Alice had been pushing herself to have a vision and Jasper was able to feel her emotions when she finally got one. The anger worried him, but the following relief from his mate was good news and he waited patiently to get the rest of the story when she was done.
"He hit her." Alice said, her eyes angry and black and Jasper felt the anger fill the room from Esme and even Edward at that. "But that boy she went to the movies with stopped him, it would have been." Alice's words trailed off and Jasper sent her some reassurance and love, because the vision she'd had before had clearly been hard on her. "I'm buying her a cell phone, she's never doing this to me again. I couldn't do anything, she got hurt and I couldn't do anything."
"How hurt is she?" Esme asked tentatively, as if she really didn't want to hear the answer. Jasper spread his calming to the rest of the room.
"She'll have a black eye, but Esme, that boy was going to kick her when she was down, he would have broken her ribs." The anger grew and Jasper had to work harder to send out calm, because Esme had never been this angry before around him. She still growled loudly even with Jasper's powers filling the room.
Jasper could hear Rosalie's laughter and Emmett's chuckle coming closer, showing they were coming home. With a heavy sigh he pushed his calming influence to grab them once they were in range, before they heard about this. If he didn't there was a good chance they'd both run to Phoenix, and the danger was over. "But the important thing is that she's safe." He said, trying to keep a houseful of vampires focused, rather than getting absorbed into what might have happened.
"What? Safe?" Rosalie was at the front door quickly and that helped Jasper focus on her.
"Bella was punched, but she's okay." Jasper spoke up quickly with the important facts, because while he loved his Alice, she tended to tell things in order and sometimes you just needed to know the ending first.
"What?" Rosalie's eyes widened and it wasn't rage that Jasper felt from her, but shock, sadness, and something like guilt. After a moment of that, the anger came, even as Rosalie sad down heavily on the chair behind her.
"One of the bullies from her school hit her." Alice added. "She'll have a black eye, but she's okay." The news of a black eye had a few vampires feeling angry again and Jasper filled the room with calm once more.
"Did she at least punch that little bitch back?" Emmett growled.
"No, it was a boy, and that boy she was at the movies with hit him a few times." Alice spoke up and Jasper blinked as the growls from Rosalie and Emmett pushed passed his powers.
"A boy, a boy hit her?!" Rosalie was livid, but still controlled, so Jasper relaxed his hold on her. A man never should strike a woman, so he fully understood Rosalie's anger.
When he watched Rosalie reach for her cell phone and then stop he made plans to go get that cell phone for Bella today. This was too many times in one day that not being able to talk to the human was causing trouble. Rosalie's anxiety and concern escalated just by not being able to call. With Alice's powers the cell phones were necessary, and it was a horrible oversight that Bella didn't have one.
Alice gave him a happy smile at his plans and Jasper just moved to pull her into a hug and held her.
Bella held the bag of peas to her eye and sighed heavily at the uncomfortable cold. It was necessary, but she wasn't happy about it, not about any of it. She still felt a little shaky, but now she also wished she'd had the brains to hit back herself. She just stood there, seeing it coming and that moment of doing nothing while being attack really bothered her. If Joseph wasn't there, would she have ever done anything to protect herself? Bella feared the answer was no.
Sitting back on the chair she stared with her one good eye at the movie Joseph had playing, before glancing at the teenage boy sprawled on the couch. He laid back in such a way that he looked like he hoped a girl would just walk up to him and lower herself on top of him, the way many boys looked sprawled out like that. "Thanks for the peas." She gave him a hint of a smile.
"Sure thing." He nodded and looked away from the television to give her a hint of a smile as well, but there was a nervousness to his movements, they weren't flowing smoothly like they had earlier today and Bella felt her heart sink at the awkwardness.
Since there was little to talk about, and the tension was too thick, Bella just focused on the movie, while keeping her good eye on the clock for when she could remove the peas. Once her time was up it felt a bit weird to put the peas back in the freezer, but she did and then she slipped into the bathroom to look at the damage.
The darkness around her eye was already starting and Bella stared at it and the slight swollenness. It probably would look much worse tomorrow, just in time for her to go home. Charlie wasn't going to be too happy when he picked her up at the airport. She reached up and gently touched her eye, and the tenderness of the area wasn't unexpected. Would Renee have a drama queen fit the moment when she saw it? Would she blame Bella for this as well? Bella let out a long breath and leaned back away from the mirror she'd been moving closer to.
The makeup was a bit messy, sitting on the counter, a hint that Joseph's mother did her makeup in this bathroom. She opened the door and called out. "Can I borrow some of your mom's concealer? I don't want to go home looking like this, it'll just cause a huge fuss."
"Sure, sure, go ahead." Was yelled back and Bella felt a bit better about how this last day with Renee would go. Bella borrowed what she needed and used the skill she'd learned in her last lifetime to cover up eyes darkened from lack of sleep to try and disguise this mess. She'd need to stop by the store and get more concealer for tomorrow, but she'd found a way to just avoid dealing with Renee about this.
Once she was happy enough with the results she wandered back out to the living room. Joseph looked over at her and sat a bit straighter in the chair. "It's getting good. Have a seat." And so Bella took the seat on the couch with him to watch another movie she wasn't too eager to see.
"Do you have a boyfriend back in Forks?" Joseph asked when the action slowed down and the romance started on the screen. Bella turned to see he was looking at her as he asked that.
"No." She didn't like how he started to have a hint of a smile at her answer, so she elaborated. "Since I've got just one year worth of memories, I thought it was a better idea to wait and get to know myself before dating anyone else." It was a good lie, she liked it. She also liked how the smile started to fade on his face. "You heard about my amnesia right?" Her gay excuse was also a good one, but she didn't need elaborate here and she had no idea how Renee would take that information. No, drama free was her goal for this last day here and then she had no plans of ever coming back.
"Oh, yeah, I heard that." He seemed to open his mouth twice more with no words, before he spoke in a softer voice. "You seem to be doing okay though, I thought you'd be, well,"
"Stupid and naïve?" Bella added and watched him flinch at her words. "I know, people have expected that of me before too. I work hard at not being that."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean," Joseph looked a little horrified at what she'd said and Bella sighed.
"I know, I get it. It's weird, I understand." Bella looked over at the movie again, but clearly it wasn't the center of either of their attention anymore. "Thank you for helping me today. That boy was one of the kids that thought my amnesia was a great reason to pick on me. I can't say I hadn't thought about punching him in the face before." Her hand reached up to gently touch the bruise she'd hidden on her face. "I wish I had." Her voice was a little colder with her anger at that boy, and at herself for just standing there.
"Looks good now." Joseph told her, his focus intently on one eye. "Can't even see it happened."
"That was what I was going for." Bella smiled.
"Where were you when I got elbowed in the face playing basketball? I could have used that makeup magic." He smiled and shifted in his seat, folding a leg so that he could face her while sitting on the same couch. "My yearbook picture is a bit gruesome."
"You actually went on yearbook day? I skipped the photo shoot." Bella told him, remembering how she'd dodged that by hanging out in the library.
"Don't know why you'd do that. You're beautiful, even with a black eye." He spoke softly and Bella felt her heart sink as the words registered in her mind. Oh hell, there was no way to not have this get awkward now.
"Well, thank you." She said with a fake smile, wondering if it was okay to just head out now. Dammit, Joseph's car was still at the house, she'd have to bring him with her.
"Does it hurt?" He slowly reached a hand out toward her face and Bella flinched back away from that touch. He pulled his hand back quickly after her response.
"Sure, it hurts." She told him, but that wasn't why she'd pulled away. "Maybe we should be getting back to my house. I don't want Renee worrying, and your car is still there." Bella was pretty sure Renee could have forgotten Bella was in town by now, she was probably having sex, but Bella could always hang out on the patio and read there.
"Oh, yeah, sure." Joseph looked a little disappointed, but he grabbed the remote and turned the TV off. When he stood up, he pulled her keys out of his pocket. "I can still."
"No," She interrupted him. "I'm feeling better now, not so shaky." She held her hand out and once those keys were in her hand she felt a lot better, more relaxed. She risked giving him a smile. "I need to stop off and get some concealer at the store, but I promise it won't take long."
Tanya walked toward the house, rotating the mail she'd picked up so she could see what all they had. The Alaskan day was sunny and long this time of year, but since they had no neighbors for several miles she didn't worry about anyone seeing her out in that sun.
"Mail Call." She said as she stepped into the house, having rearranged the pile to be distributed. She almost felt like a mail carrier herself with the amount that came into this house today.
Kate raced into the room and jokingly jumped up and down. "What you got for me, what you got for me?" She teased and Tanya couldn't resist smiling at her sisters odd playing around.
"Here, your rent bill for your dojo." Tanya handed the bill off with a smirk, knowing that Kate wasn't thrilled to get bills, she wanted catalogs. Kate was the one of them that worked in town now, they switched every ten years on that. It was how they were able to stay living in Alaska for as long as they did. They just alternated the person people saw. Kate was the immature one, but she took care of the business in town for them well enough, though the humans must wonder how Kate stayed alive with all the junk food she bought at the grocery store so people thought they ate food.
"Eh," Kate grimaced and took her bill.
Carmen's hands were on the pot she was making on her wheel when Tanya wandered into her studio with a few catalogs and a personal letter from a friend of the woman. "I'll just set it here." She motioned to the table and Carmen nodded, clearly very involved in her art. "I'm giving you Eleazar's too." She set the second stack down, rather than hunt down the man. His bill for the tuition on his web design classes was hardly going to dent their coven's resources and it would give him a potential job for the future, he wanted to try his hand at holding a job for a bit because Tanya and her sisters had been doing it for a while and they had things to fill their time with that way. It also might be because Carmen wanted to sell her pots online and needed a website for a web business.
Walking out the other door to the studio, Tanya made her way up the stairs to Irina's office. The clicking of the keyboard told her why Irina didn't come to get her own mail. Tanya stopped in the doorway and watched as her sister typed quickly as the keyboard could handle, her thoughts flowing fast. Rather than interrupt she looked around at the writer's office, taking in the bookshelf filled with the historical romance's that Irina had written over the years. Some had yellowed over time, the pen name had changed a few times as one identity was shed for another. Still, in all the years Irina wrote, it was always romance. Tanya's sister believed in love, she believed in it too much really, even though they'd all three never found a mate. Irina was always looking. This disaster that Bella helped them avoid was the result of years and years of believing too much in romance and yet Tanya didn't have the heart to tell Irina that perhaps writing endless romance novels wasn't good for her.
"Got your royalty checks." Tanya said softly once there was a pause in typing. "And I got the ones you did in my name too. I'll have Kate deposit them all when you sign yours." Irina wrote faster than a human, she didn't need to research the past, they'd all lived it. To deal with that there was a claim that Irina's pen name was shared between both sisters, and half of the royalties went to Tanya, who didn't earn any of it.
"Thanks," Irina started to talk, but a phone ringing on the desk on the other side of the office, the one that was Tanya's.
"Sorry." Tanya gave her sister a small smile and moved to her desk. They'd turned what should have been a nice sized extra bedroom into a shared office, one desk for Irina and one for Tanya. Tanya picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"I'm looking for Tanya Denali." A voice spoke on the other side, and the rough quality that only a vampire could hear identified the caller as human.
"I'm putting together a new collection for our museum and was wondering if I could work out a way for our museum to borrow your …" The caller kept talking and Tanya half paid attention. She had collected a lot of things over the years and at this point was letting museum curators borrow pieces to show. She jotted down the collection that the Nevada museum wanted and agreed to have it shipped. She'd have to head out to the storage facilities they had for all of this and send it out this week. It was a little hard to believe that the things she'd bought on a whim years ago made her money today.
"I'm heading out to teach women to kick the balls right off of men!" Kate announced loudly, so pleased with her current job.
"You have fun with that!" Tanya could hear Carmen call back.
It was a common joke, but this time around Kate was really following her passion with her career choice. It was hard for her to spar with humans, to keep her speed and strength hidden and Kate had trained hard to be able to do this, because she believed women should be able to protect themselves, and finally, in today's age, they were willing to try.
Things went well with Renee when she got back, and Bella was surprised that the two newlyweds weren't actively having sex when she got there. They went out to dinner, and Bella felt more of a third wheel at that meal than she'd ever felt before. The book Bella, the girl whose life this was, made more sense at that moment when Bella felt invisible at the restaurant. No wonder that Bella thought she should move away, that she was just in the way, it was clearly true.
Her flight was in the morning and Bella was very happy to leave, waving at Renee as she stepped into the airport. The flight went smoothly and it was just a few hours and she stood outside of a familiar airport with a bag of luggage once again waiting for Charlie to pick her up.
The ride home had quickly gone quiet and Bella stared out the window of the car watching the trees they passed by. "Does Forks have any self-defense classes?" She asked after a moment and looked over at Charlie to see him frown a bit.
"We teach some women's defense classes once in a while." Charlie said and Bella understood he meant the police department ran those.
"I want to take those." She spoke, her voice deeper and she watched some concern cross Charlie's face. "One of the bullies from my old school caused some trouble and I realized that I don't know how to defend myself."
"What happened Bella?" His voice was deeper, more like a police officer than Bella was used to hearing from him.
"I'm fine, but he punched me. I saw it coming and I didn't know what to do." She didn't like how her voice caught and she turned to stare out the window. "I don't want to freeze like that again."
"Some little shit hit you?" The police officer voice was trumped by an angry father and Bella had to look back at him and the road in some concern, but Charlie was still driving fine. "Where the hell was your mother when this happened?"
"I'd gone to the movies to get away." Bella didn't add that Renee had practically pushed her into a 'date' with Joseph, because Charlie was mad enough. "It happened and it's over, but it scared me." She spoke softer, trying to calm him down. "I just think, maybe I need to learn to defend myself some. I don't like how I froze Charlie, I just stood there. I don't like that."
"That happens to a lot of women, they never learn how to physically fight like boys do." He spoke after a moment. "They don't play the rough games boys play and it isn't your fault Bella. You, more than anyone, wouldn't know what to do sweetheart." His voice was soft. Bella felt the warmth of his hand as he rested it over her own. "We'll start up another section of that class, but I can teach you a few things Bells." He took his hand back to put it on the steering wheel. "I'm also buying you some mace."
"Good." Bella nodded and pretended not to notice how tightly Charlie gripped the steering wheel as they made their way towards Forks. She was definitely not going to let him see her without makeup until that eye healed, she decided, as she saw how he struggled not to react too strongly.
"How was seeing your mother again?" He asked, clearly changing the subject.
"Not too bad." Bella had actually been surprised that it wasn't more unpleasant. "Still, I'm glad to be home."
"Yeah, missed you kiddo." Charlie muttered, almost like he was embarrassed to say it, but Bella smiled a little at his words. "Do you want to get some lunch at the diner?" It was predictable, his wanting to eat out when picking her up. Bella just agreed and started to mentally go over that menu she'd seen a few too many times to decide what she'd order before they got there.