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Being Mrs. Black

BMBEdward/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


11. Prison Break

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3587   Review this Chapter

PART ELEVEN: Prison Break

Bella POV

Three days had gone by, and still no sign of my truck. I hadn't called Charlie about it yet, because frankly I didn't want to talk to him. Initially I just didn't trust myself, now I was beginning to think calling and bitching him out was a good idea. Whether or not he'd been completely in agreement with Billy, he still had a hand in the stunt from the other day. I didn't like being at the mercy of other people, having to wait until they remembered in order to accomplish things I needed to do. That he'd reduced me to that had me seething, and that wasn't a good place to be.

I stared out the front window a little longer, then stared at my phone. I dialed Charlie's number twice, cleared it, and then paced over to stare at the computer. I'd had an email from Jake yesterday. Very brief and basic, letting me know he was okay but that they were in a danger zone. He missed me, wanted to talk to me, but cell service in the area was questionable at best. Love to me and the baby, over and out. I needed more than that. I needed my husband. I needed his reassurance and his strength. I needed him to tell his father to stay the hell out of my life. I needed to hear his voice, and sketchy cell service wasn't going to stop me.

It had taken three rounds of 'the person you have dialed is out of the service area' message before I gave up. So I was forced to reply to the email... and instead of what I needed to say, I edited. Be careful, I miss you, I love you. Nothing deeper, nothing to upset or distract him while he evaded enemy fire. No desperate pleas for him to come home or talk to his father. I couldn't be selfish that way when he was putting his life on the line. It made my problems seem small.

Sighing, I sat down at the table to compile a grocery list and impulsively grabbed the small calendar from my purse. I flipped back a few pages, then forward to June, silently counting. Three months. According to the math that I'd done with Dr. Cullen, I was now officially three months along. Second trimester, here we come? I wasn't sure what I was supposed to feel about it, accomplished maybe? The casserole in the oven isn't done yet, but it hasn't burned? Yay? Frowning, I read the little notation under tomorrow's date, a scheduled appointment with Dr. Cullen. Friday the 13th, appropriate. I'd definitely need to do something about the truck. Dammit Charlie, don't do this to me.

I got up and paced to the window again, willing the truck to be there. Of course it wasn't. With a disgusted growl, I snatched the phone up from the couch and dialed the number for the station. A receptionist answered, and I cut in as soon as she breathed. "Yes hi, this is Bella Black, I need to talk to Chief Swan." I was treated to some canned muzak as she directed my call, and then Charlie warily answered. Yeah, you'd better be wary, old man. "Hi dad, it's Bella."

"Hey Bells, what can I do for you?"

I sat back against the couch cushions, eyes narrowed. There were so many ways to take advantage of that opening. "I was just wondering where my truck wandered off to." A pause, one which he didn't seem to be in any hurry to fill. "It hasn't made it home yet." He still didn't seem to be in any hurry to answer. That's okay, I was willing to be patient.

Just as I expected, he broke long before I would have. "Well, it's at my house, Bella."

"I see." No, I really didn't. "What's it doing over there, dad?"

"Billy and I talked about it, and we think maybe you're not making the best decisions right now, honey. It's not a perm--"

I cut him off. "Thanks Charlie, that's pretty much all I needed to know." I pressed the button on the portable phone, set it down on the couch and proceeded to beat it to death with a decorative throw pillow. "Who the hell do they think they are?!" Getting to my feet, I lobbed the pillow across the room, knocking a glass off of the end table. Then I collapsed back onto the couch again, buried both hands in my hair and tried to figure out what I was supposed to do from here.

My father and father-in-law were holding me hostage. It sounded so ridiculous that I wouldn't dare say it out loud. Who would you call about that? The police? Well, that did you a bloody lot of good when your father was the police chief.

Fine, if they wanted to take my car away, I'd just walk. So what if I was pregnant, a little exercise wouldn't hurt a pregnant woman, right? I put my shoes on, stuck my wallet and my cellphone in my pockets and headed out the front door. My first thought was to just get off the damned reservation. Once I did that, I'd hitchhike if I had to. Get them to take me to the police station, or maybe to Charlie's house so I could get the damned truck myself. As long as I followed 110, I'd get to Forks eventually.

Decision made, I started walking down River Drive in the direction of Highway 110. Almost immediately, I got that odd prickly feeling at the back of my neck that said I was being watched. Shoving my hands into my jacket pockets, I walked faster, trying to shake it off. Instead of getting better, the feeling got worse. I put my head down and tried to ignore it, which is why I nearly ran into the obstacle that was determined to be in my path.

"Where ya going, Bella?"

Startled, I looked up, way up, into a face I barely recognized. The similarities to Sam Uley were immediately obvious, but I knew it wasn't Sam. "Why do you want to know, Jared?" What the hell? Were they doing steroids or something?

"Can I help you with something?" He wasn't going to answer my question, apparently. Great.

"No, just taking a walk." I tried to duck around him, but he was fast. A lot faster than someone that size should be.

"Okay," he said easily. "Where are we walking to?"

"We are not walking anywhere. I am going wherever I damned well please." I'd had enough of this crap. Since when did all these stupid men think they had the right to boss me around? I stepped to the other side, prepared to pass him.

"Sorry Bella, but I can't let you do that." He was in front of me again. I hadn't even seen him move that time.

Gritting my teeth, I glared up at him. "Alright, I'll bite. Why can't you let me do that?"

He shook his head. "Just following orders."

"Whose orders?"

Apparently he wasn't going to answer that question, either. Beautiful. I looked around, trying to come up with an alternate route. Maybe if I backtracked and went off the road? "Go home, Bella. It'll be better for everyone if you just do what we ask."

"What makes you think you have any idea what's better for me?" I was ready to rip his head off. Now if he'd just lean down for me... maybe step over to a convenient tree trunk or something? Stupid tall bodybuilding man.

"I know you're carrying Jacob Black's baby, and nothing else beyond that matters. As long as we perceive that there's a threat, we'll do whatever we have to in order to protect you." He shrugged.

Instinctively, I rested a shielding hand on my stomach. I knew he didn't mean my baby any harm, quite the opposite I'm sure, but something about the way he talked about it raised every protective instinct I had. Without another word, I spun on my heel and headed back to the house. I couldn't quite make sense of what he'd said. A threat? What did he mean? What kind of threat? Why wouldn't anyone give me a straight answer?

As soon as I got back inside, I tried to call Jake again. My only hope was that he had the answer to this mystery, that somehow he could make sense of this and force them to let me go. Just like before, all I got was the irritating message stating that my husband was somewhere I couldn't reach him. Taking an unsteady breath, I carefully set the phone aside before I threw it, then went into the kitchen to make tea. I needed something to distract me before I exploded.

Of course, I'm a stubborn soul. I wasn't about to just do what they said. Twice more that day I tried to escape on foot. The first time I ran into Jared again, with similar results. The second time I encountered the third member of the La Push Bodybuilder and Bouncer Society. I knew the face, he'd been at my wedding, and I think his name was Paul. I'm not completely sure about that, however. Unlike Jared, he made no attempt to be nice. Basically he just blocked my way, glared and snarled until I retreated like a good girl.

That night was a restless one. I tried to sleep in the bed for a little while, but apparently morning sickness decided it should arrive early. When I finally felt like I was done throwing up, I went to sit by the window, looking out on the moonlit darkness. I wondered where Jake was, if he was safe, or if he were somewhere alone and afraid, questioning what his next decision should be, just like I was... Somehow that didn't seem likely. I sighed and rested my cheek against the cool glass, longing for his touch, for a word of comfort... and in that unguarded moment, again I was enveloped in the memory of cinnamon and sandalwood, of cool touches and velvet-soft words. God, what was this insanity? Why couldn't I get him out of my mind? I wanted to say it was loneliness, that I was searching for something to hold onto, something real. But I was tired of fighting, so I just closed my eyes and allowed my renegade heart to think of Edward.

At some point I must have drifted, falling asleep where I leaned against the window. I know this because I dreamed of giant wolves outside in the dark, howling at the nearly full moon.

The next morning I bathed and dressed, getting myself ready for my appointment at 9am. At 8-o'clock I marched outside and started walking along the road, waiting for one of my prison guards to make an appearance. Shortly thereafter, Jared stepped into my path, looking down at me with quiet amusement. "Good morning, Bella. Back for round three?"

"Four, I met up with Paul yesterday."

Jared snorted. "Paul doesn't count. He's terrible company."

"Whatever. I'll let you guys sort that out amongst yourselves." I rolled my eyes. "I have a doctor's appointment this morning, Jared. I'm sure you guys aren't going to try and protect me from my doctor, right?"

"If you mean the- I mean, Dr. Cullen, then yeah, I'm afraid we are." He crossed his arms and I was seized with the really mature desire to kick him in the shins. "If you want to make an appointment with the tribal clinic, one of us will be glad to escort you over there."

"This is ridiculous. I don't understand why you idiots are doing this!" I wanted to scream, I felt like a caged animal with nowhere to go but back inside my den.

He sighed, and I for just a moment I saw a flash of pity in his eyes. "I know you don't get it right now, but trust me, we've got our reasons."

"How am I supposed to trust you when you won't tell me anything?" Tears of anger and frustration welled up in my eyes, which made me even angrier. I actually think the tears made him panic a little. His voice got softer and he peered down into my face.

"I know... I'll talk to Sam and Billy, see what I can do, okay?" He hesitated, then shook his head. "Just go back inside for now, Bella. Please?" I didn't answer, I just turned around and went back to the house.

They definitely had me trapped, no doubt about it. My every movement was monitored and closely guarded. It just didn't make sense. What were they guarding me from? Myself?

I spent the day restlessly roaming my small house, cleaning things that didn't need to be cleaned, organizing and reorganizing. There were no emails from Jake, and I still couldn't get a call through to him. I spent some time on the computer, looking up random information and realizing that I didn't feel like any of the information for 'expectant mothers' felt like it fit me or my situation. Maybe that would change. I honestly didn't know.

It was late afternoon when I finally hatched my little plan. Born of desperation, I knew it wasn't all that well thought-out, but I didn't care. I wanted out of this house and off the reservation. No matter what.

I waited until it was completely dark, going through my normal routine so that from the outside nothing would seem amiss. Dressed completely in dark colors, I traveled light, bringing nothing but the basic essentials with me as I slipped out the back door. As quickly and quietly as I could, I headed away from the house and the road beyond it. Unlike Billy's house, ours backed up to the trees that were the encroaching edge of Olympic National Park. If I went into the park, maybe they wouldn't follow me. There was a ranger station up on Mora Road. If I could make it that far, I could get help.

At first I thought I'd done it. The further I made it into the moonlit forest, the stronger my sense of accomplishment. In retrospect, that was nothing but sweet ignorance. I never even knew I was being pursued until they were on top of me.

A huge, furry body hit me like a freight train. I'd just reached the top of a steep hill, and the downhill slope dropped into a stream. I shrieked and fell, tumbling down the hillside, instinctively curling around myself to protect the baby. Stunned, I came to rest at the edge of the stream, my body aching like one giant bruise. Distantly I heard snarling, and I looked up in a daze to see three shapes at the top of the hill, staring down at me. They were the size of bears, but bears didn't move like that.

I struggled to my feet and splashed across the shallow stream as I fought to stay upright. My left arm was throbbing, and I was sure I'd hit my head on the way down. I didn't feel anything like cramping, so I could only assume the baby was alright for now. I just didn't know what the hell I was going to do about the giant predators poised to chase after me.

On top of everything, my stupid cellphone chose that moment to assure me it survived. Leaning against a tree, I wrenched it out of my jacket pocket and prepared to silence it, but I froze as soon as I saw the name on the display. Edward Cullen. How had Edward Cullen's phone number gotten programmed into my phone? That was the only way the name would show up, it had to be in the memory. More importantly... why was he calling me?

With shaking hands, I flipped the phone open and brought it to my ear. "Hello?"

"Bella!" My eyes closed at the sound of his voice. "Bella, are you there?" He sounded desperate, almost frantic.

"I'm here, Edward."

"Thank God." The warm relief in his tone was like a painkiller, taking the edge off my hurts. "You're in the woods." It wasn't a question. "I need you to keep moving, Bella. Keep going the same direction you were before. You've got to cross the line. Do you understand?"

"I-" A wolf's howl carried through the trees, it made my blood run cold. "The wolves! They're chasing me! God, Edward, they're right behind me!" I had a death grip on the phone as I lurched forward again. Go the same way, he said to go the same way.

"I know." His voice was distorted, as though he spoke through clenched teeth. "I can hear them." He said something away from the phone that I couldn't hear, and then came back. "Run Bella, please! You have to get to the line!"

To the best of my ability I responded to that lifeline, ignoring the twinges of pain as I fled through the trees and underbrush. But it was impossible to outrun these wolves on foot, again one sent me sprawling, and this time he grabbed my jacket in his jaws. "Edward!" The wolf savagely shook me and I screamed.

"BELLA!" I imagined that I heard his shout, as though he were somewhere nearby. "Bella, ANSWER ME!"

I'd never been so terrified before in my life, hanging like a ragdoll from the mouth of a giant wolf. Desperately I kicked and struggled, my feet finding purchase on the rocky ground. Before the monster could jerk his head up, I shrugged out of my jacket and started running again, hanging onto the phone for dear life. "Help me, please!"

"It's only a little further, you can make it." He was pleading with me, but the words didn't make sense. "I'm right here. You're so close." All I could do was keep moving, following the sound of his voice.

The snarling was on top of me, but instead of making contact, one came up on either side of me and then abruptly charged into my path. I dodged aside, and just avoided the snap of huge teeth. They did it again, and suddenly I put together what they were doing... herding me. They were trying to turn me the other way, to drive me back toward La Push. I moved to go around them the third time, and one slammed his shoulder into me. I fell, and the phone skidded away. "Edward!"

"Bella!" I wasn't imagining things. I could hear him. I lifted my head and there, in the moonlight, I could see him. Scrabbling at the ground, my injured arm screamed with pain, but I didn't care. Edward was there, he was waiting for me, and a little pain was not going to keep me from him.

A wolf leaped in front of me and blocked my view, and I shrieked in fury. Grabbing a rock as big around as my fist, I lobbed it at him. He danced easily out of the way, but hitting him hadn't really been the point. There was an opening now, I could see it. Gathering the last of my strength, I went for it. So short a distance, and it took forever to cross it, time counting out in heartbeats as I ran. One of the wolves snarled and took a final swipe at me... but it was too late, I was already there.

Edward's arms closed around me, the blow glancing harmlessly off his shoulder as he shielded me with his body. Without a word, he gathered me up and retreated, several dark shapes surging forward to form a protective ring around us. "It's alright," he whispered against my hair. "I've got you, you're safe now. Those dogs will never touch you again." I felt his lips brush my forehead and then my cheek, his arms tightening convulsively around me. "Carlisle!" He turned his head. "I need your help, she's bleeding."

I heard what sounded like fighting, but it was so hard to focus right now. Edward knelt on the ground but didn't let go of me, allowing one of the dark shapes to break off from those shielding us and approach. "Dr. Cullen..."

"Hello Bella." The doctor's voice was warm as he greeted me. "Are you alright, Edward?" The question seemed casual as he ran his hands over me, checking for injuries. "I can take her if you need me to."

"No." There was a faint note of strain in his voice, but he shook his head. "It's not easy, but I'll manage. None of her wounds are bad."

That didn't quite make sense, but I let it go, it felt good just to lie quietly in his arms, listening to the sound of his voice. In fact, the longer I stayed there, the further I drifted, until everything but his scent and his touch became the dream, and then it all faded into darkness and I knew no more.