A/N: So…I have NO idea how this chapter came about. *chuckles* I think it turned out quite well for a writing that was done at 1 o'clock in the morning. I enjoyed writing it. Gosh, I can't believe Bella's going to school soon. Can you? It's been such a long journey watching baby Bella grow up. I hope you all enjoy the update. I'll be having a wonderful day as always, so you should too! :)
A few months later…
Bella packed what was left of her books into the box, and she stood up after folding the top of the big box to seal it. The soon-to-be seventeen years old smiled as she began tracing the small scratches on the one side of the bookshelf, recollecting memories of how her family would gather around the shelf to mark her height every year as she grew. Later on, one of the vampires would eventually pull the bookshelf apart to pack up the parts and run it back to Forks along with all her other personal items.
Now standing at 5'6" and nearing the end of her teenage years, it was presumed that she would stop growing in height. It didn't bother Bella at all since she was comfortable with her height and she still has heels if she ever had days where she wanted to feel taller. Bella sighed with a hint of sadness as she traced the marks one last time and just as she turned around, Bella was surprised to see Alice standing at the entrance of their bedroom staring at her. The vampire was leaning against the doorframe with her arms crossed against her chest, her contemplative expression revealing all of her anxiety and worries about the upcoming school year. Bella walked the short distance across the room to where Alice was and she rested her hand against Alice's bicep before letting her hand descend slowly down her arm, caressing the vampire's cold hardened skin. Alice gave her a small smile in response to the affectionate gesture, and she held Bella's hand when the girl's touch had trailed down to the end part of her limb.
"Feeling nostalgic already?" Alice asked even though she had known the answer to her own question. It was a known fact in their family that Bella got attached to people, places, and things too easily. The human girl simply loved like no other. Alice felt especially lucky to be on the receiving end of Bella's romantic love, and although she sometimes wished that Bella didn't fall in love with things so easily, she knew that if Bella had lost that part of herself, the human girl wouldn't be the same Bella that Alice had to come to known.
Bella only let out a small sigh to Alice's question before Alice pulled Bella closer by her hand, and the young girl leaned her head onto Alice's shoulder as Alice wrapped one arm around Bella's waist. Alice leant down and kissed Bella's forehead to comfort her as she felt Bella move closer to her neck, inhaling her skin's natural alluring fragrance. Alice managed a small smile again even though she was just as sad as Bella was, and she buried her nose in Bella's tresses that were at the top of her head and breathed in the girl's beautiful scent as well.
Moving had never been so difficult until Bella started to mature and learned the meaning of what it was like to have loved and lost. It was at times like these that Alice longed for the lost years of Bella's innocence and ignorance. If she could take the pain and hurt away, Alice would've sacrificed anything to keep Bella away from any sufferings.
"You smell wonderful." Bella sighed as she drank in Alice's scent. She nuzzled her nose further into the crooked of Alice's neck and the vampire giggled as she did so.
"Thank you!" Edward said straightaway as he passed by the two lovers that appeared to be having trouble deciding if they wanted to be intimate in their bedroom or outside in the hallway. Bella rolled her eyes as she lifted her head off of Alice's shoulder and amusedly looked into Alice's topaz eyes before she opened her mouth. Alice quirked an eyebrow at the girl before she felt Bella release her holds on Alice and stepping away from her.
"Keep flattering yourself old man." Bella joked before she leaned in to place a soft kiss upon Alice's lips, making Alice's eyes flutter close at the tenderness of the kiss. Bella pulled back slightly before whispering the next words for Alice to hear.
"You should already know of all my unspoken feelings by now. I only have eyes for you." Bella assured her even though she knew it wasn't necessary.
"I know." Alice smiled as she leaned in and pecked Bella's cheek before taking her hand and leading the girl down the stairs where their family awaited their company.
"Time's a-wastin' mouse and kitten! Let's hit the road!" Emmett exclaimed as he jumped up from his seat on the lover's seat with Rosalie.
"We still have time, Emmett." Jasper chuckled as he leaned back into a relaxing sitting position next to Edward.
"The plane won't take off for a few more hours, Big E." Bella said as she sat down in the lone armchair before Alice plopped down onto her lap, wrapping her arms around Bella's neck as she settled down on her comfortably. Emmett's shoulders slumped in response before he went to sit back down next to Rosalie, who only shook her head as she flipped to the next page in the magazine that she was skimming through.
Alice sighed as she leaned her head on Bella's shoulder, playing with the strands of Bella's tresses at her neck as she loosened her hold on the girl she was sitting on. The vampire still felt worried as the days are coming closer to the beginning of a school year. Alice, Edward, Jasper, and Bella were going to be registered as juniors at Forks High School, and Rosalie and Emmett will be going in as seniors. They had also taken it upon themselves to sign the juniors into as many advanced placement classes as they can manage, just so they'll all share a few periods together and feel more at ease with familiar company. It hadn't taken much effort because they've all done this before, but somehow they had stopped attending school when Bella came into their lives. The vampires have graduated more times from high school than they bothered keeping count, and they've all at one time or another pursued higher education and have several framed college degrees stacked somewhere in one of the packed boxes. It may be unfamiliar grounds for Bella, but for the rest of the vampires, they've done it countless times and wanted nothing more to do with a school full of tasty humans walking around like tempting blood bags unless they had to for their cover stories.
It was common for them to start as young as possible in a town so that they could stay longer, but Bella, being the considerate human being that she was, decided that one or two years in Forks would be enough for her. Although they couldn't have passed for freshmen, the Cullens were pretty certain they could've all entered school as sophomores and have a longer stay in Forks if Bella had wanted that much more time. After Forks, they had the world to conquer, but it's been already decided by Edward that they'd move to Denali, Alaska afterwards. No one wanted to say it, but everyone had thought it, which caused Edward to roll his topaz eyes every time that they did. They all presumed the reason he chose Alaska was because of Tanya Denali, the leader of the Denali coven. It was no secret that there was some sort of puppy love going on between the millennia old blonde temptress and the century old broody man. In fact, when Bella had kept her thoughts open about it after she's heard stories of Tanya and Edward, the vampire scowled at her choice of words for referring to their special relationship as puppy love. Edward refused to have any part of his life compared to a little mutt. The idea had disturbed him for days, and when asked what was wrong, Edward only denied that anything was amiss.
Speaking about mutts, there were shape shifters who turned into mongrels living in La Push, a small community not too far away from Forks. According to their people's legend, any vampire's presence will trigger the shift of several of the Quileute tribal members, causing them to turn into werewolves in response to danger, in which their body will be giving them supernatural abilities to protect their reservation. The Cullens had made a treaty with the chief of the Quileute tribe, Ephraim Black, about a century ago when they had moved to Forks for the first time, and as long as they don't cross the border and trespass onto each other's territory, there would be no harm done to either side. Although Ephraim Black was wary of the vampires at first, he soon found them to be honest and trusting when they had stayed true to their words, seeing as they only hunted animals to survive and did not harm any of the humans living in Forks at the time. They had a rather amicable relationship with one another after about a year of the Cullens residing in Forks, and before they had left, the chief of the Quileute tribe had informed them that they were welcome to come back to stay in Forks even after he was long gone, saying that he had written it down in the books for his future generations to know about their existence and to keep quiet about it so that the treaty stays in place. When they had returned to Forks again almost eighteen years ago, they had discovered that Ephraim Black had passed and his son, William "Billy" Black, had been cloaked with the powerful authority due to his being the direct descendant of a long line of chieftains. Billy Black had worn a white smile as he greeted them at the border almost eighteen years ago, and it was visible to them that he was born with the power of authority even though he was confined to a wheelchair due to diabetes. The man had inherited Ephraim's place on the tribal council, and had told them about his father's death and took it upon himself to introduce them to their pack's new alpha, Sam Uley, who had been a part of Ephraim Black's pack and will be sitting in until one of the Black children become old enough to lead the Quileute tribe. They had agreed to re-signed the treaty, a proposal suggested by Billy Black, so that he was alerted whenever the Cullens were nearby because he wanted his people to be prepared if they had any of the younger generations shifting. The wolf complex gene had intrigued Carlisle for a long time, but he dared not ask to examine them out of common courtesy, and Edward had wondered about them too because he couldn't read any of the Quileute's mind. The vampire didn't have any prejudice against them, but it was just that their stench was a bit unbearable at times, having to run off with several other vampires and leaving Carlisle and Esme on their own whenever they had meetings with the Quileute tribe about each other's safety.
That was why Edward had been disturbed with Bella's thoughts about puppy love. He couldn't imagine being in a stinking relationship with Tanya. That would just be absolutely horrendous. By the last day of the disturbing thought, Edward finally laughed at himself when he realized he had gotten all worked up for nothing. Everyone in the family had looked upstairs as they heard his laughter from the living room, Bella included, because Edward never laughed by himself unless he was reading someone else's mind. They all had eyed each other during the time, wondering what the others were thinking, causing the broody vampire to laugh all on his own once more. Nobody had uttered a word about it, and Emmett had actually thought that Edward had finally gone mad.
Alice closed her topaz eyes as she felt Bella tracing lazy circles onto her back and she sighed once more at the affectionate gesture. The warmth emanating from Bella's body had made Alice feel so warm, and the vampire suddenly thought about how she felt so at home in Bella's arms.
"Oh god," Edward said with a disgusted look before he started chuckling, alarming everyone but Alice who was still stuck in a daze. They all looked at him in question and he just jerked his head slightly and gestured towards Alice who still had her eyes closed. Everyone chuckled at this and the vibrations of Bella's body shaking awakened Alice out of her oblivion. Alice's topaz eyes circled the room and they wander around trying to find the source that instigated Bella's laughter. When she couldn't find it, she sat up straight in Bella's lap and her back was suddenly pressed against Bella's chest, causing the young vampire's breath to hitch and her eyes to blink rapidly.
"Um…" Alice swallowed hard before she slowly leaned forward and away from Bella's chest, causing Edward to laugh as he was obviously tuned in on her thoughts. "I…need...a moment." Alice said more to Bella than the others before she dashed out of the front door.
Bella sat there in confusion to what had just happened and immediately looked at Edward for an answer. The vampire was now shaking, as he was bent over laughing in his seat and the rest of the family had joined him with Emmett's cackling matching Edward's loud laughter.
"What's so funny?" Bella asked irritatingly, feeling incredibly left out of their silent or vampire speed conversation.
"You don't want to know, baby Bella. You don't want to know." Emmett repeated himself as he clutched an arm around his stomach as he laughed. Rosalie gracefully stood up from where she had sitting and walked over to where Bella sat before she settled down on the armrest and faced the young girl.
"I shouldn't be the one to be telling you this, but that girl is just so…stubborn." Rosalie rolled her eyes as she said this. Rosalie decided to take a different approach and then stood up again but only to kneel down in front of Bella this time before moving both of her cold hands to hold Bella's face.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Jasper advised as he saw Rosalie about to open her mouth to speak to Bella. Rosalie turned to look at the vampire and then scowled before she felt the wave of calmness wash over her.
"Stop that." Rosalie said sternly even though her tone was gentler than usual.
"I think he's right, Rosalie. We are in no place to intervene." Carlisle added before he looked over to Esme and saw her with a worried expression.
"I don't know, dear. Maybe it's time." Esme said as she looked over to catch Rosalie's eyes.
"Okay, can we talk about me like I'm still actually here?" Bella laughed a little awkwardly before quirking both her eyebrows in question. Rosalie turned back to face Bella and her expression softened as she stared back into Bella's brown orbs. Just as she was about to open her mouth to speak again, Emmett's loud snickers interrupted the moment and she looked over to glare at her mate but he hadn't been paying attention to see her threatening look. Rosalie rolled her eyes at the big goofy man and then returned her attention to Bella who was now sitting a bit uncomfortably in her seat by the looks of it, and Rosalie's eyes softened once more. Rosalie removed her hands from Bella's face and then gently held the young girl's hands. She let out a steady breath before she started talking over Emmett's uncontrolled laughter.
"Bella honey, Alice is out there in the forest touching herself right now." Rosalie said as calmly and seriously as she can. Confusion swept over Bella's features for several seconds before her face slowly contorted into one of recognition.
"Oh." Bella said. She blinked rapidly at the realization before she closed her slightly dropped jaw.
"Oh." Bella uttered once more. The boys had now gotten quiet and the rest of the family was staring at her as they waited to see her reaction to the news. It was slightly amusing for them all to see the color red paint her cheeks a rosy shade as more time passed by. About half of them sat there expecting some kind of outburst, or maybe for Bella to run out of the room in embarrassment. She was a teenager after all and teen girls usually reacted aggressively when it came to these topics. Yet, that didn't happen and they found it quite strange. Maybe it was a delayed reaction.
"Okay." Bella nodded slowly as she contemplated Rosalie's words.
"Wow." Bella was now shaking her head back and forth as she tried to wrap her mind around the blonde's words and the realization that had just hit her.
Rosalie tried not to laugh as she watched the many facial expressions came and leave Bella's face, but as hard as she tried to purse her lips to keep from smiling, she gave in about several seconds later and was grinning mad at the young girl in the armchair before her.
"Err… Um… Well… Ha…" Bella laughed awkwardly as more time passed and she reached a hand behind her to scratch the back of her head.
"It's strange seeing how speechless you are." Edward commented as he cracked an amusing smile her way.
"It's okay, Bella Bear. We all touch ourselves all the time." Emmett tried to lighten the mood.
"Emmett!" everyone in the room yelled as he felt a smack at the back of his head.
"What? It's true!" Emmett whined as he rubbed his head to soothe the pain.
"What he's trying to say, Bella, is that vampires have needs. It's natural for one to find self-relief the way Alice does." Edward explained before the rest of the family tried not to laugh at Edward's choice of words. He was kind-of known to be a prude when it came to those kinds of topics.
"Really?" Bella asked tentatively as she lifted her eyes off the ground and stared into Edward's eyes.
"Yes." Rosalie confirmed as she stood up from the floor and then sat on the armrest again.
"I think we've disclosed enough personal facts for tonight." Jasper concluded their discussion. They all sat in silence as they amusingly waited for Alice's return. Bella knew that they were all trying to let her think the things they've said through and let it sink into her system. She felt too awkward to add another word to the conversation, and a part of her wanted to smack the front of her head for not realizing it sooner. It all made sense to her now that she thought about Alice's behavior in the last few months, but she still felt shy about the entire situation nonetheless.
"Poor Alice…" Bella unconsciously spoke to herself before she clamped a hand over her mouth and saw all the vampires staring at her in hilarity.
"Poor me?" Alice questioned as she stepped inside the house to find her family strangely quiet. Before Bella could answer, everyone had immediately dashed out the front door and left Bella staring at a vampire standing in the middle of the room with confusion written all over her face. Bella chose at that point to be a little bit more thoughtful and opened her mind as she decided to talk to Alice about what she was doing out in the forest. Alice's eyes glazed over momentarily before her face became horror-stricken only seconds later.
"Oh god." Alice said ashamedly before she covered her face with her hands. The vampire tried to stay calm, but embarrassment overwhelmed her and she almost made a quick dash out the front door as well until Bella spoke before she got a chance to move.
"It's okay, Alice. I understand." Bella said as she quickly walked over to where Alice stood and took the vampire's cold hands into her own. Bella swallowed the small lump in her throat before she took a breath and looked into Alice's eyes.
"It's okay." Bella reassured her again. Alice's eyes softened immediately before she studied Bella's face. She sighed with relief when she saw that Bella was telling her the truth and she leaned in to briefly kiss Bella on the lips to thank her.
"I promise I won't ever do it again." Alice tried to apologize as she stared back into Bella's now mirth-filled eyes.
"You can do it whenever you want. I don't care. Just…promise you'll tell me more about this whole mate thing when the time comes, okay?" Bella spoke softly. Alice looked at Bella gratefully before she nodded her head and then wrapped her arms around Bella's neck as she pulled her into a warm embrace.
"Good." Bella whispered quietly as her arms wrapped around Alice's middle and clung onto her beloved tightly.
We will cross that bridge when we come to it. Bella thought to herself.
Disclaimers: I do not own Twilight.