home so late tonight." Charlie said while putting his gun holster and jacket on the coat rack. This caused me to snort just a bit.
"Haha, Dad it's not a problem. Seriously, it's 6:30. Charlie Swan was home 30 minutes late! Alert the media."
"Hey, it's Chief Swan to you. Makes me sound a little more important." He said making a silly face at me. Times like these made me absolutely adore my father.
"Well Chief Swan, I was actually running a little late on dinner because I had to work on a project for school. It should be done here in about 20 minutes. That should give you just enough time to jump in the shower if you'd like." Dipping a finger in the pasta sauce that was cooling on the stove and bringing it to his mouth, I quickly bumped my hip into his and playfully scolded him.
"You're gonna ruin your dinner!"
"Ha ha Bells, sometimes you really crack me up. Shouldn't I be the one that is telling you no desert until after dinner or something?"
"Very funny. You have 18 minutes and counting." I returned with a smile. It didn't take anything after that before he was bounding up the stairs towards the shower. Turning at the top of the stairs he quickly called down to me.
"Oh and Bells, I forgot to mention, Billy and Jacob are going to be stopping by after dinner to catch the game. Hope you don't mind."
Not too long after dinner was over, there was a knock on the back door. Dad quickly tore himself away from the TV, just long enough to open the door and let the Blacks in.
"Hey guys, the game just started. Bells, do you think that you could grab Billy and me a beer please?"
Quickly heading over to the fridge I grabbed 2 beers for the dads and handed them over. Jake and I hastily went upstairs to watch a movie and hang out before Charlie roped us into joining them. Neither of us were really into baseball and always just let the guys do their thing. Jake and I had been friends since we were born seeing as Dad and Billy had grown up in Forks together. These sports nights were a regular occurrence in the Swan household.
"How are you holding up Bells? I know we haven't really had the chance to talk all that much recently, but I wasn't sure if you would even want to talk about it."
"Jake, I'm fine."
"Say swear?" At this I started cracking up. It had always been an inside joke between us to make sure that we weren't lying. You had to say swear as a sort of promise.
"I swear Jake. Honestly, I'm really ok."
"Yeah, I didn't know if Charlie had mentioned it? Or maybe he doesn't even know…" Jake trailed off, deep in thought.
"Spit it out!"
"Paul is in jail. I wasn't sure if you knew about it or not."
"Oh." Thoughts were swarming around in my head. That night came rushing back into my thoughts full force. All of the negative feelings were flashing in the front of my mind. I was glad that he got caught and would hopefully get everything that he deserved. I was glad that I was done with him.
"Yeah, not that anyone is really all that surprised. Apparently he ended up getting really drunk in Port A last week. When the cops went to give him a ticket for public intoxication, he started to assault one of the officers. They arrested him on the spot. They also found coke on him. Needless to say, you won't be running into him anytime soon."
"Can we talk about something else please? Jake I just want a normal night. Can we watch Mean Girls?"
"Haha, only cause I love you."
The rest of the night progressed fairly normal. We watched our movie and the dads never once bothered us. I gave Jake some cookies that I had made the night before and we joked around while watching Regina George prance around in pink. The Blacks left not too long after 11 o'clock that night and I was ready for Friday. I needed a break from school and everyone in it. Right before I headed to sleep I went downstairs to grab something to drink and ran straight into Charlie. I told him about what Jacob and I had talked about and he informed me that he already knew.
"I just didn't really know how to mention it to you Bella. I feel like we walk on egg shells around here and I didn't want to upset you anymore."
"It's ok. Thanks for always watching out for me dad."
"Oh and Bells, I completely forgot to remind you to please, please, please be careful tomorrow. I know that you won't do anything stupid and I trust you, I just don't know how I would handle it if anything bad were to happen. Without you, I would be all alone in the world, well besides Billy and Jacob. Who would cook me dinner?" he said cracking a small smile at the end.
"Yeah, Alice stopped by the station earlier and told me about the trip. While I'm not completely convinced that this is the best idea, I trust you Bells and I have to realize that you're growing up. Plus I think that it is really responsible that y'all are going down there to check out the campus. I wish that I could go too, but duty calls," he said as he finished heading up the stairs towards his room.
"Oh, um- yeah. Really responsible!" my head was swarming in confusion. College campus? What had Alice told him?
The following morning I met up with Emmett and Alice in the front courtyard of the school. She was grinning ear to ear and looked like a pixie on crack. Excited was obviously an understatement for this girl.
"Ahh! I'm so freaking excited about this guys! We're going to have so much fun. I've already created a road trip playlist and my bag is packed with snacks just for you Em."
"Haha, only you Alice."
"What? I'm serious. This trip is going to be so much fun. I figure we can meet right here when we all get out of class. Bella you brought your bag with you right?"
"Yeah, lemme just grab it and stick it in your trunk." I said as I started walking back towards my car. I quickly deposited my bag into the trunk of Emmett's Jeep. Obviously we wouldn't be taking Alice's car seeing as her Fiat wouldn't be comfortable with Emmet's hulking frame.
The rest of the day went by excruciatingly slow. All I could think about was the possibility of seeing Edward again. Did he look the same? Did he even remember me? Was I just someone that he had helped and never really thought about again? I had completely forgotten to ask Alice where we would be staying during the duration of this trip.
The early release bell for seniors finally sounded at 1:15. I quickly way my way down the hall and towards the meeting spot Alice and designated. I passed Lauren on the way and couldn't help but snicker as I walked past her. And to think, this girl once intimidated me. Heading over to Emmett's obnoxiously large Jeep I couldn't help but laugh at Alice's pure enthusiasm.
"Let's go bitches!" was the last thing she said as we cranked up her playlist and exited the parking lot.