This is the second last chapter everyone. So for the second to last time:
I have to thank my Twilighted beta Tima83, who gets the chapters to you quickly.
Last but not least the PTB beta Twimart who worked diligently on this chapter! She's very brave for taking on this story, as it seem to have been beta cursed…until now. She's the best.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners (Stephenie Meyer). The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Ch 12: The I Hate Edward Cullen Club?
I entered through Bella's open window. just like in my vision I found her sitting on her bed knees under her chin, arms wrapped around her staring at the floor.
"Bella!" I called, and she did not respond.
"Hi, Bella," I chirruped. She looked up and relief flooded her face.
"Hi, Alice." From her tone, I could deduce that she was tired, though it was only early morning.
"Here is the plan, Bella. You go take your 'human moment' that you missed due to…. interruptions." I chose my words carefully not wanting to upset her; the word distraction was a no-no. I had seen she would not be responsive to talking right away, so I devised a plan. Once I was set on my course of action, I had a vision that reinforced that I was, of course, right.
Why people doubt me I will never know, I thought.
"Meanwhile, I will go and make you some breakfast, then you can take a nap and we can talk, and after that Esme is coming over because she has been very concerned about you since we have been back." I explained my master plan.
"Now all you have to do is tell me what you want to eat," I informed her.
"You don't have to do this, Alice," she told me.
"Bella, this is what sisters are for. I love you, and right now you need someone to take care of you because all you do is take care of everyone else. I'll repeat this only once more— what to you want to eat?"
"I'm not hungry," she said sadly.
"Nope, if you don't eat you'll pass out later and worry Charlie," I said sternly.
Okay, so it was not the truth, but I did see her getting a little dizzy if she missed this meal, and that information was not enough to get her to eat. Not just that, but she had gotten so thin since we left, I truly worried about her health.
"Fine, just toast. Thank you," she replied without further comment and headed towards the bathroom. I went to go and get her breakfast.
I awoke from my nap to see Alice sitting in the rocking chair where Edward had been sitting this morning. I felt remorseful about what happened and the way I spoke at times; maybe we did needed to get it all out to truly move on.
"You're up," Alice said, stating the obvious.
"Hey Alice, thanks, I know I gave you a bit of a hard time, but I needed that." And truly, I did. The epic fight we had this morning left me totally drained both emotionally and physically.
"I know, what are sisters for?" she smiled at me. I smiled back, but it was not a genuine smile and we both knew it. My mind was on Edward and what an evil shrew I was to him.
"He'll be fine, Bella," she told me, as if she could read my mind.
"Thanks. I just feel sort of guilty. I don't know what came over me. I never thought I would speak to anyone, let alone Edward, like that." I was on the verge of tears as I spoke.
"Bella, we all get exasperated with our mates," Alice reassured me. I rolled my eyes.
Yes, I had witnessed Rose and Emmett fight, but never had Alice and Jasper or Carlisle and Esme fought in the time I had known them.
"Really, it's true."
"I don't believe you, Alice," I sniped and then sniffled.
"I know this may be hard to hear, but let me explain?" she practically begged.
"Okay," I consented.
"Bella, when Edward…" she paused as her tone turned serious, "convinced us to leave, Jasper and I had gone to Denali because he couldn't be around the family at first. It was really hard. He convinced himself that it was entirely his fault, and that I was hiding my true feelings from him. It took a lot of convincing to make him believe that I didn't blame him," she explained, and I could tell she was choosing her words carefully.
"Who did you blame?" I asked, knowing full well the answer.
"Myself." She shocked me with her reply.
"Why? I should have been more careful at the party, and Edward should not have been making unilateral decision for us or his family. Why would you blame yourself?" I asked, aghast.
"I didn't see. Then, I listened to him. I didn't look out for you. I fought him, Bella, I fought him hard, but I gave in— gave up on my sister. How could anyone ever do that? I'll never forgive myself for my part in all this. Not just the party but leaving you behind. I wish I had checked in, called, e-mailed —anything. I-I'm so sorry. I don't think you'll ever forgive me; how could you after everything I did to you?" she stated, pain clouding her glorious face.
"Of course I can forgive you. You came back. You came back to help Charlie when you thought I was dead. You tried to help piece me back together. Most of all, Alice, you risked everything to save Edward and I. He would be dead if not for you, and I would be too if you had not taken me to Italy. Then, you talked our way out of the city. You saved us, Alice. Even if you hadn't done all that, you are my sister and I could never stay angry with you," I explained honestly.
"Thank you, Bella, thank you," she said to me and embraced me tightly.
"Alice, what else happen after you left?"
"This is not about us, it's about you," she said quickly. I resolved to drag the truth from her; no one was hiding information from me ever again.
"No, I want to know everything. I need this. The truth from now on, remember?" I begged.
Her eyes got that distant glazed look in them like when she had a vision, and she agreed.
"Once I settled things with Jazz, we met up with the others. It was bad, Bella. Edward withdrew into himself completely. I mean, we could not even speak to him without him flying off the handle. If he so much as heard us think your name, he would either sob or rage against us— we never knew which. Before he left us, he was a broken shell. Jazz tried to help him but he said it was like a black hole; he couldn't even be in the house for more than a couple hours at a time. Edward finally couldn't take the help, pity, whatever you want to call it, anymore and left. After that, well…Esme was inconsolable; she had lost two more of her children. Jazz tried to pull me from my own pit of despair. I lost two siblings and my two best friends. Rose was angry all the time, even more so than usual. Emmett just missed you both, and had to deal with her. Carlisle sough refuge at the hospital because he could not bear to see Esme in that kind of pain and be unable to help. You also have to couple that with the fact that he missed you both very much on his own. For the most part, we were together but were drifting apart —it was just as hard— because we could see the hole where the two of you used to be."
It hurt to think that those I love were hurt so badly. However, part me saw this as affirmation that they, too, cared for me, and not just because I was "with Edward".
It was petty but well, I guess I'm, just a petty person today.
"I'm so sorry, Alice." For once I was not apologizing but expressing heartfelt condolences.
"Bella, it's ok now. What happened between you and Edward the past few nights, well, it helped him. He didn't tell you, but he hasn't really spoken to any of us since his return. When he isn't with you, he's in his room alone. He was too ashamed to face us, just like after we left. But he realized that he had to persevere in order to move forward. He apologized to each of us. He even promised the boys no more Emoward," she explained further.
"I called him that today too, but you already knew that," I said sheepishly.
"I tried to block it out, but since in was both of your futures I couldn't block it completely," Alice said, and she sounded truly sorry for the invasion of privacy.
"Alice, I just wanted him to see that if he had only talked to me, we could have dealt with things before they got so out of hand. Then, this morning after I told him I wanted to put it past us, he pushed. It was horrible…it seems like we can let things fester but only when Edward decides it convenient— to hell with what I want. For someone who wants to love and protect me…" I let the thought end there. She was my best friend but also his sister, and had been for decades. Thus, I knew where her loyalty must lay. I looked down and pretended to be suddenly fascinated by the floor.
"Don't edit because of me. I'm on your side, Bella, always have been always will be. I let you down once, but never again. I'll just be more of a team player from now on. Now, I think bumbling fool or jackass would have worked brilliantly to end that sentence," she added.
I smiled, not at the idea of calling Edward names, but because Alice said she was on my side. I felt like I was always picking sides between Edward/Jake/Charlie etc… and it felt nice to have someone on my side.
"Do you mind if Esme comes over? She really wants to discuss some things with you. I'll be here, too." She sounded hesitant and this made me nervous; was she angry about our fight? I decided today was the day to deal with unpleasant things; I yelled at the love of my life and kicked him out, so why not get slammed by everyone?
"Okay, Alice, when will she be here?" I inquired.
"Three minutes, give or take," my psychic sister told me.
I decided I needed another "human moment". While leaving the bathroom I heard Esme knock on the window. I thought this was odd, but realized the neighbors would see Alice opening the door or Esme at the door, and tell Charlie. I couldn't go another round with him on top of it all.
"Bella," she said, hugging me as soon as I entered my bedroom.
"Esme." I loved this woman; she was the mother I never had. Renee was great, but she was always more of a friend, and I fell somewhere in between friend and personal assistant at times. Much like Alice saying she was on my side, seeing the look on Esme's face when she hugged me, made me realize that she wasn't here to ream me out on Edward's behalf.
How did you ever think Esme would yell at anyone? I asked myself. The answer was simple— today was not my day, and my judgment was still clouded from my earlier altercation with Edward.
"Honey, I was so worried. I haven't had a chance to speak with you, and when I saw Edward come home so upset, I thought you might need to talk, too. I know you can't tell your mother everything and I was hoping I would do as a fill in," she pleaded.
"You're never a fill in, Esme You're just my other mother, Mom." I hugged her again.
"Now, before we deal with my son, I want you know that I realize how hard it has been for you with us gone. Carlisle and Alice told me everything they know. Oh honey, I'm so sorry, I never should have left you." If it were possible I think she would have been weeping; the emotion was thick in her voice.
"Esme, from what Alice told me you were hurt, too. There is no need for you to apologize. I'm sick of apologies. They change nothing, and no one feels better." I wish I hadn't said the last apart aloud.
"Bella, why do you say that? I thought you forgave Edward?" Esme hedged. She looked at Alice for confirmation; Alice nodded. Neither seemed to think I saw this exchange, but I wanted to speak for myself.
"I did, I do. Its just some things are not made better by words. It takes time and actions to heal relationships. I tried to make him see that, by rehashing everything, nothing would be better; my being angry is not the way I choose to live— right now or ever. I'm happy because he's back and safe—end of discussion. I don't want to focus on…before. Yet, he always knows what's best. He pushed me too damn far today." I was angry again though my tone didn't rise; it was now more of a quiet fuming.
"Beyond that, I knew telling him would only make him wallow in self-pity, and then I'd feel guilty. The anger would be dragged up, and that helps no one. However, he in his infinite wisdom knew better. He had to push me, he had to prod, and I just exploded and…it felt good," I admitted sheepishly.
"Of course it did, Bella. You deserved to yell at him, he's an imbecile," Alice muttered.
"Alice!" Esme admonished.
"No, Esme, he is. He makes poor unilateral decisions based on some warped outdated sense of morality and gentlemanly conduct. I'm sick of it!" Alice fumed.
Here, here! I thought but didn't say a word. I wanted to see how this played out and didn't feel like yelling, especially at Esme.
"I know, Alice, I know," Esme agreed, hanging her head ever so slightly; I was shocked.
"You both agree?" I knew that my voice conveyed my astonishment.
"Yes," they said in unison.
"Bella, before we move on from the Edward bashing portion of this discussion, he gave me this to give you." She handed me a note. I was too distracted by the paper in my hand that I didn't hear Alice speak.
"Alice, I had to give it to her. He actually stood up and spoke?" Esme pleaded. I'm not sure I was supposed to hear her it as her volume increased over the course of the sentence.
"Emse, what do you mean by 'he actually stood up and spoke'?" I asked before I read the note.
"When Edward…left you; he broke down. I know you know this but it warrants repeating. He would not speak to us nor would he hunt. Most of the time he lay curled in the fetal position on his floor-"
"He kept doing that in Rio, too," Alice bitterly interjected.
"Well, he has a certain flare for the dramatic, as you know," Emse hedged. Alice rolled her eyes. I silently implored her to go on by nodding the affirmative.
"He tends to only respond in quotes, namely Shakespeare and mostly from the dark histories and dramas etc. I think it is a defense mechanism, so he doesn't really have to share his feelings, and it annoys some of us so much that they will just leave him alone, which is his goal. Thus, when I saw him doing that again, it tore me apart. But, then he stood as I was leaving and gave me this to give you, and I saw that broken shell of a man look in his eyes. I had to give it to you. Please understand, Alice, I love and need them both." Esme looked crestfallen when she finished.
I opened the folded piece of discarded paper. It was a far cry from the beautiful card stock of before. It also was not on his personal stationary; this told me he had truly written it in haste. He must have been so desperate that he grabbed whatever he found first. I timidly opened the note and read it.
I'm sorry that I have upset you yet again.
I have no right to ask you anything, but please don't be as cruel as I was. I don't know if I could survive it when you most likely send me away later.
I love you.
I hope it can be enough, I'm sorry that it's not.
I'm lost without you, but above all I want you to be happy with or without me.
Love always and forever,
I sat in stunned silence. I could not move an inch; I wanted to scream, he totally didn't get it.
"He thinks I'm giving up?" I said in a tiny, shocked voice. Bewildered would be a good word to use. I noticed Alice had her phone out and was sending a text.
I picked up the note and wanted to shred it into tiny pieces…
"Don't! Hand it to me now!" Alice screamed, throwing her phone on my bed and extending her hand. I did as she said; Esme arched her eyebrow at the interaction.
"It would not have ended well," Alice said meekly.
Esme dismissed this, understanding as well as I did what Alice had seen.
Esme asked if she could read the note, and I consented.
"I'm sorry, honey, I had no clue. I just hoped it would make it better," Esme pleaded with me.
"I told you otherwise," Alice seethed as she sent yet another text.
"Don't be mad at Esme, she is just as powerless to him as I am," I said in between sobs. Esme came and wrapped her arms around me and rocked me back and forth. As if I were an upset five year old, she rubbed circles on my back as she rocked me.
"Who are you texting?" Esme asked as we rocked.
"My loving husband was going to come over here to do some reconnaissance for your idiot son, to gauge Bella's emotional climate. I informed him that if he did, he would be sleeping alone for some time," she seethed. Alice never got this angry, especially not at Jasper.
"But you don't sleep-" I didn't finish the sentence as Alice gave me a pointed look. I regretted what I said, and then regretted all the trouble I was causing.
"Next, I sent one to my stupid martyr brother. He was going to play Peeping Tom to gain some info," Alice added though gritted teeth. She must have been fuming, because in all the time I knew her, she never mentioned withholding sex from Jasper. Rose did it to Em all the time, but never Alice and Jasper.
The 'Edward bashing' continued on her quite a while. I told Esme everything once she impressed upon me the importance of opening up and communicating. I told every detail of my 'zombiedom', our flight to and from Italy, as well as the conversation leading up to the vote. I prattled on for about an hour and a half.
"Thank you for being honest with me, Bella, but I need to ask about the cliff diving. Did you really do it just to hear Edward's voice?" Esme said, her eyes searching my face for some tell-tale sign I was lying.
"I did, It was for recreational purposes, but I would be lying if I said that when I was taken over by the waves that I didn't want to give up. I thought of him one last time, and thought I would die happy," I said simply. I could be honest with Esme, in a way I wasn't with Renee.
"Oh, Bella," she sighed and hugged me tight.
"Tell her, Esme," Alice said softly.
"I jumped once, as you know; Carlisle, bless him, saved me. I had a horrible first marriage, and the only bright spot in my life was my baby boy. I loved him more than anything in the world— he was my world. When he died, I had nothing. I was utterly and truly alone. So, I understand some of the feelings, Bella," she painfully explained.
"I understand, but though there were times I thought death would be a far less crueler fate, I had my parents to think about, and you. Even though you left, I knew my death would bother you, Esme, even if it wouldn't bother anyone else. That partly kept me going," I explained.
Alice looked so ashamed that she wanted to die. I thought over what I said, and though it was cruel, it was true. However, I didn't want Alice to feel guilty or suffer.
"I'm sorry, Alice, I didn't mean to hurt you. I know now that it's not true, but back then it was. I just thought because of Esme's son that she might miss me if I died," I mumbled. I felt horrible about all this.
After that there were no words. Alice joined us on the bed. Esme and Alice each wrapped an arm around me, and we sat there in silence for a while. We sat there, each grateful the other two were there. In that moment, I wished Rose had been there to share in the bonding.
Suddenly Alice gasped, and grabbed her phone.
"What's wrong Alice?" Esme inquired.
"Rose. She is fed up with the boys' inability to figure this out. Apparently Bella here has befuddled all four of them, and she wants to set them straight. We need to stop her," Alice told me.
"Alice, how about you let her give him a hint. Maybe it could speed this along?" I suggested. Really, it wasn't even a fully formed plan, I was just thinking aloud.
"Fine, how does this sound:
Don't tell them everything. He has to figure it out on his own or eternity will be very long and painful for all of us. If you really must, give him a hint, but no more than a hint… your first idea will work out just fine. If you tell them too much, I won't tell you the name of the parts place that has what you have been searching for, for you rebuild.
"Perfect," Esme and I answered in unison.
We spent the rest of our time discussing how I would handle Edward upon his return. His return, according to Alice, was going to be soon, so I had to have my game face on.
Okay, what did you think?
I can't wait for your feedback.
Also, I'm thinking of writing two outtakes one being Emmet and Jazz dealing with Esme after they threatened Edward the other being the first day back. That or a sequel that would be my version of Eclipse/BD; not sure, what to you all think? Probably the outtake will win out, but not sure.
Thank you as always, dear readers. Remember, your reviews mean the world to me and they are always welcome. I would love to hear from you whether you give a review, constructive criticism, even just a little emotion icon; let me know you're out there and what you think.
Hope to hear from you soon.