Title: Shadows of Another Life
Characters/Pairing: Edward/Bella, some Rosalie/Emmett, some Alice/Jasper
Rating: M for Mature Audiences, this chapter for sexual content and violence.
Category: Romance, General
Spoilers: If you haven't read the books, you might not get some of it. This is and Alternate Universe and is All Human.
Summary: Bella has just ended a long relationship with Jake. She has decided to start over in Cottonwood, Ca where her family, dad, Charlie, sister, Rosalie, and twin brother, Jasper have made home the past year without her. Can she settle in to the new town, her new career, and a new romance all while dealing with the tragic events that lead to the move?
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I'm not SM. I'm just LJ, but most days I wish I was SM.
Two weeks earlier...
I had decided, job or not, I was leaving Jake. I just needed to tell him.
Jasper was on his way to Forks to help me get my things together. He had always been my rock. I needed him that day more than ever.
My things were packed in suitcases and boxes. Not everything, just what I'd need for the next couple of months. I waited anxiously for Jasper as the seconds dropped from the clock. I heard the door open. My heart sank. It was Jake. Where the hell was Jasper?
“What the hell is all this, Bella?” He picked up a suitcase then dropped it to the ground.
I could see he was already angry. I had to be direct though. I wasn't backing down this time. “I'm taking the job with Dr. Klein.” I could see after weeks of telling him what I wanted to do, it was finally sinking in.
“Just like that?”
“It's not just like that. I was offered this job over a month ago. It's an amazing opportunity to get into a practice like Dr. Klein's. Jasper vouched for me.”
“You're doing this for your brother?”
“I'm doing it for me. When was the last time I did anything for myself? I went to school only a thirty minute drive away so I could be close to you. I stayed here when my entire family moved away to stay with you. I bought this house from my father so we would have a place of our own, for you. I took a job making a third of what I could have just to stay close to you, Jake. What have you done for me?”
I shrugged his hand off when he tried to touch my cheek. “I've loved you, Bella. I've worked everyday on the reservation while you went off to school and work, so I can provide for us.”
“So this is just all some sort of macho pride thing? You want to be the soul provider while I sit at home with dinner waiting on the table?”
“It's not like that. Just let me explain.”
He grabbed my arm, but I ripped it from his grasp. “I'm tired of living under your thumb. I'm not doing it anymore.” I took off my engagement ring and shoved it in his palm. Jake started pacing. I could feel his anger seething from every pour of his body. His fingers were a mess in his hair. I pulled my phone form my pocket as soon as it started ringing. Jasper, thank god. I hoped he was close.
“Jas.” Jake's fist came flying across my face sending me to the floor and shattering my phone against the bricks of the fireplace. I brought my fingers to my lip to catch the blood dripping from my nose. Jake stood above me. His eyes were black, not an ounce of remorse. When I tried to stand, he grabbed the poker from the fire and pinned my down at my hip. Even my screams didn't stop him from twisting it against my skin. Only when the smell of my t-shirt and burning flesh rose to his nose did he take the poker away.
“You're not leaving me, Bella.” He took my engagement ring and forced it back on my finger. I was in so much pain and shock I couldn't even scream. He pulled me by my feet to the middle of the living room floor. He ripped what was left of my shirt from my chest making the fresh wound throb with excruciating pain. Then, it got worse. He was on top of me, kissing at my neck, pawing at my breast, at my thighs. The tears were coming so fast I couldn't even make out the room around me. I couldn't find anything to hold onto, no way to fight back. I tried to push him away as his hips grind against mine.
“I love you. I love you. I love you.” He repeated his mantra over and over and over again as he forced himself on every inch of my body. I felt his fingers at my waist unbuttoning my jeans. With the last bit of strength I had, I pushed as hard as I could at his shoulders. He just laughed before crushing his lips against mine.
I saw something dark swinging above Jake's head, smashing across the back of his skull. Jake slumped on top of me as he became unconscious. I saw a foot kick Jake and roll him off of me.
“Jasper.” My voice was barely a whisper as my brother took me in his arms.
“I called Sam when the line went dead to see if he knew what was going on. I drove ninety the rest of the way.”
“Just get me out of here.” I was shaking and sobbing as Jasper got me to my feet.
Sam came barreling into the living room and went strait to Jake's side. “What the hell did you do to him?”
“I stopped him from killing my sister.”
It was then that Sam took in the extent of my injuries. The blistered skin at my hip. The bright red mark across my face. My shirt in shreds on the floor.
“Get her to a hospital. I'll deal with him.” I could tell if Jake ever woke up, Sam might try to kill him for what he'd done.
Jasper dug through my bag on the couch to find me a t-shirt. He threw it over me before carrying me to the truck. He made two trips inside grabbing bags and boxes, then throwing them in the back of his truck.
“I don't want any reason to come back here anytime soon.” Jasper started the truck and we sped off.
It helped that I was the daughter of the former Chief of Police and a frequent flier in the Forks emergency room. I got seen by a doctor right away. I told them it was just accident prone Bella again. With my track record of falls and broken bones, they weren't at all surprised. Jasper on the other hand was angry I didn't tell the truth. He wanted to see Jake behind bars, but I didn't want to see him right there with him.
Within an hour, the pain in my face was gone. The doctor had a special dressing applied to my burn and recommended follow up for a possible skin graft. The burn wasn't that big, so I hoped it would just heal with no worries. I got my prescription for my antibiotics and pain killers and we were on our way.
We made it to Cottonwood at about two in the morning. Jasper took me to my room, got me a glass of water, and tucked me in. He curled up beside me just like he did when I had a bad dream as a kid. He held my hand until I fell asleep.
Back in the present...
I turned to see what reaction, if any, Edward had to this horrible story. His head sat in his hands, shaking. I had given him the watered down version of the story, but the words still stung just as much as the full version.
“We never told my father everything and of course Rose got the abridged version too. Jasper called one of his friends back at the sheriff's office and got them to start the paperwork to evict Jake from my house.”
His fingers slid across his face then down on the bar. “You haven't pressed any charges then?”
“I thought the headache he got from Jasper might have been enough. Even though he made a terrible mistake that night, he'd been my best friend my entire life. I couldn't be responsible for putting him behind bars.”
He turned and shook his head at me like he couldn't believe that I wouldn't want Jake to suffer for what he did to me. I took his hand and was about to explain when he brought my fingers to his lips.
“I know that must have been very difficult for you to talk about.”
“Now you know about all the skeletons in my closet. Bet you never thought you'd have a day like this when you woke up this morning.”
He smiled then drug the tip of his tongue across his lips. “I'll never forget the day we met.”
“That's for sure.” I drank what remained in my beer glass. I felt like I needed another, or four.
“Just know if you ever need anything, I'm here. Just to talk or use as a punching bag, just ask.”
I could see in his glistening emerald eyes, he truly meant every word. “I think if we just take some excerpts from today, mainly the ride, it would help a lot.”
“You're welcome to ride anytime you want.”
“I have a feeling we didn't see the whole vineyard today. Maybe tomorrow?”
“I'll give you the grand tour.”
“That'd be perfect.”
She did come to the vineyard for a ride that next day and the day after that and the day after that. I found myself looking forward to seeing her more and more each day. I never pushed anything on her. I did everything I could to be a great friend.
There was three things I knew about her for sure. First, Bella was the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on. Second, there was a part of her- and I didn't really know which part- that craved my company. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably falling in love with her.
Each day my chest would ache until it was relieved just by the sight of her. Some days it would be just the sight of her tending to Arcadia and her son, Zeus. Others, it was our now famous popcorn fights that erupted when ever we got into the debate over a movie we were watching. Every second we spent together, I could feel myself falling deeper and deeper. She seemed to enjoy the time we spent together, saying so many times she wished it would never end. I could never say out loud how much I agreed with her. I waited patiently until the day I could tell her and hoped she would feel the same way.
Alice called me frantic one Saturday morning.
“Alice, it's my one day to sleep in. What do you want?”
“I forgot my palm pilot and I really need you to bring it too me.”
I looked to the clock. 9:05. “Fine. Where are you?”
“At that little boutique on third. Please hurry.”
She cut me off less than a second later. I got up and slipped a pair of jeans over my black boxers and grabbed my gray t-shirt. I headed down the hall after I slipped on some flip flops. I found Alice's palm pilot on the table in the entryway. I grabbed my wallet, keys, and phone with it and took off.
I pulled the Volvo up to the curb in front of the shop. When I walked in Alice was no where to be seen. Of course, there was Bella sitting on a couch next to the dressing room mirrors.
“I think you might be stalking me.” I said as I plopped down on the couch next to her.
She turned to me and grinned. “How do you figure that?”
“You're everywhere I turn. Not that I mind, but I might have cleaned up a little more if I would've known. Alice didn't mention you were with her.”
She pulled at the hem of my sleeve. “You know your as gorgeous as always.”
I could feel the warmth rising in my cheeks as her fingers caressed at my bicep. I was lost in her eyes until she looked away.
There stood Rosalie in the most brilliant white gown I had ever seen. I stood up and was overcome by her beauty. Yet, all I could wish was that Bella was the one in the white dress instead. “I think Emmett might very well keel over at the sight of you. You're beautiful.”
Rosalie turned towards me. “You think?”
I took her hand. “Most definitely.”
Alice jumped up and down. “It's the right one then. I can feel it.”
“Me too.” Rosalie's eyes welled with tears as Bella went to her side.
“Don't cry. You'll get the dress wet.”
Rosalie wiped her cheeks. “You know there's a maid of honor dress waiting right in there.”
“Don't remind me.” Bella looked less than enthused to be trying on dresses. I was strangely excited. I had never seen Bella in a dress before.
A few minuets later, I was sitting anxiously on the couch as Alice bellowed for me. “Edward! Come help Bella with her dress. I've got my hands full with Rosalie.”
I stood and headed straight for Bella's dressing room without even thinking. When I got to the door, I stopped. Help her out of her dress? Help her into it? This was certainly not how I pictured the first time I would see Bella in any state of undress and I'd thought about it... a lot.
“It's okay, Edward. I just need your hands. You can keep your eyes closed.” She opened the dressing room door and pulled me in. She was already wearing the most hideous cotton candy colored dress imaginable. “I just need you to zip me up, for this one.”
I saw a pile of several more dresses hanging in the corner. She had her hair pulled over her shoulder awaiting my assistance. I zipped her up then placed her in front of the mirror.
“I had no idea pink was one of Rosalie's colors?” I was trying not to laugh, but the dress was awful, even on Bella's amazing form.
“I think it's more about the design than the color. It's too hideous, even for a bride's maid dress. What was she thinking.”
“I'm sure there's something over here you can live with.” I went to search through the dresses. I found a light yellow dress. I knew she'd look stunning in it. “How about this one?”
“Yellow? I don't think it's my color either.”
“Please. The sooner you get done, the sooner you're out of here.” She took the dress and examined it.
“You're going to have to help me with this one. Remember, eyes closed.”
I walked around to her back and unzipped her. She tried to wiggle herself out, but couldn't quite inch her way out of the material's grasp. I wondered how in the world she got it on all by herself. I closed my eyes as I stood behind her. I grabbed the hem of the dress and the huge tulle skirt that laid underneath. I tried pulling it over her from the back, but it wasn't working. I made my way around to the front of her, eyes still closed. My pulse was racing as we attempted to free her. My hands went far underneath until I was pulling the dress up at her hips. I felt my finger slide across her rough skin then she winced.
“It's fine. Just get me out if this thing.”
I pulled so hard that once it released from her body I went flying across the dressing room, banging my head on the wall. I looked up and forgot that I should have had my eyes closed. She had turned her back to me and was looking in the mirror. She stood in just a white bra and underwear.
“It's fine. You don't have to close your eyes now. I know you've already seen.”
I stood up and walked behind her taking in her full form in front of the mirror. She was more beautiful than I had ever imagined in my dreams. Her skin was a perfect pale pink. I knew she was conscious of the fact that the burn scar above her hip was clearly visible. I pulled myself to her back and placed my hands on her shoulders. She squeezed her eyes tight and turned around, snaking her arms tightly around my waist. My instinct took over as my fingers caressed her skin before locking behind her. She squeezed me in tighter. I knew if she didn't let go soon, I would lose all self control.
“There's only a few more. I think you can handle it. I have to tell you though, I'm having a really hard time being just your friend right now.” I instantly regretted the words as soon as they came out of my mouth. I didn't want her to think I would ever take advantage of the current situation.
She let go and grabbed the yellow dress. It slipped effortlessly across her skin. I zipped up the back and rest my chin on her shoulder as she looked in the mirror.
“Much better than the last one.” Better? It was amazing. The brown waves at her shoulders were a beautiful contrast to the yellow shade of the dress. She brought her hand up and patted my cheek. She smiled as her eyes lit up.
“I think you're right. I'd better show Rose.”
There was no need to try on any more since Rosalie was in complete agreement. They found a similar one for Alice, just a slightly shorter hemline.
I handed off Alice's palm pilot to her once they were out of the dressing room.
“Thanks for bringing it. I don't think I could live without it. We've got to go to the caterer's and I have the whole menu plan saved in here.”
“But you didn't need it when you called. Just another excuse for me to see Bella?”
My sister pulled me over to the corner. “Don't tell me you wouldn't spend every minute with her if you could.”
“That's beside the point. We are friends. Well, maybe a little more now that I've seen her naked.”
“What!?!” Her voice was so loud it drew Bella and Rosalie's attention. I just smiled and nodded back to them.
“In that situation you forced us into, it was inevitable. It was awkward, but nice.”
“She knew you saw her?” Alice grabbed at my arm.
“Yes, she knew. Then I said something so stupid. I really hope she doesn't hate me.”
“God. What did you say?”
“Something about that it was hard just being her friend when she was hugging me in just her bra and underwear.”
Alice's grip tightened on my forearm. “Why was she hugging you?”
“I'm not really sure, but it was amazing.” I closed my eyes as I let my head fall back at the memory.
Alice snapped her fingers in front of my face. “Concentrate. I'm sure she doesn't hate you.”
“Now she has an idea, that I've been thinking about her that way.”
“I think she already knew that. It's kinda hard not to notice your face whenever she's around. I've never seen you so happy. She just needs a little more time.”
“Has she said something to you?” I felt like I was some teenager grilling Alice for information on her best friend. Alice dipped her eyes and bit her lower lip. “I take that as a yes. Now you have to tell me.”
“She has feelings, but she doesn't know what to do with them. She was with Jacob for so long and you know how that turned out. She doesn't know if she can trust what she's feeling.”
“What can I do?”
“Just be patient. I don't think the kind of connection you two have can be broken. I totally understand it. She's the female version of Jasper and you are the male version of me. Look how good we are together.”
“I'm not really sure if I should be offended at that comparison or not.” I ran my fingers through my hair and scratched at my forehead.
“You know you have the same flare for the finer things as much as I do.”
“That in no way makes me a version of you. It's not a bad thing for a guy to like shoes.”
“OOo, what did I miss? You're talking shoes.” Rosalie's eyes lit up. Shoes must be a code word for something. I could never imagine any one, including me, get that excited about shoes.
“Nothing. I'll let you girls get back to your day.” I turned to walk out the door with what was left of my dignity. Then I felt someone tugging at my shirt. I turned back and was shocked that it was Bella.
“Can you give me a lift? They really don't need me for the rest of this.”
“Sure. You girls sure you can let go of Bella for the rest of the day?”
“Yes, you two go have some fun.” Alice smiled, satisfied with her assumptions.
I lead Bella out to the car and opened her door. When she was in, I ran around to the driver's side and climbed in. “You want me to take you home?”
“I was hoping we could go back to your house. I'm really in the mood for watching a movie on that couch of yours.”
“As you wish.”
I drove faster than I should of to get home. At least with a movie going there would be some things to talk about.
Once we got settled with our popcorn, Bella decided she would take a beer. It was only noon, but it was Saturday. What the hell. I got a couple bottles from behind the bar and settled down on the couch. We both slipped off our shoes before choosing a movie.
It was her turn to decide. We'd been through about a third of the collection in the past month. Everything from “Braveheart” to “The Little Mermaid”. I was afraid of another Disney classic but was pleasantly surprised when she popped in one of my favorites, “Grosse Pointe Blank”. Who doesn't love the story of a hit man who goes back home for his high school reunion only to find out his next hit is to kill the father of the girl of his dreams.
We attempted to recreate the scene where John Cusack tried to hold Minnie Driver in the air with his feet. We failed miserably, but it was fun trying.
She ended up laying her head in my lap and stretched out across the couch. About three fourths through the movie, she was fast asleep. I felt myself embracing the fact that this was my lazy Saturday. My eyelids fluttered for a few minutes, then I drifted to sleep, my fingers tangled in Bella's hair.
I woke up to the sound of Bella's voice. I looked to my lap, but she was still asleep. I saw the dvd player had shut itself off. I grabbed the remote and turned off the TV.
“Edward.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “Don't hurt me.”
I shook my head while stroking her hair. “Never, Bella. I'll never hurt you. I...” I stopped myself. Even though I was almost positive she was still asleep, I couldn't finish that sentence.
“I know. I love you, too. I love you, Edward.”
That confirmed it. She was definitely asleep.
A/N: Thanks so much for all the comments and reviews so far. This was the longest and hardest chapter I've ever written. The beginning was a lot more painful to write than I had anticipated. I'd really like to know what you all thought about it. I know I could have gone into more detail, but it was hard enough as it is.
The rest came rather easily. I took one of Twilight's most memorable quotes, switched it around a little bit so it came from Edward's point of view. I thought the dress scene went really well. What did you all think? Did anyone catch the movie quote Edward said and what movie it was from? If you get it right, I'll include your name in my next post with a swell prize.
Again, thanks so much. Now off to chapter 5 which will have more Jasper. Yay!