Sunday, March 23, 2014 | By: Drotuno

Masen Manor Chapter 8 & Pics

Chapter 8
October 2001
BELLA
With a smile, I closed out Chelsea’s email and opened one from my mother. I shook my head slowly as excuse after excuse filled my screen. It seemed that since I’d come to Masen Academy, my mother and stepfather finally had time to do the things they’d wanted to do. It seemed I’d been a weight on them, and they were free – so free that they’d been late with my birthday gift that had come a week late. The earrings were still in their box and tucked away in my trunk. And this time, travel would take Mom and Phil away for the week of Thanksgiving. I didn’t even care where, so I closed the email before finishing it.
Alice’s head popped up from the book she was reading on her bed in our dorm room. “Don’t sweat it. You’re not the only one staying at school that week. My parents can’t afford the train ticket for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I stay.”
Smiling, I glanced over at her. “Good to know.”
“Besides,” she chirped, getting up and coming to sit on the edge of my bed next to my desk, “the dining hall makes a helluva turkey! And no classes for a week, so we can go into Hunter’s Lake, chill out in here, and pretty much have the run of the place. There are usually a handful of us that stay behind.”
Chuckling, I nodded. As fun as that sounded, I’d been looking forward to seeing Chelsea and going home for a week, but it looked like that wouldn’t happen until Christmas break.

“Best part?” she continued. “Mike and Messica go home…you know, photo ops for the parental units.”
Now that was good news. A whole week without the two of them casting nasty glances my way, without Jessica’s snide remarks about us, and without hearing Mike brag about whatever the two of them got up to when they thought no one was looking. And he always seemed to say those things whenever I was near, as if his sexual conquests were points in his favor. The thought was disgusting, perhaps because it was Mike. Actually, I was pretty sure it was because it was him.
Alice rolled off my bed and walked to our window. “Sweet Jesus, that’s a lot of pretty right there.”
Giggling at her, I got up from my desk, thinking she was ogling Jasper again. However, my heart pounded at who was with him.
Edward.
“That really is unfair,” she sighed, looking to me. “Can you imagine what happens when the two them step into a bar?”
Groaning at the thought, I swatted at her like she was a buzzing fly. I tried my damnedest not to think of Edward with other women, but Alice had a point. The two men currently talking outside by Jasper’s big pickup truck could easily have their choice in women – or men, for that matter. They were simply gorgeous…and opposites of one another, really. Edward was dark and mysterious, carrying himself with a sexy confidence. Jasper was laidback, calm, and quick with a crooked smile my way. As if they’d heard me, both glanced up at the window, and I sighed, walking back to my desk.
“You know, they have the same color eyes,” Alice noted, still shamelessly leaning in the window. She didn’t care if Jasper caught her staring. “I’ve heard they’re adopted brothers or some shit. Cousins, maybe?”
“Adopted means their eyes wouldn’t be the same,” I whispered, going back to my laptop, though I’d noticed it, too, and not just with Jasper, but with Dr. Cullen and Mrs. C, as well.
“I know, but I swear I overheard Jacob say something about them being related somehow,” Alice countered, but turned from the window with a smirk. “Edward looks upset that you left the window.”
Snorting, I waved her away again. “He’s mad at me.”
“How’s that possible?” she asked, plopping back down on the edge of the bed. “The day I met him at Mrs. C’s place, he looked at you like the sun rose and set out of your ass.”
I sighed, rolling my eyes and shaking my head as I typed out notes for my history report. “Maybe not mad… Frustrated.”
Alice’s face softened, but she nodded. “Still having trouble with the song?”
I nodded, grimacing a little. It had been almost two weeks since Edward cut our lesson early, and he’d cancelled last Friday. I was supposed to see him again tomorrow, and I wasn’t sure how it would go. I’d been an emotional basket case our last session. Between opening up to MG in the journal, which had gone unanswered so far, and realizing that I spoke more to Edward than I did to anyone else, I’d been all over the place. It didn’t help that my feelings for Edward were growing by leaps and bounds.
Pulling up a blank document, I starting typing to her.
Our last piano lesson was a disaster, Alice. We got nothing done, and I was a mess.
“Why?” she asked, scooting closer.
He pointed out that I’d answered him verbally all session, and it scared me.
She nudged me to go on, so I did.
What if he’s the only person that I can ever talk to like that? What if the reason is because I feel more for him than a school girl crush?
Alice giggled, but made me look her way. “And that would be bad…why? He’s gorgeous, and he likes you.”
Shaking my head, I kept typing. He’s getting paid to like me. And exactly…he’s gorgeous and perfect and twenty-two and sweet and… Do I need to go on?
“You can,” she said with a laugh.
He’s all these things, and I’m…just me. I’m only seventeen and scarred and a freak. I bet he leaves our piano lessons and drinks heavily to get over it. Or maybe he drinks heavily BEFORE them. I would.
“Stop it!” She laughed, shoving me a little. “He’s not a drunk, for God’s sake! And from what I heard, he wasn’t acting like a paid employee when he swooped into the library that day. Angela said he looked like he was about to tear the place apart when he found you.” She reached up and tucked my hair behind my ear. “So why is talking out loud to him a bad thing, Bella?”
Tears welled up in my eyes when I looked over at her. “’Cause I can’t keep him, Alice,” I whispered, going back to the keyboard.
I think I love him, and I can’t keep him. He’s older and beautiful, and one day, he’ll move on. And I don’t know if I can take it. What if I open myself up to him and he just…leaves? He canceled last week’s lesson. I’m too much to deal with, Alice. Even my own mother can’t deal with me. What on earth makes me think that Edward could?
Alice frowned, looking from the screen, to my face, and back again. “What do you mean, your own mother can’t ‘deal’ with you?”
“Forget it,” I hissed, slamming my laptop closed.
Before I could move from my chair to my bed, Alice had me in a hug – a tight, rib-crushing hug.
“Come on,” she said, releasing me and grabbing my hand. “We need chocolate.”
Snorting at her a little, I let her drag me from the room and down to the dining hall, where we gorged ourselves on chocolate cake and huge glasses of milk.
~oOo~
My feet dragged me slowly toward the auditorium the next day. There was a part of me that didn’t think Edward would be there. But when I stepped inside the large room, he was already pulling the chalkboard to the center of the stage.
He looked ridiculously gorgeous, wearing black jeans, a white T-shirt, and black hoodie with the sleeves shoved up to his elbows. As usual, his hair made my fingers ache to push it off his forehead. And my heart cracked a little down the middle when his heartbreaking smile lit up his face.
“Hello, Bella,” he said, his smooth tone echoing a little in the large, empty room.
The sound of his voice, which usually made me calm, set me on edge a bit. I waved his way, dropping my music folder onto the piano bench. Suddenly, I wanted to know why he’d canceled the last week and whether or not he wanted to be there, because if he didn’t, I wanted to rip the band-aid off as quickly as possible and get it over.
Walking over to the board, I snatched up a piece of chalk.
Why are you here?
I looked to Edward, who looked pained, but he asked, “So we’re back to this, Bella? Really?”
I tapped the question with the chalk hard enough that a chip or two shot off onto the stage floor.
His eyes narrowed on me and then the question, but his arms folded across his chest when he answered. “It’s Friday and time for our session,” he replied slowly.
You were gone, I wrote. If you don’t want to be here, then tell me now. I’ll let your aunt know it’s my fault. I’ll deal with Mr. Harris or stop playing altogether.
“No!” he yelled, but calmed himself. “No, Bella. Stop. Sit down, please?” Once I sat down on the piano bench, he knelt before me. “You’re mad. I’m sorry I canceled last week. I needed to go out of town that weekend, and I thought…maybe…” He sighed, sinking his fingers into his hair. “I thought maybe I was pushing you too hard, Bella. I thought a break from this would be a good idea.”
“For who?” I whispered, frowning at him. “You, or me?”
He smiled at the sound of my voice. “You, sweetheart. You were upset the last time we were here. I just…didn’t want to push too far. It would kill me to think that anything I did hurt you.”
My brow furrowed as I shook my head at him, because that statement sounded familiar. MG had basically said the same thing in his last letter, but I shook it off. I figured I’d seen the last of the purple journal. But that was the second time he’d called me sweetheart, and I was really starting to like it.
“I’m not giving up on you, Bella,” he vowed, lowering his head so that I had no choice but to look into his honey eyes. “Did you think that’s what I was doing?”
I shrugged a shoulder. “Everyone does.”
“Well, not me,” he stated firmly. “You’re kinda stuck with me.”
I shook my head. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”
He chuckled a little, looking down at the floor and shaking his head. When his eyes met mine again, he said, “Guess I just have to prove it.” When I didn’t say anything, his brow furrowed. “I told you that I didn’t take your trust lightly, Bella. I meant it.”
“Okay,” was all I could say to that, but it at least made him smile.
“Okay,” he echoed, standing up. “Now, I have an idea on what to do today. Something a little different.”
“Where’d you go?” I suddenly blurted out in a whisper.
He froze for a second, but then he turned to face me. “To visit a friend in Manhattan. I got back on Tuesday.”
My heart broke a little, but I nodded in acceptance. The thought of Edward spending a long weekend in the arms of some flawless, beautiful woman made me sick to my stomach, and I couldn’t look at him for a moment, so I faced the piano.
“He’s a finance lawyer, and I’m still dealing with my parents’ estate,” he stated, his brow furrowing when my head shot up to look at him. “He had papers I needed to sign. Why do you ask?”
Shaking my head, I waved him off. He snorted a little, but dragged the piano bench away from the piano. His face appeared in front of me as he knelt again.
“You rarely ask me anything, Bella. Please tell me why you asked that,” he begged softly.
My face heated, and I groaned. “I just…maybe you…went to see your girlfriend.”
His smile was sweet, but he shook his head. “You thought I canceled on you to go see a girl? Impossible! You’re the only girl in my life, Bella. I promise.”
Rolling my eyes at his hand on his chest and his smirk, I pushed him away, pointing to the piano.
“Yes, work, but get up. I’m gonna play. You’re gonna do something different,” he stated, waiting until I stood up before he set the bench back in its place. He pointed to a desk he’d pulled out from backstage, with a pencil and a piece of paper on top. “I’m going to play, and I want you to write a memory that goes with it.”
I paled at the thought, but he tilted my head up when I shook it. “I can’t, Edward.”
“A good memory, Bella. A happy one. I hear it in the beginning of your song, so I know it’s in there,” he said, tapping my temple. “Let me have it. I’m not asking you to speak about it, but write it.”
I stared at the paper, whispering, “I’ll try.”
“That’s all I’m asking,” he stated, sitting down to the piano. “Just…try. For me.”
I took my seat at the little desk, my eyes narrowing on the smile that I was now convinced he was using as a weapon against me. Without taking his eyes from me, he started my song. He was better at it than I was, if I was being honest…or maybe it was just nice to hear someone else play it for a change. Someone that didn’t have an emotional connection to it, though he played it like he did.
I glared at the blank page in front of me, picking up the pencil and letting the notes swirl around me. How did he do this? How did he make it seem okay? Frowning, I closed my eyes for a moment, remembering why I’d started the song in the first place.
Before I knew it, I was writing, and it didn’t take long to fill a page. I set the pencil down with shaky fingers, and Edward’s hand appeared in my vision.
“May I?” he asked softly.
I nodded in answer, trying to shake off the exposed feeling that the memory brought with it, and he gently pulled the page away. I couldn’t look at him as he read it. My nerves felt raw.
I’d started writing my song as a bet with my dad. He’d teased me that I couldn’t do it, but I’d wanted to prove him wrong, which I suppose was his intention. We’d spent the day together, just the two of us – movie and pizza afterward. My mom was taking some sort of art class, so we’d walked around a little shopping area to wait for her, stopping at my favorite music store for blank sheet music and a new song or two. I’d loved those days. I missed them more than anything.
Edward dragged the piano bench over, sitting down on the edge. He seemed to be waiting for me to look his way. When I did, he simply said, “Thank you, Bella.”
Nodding, I let out a deep breath.
“How old were you?” he asked softly.
“Almost thirteen.”
“Impressive,” he praised, smiling a little when I glanced up at him. “You started composing at twelve, Bella. That’s something to be very proud of. What did your dad say about losing his bet?”
I shrugged. “He never…heard it finished. It…I was thirteen when…” I stammered softly, toying with my charm bracelet.
Edward’s hand covered mine. His touch was cool, but the auditorium was always kind of chilly. There were no windows, and fall was well underway. Despite his cool touch, the same warmth spread through my hand and up my arm.
“I’m not asking about that, Bella,” he soothed. When I glanced his way, he shook his head and turned the paper over to the blank side. “I would like one more today. The second part of your song.”
“No,” I stated softly, shaking my head. The second part came after my dad’s funeral.
Edward took a deep breath and let it out. “Okay,” he stated, standing up from the bench. “I won’t push, Bella, but come here.” He moved the bench back to the piano, patting the space beside him.
I did as he asked, trying not to stare too long at his long, muscular thighs in jeans that should be illegal. I tried not to think about what he was going to ask of me.
He placed his hands on the keys, but before he played, he said, “Maybe it’s unfair to ask you to tell me about your song without doing the same, hmm?”
Glancing up at him, I studied his face. He wasn’t looking my way, and his sharp jaw rolled as he gritted his teeth.
“You don’t—”
“No,” he sighed, looking to me, “I do.”
He started playing, and the influences had to be the same as mine: the classics. The notes flowed beautifully, like water over rocks. It switched to something almost tedious, and then angry, finally settling on something sad. However, the end was stunning and beautiful and full of hope and what sounded like love.
When he was finished, he looked slowly around the auditorium. “You’re not the only one that wrote a song about their life, Bella.” He looked down at me. “Despite what you think, the song is about you, not your dad. It’s everything you’re feeling or have ever felt.” He smiled so sadly that it made tears spring up in my eyes. “I started my song for my mother. She loved that I played. My father, on the other hand, didn’t share her…enthusiasm. He was a cold, hard man that wanted me to follow in his footsteps, to be a lawyer like he was. One night, he’d had too much to drink, and he took it out on my mother like he usually did. He passed out, and normally, he would sleep it off, going about his life the next day. Only this time,” he stated, holding up a finger and smiling ruefully, “he woke up…still drunk. And he was even angrier than before. He picked up a gun, aimed it at my mother, pulled the trigger, and then took his own life.”
I gasped, staring at the strong man at my side. I couldn’t understand how he could be so perfect and normal after having been through that. I wasn’t sure I could’ve stopped myself if I tried, but I threw my arms around him in a hug. He was solidly muscular and smelled so damn good, but I couldn’t stop my tears.
He froze for a moment, but then his arms came around me. “Don’t you dare feel sorry for me, Bella,” he said, and I could feel his lips on the top of my head.
I shook my head, but sobbed, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t cry. I hate it when you cry,” he whispered into my hair. His hand ran flat over my head and down my back over and over. “Look at me, please,” he pleaded gently. He cupped my face, wiping away my tears with his thumbs. “No more tears. He doesn’t deserve them.”
“You do,” I argued.
His smile was sweet and sad and almost shy. “I’d rather have smiles.”
I sniffled and giggled at the same time.
“Better,” he said with a chuckle.
We were quiet for a moment, but his story gave me bravery. To know I wasn’t alone was something empowering. I grabbed my sheet music and pointed to each section.
“This…is anger,” I told him, looking up at his shocked face. “I wasn’t allowed to talk, but I was angry after my dad’s funeral.” I flipped the page. “Emptiness. No one could help me, and my mother stopped wasting the doctor’s time.”
His brow furrowed, but he stayed quiet.
“Last…fear. Nightmares.” I reached up to touch my scar. “They’re still out there,” I whispered.
Edward swallowed nervously, but pulled my hand away gently. I shivered when his thumb lightly dragged over my scar. His eyes were dark, almost black when I looked into them.
He leaned forward, pressing a kiss to the crown of my head. “And that, Bella, is what makes you strong, whether you see it or not.”
I shrugged, because I wasn’t sure what to say to that, but the feel of his lips on me sent my heart into overdrive.
He took the pages from me, holding them up. “It’s about you. Once you realize that, then you’ll see the end.”
My brow furrowed, but I nodded. “I need—”
“Time,” he finished for me, and I nodded. “You have time, and I’ll help you. Like I said, I’m not going anywhere.”
I let out a deep breath and nodded. I wasn’t quite sure if he meant for now, or until I finished my song.
“I think that’s enough for today,” he said, standing up from the bench.
Nodding, I stood up and gathered my things together. I looked his way before I left the stage. No one had ever tried this hard for me. Ever.
“Don’t quit on me,” I whispered, silently begging him to understand.
He smiled. “Never. See you next Friday, Bella…”
“If not sooner,” I finished with him.
He chuckled. “Exactly.”
~oOo~
EDWARD
When the doors to the auditorium had closed behind Bella, I sank to my knees with a groan. We’d crossed some sort of emotional bridge…or met in the middle. I wasn’t sure which. What I did know was that it had taken every bit of my self-control to not kiss her right there on the piano bench. I didn’t even know if I could kiss her, but I wanted to. Badly.
The feel of her scar beneath my thumb was something I’d never forget. I’d drawn it a thousand times waiting for the reality of her, but to touch the real thing was humbling. It was rough, yet smooth at the same time. It pulsed heavily beneath my touch, and just knowing that I’d almost lost her to the animals that had killed her father made me almost feral. It made me want to promise her their heads on a silver platter, but I couldn’t.
However, it was her plea not to give up on her that brought me to my knees. Carlisle had said to let her lead me, to let her tell me what she could and couldn’t do, but we had so much in common that I didn’t even stop myself when it came to telling her about my parents. I’d told her more about me in this last session than I ever had. And certainly more than MG had.
I took a few deep breaths and let them out, standing up from the stage floor. I needed to answer her last journal entry, but I’d been too busy…and scared, if I were being honest with myself. She saw so much, her mind sharp and brilliant. If I gave her any more clues, I’d have a problem on my hands. Though there was a side of me that wanted her to know everything.
I took my time heading back to the east wing. I didn’t want to be happy that she’d been jealous of my trip, but a smile curled up my lips nevertheless. She thought I’d been with a woman? Was she serious? Thinking back, I’d never told her otherwise, and I supposed that if the tables were turned, I would’ve assumed the same. She’d tried so damn hard to hide it, but I saw it all over her face, and all I could see was that she was mine. Leah had been right.
I walked into my living quarters to see Jasper pacing in my living room.
“Whoa!” he hissed, stumbling back. “What the hell, Edward?”
Grinning, I shrugged a shoulder. I could see in his mind what I was putting off – happiness, sadness, worry, love, and lust. The latter was what was sending my brother into an emotional spin.
“Sorry,” I said with a laugh.
“Um, good piano lesson, brother?” he asked wryly, folding his arms across his chest.
“Very.” I grinned, but it fell quickly. “She finally opened up a little. And she’s so afraid that everyone’s just gonna give up on her! Her own mother? Seriously?”
Jasper frowned, holding up his cell phone. “Well, there may be a reason for that. I talked to Jenks.”
Once Carlisle had gotten ahold of the police report from Boston, Jasper had wanted to help. He had illegal connections, one of whom I’d gone to see in New York. He worked underground for us, never asking questions if the pay was big enough. I’d gone to meet with him for Jacob’s new identifications, but while I was there, I hand-delivered something I’d wanted him to look into: the Swan residence and its estate. I’d also wanted backgrounds on Philip Dwyer and Renee Higginbotham-Swan-Dwyer, but I wanted the ugly and secret as well as the public information. If I was going to find the bastards that had tried to kill my mate, then I’d need to start at the beginning.
Carlisle had paid a high price for everything, including the autopsy report on Charlie Swan. He had yet to receive them, but it would be any day now. He’d promised me that he’d look into it as deeply as possible.
“Tell me,” I stated, sitting down on the sofa.
“Jenks followed the financial paper trail on Charlie Swan,” he told me, sitting down across from me and dropping a stack of papers that he’d printed from the computer. “Bella’s dad…he knew something. He had to have known something.”
“Why?” I asked, grabbing the pages and reading them for myself, but Jasper went on.
“The Swans are a long line of old money,” he said, getting up and starting to pace. “Your girl…she’s gonna be really well off when she turns eighteen.” His voice held a bit of awe to it, but he snorted humorlessly. “Though, I get the feeling she couldn’t care less.”
I shook my head. “No, probably not,” I agreed with him, but glanced up when his thoughts went blank. “What?”
He took a deep breath and let it out. “Charlie was a federal judge…and a decent one. Which means at one point, he was a lawyer. His will and life insurance policies are...were specific, like really fucking detailed. And he’d changed them…just a few months before he died.”
My eyes widened, and I flipped through the pages to see what he was talking about.
“Oh hell,” I sighed, shaking my head. “You’re joking, right?”
“No,” he answered softly. “Jenks double-checked everything, even went as far as calling Bella’s accountant. See…Bella can’t touch it, not until she’s eighteen, but in there, it allows for her mother to get an allowance to take care of her – basic needs, food, shelter, school, clothes…that sort of thing. It’s a fairly decent allowance; most people don’t make that much in a year, and it’ll hardly make a dent in what she gets in the end.”
He sat down in front of me. “Edward, I think Charlie knew someone was coming for him. He changed his will to give everything to Bella. Everything. Her mother wasn’t allowed to touch it.”
“I see that,” I sighed, flipping through the will. “What do we know about her?”
“Nothing.” He shook his head and shrugged. “She’s clean. She’s not exactly from a poor family, but she’s nowhere near what the Swans were…are…damn.” His sadness at what we could possibly find out about Bella was radiating out of him and filled his thoughts. “Are you sure you wanna do this, brother?”
Guilt consumed me for a moment, but I nodded. “I need to make her safe, Jasper. She’s scared to death that someone is still out there. That they’ll come for her.”
Jasper growled, shaking his head. “Not a fucking chance.”
“Exactly.” I went back to the papers. “Okay, so a few months before Charlie died, he changed his will and the beneficiary of his life insurance. He then set up a detailed trust fund, making sure that no one could take anything from Bella.” Jasper nodded, and I went on, pointing to one spreadsheet. “It could be that Renee simply has bad spending habits. Her credit cards were constantly maxed out with Charlie paying them.”
“Keep going,” he said, sitting back in the chair.
Reading more, I could see what he wanted me to find. “When she turns eighteen, Renee loses her really high monthly paycheck. Oh hell…”
“Ding, ding, ding…there it is,” he sang, though he was pissed. “Look at the clause, though.” He sat forward, tapping the middle of the page. “Should something happen to Bella, or she be deemed incapable of living a normal life, or become incapacitated in some way... Only then does her mother get it all.”
“Oh Jesus, Jasper!”
“Yeah, I don’t have to read minds to see that you came to the same conclusion that I did. There may be a reason Bella’s scared.”
“She may be living with the person that killed her father…or at least knew something about it.” I groaned, sinking my fingers into my hair. “If Renee didn’t have a part in it, she still would stand to gain everything. But it’s her mother!”
“I know. Jenks is looking into the stepfather as we speak.”
Sadness swept over me, my own mainly, but Jasper had no choice but to multiply it. “Jasper…Bella said…she said her mother gave up on her recovery. And Esme said that Renee had only given Masen Academy a year… That still gives them plenty of time to take her…lack of speech and use it against her.”
Jasper nodded. “Yeah, they would be well within their rights as her parents to have her deemed mentally ill.”
“Or kill her.”
“No! You think?” he growled.
We were both quiet for a moment, but I glanced up at him. “What happens to the money if something happens to Bella after she turns eighteen?”
“That’s really up to Bella. She could make anyone her beneficiary,” Jasper answered. “Although, right now…it’s her mother.”
“I want to know about her stepfather the second Jenks does, okay?” I begged him, and he nodded, getting up from the chair.
“Yeah, and I’m looking into the trials Charlie was presiding over, too. I’m going to go back about five years. That should do it,” he told me. “Though, most of them were in the police report.” He stopped, turning to me before he opened the door. “Edward, what are you gonna do if the trail runs cold?”
I sat back on the sofa, rubbing my face roughly. “I don’t know.” I sighed deeply, looking his way and then to the floor. “But I have to keep her safe, Jasper. She’s my mate.”
His thoughts turned sad, and then a little angry, but I caught the tail-end of it anyway.
“Brother, one day, you’ll come to me about Alice,” I told him, looking up from the floor. He looked chastised, but angry at me. “I let you have space because it’s not my life, but you can’t hide it from me…and neither can Jacob.” I raised an eyebrow at him.
He huffed a humorless laugh, shaking his head. “You had enough going on…”
Smiling his way, I shrugged. “What are you going to do?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know. I’ve tried to just let her be, to push her away, but…”
“It’s impossible,” I said with a laugh. “And believe it or not, I’m damn sure that Esme put them together for a reason.”
Jasper barked out a laugh. “And neither one of them are stupid.”
“No.” I shook my head, grinning a little. “Definitely not.”
He leaned against my door, folding his arms across his chest when I picked up Bella’s purple journal. I thumbed through it, trying to decide what to say…if I replied at all.
“Is it wrong to hope they figure it all out?” he asked softly.
Smiling ruefully, I shrugged. “Then we’d both be wrong, I think.”
“What are you going to do when Bella figures out that you’re the same person who’s writing to her?” he asked with a laugh.
“Fall on my knees and beg her for forgiveness, but nothing I’ve ever told her in here,” I said, holding up the journal, “or in our piano lessons has been a lie.”
“You’d just better hope she can accept that you’re both,” he said with a chuckle. “Or she’ll be pissed.”
“Not pissed,” I sighed, staring at the blank page that was waiting for my answer to fill it. “Hurt, but I don’t regret a minute of getting to know her. Not one second…in either form.”
“You think it would’ve been different had she been able to talk?”
“Maybe.”
He nodded like he’d suspected as much. “What’cha gonna say this time?”
Picking up a pen, I twirled it in my fingers, finally looking his way. “How I waited a hundred years for her…and it was worth it.”
He said nothing to that, but left me alone. I spent the next hour or so simply writing to Bella, hoping that I was doing the right thing. There was a part of me – and I wasn’t so sure if it wasn’t the part that was winning – that was ready for Bella to know me…the real me. All of it. It was beginning to hurt trying to stay away from her. I just wanted her to know that she had someone fighting for her, who loved her and wouldn’t give up on her. Ever. The pull to her was too strong, and I’d seen in our piano session today that maybe…just maybe that it was the same for her, too.




2 comments:

Shveta Pitha said...

A nice job keeping the suspense alive while moving the story forward. Nice clues about Renee&Phil/the will as well as Edward & Jasper's parallel emotional experiences. This is the first concrete note about Jasper/Alice, but fulfills the expectations nicely. And the strategy of teaching employed by your Edward is effective. Nice job keeping the interest going, advancing the story while keeping the suspense going. Very effective! Makes me look forward to the next installment with great anticipation.

aelita48 said...

I like this intrigue!
Bella has to be afraid maybe more of her father-in-law than her mother.
Phil could fancy Bella and his fortune. He could decide to kill Renée!
It is an idea which came to me by reading.
Deeply the next chapter.

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