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I walked into the kitchen after I took my shower, still thinking about last night…or technically this morning. Last night had been so incredible and being with Bella was almost indescribable. I loved her so much, and the realization I got every time I thought of finding her, I got more and more dumbfounded at the way fate brought her to me.
I sure as hell never expected to feel this way about someone and I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably would never find the woman that I would want to spend the rest of my life with. These last few days with her here at her most favorite and special place have been amazing and more than just a little bit needed. Not to sound like too much of a pussy or anything, but it had brought us even closer together than before. There was still so much to find out about her and her me because God knew I sure didn't like talking about all my shit too much, and the last few days before everyone got here had gone a long way to doing just that.
I couldn't believe all the things I didn't know about her before though! Being with her constantly for three days had taught me so much about her, just by watching her throughout the days and the little things she did. I was telling you….walking in that garage the other night and seeing her playing the drums?
Yeah… hottest fucking thing ever.
And the car and watching her cook and well…just every damn thing about her.
So fucking hot.
I found myself sometimes thinking that maybe we should have slowed down or whatever but seriously, I just couldn't find it in me to want to. I thought about her all the damn time, and again, not to sound like a chick or anything, but it felt like a part of me was missing when I was away from her, like I couldn't breathe right or some shit like that. And the electricity that seemed to crackle all around us when we were together, man I just couldn't get enough of that either. Even if I was not looking, I fucking swore I could tell when she walked into a room or was getting close to me. I just felt her.
Part of me thought maybe all that should have scared the shit out of me but it just didn't; it just felt right.
And that right there my friends was the kicker of all kickers… it felt right. I knew we were meant to be together, if we weren't, the love between us wouldn't feel so fucking perfect. And damn, the way Maddie and Mase loved her, could anything have been more right than that? I honestly thought if, God forbid, anything bad happened between us, my whole family, kids included, would keep Bella and get rid of me! Truthfully, that was the way it should have been anyway.
I realized as I finished making my second cup of coffee…thank you, Bella my love, for making the first and leaving it in the bathroom while I was showering, that Jasper, Rose, and Seth had all stopped at the windows looking out over the backyard.
"Oh," I heard from Seth.
"My," from Rose.
"God!" whispered Jasper.
I rushed over to the window to see what the hell they were looking at. Mase was on the tire swing and Maddie was standing off to the side. Bella was down on her knees tying her shoes. I noticed that Maddie was wearing a soccer jersey with Bella's name on the back… it was pink. I had never seen Bella in pink; in fact I was pretty sure she absolutely fucking hated the color pink.
Bella was talking to her, I could tell by the way Maddie looked at her and nodded her head. Bella stood up and I realized that she was wearing a soccer jersey, too. This one was red, white, and blue with the name Swan across the back, as well as the number 16. I noticed a "C" on the front, I guessed for captain.
I didn't know she had played soccer.
She had shorts on… God she was so beautiful…and soccer cleats. She held a ball in one hand and Maddie's hand in the other. Almost as if she could tell we were looking at her, she turned around. I saw her breath catch as she looked at Jasper, Seth, and Rose. I looked over to the three of them, too caught up in watching my beautiful girl to have been paying attention and what I saw shocked the ever-loving shit out of me. They were crying, all three of them, tears running down their faces and looking at Bella with so much love it took my breath away.
"Guys, what the hell?" I asked.
Jasper was beside me, his arm around Rose and Seth on her other side, holding onto both of them. I couldn't figure out what was going on, not understanding at all what I was seeing.
"Really, what is the matter?" I asked again, beginning to get a little freaked out.
I knew this had something to do with Bella, I could feel it.
Jasper looked at me, with a sad smile, like his heart was breaking and then looked back outside to Bella. I watched the three of them, their hands in fists pressed against their hearts as they looked at her. She was doing the same back to them. That must have been some secret friend thing, which to be honest made me feel more than a tad bit jealous.
I noticed Jasper incline his head in my direction, seeming to ask Bella a question. She turned her eyes to me then back at him and gave Jasper a small smile and a tiny nod of her head. He leaned over to kiss Rose on the forehead, hugged Seth real quick and faced me.
"Edward, it's about time for me to tell you a story," he said, then leaned in and gave me a hug.
That took me by surprise but I just nodded my head.
"Okay," I said.
I saw Rose, tears still on her face, smile at Bella and gave her a wave and Seth just looked at her. I could tell they were having one of their private conversations in their heads and when it was over he blew her a kiss, slapped me on the back and walked away.
I stood there and stared at Bella, knowing that what Jasper was about to tell me would change everything, but I loved Bella so much that it didn't matter. I started to move to the door and go outside when I saw her shake her head at me. I knew she wanted me to listen to Jasper before I talked to her.
I looked at her, and hoped she could see how much I loved her from this far away. I knew I could feel her, her love for me. She pressed her fingers to her lips and lifted them up; our secret way to say I love you. I did the same back to her. With one last glance at me, she smiled and then reached down to take Maddie's hand and they walked to the soccer goal set up in the yard.
I turned around and saw that my parents were walking into the kitchen, followed by Emmett and Alice. Angela and Ben walked in behind them, along with Tanya. I noticed Jasper, Rose, and Seth standing together on one side of the table.
I had to say my mind was going about a million miles a minute and my heart was going almost as fast. I told myself that whatever this was, whatever Jasper was about to lay on me, on all of us, that I would keep my shit together and be there for Bella.
I was about to lose my mind and blow up at Jasper when he looked at me.
"Edward, I know you have a lot of questions right now; let's all sit down and I will tell all of you everything," he said.
"Ali, darlin', I think you should sit beside Edward, he'll need you," Jasper said. "Dr. C., you and Mama E need to be close, too."
Okay, now I was seriously about to lose my shit here, not one minute after I told myself I'd keep it together.
"Jasper, damn it, what the hell is this about?" I yelled at him.
Alice had pulled me down into a chair, sitting beside me and holding my right hand in both of hers; I felt Mom and Dad as they stood behind me, Dad's hands on my shoulders.
Jasper got up and stood in front of me. He squatted down and took my other hand in his and said, "Ed, there are some things, well a lot of things, about Bella that you need to know. Seth, Rose, and I have talked to her about all of this, and she asked that we tell you her story first, before her."
"Why?" I asked. "Why can't she tell me? This doesn't make any sense, Jasper. We have been here for three days by ourselves. Why couldn't Bella tell me then? Or tell me now, herself? I don't understand," I trailed off in a whisper.
"I know you don't understand, Edward, but if you can give me a little bit, I promise I will tell you. I know you love her, Ed, I can see it, Rose and Seth can see it…hell anyone that looks at the two of you can tell how much you love each other. But, Bella's past is not pretty, and the reason she asked the three of us to tell you, to tell all of you, is because it is very painful for her to relive some of this as well as the fact we lived it with her."
He took a deep breath and then asked, "Can you do that, Edward, can you listen while I tell you Bella's story? Can you listen with your heart and your mind, never forgetting that she loves you more than I have ever seen her love anyone else, and just so you know, that means more than Rose, Seth, and I. Please?"
I looked at Seth, Bella's brother for all intents and purposes, and he nodded at me, agreeing with Jasper. I looked at Rose, her best and most loyal friend, and she also nodded her head at me.
And then I looked at Jasper, her protector and rock. I was scared out of my mind at what he was about to tell me but I said, "Yes, yes, Jasper, I can. Please tell me everything."
He got up and walked to the other side of the table, sitting beside Rose. Seth was on the other side of Alice, Tanya beside him, her arm wrapped tightly around his arm.
Emmett stood against the windows, arms crossed against his chest. His eyes were pinched, like he was already bracing himself. My brother may have been an insensitive ass at times, but he loved me and Maddie and Masen fiercely and hated anyone and anything that made us unhappy. He had told me over and over again how happy he was for Bella and me, and not just because he could brag to anyone and everyone that he had slept in Isa Swan's bedroom! He loved Bella, just like Alice and my parents did and he knew whatever was about to be brought to light had brought her pain, and that hurt him.
Angela and Ben were sitting at the breakfast bar, holding hands. Uncle Marcus and Aunt Diane were sitting off to the side on the sofa and Demetri was waiting for Heidi to arrive out front.
Dad's hands gripped my shoulders; I felt the tension there.
He and Mom had known Bella the longest in my family, and I knew even before Bella and I fell in love, that he had carried the memory of her around with him…even if he never mentioned her. He loved Bella as much as Alice, like she was his own daughter.
I reached up and grabbed his hand, taking the strength I would need from him. I loved my dad, not going to lie. I told him daily, hugged him everyday, and told anyone who asked. He was the greatest man I knew and I made sure to tell him that frequently. I knew I might have done things in my past that had not made him happy, but he loved me and was proud of me, and there was nothing I treasured more than that.
I had a tremendous family, I knew how lucky I was, how lucky I was to have Emmett and Alice and the close relationship we had. I had counted on them and had their support my whole life and when the debacle that was Lauren happened, they were all there beside me, every step of the way.
My mom was behind Alice, running her fingers through her hair. That meant she was nervous, too. It was just what she did. I looked up at her, and she leaned down and kissed my cheek, holding the other side of my face in her warm, soft hands.
"Be strong, Edward, my boy, I love you and Pop loves you, and we will all be here for you and for Bella."
"Thanks, Ma, I know, and I love you, too."
I leaned into her hand briefly and then looked across the table at Jasper. "Okay, J, let's have it."
And so he began.
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