AN: I know I promised this forever ago and I'm sorry. I hope it's long enough to make up for it. Thank you to all of you who are sticking with me. To all of my newer readers: buckle up. It's going to be a wild ride. :)
Chapter 1: The Pull
I looked over the forest from my perch in the tree. It was beautiful. I loved it out here. I was free to mingle with the elements without censor. No one else was around, but that was also the reason for the pain in my heart. Like it was attached to a string, and I was running out of slack string and out of room to run. I knew who held the string. The same person whose own string I held. He was the person who had always been there for me even when it put him in danger, and especially when I was in danger, Jasper. He was the light of my world; my reason for existing. He was the reason I was whole once more after years of being broken. He brought me back from the abyss and tended to my many wounds. He claimed I'd done the same for him, but I doubted it.
Now we were getting married. So were Alice and Andrew. Alice was planning our weddings. My sister was so much simpler than the other Alice, my other sister. A pang of misery shot through me before I could shake it off. I missed her. Whatever punishment or hell Edward had landed in was too nice. He'd torn this family apart and hurt it so deeply even an eternity going through pain like that of the change would be too kind. I took a deep breath to calm myself. I couldn't let him control my life anymore. Jasper was right about that. I forced myself to refocus on the upcoming weddings.
As I'd said this Alice was simpler. For her own wedding we were attempting to arrange something simple perhaps a day or two before my own. Mine was going to be bigger and based on the wedding theme the other Alice had never given him, but as soon as Rosalie heard of our plans two days ago they were shot down. With my perfect recall it wasn't hard to remember.
"What do you mean your wedding's going to be small?" Rose hissed at Alice.
"I don' have many people to invite: just all my siblings, Esme and Carlisle. That's only nine people." She argued. Rose smirked.
"You're part of our family now, so there are people to invite." She informed us.
"The Denali's," I questioned. Rose nodded scowling.
"Yes and of the people who will be coming they are the ones I could do without seeing the most." She growled out. I groaned. I think I knew why.
"They're going to try to steal our men!" Alice hissed out. Her eyes were black as night with rage, and I saw her muscles tense as if to lunge at someone who wasn't here. She wanted blood. I was pissed to. Jasper was mine! No one would take him from me. I caught sight of Rose's fearful expression as she saw our anger and it snapped me out of it. I reigned myself in quickly.
"Alice we can't tear them apart. We'll let them come and make them realize Andrew and Jasper are ours and ours alone." She nodded in agreement. The gold returned to her eyes slowly and her muscles relaxed as she worked to calm down. When her eyes were fully gold once more I turned to Rose.
"Sorry for scaring you." I apologized looking down. I felt horrible. She was my sister. I'd sworn to always protect her, and I scared her.
"It's fine Bella. Don't worry about it." She waved it off smiling.
"What are you smiling about?" I questioned.
"You're so protective and territorial over my brother. I'm just happy he found someone like you. You're perfect together." Rose complimented. I embraced her as venom filled my eyes. She had no idea how much that meant to me.
"Thank you Rose."
"Okay now that the sentimental moment is over… who else is being invited?" Alice questioned.
"Randall, Peter, and Charlotte are also coming. Garrett is unreachable so he won't be attending. So while it's still small those closest to us in this life will be here." Rose warned us.
"Alright we'll change our wedding plans if it'll make you happy." Alice huffed, but I could tell she was excited. Rose nodded.
"Alice, why don't we have a joint wedding? We can still use the army theme, because we've all been in the war. Would you mind if we had it be the civil war though? I really want to do it for Jasper." I explained in a low whisper. I didn't want him to hear me talking about wedding plans. Alice's eyes practically glowed with happiness. Rose was approving.
"That's perfect Bella. Thank you." She said hugging me. When she released me I could see venom shining in her eyes. I smiled back at her nodding. We could have separate weddings next time we decided to tie the knot.
I refocused on the forest around me. It was getting dark. I'd been more absorbed in my little flashback than I thought. I stood quickly and jumped from my perch. I was supposed to meet Alice at the house so we could go over wedding plans. Tomorrow we'd be going dress shopping. I tilted my head up and shut my eyes opening myself up to the rain. I loved to stand in the rain, but I needed to return home. I opened my eyes once more and ran through the trees. The closer I got to home the pull strengthened as if I'd run farther and out of string, but I knew it was because I was so close to the one who held my heart. I slowed to a walk as the house came into view. The pull vanished the second I saw Jasper. He was leaning against the house smirking at me. Could this man be any sexier if he tried? I didn't think so. He ran across the yard closing the distance between us and wrapped me in a hug.
"I missed you Darlin."
"I missed you too Jazz." I muttered into his shoulder. He pulled my lips to his for a quick kiss. I pouted when he pulled away which only made him smirk. I was internally doing a happy dance. I was getting a lot better about repressing the past when we kissed. I wasn't so afraid any more. I was hoping by the honeymoon I would be ready to take that last step with Jasper, but I seemed so far from ready. I was terrified of the thought of that day and worried I wouldn't be able to do it. While I knew he was willing to wait for me and take it as slow as I needed, but that didn't mean I didn't feel horrible for making him wait. If I was normal we would have already taken this step. He deserved so much more.
He held me shoulder length apart and studied me. I kept my eyes on the ground. "Bella, you need to talk to me. Why do you feel like this?" He questioned looking tortured. I cast my eyes downwards. "Darlin, please look at me." He begged. He shouldn't have to beg for anything. I met his gaze quickly. "What has you feeling so scared and undeserving?" I shook my head and looked away. Why didn't he just give up on me? I wasn't worth it.
"Darlin stop. You are worth it, and you deserve better than me." My head snapped up and my gaze locked with his.
"Never say that. You're the only one I'll ever want. You are everything I want and need and more." I assured him. It hurt so much to hear him talking about himself like that.
"I feel the same way when I hear you speaking poorly of yourself or when I feel your emotions reflecting negative thoughts about yourself. You're a beautiful, strong woman. Never doubt that." He said fiercely. I smiled slightly.
"What did I ever do to deserve you?"
"Everything," he replied stubbornly. I couldn't help the giggle that burst through my lips.
"I love you Jazz." I reminded him smiling.
"I love you too Darlin." He said pulling me to him once more. I buried my head in his chest and breathed in his heady scent. He rested his chin on the top of my head. I sighed contentedly. This was the way it should be. Bad memories seemed far away at the moment. Right now I was with Jasper and nothing could touch me. When he released me I grabbed his hand and pulled him up to his study. We settled down on the couch together. We wouldn't be making out tonight. We'd sit here wrapped in each other's arms enjoying the other's company. No words were spoken. None were needed. Being together was enough.
"Bella, it's time to go shopping. Either you can come down here or I'll drag you down here." Rosalie threatened when morning rolled around. I groaned snuggling into Jasper more.
"Five more minutes," I begged. I heard laughing from downstairs. Jasper pulled me closer to him.
"As much as I want us to stay like this you should go before she comes in here." Jasper whispered in my ear. I shook my head and tried to pull myself even closer to him.
"Darlin, you have to go eventually." He reasoned. I growled softly. He chuckled in response. I got up reluctantly. Ugh, why did I have to go dress shopping? Couldn't Alice just buy my dress? I was nearly out the door when he spun me around and pulled
my lips to his in a passionate kiss. When we pulled apart we were both panting even though neither of us needed to breath.
"Bye Jazz," I gave him a last chaste kiss before going downstairs. "Rose, I officially hate you." I grumbled. All the girls laughed.
"You'll forgive me eventually." She predicted. I rolled my eyes.
"Whatever Rose, let's go buy the damn dresses so I can come back." I grumbled following them out to the cars. We ended up taking two so we could fit everyone. We were taking the fastest cars, so there wasn't as much room for us. Every woman in the house was coming with Alice and I which didn't help much. They all wanted to see what our dresses looked like. Alice, Rose, and I were the only ones who knew what they looked like and the theme for the wedding. They were excited and curious as to what we were planning. When we offered to let them come with us they jumped at the chance to find out what we were planning.
Rose was driving so Alice and I were free to talk about wedding plans. "What kind of flowers are we going to have?" Alice inquired.
" Roses: Red, white, and off white with pink on the tips." I replied a second later.
They both looked at me. "That wasn't specific or anything." Rose commented laughing as she looked back at the road.
"What's your reasoning?"
"It's from a poem I read when I was seventeen."
"What poem?" Alice questioned.
"I meant seventeen the first time around. Back when I was human." I informed her smiling. "The red rose whispers of passion, and the white rose breathes of love; O the red rose is a falcon, and the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud. With a flush on its petal tips; for the love that is purest and sweetest has a kiss of desire on the lips. It's called: A White Rose by John Boyle O'Reilly."
"You're right: Those are the perfect flowers." Alice replied smiling. Rose nodded in agreement.
"I can grow as many as we need. I just have to know a number." I offered.
"Let's go with 500 of each." Rose offered.
"I'll start the process when we get back." I assured them smiling.
We were nearly there when Alice doubled over in pain. A low whimper pain escaped her. I felt the same exact pain, but I only allowed myself to grimace. She didn't need to hear my pain too. Rose turned quickly to look at her then me. It was easy to see her confusion. I turned my attention solely on Alice. I could explain to Rose later.
"Hurts the first time, doesn't it?" I said sympathetically. She didn't comment. "Alice, look at me." I requested softly. She slowly raised her head so her eyes could meet mine. "It does get easier to deal with." I assured her.
"You feel it too?" She questioned.
"More than I'm letting on. Trust me: I feel it." I informed her chuckling darkly.
"I want to go back. How can you stand it?" She interrogated.
"You get used to it." I said a small amount of pain leaking into my voice. Her eyes locked with mine.
"I'm sorry," she apologized.
"It's fine." I averted my eyes for a minute before looking back at her.
"What are you two talking about?" Rose questioned.
"Don't you feel the pull when you leave Emmett?" I asked.
"Yes but only slightly: unless we've been separated for more than a week."
"Alice and Andrew haven't left each other's sight for more than a few hours since they've been mated. It's been like that for 200 years. I was ripped away from Jasper, so now every time I leave the pull is there. It's always been there, but it's worse now. When I was in Texas it was a constant pull, constant pain. It made me want to double over but if I'd done that there was a good chance I would have been killed, so I had to learn to think around it. I feel it just as much as Alice does." I chuckled darkly.
Alice shook her head as if to clear it before she straightened up slowly. "How are you?" I inquired.
"I can handle it now." She assured me. I nodded. It was the best answer I was going to get out of her. We pulled up to the store where Alice and I had had our dresses shipped to. Esme's eyes were glowing with excitement. They all couldn't wait to see.
"Go try them on so we can see!" Ashley practically ordered.
"We're going." I said holding my hands up in submission. We walked into the back room and allowed the assistants to help us into our elaborate dresses. Mine was a soft blue with a modest neck line. Alice's was green with loads of frills and extras I hadn't wanted. We walked back out to the viewing room. Everyone gasped and gazed in wonder.
"We would like to cordially invite you to our joint wedding. The theme is the civil war. We hope to see you there." We said simultaneously before curtsying. Alice and I smirked at each other as we took in their speechless state. It was hilarious. Then they all seemed to come to their senses at once. They were all talking and complementing our dresses and the wedding plans. We divvied up the remainder of the jobs before we even got out of the dresses.
We slipped out of them more than four hours later. We also picked up the guys uniforms. They would have to have their best man and grooms men could where whatever they wanted. Alice was going to have her brides maids wear soft spring green form fitting dresses. I was going to have mine where something a bit more traditional. Once I figured out who I was going to have as my bride's maids that is. Alice had Ashley and Becca as bride's maids and Sam was her maid of honor. I wasn't sure who I wanted to use. The whole wedding thing was rather confusing.
On the return trip Alice relaxed once we were within forty miles of the house. I smiled back at her. "Better," I inquired. She nodded grinning.
"So a forty mile limit should suffice?"
"That would be a good idea. It'll get easier." I reminded her.
"I can't believe how strong the pull is for you two, especially you Bella." Rose said shaking her head.
"Andrew and I have always been inseparable even in battle. We've never been apart for more than a few minutes and no more than a mile or two apart." Alice explained smiling softly at one of the few happy things from the south.
"What about you?" She questioned me.
"Have you ever been ripped away from Emmett and there was nothing you could do to stop it?" She shook her head.
"No and I hope I never experience that." She said shivering.
"It's like experiencing the happiest you can ever be then having it all ripped away at a moment's notice and knowing that happiness is still out there. For your sakes I hope neither of you ever have to experience it. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy." I choked out through the pain. Rose and Alice were sympathetic.
"I'm going to guess from your previous answer you've never had to make a choice to lie and stay away to protect Emmett. To choose to take the pain because Emmett's safe and that's what really matters." I whispered closing my eyes as I remembered the pain.
"No," Rose whispered back.
"Well that's what happened to me. It was easy to do whatever I had to knowing Jasper was safer because of it. Then when my memory was wiped I was taken far from the one person I never should have been separated from. It made the pull that much stronger. It was my body's way of reminding me of what I was missing, of who I was missing." I explained just as we were coming up the driveway.
"Bella, I'm so sorry." Rose said wrapping me a hug the second we were out of the car.
"It's not your fault Rose." I assured her hugging back. "I'll be inside in a minute. Hide everything from the guys we can tell them later." I said to everyone. My sisters moved inside quickly understanding I needed to be alone. Esme was more hesitant but she did follow them after she shot a few concerned glances my way and one last reassurance from me that I was fine. When I was truly alone I let the façade drop completely. I took a deep breath as I tried to calm down, reign in my emotions, and stop the flood of memories.
"Darlin, what's wrong?' Jazz questioned worriedly. I pulled my mask back on before I looked over at him.
"I'm fine Jazz. There's nothing to worry about." I assured him pulling on a small fake smile.
"Darlin, please don't lie to me." He begged.
"There isn't anything to worry about. I'm fine." He wrapped me in a hug and I buried my head in his chest.
"Let's go somewhere we can talk." He said grabbing my hand in his. I nodded. We ran to our meadow. It was just as beautiful as I remembered. I sat down and leaned back into him needing the support. I needed to know he was there with me safe. "Darlin, please tell me what happened. I want to help." He pleaded.
"Talking about it will just hurt you too. It's over now." He tightened his grip around my waist.
"You're hurting. I can't stand knowing you're in pain. Let me help you."
"Why did I fall for such a stubborn man?" I sighed in defeat.
"Because it shows how much I care." He replied.
"Rose was asking me about the pull. She couldn't believe how strong it is to Alice and I."
"I feel like I have no right to be away from you, ever." He agreed placing his chin on top of my head.
"Explaining what caused it dredged up a lot of memories." I forced out.
"Like what Bella?" He questioned.
"You don't want to know. Haven't I hurt you enough?"
"Bella, you have been hurt to protect me multiple times. I want to help you." He reminded me.
"I told her what it was like to make the choice to lie and stay away to protect you; to choose to take the pain because your safety was what really mattered." His grip tightened further.
"You didn't have to protect me. I could have gotten you out of there."
"You didn't even know they were vampires. They would have killed you." It was hard to get the last couple of words out.
"I'm here now. Nothing is ever going to hurt you again."
"Jazz, if I went back and had a repeat from the Escotts on I wouldn't change a thing. I would still lie to keep you safe. As long as you didn't know what was really happening you were safe. That's what made it bearable." After a minute of silence I craned my neck to get a look at his face. There was pain written over his features. "Jazz, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything." I apologized quickly.
"It's not your fault Bella. You went through it. I should be able to handle hearing you talking about it." He said beating himself up.
"No you shouldn't. If you could listen to me talking about it without it affecting you like this it would mean you didn't care about me. I'm lucky to have you." I reassured him.
"Bella, you never did tell me what happened to you at the Escotts house. I know you didn't want to hurt me, but could you please tell me."
I took a deep breath before starting. "When I got there Alice told me what that place was really like once the social worker was gone. Before I was called upstairs I took of the necklace you gave me. I hadn't wanted to lose it. It was dark. I walked around the first floor trying to find whoever I was supposed to meet. After ten minutes I just gave up. Mr. Escott kept calling me pet. I knew right away from the sound of his voice he was a vampire."
"From his voice," Jasper questioned.
"He grabbed me from behind." I whispered. I shivered as I remembered. Jasper immediately understood and moved us so we were facing each other instead. I took the hand he offered. I sent him my gratitude. He gave me a small, sad smile in return.
"I pretended I didn't know what he was. I tried to stand up to him. I told him I wasn't afraid of him. He said he thought that was odd considering the time I'd spent with all of you. I couldn't believe he knew about you. Then he tried to convince me none of you ever cared about me. He said I was an annoyance and you were just using me." He squeezed my hand reassuringly. I looked up to meet his eyes. They were filled with pain and regret.
"You couldn't have known. There was nothing you could have done." I soothed him. He made no reply.
"He confused me for a minute, but I called him a liar." Jasper smiled half-heartedly.
"He slapped me for it. I just stood back up again and asked what he wanted from me." Pain was clearly shinning in my eyes by this point.
"What did he say?" Jasper prodded.
"He said I'd already figured that one out and he ran a hand across my breast. I told him to get away from me. I tried to fight him. I really did. He told me they were going to use me then kill me in a couple of months. He left me crying on the floor." I forced out. Jasper wrapped me in a hug.
"I'm so sorry Bella."
"You didn't do this to me. It's Maria's fault."
"She only did this to hurt me. If we weren't dating this never would have happened to you."
"Okay that's it. Let's go back home. This is why I didn't want to tell you. I don't want to hurt you."
"It's going to hurt me. I hate hearing about what they did to you, but you shouldn't have to carry this burden alone. Let me help you." I nodded. He sent me a wave of calm. I smiled slightly. I needed it for what I was going to say.
"I don't have to tell you all of this. I can skim over stuff." I offered.
"You've never really told anyone what happened to you at that place. I'll listen Darlin." I nodded.
"I wasn't allowed to wallow long. He grabbed me from the ground and kissed me. I tried to fight him off, and he told me not to. He said I wanted him. I told him he was lying and kept fighting. He dug his nails into my arm and drew blood. He wouldn't top touching me. I couldn't stop him." I said looking down. "Then I heard your voice. You told me to keep fighting, so I did." He seemed shocked to say the least. "But when he held my wrists above my head I couldn't fight anymore. That night I was gang raped on the floor in plain sight by ten vampires." I withdrew my hand. I didn't deserve to be comforted. I wrapped my arms around my knees and tucked my chin over the top. I heard a growl from Jasper, and I looked up to see his pissed and horrified expression.
"Bella-" he started.
"Don't you dare try to blame yourself for this. It's not your fault." I insisted. He didn't say anything as sadness and pain filled his eyes. I looked down once more. I was shocked when he wrapped me in a hug.
"You're the strongest person I know." He stated. He gave me a minute to recover before I continued.
"He told me I had to call you and make you stay far way. I couldn't destroy you the way they said so he had a few of the girls brought up. I called you and you said you were going to come see me. The second I hung up I was slammed into the wall. Mr. Escott made sure I knew that meant I only had a day or two left to live. Then they showed me how they could all shape shift making them undetectable. Then he told me I hadn't been a very good slave." I shuddered. Jasper squeezed my hand in comfort.
"He grabbed Becca and Ashley who were only 10 at the time and asked me which one would die due to my insolence." I closed my eyes for a minute before opening them again. "I couldn't do it. Instead I had a plan that ended up leaving me with no self-esteem, but at least they would still be alive." He stiffened.
"It was exactly like the first time Edward raped me. I was, am, worthless." Jasper's eyes locked with mine.
"You are not worthless. You never were." He said steadfastly. I didn't reply.
"I took a shower before I returned to where we all slept. Alice helped take care of my injuries. All the girls there were shocked by what I'd done. Apparently no one had ever done that before."
"I wonder why." Jasper muttered darkly.
"I got them to promise me to tell you it was an animal attack when you came to check the place out. I didn't want them to kill you." Jasper shook his head in disbelief.
"You should have been trying to get us to come help you. We could have gotten you out."
"There were at least 20 of them Jasper." He gaped. "When I awoke the next morning they were branding my shoulder."
"What?" Jasper roared. I winced at the volume. I was very self conscious so even during our make out sessions he hadn't seen me without a shirt on. He hadn't seen the majority of my scars.
"It says property of Mr. E. All the girls have one."
"Can I see it?" He asked. I hesitated a second before nodding. I slipped my shirt down my arm so my right shoulder was visible. I turned so my back was to him. He hissed. I stiffened as he traced it. Then he did the one thing I didn't expect he kissed it. "I'm so sorry Bella." He seemed so tortured.
"It's not your fault. Don't beat yourself up over it. That's the last of what I had to tell you. Nothing else happened."
"You're so strong." He pulled me into another hug.
"No you are for being able to listen to all this and help me handle it. I love you Jazz."
"I love you too Darlin." He replied giving me a chaste kiss on the lips. I wasn't having that I needed more. We quickly worked together to deepen the kiss. Both of us were eager for a reprieve from gruesome tales. Finally there weren't any memories left to go over. We could move on and make new, better memories, and I was thinking today would be a great start.
What The Characters Think:
Jasper: ever leave to protect me again
Bella: I'll only do it if I have no other choice
Alice: Bella we need to go over wedding plans
Bella: Alice I don't want to! :(
Jasper: Go on Darlin. I'll be here when you get out *kisses her*
Bella: *kisses back* I guess so…
Bella: You're as bad as Rose
Esme: So you're okay Bella dear?
Bella: I'm fine mom. Let's go get to work *grabs Esme's hand*
Me: Jasper, you know the drill
Jasper: If you want to know what happens when the Denali's arrive review 5 times or you'll never know *evil smirk*
Me: That sounds about right