CHAPTER 12: CONFRONTATIONS

A/N—Thank you all for your kind words of support and all the "welcome back" messages. Here's the next chapter. I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know.

Lemonmartinis, thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I am always in awe that you find time in your busy schedule for this.

Just Robin, what can I say? Only you can juggle beta duties while dealing with a major move and rearranging your whole life. Thank you!

Alice found Jasper exactly where she'd seen him in many of her latest visions. He had a favorite secluded bluff overlooking Lake Michigan he'd taken to frequenting over the past several weeks. Unfortunately, he looked just as he had in her vision: completely dejected as if he didn't have a friend in the world.

"How is she?" Jasper asked without looking up.

"Physically, she's fine. Carlisle treated her for shock and near hysteria."

"I'm sorry."

"I know." Alice took a seat beside Jasper and silently stared out over the majestic lake. No other words were exchanged for several long moments..

"Bella?" Jasper finally asked tentatively, breaking the silence.

"She's at the house with the family. She's fine."

Jasper turned and raised a skeptical eyebrow.

"Truly, she is. Rosalie is going to give her a hard time, but believe me, she's in good hands."

After a brief pause, Alice continued. "Actually, Bella being there is not the most dramatic thing the family has to deal with at the moment."

Jasper nodded in understanding. "What to tell Savannah?" he asked quietly.

"She saw Bella attack you. We have no choice but to tell her the truth."

"You can't just pass it off as some sort of hysterical hallucination or something?"

Alice shook her head. "No, if we don't tell her, I see her sharing her suspicions with others. However, even if we tell her…"

"What?" Jasper asked when Alice failed to complete her sentence.

"She's not able to keep the secret; at least not on her own."

"What do you mean?" Jasper asked in confusion.

"Only when the decision includes Edward staying close to Savannah, does she manage to keep the secret. If we move or he breaks off their friendship, she becomes distraught and reveals our nature to others."

"By close, do you mean…?"

Alice nodded. "She's in love with Edward. She's able to accept the fact he's a vampire and that she has to keep it a secret, but only so long as she believes Edward will be with her. If he leaves, she becomes heartbroken and tells her father, therapist, and anyone who will listen. So, Edward either has to turn her or stay in her life to ensure she keeps the secret."

"Jesus," Jasper uttered under his breath, realizing the implications of Alice's visions.

"This is my fault," Jasper declared. "Savannah knows our secret because of me. She's my responsibility; I will change her."

Alice's eyes glazed over briefly before she shook her head. "Edward won't let you. He doesn't want her to be turned into one of us."

"Not turned?" Jasper asked in surprise. "But that means he will have to stay with her indefinitely."

Alice didn't respond and Jasper didn't voice his greatest concern. He didn't have to. Alice knew he was worried about what this meant for Bella.

*&2394u-9431%^%31

"Okay, bro. We're waiting," Emmett prompted once they were all sitting around the family dining table. Bella felt weird being part of a Cullen family meeting again, but Edward had assured her he wanted her there. He'd even pulled out the chair to his left for her. Carlisle sat at the head of the table with Esme to his right. Emmett and Rosalie sat by Esme, across from Bella and Edward.

Edward glanced to Carlisle briefly before beginning. "I'll tell you what I know. Much of it has been provided by Alice. Savannah and Jasper were sent to the outdoor shed to get some additional sporting equipment during gym class today. Apparently, Jasper was impatient and left Savannah behind in his rush."

"Well, we don't know that," Bella interjected quietly. "He might have just been trying to keep his distance. He still struggles."

Edward nodded in concession to Bella's point and continued. "In any event, Savannah ran to catch up with him and tripped, scrapping her right knee and shin."

He looked up at his siblings and added meaningfully, "There was blood."

Their eyes instantly lit up in understanding.

"I was wondering what the human was doing sleeping upstairs," Rosalie said. "How did you keep Jasper from draining her?"

"I didn't," Edward answered. "Bella did."

Rosalie and Emmett's eyes widened in surprise.

"You're not serious," Rosalie scoffed.

"She attacked Jasper in order to save Savannah," Edward answered quietly, as he reached under the table and squeezed Bella's hand in gratitude and awe.

"Bella attacked him? Is Jasper…?" Emmett asked.

"No," Bella answered this time. "We scuffled but he wasn't hurt."

"I'm surprised you weren't hurt," Emmett mused. "If he was in predator mode, he couldn't have been happy to have his meal interrupted."

Bella and Edward exchanged looks. It was now Bella's turn to squeeze Edward's hand in gratitude and awe.

"Edward showed up and intervened," she said simply.

"Dude!" Emmett exclaimed. "I can't believe you and Jasper fought. Can't say it hasn't been a long time coming, though; I hate that I missed that one."

"All I did was subdue him, Emmett," Edward said with a shrug. "He may have lost his right arm in the effort, but I gave it back." he added with a slight smile.

Emmett chuckled, but Bella was not amused.

"It's not funny. One of them could have been seriously hurt."

"But no one was," Edward added quickly. "Jasper surrendered rather quickly, once the bloodlust passed."

"Where is he now?" Rosalie asked.

"He ran off as soon as Bella reattached his arm," Edward answered, really not caring where Jasper was at this moment. If it hadn't been for Bella's pleas, he wouldn't have stopped at tearing off Jasper's arm.

"We think Alice is with him," Esme added softly.

"Well, that explains Bella's presence I suppose," Rosalie mused out loud. "But what are we going to do about Savannah. I presume she saw too much?"

Edward looked down at the table, not responding right away.

Carlisle answered Rosalie's questions. "Edward has some choices to make. We are awaiting Alice's return before we make any final decisions."

Rosalie didn't readily accept Carlisle's vague statement without protest. "What decision? If she knows, we have to either change her or end her. We can't afford to invite more ire from the Volturi for keeping human pets."

"No one is going to hurt Savannah," Edward said, punctuating his words with a warning growl.

Bella couldn't help but feel jealous at Edward's warning. His tone left no doubt he would protect Savannah at any cost.

"Then change her," Rosalie countered.

Edward shook his head immediately.

"Listen Edward, I've never been a fan of turning anyone; you know that. But you may not have any choice here.

Hopefully, she won't end up being a slut like this one," she added with a nod in Bella's direction.

All hell should have broken loose at Rosalie's verbal attack. Edward instantly felt his temper flare and Emmett and Carlisle had already tensed, expecting his attack. But the attack never came. Instead, Edward and Rosalie both were hit with a wave of calm that could only come from one source.

Jasper Whitlock had returned.

E/N—A little bit of a cliffie-sorry. Hope to have the next chapter up in a week or two. I will keep posting teasers on the Twilighted forum. Please let me know what you think.

SONGS I JAMMED TO WHILE WRITING THIS CHAPTER: Sorry by Buckcherry and Smack My Bitch Up by Prodigy.