CHAPTER TEN -- the last chapter -- NOW POSTEDThe waiting is finally over ... The days leading up to and following Bella’s 19th birthday – the year she never turned 19. And yes, this is a sequel to “August 13th.”
ATTENTION READERS: DO NOT STEAL MY STORIES. Someone has stolen some of my stories from this website -- including this one! -- and posted them as their own on fanfiction.net. It is plaigarism, it is stealing and it is illegal. Read, enjoy -- but don't steal. Post-Eclipse This is a sequel to "August 13th" -- you don't have to have read that story to understand this one, though I highly recommend it! ;) To do so, check it out here: http://www.twilightarchives.com/viewstory.php?sid=986
1. Chapter 1
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1419 Review this Chapter
* * *
* * *
I finished taping up another cardboard box and stood back, surveying the room. It was so different-looking, with my belongings no longer scattered about. Instead, they were packed up in boxes and bags – labeled for the “apartment” Charlie believed Edward and I would be sharing near campus. In the absence of my things, I noticed the fine layer of dust covering the furniture and floor. Scattered bits of dirt and tiny scraps of paper and a lone spider web in one corner. Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention, life had happened in this room. The dust and grime was evidence of it all. And now I was leaving it behind; just a memory locked away in a room.
I sighed and used my legs to push the box aside with the others. Edward had offered to come help me pack – besides his agility at the heavy lifting, he had promised he would make a quick job out of the whole ordeal. But part of me wanted these last few moments alone with the life I was about to leave. It was like saying goodbye. I needed to do it alone.
We’d gotten back to Forks about a week ago, after taking four days following the wedding for a sort of honeymoon. It was nothing fancy and Alice highly disapproved, but it was exactly the right thing for me. Edward had planned it: four days in a quiet cabin on Lake Cushman on the other side of the Olympic National Forest. I’d never heard of it, but Edward said it would be perfect. Of course, he was right. The tiny little cabin nestled amongst the trees on the far side of the lake – away from the tourists and campgrounds – was the perfect escape for us. We spent all day together in bed – tempting fate, as Edward liked to call it – though after our first time, he had been less hesitant to try again a few more times.
“It seems your impatient human hormones have won,” he’d said. “And they seem to have brought out my own impatient hormones.”
“That would be the man in you?”
And when we finally roused ourselves from bed in the evening, we spent twilight under the stars – floating together in the water and inevitably encouraging our impatient hormones. Edward, at least, still managed some restraint.
When we got back to Forks, we had just over a week left to pack and head off to “college.” We weren’t going to college, not now; but that was our cover. It’s what Charlie and our friends believed. I tried to make time to finish my goodbyes properly. It was more difficult than I’d imagined. It’s not easy saying goodbye to people who think you’re only saying, “So long for now.” It is impossible to convey the finality of the farewell on someone who doesn’t understand that this is it. It did not stop me from trying. I made time for Angela and even Jessica and Mike. I spent more time with Charlie, even watching a couple Mariner’s games with him on TV. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but after the first four innings I finally asked what the numbers on the top of the screen meant – and Charlie spent the better part of the evening explaining the finer details of baseball to me. My head was dizzy when we were finished and I didn’t remember much, but my interest had made Charlie happy. I couldn’t forget the enthusiasm with which he explained the difference between a foul and a walk and the necessity of extra innings.
And his happiness in those moments alone made it worth it. These were mere seconds compared to the life that awaited me with Edward. In a matter of days, this life would be over; just a memory. I was determined to make the most of it.
I closed my eyes and reopened them carefully, trying to focus once again on the task at hand – to finish packing up my room; my life. I pulled out another cardboard box, taped it together and began filling it with the scattered contents of my desk drawer. I was contemplating the necessity of keeping most of the items I’d found – a protractor, extra loose-leaf binder paper, an eraser, a pencil sharpener and a few scattered paper clips – when a soft knock came at the door.
“Yeah?” I called, turning – expecting to see Charlie. “Oh,” I said, surprised when a different face appeared at the door.
I had not planned on seeing Jake again.
He grinned sheepishly as he stepped into the room – his large frame making the empty space seem crowded again; smaller. “Charlie said you were packing,” he said quietly.
“Um, yeah,” I replied, tucking my hair behind my ears. Needlessly, I wiped my dusty hands across the thighs of my jeans. “We’re leaving for … college … in a couple days.”
“Yeah,” he said. “I know. College.” He sighed – a loud, deep and overly dramatic sound.
I rolled my eyes. “Are you just here to give me more crap?” I asked. “Or was there something else you wanted?”
He shrugged. “I just wanted to come by … see you one last time.”
I eyed him warily for a long moment, taking in his expression and the way he stood slightly hunched over – his hands tucked in the pockets of his jeans. He was fully clothed, so he must have driven here like a normal person. His eyes darted away from my gaze, flickering around the room – taking in the boxes and the dust and the blankets folded neatly at the foot of my empty bed. “You’re a masochist, aren’t you?” I finally asked.
He turned and looked at me, his eyes wide with surprise. “What?”
“You just love torturing yourself, don’t you? I heard about how you ran away – after Edward sent you that invitation. He wasn’t supposed to do that, you know. And then you popping by on the wedding day … and now this. You’re addicted, you know that? You just can’t be happy. You like being miserable.”
I expected him to respond with some rude quip, but he didn’t say anything right away. He looked down at his hands, his fingers twisting, before meeting my gaze once again. “Yes,” he said, the words just a whisper on his lips. “I think you’re right. I think I’d rather be miserable than accept the truth.”
“Oh, Jake …”
I was debating whether or not to go to him when the door opened again with a whoosh of cool air and then hard, icy arms were circling my waist. “Bella,” Edward said, leaning down to touch his lips to mine.
I closed my eyes, falling into the kiss – despite its brevity. “How did you get in?”
Edward laughed, amused by my question. “Charlie let me in.”
“Oh,” I said, surprised. Usually, Edward bypassed Charlie and just climbed through the window. Reflexively, my eyes flickered to the glass panes.
Edward laughed again, sensing the reason for my surprise. “We’re married now, Bella. I don’t have to sneak through the window anymore.”
“He snuck through your window?”
Edward and I turned to see Jake staring at us, a light blush burning through the dark pallor of his cheeks. His hands were clenched in fists at his sides. At the same time, I felt Edward’s arms tighten around my waist. I don’t think he was aware of the action. I sighed; this had to end. I squeezed Edward’s hands reassuringly, then took three steps forward.
“Goodbye, Jake,” I said. “I will miss you. I hope you can forgive me someday.” Carefully – mechanically – I wrapped my arms around his waist, then reached up on tiptoes and chastely kissed his cheek. Then – just as carefully as I had approached him – I stepped back into the circle of Edward’s arms; my husband’s arms. I’d said my farewell and I’d made my choice. I was just reinforcing that decision.
Jake, sensing the finality of the moment, sighed again heavily. He reached out one of his very long arms towards my head – as if to muss my hair – but then seemed to think better of it and retracted his arm, wiggling his fingers instead. “Bye, Bells.”
* * *