A Reason to Exist Chapter 9
***Thanks for reading! I hope you like where I'm headed!
***Again...I couldn't get these chapters out as fast as I do without the cooperation of Jasper's Darlin' Kathy and TwiCarol!
The next few weeks flew by in a blur. I wasn't even sure what day it was half the time, and I didn't even know how I got through graduation. Edward constantly hovered, and I was sure it had to do with the vision Alice had that day she and Jasper broke in the room and stopped me from confessing to Edward. They wouldn't tell me what she had seen, and that was fine. I didn't want to know. Jasper said that by him stopping me from telling the truth, Alice's vision wouldn't come to fruition. I trusted him.
I missed Jasper. With Edward constantly around, it was very difficult for Jasper to get to me. That was starting to take a toll on me. I missed him very much and I desperately needed to be with him, but with him not being close, he couldn't manipulate me. My emotions were starting to get the better of me.
I sat at the kitchen table, lost in thought. While Edward found the need to monitor me, he was respectful about it. He no longer tried to kiss me and when he spent the night, he sat in the rocking chair, never setting foot near the bed anymore. I felt bad for him, but by creating this distance, it would only make things easier in the end.
I snapped up and looked at Charlie. I had forgotten he was still here. He was all packed and ready to go on a weekend fishing trip. Billy and some of the others insisted that he go with them. I concluded that the wolves knew Victoria was close and she would soon make her move, and they wanted to remove Charlie from the equation to keep him safe.
“Bella?” Charlie said again. “You are so distant. Why don't you tell me what's wrong?”
“I'm fine,” I said.
“No,” he said. “You haven't been fine for weeks. I haven't seen you this way since Edward left. Are you two having problems again?”
“No,” I shook my head and fought back the tears. “It's nothing.”
“Bella,” he said. “Maybe you should go visit your mother?”
“No,” I said. “I'm not leaving him.” I meant Jasper, but I couldn't tell Charlie that.
He shook his head. “Do you want me to stay home this weekend?”
“No,” I said. “You go. You've been looking forward to this.”
“Don't you have anything to look forward to?” He asked, and I saw the concern in his eyes.
“Yeah, Dad,” I said, and thought about Jasper. “I do.”
“Fine,” he mumbled. “Call me if you need me.”
“I will,” I faked a smile. “Have fun.”
I cleaned up my breakfast dishes, called to check in with Edward to let him know I was at home, and I would stay there until he came over later today. The Cullens and the wolves had been preoccupied with finding Victoria this week. Apparently they had picked up her scent, just at the edge of town. She was getting closer, and while that should have been terrifying to me, it wasn't. I wanted this over with, so I could get on with my life. My life with Jasper.
I had plans for us. I wanted him to take me away from here, like he promised. I wanted to travel with him and share good things together. The more I thought about this life, the sadder I became. In order to realize our dreams, we had to hurt so many. What would Carlisle and Esme think about what I had done to Edward? I loved them as much as I loved my own parents, but I had betrayed them too. Rosalie and Emmett wouldn't understand either. And then, there was Edward and Alice. This wasn't fair to either of them. I was going to tear apart this amazing family. They had lived together in peace for so long, and now I was going to blow their world to pieces. These were the thoughts that overtook my mind every day, and without Jasper, it was getting harder and harder to function.
I realized I had left my phone in the car, and as much as I wanted to leave it there, I knew Edward would only come here faster if I didn't answer it. I opened the passenger side door and retrieved it from the seat. As I stood back up to shut the door, I felt two arms snake around my waist.
“Did you miss me, darlin'?”
I quickly turned around and jumped into his arms. “Jasper!” I screamed. “You're here!”
“I am,” he smiled, as he gently kissed my lips.
I wrapped my arms tightly around his neck. “I can't stand being away from you.”
“I know,” he said, as he carried me over to the porch and sat down on the step, with me in his lap. “Edward never leaves you alone, so it's been really hard getting to you. I can't stay long because I need to help with the search for Victoria, but I had to see you.”
“Are you close to finding her?”
“Yes,” he said, as he stroked my hair. I missed his touch so much. “She got pretty close to town last night, but she is so fast. We did manage to take out two more newborns, so she doesn't have much of an army. Maybe five? The wolves could probably handle this on their own, but Carlisle has suggested to the pack that we all take shifts to expedite the process. He was out all last night, and is headed back to the house now to check in with the hospital. I'm taking his place.”
“Are any of you in danger?” I couldn't handle losing any one of them.
“No,” he shook his head. “Her newborns are stupid and can't stay focused. That's why we're able to get them so easily, but she is very cunning and elusive. We're having a harder time keeping track of her. She's not as fast as Edward though, so if we can pick up her scent when he is there, he'll catch her.”
I shuddered at that thought. I didn't want to think about him going up against her.
“I know you are worried,” Jasper said, as he ran his lips down my cheek and to my jaw. “Nothing will happen to him.”
“It's not just him I'm worried about,” I took his face in my hands. “I love you, and I couldn't handle it if anything were to happen to you. I'm barely hanging on as it is.”
“This will all be over soon, and then we'll work on getting you better,” he said. “I promise, Bella, I'll make it better.”
I pressed my lips to his, and he quickly deepened the kiss. My insides were doing flips, and I could feel the wetness beginning to take over between my legs. I shifted myself so that I could straddle him, and I ground my center into his erect member. A low growl erupted from his chest.
“Do we have time to go inside for a few minutes?” I asked.
“I'd want more than a few minutes, darlin',” he whispered, as he ran his tongue along my neck.
“I'll take whatever I can get,” I said, as I ran my fingers through his wavy blond locks.
Suddenly he stopped, and I felt his body stiffen. He kept his lips on mine, as he closed his eyes and sighed.
“What?” I asked. I was clearly confused.
“Bella?” I was startled by his deep voice. I jumped out of Jasper's lap and turned to face him.
“Jake? What the hell are you doing here?” I asked, sounding a bit annoyed.
“Trying to protect you from the bloodsuckers,” he said. “But it looks as if I'm a bit late.”
Jasper stood up and moved me slightly behind him. “Don't get angry with her around.”
“Jake? Why are you angry?” I asked.
“Well, it looks like I'm not anymore,” he stared at Jasper. “Thanks to your boyfriend.”
“I won't let you lose control around her,” Jasper said. “I know you don't like me, but we both love her, so we need to find a way to get along.”
Jake let out a frustrated breath. “You're right,” he said. “It was just weird seeing the two of you, all tangled together. I've never gotten used to her and Edward.”
Jasper nodded. “I understand.”
“Jake,” I said. “Why are you here?”
“I do a sweep of the property every hour or so,” he said. “I'm leaving Seth here, so that we have someone in this area.”
“Guarding me?” I asked.
“Not really,” he smiled, but I knew he was lying. “I just want to make sure we don't pick up her scent around here.”
“That's a good idea,” Jasper said. “I'm on my way to search now.”
“Yes,” Jake said. “Me too. We picked up the scent of some newborns, just on the main road into town. Edward and the fortune teller are headed that way.”
“Alice?” I asked.
“Yes, Sam and I are going to join them.”
“I'll meet up with Emmett, Rose and Esme,” Jasper said. “Em and Rose have been out all night, and probably need a quick break to hunt.”
“You'll be careful?” I asked, and I felt the tears filling in my eyes.
He wiped them away with his thumb, and sent me a calming vibe. “I'll call you in a few hours.”
I smiled, and quickly kissed his cheek. He took off into the woods.
“Bella,” Jake said. “You have to be more careful. I could just as easily have been Edward that found the two of you here.”
“I know, Jake,” I sighed. “But, I'm tired of hiding. I want to tell the truth.”
“And, that is the best thing for you to do, but not now. If Edward finds out about you and Jasper, there is no telling what he will do. Now, I personally don't care if they kill each other, but I won't let them hurt you. I need to take care of Victoria, before I can protect you from two love-struck vampires.” He grinned.
“They won't hurt me,” I said. “But, I appreciate your concern.”
“Just stay safe and don't do anything Bella stupid, before we get this resolved.”
“I won't,” I laughed. “How is Ava?”
“I haven't seen her much, but she seems to understand. I can't believe how connected we are. Once this crisis is over, things will be different. I feel like I'll finally be able to start my life.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” I said, but then I thought about the Cullens again. I was going to be happy, but not everyone else was.
“Look,” he said. “I need to get going. Promise me, nothing stupid?”
Promise,” I rolled my eyes.
He took off into the woods and left me alone. It was so quiet. I sat back on the steps and remembered my brief time with Jasper. Soon, I kept telling myself. I would be in his arms very soon.
I thought about what Jake had said, about starting his life after this Victoria ordeal. Maybe if I could get some reassurance, then I could feel better too. This secret was slowly eating away at me, and not being able to see Jasper wasn't helping. I needed to talk it out, and get the advice of the one person who probably mattered the most. Carlisle could help me sort through this. He just had to.
I ran in the house and grabbed my keys. I needed to head out of here, before Seth stopped me. I didn't need him telling Jake where I was going, and then risk Edward finding out that I had gone to talk to Carlisle. They would all stop me, before I had a chance to get to the main road. I looked around the property and saw no signs of Seth, so I jumped into my truck and headed to the Cullens.
I headed home and took a quick shower. I had been out tracking Victoria all night, and needed to get home and check in at the hospital. My shift was starting in an hour and I knew I needed to go there, but my family also needed me. We had to stop Victoria, before she got to Bella. Speaking of which...
I heard her truck pull up in the driveway, and she approached the front door. She was alone. That was strange. Why wasn't someone with her? I ran down the steps, and opened the door before she could knock
“Carlisle!” I could tell by her increased heart rate that I had startled her. “You scared me.”
“Please come in,” I took her hand and led her in the house. “Are you okay?”
She was so frail and distant these last few weeks. I knew something was troubling her and I wanted to help, but I needed her to come to me. I hoped that was what she was doing today.
“I'm sorry to bother you,” she said in a low, tired voice.
“You could never be a bother to me,” I said, as I led her upstairs and to my study. I sat on the couch next to her. “Are you ready to tell me what's on your mind?”
“I want to, but I'm so afraid of what you will think,” she said, and I could feel her body start to shake. I took her hands in mine.
“Bella,” I said. “You have been so understanding when it comes to my family. You saved Edward from the Volturi and you love us all so unconditionally, even Rosalie,” I smiled. “I could never judge you. I consider you one of my own children, and I would treat you with the same respect I treat all of them.”
She started to cry, “Carlisle,” she whispered. “I've made some terrible mistakes, and I can't handle what I've done anymore.”
“I can see that, Bella,” I said. “I see how sad and distraught you are. We all can. Most of the family thinks that its the strain of Victoria taking it's toll on you, but that's not entirely it, is it?”
She shook her head and looked down at our joined hands. “I wanted to tell the truth, and I would have by now, but this Victoria thing has made it complicated, and then Alice had visions of the family being split and ...” she started to sob.
“Bella,” I said. “It's not your fault you fell in love with Jasper.”
She looked up at me and gasped. “How did you know?”
“There isn't much about my children that I don't know,” I said. “I've been their father for a long time. I know when something is off.”
She looked at me with shock and disbelief.
“I've been waiting for you or Jasper to come to me, but now I see that you were afraid to split the family at this difficult time. I don't know what Alice saw, that would make her think that it was okay for you to lie. I'm sure she had a good reason, but her visions are subjective and sometimes it's best to go with your heart. I would never turn my back on Jasper. I love him just as much as I do Edward, and while my heart breaks for Edward, I don't believe that you were meant for him.”
“He loves you, but he doesn't quite know what to do with you. Deep down, he knows that. He can't do the things that you have asked of him. He can't turn you, and I don't blame him for that. I'm not saying that you can't become one of us, but I understand why he can't be the one to do it.”
“But, you said that you would turn me,” she reminded me.
“And I would have, because that was what you wanted, and I wanted that for Edward,” I admitted. “But, I usually don't offer that life to someone who has another choice.”
“Edward never wanted that life for me,” she said. “I kind of forced him into it.”
“He loves you and wants you for eternity, but he'll never be the one who could willingly do it. I know my son, and he would live with that guilt for the rest of his existence.”
“But,” I said. “I want that life.”
“But not with Edward,” I said.
“No,” she whispered.
“Edward feels that on some level,” I said.
“I never meant to hurt him,” she said. “But, with Jasper, it's different.”
“I understand, but you and Jasper will have many fences to mend.”
“I know, Carlisle,” she said. “I came to you, because I couldn't hold it in any longer. I wanted you to tell me how awful I am for hurting your family, but instead you've accepted me.”
“You can't control what your heart wants, and vampires don't make commitments lightly. Jasper must have felt a pretty strong pull toward you. I don't believe that he would ever hurt Alice, if he could have helped it.”
“I didn't want to hurt Alice either,” she said.
“I know that,” I said, as I squeezed her hand. “This will all work out, but you and Jasper have to tell Edward the truth. Sooner is better.”
“You're right,” she said. “I don't want to wait any longer. He deserves to know.”
“I'll stand behind the two of you, and I will try to make him see that this happened for a reason.” I knew Edward would feel betrayed, but when he really thought about it, he would see that he wasn't meant for Bella. If she was his true mate, he would have no trouble wanting to turn her, or even make love to her.
“Thanks, Carlisle,” she leaned over and kissed my cheek. “I feel better.”
“Good,” I said. “Now, why don't you stay here? I've got to go to the hospital, but Rose and Emmett should be home shortly. I'd feel better if they followed you back to your house, or you can just stay here with us.”
“I think I'd like to stay here,” she said. “If that's okay with you?”
“Of course,” I smiled, “Bella, we'll get through this as a family. It won't be easy, but we'll get through it.”
Carlisle left for the hospital, and Emmett called to tell me that he and Rose were going for a quick hunt, and then they would be home. I curled up on the sofa in Carlisle's study and closed my eyes. A few minutes later, I felt a cool hand stroke my cheek. I was briefly confused, because I didn't know who it would be. I wanted it to be Jasper, but chances were that it was Edward. I slowly opened my eyes, and shot into a seated position. I never expected to see the vampire staring back at me.
“Victoria!” I said, as my voice cracked. “What are you doing here?”
She smiled at me, and her ruby red eyes were staring right through me. She didn't say anything.
“The Cullens will be home any minute,” I said.
She cocked her head to the side, as she stroked my hair. She gracefully sat on the couch next to me, and pulled her knees into her chest.
I tried to get up, but she violently pulled me back down, eliciting a scream from my lips.
“You all just made it so easy for me,” she laughed. “While the rest of your family is out searching for the false leads I've left, I strolled right in to Casa de Cullen. It's my lucky day, do you know why?”
I didn't answer.
“I came here for the good doctor,” she laughed, and the high pitch hurt my ears. “I was going to take him and force Edward to trade for you, but you made it impossibly easy for me. I can skip a whole step.”
“You're crazy,” I said. “They'll kill you when they find you.”
“Who said that they're going to find me?” she smiled. “When you turn up missing, they'll know exactly who took you. My revenge will be complete, but then that really wouldn't be that fun. No, Edward needs to watch as I kill you. A mate for a mate.”
My eyes widened in shock, as I jumped up from the couch and headed for the door.
“Riley,” Victoria called, and then suddenly a rather large vampire was standing in the doorway. “Why don't you help Miss Swan?”
He took a step toward me, and I screamed, “No! Please!”
The last thing I remember feeling was a sharp pain in the back of my head, before I collapsed into Riley's arms.
***And, so it begins...
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***If you are following Innocence Lost on fanfictionfrenzy dot com...chapter three is now up and we get some JPOV.
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