The Consequences of Messing With A Whitlock
After another two stores worth of practically buying out my size, we stopped to get me something to eat at the food court. I was sipping on my banana milk shake when Jasper asked, "So why'd ya stop wearin' your navel studs, Sugar?" I chuckled, "Well, at first it was to feel Charlie out, with him being police chief and all. When I pretty much pegged that as long as my grades stayed up and I didn't do anything illegal, I would be fine... well, that's when the Edward dictation started. Haven't had a cigarette or alcohol since the night before my move, when Renee and Phil threw me the party."
At their nod for me to continue, I said, "They always let me smoke. Drinking was okay as long as it was supervised, with no one leaving that had consumed. They even called for the kids that had, making excuses to the 'non-cool parentals', for wanting them to stay over for the night. Both of my vehicles are covered in their garage in Jacksonville, because Charlie would have never let me keep them. I really miss my car. With Phil being drafted by the major league team, Renee and Phil always kept me fully stocked with anything I wanted. My first want was a green and black 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10... the moment it hit the market. My baby was awesome. My second was a red and black 2010 Ducati Streetfighter."
Jasper whistled low, "Mighty fine machinery, Bella. Would Renee and Phil let ya have ‘em if ya wanted?" I smiled, "Of course. As long as I have my leather and helmet, they don't care. Phil was the one who taught me to ride. Charlie'd never okay the bike, though. He'd also make Phil take back the Viper because of the price tag." Jasper smirked at me, "Charlie won't know since you're goin' away for the summer, Bella. You'll want somethin' ya love to drive while at Peter's."
Alice and Jasper looked at each other for a minute, then Jasper nodded as Alice said, "Baby Girl, there's another reason I wanted to get you away from the house today. I want to talk to you about your upgrade." The significant look on her face told me all I needed to know, so I nodded for her to continue. "You know Edward will never go for it, whether you want him or anyone else to initiate it. You also know you aren't meant to be with him now. I can see that you've realised that, because your future is finally back on track toward your true mate. I can't tell you everything now, but I do know who you're truly meant to be with. You had to realise you weren't meant to be with Edward on your own. Every time I wanted to tell you, it always made things worse. The thing is, now that you're on the right path, your upgrade will take place before the summer's out."
I thought for a minute, then asked softly, "Can you just tell me one thing? Is he a good man?" Jasper took my hand, saying sincerely, "Sugar, I trust him with my very existence... that's somethin' I don't do on a whim, with my background. He'll be so good to ya, and he won't treat you like Edward did. I know ya don't know anythin' about true matin' right now, but we'll tell ya all about it on the drive to Peter's. You'll be prepared for your mate before ya meet him. I promise ya that." I smiled widely at that, then squeezed Jasper's hand a second before letting go to drink the rest of my shake.
After three shoe stores, two lingerie stores, and a bath and body shop, Alice went into a vision. When her eyes cleared, she said with a smile, "We need to take her to Derrick's, Jazz. It's time to bring her into the fold." Jasper grinned as Alice caught his gaze, "It's about damn time. Okay, then. Let's rally and go, ladies." Just as we got to the truck, I was finally able to ask, "What are you two talking about?" Jasper beamed at me, saying, "Remember my tattoo, Bella? Well it's time ya became part of that tradition."
My eyes went wide with recognition, then tears filled them at the meaning as I choked out, "You'd... really do that for me? You want me..." They nodded while Jasper hugged me to him, "As far as I'm concerned, ya were Whitlock protected from the first vision of my Ali's. It's just time to make it official, is all. Whatta ya think, Sugar?" I nodded as Jasper wiped my stray tears away, then choked out, "I'd love to. I love you both, you know that, right?" He kissed the top of my head before letting me go, saying, "We know, Sugar, we know."
Less than ten minutes later, I was led into a high-end shop. Just as soon as the tinkling bell over the door stopped ringing, a man with muddy brown eyes came out to say happily, "Major, it's been too long. Captain called not 2 hours ago, telling me he had a feeling that you'd be in with the special party guest. May I assume that this lovely little creature is she?" Jasper gave him a significant look, then broke out into a grin, "Yeah, Derrick. This is Bella. Bella, this is Derrick." I smiled up at him, then said, "Nice to meet you. You have a very nice shop."
He smiled down at me, "Well thank you, Miss Bella. It's nice to meet you, too. Alice, you look beautiful as always. Now, what can I do for you today?" Alice smiled, "Thanks, Derrick. We're here for Bella's tattoo, but she also wants to get her navel re-pierced." Derrick grinned, "Alright, then. Let me just get a private room set up. I'll take care of you myself. Bella, please feel free to look around. I'll be back to get the three of you in just a few minutes."
While I looked at the different navel studs and dangles, my eye caught a line of tattoo flash samples on the wall. I walked over to look, suddenly knowing I needed something to draw on. "Jazz, I need paper and a pencil." It just so happened that Derrick was coming to get us when I said it, so he handed me both. I stood at the counter, hurriedly sketching what came to me. I was done ten minutes later. I looked up to Jasper at his gasp. I shook my head, "It doesn't need to be this. It just popped into my head, and was so pretty that I didn't want to forget it."
Jasper took my chin, tilting it up for me to look at him, "It's perfect, Sugar. I was just surprised because Peter's is the same, minus the wings." Derrick smiled, then asked, "Where would you like this, Bella?" I automatically said, "The bottom half of my left inner forearm, please." Alice gasped this time, so I looked at her. She beamed at me, her eyes unclouding as she said, "That's perfect, Bella. Since Charlie's just gotten the phone call about Seattle, he'll be calling in just a minute. He'll need to leave early tomorrow if he's going to go, so you won't have to hide the tattoo from him." I beamed at her, then Derrick said, "Let's get you set up in the private room. Did you decide which stud you wanted, Bella?" I grinned, pointing to the ruby and diamond flower stud. With a smile, he took it from the cabinet, "Very nice choice. Follow me please, and bring the sketch for me to go off of."
As soon as I sat down in the chair, my phone rang. It was Charlie, so I flipped it open, "Hey, Dad." He chuckled slightly, then said, "Hey, Bells. Listen. Do you remember Sheriff Milborne?" I hummed, "Mmhmm. Isn't he the sheriff in Seattle you're buddies with?" Charlie replied right away, "Yeah, that's him. Listen, Bells. He's got a really bad case he's getting nowhere on. He wanted to know if I could come out to help him… be a fresh set of eyes. I don't know how long it'll take; I could be gone for a few weeks or so. I know you were planning on coming home for a bit... but I really don't want to leave you alone in the house." Alice smiled to me in the silent room, saying, "Hey, Bella. Esme said she wants you to call Charlie to see if it's alright for you to go on that trip with me for the summer. She said she'd love for you to extend your stay here with me until the trip, then we can leave right from the house." Charlie asked after only a second, "Bella, did Alice say something about you staying with the Cullens, then going on a trip with her?"
I nodded, looking at Alice, who was holding up a paper telling me what to say, "Yeah, Dad. Alice is going to visit cousins over the summer out of state. She leaves next week, but Esme said she'd love for me to stay until the trip, then go with her. If you don't mind, I'd really like to go." I could hear the breath Charlie let out, making everyone in the room grin. "Good. Of course you can go, Bells. Just promise to keep your phone on you at all times, check in with me at least once a week, and make sure you call your mom before you leave. When you go to the house to pack your bags, leave yours and Alice's cell numbers on the fridge, along with the place you're going to stay at."
I licked the pad of my index finger, then made a check mark in the air, saying, "Sure, Dad. I promise. You be really careful in Seattle. Tell Sheriff Milborne not to feed you too much take out. I know how you bachelors can be." Charlie chuckled, "I will. I'm going to have to leave for Seattle first thing in the morning, so please have that paper on the fridge before you turn in at the Cullens' tonight." I rolled my eyes, "Of course, Dad. We'll be stopping by there as soon as we're done shopping. Alice had to bring me on another whirlwind shopping spree. We'll be on our way back in a bit, though, so you'll have the paper in plenty of time. Love you." He told me he loved me too, then I flipped my phone shut.
Everyone in the room chuckled as Alice high-fived me, then we got down to business. Jasper said softly, now that the door was closed and we had privacy, "Derrick's the mate to one of the crew, Sugar. You're in good hands with him, and he's the only one we'd trust to do this for you." I smiled, "I know, Jazz. You wouldn't have brought me here otherwise." Derrick laid the chair back, then looked at Jasper. When Jasper nodded, Derrick asked, "Will you please lift your shirt to the middle of your ribs, Bella?" I nodded, "You're going to explain later what that was about, Jazz, right?" Jasper chuckled, "All part of the matin' thing, Sugar. Since your mate isn't here and you're a protected, Derrick needs my permission before he touches you in any way." I smiled, "Cool, no Mike Newton groping from anyone anymore." They chuckled, then I lifted my shirt part way.
Two hours later, my navel was re-pierced, my tattoo was complete and covered in a clear protective wrapping. Alice was handing me a change of clothes. It was a Haute Hippie silk halter, 7 For All Mankind 'Roxanne' destroyed skinny jeans, and Car Shoe studded detail tan boots. I smiled widely, "Awesome. Derrick, do you have a restroom I can change in? I can't wait to get out of these stuffy ass clothes." He chuckled, "Alice will show you the way, Bella."
When Alice and I walked back out front, we were laughing. Suddenly, a flash went off as I heard the tell-tale click of a camera phone. I mock scowled at Jasper as my hands went to my hips, which prompted him to take another picture with a smirk. "Jasper Whitlock, you will not be taking sneak pictures of me. Who are you sending those to, anyway?" He chuckled, "Just sendin' Peter the real Bella picture, Sugar. We sent him one a week ago of the old Bella." I shook my head disbelievingly, "Why would he want a picture of me?"
Alice chuckled, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Baby Girl, he told you he's been waiting months to meet you. We both talk about you all the time when we're on the phone with him. Of course he'd want to see who we're talking about so much. Now come on, because we still have to go to Charlie's before it gets too late." I nodded, then smiled at Derrick, "It was a pleasure meeting you, Derrick. I'm sure I'll see you in two weeks. Thank you for the wonderful work."