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.
Chapter 6~The Calling
“Emmett.” We simultaneously sighed in each other's arms.
“Do we have to?” I did not want the moment to end. I really had no idea what was going to happen once we walked back out that door.
“Believe me, I would love to sit back and watch Emmett catch himself on fire again. What kinda brother would I be if I could stop it?”
“It was that bad?”
“All the hair has finally grown back. But seriously, I would hate to have you play nurse maid to him all night too.”
“That would be a shame.”
“Come on then.” He kissed my hand before he tried to pull me to the door.
“Wait.” What were we going to say to everyone? How was I supposed to act? I knew they would know that something had happened just by the look on our faces. I was getting light headed just at the thought. “What are we going to say to everyone?”
He furrowed his brow while he thought for a second. “Welcome to the family?”
I hit him on the arm. “Be serious.”
“I am.” He snaked his arms around my waist. “Three Cullen's with three Swan's? I'd say that's a family.”
“A crazy family.”
He smiled and placed a kiss on my forehead. “Okay... Why don't you help me at the grill. We'll all eat dinner. Maybe take another swim later. Then when they've all forgotten we were even in here together, safely tucked in their own little worlds, I'll grab a bottle of wine and we'll find a quite spot to be alone.”
“Mmmmmm. Sounds perfect, but...”
“I just want to try one more thing first.” I slipped my arms around his neck, letting my fingers tangle in his damp hair. I brought his perfect lips down to mine. I was gentle, at first. Then I tasted his sweet breath as my lips parted. I wanted more. I had never felt that kind of rush of passion before. I began to crave it. I felt his fingers on my back, underneath my bathing suit. I pulled him in closer as pleasure became bliss when his tongue touched mine. I gripped at the back of his neck, but then he abruptly pulled away.
“What's wrong?” I wanted more. My mind was racing with thoughts that would probably make even Emmett blush.
“If we don't stop now, I won't be able to. You have no idea what you're doing to me.”
I smiled at the sweet fact that I could make him blush. “Okay, I'll stop. Only if you promise we can pick this up later.”
“That's a promise I intend to keep.”
My phone started ringing in my purse. “Go. I'll be out in a minute. It's my work phone”
“One minute.” He kissed my cheek and ran out before I could even grab on to him.
I grabbed the phone and answered it without thinking. “Dr. Swan.”
“Bella?” I recognized the voice immediately. I braced myself and sat down on the couch. It would be just like Jake to get his dad to interfere. He knew how much I loved Billy.
“How'd you get this number?”
“Listen, Bella. He doesn't know I'm calling.”
“Billy. This is my emergency work phone. You shouldn't be calling me.”
“I had to. You need to know what's going on. I tried calling Charlie, but he won't even take my calls.”
“I'm in the middle of something.” I just wanted to hang up, but I knew none of this was Billy's fault. I thought maybe I should hear him out.
“Jake's missing, Bella.”
“A few days.”
“Days?” I put my head between my knees and started breathing heavily. I could feel a panic attack coming on.
“He was so despondent after you left. Then when he tried to see you... After he came back, it got so much worse.”
Jasper came in and pulled my head up from between my knees. He sat down beside me as I continued focusing on breathing. “How much worse?”
“He went on drinking binges. Sam and Embry found him at the cliffs one night, threatening to jump off. By some miracle, they talked him down.
Jasper took my hand as he listened with me.
“After he moved everything out of the house, he was supposed to come stay with me. When I couldn't get him on his cell phone, I called Sam. They were out all night looking for him. When I tried his phone the next day, it had been disconnected. Then I found out he had sold his car in the next county. He's just gone, Bella.”
“Do you think he'd come here again?” I tried to speak through the tears I was holding back.
“In the state he's in... I'm afraid for you. I think he'd do just about anything to get you back.”
That was exactly what I did not need to hear. Not now, not after this perfect day. Jasper took the phone as my silent tears became loud sobs.
“Billy, it's Jasper... Ya, I heard everything... Just call the station. I'll let dad know... And Billy... loose this number.” With that, Jasper shut the phone. He threw it back into my purse before wrapping his arms around me.
“I'll be fine. I just need a minute.” I took a few deep breaths and wiped off my tear stained cheeks.
“I'll tell you what we'll do. I have a friend who has been begging me to visit him in London. I know Alice would love to go. We could all go and if we like it, I'm sure I could find a job. We could stay.”
Once I realized what he was saying, I was overcome by the sacrifice my bother hadn't even thought twice about. “I'd never ask you to do that for me.”
“I know. That's why I'm offering.”
“No. Absolutely not.” I shook my head as I sniffled. “Rose's wedding is only a few weeks away and I can't leave. Not after today.”
Jasper's eyes lit up. “He told you, didn't he.”
“Told me?” I grabbed at his shirt sleeve and wiped my nose on it. He grimaced then laughed.
“It's just Esme said you were hugging when she came in.”
“Actually, we weren't. He kissed me. And Jas, I gotta tell you it...”
He interrupted me. “Stop, right there. More than I need to know.”
The memory of that first kiss brought a smile back to my face. “I think he's all I need right now.”
“If you're sure.”
“Then we'll figure out some way to make sure Jacob comes no where near you.”
I felt my stomach rumbling. “You think dinner is almost ready?”
“If not, Esme has set out plenty to munch on. You ready?”
“Yep.” He pulled me up to my feet. “Let's just try to salvage what's left of the evening.”
Esme had set the table for an enormous feast. Alice, Rose, and Emmett were seated at the long dinning table on the sun porch, each sipping on a glass of wine. Edward and his father were at the grill. I assumed Esme was hard at work in the kitchen.
Edward turned and winked at me as he saw Jasper and I approach the table. I was a little disappointed to see he had put his shirt back on.
Alice rushed over to me with a black sarong. “I found this for you. More dinner like attire.” She tied it at my waist as I noticed she was wearing one too. She looked at me and patted my cheeks. “Are you alright?”
Jasper and I looked at each other. “Just a bit of bad news. I'll be fine.”
“I know Edward would love the chance to put a smile on your face.” Jasper finally let go of the death grip he had on my hand.
I walked over to the grill after I saw Carlisle go to help Esme with the trays she was bringing to the table. I tugged at the back of his shirt. “I like mine medium rare.”
“Then you shall have it.” He pulled a steak from the grill and set it aside.
“I have to say, I'm a little disappointed that your not entirely the same as the way I left you. That shirt is really so unnecessary.”
He turned and saw the sarong tied at my waist. “I could say the same for this.” He pulled at the knot.
“Alice thought it would be nice... for dinner.”
“I see.” He continued to pull the steaks off the grill. “So, one of your patients not doing well?”
“The call?” He nodded. “No. It wasn't a patient. I was Jake's father.”
He fumbled with the tongs, almost loosing them completely. “What did he want?” He held them tightly between both hands. I was afraid they might break under the pressure.
“Jake's missing. I guess he wanted to warn me.”
This time he carefully placed the tongs on top of the steaks after taking a deep breath. “They have no idea where he is?”
“No, just that he sold his car and had his phone shut off.”
“Bella, if he comes anywhere near you...”
“I know. Jasper already offered to whisk me out of the country. I told him no of course.”
He was noticeably upset. He drew in a few more deep breaths, then his frown turned into his beautiful smile. “You'll just have to stay here then.” He was so matter of fact. Like there wasn't even another option.
“You think your parents would approve?”
“We have plenty of room. Emmett has moved all his stuff to the guest house where he and Rosalie will be living. You can have his room. It just happens to be right next to mine. You might have to sleep with the door locked though. I tend to sleep walk.”
“I'll keep that in mind.”
We all talked and laughed throughout dinner, which tasted amazing. With Charlie, we were lucky to get macaroni and cheese that wasn't burnt. I think that was one of the reasons Rose and I learned how to cook so young. Lucky for Rose, she found a passion in it.
After dinner, we all lounged by the pool, trading embarrassing childhood stories. Esme had quite a few she didn't mind sharing. My favorite was of Emmett and Edward strutting around the stables in the cowboy hats and boots and nothing else.
As predicted, Alice and Jasper cuddled up on a lounger beside the pool. Emmett and Rose slipped into the hot tub. Esme and Carlisle retired inside for the night. Edward and I took a bottle of wine and sat on the steps of the pool. Each couple in their own happy little worlds.
“If I didn't know better, I'd say you were trying to get me drunk.”
“On the contrary, just relaxed. It's been a long day. If you're tired though. I can take you upstairs.”
“After that nap this afternoon, I don't know if I'll ever get to sleep tonight.”
“I'll just have to keep you occupied.” He filled us each a glass then set down the bottle. He slipped his shirt over his head and threw it to the side. He walked in the pool till the water was up to his waist. Then he crouched down till the water was up to his neck. “You think you might want to join me?”
I threw off my sarong and descended the steps. I crouched down so the water was up to my neck. The water actually felt extremely good against my skin. He took my hands under the water. They laced together so effortlessly.
“So, Edward Cullen. We've been friends for awhile. Now that were not friends, is there anything I should know about you?”
“What do you want to know?”
“Well, you know about all my skeletons.”
“Oh, that.” He understood what I was getting at as he slipped his arms around my waist. “I've never dated anyone for that long. I've never found anyone who could hold my attention for long.”
“Should I be worried?” Being Bella Swan, I knew it was entirely possible that he would get bored of me or tired of all my baggage.
“No.” The smile that spread across his face was nothing less than heavenly. “I will tell you I have never felt like this before. And that kiss earlier...” He dropped his head back.
“I know. I got a little carried away.”
He brought his eyes back to mine. “I've been wanting to do that since the day we met.”
“Honestly... so have I.”
He pulled me in tighter as I slipped my arms around his neck. I was now aware that Jasper and Alice were now intently watching our ever move. “Then it's official. You are my... girlfriend? The word just seems... not enough.”
It didn't seem enough. He was more than a boyfriend. He was a Greek god that I would spend as much time as possible worshiping his body for as long as he would let me. I just knew in all my years with Jake, I never felt this kind of magnetic pull. I hated comparing him to Jake, but he was all I'd ever known. I just knew I was happier at that moment than I was all those years with Jake. Boyfriend was definitely not enough.
“This isn't meant to be possessive or anything, but it's the only thing that might fit. I'm yours and you're mine.” He gazed into my eyes to gage my reaction.
“Perfect.” I nuzzled him with my nose at his.
“I don't see why we should keep this a secret any longer. I know Alice is dying for a show over there.”
“Then we'll have to give her one.”
In a fraction of a second, his lips we on mine. This kiss was even more intense, more passionate than the last. My fingers were puling at his bronze mane as the water was cresting against our bodies. My tongue was exploring the delicious corners of his mouth. My chest heaved against his with the realization for the need of oxygen.
I suddenly became conscious of the cheery giggle coming from the lounger next to the pool. I turned my head to rest my cheek on his. Alice was holding her mouth closed with both of her hands, but it wasn't enough to hold back her giggling. Jasper tried to grab her before she jumped up, but she was just a little to fast for him. Her sarong came flying off just before she jumped in the pool. The splash doused both of us. I went under, getting wet from head to toe. I came up running my fingers through my wet hair. Alice wrapped herself securely around me.
“I'm... so... happy!” Alice was practically crushing my ribs into my lungs.
“Air... Alice.” I gasped before she let go only for her to latch onto Edward.
By this time, Jasper was sitting at the edge of the pool, his feet dangling in the water. Rose and Emmett were peering at us from the hot tub.
“It's about damn time,” Emmett yelled before jumping from the hot tub into the pool. Rose and Jasper soon followed.
We were all in the pool and the four of them were looking to Edward and I to declare something.
“We're together now, okay? Now you can stop pushing.” Edward grabbed me at my jaw and pulled me in for another mind blowing kiss. I wasn't used to this kind of public display of affection, but at that moment, I really didn't care.
“Kay, that's enough.” Jasper was never too comfortable seeing me in that sort of situation.
Edward released his lips from mine. “Sorry, Jasper. I just can't help myself.” He kissed at the tip of my nose. “Guess this is as good a time as any to tell them of our plans.”
“No way. You are not running off with my baby sister.” Rose wrapped her arms defensively around me from the back. “I just got her back.” A smile came to my face as I brought my hands to rest against hers. It was amazing how our separation had given Rose a new appreciation for our relationship.
“Not yet anyway. I was just going to say that Jacob's father called Bella tonight. Jacob is missing.”
“Billy has no idea where he is.” Jasper chimed in.
Rose squeezed me tighter. She was returning to mother hen mode.
“It's going to be fine though. I have a restraining order that can still be enforced in California.”
“And she's going to be staying here for awhile.” Edward and I nodded in agreement. “I know lately, wherever Bella goes, Jasper's right by her side. I don't think there would be any problem with him staying here too.”
Alice threw her arms around Jasper. “Only until we find out what Jacob's up to. Then, you and I will find a place of our own before we get married.”
Emmett, Rose, Edward, and I turned to them in shock.
“Don't tell me, none of you expected it to happen.” Jasper turned to Rose. “We kinda just wanted to keep it under wraps until we got through your wedding before you launched into planning another one.”
“How very thoughtful of you. Congratulations, both of you.” Rose made her way back to Emmett's side.
“Now that's settled, Edward and Bella will be next and the family will be complete.” Alice was determined beyond belief.
“Give us a day or two before you start picking out our place settings, Alice.” I was not about to get caught up in another wedding disaster fest.
Edward brought me into his embrace. “Besides, if and when Bella and I decided to take that step, we'll just run off to Vegas or something.”
“Exactly. Wait.. how'd you know that's what I'd want.”
“I know that you're not in to all the frills. I just figured.”
“You figured right.” Amazing how much my life could change in just one day. His arms surrounded me as the day was finally catching up to me.
I stepped out of Emmett's shower and pulled the towel around myself. I grabbed another towel to dry my hair with. I pulled on my extra pair of boy short underwear that I carried in my purse. I pulled the tank top over my head before pulling on some lounge pants Alice had let me borrow.
I turned out the light and closed the bathroom door behind me. I turned to the bed to notice Edward lying on top of the comforter in just a pair of royal blue boxer shorts.
“I told you to lock the door.”
“Maybe I wanted to see if you really were a sleep walker.” I walked to the bed and slid on next to him, curling up on his chest. His arm wrapped around me as his fingers trailed through my hair. “If I can do this every night, you're going to have a hard time getting rid of me.”
He laughed. “You know, I wasn't kidding about the whole Vegas thing. I knew if I would ever make up my mind to be with someone forever, I'd wouldn't have the patience to make it through all those months of planning.” He turned over on his side and brought me to mine. “I know this must seem incredibly fast to you. It's just all of this has been flying around in my brain for weeks. Now that we're here, so close, I know it's right. I never want to be without you. Bella... I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life showing you how much.”
I knew I wanted to say it back, but my voice didn't make a sound as my lips made the words out. Was this a proposal? Would it be too soon to say yes? Unfortunately, an uncontrollable yawn crept from my mouth.
Edward pulled the covers from beneath us and brought us under them. “Just sleep. We have plenty of time to figure things out.”
I knew when I found my voice, I would say yes. I knew for sure, more than anything in my life, Edward was mine... forever.
A/N: Thanks so much for all your comments and reviews. Where do you all think Jacob has disappeared to? Can the Cullen's keep Bella safe if Jacob returns? I think you'll be surprised at the answers. Thanks for reading and keep those comments and reviews coming!