Warning - Fast paced chapter!
The Difference Between Us
The next couple of weeks passed in a blur. I took Charlies advice and began studying again. I went back to the books and worked as hard as I could. Jake was actually very helpful on this on. He would come to the library and sit with me, collecting or searching anything I might need. I still felt miserable though.
The longer that I never heard from Edward, the more I let go to the notion that he would come back for me. The fear of him being afraid, to stay away, ate me up. The thought of giving myself so completely to this man and the fact that he was able to walk away from me was horrendous. I would have given my life for him, but it was clear that I wasn't even a second thought.
I thought about going to see Alice once again, but I realized that if Edward was in contact, he would have been able to direct her to find me. He knew where I lived. He knew all the places I went. So I decided to put a line below him, just like he did to me.
His bracelet still cuffed my wrist and I couldn't seem to part with it, but I never pushed myself to take it off. I knew that there would be a time that I realized that this was truly over and I would take it off without as much pain. Least I hoped.
Charlie was careful never to mention Edward. He did on the odd occasion, but it was only to try to find out what had happened in Forks. I didn't ever want to talk about it. I was sure that he knew something must have happened. The way I allowed myself to lose my mind and with Edward having already telling him that he saw me more than a friend.
Finishing for the day on my paper, I switched my laptop off, closing the lid down. I made my way to the oven, pulling out the roast that I had started on earlier. It was looking good and after too many days with take out, I couldn't wait to eat something a little bit better for me.
I heard the car engine pull up out side the house, knowing it would be Charlie being dropped off from the Station. He was still on sick leave, but this being Charlie, he was in the office any time he could.
Pulling out the roast potatoes, I knew it was all ready to be served up and that Charlies timing couldn't have been any better. Reaching for the plates he called on me from the front door.
"In the kitchen." I called, reaching for the cutlery and sitting them on the worktop.
"Can you come through here a second, sweetheart?" I rolled my eyes at his demand as I was juggling food and dishes.
"I'm kinda busy. Dinner is ready. Come through."
"Bells," He motioned his head, telling me to follow him to the lounge as he stood in the arch way.
I sighed. "Fine." I mumbled as I put everything that was in my hands, down then swiftly following him through.
He sat on the couch, patting the space beside him.
The look on his face wasn't his normal demeanour. Something seemed wrong.
I took a seat and waited for him to begin.
He reached for my hand and then I knew something was really wrong. "A few days ago, Esme Masen came into the office. She's worried about Edward. No one has heard anything since you and his driver saw him last." No one? At all? I kept quiet. "He was dropped off at the airport and that was the last we herd of him. Esme wanted to put out a missing persons, but there is not much point since we don't know where he went."
Airport? "He's not missing." I told him, sure. "He left. He said to me he would go travelling once." It was a long shot, but it was true. He went to the airport, leaving us all behind. He did like he said he would.
Charlie nodded. "I ran a check on his passport. He never left. He never left the country, he never left the state... I had airport security back check and he left the airport the way he came in." He passed me a print out of an image from what I assumed to be the airport camera. There he was – blurred – but it was him. Walking out of the airport with a bag slung over his shoulder and what looked like his passport in his hand.
"Where is he?" I asked desperately, my voice breaking and tears beginning to shed.
"We don't know. He got in a cab – the driver remembers him because of his scars but can't remember where he dropped him off, but he's sure he dropped him off in Seattle."
A smile broke out across my face. "He's here?" He must have been. He never left me. So why wasn't he with me?
A new realization dawned upon me that he was here, but that he still didn't want anything to do with me. After feeling my world had stilled for that brief moment, I now felt that it had instantly picked back up and everything was still bad in the world.
"If he's here, why didn't he contact his family or friends?"
I furrowed my brows confused. "What are you saying?" I snapped, my patience thinning.
"When he was here in Seattle, I showed him pictures of you. They were ones we picked up on a raid trying to find these guys. Edward was in the background. He had been circled. The guys that tried to take you must have been able to identify him or something... I don't know, Bella. He left the airport for Seattle. You are so sure that he wouldn't have left you." His eyes dropped and he rubbed his hands in his hair. "What if he didn't leave you, Bells? We have to take this seriously. I told him to stay out of the city for his own safety when he came to the station to let me know what had happened between you and Carlisle. I think he was in as much danger as you were."
I couldn't be hearing right. He had to have it wrong.
"You think someone took him?" my voice trembled, pleading to hear another story. I would much rather he had left me than to think of him in danger.
"It is a possibility, yes." He swallowed deep. "As of this afternoon he was reported as a missing person." My eyes bulged at the thought. It had been weeks since that could have happened. The longer you were missing, the less chance you had of coming back.
"There is no other option?" I asked, my eyes burning deep into the print out of him.
He nodded. "There is. There is countless other scenarios that we have thought of. Truth is though, this is the one that makes the most sense."
I let the tears fall, begging him. "Please don't say that. If so, this is all my fault. If he's hurt I'll never forgive myself-"
"Bells," He tried to sooth me, pulling me into his chest.
"No you don't understand." I argued. "I'll die without him. I need him so badly. I need him to help me. He needs to be here. I haven't been honest with you-"
He cut me off once again. "I know, Bella. I'm not stupid. You and him. I've always known. I just wish you didn't keep it a secret from me."
I nodded into his chest, happy to feel his arms around me. I knew that wasn't where the lies ended, but for the moment, it was all he needed to know. I had to make sure he had a clean head for helping find Edward.
Over the next week Esme, Emmett, Rosalie and Alice all made visits to see me. They held me, let me cry and even talk about Edward in a way I hadn't since I had been in the house with him in Forks.
It felt like he died a little more each day. My hope slowly fading as the police tried to search for the criminals. It was a living nightmare.
Charlie backed off and gave me a little more room than normal. He hid out in other rooms, brought in take out and even offered to cook. For the most part I lay out in my bed, imagining Edward beside me. I swear, I imagined having him beside me so hard that it felt like he was right there.
The other four looked just as glum. Jasper hid away from it, Alice saying that he spent more and more time at the hospital.
Apparently Carlisle had been pulled in for questioning and struggled with the news somewhat. I suppose having the parting that they did on his conscience wouldn't have don't much for his sleep at night – but it was what he deserved. If it weren't for him, I doubt that we would have been in this situation in the first place and I would still be some naive student.
The days were slow. The snow falling was about the only thing I remembered from my time alone – that and thinking of Edward, of course.
I was jolted out of a light sleep when there was a hard banging to the front door. "Let me in, Bella." It was Alice. Her voice I could tell a mile off.
I wiped at my eyes, struggling to focus and to manage to get myself up off the couch. She banged again.
"I'm on my way, Alice." I called to her, making my way to the front door and unlocking it.
As soon as the door was open, she bolted through the frame, anger evident in her eyes.
"Close the door." She snapped as she began to pace the carpet. I signalled to the patrol car that everything was fine, though they were now well aware and use to seeing Alice after the past week.
"What's the matter with you?" I snapped feeling shaken from her attitude and being snapped out of my sleep. It was well known that I hadn't slept much at all.
"I... I don't even know where to begin." She paced some more. "I think you will need a seat though." My gut knotted but I took the seat anyway. "I don't know what happened... or even what was said, but Jasper and I ended up in an argument." her eyes closed and she palmed her forehead, thinking. "I was telling him off for not coming to see you more. I thought you could have done with Jasper. He's Edward's friend. He's the best person in a crisis..." She shook off her thoughts, looking at me in the eye.
"It's okay for Jasper to be having a hard time, too, Alice. The man isn't made of steel. His best friend is missing." I tell her off. It must have been hard on Jasper. Last thing he needed was to face me.
"He's not." She snapped.
"He's not, what?" I asked confused. "He's not having a hard time?" I tried to clarify. Maybe it had became too much for Alice also. Maybe it was guilt. It was know that their relationship hadn't always been great. Maybe she was worried it would haunt her, like it was haunting Carlisle.
"He's not missing." She snapped. "Jasper has talked with him. He's in Seattle and he's safe." What?
I genuinely couldn't form a sentence in my mind. Nothing that would make sense to the current situation, anyway.
"He said that he is here. Once he let that slip, he ran out the house. I don't know anything else. He must be at his home." She let out, exasperated.
"But he's missing." I argued. Admittedly, the press never took any interest in the story. What is another missing thirty year old man in the streets of Seattle? There was no posters on the streets, but he was still missing.
"No he's not. He's here in Seattle."
"Why would Jasper lie?" I asked dumbfounded.
"I don't know. We hadn't saw him in a few weeks. They only asked if he had been in touch-"
"So he lied? Jasper lied to the police over a missing person?" What the hell was this man thinking?
"Yes." Her legs gave out and she dropped into the seat next to me. "I swear I never knew a thing about it. I would never have let it go on. I only found out now."
"Why is he doing this then? Why would he put us all through this?" Surely he must have known what it would have been doing to his mother.
"I have absolutely no idea, but since we're not going to get answers from Jasper, maybe we should get them from Edward."
"How?" I snapped. "If he's managed to evade us up until now, where are we going to find him?"
Alice shrugged. "His house?"
I looked at her, trying to absorb all what I had heard. To be honest, it wasn't a bad idea. In fact, it was the best idea that I could come up with.
We sat outside his house. This was my moment. I could go and bang on that door and demand that he let me in or I could walk away. I knew the truth now. He hadn't stayed in Forks hiding. He hadn't left the country trying to escape it all. He was here, in the middle of Seattle, not all that far away and he was avoiding me.
"What do I do, Alice?" Asking in a panic feeling genuinely confused. I looked at the front door, willing it to open and to see Edward on the other side.
"I really don't know. But if I were you, I'd be looking for answers." She sighed. "We both know we didn't come out all this way only to look at some front door." And for the first time in a while, I felt that someone genuinely understood my pain. Someone could imagine what it felt like to be me, just for a moment. I appreciated that. She wasn't making excuses for Edward. She wasn't dancing around the facts, telling me to wait. She was by my side and she was ready to support me on this one.
I looked at her. "Thanks... for everything. I really don't think anyone else would have brought me out here, knowing what you do." She shrugged.
"If it were Jasper..." She didn't need to finish off her words. If it had been the other way around, she knew that she would have felt as lost and as hurt as I did right now.
I laughed a little. "Hell, Alice. You didn't just tell me where he was. You drove me to his front door."
She laughed a little too, shrugging with a shy look on her face. "Jasper is going to murder me later. I hope it was worth it." She laughed a little bit more.
"Do you want me to come with you?" She asked carefully.
I shook my head, telling her no. I was needing to do this on my own. I knew she would be waiting right out side. To be honest, for her to have the balls to go behind Jaspers back and bring me here, that took guts. I didn't want to look weak in front of her when I collapsed down at Edwards feet.
Unbuckling my seatbelt, I opened the car door to the quiet street and climbed out. My steps to his house were matched with waves of nausea. He didn't want me. That much was clear. All this was going to be was a fight about him having the courtesy to tell me it was over. There wasn't going to be any happy ending. Then I wondered why I was even bothering trying at all. I was forgotten about. It would have been better of me to do the same. But I just couldn't walk away as easily as he had.
I stood in front of the heavy looming door and took a moment to catch my breath before I knocked. I let a moment of hesitance pass through my head before I decided that I really needed to push on. Even if I didn't confront him, it didn't mean that this still wasn't over. It was what I owed myself. Closure.
I knocked on the door, patiently waiting for an answer. There wasn't one.
Reaching for the door bell, I could hear the tune carry through the hallway on the other side, imagining the ringing passing down the stairs that sat near the entrance which lead to Edwards basement room.
There was still no answer.
I looked behind me, Alice motioning me on to try again. Further up the street I could see Stevens face looking out his window, no doubt curious to what I was up to now.
I battered the heal of my hand off the door, creating a loud bang and pain shooting through my wrist. Surely he must have heard that? Tears welled in my eyes at the idea of him ignoring me once again. Why was he doing this too me? What had happened to the man I knew?
This wasn't Edward. This was not the man that promised he would be there for me. This was not the man that wrapped a family heirloom around my wrist and told me it belonged with me. That man no longer existed.
I reached for my wrist, unclasping the gorgeous bracelet and found a clean handkerchief in my pocket. I wrapped it up in it and held it in my hand.
In one last attempt, I banged my hand across the door once more and called him out, screaming his name through the door, making him fully aware of just exactly who was here.
There was still no answer. I pushed the letterbox open, feeding the bracelet though the space and felt some of the weight drop off me when I heard the faint fall of it on to the hallway. Now I didn't have that hanging over me. No weighted chain around me, shackling me to him.
Turning on my feet, I cut across the road quickly and climbed into the car. Alice's sorry face made me want to break down, but I was determined not too. "Do you want to go home?" She asked tentatively.
I shook my head. "Can we wait?" I knew it was a lot to ask, to sit here, wait for someone that I had already parted ways with, but I had to see the look in his eyes. Most importantly, I needed him to see the look in my eyes, to let him know just exactly how much he had hurt me. And how glad that I had learned soon on that he was never going to be there for me.
"Of course we can." She promised with a small smile. "We have all day." I nodded, happy that she was here for me as I let my eyes fixate on the front door across the street.
It was almost an hour later when the shrill ringtone of Alice's phone blared out. We both jumped, having been sitting in a relative silence for the past twenty minutes.
She sighed. "It's Jasper. I better answer him." I nodded, understanding.
Her finger glided across the screen before holing it to her ear. "What do you want?" She snapped. I hated how much this had affected their relationship. It wasn't fair that we had put them in the middle of all of this. I felt bad for making her bring me out here.
"What?" She screamed, my attention snapping to her. She looked at me, brows furrowed and a serious look on her face. "Are you kidding me here, Jasper? What is he playing at?" I could hear a faint mumble of Jaspers voice from through the phone but I couldn't actually work out what he was saying. "Tell him to grow some balls and to come here. He shouldn't be hiding from her." What? He was here? I looked out the car, paying attention to his windows and looking for any sign of life.
I looked towards Alice once more and she sighed, "You know what? If he means that much to you, don't bother coming back home tonight. I'm sure Edward will have you." With that she cut the call.
"I'm sorry this is coming between you two." She shook me off.
"He's here." She shouted. "Edward's here. He has been the full time. Edward called Jasper, telling him to call me to send us away." My head snapped toward the house. I knew he was here. He ignored me. He made me look like an idiot in the middle of the street.
"What am I going to do?" I asked completely unsure of where to go from here. He sure as hell didn't want to talk to me.
"We're going to find him." Now I was completely lost. He was in his house. "He's not in there," she motioned to the building across the street. "He followed us here. He's watching us. He's here. We just need to find him."
It didn't take any doubt or hesitation on this one. I pulled at the door handle and jumped out of the car as quick as I could with Alice following me.
I knew it was a race against time. He wanted us gone. He wasn't going to just sit there and wait for us to come to him. Even if I didn't get to speak to him, I just had to see his face. I needed him to see mine.
We paced the street, checking cars, searching him out. We had only been on our feet a few moments before Deputy Stevens was out of his patrol car, stopping me. "What are you doing, Bella?"
"Edward Cullen is here. He's not missing. He never has been. We need to find him before he gets away." I turned, desperate to continue my search. Stevens had different ideas though. I felt his grip on the top of my arm, him pulling me back to him.
"Let me go. I need to find him." I pleaded.
He shook his head. "I can't. I'm not letting you go up to all these cars when there is a high risk of danger. Have your friend take you back home."
"No." Alice's shrill shriek blared, starting both of us. "We need to find him." Stevens didn't look to pleased and he made no attempt to let go of my arm. "Fine." She spat. "Hold on to her if you want. I'm going to find him." Alice was quick on her feet, continuing the search for him when we heard a car screech out of the street. All of our heads snapping in the direction of the sound but all a little too late too get any real details.
"Was that Jaspers car?" I asked, sure that it had been.
Alice shook her head. "No. It was a BMW though. Was he wearing a baseball cap?"
In my fury, I pulled my arm out of Stevens grasp. "Great. Now he's gone and we didn't get a chance to talk to him. You better find him." I warned to the Deputy.
He shook his head. "We've had enough for one day. Either you get in the back of the patrol car or she takes you home."
I could feel the fury pass through my veins and I knew it was a better idea if I travelled with Alice. I don't think Stevens would like to hear what I had to say on the matter.
Alice and I both made our way to her car and once I climbed in I let myself lose control. "I can't believe that just happened. You need to push Jasper on this one, please. You're the only one that can do it." She nodded, knowing but the look on her face was one of self doubt. I knew I was pushing too hard, that this wasn't fair to either of them, but it was Edward who had put them in this position.
"How long had he been following me? And why? Why is he doing it?" I asked feeling genuinely confused.
"Maybe he still wants to be with you," Alice tired to reason.
I shook her off. "No. Why wouldn't he just come to me? Why is he keeping all this distance between us?"
"He's protecting you while keeping his distance. He's obviously worried about what your dad has to say on the matter," She told me, indicating onto the main road.
"That's crap, Alice. He's... he's hiding." He was hiding. But who was he hiding from? My dad had told me that it appeared the same gang were looking for him after he had saved me. Was it possible he was trying to protect me while protecting himself?
It wasn't until a couple of days later that I saw that car again. I stood by my window, peeking from behind my closed curtains in the dark. I was sure it was his car at least. The front part looked similar, but it was partially blocked from my view and sat far away. Honestly, it had taken me over thirty minutes trying to find it.
Jasper had been pulled in by police and requestioned. He had told them this time that Edward was okay, but that he refused to tell him where he was. The police had visited Edward house, but to no avail. As it was, Edward was no longer deemed as missing, nor was any action taken. He was a grown man that had done nothing wrong. I knew it annoyed my dad, but as he was still off work, there was little he could personally do to rectify the situation.
Esme was relived. Mad, but relieved. She had faith that Edward would show face when he wanted too. Jasper was currently staying in a hotel and my dad was mad over the full situation. It was one big giant mess. And it was all Edwards fault.
Looking at my watch, I noticed that it was almost time for Jacob to arrive. We were heading to the library so I could study some. Jake was my make-shift bodyguard, though the police patrol car would tail us.
I was trying my hardest to put Edward out of my mind, so I tired to study once again for a distraction.
Going with Jake was always fun. He helped me get my work done and could have fun without being too big a distraction.
The knock on the front door let me know he was here and as I grabbed my coat and backpack, I ran down the flight of stairs to the lounge.
Charlie had opened the door, letting Jake in. "You all ready to go, kiddo?" Charlie asked, a small smile gracing his face, thankful that I had been able to pull my mind out of all of this to continue on with what was needed.
"Yeah. We're making a quick stop on the way though." I told him. Both looked at me curiously. "Coffee." I confirmed with a smile. "If I don't I might not get through this. This cold weather is making me want to hibernate." I shivered at the thought of having to leave the house. It really had been too easy in Forks.
"Okay, there you go." Charlie handed me twenty dollars.
I shook him off. "No dad. I'm fine. I have some cash in the bank."
"Take it." he ordered gently. "It will save you a stop." He winked and I knew to give up.
"Thank you." I pecked his cheek on leaving, happy to feel normal, even if he was fussing a little.
"Keep her safe, Jake." Charlie ordered, Jake silently nodding, answering him.
We reached the coffee shop ten minutes later, Jake leaving me in the car while he fetched our order. A little further up the road I saw Edwards car sitting on the opposite side. If it wasn't for the fact I had saw it follow us, I would never have realized it was him. Of course, I was locked in the car, Jacob making sure that I was safe alone. I couldn't get out without the alarm going off, and that was an a attraction I really didn't need right now.
I couldn't see his face, but I knew it was him. It was the same car that had been parked out side my house and had followed us. It was also the same car that had raced out of Edwards street as we had looked for him.
Right now, there wasn't much I could do about it and Jake would never allow me to leave his side to confront him.
Jake quickly entered the car and I let my attention snap from my gaze in the side mirror to my friend and the coffee in his hand. I took the paper cups, letting him get into his seat easier and allowing him to buckle up and drive the rest of the road to the library.
As we took off, so did the patrol car that sat behind us and Edward's one that sat off in the distance. I was unsure the police had caught on about Edwards car because I was sure if that had, they would have told me to turn back home while I waited on Jake.
Parking up, we left the car and I quickly pulled up to the cruiser to speak to the newbie who was on duty tonight. "We're going to be at least an hour," I warned. "You have time if you want to go for a coffee of your own." I motioned to my own coffee cup. He nodded, but never said a word. I was a little worried that he had been given a thorough talking to about any attempts I may make to escape their watch.
With that, Jake and I both turned on our feet and headed into the building.
Thirty minutes later Jake sat down beside me once more, throwing a load of books in my direction. "You really need all of these?" He asked a little sceptically.
I nodded, telling him yes. Reality was though, I used his moment of distraction to check the window. The patrol car still had yet to return and I could see Edward car parked not too far from the entrance. It was my moment to confront him.
"Can you look up this quote for me right now?" I asked, referring to my hand written notes and the one of the books he had brought me. "It's chapter six, but I couldn't remember the page and I need the follow on from it for my paper." Jake rolled his eyes, but picked up the book anyway. "I need to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back."
Jake laughed. "You and coffee. You should have went for a juice instead." I playfully smacked his shoulder as I got up out of my seat and left him sitting there.
I quickly made my way to the bathroom and passed it, continuing on to the main entrance. I carefully looked to see that the cop car still hadn't returned.
Taking my cell out of my pocket, I pretended I was on the phone in case I was to be caught. You weren't allowed to use phones in the library after all. I was only being a good citizen.
I eyed up the quiet road aware this was the best chance I was going to get. I could see Edwards car. It wasn't too far away from me so I pretended to talk as I walked out along the path of the building, growing closer to it and hoping that he wouldn't speed away like he did last time.
I looked around in the opposite direction, checking once again that the cruiser wasn't to bee seen. It wasn't.
With one last deep breath I quickened my pace to the car I could see Edward in. A shadow sitting in the dark.
I let my knuckles rattle off of the window, calling his name. "You better get out here right now." I ordered. The tears sprang from my face, preparing myself for the confrontation, my hormones and emotions getting the best of me.
Slowly, the door opened.
I stood there, trepidation sweating out of my pores on this cold night.
I could hear my breath in my ears. The hammering of my heart vibrate though my head.
He eventually got out of the car, my eyes eventually meeting with his.
Except, it wasn't Edwards eyes that I was met with.
Energy drained me and the fear spiked. I was stuck. My feet concreted to the ground.
I would remember that long blond hair and his face anywhere.
A/n: Ohhh! Who thought it was Edward?
Sorry for being away for so long. I was in hospital – again! So sorry for not getting back to your reviews! They plan on giving me a new heart so if I disappear for a few months, you'll know why! I'll try to keep up-dating as I wait tho. It could be days, weeks or even a year.