AU. In 1942, Edward and Bella, both human, were already happily married, with a young daughter. Then she got the telegram everyone dreaded, the one from the National War Office. But who is Dr. Cullen, and is Edward really as dead she thought he was?
2. I have to stop
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 825 Review this Chapter
August 3rd, 1948
Photographs. I had to stop looking at photographs. My school picture junior year, with a stupid young smile on my face. His school picture junior year, eyes glittering. I almost smiled. The person taking the picture had probably been too dazzled to pay proper attention. He and I at graduation, both of us so excited to get into another world. The picture at our wedding, my veil blowing out behind me. Even in my wedding dress I’d thought I looked plain beside him. If you looked closely enough behind us you could see Charlie looking panicked. I almost laughed. Another picture nearly a year later, his hand on my swollen stomach, my head buried into his shoulder. My eyes closed. My mind a million miles away from the picture. At a certain point after he left I stopped taking photographs. I spent all my time waiting. Letters. I had to stop reading letters. The letter he’d written me the first time, careful not to reveal any information about where he was, just in case. Saying that he missed me. The letters that followed. The frustrated ones, saying how much he hated the war and wished he could leave. The short, sad ones, when a friend had died. I hadn’t saved the telegram. I had saved the letter from the kind doctor, the one describing his last day. Sometimes I cried reading it. Sometimes I was angry. He wanted me to forget him? Sometimes the words didn’t even sink in. Memories. If I couldn’t forget, I had to stop remembering.
I heard a knock on the door. I shut the photograph box, pushed myself out of chair, and went to answer it. There was Jacob Black, leaning against my porch rail with his usual grin.
“Jacob!” I wasn’t feigning my enthusiasm. I really was that happy to see him. More happy than I usually could ever be.
“Bella!” He grinned again, “Hey, Maggie! I’ve got something for you!”
“What? What?” I heard her voice ringing out from the other room as she raced in.
“Which hand?” Jacob kept both hands firmly behind his back.
“This one.” Maggie tapped his right hand. I saw Jacob quickly switch a lollipop from his left hand to his right, the one Maggie had chosen.
“Say, you got it right.” Jacob pulled out the candy and Maggie’s green eyes brightened.
“Mommy, can I have it now?” The green eyes widened, begging.
“Yes,” I agreed, tuning out Maggie’s loud, joyful shrieks as she ran up to her room.
“You should stop giving my daughter junk food, Jacob Black.” I reproved.
“I should stop. But I’m not going to.” Jacob replied, sitting himself at the table.
“I have to scrape her off the walls after you come over.” I quipped.
“Glad to hear it.” Jacob smirked.
“You’re good to us, Jake.” I sat down myself. He shrugged. I wasn’t lying. He was one of the few that had treated me like a human being. Perhaps in a larger town than Forks, I wouldn’t have been an oddity. But nearly every man in Forks had come home. Ben Cheney had come back to Angela Weber and they’d been married last year. Mike Newton had survived, even if his relationship with Jessica Stanley hadn’t. It hadn’t seemed fair, right. Edward had been one of the strongest, best able to stand anything. It seemed. It was wrong that he’d been the one to die. He was supposed to be invincible. Die. It hurt to say or even think the word. I’d never forgotten the day I’d gotten the telegram, the feeling that the whole world had closed in that day and squished me.
“What’re you thinking about, Bella?” Jacob asked.
“Nothing.” I replied. Nothing, nothing.
Maggie raced back into the room. I smiled. I was grateful to have her, even if it was excruciating to look at her sometimes. He and I had gotten married so young, almost directly out of school and I had never expected to find out I was pregnant six months after the wedding. That had been a pleasant shock, though. The draft had been a horrible one. I could still see his face, sad yet determined, as he kissed me goodbye and held Maggie for a last time in what we knew would be at least a long time, if not forever. The months after had been hell, waiting day after day for the letters or any news at all. And then hell had come to earth. The year after had been the worst of my life. My father had tried to convince me to move out of the house at least, preferably out of Forks, but I’d refused. It was our house. I’d intended to stay there, raise my daughter there. And I was going to do it. There were too many memories, even painful ones, to leave. Memories. I had to stop remembering. But I never could.