Hello! So in typical me fashion I have 3 assignments due for Uni and I decide to write Fanfiction instead. Bad for me, good for you.
I wanna say a big thank you to everyone who's just come on board with the story. I must warn you, updating schedule is extremely unpredictable, but I have absolutely no plans of abandoning this story. Ever. It will get finished. That I promise you.
The last few weeks have been super exciting because people have been pimping out this story on facebook and twitter, which makes me feel awesome. Thanks guys!
Hope you enjoy. I'm off to bed because I've got a lot of coding to do tomorrow. Goodnight!
Chapter 16 - Saturday Evening
Edward reaches into his pocket to pull out his fancy shiney phone. We've moved around the observation deck to the other side, so my vision is filled with the stunning view of the blue stretch of water and the islands on the other side of the bay. I feel like I could stay up here forever, studying the moving yet stationary nature of Seattle. I wander away from Edward as he taps away at his phone, leaning as far as I can safely over the railing to study the coming and going of the busy city streets below.
I jump as Edward grabs my hips, pretending to pull me from the ledge. He laughs, which makes me laugh and I experience one of those moments of carefree playfulness and humour that only Edward can bring out in me. I spin around and hug Edward tightly, smiling up at him.
Edward sighs and unwraps one arm to pull out his phone again, his easy smile turning into a frown. He reads the message, but quickly shoves the phone back into his pocket without replying. I look up at him in question. He immediately gives me a reassuring smile.
"It's Mom. She wants to have us over for dinner again. I told her we'd think about it." I nod and Edward breathes out, looking hesitant.
"Alice will probably be there."
Ah. There it is.
I'm not sure how to respond so I continue to hug him tightly. On one hand, I know that seeing his family means a lot to Edward and I don't want to get in the way of that but the thought of interacting with Alice makes my palms sweat. I know that Alice is Edward's family, so I have to get used to being around her.
Even if she makes me want to shut myself in a closet and scream.
I know that if I protested, Edward would scrap the idea and we'd spend a nice quiet night at some together and I want to do it so much. I want to refuse to go but I know I can't. It's Edward's family, and it's slowly becoming my family too. The more I spend time with them the more comfortable and accepted I feel.
So I smile and nod. And the blinding smile I get back in return tells me I did the right thing.
Although my brand new green journal goes almost everywhere with me, it's still very much blank. I remember perfectly the last line I wrote in my old one. The story plot is constantly trying to fight it's way out. Usually I can push it away, quell the urge to write it all out by keeping myself busy. But every now and then, especially when Edward is at work I begin to feel like the words are pushing against my skull and leaking out of my ears.
I run my fingers over the soft cover of the journal now as we pull up to Esme and Carlisle's house. I try to leave it behind in the car, knowing that it's going to look a bit awkward if I walk around holding it all night but today it seems I need a bit of extra security. I tuck is carefully under one arm as we walk up the steps to the front door, my other hand clutched in Edward's somewhat nervously.
Not super nervously, but still nervous. Like medium nervousness. Somewhat nervous.
OK, still quite nervous.
Level of nervousness aside, I'm looking forward to seeing Esme and Rosalie again. And Lexie. Edward opens the front door to let us in and I love the feeling of warmth and comfort I get as soon as we step inside. It's a feeling better than entering my usual coffee shop, but not quite as good as being in my new home with Edward. I tug at the sleeves of my, well actually Edward's, sweatshirt. He assured me that I should just dress comfortably, but I feel like I should at least try to dress better. However, shopping for clothes is one thing I'm not quite ready to do yet.
I can hear the sound of the TV coming from the lounge and chatting coming from the kitchen. I pause in the entryway while I try to figure out which direction is less likely to hold Alice. Unfortunately I don't know her well enough to know where she'd be tend to spend her time before dinner, so I follow along with Edward's tugging towards the kitchen.
It's bright and happy in there. Filled with chattering voices and the clink of glassware. Esme is bustling around the kitchen while Rosalie supervises Lexies colouring on barstools at the counter. There are three glasses of wine, two on the counter and one in Rosalies hand, and I instinctively look to find the recipient of the third.
Alice is standing off to the side of the kitchen. She's smaller than I remember, or perhaps my memory of her yelling added some inches to her stature. While the other two women are smiling happily, Alices face is held in more of a forced strained half smile.
The half smile melts of her face completely as she turns to see us in the doorway. We make eye contact for a split second before I'm enveloped in a Esme's arms. That second is long enough for me to feel the chill of her judgement. I'm grateful for the warmth of Esme's hug more than anything.
After a few heavenly moments Esme steps back and wraps the hand that Edward has now dropped in both of hers. Just seeing her has calmed me down some and I give her a small smile.
"How are you dear? Feeling a bit better?" I nod in reply, still not feeling like talking is on the agenda for today. She leads me further into the kitchen towards the barstool next to Rosalie. I follow and tentatively take a seat, turning slightly to make sure Edward is still there. I don't want to be here with Alice without him. Unfortunately Esme doesn't see my hesitance.
"Edward dear, why don't you do join the boys in the living room and let the girls chat. The game is almost finishing."
My heart pounds for a second before I feel Edward come up behind me and settle a hand on my hip, calming me down.
"Ah... I might just stay in here Mom."
Alice suddenly huffs, picks up her glass of wine and storms out of the room. I hear the clacking of her stilettos on the wood floor as she heads to the living room.
Well alrighty then.
Without Alice here I find myself much more at ease. After taking a deep breath I turn and look up at Edward, nodding towards the doorway, trying to tell him it's alright if he leaves.
"Are you sure?" he asks, stroking my cheek gently. I nod and lean up to place a small kiss on his lips.
"On second thought I might go see what the boys are doing." Edward says. I turn to see both Rosalie and Esme watching us and smiling. Edward goes to give Esme a quick hug and Lexie, whose attention is still very much focussed on her artwork, a kiss on the forehead before heading out of the room. He pauses at the doorway.
"Oh and by the way, Bella's having a bit of a quiet day so don't worry is she isn't up to talking much." I look down as I hear him leave, studying the smooth cover of the notebook on my lap. After a second of silence the kitchen activity starts up once more, and I eventually feel comfortable enough to look up.
Esme catches my eye first and she gives me a smile as she continues to move effortlessly from task to task. I feel like I should get up and help, but for once I take a moment to sit and relax. Rosalie puts an arm around my shoulder to pull me to her side in a hug.
"Do you want anything to drink Bella? Wine, beer, juice?" I shake my head. "Water?" Before I can even answer Esme fills a glass from the water filter and places it in front of me. I nod a thanks a take a deep drink as Rosalie rubs my arm soothingly.
"Don't mind Alice. We've had a talk with her. She should behave." I feel guilty knowing that I've caused discontent within the Cullen family, but at the same time it's nice to know that these strong women are looking out for me. Esme and Rosalie return to chatting and I sit enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and light conversation. Eventually Lexie gets bored of her coloring and hops down from her chair, coming straight to me.
"Can I sit with you Aunty Bella?" I smile and nod, putting my journal on the counter and happily lifting her gently onto my lap. She yawns before settling comfortably against me and falling asleep in an instant. Once again I find myself entranced by her childlike innocence and her total trust in those around her. I sincerely hope that trust is never betrayed by anyone.
When it comes time for dinner the boys and Alice file in, Carlisle giving me a warm hello and Emmett a cheeky dimpled grin with a wink thrown in. Alice straight out ignores me, and Jasper just gives a simple nod in my direction. I'm ok with this, I think. I understand that he has to stand by Alice. Rosalie gently lifts the tired toddler from my arms and tries to coax her awake as we settle ourselves around the dinner table, me and Edward at the opposite end to Alice and Jasper. Conversation is stilted at first as people try to figure out how to navigate the somewhat awkward table dynamic. Soon enough my silence leads to Alice commandeering a lot of the conversation. Something about the latest range of designer shoes that she's interested. I'm happy to zone out, eat the amazing dinner Esme has made and focus on Edward's hand resting on my knee. Once I've finished eating I rest my head on Edward's shoulder, somewhat tired from the long day, and Edward slips his arm around my waist, continuing to eat one handed. It's nice listening to Edward interacting with his family, and I'm happy we came to dinner tonight.
After dinner we move to the living room as the Cullen family continue to chat and catch up as I sit comfortably between Edward and Esme on the couch. While The conversation continues around us, Carlisle comes to sit in the armchair next to where Edward is sitting.
"Edward, Bella. There's something I'd like to run by you if you don't mind." I lean further into Edwards side, slightly wary of Carlisle, especially as he seems very docter-ish at this moment. Never the less I listen as he speaks. "I was just wondering if you've put any thought into Bella's medical records. It would perhaps be a good idea to contact the hospital in Phoenix and have the record transferred to here. When was the last time you had a check-up Bella?"
I stare at him and blink in surprise. My mind immediately goes back to the times when Mother dragged me to the big building with white walls and funny smells. To the doctors in crisp white coats who poked and prodded but never addressed me, only talking to her. I remember the few times they forced drugs on me and the weeks afterwards that passed in a muted, dull haze that kept the panic away but slowed my thoughts until they flowed like molasses.
Edward's voice calling my name snaps me from my memories and I realise that my knees are pulled up to my chest and I'm rocking gently back and forth. I can feel everyone staring and my eyes well with tears when I realise that I can't even get through one night with Edward's family without screwing it up in some way. I vaguely hear Edward say something, and he gets up and gently lifts him into his arms. As we leave the room I catch a glimpse of everyones faces. They all seem a bit shocked and sad.
Except Alice. Her face is twisted with a smirk that makes my skin crawl.
Edward takes me upstairs to a room with big, ornate wooden doors. He nudges them open with his elbow and the first thing I see is books. Lots and lots of books.
The room is a study with an impressive looking desk at one end, and the walls ladened on all sides with floor to ceiling bookshelves, packed with books of all different shapes and sizes. Edward settles into a leather armchair with me on his lap, gently rubbing my back as I calm down. I relax limply into his embrace and can't stop the tears. All I ever seem to do is freak out and cry these days, then spend my time try to calm down again. It's getting to be a bit exhausting. A lot exhausting.
"Shh, Sweetheart. It's ok. Everything's ok." Edwards keeps whispering in my ear until the tears fade. I lift my hand to rest on the back of his neck, gently twirling his hair between my fingers as I pull him down for a deep, slightly desperate kiss.
I pull away quickly at the sound of someone clearing their throat and a knock on the door. I look up to see Carlisle.
"I don't mean to interrupt or push, but I was wondering if you wanted to continue the conversation?" I can see he's hesitant, but he means well, so when Edward looks to me in question I nod.
Carlisle sits in the armchair opposite from us, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees.
"Bella, when was the last time you saw a doctor?" It's been a long time. Years. I open my mouth to reply, but still nothing comes out. I huff in frustration.
Edward answers for me as well as he can. "She told me once that she hasn't gone in a long time. She's afraid of doctors and hospitals." A look of understanding crosses his face.
"I'm sorry Bella. I didn't realise. I don't want to upset you any further. Perhaps we can talk another time." He begins to stand, but I stop him.
"No! I...it's ok. I rather just do it now."
"Are you sure Sweetheart?" Edward whispers into my ear. I look into his eyes as nod so that he knows I mean it.
"Ok Bella. When was the last time you saw a doctor?" I think back, trying to remember specifics.
"I was 13...I think. About 8 years ago." He nods and thinks for a second.
"I think it's important that you have a check-up. I know it might be scary for you, but it's important that we make sure that everything is as it should be. Have you put any thought into treatments for you autism?"
Immediately I shake my head, clenching my jaw and shutting my eyes tight. "No drugs! No!"
"Shhh Bella." Edward calms me. "There are other ways. On one's going to make you take drugs if you don't want to." I nod with him, still refusing to open my eyes. I jump slightly when I feel a foreign hand gently grasp my hand and press two fingers to the underside of my wrist. My eyes snap open and I see Carlisle kneeling next to our chair, taking my pulse.
"Bella, I need you to take a deep breath and try to calm down. Your pulse is racing." Normally the proximity of a doctor would stress me out even further, but something about Carlisle is different and I find my breathing evening out gradually.
"Bella, I want to make sure you are completely and utterly healthy and happy, and I want to do it without causing you any undue stress. However, I will need you to come into the hospital." My stomach drops, but I nod in acknowledgement.
"I can be there with you every step of the way Baby." I nod at Edwards words and pull him closer. "There are other options to try and help with your autism as well. Therapy has recently proven to be very effective."
I don't want to think about this right now.
"Ok. Fine. I'll go into the hospital at some point. Can we stop for tonight?" I'm quiet but forceful. I'm done for the night. Carlisle gives me a small smile.
"Of course Bella. Why don't you go down and join the others while I go over a few things with Edward." I struggle to my feet with Edwards help, and start towards the door. Edward stops me by pulling on our still joined hands and pulls me down from a quick kiss.
"I'll be down in just a minute Bella." Finally I let his hand go and leave them to their talk.
Just as I reach the bottom of the stairs someone leaves the living room and comes down the hall towards me. I think I know who it is before I turn to look, because I knew I'd have to face her at some point. Alice stops when she sees me, and the same twisted smile from earlier is back.
"Well well well. If it isn't little Miss Gold Digger. When are you going to give up this charade? I know you're faking this whole autism shit. Why don't you just admit you're after Edward's money."
With every word she takes a step towards me until my back is flush against the wall and her face is a hairs breadth away from mine. I'm screaming on the inside, hating how close this woman is to me and the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can't pull my eyes away from hers. All I can see is determination and spite, but I have no idea what she is trying to achieve.
"P...please believe me. I love Edward. I...I'm not trying to get a...anything from him." I get the words out around my stuttering, but it doesn't change the look in her eyes, or the malice in her words.
"I will protect my brother. You are not going to screw him over." Alice turns and heads in the direction of the bathroom without another word and I'm left stunned and shaken in the hallway.
I have a feeling getting on Alice's good side is going to be borderline impossible.
I kinda love this Alice :D Let me know what you think!