Hey, all! This time I’m inspired to see what might have happened if Edward hadn’t come back in ‘New Moon’. What if Alice hadn’t seen the cliff-dive? What if Bella, instead of falling apart at the seams, threw herself into her schoolwork to help her get over the memories of Edward and his family and the life she had lost? I think she would have done so well she might even have graduated early and gone to Washington University. Jake and the pack would still have been her friends. I think she might have gotten a degree in teaching or something like it. But would she have gotten married or had kids? Would she, at say, 27 years old be good enough to teach at a college? Like Dartmouth?
It has been 1 long year since the worst night of my life. I’m not talking about my eighteenth birthday party either. A tear of sadness and longing runs down my cheek as I stand in the exact spot where the love of my life left me, 1 year ago today. Every year I will come to this spot, on this date. This year is difficult… I’m going to classes at Washington University. I’m packing some of my things so I can move to the dorms.
“Bells? You here? You ok?” That’s my boyfriend… I should answer… I don’t want to…I text him to meet me at Charlie’s house in a few minutes. I need another moment here alone… alone with the memory of Edward.
Tears run down my face, once again… Suddenly a ray of sunshine breaks through the nearly constant cloud-cover to land on my face. Maybe this won’t be so bad. I step out of the forest, into Charlie’s back yard. I take a deep breath and walk into the house. “Hi, Jake, thanks for helping me pack. It’s really sweet of you. Come on up.”
He follows with a pile of boxes. “Why do you do this to yourself, Bells? I know you went out to that spot in the forest… Are you going to do it every year or something? Why do you want to even remember that day?”
I sigh, “You’d just never understand, Jake. No matter what anyone says… and even after the last year of no contact, I still can't believe that he would just walk away. It just doesn't make any sense… He said I was his life.” Jake just shrugs and shifts some stuff by the closet. I start to help him, but I trip over a loose floorboard.
“What’s this?” He says as he catches me. “There’s something under here. Sit on the bed I’ll bring it to you.” He hands me things one at a time…a small white box…a homemade CD… and an envelope.
I smile throught the tears now running down my face. I know exactly what everything is. “Jake, he still loves me! I knew it, and I’ll never doubt it… ever again! I don’t think he’ll ever come back to me, but… He does love me.” He looks distressed and I realize my mistake. “Jake, I… A girl never forgets her first love. Just because I loved him first doesn’t mean I love you less…Do you understand me? I want you to know, that I know that if you ever imprint, you will still love me… in a different way but not less.” He nods and keeps packing.
Eight years later…
It’s the first day of classes in my second semester of teaching here at Dartmouth. I’m in my office staring at the class roster. I teach a creative writing course in the English department. Why am I staring at the roster, you ask. A. Cullen and J. Hale…It can’t be them… can it? There’s gotta be lots of Cullens and Hales in America… right?
I make the short walk to my classroom and take a deep breath before opening the door and stepping inside. “Ok, class, I find the easiest way to do this for now is to send a paper around and just ask you to sign it. So I’ll start right up here in front. The last person to sign it will bring it up to me at the end of class.” I move on with the lesson, going over the syllibus. “I want you each to pretend I’m a really good friend you haven’t seen in about 9 or 10 years…Tell me what your life has been like since we last saw each other. This assignment is due tomorrow. The rest is in the syllibus, which we have already gone over. You can work on that now. I’ll be happy to answer any questions. Class will be over in fifty minutes.” I sit at my desk and begin to write.
48 minutes later…
“Professor Black? Here’s the sign in sheet…” I’d know that voice anywhere on Earth. I look up and she’s gone.
I smile softly and whisper so the class can’t hear me. “Alice Cullen… Jasper Hale… please stay after class.” I stand. “E-mail all your homework to my office account unless I say differently. Class dismissed.” Two shadows remain motionless until the last person has filed out the door. Tears begin to fall. “Alice! Jasper! Oh, how I’ve missed you guys! Get down here!” Alice giggles as she races down to meet my open arms. Jasper stays back as usual. “I’ll be having none of that Mr. Hale. It has been almost 10 long years. Give your old friend a hug. Right now!” He hugs me hesitantly, holding his breath. He hands me a hanky and a wave a calm flows over me. I grin. “Thanks, Jazz. This is the only class I teach today and I don’t want to wait for your emails tonight! Tell me what’s been going on all these years. Don’t leave anything out! Are the others here too? I’d love to see them! Even Rose.”
We start walking. Jasper smiles as Alice tells me their story. “After we left Forks, we went first to Denali, taking a year or so off before Tanya and her sisters bugged
Edw-. Should I leave this part out?” I shake my head. “Ok, Tanya and her sisters bugged Edward too much. So we left again. Rose was soooo pissed! But we ended up in Maine and we redid high school from the beginning of 9th grade. Emm and Rose went with the college age story. Jazzy was a year ahead of Edward and me. Everything went smoothly from then til now. What’s been up with you?”
“That’s ten years worth of living? Your teacher expects more detail in the email!” I giggle. We are silent as we approach a beautiful yellow Porsche. “Alice this has GOT to be yours!”
She nods and laughs. “Can we get together, Bella? I really missed you!”
“I think study groups are ok with the ethics committee. So how about you and Jasper have a study group session at the library and I’ll be there doing something else. You can ‘ask me a question’ ok?” After they agree, I ask the question I’ve been dying to ask. “Is Edward here too?”
“Yes, but I didn’t tell him you were here. Should I?” Alice asks. "Can you ever forgive him... us for leaving like we did?"
“Alice, I always knew it wasn't your fault...and he's been long forgiven... What’s the outcome if you tell him? I don’t want him to run again. If he finds out by himself would it be different?”
Her face blanks and she gasps. Jasper rubs her shoulders asking, “What do you see, darlin’?”
“If he finds out by himself, he’ll be hunting when he finds you… I have to tell him. Now.” She pulls out her cell phone and dials. “Edward? I need to talk to you, in person. Get to the English building. Now. Approach from the west. Don’t ask questions.” She hangs up and says to us. “He’ll be here in 45 seconds. Bella, face that direction and take your hair down.”
Then I finally hear two sounds I had missed hearing for the last 9 years. Edward’s Volvo and his voice!
The Volvo screeches to a halt. “Alice, what is it?” His voice is softer than velvet in my ears.
Jasper blocks his veiw of me. “If I didn’t tell you right now, you’d have killed someone very important, Edward, a teacher. I would like you to meet our Creative Writing 101 professor.” Alice has so much excitement in her voice. I wonder how she’s keeping him out of her head. “She’s right here.”
He says, “If she’s here then why are you talking like I’m a killer or something? And why can’t I hear… when I can hear a…” Jasper moves out of the way so I can finally turn and see him… my Edward. I feel my lip tremble as he takes a step toward me. I know there are tears in my eyes, but I don’t care.
“Edward!” I say softly. “Oh, my love, how I’ve missed you!” I let the tears fall freely now.
He whispers, “Bella! Isabella Swan? I can’t believe its you! Wait… did you just…?”
I nod, “Yes, I just called you ‘my love’, deal with it. Now, I want to get this out of the way right now…and I want the truth.” I take a deep breath. “Are you single or with someone?”
His face says everything I want to hear but he needs to say it for me to believe it. “Single, of course.”
“Are you in any of my classes, Edward? That would suck because I can’t date my students!” I smirk at him.
He shakes his head and turns to his sister, “Speaking of that, I thought your first professor was named Black.”
I bite my lip as Alice realizes I never answered her before we got to the car. “Guys, Edward, a lot has happened since you all left Forks. I got married and divorced. I've had several tragic losses besides you. But I’d like to tell the story only once if you guys don’t mind. So when can the Cullen clan get together?”
Jasper whips out his cell and makes a call. “Tonight, Bella. I didn’t tell Carlisle and Esme it was you. Esme can’t wait to cook for our first ‘human friend’ since you. She’s very excited.”
Alice’s arms wrap around my shoulders. She whispers, “Dress nice, in the light-wash jeans and a navy blue knit top. He’ll love it!”
“You got married, Bella?” Edward’s looks so sad.
I just nod thinking about my ‘trip’ down the isle. I’m sure I look sad too. I shake the blues right out of my head. I have Edward within my reach! “So, you’re single and not in any of my classes…Good.” I sigh. “I was at my happiest and healthiest while you were with me, Edward. I need you to know that. For the first month, all I did was lay around crying and moping… but then I decided that I wanted out of high school ASAP. So I threw myself into my studies. I graduated with high honors; salutatorian of the class ahead of ours. I have my Masters Degree in teaching and I was personally asked by the dean to come teach here…” I shake a finger at him. “Now, Mr. Cullen, that’s all you’re getting out of me without the rest of the family here… You, however, have explaining to do… Walk me to my car?” I look into his eyes as he nods. We walk away from Alice a Jasper and say, “The worst day of my life was the day you left me, Edward…”
He looks intently at the floor. “I know you called me ‘love’ before but if you didn’t mean it… or if you can’t fully forgive me for leaving you…I’ll understand.”
I suck in a breath. “Look at me, Edward.” His face lifts. “I forgave you the day I found the gifts under my floorboards.” His eyes have joy in them…Dare I hope? “Now then, here’s my address and phone number.” I hand him a scrap of paper. “Call me when you’re on your way to pick me up.” I open the door to my car.
“This is your car? I’m impressed. What happened to the truck? Where did you get this?” His questions are a constant barage.
“Soon after I got engaged, the truck died. It’s just a lawn ornament now. My ex fixed up this old Ferrari as a present for me… I’ll see you tonight.”