Edward watched as Bella just sat on her bed. He could tell that she was thinking and he wished like never before, that he could hear her thoughts. Her expression was like stone. Normally he could at least read her face to get a general idea of what she was thinking, but it seemed that in their separation, she learned how to control her expressions. Finally, an agonizing two minutes later, Bella looked up at Edward.
"You left me," she whispered, agony evident.
"You said you didn't love me," she added, "That I was just a distraction."
Edward looked at her, "Bella, I…"
"No," she interrupted, "This is my time to talk. You sit there and listen. What you did was beyond cruel. You broke me, Edward. Not just my heart, but my body and soul. You are my life, my love. You lied when you said it'll be like you never existed. I was like a zombie. I couldn't function; no talking, no eating, barely sleeping with nightmares every time, I didn't go to school, and worst of all is what I put Charlie through. He watched as his only daughter withered away and was desperate to help but nothing could.
"I may have been breathing, and my heart may have been beating, but I was dead inside. Everywhere I looked I saw reminders of what we were, of a time when I was happy. You can take away pictures and mementos, but you underestimate my mind. I remember everything."
"My parents actually had my brother pull out of school just so he could help me. He sacrificed his scholarship and his future just because I couldn't function without you. I know he'd do it again if he had to, he's my brother, but he should have never had to do it in the first place."
"Bella I'm so sorry," Edward finally was able to say, and when Bella didn't speak he continued, "I lied when I said I didn't love you, that you were just a distraction. Truth is you are the light that shines above the darkness that is my existence."
"Then why, Edward?" she asked, "Why did you say those things? Why did you leave."
"Bella, you have to understand that I'm dangerous. I can kill you with the twitch of my pinky. Every day your blood calls to me, and while it got easier to ignore, it's still there. Humans do not belong in this life, and I should have never pulled you into this."
Bella curled into herself, "Oh," she said almost inaudibly.
Edward shook his head and pulled Bella into his embrace, "Bella," he breathed, "I'm not saying that I don't want you because that would be a lie of the largest proportions. It's just…James, Victoria, Laurent, the Volturi…they all pose a risk to your life. I can't handle being the reason you're in danger."
Bella pulled out of Edward's grip and turned so that she was facing him. She lifted her hand and shakily traced his features. She finally understood.
"Where you go, I follow," Bella whispered, "I'm in love with you Edward. I'm your mate, your soul. I was made for you."
"Why?" Edward whispered, "Why did you believe me?" He looked up at Bella, "After telling you time and time again that I love you, why did you believe the one time I said I didn't?"
Bella wrapped her arms around herself, "It never made sense," she tried to explain, "I mean you are amazing. You're beautiful, smart, strong, and brave. Why would you ever pick me?"
Edward couldn't help his small smile, "You never could see yourself clearly," he said, "I love you Isabella Swan and I think that you're amazing. You are the brave one, not me. You risk your life everyday around me, my family. You sacrificed yourself for Renee not just once, but twice. You are so loving, you accepted me for who I am, not what. You are beautiful Bella, never doubt that. Not only your physical looks, but on the inside.
"You're a human who walks among vampires. Of course I'd pick you over anyone else. It doesn't make sense for you to pick me."
Bella looked at Edward searchingly, "You really mean that, don't you?"
"I've never meant anything more in my life. You are everything to me."
"I love you," Bella whispered leaning forward.
Edward smiled, "I love you, Isabella. You make me feel alive." He leaned in and captured her lips in a searing kiss.
Harry watched as his little sister made up with her soul mate. He was happy for Bella, but couldn't help but feel that Edward was not to be trusted, at least not yet. He cleared his throat, interrupting them before they moved on from kissing and gestured for them to go downstairs. Bella sighed but nodded. She knew her brother would be overprotective for a while, and honestly she loved him for it. She wanted to be cautious about Edward, but being this close to him made that impossible. She didn't trust Edward not to leave her again if things got tough and knew that when…if he did so again, Harry would be there for her. She gave Edward a smile and took his hand, all the while thinking that she was glad he couldn't read her mind. He would be hurt to learn that she didn't trust him, not now.
When she made it downstairs she saw Alice's look and winced. Edward may have not been able to read her mind but Alice could see the future and Jasper could feel her emotions. Harry was frowning at her but before she could ask to talk to her brother in private, Alice leaned over and passed him a notebook. Harry read the message and relief spread across his features. He gave Alice a smile and mouthed his thanks.
Alice smiled back at Harry before clapping her hands together, "So!" she started but Bella suddenly got a thought and blurted it out.
"Why now?" she asked.
"Why now what love?" Edward asked.
Bella looked at Harry who as usual knew exactly what she meant. He gave her a reassuring nod. Bella took a deep breath and asked, "Why did you come back now?"
Edward spoke, "I came back to make sure you were safe."
Bella filled in the rest of the picture, "But if Alice and Jasper weren't here you wouldn't have shown yourself to me, would you?"
Edward looked slightly flustered, a first for the vampire, "Bella I assure you…"
"Edward," she interrupted, "Tell me that you wouldn't have stayed away if Alice and Jasper didn't come here."
"I…" Edward swallowed, "I can't…"
Bella nodded, "I see," she muttered.
"Bella," Edward pleaded, sensing that she was pulling away from his, "Please, love, I love you."
"Edward I think it's time for you to leave," finally said Jasper, "Give Bella some space."
"No!" Edward said, "I'm staying right here until Bella sends me away."
Bella licked her lips, "Maybe that would be best," she said quietly.
"I'll see you tomorrow," she finished.
Harry stepped in, "You heard my sister," he said, "Go home."
"Bella," Edward pleaded.
"Edward," Alice said pointedly.
Edward sighed and after one last longing look, he ran out of the house and into the woods behind the house.
Bella closed her eyes, a tear streaming down her cheek. "I'm going upstairs," she said and when Alice made to follow, she added, "Alone."
Harry couldn't help but cuss out Edward. Was he only capable of hurting Bella? Harry knew that his sister was hoping for a different answer then Edward gave her, but decided that it was for the best that she learned the truth.
"I'm so sorry Harry," Alice said, "This is our fault."
Harry shook his head, "This would have happened sooner or later," he told her, "They're mates; they have to deal with this or they will never be truly happy."
"But Bella…" Alice looked up the stairs with a pained expression.
Harry suddenly looked determined, "I need to talk to him," he said almost to himself.
Jasper immediately shook his head, "No!" he insisted, "You can't…"
Harry narrowed his eyes, "You may be my mate, but that does not give you the right to dictate my every move."
"It does when I'm trying to keep you safe," Jasper told him, leaving no room for argument, not that Harry heeded it.
"I can take care of myself Jasper," he said, "Or did you forget yesterday already?"
"No," he said, "I didn't. Edward almost snapped yesterday. He was this close to attacking you. If I hadn't stepped in, you'd be in the hospital at best, and turning at worst."
Harry rolled his eyes before pulling out his wand. Before Alice could warn Jasper, Harry sent the soldier vampire into unconsciousness.
"Harry," Alice scolded, "That wasn't very nice. He's just trying to protect you."
"I can take care of myself Alice," he said, "Just because Jasper needs to protect you doesn't mean I need it too."
Alice rolled her eyes, "Don't you think I know that?" she asked, "And just so you know, I can protect myself too. Not only am I a vampire, but Jasper trained me himself."
"Then why does he think…"
"Because all male vampires had the need to protect their mates," she informed him, "You're human, and smaller then Jasper, of course he's going to want to protect you."
Harry sighed and looked at Jasper guiltily. "I probably shouldn't have done that."
Alice laughed, "You think?" she asked, "Now why don't you wake him up and apologize."
"He's going to be mad," Harry observed.
"Oh beyond mad," Alice confirmed.
Harry took a deep breath before waking Jasper up. Almost immediately did the older male jump up and look around for danger. When he realized that no one who wasn't supposed to be was around, he turned and looked at Harry.
"Before you freak out, let me explain," Harry said quickly.
"Talk," Jasper ordered.
"I'm sorry!" he immediately said, "It's just that I'm not used to anyone wanting to protect me. Ever since I was small, I did the protecting. With mom I was the only guy around. With dad, he was always at work. Bella needed me to protect her from everything."
Alice giggled, "You mean she's always been a danger magnet?" she asked.
Harry nodded, "There was this one time where a Rottweiler chased her down the block because she stepped on his tail. I had to tackle the stupid thing before it took her leg off. If Wilson hadn't been following and hadn't distracted him, I would have been bitten. And then there was this time where Bella almost got into a child molester's car. She was five and the guy had a puppy. I screamed for my mom and made sure to grab Bella before the guy could."
Alice looked at Harry wide eyed before looking up at the ceiling where she could hear Bella sleeping. "So it's not us?"
Harry snorted, "It's just Bella," he replied, "What trouble did she get into here?"
"Well, if Edward hadn't been following her, she would have been gang-raped in Port Angeles. And then there was James, a tracker who chased her across the country, lured her to her old dance studio and bit her."
Harry groaned, "I'm not going to be able to leave her am I?" he asked.
"At least not until Edward…"
Jasper interrupted, "As interesting as this topic is, we still have the issue of Harry knocking me out. I didn't even know vampires could go unconscious."
Harry smiled sheepishly at Jasper, "I'm sorry Jasper," he said once more, "I was just upset. I promise not to do that again."
Jasper growled, "I will not tolerate it again Harry!" he said, "You are my…our mate! I need to know you'll be safe."
Harry looked at him somberly, "I can protect myself," he said and before Jasper could interrupt he added, "But if it means so much to you…"
"What do you think would happen to Alice and me if you got hurt, or worse killed? You're only human, a gifted human yes, but still mortal."
"Besides," Alice said, "Whatever is going on between Bella and Edward is just that, between them. I can understand wanting to protect your little sister, but you should take your own advice. She's an adult and will ask if she needs help."
Harry looked at Alice dubiously, "Are you sure?" he asked.
Alice nodded and pulled Harry into a hug, "I've seen it," she whispered.
"He's going to hurt her again isn't he?" Harry whispered to his mates.
Alice closed her eyes, and when she opened them, she was looking straight into Harry's eyes, "He decided that if he puts Bella in danger again, he will do whatever it takes to keep her safe."
Harry growled, startling his mates with how much it sounded like a vampire's. Jasper went up to his mates and embraced Harry from behind, wrapping his arms around Alice as well. They stayed like that for a moment before Alice's phone rang. Alice closed her eyes for a vision and then answered.
"Hello Esme," she said.
"Alice dear," she said warmly, worriedly, "Is everything alright? You weren't home when we came back from our hunt."
"We're wonderful mom," she said, "I promise! I had a vision and we had to go."
"Has something happened?" Esme asked.
Jasper took the phone before Alice could tell their maternal figure that they found their mate. He didn't want anyone to know at least not until he could temper their reactions. Besides if Carlisle and Esme found out they were in Forks, they would insist that they leave.
"It's nothing bad Esme," Jasper said.
"Jasper," Esme greeted, "Are you sure…"
"We'll call if we need you," Jasper replied before Esme could finish her question, "We have to go. We'll call soon."
"Alright," Esme said, "Be safe children."
"Bye mom!" Alice said knowing Esme could hear her.
"Bye," Esme hung up.
Alice jumped out and clapped her hands together excitedly, "Oh!" she chirped, "Let's go shopping!"
Harry grinned, "Sounds like fun," he said.
Alice's eyes widened and she squealed, "You like shopping?" she demanded.
Harry nodded, "Who doesn't?" he asked.
Jasper groaned at the thought of having to shop with not one but two shopaholics. It was bad enough with just Alice, but now that his other mate liked it, he was sure that he was doomed to a lifetime of shopping.
"Bella doesn't," Alice said wrinkling her nose with a pout.
Harry laughed, "Is that what she told you?" he asked.
"Yes," Alice said and the narrowed her eyes suspiciously, "Why?"
"Clothes shopping is not her favorite sport, I agree, but when you get her into a book shop or antique shop, you'll be hard pressed to get her out."
"So Bella likes old things?" Jasper asked trying to hide his smile.
"The older the better in her opinion," Harry nodded, "She especially likes things from the late 1800s, and early 1900s."
"Well it's a good thing she's dating Edward then, isn't it?" Jasper said making Alice laugh.
"I don't understand," Harry said.
"Edward was born in 1901," Alice explained.
"Oh!" Harry said, looking surprised before snickering, "Figures Bella would go for a guy over a century old."