Disclaimer- I do not own any publically recognised characters or items. However, Mason, Mackenzie and any other OCs belong to ME as does the story. Plagiarism is a crime and will be treated as such. You all own me.
The following A/N and story contain major spoilers to 'The Hard Way To Learn A Lesson'. You can read this without having read that, as it is a completely different story, but THWTLAL may explain a lot.
Full Summary: As Bella and Edward adjust to becoming parents, Jane attempts to find her real father through various secret e-mails and letters while simultaneously growing closer to adopted brother, Edward's best friend, Mason. Little does Jane know, Mason is hiding a secret of his own, and this secret has the potential to destroy her trust in him.
And, due to popular request, I am going to try to put in more Alice and Jasper ;)
So I know the summary sounds awful but it's all I can give you without giving everything away. You will know in like four chapters time what Mason's big secret is, but I promise it's not as angsty as Edward's secret in THWTLAL. It's… hard to explain. You'll see what I mean as this progresses.
Anyway… here is the spin-off I promised you :D It took a while to get out but I've done it. I had this first bit ready a while ago but there was a unanimous vote to wait to post until I've done the majority of my major exams. I will say now that this may not be completed. I have a plan but I'm not overly confident. I hate leaving stories so it is unlikely that I will quit but I think it's fair to give you a warning that if this is not very good, or not very popular, then it could be shortened to benefit my other fics.
Now, if you've read THWTLAL then you may notice that this prologue is the epilogue to THWTLAL. You don't have to read it but if you want to refresh your memory then please go ahead :) If you've read it then you can skip the rest of this A/N
Oh, but I do want to say hi before you start. Just because… well, I'm not sure why. But when I write my other stories I'm very aware that it's not the same audience, though I know that a lot of you guys read those as well (which I love you for). And now… I am sat here with a huge smile on my face to be back writing this… you never notice how much you love something until it's gone huh?
So… HI :D
To those that haven't read THWTLAL: I don't think that there'll be many people – if any at all – but if you haven't read THWTLAL then here is a brief outline of what happened: Bad boy Edward and straight-A Bella were paired up for a psychology project that involved living together for three weeks. Edward's best friend, Mason Roberts, also did the project. During the project, Edward and Bella fell in love and then entered a music competition. At the music competition, Edward kissed Tanya as he thought that she was Bella. She caught them and was devastated. Due to some major misunderstandings, Edward was then sent to a boarding school in Seattle, where he met a troubled girl called Jane who relied a little too much on alcohol. During his absence, Bella discovered that Edward's friend Mason liked her quite a lot. She also found out that she was pregnant with Edward's baby. Mason realised that Bella belonged with Edward and so arranged a rescue mission in order to bring Edward back to Bella. They got back together and we left them in THWTLAL preparing to be parents to a little boy, who they named after the baby Esme lost a few years before the story was set, Ethan, and Mason and Edward. At the end of THWTLAL we also found out that the Cullens adopted Jane after her previously adopted father was arrested, and that Mason has a bit of a thing for her.
This prologue is the epilogue copied and pasted and very slightly changed. It will be the only chapter in third person.
This story is about Mason and Jane's friendship, and eventual romance, Bella and Edward's adaption to becoming parents, and Jane's secret attempt to find her real father.
I hope you guys like it as much as you liked the… firstquel? :S
The man's eyes skimmed over the calendar in front of him, reading the pencil notes scribbled on almost every day. Or, really, it was the singular of the word note because it was the same name over and over again: Cullen. Today, the 22nd March, was no different.
"Enter, Cullen," Mr Marshall called in a bored voice. He was used to 'Cullen' being right outside his office. In fact, he didn't even have to wait for the harsh rap of knuckles on the door anymore. And that had nothing to do with the fact that there was a window in the door of the office.
The door opened and an extraordinarily good-looking girl came in with an entertained smile on her pretty face. "Mr Marshall," she greeted as she sat down in the chair opposite her head teacher. She sat back in the chair, the light glinting off of the honey highlights running through her dark blonde hair. Her big blue eyes were teasing, a cheeky glint passing through them as she put her feet up on the desk as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Which, to her, it probably was.
Mr Marshall rolled his eyes. "Feet off the desk, Jane."
"Yes, Sir," Jane replied with a smirk, taking her feet off of the desk.
Mr Marshall sighed and twirled slightly in the swivel chair that was still a novelty, even though he had been in this post now for almost a whole term. "Why are you here this time then, Cullen?"
"For speaking the truth," the girl answered in an innocent voice.
Marshall pinched the bridge of his nose to hide a smile in his palm. "Speaking the truth to whom?"
"That Stanley girl." Her tone turned bitter and cross when she spoke and her perfect face turned into an expression so menacing, even a vampire would have been scared.
"I presume you mean Jessica Stanley?" Mr Marshall sighed, knowing the history that the two girls had. "Look, Jane, I understand why you don't like her but… well, can't you just leave her alone? There's no need to say nasty things."
"I said that I told the truth not that I said nasty things to her." Jane smirked at her head teacher. Then she turned her smirk into a glare. "Besides, she's trying to steal my boyfriend!"
"Miss Stanley tries to steal everyone's boyfriends," Mr Marshall reminded her. He swivelled his chair again. "I know you've had a tough time in the past, but you have to put it behind you and stop squandering your talents to make trouble." He looked the girl right in the eye. "I am not going to punish you, Jane."
Jane smiled sweetly. "Thank you."
"But you have to stop taking advantage of my blatant favouritism for you Cullens," Mr Marshall said, leaning back in his chair. "It makes me look bad."
"So setting the fire bell off so that I can miss the exam next period is a bad idea?" she asked in a serious tone.
"Now that," Mr Marshall said in a stern voice that didn't match the smile on his face, "I will punish you for."
Jane laughed and stood up, turning and heading for the door. "Thanks Mr M. Nice doing business with you."
"Whatever, Miss C," he called after her. "Just leave the poor Stanley girl alone!"
Marshall shook his head, chuckling to himself and started to arrange the pencils on his desk in a neat row. This head teacher business was fun. But then there came a knock at the door, slightly nervous and scared. Mr Marshall smiled, knowing who it would be from just the sound of the knock; only one person in the school had been wandering around this week that anxiously.
"Come in," he said.
The door was pushed open and Forks High's head boy came into the room, biting his lip. "Can I talk to you?"
"Of course," Marshall replied. "Shut the door behind you and come and take a seat." He waited until the boy had taken the seat opposite him and then said, "Your sister was in here just a moment ago."
Edward blinked at him. "Alice?"
Understanding lit his face. "Oh. What's she done now?"
"She called Jessica Stanley a scheming, slutty little whore." Mr Marshall laughed lightly with another shake of his head. "It was all I could do not to pat her on the back and congratulate her."
Edward rolled his eyes, but was too concerned to manage a laugh. "Yeah, she's a crack-up. When she's with Mason, they are the comedy duo of the century."
"Mmm," the head teacher agreed absently, abruptly very focussed on lining the pencils up again. "What did you want to talk about?"
Edward shuffled nervously in his chair, running a hand through his messy coppery-coloured hair. His glittering green eyes were tired and worried, just like the rest of him.
Mr Marshall sensed that he wasn't ready to say anything yet, so he asked, "How's Bella?"
Edward smiled slightly at the mention of his girlfriend's name. "Freaking out, of course. She hates being so fat- keeps saying that not being able to see her feet doesn't help her already awful balance. Keeps worrying that she doesn't have everything she'll need. Keeps complaining about this maternity leave thing- she's bored." Edward laughed, and then sighed. "What if… what if he doesn't like me?" he whispered after a long pause.
Mr Marshall looked up at one of his favourite students and appraised the worry in his tone, the heavy bags under his eyes, the way he twisted his hand through his hair, and then he smiled. "Edward, of course he's going to like you. We're talking about your son, correct?"
Edward nodded warily.
Mr Marshall abandoned his pencils and leant across his desk to look the boy in the eye. "The love between a parent and child is something that can never be broken or bettered. You and Bella are going to do perfectly, I can tell."
"But how can you tell?" Edward said. "How do you know that we're not going to screw up and drop him or hurt him or… ugh! There's so much we can do wrong!"
"I can tell because I was in the very same position as you are once," the older man admitted with a sigh.
Edward blanched, that being the thing he least expected to hear. "What?"
"When I was in high school, I fell in love with the most beautiful girl. We got together and decided to run away and get married. So as soon as we graduated we got married, even though both of our parents were against it; we never saw any of our parents again." He sighed. "Less than a year later, we had a baby girl; the prettiest little girl in the world. So pretty that Sara, her Mum and my wife, put her up for modelling behind my back. I didn't like it at all and we fought about it. So badly that when I got home from work one day, she had upped and left me; taken our baby and gone.
"It was only recently that I discovered that my little girl knew nothing about this. Her Mum married another man – another teacher, ironically enough – and told my daughter that he was her father." Mr Marshall's eyes were distant- elsewhere. "But it turns out that Sara died in a car accident when our child was five and, since no one knew that this other man wasn't her biological father, he got custody.
"My little girl moved in with him at his posh boarding school and I was none the wiser. But then his boarding school lost money and went from the nicest one in the state to the crappiest of the crap." Then Mr Marshall smiled at Edward, returning to the present. "You know what her name was?"
"What?" The boy was utterly absorbed in the man's story.
Mr Marshall looked at his door and then said, "Jane. Her name was Jane."
Edward was silent for a long while, and then he said, "You mean… Jane – our Jane – is your daughter?"
The head teacher's eyes drifted back to the boy's face as he nodded. "But you can't tell anyone. She's happy now and that's all I want. Besides, I know she's in good hands." He shot Edward a meaningful look.
Edward was speechless. "But…"
"Edward," Mr Marshall sighed, "my point is this- no matter what happens in the future, you will always love your son and he will always love you. That is one bond that simply cannot be broken."
"But Jane will never know?" Edward whispered sadly.
Marshall shrugged slightly. "Maybe one day she'll find out. But I don't think there's a better family she could have been 'adopted' into. I've had to live without her for all this time and I'd rather see her happy with your family than not at all."
"But what about all the things you can do with her?" Cullen asked; he hadn't missed the loving tone when the older man spoke of his daughter. And he couldn't help but wonder whether Mr Marshall was aware of how much he was missing out on.
"What, you mean like give her the money she wants for new clothes while she's a teenager? Be there at her graduation ceremony crying with pride? Walk her down the aisle on her wedding day?" He sighed wistfully. "I'd give anything to be able to do all of that."
"What's stopping you?"
Mr Marshall smiled, but it was almost patronising in its sarcasm. "The very same things that you're feeling now. Fear. Anxiety. Worry. Being a parent isn't an occupation you can just quit. It's a full-time, stressful and exhausting duty. But it's a nice duty to have. And maybe one day I can come clean to Jane. But she's not my baby girl any more, Edward. She's a young lady who is perfectly capable of making her own decisions."
Edward opened his mouth to say something else, but was interrupted by his phone ringing. He jumped and grabbed his phone out of his pocket answering it and bringing it straight to his ear. "Bella, are you okay? What's happened?" He listened intently to what she was saying and Mr Marshall watched his concentrated expression with a slight laugh. Edward leapt to his feet then, knocking the chair over as he did so. "I'll come right now. Remember to breathe."
Mr Marshall could hear Bella laugh from where he was sat. "It's okay, Edward," she told him. "I'm having a baby, not dying."
Edward scowled. "Well, I'll be there as soon as I can anyway. See you in a bit." He hung up and looked anxiously at Mr Marshall as he backed toward the exit. "I have to go."
The man nodded understandingly. "Go. And Edward?"
"Make the most of Bella laughing. In not so long she'll be threatening to rip you into pieces." He shot the boy a wink and went back to organising his pencils.
Edward, who had his hand on the door handle, let go of the handle and went back to Marshall's side. "Thank you," he said fervently. "For everything."
Mr Marshall nodded. "Anytime."
"And Mr M?"
Marshall grinned and looked up. "Yeah Mr C?"
"Make sure you tell Jane before she graduates? Maybe you'll get a chance to walk her down the aisle after all. I'm going to face my fears right now; maybe you should too."
Mr Marshall thought about that. "You know, maybe I will," he said, but when he looked back at Edward, he found that the boy had already gone. He bit his lip and opened his drawer. He took out the photo frame he had had for almost seventeen long years and looked at the adorable baby girl in the picture, her face all dimples, her blonde hair sticking out by her chin and her green eyes shining with happiness. How times had changed. "One day," Marshall promised the girl in the photo. "But not anytime soon." And then he put the photo back in the drawer and finished lining his pencils up.
For a moment, Mr Marshall wondered what the now-retired Mr Hudson would think of Edward's improvement. And then he grinned. He grinned because he, Stephen Marshall, had been the one to prove that there was not an un-teachable student in the world, including Edward Cullen. After all, one can never over-estimate the power of the human mind… and the psychology behind it…
So there is the prologue :) Um… keeping this short since the top A/N is huge and I'm posting the next chapter now anyway…
Any reviews are appreciated! Thanks :)