A/N: Sorry for the delay in posting. I've had a really high pain/low sleep week and just couldn't write much. I'm an equal-opportunity neglector of writing as I didn't upload here, update my blogs, or write much on Facebook/Twitter either. It was just a BAD week--hoping to sleep before 4:30 AM and praying the pain will normalize, especially so I can keep writing.
This chapter ended up being less fun and more serious than I had planned...sorry if you were expecting tons o' Emmett/Jasper fun! But please comment, vote, like, share, fan, etc., anyway!
Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Bet
As Jasper started the washing machine in the laundry room, Rosalie sashayed down the stairs with that sexy walk of hers, hips swinging, that had caused every man within sight of her to stare since she turned twelve. Her beautiful face remained blank, but her mind continued to roil over the changes to our household since the start of Bella's convalescence in our home. My sister stopped midway down the stairs and practically gaped at Jasper as he exited the laundry room, dressed in rather wrinkled but clean, dry clothing. Then her brows rushed together as she noted Bella's question to me regarding what Emmett had done to our brother.
Rosalie was obviously making less of an effort to hide her annoyance at Bella's presence this morning than usual; she shot a withering glare at Bella that caused my love's pulse to jump, then abnormally quicken. Bella's cheeks paled significantly as she looked down at her half-finished breakfast, then slowly pushed the plate away, looking rather green.
That was the last straw for me. In her selfishness, Rosalie was causing Bella to lose her appetite—and getting Bella to eat was of the utmost importance in helping her regain her strength. Both Esme and Carlisle looked frowningly at Bella's pale countenance and half-full plate, Carlisle giving Rosalie a warning glance—which my sister ignored with a toss of her blonde curls.
Bella cleared her throat awkwardly, then, turning her back to Rosalie, asked Jasper with a tremulous smile, “So, what happened out there?”
I pushed the plate back in front of Bella, suggesting mildly, “Why don't you finish your breakfast while Jasper entertains us with the story, love.”
Bella frowned at me, sighed, then picked up her spoon lethargically. Behind her back, I glared meaningfully at Rosalie, shaking my head infinitesimally in warning. Again she tossed her blonde hair over her shoulder in protest, seating herself haughtily in one of the armchairs and pointedly ignoring both Bella and myself. I rolled my eyes, then caught Esme's warning glance and shrugged. Our mother knew how tense everyone became when Rosalie was on the warpath...as she certainly had been since Bella's arrival.
And I knew that it wouldn't be long before my sister would finally drop her cool, haughty exterior and berate all of us for allowing a human to not only become associated with us in such a public manner, but also live for several weeks in a household of vampires.
While I rejoiced in Bella's constant presence in our home while she convalesced, part of me was also concerned, knowing that Jasper's control was less than perfect—in fact, none of us was beyond temptation, except for Carlisle. In my heart, I knew that Bella was not as safe here with us as she would be in her own home, but my selfishness quelled my qualms as I enjoyed her living with us far too much. Always having my beloved within sight, within easy reach, was truly heaven-on-earth for me—and probably would be the closest thing to heaven I would ever experience in my entire existence.
These thoughts flitted through my mind in a mere split-second after Bella asked Jasper for a recap of his adventures. He settled into the other armchair on the far side of the room, so Bella and I had to turn around on our stools to face him properly. Carefully I put Bella's plate in her lap so she could keep eating while Jasper told his thrilling tale. She continued nibbling on her breakfast in a half-hearted manner, but at least she was eating; I smiled with satisfaction.
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