A few weeks later, Thanksgiving had arrived. I was both incredibly excited and scared shitless about going home. On one hand, I was going to see my parents again, something for which I was extremely excited. I hadn't been able to visit since I started school in L.A., and I had found myself missing them more than ever. However, there was still the looming worry of being that close to Jacob when I clearly did not want to see him, that much was certain from the result of his surprise arrival in L.A. My holiday would not be ruined by the likes of him. At least now, I had all of my friends flying out with me on the Cullen-Hale private jet. None of them had ever been to Forks, and I was excited to show them around the inconsequential town; even if it only had a diner and a few small stores.
"Bella, come on! We need to go!" Alice called from the other room.
"I'm coming" I called out to her, pulling my suitcase out of my room. Trudging into the living room, I found everyone waiting expectantly for me, as they kept up their conversations.
"I can't wait to see the houses." Alice told Rose with a broad smile.
"I know! This is so exciting!" Rose squealed in agreement.
"Okay, got it. We're all excited. Can we go now? The jet has been waiting." Emmett said, whining.
"Yeah," I agreed. "I really want to get home."
"I think we all do." Edward spoke for the first, drawing my gaze to him. When we made eye contact, I gave him a slight smile of appreciation, to which he smiled crookedly and nodded.
Once we boarded the jet, I observed the roomy, plush environment around me. The seats were wide, much like reclining chairs in a deep heather gray in a discombobulated semi-circle so we could all see each other. I found a seat next to Edward, curling up in the recliner and trying, to no avail, to read a book. My eyes kept venturing over to Edward, who was absorbed in the Hangover; our movie. I was captivated by his musical laughter at what was being said in the movie. Eventually, Edward turned the movie off, and turned to me.
"Hey Bella, how about we play a game or something?" Edward said expectantly.
"Okay," I asked, a smile on the edge of my lips as I set my book aside. "Which game?"
He smiled, happy I was playing along. "Um, what about Truth or Truth?" Edward asked.
"Okay," I said, turning in my seat so I faced him. "You start."
"What was the best date you have ever been on?" He asked casually with curiosity burning in his eyes.
"Umm... I guess it would be when I went to La Push beach.. We walked along the beach on one of the rare sunny days and had a picnic by one of the tide pools. I got my first kiss as well as my first boyfriend that day." I avoided the fact that my date was with Jacob. I quickly changed the subject before he could ask who I went with. "So, what was your worst date?"
"Hmm. Probably when we went to the movies, where she proceeded to eat all of the food that I bought, which included a large popcorn, Skittles, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bites, and Movie Theater nachos, and ended up asking for more." He finished, shivering. "I have this pet peeve that girls should not be able to eat more than Emmett does. I know that sounds bad, but it just weirds me out. To top it off, at the end of the night, she expected me to kiss her nacho cheese, cookie dough, popcorn, Skittle flavored lips goodnight. Right. I ran away when she turned to open her door." He said sheepishly.
I gasped. "You did not! That's horrible! And I hate to tell you, but your phobia is kind of stupid." I laughed, teasingly.
"You didn't see her!" He declared. "She had food smeared all over her mouth! It was disgusting. Like your phobia is more justified," He scoffed.
"It is," I huffed. "I am scared to death of spiders."
"Oh yeah, way more justified to be afraid of a tiny arachnid that isn't big enough to come close to hurting you. A lion or a tiger I could definitely understand, but something that you can crush with your foot? Not so much."
I opened my mouth to speak, but was interrupted by the Pilot.
"We are about to begin our decent into Port Angels. Please fasten your seat belts and put your trays into the upright position. Thank you."
"This isn't over, Cullen." I narrowed my eyes at him playfully.
"Bring it on, Swan." He replied laughing before his face turned serious. "Are you ready for this?"
I sighed."I'm not sure."
His brow furrowed slightly. "What could you possibly be afraid of?"
"That I will see Jacob." I told him, looking down, unable to meet his gaze.
He surprised me when he chuckled. "Why would you worry about that with all of us here for you?"
"Because seeing him again will bring back everything that happened. I don't want to have to relive it, Edward." My voice was barely audible.
"Bella," He began, lifting my chin with his finger so our gazes could lock. His emerald eyes burned into mine. "We will always be here. I will always be here. Never forget that." Edward smiled genuinely at me.
I nodded and smiled in gratitude. "Thank you."
Once we landed, we found three cars waiting for us; my parents in one, the Hales in the one, and Carlisle and Esme Cullen, Edward, Emmett and Alice's adoptive parents in the final car.
"Bella, all of your hair is gone!" Mom exclaimed with a horrified look on her face when she caught sight of me.
I rolled my eyes. "Mom, you look like Rose when I got it cut," I said to her with a smile. I hugged her and turned to my dad.
My dad hugged me with a broad smile. "Good to have you home, kiddo."
I smiled warmly at him. "It's great to be home, Dad."
My dad smiled before he called over to the Cullens. "We will see you all back at the party right?"
"Of course," Carlisle said with a smile. "Oh, and Charlie, would it be possible for you to take one of my children with you since my car is too small for all of them?"
"Sure, send one over." Dad said.
With that, Alice ran over to me, greeting my parents briefly before hopping in the back of the Mercedes with me.
"So Alice," My mother began. "How is it having our daughter as a room mate?"
"It's really great, Mrs. Swan. I get to dress her everyday." Alice laughed.
"Really? Hmm. She would never let me make suggestions." Mom mused.
"You aren't a crazy pixie, Mom." I said, grinning over at Alice.
"I'm not that crazy." Alice replied, sticking her tongue out at me.
"I'm sure you aren't sweetheart." My mom commented with a smile. A moment of silence passed before my dad spoke.
"Bells, Jacob has been stopping by the house almost every day since you left." He informed me.
"What?" I almost yelled, my voice raising two octaves.
"He's been trying to see when you were coming home, or asking for your number at the academy." Mom continued.
"But we always tell him to get lost." Dad finished.
I sighed in relief. "Thank God."
"Bella, you need to do something about that." Alice told me seriously.
"I know. I thought that I took care of it the day he was at the school." I replied.
"He went to your school?" My mother screeched. "You never told us that!" She chastised.
"I know, I know, and I'm sorry I kept it from you. I just didn't want you to worry. He didn't hurt me or anything." I reassured her.
"And there was always someone with her whenever he was around." Alice added.
"Well, thats good." Mom replied finally, relief evident in her voice.
We quickly got off the subject for the rest of the drive, talking about my classes and many of the friends I had made. I barely noticed we had arrived at my house until the car came to a stop.
"Mom, we have to drop off Alice," I said, confused.
"They live next door to us now, Bells." My dad said with a smile. "And the Hale's live on the other side of them."
"Really?" I asked, a flutter of excitement knowing that Edward would be living next door to me.
"Of course I do! That's great that everyone is so close!" I couldn't help but smile at the thought.
"Hopefully, some of us will be getting closer," Alice chimed in, winking at me, my blush flaring hot on my cheeks.
"Shut up." I muttered as we got out of the car.
"So Alice, does this meet standards?" I teased as we entered the foyer of my house.
"Oh my God! It's goes above and beyond standards! It looks so open." Alice mused in wonder.
"Because it is. I just love this house." Mom said from behind us, going to sit in her plush chair in the living room.
"Good, I just hope my house is as open as this is, and that I have a good closet. Otherwise, there will be a problem." Alice said in a deadly tone.
"Your mother wouldn't be mean and give you some small closet, Alice. She knows you too well." I said to her.
"She better." Alice laughed.
"Well, I guess I will see you later?" I said, sounding like a question.
"Actually," My mother interjected. "If Alice is as good with make-up and fashion as I believe she is, you should go with her to her house. She can help you get ready for the party we're having in celebration of the merger."
"Merger?" I asked.
"Between Swan Inc. and Cullen-Hale Inc." She explained.
"You didn't tell me that." I said, suddenly dreading a party where I would be required to wear a dress and heels.
"We wanted everything to be final before we told you guys. Now, go get ready. We have to be at the hotel in a few hours. I know, you're tired, but this is part of being a CEO's daughter, so get dressed up and be at the party at seven-thirty." My dad said.
"Okay, fine." I huffed. "But I won't have fun!" I told them with a teasing smile before saying goodbye to my parents and walking over to the Cullen house.
"This place is amazing!" Alice squealed, taking in the marble foyer and tall ceilings of the house. "Let's go find my room!"
"Okay," I laughed at my friend's antics before submitting and following her lead.
"Mom! Which is my room?" Alice called toward to kitchen where we could hear pans rattling.
"The third door on the left!" She replied immediately.
We went up the grand staircase, down the hall past Edward and Emmett's rooms before entering her room. I gaped at the size of her room. The walls were painted in alternating pink and darker pink vertical stripes, the furniture as well as the sheer curtains the same shade of light pink. Her comforter was cream colored, which matched the plush carpet lining her floors. Alice quickly disappeared into the double doors of the closet.
"Shit Alice." I exclaimed at the sheer size of the room.
"I know, isn't it amazing? I have way more space than I did before!" Alice said happily, before turning her attention on me. "Bella, did you bring your bag?"
"Yes, I brought the dark blue, the red, and the deep purple."
"Good. Go put on the blue and meet me in the bathroom." She demanded.
"Ma'am, yes, ma'am!" I laughed and saluted her before marching back to her room to put on the dress. The chiffon material draped over my body gracefully, fitting me like a glove. The slight low neck line showed off just enough cleavage to be noticed, but not enough to be inappropriate for a formal party. The fabric hugged my subtle curves in a way that made me feel beautiful and womanly.
I went into the bathroom after I was clothed, and saw that Alice had a chair set up for me, her counter already cluttered with so many different cosmetics I wouldn't know where to begin.
"Hey, just sit and give me another minute." She instructed without turning around to look at me.
When she finally came over, she looked stunningly beautiful in a forest green dress that clung to her petite frame wonderfully, her ethereal face only highlighted with the natural look of minimal make-up.
She smiled widely when she looked me over. "I love that dress on you. You look absolutely beautiful," I blushed at her compliment, and mumbling a thanks as she started to do my curls.
"Do you think that this will ever get weird?" Ali asked me after a moment.
"What do you mean?" I replied.
"I mean, our parents owning the same company. Both of us living in the same town, everything, really."
"I think that we may get sick of each other." I tried to say seriously but broke out into a teasing grin.
"Yes," She laughed. "That is very possible. Okay, voila!"
"We're done?" I asked hopefully.
"We're done." Alice nodded.
I sighed in relief. "Thank God." I walked out of the room without looking at myself in the mirror.
"Bella, shoes!" Alice yelled out at me.
Begrudgingly, I went back to grab the tyrannical black heels to place them on my feet. "I do not want to do this Ali." I told her, sighing.
"Bella, it's just a party." Alice reassured me.
"I know, but I hate parties! And on top of that, I am so fucking tired it isn't even funny."
"I am too, but we will only have to stay for a little while though, right? We should try to have a little fun, at least." Alice asked.
"Not likely." I grumbled.
She rolled her eyes at me as we emerged from her room and walked to meet Esme at the top of the stairs, preparing to go down together to Edward, Emmett and Carlisle who we could hear talking in the foyer.
"God, I do not want to do this." I whispered to Alice as we began walking down the stairs.
"Bella, stop saying that. You have to do this. We all do. It is part of being who we are." Alice said.
I focused on my shoes, determined not to trip. "I know that, but I don't have to be happy about it." I retorted.
With that, we reached the bottom of the stairs. Slowly, I looked up, finally catching sight of him. Shit.