Being Mrs. Black
Edward/Bella, Implied Jacob/Bella. Imagine that the Cullens were late in returning to Forks. Bella arrived on schedule, but her life proceeded normally. She and Jacob become the best of friends and with no vampires to awaken them, the wolves don't mature. When he turns 18, Jake and his friends enlist, going to look for adventure in Iraq. He proposes, and Bella can't imagine ever loving someone more than she does her best friend. They quickly marry and he leaves for war. Two months later she gets some news that will turn her life upside down. And on that same day, a beautiful, dangerous stranger appears. From the moment their eyes meet, Bella begins to question those solemn vows she made. Will Bella Black do the right thing? Banner art and banner by Seisei
10. Home Sweet Home
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1984 Review this Chapter
PART TEN: Home Sweet Home
The landscape moved past the cruiser window, endless, claustrophobic green stretching up to smothering grey clouds. I gazed out the window in silence, not truly seeing any of it. This morning we'd barely spoken at all, no more than a few clipped words over breakfast. His breakfast anyway, I still couldn't stand the sight of food before 10am. You see, we'd fought last night, Charlie and me, after he insisted that I go home with him from the hospital. I'd been careless, he said, and then he accused me of getting pregnant on purpose.
Yeah dad, I poked holes in the damned condom. You caught me. I purposefully got pregnant while my husband is on the other side of the world and I don't have any support besides you and a man in a wheelchair. The accusation was so ridiculous that I hadn't immediately been able to answer. All I could do was stare at him in complete disbelief, wondering if this wasn't some sort of freakish nightmare.The anger was still alive inside of me, and I clenched my teeth, my hand curling into a fist around the door handle. He was my father, he wasn't supposed to do this to me. Not when I needed him. Not when I already felt so alone.
That thought rained down salt on my tender wounds, and I was overwhelmed by memory so intensely that it took my breath away. I could smell cinnamon and sandalwood, and hear the words that brought stillness to chaos. 'You're not alone.' He'd said them softly in that dark velvet voice, and I believed him. I'd believed his lies. But when I woke up in the hospital, he was gone. His touch, his smell, every trace of his existence wiped away as if he'd never been. I was alone, and I couldn't afford to grieve for that fact any longer.
I closed my eyes, listening to the change in cadence of the cruiser's tires as it went from the smooth highways to the rougher roads of the reservation. With my thumb, I restlessly turned my wedding band, wondering if I'd have an email from Jake when I got home. Maybe, maybe not. If it was there, how could I reply to it? 'Hi honey, was nearly killed in an accident. Me and the baby are fine. Mentally cheated on you with a figment of my imagination. Love, your psychotically depressed, pregnant wife.'
Taking a deep breath, I looked out the window again, watching the small house that had become the center of my world come into view. I wouldn't tell him about Edward Cullen, I already knew that. Just like I wouldn't tell him how desperately I wanted to see Edward again. There was a weakness inside of me that craved that gentle, intimate contact, that wanted to see again the look on his face when we'd watched the ultrasound together. My hand rested on my stomach, and I reminded myself that this baby was Jake's. That was how it was supposed to be. Jake was my husband, the man I was waiting for. Edward was an afternoon's daydream. A dangerous one.
"The truck is still at the impound lot. That's where they took it after the accident." Charlie was talking, and I halfway listened. "I'll have one of the deputies bring it by later."
"That's fine." There was no reason to take it for repairs. The only damage had been minor and cosmetic. I doubted it was even noticeable, although I would always know it was there. As we pulled in, I sat up a little straighter, there was a strange car in front of my house. I glanced at Charlie, but he suddenly seemed interested in looking everywhere but at me. Something was up. "I wonder whose car that is?"
"No idea." Charlie shook his head. He was lying to me, I knew him too well and he did it badly.
"Hm." I opened the door and slid out, feeling for the keys in my pocket. I had a bad feeling I wouldn't need them, that whomever was visiting had already let themselves in. That thought unnerved me. Suddenly my little house didn't seem so cozy anymore.
My suspicions were confirmed when the knob turned easily, the door swinging open beneath my touch. With Charlie behind me, I stepped into my living room. My father-in-law sat next to the couch in his wheelchair, his dark eyes watching me intently. On the couch beside him was Leah Uley. She looked like a frightened rabbit, pulled tightly in on herself, downcast eyes on my living room rug. But most disturbing of all was the figure that lurked behind the couch. He was huge, built like a bodybuilder with muscles that bulged beneath his shirt and arms like tree trunks. If I hadn't known him well, I would never have recognized Leah's husband, Sam. I was shocked, I had no other word for it. It couldn't have been more than a few weeks since I'd last seen him, but he had changed drastically since then. Sure, Sam was still young, but he was older than I was, and I would have thought him past any major growth spurts. This was insane.
"Hello Bella, Charlie." My eyes went back to Billy as he spoke, and I blinked as though unused to looking at normal-sized people. "I'm sure you're wondering why we're here, Bella. Charlie and Leah shared the good news you told them. So of course we want to congratulate you."
I tensed, I wasn't ready for the entire reservation to know I was pregnant, but apparently we had a good start going. "Thank you," I said quietly. "Jake already knows, of course. I told him last week." So don't get any weird ideas there.
"That's good." Billy nodded. "I'm sure he wants to be here with you."
"I wish he could be," I said quietly.
"In part, that's also why we're here." Billy looked up at Sam, who simply nodded. "Since Jacob can't be here right now, we feel like it's important to make sure that you're safe and well cared for on his behalf. Sam and Leah have offered to let you stay with them while you're pregnant. I think that's a real good idea."
I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. I'm not sure exactly for how long, rebooting your brain after it locks up takes a minute. A real good idea. In what bizarro universe? "I see," I managed to say finally. "And you've talked to Jake about this?" I knew he hadn't. Jake didn't talk to his dad on the phone more than about once a month.
"Not yet. But I'm sure Jacob will want what's best for you."
I was sure of that, too. I just had a hard time believing that moving in with a couple that was obviously having problems was 'best' by any definition. That didn't even take into account that this was my home, my space, and while I would confess to feeling lonely, moving in with another family wasn't at the top of my list. "You knew about this," I snarled, turning to look at Charlie. At least he had the decency to look sheepish.
"I... don't think it's that bad of an idea, Bells." He struggled underneath my baleful glare. "Unless you'd rather move back in with me?" That sounded almost hopeful.
"No." Sam spoke for the first time, his voice deep and commanding. "That won't work. She has to stay in La Push."
Charlie frowned like he wanted to protest, but I beat him to the punch. "Since when did any of you gain the right to tell me what to do? I'm a twenty year-old married woman, I'm perfectly capable of making my own decisions."
"Now Bella, this baby is going to be a Quileute, they need to stay on the reservation." Billy spoke as though that were the most reasonable thing in the world.
"Half Quileute," I snapped. "Half me. And no more bound to this place than I am."
"You have no idea what you're talking about," Sam said darkly, and I swear it looked like he was trembling.
"There's something else, Bella." Billy glanced up at Sam, a worried look in his eyes. "We understand you haven't been seeing the doctors here in La Push."
"That's none of your business." Okay, this was going way, way too far. Not only were they presuming to tell me where I should live, now they were sticking their noses into my medical history? "I trust Dr. Cullen, I see no reason to change to a stranger now."
"Cullen?" Sam's nostrils flared, and his shaking became more pronounced. "You've been seeing that--" He broke off abruptly, turning away.
"This is more serious than we imagined," Billy said gravely.
"You're right," I agreed. "It is." I'd had enough of this. "I want all of you out of my house. Right now."
"Now." I turned to Charlie, my eyes cold. "Chief Swan, these people entered my home without my permission. I have requested that they leave and I don't see any of them moving."
Charlie blinked, startled to have his official title invoked by his daughter. Well, get used to it, Barney Fife. "She's right," he said reluctantly. "Under those terms, I have no choice but to enforce her request."
"That won't be necessary." Billy shook his head. "We'll leave. But I would urge you to think about what we've said, Bella."
"Please leave." I stepped aside, leaving him room to get out the front door. Sam moved to help Billy, and I could feel his eyes on me but I refused to meet them. That only left Leah.
Unexpectedly, she came to me and pulled me into a hug, a tremor going through her as the startled moment passed and I hugged her back. "I'm sorry," she whispered in my ear. "But I think you're doing the right thing." Pulling back, I could see that her eyes were full of unshed tears. "Don't let them control you, Bella. They'll try if you let them. Sam..." She shook her head. "He isn't the man I married anymore."
"I'm coming!" She hugged me again. "I've got to go. Take care." With those last, whispered words, she was gone. I stared after her as I watched the car pull away through the open door, unable to make any sense of the puzzle that had just been dumped in my lap.
"Happy now, Bella?" I was totally not in the mood for Charlie to get pissy.
"Yes. Very." I turned and gave him an icy look. "Now you can follow them." He opened his mouth, but I just raised a hand, stopping him cold. "I don't want to hear it right now, Charlie." He frowned, he didn't like it when I used his first name. Tough. "Maybe in a few days when I'm a little less furious with you. For now, I just want you out of my house." I waved towards the door. "Go."
"Well, if that's the way you feel about it..."
"That's exactly how I feel about it." I folded my arms, waiting. Looking at me like he couldn't quite believe it, Charlie left, and I closed the door firmly behind him.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, someone was always out to prove you wrong. Slumping down on the couch, I put my head in my hands and tried to figure out just what I was supposed to do now.
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