The shock set in quickly. I didn't even realize that there was still glass embedded in my elbow until Carlisle was digging through my skin with tweezers.

"Bella, are you alright? Do you feel light-headed at all?" He began to stich up my arm and I briefly felt a stinging sensation but the feeling died swiftly. I nodded dully as Carlisle continued to patch me up on his family's dining room table. "Between the blood loss and trauma, I would imagine you'd be slightly disoriented. If so, just rest and drink plenty of water. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to check on my son."

Carlisle fled the room, leaving Edward and I residing in an awkward silence. I ran my fingers through my hair, a nervous habit I picked up from him, and struggled for words. "Are you alright, Edward?"

He nodded and gave me a half-hearted grin. "Yes, love, I'm just concerned about you." He lifted me from the table bridal-style and sped to his bedroom in the blink of an eye. He carefully positioned me on his couch before taking a seat beside me. "Do you want to go home?"

I bit my lip. I didn't want to leave but if my presence would affect Jasper, more than it already has, I didn't want to stay either. "I'll go for now. I think I've had enough excitement for one birthday." Edward leaned in close for a kiss and captured my lips in his.

His kisses had always been so careful and delicate. This kiss, however, was rough and hungry: the complete opposite of his kisses just a few hours ago. Confused, I pushed him away, he complied. "Edward…what was that?"

His look feigned ignorance but there was a spark in his eye that indicated he wasn't being completely sincere. "What are you talking about, love? I simply kissed you."

"No, you didn't just kiss me; you kissed me like I wasn't made of glass. That never happens, never."

He sighed deeply. "Bella, what happened downstairs made me realize that you are too fragile and different to be around our family."

My heart dropped and I suddenly felt nauseous. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that a human doesn't belong with a clan of vampires. This is why‒"

I began to tear up; I knew exactly what he was doing. "It's why you're breaking up with me, I understand. If you could simply give me a ride home, I'll be out of your hair for good."

I stood and started toward the door but Edward was in front of me in an instant and as I looked to him with tears in my eyes, his simply looked hurt. "Love, I'm not breaking up with you. I'm offering to give you want you want."

My tears vaporized instantly and I searched my personal Adonis's eyes for any deceptiveness, I saw none. "Edward, do you mean…?" He nodded and I felt my throat go dry. "When?" I whispered.

He whispered back, "Whenever you would like, Bella. Tonight, if you want." His eyes flashed eagerly.

My mind worked for an answer, for a perfect time to be transformed into a vampire. "Not tonight, Edward. I need a few weeks to organize everything and to tell Charlie why I'll be gone for a year. A month from now we'll do it."

Before I could finish my sentence, Alice stormed in. "Oh, Bella, I can't wait to have you join the family!" As she rushed toward me for a hug, I saw Jasper leaning idly by the doorframe.

Her hug brought me back to reality but I couldn't resist looking as Jasper. As I checked him once over for bruises or scratches, his eyes caught mine and time froze. There was much between us that needed to be said; about tonight, about Phoenix, and about me joining the Cullen's. I wanted to speak to him about everything but there was something in his eyes that screamed 'not now' and I nodded so imperceptibly that I wasn't sure Jasper even noticed. Before I could nod again to be sure he saw it, he retreated in the direction of his and Alice's room.

I tuned back in and realized Alice was explaining how I won't have any excuses to be clumsy as a vampire. "So, Bella, you know what that means don't you?" I shook my head. "You get to wear heels!" She squealed. "So, after you're changed I'll take your measurements and go buy you a new wardrobe!" Before I could protest, like she knew I would, she sped from the room leaving me alone again with her brother.

Edward cleared his throat. "Love, I'm going to go on a hunt. I'll be back soon to take you home if you would still like to leave." I smiled gratefully as he pecked me on the forehead and, in the blink of an eye, he was gone.

I sighed, relieved that I could stop acting like I wasn't absolutely confused by everything that transpired tonight. As if on cue, there was a knock on the door. "Come in," I was expecting Carlisle, or maybe Emmett, but to my surprise, Jasper was the one that entered. "Jasper, what are you doing here?" He offered no answer just closed the door and leaned against it casually as he studied me from head to foot. If not from personal experience, you wouldn't know that a few hours before this man tried to kill me with his bare teeth. His hair was organized and his white flannel shirt was as clean as it was when it came out of the washer.

His evaluations began for a few more minutes before he met my eye. "Are you happy, Bella?"

I didn't miss a beat. "Of course I'm happy, are you?"

He smirked. "That's debatable. The past one hundred and fifty years or so have been fair, at best. I suppose you want to talk about tonight, don't you?" I nodded strongly. "First, why do you want to know? Didn't you experience it for yourself?"

Confused, I simply stared at him. "Well, yes, but everyone tells me your dangerous."


"And I don't believe them." He cocked his head at me.

"Why's that, Bella?"

I shrugged. "Sometimes I just get a gut feeling, like something isn't right."

He smirked again, this time his eyes glistened. "Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what's good for you. They don't want you to find your own answers; they want you to believe theirs."

Who was this man? "And you don't?"

He shook his head. "No, Darlin', I don't. I want you to stop gathering information from the outside and start gathering information from the inside."

"Why do you want me to do that?"

"That way you can answer your own question." Before I could ask more questions he began to walk out of the room.

I yelled after him. "Wait, who is 'they'?"

Faintly, I heard him reply, "Everyone."

I was rewarded with a few moments to ponder Jasper's words. He doesn't want me to listen to what others say, including Edward. How can I completely ignore the suggestions from the ones I love? My love returned shortly and he seemed much more content with himself than he did before the hunt.

He returned to sit next to me and as if he could read my mind, he said, "Love, what happened?"

I smiled reassuringly. "Nothing happened. I just had some time to think about how I'm going to tell Charlie." A sigh left my lips as I sat, deep in thought.

"Love; regardless of what you choose, it'll be difficult. I think the most logical option is to say that you were killed in a car accident. I can disappear for a few days before and after the funeral and then we can relocate."

An alarm went off in my mind. This was what Jasper was talking about, people thinking for me as opposed to me thinking for me. "I'll consider it," I told him when in reality I already knew I wasn't going to follow through with the idea.

He proceeded to take me home and give me a tender and passionate kiss goodnight. After retreating to my solitude, I had the gut feeling to open my window. As I opened my window, a sudden gust fell through my room, a gust that could only be created by a supernatural being. "Edward?"

A chuckle came from my rocking chair. "Wrong brother, Darlin'."