Title: Shadows of Another Life
Characters/Pairing: Edward/Bella, some Rosalie/Emmett, some Alice/Jasper
Rating: M for Mature Audiences.
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.
A/N: I wanna give a huge gold star and a pat on the back to crazyjay for getting the "Princess Bride" quote in chapter 4. I know it's totally one of the best films I've ever seen. I love it soooooo much.
I hope you enjoy all the bonus Jasper and Emmett in this chapter. The entire chapter is from Edward's point of view. Hope you like it. Back into Bella's mind in chapter 6.
“I know. I love you, too. I love you, Edward.”
That confirmed it. She was definitely asleep.
I couldn't speak. I could hardly move except for my fingers lightly caressing the side of her face. Was this a test? Should I say something... anything? No. No. She was asleep... dreaming. I wondered what she was dreaming about that made her admit that she loved me. Where did she see it happening? Was she imagining our first kiss? I'd do anything to be able to read her mind at that moment.
It didn't matter though. I knew she loved me. I could wait for the rest. I felt the corners of my mouth becoming permanently up turned.
The door creaked open, but Bella didn't even move. Jasper made his way to the chair next to me and took a seat. He didn't even seem the least bit surprised that Bella was asleep with her head in my lap.
“I'm glad to see she's here. I thought Rose and Alice would have had her buried under a pile of bride's maids dresses.”
“They tried, but the second one she tried on was the one. So there was only a small amount of torture.”
“You were at the bridal shop with them?”
“You know Alice. I think she's doing everything she can to throw Bella and I together. This time she'd left her palm pilot at home and needed it desperately.”
Jasper let out a small laugh as he shook his head. “I would be irritated by her meddling, but she's so right about the two of you.”
“I know Bella better than anyone. These past few weeks, it's like she's found herself again. I have to admit it's mostly because of you.”
“She talks endlessly about you. You guys seem so close.”
“Maybe too close. We've always confided in each other, especially when there was no one else we could talk to. I know way more than I ever wanted to about Jacob Black.”
“Was he always so... possessive?” I wondered really if I had any competition. Jacob didn't seem too pleased by the fact that Bella might be moving on without him.
“When they were kids, he was just like a buddy. Bella was kinda a tom boy if you could imagine. Riding bikes, climbing trees. Her clumsiness never seemed to detour her from doing what she wanted. Even after several broken bones and a couple of concussions, she would never stop trying to reach a goal she'd set for herself. I think that determination is what kept her with Jacob for so long. After he made it clear he wanted to be more than friends, she had her mind set on making it work. It wasn't until dad was offered the job here that I saw how much control he had over her. This past year not seeing her every day has been hard for the both of us. Her not being here was the only bad aspect of the move. I almost hated being so happy without her. I had to call her at work to be able to really talk to her. Jacob had almost forbid her to talk to us in his presence. She kept making excuses why she couldn't come even for a visit, but I knew he was behind it. When she called and told me they were getting married, I drove straight back to Forks. I took her out of work and talked at her for hours. Trying to make her see that this was not the kind of life she deserved. I knew he was pressing for a short engagement, so I had to act fast. I'd worked with Dr. Klein when I was shooting a pet calender. He mentioned his partner would be retiring soon and he'd need help with his large animal clients. He usually was at the office while his partner made the house calls. I knew it'd be perfect for Bella. She was so excited at the prospect of becoming a partner, making some real money. Jacob wouldn't have any of it. After that, contact became almost non-existent. Whenever I called the office, she was busy. My e-mails went unanswered. I was getting ready to make a trip back up there when she called to say she was moving with or without him.”
“And I know the rest. How any man could ever...” I stoked my fingers through her hair as a tear ran down my cheek. I knew I would never hurt Bella. I'd never stop her from going after her dreams. I'd encourage her and support her everyday for the rest of my life if she'd let me.
“You're already in love with her, aren't you?”
I just smiled. “I guess it's pretty obvious.”
“Have you told each other?”
I shook my head while caressing at her cheek. “She said something before you came in, but I know she was just dreaming.”
“Caught her talking in her sleep? What'd she say?”
I figured she had already told her brother everything, so what would be the harm saying it out loud. “She said she loved me.”
He smiled. “Now that her subconscious has admitted it, maybe it won't be long before her conscious self does too.”
“Has she always talked in her sleep?”
“Yep, it's one of the only things we don't share. She sleeps like a rock and talks, while I'm such a light sleeper that it always woke me up even in the next room.”
I could just imagine her sleeping and chatting away while Jasper had his head buried under his pillow.
“Maybe we should try to wake her up. I did actually have something I needed to talk to her about.”
I really didn't want to, but I tried anyway. I shook her at her shoulder. Nothing. I whispered her name. Nothing.
“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Jasper came over in front of the couch and knelt in front of us. He licked his finger then stuck it in Bella's ear. She came flying up from my lap, her hand going straight to her wet ear. “Told ya.” Jasper just laughed and plopped back down in his chair.
“Jas, yuck. You could of just sprayed me with water bottle or something.”
“Sorry, didn't have one handy.”
She started to regain her faculties. Rubbing her eyes and stretching. “Damn this couch. It's so comfy, I think I could have slept here all night.”
“So now you're just using me for my couch?”
“Not just your couch.” We both smiled and started laughing. “Jas, what are you doing here? How long was I out?”
I stroked my fingers through her matted hair. “Not long, but Jasper has something to talk to you about. I'll just let you two talk.” I started to get up when Jasper stopped me.
“No, it's fine. You're going to hear about this sooner or later.” Jasper pulled some papers from his jacket pocket as I settled back on the couch. He handed them to Bella.
“What are these?”
“Just read.” I saw her eyes skimming over the documents.
“It went through then. Jake's out of my house.”
She handed me the papers. They were from the sheriff's office in Forks. The eviction had gone through. The sheriff had written a personal letter to Bella stating that Jake would be arrested if he came on the property and a restraining order had been put in place.
“Are you okay with this?” I hoped this would mean there was nothing left between them, despite his threats.
“More than fine. I just want to move on with my life and put all of this behind me.”
“What do you want to do with the house? We did grow up there.”
“I don't care. You can have it or give it to dad. Sell it. Whatever. I just can't go back there.”
Alice came rushing in wearing nothing but a yellow polka dot bikini. “There you are.” She pulled Jasper out of his chair and gave him a kiss and a squeeze. “We're getting ready to take a swim after that horrible day of shopping and eating gourmet foods. Come on and join us.”
“You got a suit I can wear, Edward?”
“Ya, in the pool house. I'm sure there's an extra one in there for you too, Bella.”
She shook her head. “I don't know if I should go in.”
“Come on. It'll be fun. At least put your feet in,” Alice pleaded with her.
She pulled my ear down to her lips. “I really don't want to get my hip wet.”
“It's fine. You can just sit on the steps and watch. We won't get you wet. I promise.”
“Okay, if you promise.”
The day was cooling down as the afternoon had crept into evening. Jasper, Emmett, and I were poolside sharing a bottle of merlot, wondering where the hell the girls were.
Rosalie was dragging Bella while Alice was pushing her towards us. She ended up just feet in front of me when they finally let her go. Emmett started to hoot and holler as Jasper just shook his head with a smirk.
“Okay, get it all out.” Bella did a little turn to show off the black tankini of Alice's I assume she was forced to wear. I can only imagine what she thought of the smile on my face as our eyes met. “Come on, you too.”
My first instinct was to go to her, take her in my arms, and kiss her, hard. I resisted my instinct. I just closed my eyes, pursed my lips, and nodded. When I opened my eyes, I could only say one word. “Beautiful.”
“Thank you.” She turned to Rosalie. “See Rose, there are still gentlemen in this world.”
“What do you mean? Unlike the mongrel I'm about to marry?” She stood with her hands on her hips, but I could sense the sarcasm in her tone.
Emmett came around Rosalie and wrapped his arms around her waist. He started growling and nipping at her ear. He really was a mutt. They were playful at first, but all bets were off when he was dangling her above the pool. Rosalie ended kicking Emmett in the chest and they both fell in.
“Don't even think about it.” Bella gave me a death glare.
“Wouldn't dream of it.” She smiled and did that thing I love where she bites at her bottom lip. So sexy.
She made her way to the pool and stepped in. She slowly descended the steps until the water line hit the top of her thighs. She turned back to me, where I was standing and staring like some love struck teenager. “You coming?”
I could of said it, but I didn't. I just stripped off my shirt and stepped in the pool. Now Bella was the one who's face was flushed and mouth was gapping open.
“What? Something wrong?” I ran my fingers down my chest, checking for anything embarrassing like a mole I didn't know I had.
“I've just never seen you with your shirt off before.”
I stood in front of her and slowly submerged myself completely. I came up from the water, running my fingers through my soaking wet hair. “Guess that makes us even.” I dove off to the side and swam quickly to the deep end.
Emmett jumped in after me and followed me to underneath the diving board. I folded my arms and laid them on the concrete edge.
“You're saying you two have already...” He made one of his annoying popping sounds in his mouth.
“Emmett, gees. No. We haven't.”
“What are you waiting for. Look at her. She totally wants you.”
I tried to look at her without really looking at her. She was sitting with Alice on the steps, sipping on a glass of wine. She noticed I was looking and I turned away.
“She's been through a lot. I'm being patient.”
“How'd you see her with her shirt off then?”
“I was helping her change out of one of those hideous dresses Rosalie made her try on this morning. It's a long story.”
“I'm all for long stories.”
I knew if I told him he would just turn it around and make my life a living hell with his relentless teasing. “No. No way.”
“Come on. I know you told Alice. Why do I have to miss all the good stuff?”
“Cause you're a pervert. I have no idea what Rosalie even sees in you. I promise, if anything happens, I'll tell you.”
“You better.” Emmett grabbed my head and we started our dunking war. We traded off holding each other under water. The last time, he held me under much longer than he had before. I pushed off the bottom of the pool so hard, when I came up I hit my forehead on the diving board. The gash started oozing with blood.
“Rosie, throw me that towel.” Emmett jumped and caught the towel in mid air. I ripped it from him, pressing it against my forehead.
Emmett hopped out then grabbed my hand to help me out. He tried to steady me but I shrugged him off. “I'm fine,” I snapped as I made my way to the pool house.
I dug through the bathroom cabinet to find the first aid kit. I tossed the towel on the floor in favor of some toilet paper. I dabbed at my forehead to stop the bleeding.
Sometimes Emmett could be such an ass. I knew he was my brother, but sometimes I really hated him. I kicked the cabinet beneath the sink which sent pain surging through the lower half of my body.
“Someone throwing a temper tantrum?” Bella was standing in the bathroom doorway. I dropped my head to my chest, completely humiliated. I would definitely have to remember to kill Emmett later. “Bring that stuff out here and I'll get you cleaned up.”
“Bella, seriously. I can do it myself.”
“Who's the doctor here? What if you need stitches? Just let me look.”
I hung my head in defeat as I left the bathroom. I dumped the stuff on the table before sitting down at the chair beside it. Bella followed me out after finding a bottle of peroxide.
“It's not that bad.” She had removed the bloody toilet paper from my wound as she stood in front of me. “Just let me clean it up and put a bandage on it.”
I braced myself with my hands graping at my thighs. I winched as she wiped the wound clean with the peroxide.
“Sorry. Sorry.” She put the peroxide down and grabbed a bandage from the kit. She then started blowing across the wound to deaden the sting. I unconsciously braced my hands on her hips. This time, she didn't wince. She just pulled in another breath and blew across the gash once more. I could feel my goose bumps rising to the surface. She placed the bandage neatly across my forehead. She then rested her hands on my shoulders. I dipped my head down, lying my forehead against her stomach.
I knew this was the moment. I had to make some sort of move. When would I ever get a chance like this again? I inched her tankini up with my thumbs, caressing the bare skin that laid beneath. I barely grazed the rough skin at her hip when she took in a short breath. My eyes turned up to her.
She smiled then drug the tip of her tongue across her lips. “It didn't hurt.”
I looked back down at the burn that had it's place above her hip. “Does it bother you that I've seen this?”
“No. It's just funny how I'm the only girl that's ever seen it.”
“There was Jake, obviously.” She squeezed her eyes tightly shut at just the mention of his name. “Then Jasper and Sam. The doctor at the hospital. Now you. It just brings up all those memories.” Her hips shuddered in my hands, but I wasn't about to let go.
I had to be bold. I wanted to chase all those memories away. “What would you say if I could give you a good memory to think of whenever you looked at it?”
“You think you can do that?”
“I'd like to try.”
I raised her hem a little bit higher to expose all of the burn. I took a deep breath in, trying to calm myself. I had a feeling she wasn't going to try to stop me. I leaned in and placed my lips to the right side of it. Her skin was amazingly soft and supple underneath my lips. I moved them to the left, then above it. I could feel her shiver as I placed a kiss below it. She didn't speak. She just gripped harder at my shoulders. Then I laid a soft, long kiss right in the center of it. At that, I could swear she let out a soft moan.
I pulled my lips back, keeping my hands securely at her hips. “Now every time you look at it, you can remember how you felt at this moment.”
She placed her hand under my chin and brought me up from my chair. My hands still at her hips, her palms flat on my chest. My heart was racing. I was sure she could feel it pounding against my ribcage. Once our eyes locked, I knew I needed to say something, anything, but she beat me to it.
“I don't think we can be friends anymore, cause as a friend I'm having a really hard time trying not to kiss you right now.”
“Don't try so hard.” I laid my forehead against hers, my palms cupping at her cheeks. “Remind me to thank Emmett later.”
“Never mind.” I closed my eyes and brought my lips to hers. One perfect soft kiss. Then, the door creaked open.
I almost lost it. Anyone who would interrupt the most perfect moment of my life would certainly have to pay. I turned my head to see my mother standing in the doorway.
“Sorry. You're brother said you'd hurt yourself.”
I turned around as Bella slid her hand in mine. “I'm fine, mom. Bella fixed me right up.”
“I can see that.” I knew she had noticed our hands. A smile of motherly pride swept across her face. “It's just you're dad is ready to start dinner and you know you are the only one who can get the grill lit.”
“We'll be out in a minute. Alright?”
“Alright.” She slipped back through the door and closed it.
I faced Bella, breathing in all her beauty. I swept a few strands of her hair from her face, tucking them gently behind her ear. “Not friends then?” She pursed her lips while she shook her head from side to side. “Okay then.”
“Why don't we just make it up as we go along.”
“I can live with that.” She caressed my cheek before getting up on her tiptoes to place her lips on mine.
“Edward! We're starving out here.”
We pressed our foreheads together simultaneously uttering, “Emmett.”
Please comment and let me know what you thought of the whole chapter, but especially the poolhouse scene. I'm so loving Edward at this point. I can't wait to see what I write next. This is so much fun. Thanks sooooo much for reading!