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Choices

Summary:
Choices Banner This story takes place in Eclipse when Riley goes to Bella’s room to gather her belongings for Victoria. This is what could have happened if Bella had arrived while he was still there, and the events following. Written pre-Breaking Dawn, so that book will be disregarded here. This will include my idea of how the series would have ended.


Notes:
Choices Banner *Written before Breaking Dawn was released, so that book will be ignored with this story.


14. Change of Heart

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3298   Review this Chapter

(Previously):

BPOV

As it was the middle of the night now, Edward and I went back to his room and left the others to their thoughts. I personally thought that Edward was still having a difficult time remembering that I wasn’t human anymore, and kept thinking I needed my rest.

I climbed up onto his bed, and sat quietly. He put some soft, comforting music on and came over to sit with me. He seemed to sense that I just wanted time to think, and silently reached out to hold me. As I curled up against him, I let my thoughts go where they needed to. Memories, some happy, some sad, some horrifying, washed through my system. We stayed that way until dawn - sometimes in pure silence, sometimes with the sobs rocking through me again, but I was always being comforted by Edward, and that helped to ease my pain.

Chapter 14: Change of Heart

EPOV

As the morning light began to filter through the window, I continued to gaze down at my Bella, who was lying in my arms. She was finally quiet; she was still awake, as our kind doesn’t sleep, but I could at least hope she was possibly finding some peace. It had been a long night. Watching the constant array of emotions tear through her was unnerving. Over and over again, I had wished that there could be some way for me to help her, to soothe her. I kissed her hair often, whispered reassurances, and I hummed her lullaby, trying to comfort her. At times, I wondered if she heard me at all, even with her much improved hearing. Nothing hurt me more than to see her suffer.

As the sun rose, I heard Alice approaching our room, her thoughts impatient. Before she could life her tiny fist to knock, I murmured, "Come in, Alice."

Alice opened the door, peeking around the edge. "What are we going to do today?" she asked, trying to be reasonably calm. It had been irritating for her to give us our space and stay away all night.

"Hi, Alice," Bella murmured softly, as she sat up slowly. Her eyes were clearer this morning, not like yesterday, when she constantly looked as though she were in a different world.

"Alice, I don’t think we’ll be doing much...I wouldn’t get your hopes up," I replied, trying to politely let her know not to push.

"Please, Edward - it’s not like I’m going to try to drag her off shopping or something - I do have common sense, after all. Besides, I already ordered all my new furniture, and dressing mirror, online. It’ll be here in no time. I just wanted to spend some time with Bella...whatever we do," she added, looking hopeful.

Glancing back at Bella, I tried to assess her mood. "Would you like to go downstairs and see what the others are up to?" I asked apprehensively.

"Yeah...that sounds good," Bella said.

When we got to the living room, naturally we found Jasper and Emmett playing a video game. They both glanced up, greeting us softly. Emmett ran over to Bella and gave her another gentle embrace, and Jasper smiled warmly at her. She looked happy to see them.

Esme came around the corner with Carlisle; they must have been in his study, no doubt discussing all that has occurred. She also greeted Bella with a soft embrace, asking how her night had been.

"Alright, thank you," Bella replied.

The thoughts of my family members all revealed their knowledge of the utter falseness of Bella’s simple statement; anyone who had been in this house last night knew that was far from the truth, but out of respect, they kept that to themselves. Bella, true to her nature, was trying to be brave and not let anyone worry about her. It was completely absurd.

Carlisle placed his hand on Bella’s shoulder. "Bella, do you need anything? Is there anything we can do for you, or anything you want?"

"If you’re asking if she’s ready to hunt, that would still be a ‘no,’" I told him, slightly exasperated. Of course it was what he was worried about, but he didn’t want Bella to feel insecure. He was just as confused over this whole anti-blood stance as I was.

Carlisle looked perplexed. "Well...that was one of my concerns, but I also just meant it as a general question, son."

"I’m fine, but thank you," Bella interrupted my thoughts. Everyone’s silent reactions of confusion echoed in my mind, especially Jasper’s - he had dealt with a lot of newborns, and he couldn’t fathom her behavior. Thankfully, not one of them let these thoughts show in their expressions.

We were all about to start discussing individual plans for the day, when my phone rang. Stepping away from my family, not wanting to be rude, I answered. "Hello?"

"Yeah, blood - Edward," I heard a familiar voice start.

I sighed. "Yes, Jacob, what do you need?"

Now it was his turn to sigh. He became more agitated, if that were possible. "Look, something’s happened, we need to talk to one of you. Immediately," he stated.

"What’s happened?" I inquired, concerned.

"Not now. Meet me at the boundary line in a couple of hours, ok?" he demanded.

"Alright, I can do that. I’ll see you then, Jacob." I started to hang up.

"Wait - also, I’ve decided I want to talk to Bella. Put her on the phone."

I immediately went to the door, swiftly stepping outside.

"Jacob, I will let you speak to her if that is what she wants, but you need to know how difficult all of this has been on her. If you say anything to upset her, you will be sorry. She has been through enough, and I won’t tolerate any idiocy on your part. Do you understand me?" I said through fierce whispers, not wanting Bella to hear.

"Listen, leech...I’m not going to upset her. Put her on the freaking phone!" Jacob yelled.

I tried to keep my tone polite. "Hold on for a moment, Jacob."

Once back inside, I approached Bella. "Bella, Jacob is on the phone, and wishes to speak with you. Do you want to speak with him?" At my words, my whole family stopped talking.

"Oh, well - ok," she replied uncertainly.

I held out the phone to her, hoping that this would be the right choice.

BPOV

Huh. So now Jacob wanted to talk to me...that was fast. Maybe he just wanted to make sure I knew that the treaty rules applied to me too. Like I didn’t already understand that.

My apprehensive gaze rested on the phone in my hand. If he started yelling at me, it would send Edward over the edge; I hoped Jacob was mature enough not to call just for something like that.

As I took a deep breath, I raised the phone to my ear. "Jacob?"

I heard his breath catch. "Bells, is that you?" he sounded hesitant.

"Yeah, it’s me." What else was I supposed to say?

"You sound so...normal," Jacob said, sounding confused.

"Well, I don’t know what you expected, but yeah, my voice is pretty much the same. Would you feel better if we played some spooky music in the background or something?" I couldn’t help the sarcasm; it had hurt when he refused to talk to me the other day.

He sighed. "Bells, I’m sorry. It’s just so weird. I didn’t mean to upset you by not talking to you, it’s just everything is so overwhelming, and Billy..." he trailed off.

I interrupted. "Is Billy alright? I’ve been worried about him."

"Bella, you have enough to worry about. I’ll take care of Billy," he said, much more seriously.

"Look, I’m calling because, well, now that you’re what you are, you know that you can’t come here," he began.

So it was the treaty. Nice. "Jake, I know the rules. I’m not stupid, I’ll stay off your land. You really didn’t need to call me just to reiterate that point. Really, I’ve got it." I was irritated; it wasn’t my friend calling, it was the werewolf, drawing lines between the mythical worlds?

"No, Bells - you don’t understand. What I’m trying to say, is that I want to see you. I want to make sure you’re ok. You just can’t come here. Seeing you while you were still...changing...was strange - you seemed so much like you were before. I just want a chance to say goodbye, while you’re awake. You don’t have to be afraid, Bells...I would never hurt you."

I was surprised. Then I caught something else he had said. "Goodbye?" I asked.

"Well, it’s not like we can’t still talk - probably. But seeing each other will definitely not be as much of a possibility as it was before...you know..." He sounded conflicted. "Anyway, I thought maybe we could meet at the boundary line."

"You know that Edward will want to come with me, right?" I asked.

"I know, Bells. I actually need to discuss something with him anyway. I don’t like him, but he was...ok to me when you were - sleeping. Whatever," he replied.

"Alright, when?" I asked.

"I told him a couple of hours," he said.

"Fine. We’ll be there," I answered, and hung up.

Edward was watching me, as was the rest of his family, although they were trying to be more inconspicuous about it.

"I’m meeting Jacob at the boundary line today at two o’clock to talk. He said he needed to talk to you, too," I said to Edward.

"Bella, do you mind me being there? Yes, he wishes to speak with me as well, but I can call and rearrange that meeting if you would like me to," Edward said softly. He was trying to be fair, even though the idea of me meeting Jacob with him was obviously distressing to him.

"Actually, I’d like for you to be there. Even if you stay in the car, I’d like to have your support - your presence," I said truthfully.

"Alright, then, I’ll go with you," he said lightly, relief washing over his features.

We spent the next two hours doing various things. At first we watched the Emmett vs. Jasper video game competition, but after a while, Emmett had broken most of the controllers. I spent some time alone with Esme in her studio, randomly discussing different types of art. I tried to pay attention to everyone as much as I could, but my mind was still elsewhere - lost in my emotions from last night. My mind kept drifting back to how much I had lost, but I did my best to keep it from everyone. Before I knew it, Edward was gently knocking on the studio door, saying it was time to go to meet Jacob.

As we approached the boundary line, nervousness rushed through me. I knew Jacob’s reaction to the Cullens; what if he reacted the same towards me? How would I feel about that?

"Bella, Jacob wishes to speak with me, and I’m not sure what it’s about...would you mind terribly if I asked you to wait here while I go see?" he asked.

"No, I don’t mind, Edward. I could use the time to prepare for this anyway," I half smiled at him.

"I’ll be right back, love," he said softly, before exiting the car.

EPOV

I stood at the boundary line and waited. Jacob was just within trees; his thoughts were irritated - he was assuming that I hadn’t let Bella get out of the car. After another moment, he appeared, his expression full of disgust. "Why is Bella in the car? You won’t let me talk to her now?" he asked, sneering.

"No, Jacob, but since you wouldn’t offer further explanation on the phone, I wasn’t sure what this was about, and whether or not it would just cause her more stress," I answered.

"Oh. Yeah, whatever. Anyway, look. We’ve had a problem." Jacob immediately became more business like. "Last night Paul caught Victoria’s scent, and he was able to catch up to her," he began in a low tone, trying to keep our conversation private. Maybe he was taking Bella’s stress level into consideration. "We were somewhat close; Sam told him to circle around so we could cut her off from the other direction. She caught his scent and started to run. Paul’s anger got the best of him - he didn’t want her to get away."

"She was nearby? Where?" I interrupted intently, keeping my voice low.

"Near the shore. She was in the forest close to the beach. We think she must have just swam up, cause we’ve been looking for her and he caught the scent right away; she didn’t get too far inland." He paused.

"What happened when Paul caught up to her?" I asked quietly.

Jacob glanced over my shoulder to my car, and then back at me. He wanted me to listen to the events in his mind, so he wouldn’t risk upsetting Bella in case she was paying attention.

I followed along as Jacob replayed the events of Paul’s hunt. He had seen everything, as the entire pack had, due to their wolf connection. Paul had caught up to Victoria, cornered her, and attacked. She had turned and charged him, forced to defend herself. It didn’t last long; maybe a couple of minutes, if that, and Paul was destroyed.

I flinched at the sight. "Ah. I’m sorry for the pack’s loss, Jacob," I said sincerely.

"Yeah...we’re all pretty upset. He shouldn’t have gotten so close, then maybe..." he trailed off. "Look, the problem is, for obvious reasons, every one of us, not just me now, wants revenge. We want access to anywhere her trail leads - even if it’s across the border. She won’t get away twice," he finished.

"We all want the same thing, as I’m sure you understand, Jacob. I’ll have to discuss this with Carlisle first, but as we have been concentrating on Bella, we could use the help. I’ll let you know," I said.

"Good. Now, can you go let Bella out of the car?" The business-like behavior had vanished.

I sighed. "Alright. Just watch yourself...I won’t be far," I said seriously. Jacob rolled his eyes at me.

When I reached the car, I opened the door. Bella looked nervous.

"Bella, please, it will be alright. I can tell you’re scared, but I’ll be right here. However, this is your choice - if you do not wish to speak with him anymore, then we can leave right now. Nothing will happen to you - ever. I love you," Edward said.

BPOV

I met Edward’s eyes and knew it would be alright. "I know. Thank you - I love you too." I stepped out of the car, and I walked to the boundary line, trying to judge Jacob’s expression as I got closer.

His looked wary, then confused.

As I got closer, he began to look even more bewildered. I stopped about ten yards away from him, and paused. He sniffed the air. I looked back towards the car at Edward. His expression was confused as well.

Jacob began to move, and slowly came closer, until he was right in front of me. He was silent.

"Hi, Jake," I said quietly, not sure what was going on.

He just looked at me. "Hey, Bells..." he said slowly.

I didn’t understand - was he having a hard time trying not to kill me? He didn’t seem angry...

"What is it? Why are you acting so weird, Jake?" I couldn’t help it - it was too natural to not just ask him what his problem was.

He hesitated, thinking. "Well, Bells...I’m actually wondering...why don’t you stink?"

Oh. Wait - what? I hadn’t even thought about the whole vampire/werewolf smell issue. Now that he mentioned it though, I remembered how offensive the wolves had smelt to the Cullens, and vice-versa. I took a deep breath, testing my senses.

"Huh. You don’t smell bad either, Jake. Just kinda like a slight overdose of cologne."

"Yeah...you smell like a lot of flowers, but it’s not bad. I don’t understand," Jacob said, completely thrown.

"I don’t know..." I began, but was cut off by the familiar feel of Jacob’s embrace. He lifted me up and hugged me fiercely, before setting me back down.

"I’m just so thrown, Bells! I can be near you, I can hug you, and I’m not fighting the desire to kill you - you even smell decent!" There was joy in his expression.

I heard Edward get out of his car, and turned to look back at him. "I’m alright, please don’t worry," I said, barely under my breath.

"Still paranoid, I see," Jacob said.

"He’s just worried, Jake - you and I are very different now, you know." I thought carefully before I spoke again. "Jake, why did you want to meet me here?"

"I just wanted to see you, to make sure you were alright after you ‘woke up.’ Now that I have, and realize you don’t seem to affect me like the others do...it’s unimaginable. I don’t get it! I was so afraid to approach you, so afraid of that instinct that kicks in. As I got closer and closer, I didn’t feel any threat. I was able to pick you up and hug you, and the only thought that came to mind was, ‘Lay off the perfume, Bells!’ It wasn’t bad - it’s so weird."

I laughed at his last response. After that, things lightened up a bit between us, but also became quite serious. We found ourselves sitting cross-legged at the boundary line, reminiscing and talking about everything that had happened. We shared memories of Charlie and Billie, among other things. I told him about my mom and Phil. This time I handled the conversation better, and didn’t break down; I had already discussed all of it with Edward, so it was a bit easier this time. He told me about Paul as well. I had never been close to him, but felt sorry for the pack. Once again, fury boiled inside me, as I realized how close Victoria had been. I would have to wait to focus on that until later, as Jake had started speaking again.

"You know, I’ll want to visit Charlie’s grave, as will my dad..." Jacob awkwardly began.

"I know, Jake. Edward has already cleared everything with the family, so whenever you want to go, all you have to do is call..." I answered reassuringly.

"Thanks." He reached out, and grabbed my hand. "Bells, I know everything is different now. I just want you to know, I’ll always be here...especially since you don’t stink," he muttered, grimacing. "We may even still be able to be friends. "

"Yeah, Jake, whatever," I joked, rolling my eyes. "It would be nice to remain friends, though. Oh - and just call Edward when you want to visit Charlie’s grave - it’ll be fine. The Cullens will respect your wishes."

"Yeah." Jacob seemed to be conflicted again.

I felt this was the end of our conversation. "Jake, I’m gonna go. It was good to see you - I hope I’ll see you again someday...tell the rest of the pack I’m sorry for their loss."

"We will see each other again, Bells. I don’t know when, but I do know that it’s not the same as with the other bloodsuckers. Sorry," he added glanced at me. "I know you’re one of them, but none of my instincts agree with that. It’s weird," he said again, then gave me another quick hug. "So, I will see you again, Bells. Please, take care of yourself. Let me know if you need me." Jacob took one more look at me, then he was gone, sprinting off into the trees.

Suddenly, Edward was standing beside me. "Are you alright?"

"Yes...I think so. That went far better than I expected," I said.

"I agree. Bella? Did he really not smell offensive to you at all?" Edward asked, his nose crinkled up in disgust.

"No...like I said, it was just like he had a bit too much cologne on..." I responded.

Edward’s face turned from disgust to confusion. It seemed I was causing a lot of confusion these days. I swear, I would never be normal.