AN: Hello! I know that I should be working on my other story, and all that, but currently I'm in waiting to receive writer-person-thingy's story "The Past Lies of a Former Prisoner", and I'm really excited about that. I promise that, if you are reading my crossover "I Need You" I will update shortly. The chapter is almost completed, I've just hit a bit of a speed bump and am trying to plan out everything and stuff. So it'll be up soon, I promise!
Now, you've read that this is my attempt at the rather common plot where Edward and Alice cheat on Jasper and Bella, but I put it in different circumstances and stuff, so hopefully you can enjoy it. :) It won't be one where Bella finds out right away, though, and I'm thinking it will all be from her point of view, with a few added on chapters (when I'm done with the story) in which we explore Jasper's mind. Sound good?
You may now continue with reading the actual story. :D I hope you like it!
I had seen the way they looked at each other—the sidelong glances, sharing secrets between their minds. He would read something from hers, and then most likely plan to say his response, so she could see it silently. They could easily converse, and I knew this well.
Jealousy boiled and bubbled within me, thick, hot, intense, and heavy. It wore me out and made me want to simply sleep, and yet I always soothed myself with the knowledge I had of them. He wouldn't do something like that to me—as my fiancé and one true love, never. His proclamations were filled with compassion, adoration, and sincerity. How could I disbelieve that?
And then she, my best friend and closest confidante—aside from him, naturally. She loved and adored me in her own way, showering me in gifts and favors as a way of showing this. Though I detested, she held firm, and I gave in, knowing that she deserved to be happy—and how could I refuse when she was only trying to make me happy?
Not to mention that they were practically siblings—the only thing separating them from the title was the lack of shared blood. But they were close, friendly, and acted as if they truly were brother and sister. How could they go on, feeling that way for each other years upon years, and do something such as that, a romantic relationship?
And both were very moral. They stood by their religious beliefs—that there was a Heaven, God, and Hell. And they both believed that they would most likely see Hell one day, for the things they had done. Both wanted to make that list of sins as small as possible, so surely infidelity was out of the question.
So I simply came to the conclusion that the fiery beast that welled within me when I saw the intimacy these two shared which I lacked was from my own, personal problems. As he had left me, alone and stranded, without reason or family to turn to—aside from my clueless, awkward father—I never enjoyed not being near him. I supposed that feeling of not being good enough stayed with me, and I always subconsciously compared myself to her—small, lilting, and beautiful. Surely she would be more worthy of a perfect man such as him?
Which brought me to the point that she, too, had a significant other. One I had seen support, worry over, and love her endlessly, in the subtlest, most sweet ways possible. That, too, ignited a jealousy within me—a desire to be loved fully; touched and kissed as passionately as they could. And yet I said nothing, as there were legitimate reasons for our lack of passion, and a resolution in sight.
So I knew that these problems and worries only sprouted from my own personal insecurities, and that in time my wounds would be healed completely, and we would move on to our forever. He loved me as much, if not more than I loved him, and she would remain my best friend and one of the most trusted individuals in my life.
We would move on for eternity, separate and together, as friends, allies, lovers, and family.
I sighed and shook my head, rubbing my temple and staring down at the book that was swimming under my gaze. It was dark, late, and I should be going to sleep, as college would start soon. A year from now I would be a freshman, out in the world, officially an adult.
I looked at the clock again, breaking from my thoughts, and huffed impatiently. Edward wasn't back yet, and my chest was beginning to ache with the memory of our separation, in which I believed he lacked any affection for me and I was useless to him.
But I tapped the pen I had been fidgeting with to my lips, looking down and deciding I was simply incapable of reading anymore. I got up and stretched, looking at my new room in Alaska, large, extravagant, and anything but what I had asked for. Though I smiled, knowing that Alice—the best friend I could ever ask for—had taken time and money to make it specifically for me.
I shuddered, deciding to close the window and allow Edward to open it when he returned to me. I wasn't going to freeze just because he was late—and though I tried to think that with some form of malice or ire, I was simply unable to. The reasons behind his absence were obvious and important and I had no right to be as ungrateful as I was.
I lay back in bed, bringing the quilts I had piled atop me to my neck and curling to a fetal position, wringing my hands in hopes of getting warmer. I hadn't even noticed, but my fingers and legs felt like ice.
Speaking of ice, I was wondering where Edward was in relation to me. Was he far, spreading out his search in hopes of finding her somewhere, or was he close—on his way to me, even? I could only hope.
I rolled over onto my side and decided not to think about him, but my thoughts only turned worse, as I felt my chest cave in under the weight of my sudden grief. Usually, on the increasing amount of nights I was away from Edward, my mind would wander to Charlie, who I wouldn't ever see again.
I mourned for his loss, remembering having to go identify him when it was not only obvious who he had been, but I couldn't see through my tears in the first place. A police officer had led me from my house, telling me that he was shot accidently by a panicking burglar who he had caught in the local bank. He had most likely passed out within minutes, but that didn't mean he hadn't been in pain—and by the time anyone noticed the blood spattered on the dark windows, it was too late.
Burying him had to be the hardest part of it all—watching the casket lower into the grave with his simple headstone just above was like the last nail in the coffin, excusing my pun. That was the moment, as workers shoveled dirt onto the cold, wooden surface, I realized that I no longer had a living father on this earth, and not long after I would watch my mother die after him.
I had cried for days, locking myself in his room, surrounded by pictures of the family we used to be, my mother and I from more recent years, and then he and I from but my last birthday. Framed in simple wood, I held that particular picture to my chest as I screamed until my voice simply stopped working.
After a week, I found that with a loud crash, the door had been broken down and there stood all of my adoptive family, sad and mourning also. And the selfishness in my ways—to block the outside world and only comfort myself—had hit me and I vowed to never let them go. Not one of them.
I could never, ever lose them like I had lost them before. Like I had lost Charlie.
That day, the funeral, the awakening thereafter, they changed who I was drastically. Though still me, my self-esteem issues became more prevalent, more pronounced, and had me questioning the very meaning of life. If it could be taken so easily, just a split decision, why live it at all?
And then I knew that I would be changed. By any means, I would become the one creature I knew I could actually live with. My insecurities would disappear, and my ability to help others—to prevent things such as Charlie's death—would only rise. To be someone like Carlisle, to dedicate an eternity to making the earth a better place—if only in a small way—would put me at peace. In a way, it felt as if I was making up for Charlie's death; making sure it wasn't in vain.
The Cullens, extremely disturbed by my lack of interest in anything, decided that Forks was no longer inhabitable for me. They sold Charlie's home and took me up north to their Alaskan home, where I had been staying for a month now. Charlie's death was still a fresh wound in my mind that I knew would most likely never heal completely, and they knew that too. I was still delicate to them, even more so now that I could be categorized as "emotionally unstable", but they did their best to console and distract me.
And then I pulled away from my thoughts, not wanting to hear them anymore.
I opened my eyes groggily, daydreams of that day, that following week, and my current problems swimming in my head as I sat up and looked around, finding it too dark to see. I felt beside me, but there was no cool stone next to me, and I was alone, aside from any lingering family downstairs.
Switching on the nearby lamp, I looked at the large grandfather clock across the room, ticking away quietly. It was late, after three in the morning, but I wasn't ready to go back to that uneasy half-sleep that I could only accomplish without Edward beside me, holding and singing to me.
I pushed the quilts from my body, shivering violently as the slick sweat along any exposed skin was touched with the cool air of early morning. I rubbed my arms, but continued out of my room and down the long, curling flight of stairs that descended to the mainly unused library. Alice had thoughtfully placed me close so I could escape when the need arose.
But finding that I wouldn't gain solace in books this night, I continued through the rows of shelves, comforted by the small fact that while the staircase, upper hallway, and my bedroom were all wooden floors, the library was a warmer carpet.
I ran my fingertips along the wall as I guided myself through what could only be called a labyrinth of halls and doors. Finally finding my way to the large, swinging doors of the kitchen, I pushed through them with a small creak, and looked around. No one was in, so I danced shakily along the frigid tiles toward the cabinet in which I stored small packets of various snacks, for occasions such as these. I grabbed a bag of fruit snacks, opening them and leaving the kitchen behind me for the adjoining living room. But when I arrived, I saw that I was not alone in the house, and there was in fact lingering family.
A set of loose, wavy blonde locks was bent over a book, and I could easily tell it was Jasper. He must have heard me, because after a moment he closed whatever book he was reading and set it aside, turning to face me with a small smile. "Hello, Bella. Care to join me?"
I bit my lip and looked at the clock above a glass cabinet of china that Esme particularly valued. It was rather late, and I should get sleep rather than have Edward scold me when he got back. But then, at the same time, without him here I wouldn't get sufficient rest anyway rather than just be haunted by thoughts and memories.
Nodding slowly, I walked around the couch and comfortably sat, cross-legged, the farthest from him I could. Though just a bit closer—as in, no longer extremely awkward toward each other—we still talked very little due to Edward and Alice's warnings and refusals. Not to mention that even though I didn't blame him once for the incident on my birthday, I knew that he was tormented by guilt over the event, and that wasn't helped by the fact that my blood provided him a bit more than discomfort.
But, finally reassuring myself that he was the one who asked, and that the couch was long enough for him to be relaxed enough to speak, I leaned away from him and checked the windows for any stray breezes. Finding no problems, I settled back into the couch, and he did the same, leaning away from me also.
"How are you?" he asked after a beat of silence in which I stared at the coffee table, while feeling his eyes on me. I knew he had to know, his ability considered, but I would answer him anyway.
"Well, worried about Edward, of course. And I'm thinking about Charlie, which is never good." I sighed exasperatedly. "Edward will be angry for me staying up—let alone talking to you—but I can never sleep well without him there. I just don't want to think about it anymore," I admitted.
He nodded in response. "That's all very understandable. And don't worry, if Edward doesn't like the fact that it was me who you found and subsequently talked to, I'll make sure to take care of that." He smiled reassuringly, and I mustered my best for him.
"So…where are the others?" I asked out of curiosity.
"Well, as you know, the Denali's are traveling the world and won't be home for months, Esme and Rosalie are out buying things for the new expansion on the house, just for you, Carlisle is at work, Emmett is hunting, and Edward and Alice are on duty still, although quite late." He looked away with furrowed brows. "I was actually contemplating going after to see what's wrong…I don't want one of them hurt." I could tell he was thinking more about Alice, but wasn't bothered in the slightest, as I would probably feel the same, if I were him.
I sighed and looked out the window behind him. "Why is she coming, Jasper? Edward refuses to tell me, and I want to know why she's hunting down the family this way, especially when she's so outnumbered."
He cleared his throat, a surprisingly human thing for him to do, and looked to the couch as if it would answer for him. "Bella, there's actually quite a few facts you got twisted up there. She's not outnumbered because she's…well, story short, she's making an army." I nodded, deciding not to dwell on the thought of what may happen to the patrolling Cullen that ran across not one vampire, but an army. "And she's not hunting the family. She's hunting you. She wants you dead."
I gasped, my mouth falling open as I looked up at him. He looked at me, his light golden eyes intense. They seemed worried as he awaited my reaction. "Me? Why?"
"Edward, your mate, killed James, her mate. An eye for an eye, they say." He looked at the wall and I processed this information at a sluggish speed. So Victoria was not alone, as Edward had led me to believe. Well, he had never specifically said she was alone, but never made it clear there was an army with her. And then never had he told me she was after me specifically. He had always indicated her anger at the family—I had thought it was over James, but I never once thought she wanted to kill me only.
This was interesting news, the kind that took effort to hide from someone as observant as Edward said I was. A small bubble of anger developed in my stomach, and Jasper must have sensed it as he looked up at me, curiosity in his eyes.
I answered before he could ask, "I…I can't believe he would try and hide that from me. That's not small news. That's huge, actually, considering it involves whether or not I live or die." I locked my jaw as the anger grew, but soon dissipated, as I was never able to stay mad at Edward.
Jasper's eyes softened, "I'm sure he wanted you safe only, Bella. And don't worry, you will not be harmed. I promise you." I smiled at him, nodding my thanks, and settling myself again, for his benefit.
The silence that stretched between us as the haze of night turned gray, then blue, and eventually grew to an array of pink, indigo, and orange as the sun began to rise was unusually comfortable as I allowed my thoughts to roil. Was Edward all right? And would he have hunted, or would he have to leave again soon? I hoped not, because it seemed that as the time passed, he was gone more and more and it felt like a longer, more tortuous version of his pulling away from me after my eighteenth birthday. But I knew that there was no way—he promised never to leave. We were engaged. I was just imagining it.
Jasper looked concerned as he shifted just an inch closer to me. "How are you, Bella? Personally, I mean. It seems that your emotions are changing so fast I never have time to realize what one is before it's replaced with another." That wasn't surprising, given my stupid thoughts that questioned my life with Edward. And he was my life now—if it didn't work out, what would I return to? I wouldn't want to burden Renee with the sorrow that was sure to follow, and she was my only other family. Should I tell the truth, that I was unsure of my life, my reason?
"I'm…uh, I really don't know," I sighed finally, running a hand through my snarled locks of hair. Concern etched at my heart, and I could only assume it was his.
"What do you mean?" he asked after a small beat of silence in which I avoided the eyes I knew were on me. I just didn't want to go pouring my worries out where they could filter to Edward and then he would worry about them. Besides, I knew, deep down, that I was just being stupid.
And yet, I began to speak, not wanting to say what I did, but feeling relieved anyway. "I guess I'm just confused. Charlie's death is still really hard and the only person who can make me not feel so terrible over it—aside from you, obviously—is Edward. And he's always gone, more and more, because of Victoria. And now to find that he's been keeping things from me is hard, especially because I'm so dependent on him anymore." I took a deep breath and looked up at him, blushing suddenly as I realized I did exactly the opposite of what I had originally planned.
His eyes darkened and he took a deep breath, but they were still soft and gentle in their sudden intensity. He spoke, not sounding bothered by my blood, yet it was obvious it was affecting him, at least slightly. "I'm sure he only wants to protect you, Bella, and he's doing the best he can. Soon Victoria will make a mistake and reveal herself—from there we can rid ourselves of her and Edward will have all the time in the world for the marriage, honeymoon, and your changing." He smiled, but it fell as my fading blush returned with the word honeymoon.
I bit my lip. I let go of it, opening my mouth to speak, before biting it again. Finally, I smiled at him. "Thank you, Jasper, really. You're right, I shouldn't be so worried." He nodded. "I guess I just overreact too much." I frowned at myself, feeling angry for my emotions and ways of thinking. Love was about faith and trust, which were two things I obviously lacked.
"Not at all, Bella. You've been under quite a bit of stress lately," he said, and I knew he was referring to Charlie's death, not long after Edward's leaving and the Volturi incident. He of all people knew how badly it still affected me.
"I know," I sighed. "I still feel as though I whine too much. Like I ask for so much more than any of you can give. I'm tired of feeling like I only take—and see, there I go again." I groaned and clutched my head, my temples throbbing as it whirled in a circle.
"You don't Bella. And like I've said before—you're worth the attention. Trust me a little, please." He smiled, but it wasn't quite as genuine.
Immediately I felt terrible, knowing that the way I was talking must have made him feel as if I didn't trust him—and I did, with my life, just like all the other Cullens. "I do trust you Jasper—I promise that I do. It's when you start ordering me to jump off bridges that I rethink that one." I tried to add humor to the situation, feeling that it was too late—or early—for so much drama and worry.
He laughed, easily accepting my need for a lighter topic.
"Well—" he began, but stopped and looked at the window. I leaned around him to see, but found nothing outside. I waited a few moments, my brow furrowed, before speaking, my eyes still looking out there.
"What is it? Victoria? Jasper?" He didn't answer me, but then Edward's Volvo, going at a speed that was unusually slow for him, appeared up the road a ways. I nodded happily, getting up and walking out to the porch, Jasper following behind me at a safe distance. We stood, about twenty feet apart, waiting for our significant others together. Finally, the car parked and they got out, their faces curious as they looked at me.
"Bella, love," Edward started, his voice like silk, "you're up rather early today. Is something wrong?"
I smiled at him, feeling my love for him rise again. I walked forward, wrapping my arms around his waist and breathing in his scent. "You know I can't sleep well without you," I giggled lightly, feeling giddy with his presence. But as he wrapped his arms around me, the cold of the snow, wind, and him finally got to me. I shivered violently, and he scooped me into his arms gently.
"Let's get you inside," he said, and I nodded, looking over at Alice, who was opening the door for us with one hand, holding Jasper's with the other. He smiled tightly, reassuringly at me, and held said door for her as she followed us.
Edward set me onto the couch, grabbing a conveniently placed blanket and setting it on me. Alice sat next to me, Jasper on her far side. I sighed softly, my eyelids drooping as Edward ran his hand through my hair. "Any luck with Victoria?" I asked finally.
"No," Alice's reply was stilted, and I contemplated asking why neither he nor she had told me about the army or the reasons behind her actions. And yet, I decided it was better not to worry them when I knew that they were only doing what they thought was best for me.
"We'll get her soon, love," Edward said softly. "But you mustn't worry about it. Sleep now, I know you're tired." I sighed again, angrier this time, that very statement making me wide awake.
"Actually, I'm not," I confessed, rolling in his grip and looking up into his perfect face. His crooked grin stretched across it and I smiled in return, any anger washing away as our eyes locked. "I was wondering if we could spend time together, actually." I bit my lip, batting my eyelashes. He laughed at me, rubbing my back.
"Well…why don't I take you upstairs, allow you a few more hours of good sleep, and then we'll find something for us to do." I knitted my brows, looking up at him pleadingly.
"But, really, I'm not tired anymore. I want to be with you. We hardly have time lately, and I was thinking maybe we could find a spot like the meadow around here—somewhere just for us. I don't want to stay cooped in the house all the time," I begged.
He smirked again, leaning down toward me, his golden eyes smoldering. "How about you dream about me a bit, and then we can do whatever we want as the day warms?" I began to feel myself drifting into his eyes, and I knew he was right. My thoughts were fuzzy as I agreed; nodding slowly as he didn't break the eye contact, carrying me up the stairs. He laid me on the bed, pushing the quilts onto me, and taking his place next to me. His fingers made lazy trails on my arm that was under the blankets, and I dozed off before I could even think.