Chapter 16: Bella
As we walked into the house I kept my shield on Edward. I was enjoying reading Alice's thoughts of him at the disco, and laughed out loud as she pictured him doing the hustle.
He grimaced. "Not you too!"
"Sorry, I couldn't help myself," I replied, grabbing him from behind and hugging him tightly. "You were right, you can dance."
"I told you so," he replied, turning to face me. His arms wrapped around my waist and he smelled my hair, as we walked upstairs to his room and sat on the sofa.
"Bella, you did so incredibly well this weekend. We're all very impressed. Seeing how you did, I wanted to ask you something," he paused taking my hand. "I feel silly even asking, because I have seen it in your thoughts, but... What do you think about enrolling in high school?"
"I have been thinking about it," I replied, smiling at him. "I would really like that, but I'm worried. Do you think I can handle it?"
"Yes, I do. I wouldn't dream of suggesting it unless I thought you were strong enough, and you have proven to us that you are. You couldn't start right away; you'll need a bit more exposure to humans first, and you would have to act as Carlisle and Esme's adopted daughter."
I grinned. "I would have no problem with that! He and Esme already feel like parents to me. I must admit, I do get pretty lonely when you are all at school. I think this is a good idea, I want to do it."
"I'm glad, it means I will get to spend more time with you. There are some other things we need to talk about," he said, his tone more serious. "Your name..."
I hadn't thought about this aspect of things. If I went to school, we had to make it look legitimate. Carlisle needed to keep up appearances. It hurt to even think the words; Isabella Marie Swan disappeared almost two years ago. I wouldn't be able to use my real name.
"Am I going to be a Cullen?"
"If you want to be," he answered quietly. "Or if you have something else in mind..."
"No, I like the idea of being a Cullen." The thought of being a Cullen did make me happy, but a part of me did not want to give up my last name. I felt as though I was letting go of my past. However, upon more careful thought, I decided this would be more like shedding skin. I would always be Isabella Marie Swan, this was just a new beginning. I found myself excited and suddenly impatient to start this chapter of my existence.
I laid back on the couch and motioned for Edward to join me.
"Do you want to keep your middle name?" He asked brushing his fingers down my arm.
"Actually, I'd like it to be Renee. That was my mother's name." I replied in a whisper. I wanted her name to keep my mother close to me. Edward finally laid next to me, draping his arm over me, as we enjoyed the sound of the rain outside. The more comfortable I became, the more my shield let go, and I could tell by the way Edward held me that he could hear my thoughts.
Being thrust into this immortal world had all of my senses extremely heightened. I could make out the individual drops, hitting the window, the roof, the ground and the trees. Drops falling from the gutter would fall continually and form beats. The mild breeze was my string section, and as the wind began to blow lightly, I started humming a melody. Edward's thoughts were one with mine. He focused on the song in my head and just listened and followed along. When the wind would change, I would hum another melody and we would begin another song. Edward's hand dropped to my hip and he moved his fingers as though he was playing the piano; I could hear him imagining the notes. The song was sparse with piano, but as the rain fell harder, the tempo picked up, as did the movement of Edward's fingers. We were creating music with the rain and our minds. His fingers slowed when the rain stopped.
Edward grabbed my shoulder and turned me toward him, and I looked at him with wonder.
"That was one of the coolest things ever. I never imagined that could come from rain."
I laughed. "I love listening to the rain. It's like my own whimsical percussion section."
"I love you," he breathed.
I could hear in his thoughts that he was itching to get to his piano. I put my hand on his face and smiled. "I love you too. Now go perfect our rain song."
He rushed downstairs, while I walked up to the bathroom to shower. The acoustics in this house were stellar, bringing his song through every room in the house. As I left the bathroom, I danced my way down the hall and stairs and then went into my room to change. I was about to pick out something to wear, when I heard Alice approaching the door.
"Hey, Alice, come on in. I'll be in the closet, changing." As I started looking through what seemed like an endless rack of clothing, I thought to myself, what would Alice wear? I picked a pair of skinny jeans and a black sweater. I pulled my hair up into a pony tail and stepped out for inspection. As I expected, Alice was waiting for me.
"Nice, Bella. You look great, but no shoes?" She eyed my bare feet.
"I have no need for shoes at the moment." I said.
"Bella, I want to plan a night out for just us girls. I'm thinking a few weeks from today. Are you up for it?"
"Where would we go?" I asked.
"Esme was hoping you could help her run some errands and I was hoping to get a little shopping in." I froze, scared at what she was suggesting. She seemed so casual about the invitation.
"Have you seen it? Will I be alright?"
"Yes, I've seen it. I wouldn't be asking you right now, if it wasn't going to be super fun." She smiled. "Please, Bella. I promise that you will be fine and that we'll have a great time."
I hesitated. I wanted this so bad. I had been daydreaming about shopping with Alice and Rose. This would be a dream come true.
"As long as you're sure that I will be OK." Alice jumped over and gave me a hug.
"I have a favor to ask." Alice said. "Actually, I am asking on behalf of Jasper..."
She told me about her conversation with Jasper at Mt. Rainer.
"Do you really think it would help him?" I asked feeling skeptical.
"I don't think it will help, I know it will." That was Alice for you. Always so sure, and always right. She called Jasper in to my room, and he walked in slowly, looking toward the floor.
"I wanted to apologize about my behavior. I shouldn't have run off like that. I hope I didn't upset you." he said.
"Jasper, I wasn't upset. I just didn't understand, but Alice explained everything to me and I would like to try and help."
He sighed and looked away. Alice took his hand and gestured that we sit down, he sat down on the bed and I sat next to him. I could still hear the piano music coming from the living room, and a smile sprouted from my lips. I held my hand out, and as Jasper took it I pushed my shield over him and instantly felt uneasy.
"Is that you, Jazz? Are you nervous?" I asked.
"I guess I am. I'm usually the one dishing out the emotions, so this will be new for me." He replied.
I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I took a deep breath and I concentrated on how I had been feeling earlier today, when Edward told me that I was strong. It was pride and it was value, with a modest dignity, I was humbled and I felt loved. There was a warming sensation running through my fingers, and I looked down to see a light scarlet glow coming from my hands. Jasper tried to let go, but I clutched his hand and squeezed. The scarlet glow started again. I could feel a burn starting in my throat.
It was his bloodlust. I cringed but tried to overcome it.
I close my eyes and exhaled to push it away. I used Carlisle's words as my mantra, helping me stay focused and grounded.
This would not control me. I would control it.
You have a choice
We still have our will
We have the power to choose who we are
The once fiery glow from my hands turned and swirled upwards, transforming into a sapphire blue with a brilliance that made me want to cry; to weep with joy. It made we want to celebrate. I lifted my hand, still grasping onto Jasper's, and I pushed the glow away. It slowly grazed his hands and crept up his arm before seeping into his skin. There was a stillness and a silence that was eerie. I let go of his hand and looked up to Jasper; his expression was unrecognizable to me. I shook my head in disbelief and my shield snapped back to me. I had no idea what had just happened. Jasper hadn't moved, his body was like a statue, his face like stone. Finally, Alice spoke.
"Jazz… Are you alright?" He slowly turned his head to look at her and she gasped. A single tear fell from his eye. He took Alice's face in his hands, and his stone expression began to falter. As he looked at her, he began to laugh.
He glanced at me. "What the hell was that?"
"I... I just… I don't know." I rose to my feet, panicking.
He laughed again, a joyful sound that I did not often hear from him. "Bella, that was extraordinary. I felt so much, I can still feel it." He struggled to find the words. "I don't know how to adequately explain this, but I feel like my eyes have been opened. Not until now did I realize I had a lingering doubt in the back of my mind. I vowed to follow Carlisle and to sustain my life in ways that would not cause suffering, but I always resented my own suffering. The hellish burning, the desire for complete satisfaction had consumed me. What I failed to see before is that I am satisfied. The doubt I had in myself is no longer there. It's gone."
He looked to Alice again. "I am strong. I am in control and I am loved."