AN: A huge thank you to everyone who's reviewed and helped push us over the 1K mark so soon. You guys rock so hard! As always, I'll see you again with your reply teasers on Monday!

Chapter 4: Believe

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So give me something to believe
Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

..

Believe by The Bravery

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After Bella placed a glass of beer in front of Edward, they slipped into a comfortable silence. She looked over and caught his eye once or twice, causing butterflies to flutter in her stomach. She was far from a virgin, but she'd never had this kind of reaction over a man she had just met before. Jasper returned shortly afterwards, having left Alice at her shop to close up for the day. He and Edward broke out into an easy banter as Bella continued taking stock of the bar. A few moments later, the front door opened and a man walked inside. He was average height and his hair was cropped short, almost a dark blond color. Bella swallowed nervously and continued with her checklist.

"Hey Ed, Whit," the newcomer called as he walked over and sat on a stool near Edward, who nodded in greeting.

Jasper leaned against the bar and smiled lazily at the man. "Hey, Mike. How's it going?"

Mike grinned in return. "Not too bad, a little busy at the store today." His eyes slid over to Bella and his smile widened.

"I didn't know you guys were hiring," he mused. "Hi there, I'm Mike Newton. I own the sporting goods store a few blocks down." He waved a little and gave her his best smile.

She scanned through her memory quickly and recalled a chubby, buck-toothed Mikey Newton from when they were children. Even she had to admit to herself that he had certainly aged well. He was lean and fairly fit, his front teeth probably fixed by braces.

Bella smirked slightly and smiled back at him. "It's good to see you all grown up, Mikey."

He cocked his head to the side in surprise. "What? Do we know each other?"

Emmett's boisterous laughter filled the room as he came in from the office. "You sure do, Newt. She's the one that knocked your fat ass off the monkey bars when you insulted my mom in third grade."

Mike's eyes widened comically as he swung his gaze back to her. "Bella Swan? No shit," he breathed out in a whisper.

"In the flesh," she replied cheekily.

He sat back slightly as his eyes slid over her, from head to toe. "Wow, you grew up nice."

She bit her lip to stop from laughing when Emmett glared at Mike, who rambled on, completely oblivious. "I mean, you were okay growing up, but, damn girl," he murmured as let out a whistle and winked at her.

She shook her head, letting the laughter spring from her lips. Mike grinned, his confidence boosted by her laugh.

"So, what brings you back to Forks? What have you been up to these past few years?"

She assumed that she was overcome by a deer-in-the-headlights expression when Emmett jumped in to her rescue.

"Bells was living with her mother down South, before she passed away."

"Oh, okay. Sorry about your mom, Bella," Mike responded, his voice sincere with sympathy.

"Thanks, Mike." She smiled gratefully, before slipping away quietly once he was immersed in conversation with the other two men.

She sidled up next to Emmett and hip-checked him. "Down South?" she whisper-shouted.

Emmett grinned and shrugged. "What? L.A. is south of here."

She rolled her eyes and laughed, handing him the completed check list. His eyes skimmed over it, before calling out to Jasper.

"Whit, can you take care of this before the Happy Hour crew comes in? I'll stay out here with Bells."

Jasper turned and saluted Emmett, before taking the list and disappearing into the storeroom.

Noticing that Bella had returned within earshot, Mike turned back towards her and resumed their conversation.

"So, what have you been up to Bella?"

She figured that a half-truth would be better than an outright lie. "I'm a writer."

Edward nodded approvingly from behind the man's back, shooting her a quick wink which set the butterflies into motion once again.

"Really?" Mike replied excitedly. "Anything that we might have read?"

She chuckled humorlessly. "No, probably not, Mike. Just a few magazine articles here and there."

His face fell slightly. "Oh, that's cool. I thought we might have had our very own Forks celebrity."

Edward sputtered and coughed, having taken a drink at the same time the comment was uttered. Mike reached over and patted his friend on the back in concern as Bella shook her head slightly.

You don't know the half of it, Newt.

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Two hours later, the tavern had a lively crowd of around twenty people. The number was a little less than normal for a Monday night, but Emmett suggested it was because of the holiday. Most of the nearby students were away; making merry with their families back home. Edward had left a few hours ago and Emmett wandered around the room, chatting with various customers, which left Bella to learn the ropes from Jasper. Once they had started to become busy, he held out his hand and offered her a black hair band from around his wrist. When she gave him a questioning look, Jasper shrugged.

"It's Allie's and I have no idea why I had it, so don't ask."

Bella bit back a laugh, gratefully accepting his offering, and swept her hair up off of her neck. Looking back, she realized that it was fortunate she'd been made to wear her blonde hair flowing around her face during the majority of photo-shoots she'd been in. It only helped in her attempt to stay unrecognized for now.

She and Jasper worked side by side almost like a well-oiled machine. She handled the beer and basic drinks, while he handled the more complicated mixes. Top forty music poured out of speakers on the ceiling and she found herself tapping her foot to the beat on more than one occasion. She even caught herself humming under her breath once or twice.

At ten after nine, she covered her mouth and yawned widely. It was hard to believe that so much had changed in such a short amount of time. Twelve hours ago, she had been nervous and scared about how she would be received. Now, she was surrounded by family and feeling carefree for the first time in almost ten years.

Unbeknownst to her, Emmett had been keeping one eye on Bella all night. He wanted to be prepared for the first sign of any trouble. When he saw her yawn, he immediately fell into big brother mode. He walked over and lifted the flap, sliding behind the counter. Smiling, he placed a hand on her shoulder affectionately.

"You've done great tonight, Bells."

She smiled proudly. "Thanks, Em. I'm happy to pull my weight."

He shook his head and sighed. "You know you don't have to, right?" He reached out and tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear. "We're family and we'll take care of you."

Her heart clenched and emotion clogged her throat as she nodded, knowing that he was telling her the truth. "I know."

He clapped his hands together lightly and called over to Jasper. "Whit!"

The bartender looked over from the customer he was talking to and responded. "Whatcha need, Em?"

"Can you manage by yourself for fifteen minutes? I want to take Bella home."

Jasper nodded. "You've got it man. No worries."

Bella started to make a half-hearted attempt to argue with him, but another yawn chose that moment to break though. Emmett laughed.

"Yeah, don't even try it. You're dead on your feet, Scrappy. You need some rest."

She smiled tiredly and went into the office to grab her jacket. They were half-way to the exit when the music's beat changed, causing Bella's movement to freeze.

..
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting throught the wind
Wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in
..

Emmett caught her frightened gaze and quickly tugged her into motion, pulling her out of the tavern before she had a full-blown panic attack.

She leaned her back against the cold wall and breathed in deeply. The steady drum beat could still be heard outside, but she thankfully didn't hear her own voice anymore. She opened her eyes and was immediately met with Emmett's worried gaze.

"Are you okay?" he asked quietly.

She gave him a small smile. "Yeah, but I think working in the bar might not be such a good idea," she responded, her voice as shaky as her nerves felt at the moment.

He nodded and shrugged slightly. "The thought never crossed my mind that one of your songs would come on. Friday and Saturday nights are more Top 40, anyway. We usually play more mellow stuff during the week. We can work around it."

He shot her a playful wink, trying to alleviate the tension. He succeeded and Bella let out an exhausted sigh. He smiled sadly and guided her towards his jeep.

"Come on, Bell, let's get you home."

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The next morning, Bella awoke in an unfamiliar bed and sat up quickly. She leaned forward and rested her head in her hands once she realized where she was. She tried to focus and contemplate on what her next move should be, but the smell of coffee that wafted under her door called to her. She shivered as her feet touched the cold, hardwood floor. She pulled on James' sweatshirt over the tank top and yoga pants that Rosalie had lent her last night. After wearing the hoodie for two days, it definitely needed a washing, but she decided that she needed the comfort of it today.

As she turned the corner and into the kitchen, she was met with Alice and Rose sitting at the table with steaming mugs of coffee. She smiled shyly and waved.

"Good morning, guys."

Both women smiled brightly. "Morning, Bella," Rose replied. "Coffee?"

"Yes, please."

Alice motioned for her to sit in the chair across from her as Rosalie stood to pour an extra cup of java. Bella sat and folded her hands, laying them on the table. She felt the table vibrate slightly and worried for a moment, pretty sure that earthquakes weren't as common in Washington as they were in California. After a moment, she realized that Alice's bouncing leg was causing the movement.

Rose sat the cup in front of Bella before returning to her seat. She glared slightly in Alice's direction.

"Al, cut out the leg thing. You're making me seasick."

Alice rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue, causing Rosalie to laugh, before turning to Bella.

"So, Miss Bella," Allie began, "Rose and I were chatting this morning and we feel that a shopping trip is in order."

Bella swallowed her first sip of coffee, contemplating the suggestion. "Uh, okay. I guess that makes sense. I need to buy some clothes and essentials anyway."

Alice grinned happily. "This is going to be so much fun!"

"Wait a sec," Bella replied, pointing her finger at the smaller girl. "No going overboard or being too hyper, okay? I want to keep as low a profile as I can."

Alice made a show of signing a cross over her heart. "I promise!"

Rose snorted softly before turning to Bella. "Do you want something for breakfast? Or do you want to grab something on the way?"

"On the way sounds good. Give me twenty minutes to grab my clothes from the laundry room and shower."

"Sure, go right ahead. I need to walk Joey Mac before we go."

Bella laughed, still finding the dog's name hilarious.

"Hey," Rose mock-chastised her, "no making fun of the dog. He's my baby."

"Along with Jon, Jordan, Donnie and Danny," Alice giggled, causing Rose's cheeks to flush lightly.

Bella raised an eyebrow and looked at the Amazon curiously. She huffed and folded her arms across her chest.

"Okay, fine. We have a cat named Jordan and three fish named after the others. I may have been a bit obsessed."

"You don't say?" Alice asked sarcastically. "And you have the nerve to make fun of me for Bieber."

Rose nodded. "You're damn right I do. At least my crushes are my age, not jailbait."

Allie threw her hands up in exasperation. "Oh my God, I do NOT have a crush on him!"

Bella shook her head in amusement and made her way quietly out of the room.

A few hours later, the trio found themselves in a small Port Angeles boutique, trying on clothes. Once Bella was finished picking out several outfits, she sat back in a chair and waited for her friends to finish up. As Rose and Alice took turns using the single dressing room, Bella enjoyed chatting with the girls.

"Rose, can you tell me about how you met Emmett?" she inquired at one point.

Rosalie leaned back against the wall, a sweet smile emerging on her face as she recalled that very moment. "Edward and I were dating when I first met Emmett. We had gone to this party somewhere on campus and we ran into some of his friends. Now, don't get me wrong. Edward is one of the sweetest, kindest men alive, but the moment I first laid eyes on Em, I felt this pull towards him." She shook her head slightly and sighed. "Even before that night, our relationship was already feeling more like a friendship. We lasted another two weeks before we went our separate ways. It's like he knew that Em and I had felt a spark, but neither of us had any intention of acting on it because of him. He wouldn't hear anything of it. He wanted both of his friends to be happy, and if it was with each other, then so be it."

She smiled sadly and closed her eyes. "He deserves so much better than what Angela has put him through," she murmured softly.

Bella's head cocked to the side slightly. "Angela? Who's she?"

The dressing room door shut loudly, startling Bella. She looked over at Alice, whose eyes were fierce with fury.

"Who's Angela?" She spat out the name like it left a bad taste in her mouth. "She's nothing but a two bit whore with delusions of grandeur. She's strung him along, time after time, using him to get what she wanted and then disappeared."

Rosalie pursed her lips and looked at Bella apologetically. "Sorry, sweetie, this is a touchy subject for all of us," she explained. "Her father is the pastor of the church in town. She and Edward dated off and on for five years. She's a real piece of work."

Bella wracked her brain for a moment before recalling a memory of the girl. She was Bella's age and had been extremely tall, with mousy brown hair and glasses.

"You mean Angela Weber? I remember her from when we were kids. She kept to herself and never really spoke much."

Alice snorted. "Well, when she hit puberty in high school, she became bitchy and popular. They started dating in Junior year and he swore up and down that he was going to marry her. Ed's original plans were to follow in our dad's footsteps and become a doctor. Angela loved that, so she rode his coattails to Washington State. Once he decided that Architecture and Carpentry were his passion, she tried to force him to drop that 'silly idea and just stick with the more lucrative career.' The bitch broke his heart that day and left him."

Alice sighed and plopped down into a chair across from Bella, tears welling in her big grey eyes. "She up and moved to New York to become a model. Two years later, she was broke and jobless, so she came back to stay with her father. She and Edward saw each other again and made up. I tried to talk him out of it, but he said it was fate." She mumbled something under her breath about him being a hopeless romantic.

"When a friend of hers called saying that a certain designer wanted her for a show, she dropped everything and flew back to the East Coast." She looked up at Bella and smiled sadly. "She never even said goodbye. She just up and left. Again. Edward had to find out by calling there and talking to her dad. He was heartbroken, again. It's a vicious cycle. She comes to town, my brother loses his head and forgets that she's a whore, then she leaves and breaks his heart all over."

"But, he's dated other people, right?" Bella asked, glancing over at Rose.

The Amazon nodded. "Sure, he's dated other girls, but nothing serious. Just a few months, here and there. No matter what though, when Hurricane Angela blows into town, he's always left in the wreckage."

Bella felt her heart ache for the poor guy. It figured that one of the few men on the planet who believed in love and romance would be besotted with someone who neither deserved, nor cared about his feelings. Alice turned to peer at Bella with an odd look on her face.

"Bella," she started, her voice apologetic, "don't take this the wrong way, but please don't start anything with my brother."

Bella's eyes widened in surprise. "What are you talking about?"

Alice sighed. "I like you, but your future is up in the air. You have no idea how long you'll be here. You could just as easily up and leave tomorrow and head back to your other life, which is crazy and hectic. I just don't want you starting a romance with him, just to end up breaking his heart."

Even though she could understand Alice's protectiveness towards her brother, Bella's back straightened in aggravation.

"How dare you?" she hissed angrily. "I've known you for twenty four hours. I'm here hiding for my safety and you're telling me not to screw around with your brother? I have more important things to worry about right now instead of a goddamn romance."

She stood quickly, gathering up her clothes and carrying them up front to the cashier. A few moments later, she stiffened as a warm hand touched her shoulder. Rose leaned forward and brought her lips close to Bella's ear.

"I know it was rude and uncalled for, but she means well. You'd probably feel pretty similar if the tables were turned and Emmett was the vulnerable one."

She turned her head and met Rose's ice blue gaze, nodding once. "I'll let it go this time, but I'm not going to put up with it again," she replied. Bella took her change and stuffed her receipt in one of the bags, before taking them out to the car. She slid into the back seat and rested her head against the leather, closing her eyes. She looked over as the rear passenger side door opened and Alice slid into the seat next to her.

There was a pregnant pause in the car, before Alice broke the silence.

"I'm sorry," she said, barely louder than a whisper. "I didn't mean to offend you or come across as a bitch. Somehow, even just talking about Angela sets me on fire." She looked up at Bella with remorseful eyes. "I'm so sorry. Please forgive me, Bella?"

Her previous annoyance slipped from her shoulders immediately and she nodded. "Sure, I can do that, Alice. But please don't put me on the pyre like that again, especially if I've done nothing to deserve it."

Alice nodded and gave her a small smile. After a few moments, Rose climbed into the driver's seat and turned to face the back.

"Are we good now?"

Alice looked expectantly to Bella, who smiled and nodded.

"Good, I'm glad," Rose replied, before starting the car. "Next stop is the grocery store and then we can head home."

As they wandered through the store's aisles, adding staples and snacks into the cart, Bella wandered off to view the ice cream selection. She was trying to decide between Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream or Karamel Sutra when she heard a male chuckle to her right. She looked up and saw a young man, standing off to the side and smiling at her, his tan skin offsetting his bright white teeth.

"Wow, I thought Newton was exaggerating when he was gossiping about how beautiful you were, Ms. Swan," he remarked in a voice that was warm and honey-like.

She turned from her freezer perusal to arch an eyebrow at the man. "Really? And just who would you be?" She took note of the dark blue pants and Forks PD jacket that he wore.

He smiled wider and held out his hand, which engulfed hers when she reached out to shake it.

"I'm Jacob Black, Forks' Police Chief. My dad, Billy, was a good friend of your father's. He was a good man."

She took a breath and swallowed the lump in her throat that formed with the mention of her father.

"Thanks, Chief Black."

He smiled. "It's Jacob, please."

"Oh, hey Jake!" Alice called from behind them. Jacob dropped Bella's hand and waved at the smaller girl.

"Hey, Alice. How's it going?"

She smiled and wrapped an arm around Bella's waist. "We're getting ready to check out, so I was just looking for Bella here."

Jacob's eyes cut to Bella's and smiled. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Miss Swan. I'm sure I'll see you around."

She nodded, watching him curiously as he turned and walked away. There was something familiar about him that she couldn't quite put her finger on.

"Did you find what you were looking for, B?" Alice asked.

Bella blinked and mentally shook herself from her thoughts. She opened the freezer and decided to just grab both flavors. She'd earned it.

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AN: Chapter song: Believe byThe Bravery / Izzy Dwyer song that played in the bar: Firework by Katy Perry

* All music, videos and people pic are up on the Rabbit Heart Blog, as well a bunch of fan art and banners. {rabbitheartff(dot)blogspot(dot)com}

* One other piece of info, I'm contributing a Parachute Outtake (Charlie POV of Edward & Bella's wedding plus a future-take with his grandchildren) for the Fandom Gives Back: Autism Awareness compilation. Linkage and info is up on my profile here!