A Reason to Exist Chapter 4
***Thanks again for all of your excitement over this story. It really motivates me!
***Thanks Kathy and Carol…I don’t know why it is you continue to help me, but I’m just glad you do!
A week had passed since Bella collapsed in the foyer. She didn’t seem to be getting any better. She was sad and distant, but whenever I would ask her about it, she would dismiss it, and tell me she was fine. I knew she wasn’t. Today she didn’t even come to school. I wished I knew how to help my beautiful girl. I hated seeing her this way.
Alice and I sat at the cafeteria table in silence. I missed Bella’s presence. Alice’s thoughts were so convoluted lately. She was always thinking the strangest thoughts, and none of them ever made any sense to me.
“Alice,” I said. “Are you and Jasper having problems?”.
“What?” She seemed shocked by the question. “Why do you need to know?”
“Sorry,” she said. “It’s just a touchy subject.”
“Can I help?”
“I want you to,” she sighed. “And if I talk to you about it, you have to promise to stay out of my head.”
“Of course,” I said. “Your thoughts are private, and I’ll respect that.”
“Thanks,” she gave me a small smile, but I hated seeing my sister so sad.
“It’s hard to say it out loud,” she said.
I waited patiently for her to tell me, struggling to stay out of her mind. It was difficult, but I could do it for her.
“Jasper and I have ended things,” she said, sadly.
“It’s okay, Edward,” she sighed. “I knew it was coming.”
“What did he do to you?” I loved Jasper as much as I did Alice, but I wouldn’t allow him to hurt her, not after all she did for him.
“Why do you assume it’s his fault?”
“Well, because I know how you feel about him. So does he, for that matter.”
“We were never meant to be,” she said, as she shook her head.
“You’ve known that all along?”
“Yes, I did,” she nodded. “But, I fell in love with him anyway. He needed me for so long, and I liked taking care of him. He truly is amazing, once you get past all of his torture.”
“Why now?” I asked. “If you’ve known all of this time, why not keep pretending?”
“Because Jasper has finally figured it out.”
“He just realized it on his own?”
“No,” she said. “Not entirely on his own.”
“What do you mean?”
“It doesn’t matter how he got there. He just did, and I have to respect that. You can’t change fate.”
“I know,” I said. “I tried to last September when I left Bella, and now I’m afraid that whatever it is she is going through may have something to do with that. Some residual feelings that she can’t get over?”
“Edward, maybe…” she abruptly stopped her sentence and slipped into a vision.
“Victoria,” she whispered.
All bets were off! I quickly tapped into her mind to see what she was seeing. Victoria was running through the forest, but she was alone. Where were the newborns?
“Alice?” I gently shook her. “Where was Victoria in the vision? Is she here in Forks?”
“I don’t know.” she said. “But in the glimpse I got, she wasn’t running from the wolves, or I wouldn’t have seen her.”
“Maybe they went after the newborns, and she escaped.” I got up from the table.
“Where are you going?”
“To pay a visit to the pack.” Once we had figured out that Victoria was responsible for the attacks in Seattle, and that she was forming a newborn army to come for Bella, we made a temporary truce with the wolves. We all wanted the same thing; to rid this world of Victoria and her army. Plus, Jacob and I had a common goal; protecting Bella.
“You can’t go to La Push,” she reminded me. Temporary truce aside, I wasn’t permitted on their land.
“I’ll call Jacob and ask them to meet me. I won’t allow anything to happen to Bella.”
I got out of bed, and slowly walked to answer the door. All of my friends should’ve been at school, and I hadn’t told Jasper I was staying home. I didn’t want to worry him. I just couldn’t face Edward today.
“Jake!” I smiled.
He walked in and pulled me into a tight embrace, lifting me off the floor a few inches. He put me down, and stared at me for a few seconds.
“Bella,” he frowned. “You look horrible.”
“Thanks a lot, jerk!”
“No,” he apologized. “I’m sorry, but you look so drained. What’s wrong?” He pulled us into the living room, and sat me on the couch next to him. I wanted to tell him what I had done, but I didn’t want to hurt him. I knew how he felt about me, and I didn’t think he could handle me leaving Edward for Jasper.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing, I’m just tired.”
“Jake, that’s rude,” I said.
“So is lying to your best friend.”
My eyes started to fill with tears. He wouldn’t want to be my best friend, after he heard what I had done. I started to shake. He pulled me to his side, and kissed the top of my head. He was so warm and reassuring. He was just another person I was going to hurt and destroy. He didn’t deserve it, and neither did Edward. I couldn’t help it. I still wanted Jasper.
“Bella,” he said, as he pulled away to look at me. “You can tell me anything.”
“No, Jake,” I said. “I can’t.” I wanted to. I needed someone to talk to. I could talk to Jasper, but I was always trying to mask my feelings. I didn’t want to upset him. I knew he could feel what I was feeling for Edward. The guilt and the sorrow.
“I’m not trying to pry, or invade your privacy,” he said. “But, you know the pack does routine sweeps by your house every night.”
“Yes,” I said. “It makes me feel really safe.”
“I’m glad, because I would never let anything hurt you.”
“I know,” I said. “I appreciate it.”
“Well, what’s going on with you right now,” he sighed, and I could see he was hesitant. “Does it have to do with the fact that the wrong bloodsucker has been in your bedroom every night this week?”
“What?” I panicked.
“I know it’s not Edward you’re with at night. It’s Jasper.”
“How?” I started to cry, and I felt those same overwhelming emotions I had that night at the Cullen house. I felt trapped, and there was no way out.
“Shh, Bella,” I said. “I won’t tell anyone. I’m sure the rest of the pack doesn’t even know or care who you’re with. I’m just more aware of Edward’s scent. I’m more invested in you than they are.”
“I love him, Jake,” I admitted.
“I figured as much, Bella,” he said. “But what about Edward?”
“I have to tell him,” I said. “I know, but I don’t know how.”
“It’s like a band aid, sweetie,” he smiled. “You just have to do it.”
“I’m afraid,” I said. “I can’t hurt him.”
“It sounds like you don’t have a choice,” he said. “You’re a mess, and it’s taking a huge toll on you. I can see it, and I’m sure he does too.”
“Why are you so okay with this?” I asked.
“I’m not,” he said. “If you were going to dump the leech, I would have hoped it would have been for a wolf, not another leech.”
“Jake,” I said. “I don’t want to hurt you. You’re my best friend, and I know we haven’t been that close lately, but I do love you.”
“Don’t apologize, Bella,” he said. “I’m fine, actually better than fine.”
“I imprinted last week,” he smiled. “That’s what I came to tell you. I wasn’t going to say anything about Jasper, but when I saw you, I couldn’t help it.”
“It’s okay. I’m happy for you. Who is she?”
“Her name is Ava,” he smiled. “Seth and I went to the movies in Port Angeles last week, and as soon as our eyes met, I knew. It’s weird and I can’t really explain it, but she’s the one.”
“That’s great!” I hugged him. “Does she know?”
“Well, no,” I said. “She likes me, and said that she can’t explain the pull toward me, but I can’t tell her anything yet. Sam wants me to wait until this Victoria thing is resolved. I agree. I can’t put her in danger.”
“Are we any closer to resolving the Victoria thing?” In my recent drama, I had almost forgotten about that threat.
“We had a development last night,” he said. “We found her clan of newborns and we were able to take down ten of them, but we were so preoccupied with killing them, that she must have escaped. We’ll find her.”
His phone started to ring. He answered it and as soon as he said hello, I could feel him tense up. That could only mean one thing, I couldn’t hear Edward, but I got the gist of the conversation through Jake’s side.
“What do you want, Cullen?” he asked.
“We took out ten of them last night.”
“Sam contacted Carlisle a few hours ago.”
“Yes, we can meet,” he sighed. “I’ll call Sam and you get Carlisle. I’ll see you in ten minutes.”
Jake hung up the phone and rolled his eyes. “I don’t like Edward, so I hope I feel differently about Jasper.”
“Edward never did anything to you,” I told him.
“He hurt you. I was there, remember? I saw what he did to you.”
“He left to protect me.” I said.
“He left you unprotected,” he said, and I could sense his anger.
“Please, Jake,” I said. “I don’t want to talk about that.”
He stood up and watched the door.
“What is it?” I said, as I stood up and moved closer to him.
“A bloodsucker,” he said.
“Victoria?” I asked, and moved behind him.
“No,” he smiled. “Victoria would be easier to handle, especially for you.”
“It’s Jasper’s girlfriend,” he laughed. “Do you want me to stay?”
“No,” I said. I knew I had to face Alice sooner or later. “You go meet Edward, but Jake, you have to keep him out of your head.”
“I will, Bella,” he reassured me. “But, you have to tell him.”
“I couldn’t agree more, pup,” Alice said, as she floated through the door.
“Maybe if you kept your man on a shorter leash…” I cut him off.
“Jake!” I yelled.
“I’m sorry, Alice,” he said. “That was out of line.”
Alice rolled her eyes. “But, not entirely off base.”
Jake walked passed Alice and quickly whispered. “Don’t you do anything to hurt her.” He turned and smiled at me, before running out the door.
“It must be nice to have so many attractive, strong men in love with you,” she said.
I sat down on the couch, because I was just too exhausted to stand. Jake was right, I was drained. Alice joined me on the sofa. She didn’t say anything, just stared at me.
“I don’t want to fight with you, Alice,” I said.
“I didn’t come here to fight,” she said. “I came here, because I wanted an explanation for how you could sleep with Jasper so quickly.”
“I don’t know,” I admitted. “It just happened.”
“That’s not good enough. Did I mean nothing to you?”
“You’re my best friend and I love you like a sister.” I knew how ridiculous that sounded, but it was true. “Alice, I don’t know. I started having these feelings for him about a month ago, and then when he talked about his past, well, something clicked for me, and I realized that I…” I couldn’t finish.
“You loved him,” she finished for me.
I nodded and whispered, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have acted on it.”
“No,” Alice sighed. “I know you love one another. I’ve known for quite some time, but I didn’t want to believe that either one of you would act on it. I saw the two of you together in visions, but Jasper was so conflicted that the visions were never very clear. I didn’t realize it was you, until after he attacked you on your birthday.”
“You knew that long ago?”
“Yes,” I said. “I always knew that there was going to be someone else for him, but I assumed it would be another vampire. He has had feelings for you since that first day in the cafeteria, but he denied them for as long as he could. He even wanted to kill you, after Edward almost exposed us when he pulled you out of the path of that van. Even then, he was struggling with the guilt of having feelings for you.”
“You convinced me not to kill her,” I jumped when I saw Jasper standing in the doorway. I didn’t know how long he had been standing there, but Alice did.
“I knew that you would never forgive yourself,” she said. “Plus, if I would have let you go to Bella that night, it might have changed your natural course, and the two of you might not have fallen in love.”
“You were helping us?” I asked.
“Not consciously,” she said. “I couldn’t let Jasper kill you.”
Jasper came to sit next to me, but he was hesitant. “Bella,” he said. “I’m sorry that I had those thoughts, but I couldn’t let you expose us for what we were. I didn’t know you then. I hope you can forgive me.”
“I don’t blame you, Jasper,” I said. “You were just trying to protect your family.”
“Always so forgiving,” he looked at Alice.
“I’m not Bella,” she said. “I can’t forgive as easily.”
“Why are you here, Alice?” he hissed.
“Jasper,” I said. “Don’t fight with Alice. This isn’t her fault.”
“It’s not yours either, and Alice knows that,” he said.
Alice stood up. “Fine,” she said. “Yes, I knew all along that you were never mine to keep, but I fell in love with you anyway. I’m not going to cause trouble for the two of you, but I can’t just smile and pretend it doesn’t hurt.”
I walked over to her and tried to take her hand. She backed away. “I’m sorry, Alice,” I said. “I truly am, but I love him.”
“And you’re not sorry for that,” she looked at me, and if she could cry, I’m sure she would be. I started to shake, and the sadness and the guilt started to creep back in. What have I done? Jasper had my arm, before I could drop to my knees. I felt a huge wave of relaxation come over me, and I couldn’t feel any other emotion. I was becoming addicted to his emotional manipulations. I craved them when he wasn’t with me.
“Alice,” Jasper said. “Now is not the time for this discussion. You need to leave.”
“We both need to leave,” she said. “Edward is done with the pack, and he’s on his way here now. We shouldn’t be here.”
“He’ll smell us,” Jasper said.
“Bella is too distraught right now,” she said. “You may have been able to control your thoughts the other day, but you won’t be that lucky today.”
“You’ve seen it?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said. “He’ll see what you’ve done.”
“Maybe that’s what needs to be done,” he said.
“No!” I panicked. “Not like that.”
“Bella,” he said, as he stroked my cheek. “Look what this is doing to you. I want to tell Edward today.”
“No,” I pleaded, and started to cry. “Please, Jasper!”
He shook his head, but I knew he wouldn’t deny me.
“Actually,” Alice stepped in. “This Victoria situation has become a bit more complicated, and we might need to stick together. Now is not the best time to tell him.”
“But you said,” Alice cut Jasper off.
“I know,” she said. “But things change. Something doesn’t seem right. You need to wait to tell him.”
Jasper let out a frustrated sigh, as he ran his fingers through his hair.
“Please, Jasper,” I said. “Let’s just listen to Alice.”
“Maybe we should seek Carlisle’s opinion?” he said.
“No,” I said. “Too many of us already know. Edward can’t stay out of everyone’s head.”
“Jazz,” Alice said. “We have to go.”
He took my hand, and I gently squeezed his. “Tell Edward that Alice and I came to check on you. Alice was worried, because you weren’t in school.”
He tried to let go of my hand, but I didn’t want to lose the connection. He gently pressed his lips to mine. “I’ll be back later,” he whispered. “Unless you’ve changed your mind? I’ll tell him as soon as he comes through that door, and then we can be together.”
“No,” I said. “Not yet. Let’s get this Victoria situation resolved.”
He smiled at me, and then he and Alice were gone. I quickly ran upstairs to wash my face and change my clothes. I was starting to get good at hiding Jasper.
I took Alice by the arm, and led her to my car. I opened the door, and motioned for her to get in.
“I can run home,” she said. “I actually prefer it.”
I gently shoved her in, and slammed the door.
I felt her anger as soon as I slipped into the driver’s side. It matched my own.
I started the engine, and peeled out of Bella’s street. I knew I needed to get a hold of my emotions, but I was furious.
“What were you thinking?” I said. “Showing up there and saying those things to her. Telling her I wanted to kill her? Are you trying to make her have that breakdown? I swear, Alice, if you’re doing that intentionally, I don’t care what we’ve shared in the past…”
She abruptly jerked the wheel toward her, and made us veer off the road. She was fuming. I turned and faced her, projecting my anger onto her.
She slapped me. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t move. On some level, I deserved it. “How dare you!” she hissed. “As mad as I am, and I’m mad, I would never hurt you or Bella that way. Of course I don’t want her to go crazy, but she’s headed there.”
“Stop saying that,” I said. “Tell me how to fix it.”
“I told you how to fix it a week ago,” she said. “Now that plan won’t work. It’s too dangerous for us to split the family. We need to be united to take down Victoria. You are going to have to keep Bella as calm and as stable as you can, in the next couple of weeks.”
“I’m trying, but I can’t get close to her all day long,” I said. “He’s always with her.”
“Victoria has left Forks, for now,” Alice said. “But, she’ll be back and soon. Carlisle is going to plan a quick hunting trip, but Edward won’t leave Bella. I’ll go with him and Esme. Rose and Emmett will be joining us.”
“I’m not going to leave her either,” I said.
“Edward will invite her to spend the weekend,” she said. “With her in the house, you can keep her calm.”
“Do you foresee any problems with the three of us in the same house?”
“No,” she said. “Edward won’t find out this weekend.”
“Alice,” I said. “How is he going to find out?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I haven’t seen that.”
Why hadn’t she seen that? Did that mean he was never going to find out about us? How much longer could we sneak around? Bella wasn’t going to last much longer. I felt that. Eventually her guilt and remorse was going to get the better of her, and I was standing by and letting it happen.
***I know that in the book, they don’t figure out that the Newborns and Victoria are one in the same until graduation, but for purposes of this story I needed to take a few liberties. Since it’s an AU, I didn’t think you’d mined. Thanks for indulging me.
***The Darlin’s are sponsoring a Valentine’s Day o/s contest. You have to enter! Check out the details on my blog. Cullen818 dot blogspot dot com. I’ll also put up the info on my profile page, too!
***Can’t wait to see what happens with the three of them in that house!
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