With two more classes remaining before the end of the school day, Bella and Alice had to go separate ways. Bella dreaded going back inside to face all those silent voices; a part of her even considered dropping the high school act and finding something else to do to hide her from the Volturri.
"Don't even think about it Bella," Alice interrupted Bella's thoughts, picking up on what Bella had planned on doing.
"You actually saw me go through with it?" Bella asked, surprised. "I thought when it came to me your visions were more clouded than anything else…"
"I may not see you too clearly Bella, but I can tell what you're planning considering we suddenly show up at school without you around…" Alice told me. So don't even think about it. This is the only plan we have that actually stands a chance…you'll get used to the voices, I know it.
"Whatever you say Alice," Bella smiled. "This is me though." Bella stopped out front her next classroom: Biology. Have fun...Alice sang in her mind as she skipped off to a class of her own. Bella dismissed Alice's strange behavior and walked into her Biology class. Unlike her first period teacher, Mr. Malena seemed to know the moment she walked in that she was the new student everyone had heard about this afternoon. I hope she's well caught up on this material…especially with Mr. Cullen as her lab partner…did she really hit that Newton kid…Bella's interest went straight to his thought the moment she mentioned a Mr. Cullen as her lab partner. She was afraid to look…with her luck it would be Edward who she already knew would be full of inquiries about the day. Bella quickly handed Mr. Malena the slip she needed signed.
"Ah, yes Miss. Platt," he said as he read her name off the slip. "Welcome, I hope you are finding Forks to your liking. You may take your seat next to Mr. Cullen." Shouldn't be too hard to find..his seat is the only empty one afterall… Bella nodded her head showing she understood his instructions and turned to finally face the classroom. Thoughts were circling around her and the events which transpired throughout the day; Newton's injuries being the main highlight. Many were curious to know the truth while others simply didn't care for it. Then of course, there were the thoughts from some girls who were ready to seek revenge on Bella for overstepping her bounds. Just focus on me Bella…she heard Edward's thoughts instantly; the question over which Mr. Cullen had been in her Biology class went straight out the window. She looked directly at him, ignoring the sudden stares and glares she received from the girls who wanted Edward for themselves. It seemed that the interaction between Edward and Bella still hadn't reached the gossip train; her encounter with Newton triumphed everything else. Just focus on my thoughts…the others will disappear if you just focus on me and me alone…It seemed Alice gave Edward the heads up about the problem she had had during lunch. Despite any irritation she may have had, she listened to him. She focused on him and him alone, willing the other voices to fade away. When she finally reached her seat, she sat down but did not break eye contact with Edward worried that as soon as they stopped looking at each other, the voices would come rushing back in.
Did it work? Edward asked silently, hoping to help ease any pain she may have been feeling from all the voices invading her mind. He knew all too well what she was going through so he was determined to help her in any way that he could. She nodded her head. There was a slight throat clearing noise coming from the front of the room where the teacher stood, calling for everyone's attention.
"If everyone would look to the front of the room please," he announced. Especially Miss. Platt… Reluctantly, Bella looked to the front of the room. If she were capable of blushing she would have since all the attention was now on her. Just remember Bella, focus on one thing and all other sounds will fade to the background…Edward advised. But at this moment, all eyes were on her including all thoughts.
First Mike now Edward…ugh what a slut!
Why is he showing her so much attention…I want him! She can't have him!
I can't believe she's in this class…I'm going to get her back for that stunt she pulled earlier…
At the last thought, Bella turned her head to the right and saw a very angry Mike Newton sitting parallel to her seat. Despite the anger he felt for her having the nerve to punch him, he was embarrassed that he had gotten beat by a girl; the new girl no less. In its own way, it made him want to try again with her until she gave in. He had to show his friends he wasn't a fool. That he was capable of getting any girl he wanted.
During Newton's silent rant, Edward had taken it upon himself to write Bella a note and discretely passed it to her while Mr. Malena's back was turned.
-Seems the stunt before your literature had the opposite effect
Bella read the note and rolled her eyes.
-Has he always been so dense? What more can a girl do to get a guy to realize she isn't interested?
Edward couldn't help but chuckle as he read her response. Well she hasn't hit me yet, so I still stand a chance. The thought crossed his mind before he had time to control it and block it from Bella. Thankfully, she didn't say or do anything to acknowledge it.
-He enjoys the chase; there's not much to be done honestly
-So he goes after any girl who may appear to have a boyfriend? How honorable of him
Bella scowled as she passed the note, irritated by that possibility of Newton still finding her to be available.
-No Bella, just you…he seems to believe since he saw you first and all, you two are meant to be
Bella's hand clenched into a fist without being aware she had taken a chunk of the desk with her. Edward's placed his hand instantly on hers in an attempt to soothe her. The electric current fired the moment their hands met, reminding them both just how powerful their connection was. He'll get over it Bella, don't let his actions make you lose the control you've acquired so well through the years…
Bella glanced in Edward's direction and continued to write her response.
-Even if it was based on who I met first, it still wouldn't be him. If my punching him and telling him straight to his face that I'm not interested isn't enough, then I'll find a different way
Bella, you can't use your powers to hurt innocent people. I use the term innocent loosely of course…he thought, panicked that Bella's intentions would expose them all. She looked at him, shocked and offended. She knew better than to expose everyone including herself. It was the most obvious thing to her considering what had happened back in Jacksonville. She couldn't believe the lack of faith Edward had in her. Just let me deal with it and he won't bother you again…he added, oblivious to how insulting he had been throughout his thoughts. He once again implied she could not handle her own battles; did she not punch Mike Newton and give him a black eye when he brought it upon himself to touch her with no invitation to do so? Yes, she did. She didn't need Edward then, she certainly didn't need him in this moment.
-Thanks, but I'm more than capable of handling that situation and any situation I come across on my own Edward.
She shoved the piece of paper in front of him, placed the pen cap back on her pen and put it aside with no intention of writing back to him. Bella, it's my job to protect you. No matter the situation. She glared at him when she heard his thoughts. Thankfully for Edward, the bell rang and she was out of her seat before he could even process her movement. Alice was waiting for Bella outside her classroom with Jasper by her side. Bella…I saw what happened in there…
"Don't say a word," Bella demanded as she made her way down the hall towards her gym class, though Alice and Jasper followed in step by her side. Jasper could faintly get a sense of the amount of anger Bella had been harboring and had hopes of helping calm her down though he couldn't get a handle on her emotions. His attempts didn't go unnoticed. Every attempted bounced off her and she felt the energy from it. She stopped abruptly in front of the girls locker room and glared at Jasper. She felt herself losing control again but she willed herself to keep it together. And just as quickly as the control began to wane, it was back and not going anywhere.
"Right now, the last thing you should be doing is trying to control my emotions Jasper," Bella hissed at him, keeping her voice down so that no one could hear what the conversation was about.
"How'd you even know I was trying?" he asked, surprised.
"Because I could sense it trying to get through some sort of barrier," Bella told him. "Back off! I don't need anyone messing with my emotions! I don't need anyone trying to get me to go out with them when it's clearly unwanted. And I sure as hell don't need anyone implying that I'm some weakling incapable of fighting my own battles!"
"Bella, he just wants to protect you," Alice tried to explain. You protect the ones you love; it's all he knows…
"So because some amulet tells him I'm his soul mate he suddenly loves me and it's his duty to protect me? No dice," Bella said through clenched teeth. It was a wonder her control hadn't cracked with the amount of anger she felt in that moment. "I've been in love with him since I was a little girl Alice. He's known me for a few days whereas I've had years of hoping I'd see him again to figure out where my emotions stand. I will not be pitied. And I will not be made to feel weak." Then talk to him Bella, tell him what you're feeling…he needs to know where you stand with all of this. It's not just the amulet that's making him believe he loves you Bella. Give him a chance… "It may or may not be that damn amulet, but he knows where I stand on this weak human bullshit. I'm not going to tolerate it anymore."
"So then what's your plan?" Jasper asked, unware of the silent exchange Alice had with Bella.
"He better get his head out of his ass soon, or I'll use him as my target practice." Bella told them. "If I haven't proved to him enough times that I'm more than capable of taking care of myself, then I'll get it through to him one way or another."
"I don't know if that's such a good idea…" Jasper said, uneasy. The amount of tension he knew would surround the two was already overwhelming and Edward wasn't even with them. He was smart to keep his distance.
"I'm not asking if it's a good idea," Bella cut him off. "If he wants to be stubborn and refuse to see what's so blatantly obvious, then I'll be more than happy to oblige."
"Alright, if you're sure Bella," he told her.
"I am." She crossed her arms. "I better head inside before I get in trouble for being late for gym class."
"It's ok," Alice told her. "They won't make you participate today but I should warn you…Mike's in your gym class."
"Ugh, what class do I not have with him!" Bella exclaimed out of frustration. She turned and headed into the gym once again hearing the thoughts of all the classmates. She willed herself to concentrate, to focus on her own thoughts hoping that would work in keeping the silent thoughts at bay and not a moment later, her mind was silent. All that she could hear was her own thoughts going about a mile a minute. It was refreshing.
Alice had been right. Bella was allowed to sit out until the next gym class, given she had her uniform with her and be ready to participate. Unfortunately for Bella, Mike Newton was also sitting out on account of the note from the nurse excusing him temporarily from activities. He brought it upon himself to sit next to Bella, ignoring that she had moved even further down her row in the bleachers to avoid him.
"I think you owe me an apology." He said, not bothering to mask his anger.
"I owe you nothing," she told him, focusing on the volleyball game ahead of her.
"Don't give me that," he practically spat. "I saved your ass by not reporting it was you. The least you could do is apologize." And go out with me…I'll add that next…
"The only thing you did was save yourself from the embarrassment of being decked by a girl," she said.
"Regardless, you owe me," he pressed. "I want my apology and a date."
"Like hell you will get either," she responded while trying to keep herself under control.
"If you don't, I'll just go over to the principal and tell him I've changed my mind," Mike threatened. "I'll tell him it was you…I don't think you'll like getting into trouble Bella. It is, after all, your first day." She can't say no now…
"I insist you go to the principal actually," Bella told him, turning to face him now. The glare she gave him was enough to stop him mid thought. "I'll even go with you. I'm sure the principal would love to hear that you were harassing the new girl who acted out of self defense to get your slimy paws off of her. I'm sure they'd love to hear how Mike Newton can't seem to take no for an answer."
"I'm…I…Um…" he stuttered. Huh? How did this get turned around on me…she wanted it! "That's crap…you enjoyed the attention! You wanted me just like I want you." He tried to bounce back.
"Really? Because I seem to remember telling you I wasn't interested nor would I ever be. And if you're still having trouble remembering that then I guess my friend Angela would love to step in as my witness and accompany us to the principals' office," Bella countered. Crap…I can't get away with that after all…"So it looks to me I'm doing you a favor here by not reporting YOU to the principal."
"Yea…uh..um, whatever," he finally said and turned his attention to the game, leaving Bella alone. I'll get her to go out with me one way or another…
"And Mike," Bella added sweetly, giving him a sense of hope that maybe she'd changed her mind. "If you ever approach me again…ever insinuate that we're meant to be…ever ask me out or even touch me again…I will not hesitate to report your ass for harassment. Understand me?" She figured if she couldn't use her powers on him, she could at least do one thing that would ensure he kept away from her…the human way at least.
"Yea…um…I'll leave you alone," he stammered and got up quickly to change his seat. The last thing he needed was a record on his transcripts.
After the incident with Newton, gym class seemed to go by quickly. All Bella needed to do at this point was turn in her slip to the office secretary and she could be on her way home; which currently was the Cullen's place. Though thinking more and more about what she and Alice discussed over lunch, she started thinking if staying with the Cullens' was such a good idea. If her aunt was going to tell them where she was, they'd come looking. Of course they'd pick up vampire sent and check in with them. They'd find her easily…
"Bella!" Edward exclaimed as she walked up to the office. She stopped, gritted her teeth and turned to him.
"Yes?" she crossed her arms.
"I was hoping I'd give you a ride back to the house if that's ok with you?" he asked, hopeful. I must admit, you handled Newton very well in gym class. I saw the whole thing Bella. I nearly ran out of my last class to come get you…
"Thanks Edward but I'm riding with Alice on the way back," she told him. "And I don't need you coming to the rescue. I've been fine on my own and I certainly have no problem handling myself, as I've told you many times." She turned and opened the door to the office. She quickly turned in the slip and made her way out of the school with Edward following close behind.
"Bella, we should really talk," he told her. "About everything; about where we stand…where we go from here…what we'll do about the Volturi…" They stopped in front of Alice's car with the others already there waiting for them.
"We don't need to talk about anything Edward," Bella answered. "Especially not about us. Until you realize I'm your equal in every way, I have no interest in having that discussion with you. It's quite possible that I'm even more powerful than you so I find it ridiculous that you keep making me out to be some pathetic little human who can't handle her own battles. Well here's a reminder if it hasn't registered for you yet. I'm not human. I'm a powerful witch/vampire who is destined to take down a very powerful coven of vampires who view me as a threat. And as of today they will know exactly where and who I am so excuse me if I don't want to sit around and talk about the supposed love you feel for me! I have other things I need to prepare for and figure out!" she whispered angrily.
"What do you mean they'll know where and who you are Bella," Edward demanded, clenching his jaw. Of course, out of everything that's the only thing he would take the time to care about. And frankly, Bella wasn't in the mood to stick around and talk to him about anything any further. She simply got into Alice's car and waited patiently until Alice got in.
"Are you sure you don't want to talk to him with the others about this?" Alice asked. I'm sending him with Jasper to go hunting to by you time…
"Yes, I'm sure," Bella answered. "I'm tired of it. Why can't he see that I'm not weak and fragile. I'd love to be with him but not if this is how he is Alice."
"He'll come around," Alice told her. "I assure you." I've seen it…
"Yea, we'll see how long it even lasts," Bella sighed. "Do you have a phone?" Bella asked.
"Of course," Alice handed Bella the phone and sat silently as Bella placed a call to her grandmother.
-"Bella, thank goodness you called!" her grandmother exclaimed the moment she picked up the phone.
"Grams, how'd you know it was me?" Bella asked, slightly surprised.
"Please Bella, I'm a witch not some human with caller ID." Her grandmother told her. "Speaking of, there's something you need to know. It's about your aunt."
"She's my enemy," Bella told her, sadness filling her voice. It was still hard to believe her own family would turn on her that way.
"Yes, how'd you know?" her grandmother asked surprised.
"I dreamt her booking a plane ticket to Volterra Italy. I also dreamt being attacked by red eyed vampires who I'm assuming to be the Volturi. I thought it was just a dream but it feels to real," Bella explained.
"Yes well I'm afraid your dream gave you a glimpse of what your dear aunt was planning Bella," her grandmother told her. "But fear not, I've bought you time."
"How Grams?" Bella asked, intrigued. Alice too was interested in hearing how her grandmother had bought them time.
"I bound her memory before she could say anything or reveal her thoughts. She currently has no recollection of us, you or where you are or your abilities. You're safe for now…though they are currently looking for you on the east and west coast." Her grandmother told her.
"If they'll be on the west coast, how does that make me safe?" Bella asked.
"They think you'll be in the sunny states, though beware of the one called Jane," her grandmother warned. The named sounded too familiar. Bella recalled the mention of Jane when the Cullens first told her about the Volturi and what they could do. Jane was someone they feared; someone Bella was determined to destroy before she could get her hands on the family. "She's sneaky, that one. She'll expand her search to Washington within the month."
"So I'll need to get more control of my powers before the month is out," Bella said, more to herself than anyone else.
"Not to worry dear, you're already in more control than you think," her grandmother told her.
"How can you be so sure?" Bella asked.
"Bella, how many times today did you will yourself to be in control or to not hear anyones thoughts?"
"Quite a few…how'd you know?"Bella responded.
"Oh please, you continue to insult me dear," her grandmother scoffed. "Bella, I can follow you and your day here in my looking glass. I sent all the materials you'll need to the Cullens during the day today so it'll be there when you get back. But you should know, that's part of your powers dear. Use it."
"What is? My control?" Bella asked, confused.
"No dear, you can will things to happen," her Grams told her. "It's quite extraordinary but you did an impeccable job today mastering that ability. Practice with it…you could probably tie your other powers into your will power. You'll be unstoppable."
"We'll see about that," Bella muttered.
"Be more confident in your abilities," her grandmother insisted. "You go concentrate on that control of yours and I'll keep a look out for potential sighting. If you dream anything else, do not take it lightly Bella. Visions haven't fully manifested themselves in you but they just might…Be on your guard."
"I will, thanks Grams,"
The conversation with her grandmother had given Bella much to think about. She hadn't even realized that every time that day when she willed herself to concentrate on one thought or just her own, it would automatically work. She just thought it was a neat trick Edward had helped her quickly pick up on. Instead, it turned out he helped her accidently stumble upon one of her powers…a big power that could be essential in helping her defeat the Volturi. She wondered just how much and how far she could take her ability to will things to happen. Could it be manifested physically? Was it just a mental thing? She couldn't wait to find out.
"So that new power of yours must be pretty exciting," Alice mentioned as the two arrived at the house.
"In a way I guess it is," Bella admitted. "I just want to see how much I could do with it. Now that I have a time frame, I don't want to waste what little time I do have."
"Don't worry, we'll help you," Alice smiled at her. I'm so sorry about your aunt…I know you didn't want to be right about her…
"I knew there was something about her before that dream Alice," Bella told her.
"What do you mean? ' Alice asked.
"I mean there's a reason I told my grandmother to keep her in the dark. There was a reason I wanted her to think I didn't develop any powers and that it was all a false alarm. That the opposite happened when I turned sixteen," Bella informed her.
" I thought you only had a dream the other night giving you a warning…" Alice told her, confused.
"That's true," Bella told her. "But it was just a feeling about her that I couldn't shake. There was something always off about it. I could never place it…until now."
"I wonder why she'd doing this," Alice thought aloud.
"Me too," Bella admitted. "But I'll be honest, a part of me feels it's better if I didn't know. But anyway, where are the others? I thought they'd be back before us?" Not a second later, Rosalie and Emmett charged through the door, Bella being Emmett's current destination.
"Bella you are all kinds of awesome!" he exclaimed as he picked her up and took her into a bear hug.
"Emmett, put her down." Rosalie scolded. "But in this case, Bella I must say you did amazing today." I will never admit that if you try to repeat it to anyone…
"Only mind readers would know the truth, no worries," Bella smirked as Emmett put her down. "Not that I don't mind being called awesome, but why am I all kinds of awesome right now?"
"Are you kidding? Decking Newton? Telling off Edward? Blocking Jasper?" Emmett exclaimed, a big smile on his face. "Should I continue?"
"No, I think you pretty much have it all covered," Bella laughed, finally feeling relaxed. She had so much anger through the day that it was nice to finally let it all go.
"So how'd you get Newton to completely back off?" Rosalie asked. If only the risk wasn't exposure…I'd love to teach that slime a lesson in how to treat a woman…
"Well in gym he claimed I owed him an apology and a date," Bella started.
"What? That slime actually had the nerve to ask for an apology?" Rose fumed. "Alice why didn't you tell us he was an issue in her gym class? I would've personally been there to back you up Bella!" Wait until I get my hands on him…
" I thought you'd all love to know from Bella what exactly happened," Alice smiled. Go on Bella, continue…
"So when I refused and told him he'd get neither, he tried to threaten me by telling the principal I was the one who punched him in the nose," Bella continued. "I—as nicely as I could, of course—pointed out that it would be no issue for him to report me. I was more than willing to go down with him and inform the principal of his harassment which called for self defense. Also told him I had a witness."
"I bet he peed his pants," Emmett laughed. I wouldn't put it passed that weasel..he's all talk anyway…
"I'm not too sure, he switched seats pretty quickly when I told him what would happen if he touched me again or even thought about asking me out again," Bella smiled, proud that she'd handled it without resorting to magic or her vampire traits.
"What'd you say would happen?" Rosalie asked.
"One thing he fears is having something on his transcript," Bella told them. "Harassment wouldn't look too good on his record…which is why he fears even looking at me now."
Everyone broke into laughter at the sight of Newton being afraid of Bella
"It seems I've continuously underestimated your abilities," Edward suddenly said, catching everyone off guard. They'd been so focused and intrigued by Bella's story that they hadn't heard Jasper and Edward return.
"Edward, you're back sooner than I expected," Alice flashed him a fake smile as she welcomed him back.
"Yes well I've done some thinking and it seems I've been quite the…how did you say it Jasper? Idiot?" Edward answered.
"That's putting it nicely," Emmett said under his breath though everyone could hear him.
"It seems I have a lot of explaining to do," Edward admitted. "And apologizing." Bella, I've earned no right to ask this of you…I realize that now but do you think we could have a word in private?
Reluctantly, Bella stood from her seat and made her way out to the kitchen and out to the garden with Edward walking slowly behind her, following her out. He wasn't sure whether she would actually agree to speak with him, after how blind he'd been to everything. He didn't realize the amulet would make Bella question how genuine his feelings were for her; he didn't realize he'd made her feel over and over that she was incapable of defending herself…he'd been blind and he needed to fix his mistakes.
"Thank you for agreeing to come out here," Edward started. I really didn't think you would after everything I've said and done…
"I almost didn't," Bella admitted. "And I'll tell you now that if this is another conversation where you're going to tell me I need protecting and can't handle myself then I'll just go back inside." That'd be understandable…if that was what I had to say…but it's not…Bella nodded her head in acknowledgment, allowing him to continue with what he needed to say.
"I don't even know where to begin," Edward muttered, though Bella could hear him loud and clear.
"The beginning always seems to help," she told him, arms crossed. Right, the beginning…
"I'm in love with you Bella," he admitted. "And not because some amulet tells us that we're soul mates. What I feel for you runs deeper than anything that claims to tie us together. I saw you, all those years ago. I didn't think anything of it, really. I didn't think you really saw me…you were so young and so far away…but there you were. As beautiful as ever; I kept tabs on you through your grandmother's mind…before any barrier went up and before she moved to that cabin. I've been in love with you from the moment I saw you Bella. I'm sorry I ever made you think my feelings for you developed suddenly after finding out from your amulet that we're meant to be together. To me, that's icing on the cake…I won't force this relationship on you Bella. But I want you for forever, if you'll have me…" There was a long silence after Edward's confession. He had seen her that day too? All these years that she longed to see him again, he'd really been thinking of her too? Was it really possible? Or was it too good to be true? She hated herself even more for never returning to visit her grandmother…all the time they potentially lost angered her.
"It's really not about that amulet?" Bella asked, looking down at the amulet around her neck.
"Not at all, love," he told her, still keeping his distance to be safe. "That amulet is simply a confirmation that what I feel for you is real and it hasn't been something I've conjured up in my mind. We're real…we're meant to be together and I want you Bella…"
"I do too…" she hesitated. But…"But I don't think I can truly be with you if all you see is some fragile human. Edward, I'm not human. Not by any means and to be treated as such is insulting."
"You're right," he admitted, surprising Bella. For the first time, he was truly acknowledging just how equal they were. "After talking to Jasper, I realized how blind I've been. You'd think you pinning me to the ceiling would've been enough to clue me in to the fact that treating you as a weakling was far off base. I'm sorry I've belittled your capabilities Bella. I promise you, I will never do that again." And I must admit I enjoyed you scaring Mike Newton in gym class…Bella couldn't help but laugh.
"Well he deserved it and Alice says he'll keep his distance for now so it seemed to work," Bella smiled.
"Are we going to be ok?" he asked, taking her hand in his.
"I think so," Bella told him. "We'll work on it."
"Good," Edward smiled down at her, cupping her cheek with his hand. Bella couldn't fight the urge to lean into his touch. "I'd hate to be your target practice as you work to control your powers…"
"Play your cards right and you won't be…" Bella teased him. "Come on, we should get back to the others." Alright…I'd hoped we'd have more time to make up…He silently hinted. "I would love nothing more, but for now we need to update everyone with new information."
"What's going on?" Edward asked, trying hard not to show his over protective side at the first sign of danger.
"It's my aunt," Bella told him as she glanced down, ashamed of her aunt. "She's going to the Volturi"
A/N: So here's the next chapter…leave some reviews about what you think, especially any questions or ideas or just thoughts on what you'd like to see…thanks!