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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.


22. Closure

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1732   Review this Chapter

Chapter 22: Closure

BPOV

During the next few weeks, we began to settle into a routine. Edward and I spent our days doing various things. Sometimes I would spend time with Alice, or Esme. When I was with one of them, Edward would usually work on his compositions. We visited Charlie’s grave frequently; it became a very peaceful place for me to spend time. Often, I would curl up under one of the trees there with a book and spend hours reading, with Edward at my side. Nights were spent my preferred way, with just the two of us, enjoying our time together. It was usually an excellent opportunity for me to steal as many kisses from Edward as I possibly could.

Shortly after Carlisle had explained his theory to me, I had realized something. He had mentioned wanting to practice with everyone to discover the depths of my gift - all we really knew was that it was powerful. If I could learn how to manage or control the use of everyone’s gifts all at once, I may have something that would make killing Victoria very realistic...maybe even easy. When I expressed my idea to Edward, he wasn’t happy. I knew he wouldn’t be, but he also recognized the urgency I felt. We argued about it many times, and he insisted that in no way would I ever put myself if any kind of danger. He kept insisting that he would take care of Victoria. After many conversations, most of them painful, he began to soften. It must have been seeing the pain I felt every time I brought up my parents’ deaths. After one particular night of pleading with him to understand, he held me close and said that he would think about it, so I had let it go, knowing we weren’t done with the conversation.

Carlisle had set up time periods for regular practice sessions, so this was now how we all spent our evenings when he returned from working at the hospital. The eight of us would reconvene in the backyard, where we would work for a few hours each night. Jasper helped a lot with the training aspect of things, as it was one of his specialities. Everyone began to immensely enjoy this part of the day - it not only brought us closer together, but we learned quite a bit about one another. We also started to become quite good at figuring out the little nuances of my gift, and how to use them to my advantage. The most interesting thing we’d discovered was that I couldn’t simply ‘control’ others actions by sheer will. I only seemed to be able to do this when highly agitated emotionally. Needless to say, it wasn’t always the most enjoyable thing to work on, and often required lots of help from Jasper - nobody wanted to upset me that much. Edward hated that part of the training.

The only drawback was that I had to feed regularly to keep my gifts accessible. I was getting used to it, although I couldn’t help but look forward to when I wouldn’t need to feed so often again. It wasn’t bad, just...weird. It reminded me of those mornings before I'd met Edward, when the alarm would go off for me to get up for school, and I didn’t want to get up. I would dread the day, and sulk until I got to school. Then, once I was actually there, it wasn’t so bad - I actually enjoyed it to a point.

One of the afternoons when we were hunting, Emmett came across a black bear. He cornered it, insisting that I try it. I did, and when I expressed that it tasted like Filet Mignon, he roared with laughter.

During another afternoon, probably about two weeks after my change, we had returned from hunting, and Edward’s cell rang. It was Jacob, wanting to bring Billy to Charlie’s grave. Edward told him to come to the house, and we would take them to the site. Before they arrived, Carlisle stopped us.

"Bella, please be careful. You’ve been hunting this afternoon, and if my suspicions are correct, Jacob may not find it quite as - easy, to be around you right now. Be cautious, please," he finished, glancing over at Edward. I heard his thoughts as he told Edward, "And you will need to remember to stay calm, son. He may upset you."

I let Edward answer the door, and he then led Billy and Jacob around to the back of the house. I was waiting for them near the entrance of the forest. When Jake started to get closer, he froze. He sniffed the air, glanced at Edward, then back at me. He didn’t have to say anything, although I was sure he would - I could smell him from where I stood, and knew I didn’t smell so great to him either.

"Bella, is that you that reeks? What the heck? You smelt fine last time I saw you..." he trailed off. Edward growled quietly.

Billy seemed to sense the tension, and spoke, looking at Jacob before turning to me.

"Bella, I am sorry for your loss. You’ve not only lost your parents, you’ve lost so much more. You know, Charlie loved you more than you probably realize," he said seriously.

"Thank you, Billy. Charlie loved you as well." I chose to skip over his reference to losing my own life - he would never understand that I wanted to be with the Cullens. I returned my gaze to Jacob.

"Hey, Jake. Just so you know, you don’t smell so good either. At all," I said as I wrinkled my nose, causing Edward to chuckle softly. "C’mon, let’s go, Jake. I’ll explain to you on the way."

We walked into the forest, me leading, with Jacob walking beside me, sort of - he was really about ten feet away from me, carefully keeping his distance. He pushed Billy’s wheelchair along the path Carlisle had smoothed through the woods, listening to me. Edward was following directly behind us, monitoring Jacob’s reactions. I explained to Jake about feeding, and everything that changes when I do, including Carlisle’s assumption about the wolves, which was now confirmed. Jacob mostly remained quiet.

When we reached the clearing, I let Jacob go ahead by himself. He pushed Billy close to the grave, then went a bit closer, and spoke to Charlie, respectfully expressing his grief. When he was done, he pushed Billy forward, then he hesitantly headed over to where Edward and I waited. As he approached, Edward spoke to silently. "I’ll be right over there, Bella. I’m sure you know, he wants to talk to you alone." I nodded in agreement.

Jacob stopped about five feet away this time. He was slightly more comfortable. He wouldn’t put himself in a situation that risked him phasing. He sunk down to the ground, across from me, meeting my gaze evenly.

"The cross is beautiful, and this place is amazing, Bella." Jacob reached out and ran his hand lightly across a large Coast Rhododendron. "Charlie would have liked it," he said quietly.

I thanked him.

He looked up at me, sheepishly. "Do you think that next time we get together, you could lay off the blood? It’s not like I want to kill you, but the smell...is pretty gross."

"Agreed, Jake, agreed. Trust me, I understand. Are you freaked out by what I’ve told you...about my gifts?" I asked, curious.

Jacob hesitated. "No, I’m not freaked out, Bells. Actually, I think it’s awesome. You’ll be able to defend yourself if you need to. I mean, obviously, I’d rather that you weren’t...what you are, but I can’t change that now." Jacob was quiet for a moment.

"Bells, you know that I love you. You know that I had fallen in love with you before...this. I don’t know what would have happened, but given what has, I know now that the future that I had wanted for us isn’t possible anymore." Jacob’s expression became somber, and I watched as his plans for our future flashed through his mind.

"Jake," I began softly. "That would have never happened. You know I love Edward - I’ve always been meant to be with him."

"What? What are you talking about?" he asked, confused. Suddenly, reality hit him. "Bells - can you hear me? Like, in your mind - I didn’t think about that -" Jacob broke off, clearly embarrassed.

I sighed. Here I was trying not to freak him out, but I had reacted to his thoughts instead of his words. "Yes, Jake...I can hear your thoughts. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to invade your privacy, it’s just hard to get used to," I sighed again.

"So you heard..." Jacob trailed off again, already knowing what I had heard - his whole plan, if I had still been human. He would have continued to pursue me, hoping the idea of a human life would win out over Edward. He had planned on us marrying, and having at least two kids, and growing old together. I simply nodded my head in response.

We were both quiet for a few minutes. Finally, Jacob interrupted the silence. "Look, I know that you love him," he said, gesturing over to Edward, who appeared to be ignoring us, but was hearing everything. "I want you to be happy. You more that deserve it after what you’ve been through. As far as the gifts you have...I always knew you were special, Bells," Jacob said, as a conflicted expression crossed his face, making him appear somber.

"Jake..." I began.

"Bells, don’t worry about it. You don’t need anything else on your mind right now, so just forget it. I’ll be fine. I’m just glad you didn’t actually die - I never thought I’d feel this way, but now that I’ve thought about it, vampire or not, I’m glad you’re still here," he smiled slightly, a tinge of sadness still present in his eyes. "As long as you knock off the blood-drinking, we can still hang out sometimes," he said as his smile widened into the familiar grin I loved.

Billy cleared his throat, and Jacob stood up. I stood as well, as Edward quickly appeared at my side. Jacob went to get Billy, and we followed. As we left the clearing, I felt another kind of closure. When Jacob turned the car around to leave the driveway, I raised my hand in a wave. I knew he would be alright, eventually.