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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.


7. Unresolved Issues

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2208   Review this Chapter

(Previously)

"Alright, Jacob. Why don’t you come by tomorrow morning, at ten," I offered regretfully.

"I’ll be there." He hesitated. "See you then," Jacob said resentfully, before hanging up.

I sighed. As difficult as it would be, I felt that it was the right thing to do. I started to make my way back to my room when Carlisle caught up to me. He told me that he had heard my conversation, and that he thought I was being very understanding of Jacob. He also said that he would get everyone to leave tomorrow for a couple of hours. I thanked him.

Chapter 7: Unresolved Issues

EPOV

When I returned to my room, I questioned Esme. Her thoughts were full of concern. "Any changes at all?"

She just shook her head and quietly left my room. I settled in beside Bella, stroked her face, and whispered my love to her throughout the night. Intermittently, I hummed her lullaby, wanting to soothe her. Even though she was motionless, I couldn’t suppress the fear that she might still be in pain, which disturbed me to no end. The night was long, as I stared into her beautiful porcelain face, relentlessly willing her to be alright.

The next morning, before Jacob arrived, I decided it was time to try to talk to Alice, as nothing had changed with her. Again, I didn’t want to leave Bella’s side, but I knew she would be well looked after, and I couldn’t stand the thought of my favorite sister in so much pain. Esme quickly agreed to stay with Bella again - she had been hovering around my bedroom door most of the night. She truly was the epitome of a great mother. Before I went to Alice’s room, I thought it would be best if I talked to Carlisle first, to try to understand what had transpired after I had left the house to find Bella.

"What exactly happened after I left?" I asked Carlisle as we both sat in his study.

"Well, Edward, it was a bit confused, and more than a little chaotic. Alice had her vision of Bella of course, and you fled the house. After you left, we all exploded into a flurry of questions, all thrown at Alice. Alice tried to explain - she managed to get out that someone, she didn’t recognize him, had attacked Bella, and taken most of her blood. She knew that Bella was near death. We were all fleeing towards the cars, following you, when Alice fell to the ground, screaming in protest. We all froze, waiting for the vision to cease. Alice started ranting about Victoria torturing Charlie and Bella. We were all so confused - Jasper finally just grabbed her and put her into the car. We were about to leave, when suddenly, Alice’s head jerked upright, and she looked at us, her eyes glazed over as she announced, ‘Charlie’s dead.’ She didn’t utter a word after that, Edward."

As I climbed the stairs, I started to feel the onslaught of Jasper’s emotions. He was wrought with despair...he had no idea how to help his wife. I tried to focus on Alice’s thoughts, but there was nothing solid there - it was kind of like a soft humming sound. I knocked softly on their door, waiting for a response. Jasper opened the door, his expression displaying his distress.

"Edward, please, do what you can. I’m at a loss. She’s never shut me out like this, and it’s killing me," he pleaded softly.

"Let me try and talk to her Jasper. Please, wait downstairs." Jasper took another heartbreaking look at his wife, and before turning to go downstairs, he softly kissed her on her cheek. His sadness was almost crippling.

"Alice." She didn’t respond to me. She was sitting on the bed, with her legs drawn up to her, staring vacantly. I went and sat down on the edge of the bed, close enough to put my hand on her arm. "Alice, it’s alright. Bella is in my room, and we believe the change should be complete soon. I know you’re upset about Charlie - we all are. You have to understand why none of this is your fault, though." I waited for a response, but nothing happened.

I re-thought my approach. "Alice...you know how much Charlie cared for you. He found so much joy and humor in your antics when you would visit Bella. He found your enthusiasm to be so catching...his thoughts were always so uplifted after you would visit. Ever since Bella had that broken leg, and you helped take care of her, Charlie was grateful that you were a part of Bella’s life. He truly thought of you as another daughter, a sister to Bella. You and I both know that’s what you really are to her, so you should be proud that her father recognized that kind of connection." I waited. Nothing.

"Alice...I can hear your thoughts. I know that you’re fighting to not break through. I know that you’re furious, and I know that your fury is starting to win over your unnecessary guilt, even though you don’t want it to. You have to let this take it’s course. Do you have any idea what I’m feeling? I know that you do - even though you’ve been keeping everything to yourself, you must know the utter despair that is coursing through me. I know that you’ve kept all of your visions to yourself since the one of Charlie - I know this because Carlisle wasn’t sure of Bella’s fate until I was here. It was only then that he sensed no heartbeat and wondered what exactly was going on." I kept my gaze on Alice, as I waited patiently. I knew something would happen soon. "Please, Alice...when Bella wakes, she’s going to need you," I murmured. With that I left her, not knowing what else to do.

Carlisle had everyone leave around nine thirty. They weren’t going far, just into the park behind the house for a quick meal. I doubted Alice would bother to hunt; Jasper had to practically carry her out the door with him. After I carried Bella downstairs, I gently placed her on the couch. The less Jacob had to enter our house, the easier it would be. A trip all the way upstairs might be too much for him; aside from that, I’d rather kill him than let him anywhere near my room - our room.

At ten o’clock there was a knock at the door. I opened it expectantly, and met Jacob’s eyes. He looked completely distraught, and a little disgusted.

"Come in, Jacob. Everyone else has left. Bella is just in on the couch. If you feel yourself getting upset at all, immediately remove yourself from here or I will do it for you. I will not let anyone else harm her." I moved aside to allow him to pass.

He glared at me, then hesitated, and slowly walked past me, staring at the floor. I walked with him over to the couch, wondering when he was going to look up. His thoughts were wary - he was horrified that he wouldn’t be able to be around her anymore. He took a deep breath, and raised his eyes to look at Bella, then he gasped, catching his breath.

"She looks...dead. Why does she have all those bruises?" he leaned in closer, apparently trying to make sure that she was really breathing.

"Victoria was not very gentle with her," I said as a low growl escaped my lips. Just thinking about what Bella may have went through filled me with fury.

"Why doesn’t she smell like you?" Jacob asked. "I expected her to smell like you, since she’s changing." His mind revealed that she smelled fine to him - even pleasant.

Confused, I looked at him. "You mean that she doesn’t smell different to you at all?"

"Well, it smells like she’s wearing some kind of perfume, something floral, but it’s not sickly sweet or over the top. She actually smells... nice," he said, his brow furrowed.

Not sure how to respond, I just shook my head, even more confounded. "Her blood has surely changed by now - there was so little of it left. Her skin and organs will take longer, but I would have expected her to already smell somewhat different to you...and not in a pleasant way."

Jacob just shrugged, and focused on Bella again.

He knelt down beside the couch, and grabbed her hand, holding it close to his face. I took a deep breath - he was beginning to test my patience. I remained calm though; he needed this time.

Discreetly, I walked over to my piano, putting some distance between us. I followed his thoughts, so that if there was even a trace of a threat there, I’d put a stop to it immediately.

He talked to her, told her he missed her. He told her that this would have to be ‘goodbye’ for a while, because he was not sure how he would react to her once the change was complete. He stared at her with an air of hopelessness surrounding him; he was grieving for her. I supposed this was a sort of death to him. Silent tears streamed down his face as he whispered memories to her - he spoke of riding motorcycles, afternoons in his garage, studying, going to the movies... I could tell that he was just waiting for her to open her eyes, but she never did.

Just as I thought I couldn’t tolerate one more second of it, he became quiet, and stood up.

"I have to get back home. Billy is having a very hard time with all of this, and I need to check on him." He hesitated. "Will you call me as soon as there is any change? I just want to know that she’s ok," Jacob said. His usual anger wasn’t present; he must feel defeated.

"I will, Jacob. Please offer Billy our condolences again. Have you spoken to Sam yet?" I asked. His thoughts had all been of Bella and her condition, and I needed an answer, to know if my family should be making alternative plans.

"Oh. The pack agrees that while we don’t agree with it, it doesn’t break the treaty...you bit her, but only after someone else had. She would have died - well, she kind of still did - but we understand that you were trying to save her...in your own way. We’re not happy about it, but we won’t take any action against you or your...family," he explained bitterly.

Nodding my head, I walked him to the door. He glanced at me once more, seeming to struggle with something. "Thanks," he spat, and he was gone. I sighed. At least he was trying to be polite.

As soon as he left, I carried Bella back upstairs to the comfort of our bed. As I sat beside her, stroking her hair, I hummed her lullaby as I waited for my family to come home. They returned shortly after Jacob left - they had been anxious with him in the house, and had stayed close enough so that they could hear his departure.

I spent the rest of the day lying next to Bella, watching for any change. Although I knew it was only day two, and that the process typically took three days, I was feeling completely helpless. We had never experienced anything like this, and in those quiet, empty hours, I couldn’t help but worry that something was wrong. Was it possible to slip into a coma while changing? If so, would she remain like this permanently? What would I do then? I couldn’t allow myself to believe that was possible; it would crush me. I had to stay strong and focused for Bella’s sake.

Esme continually checked on us, the worry ever present in her expression. All the other members of my family checked in at least every couple of hours - all except Alice. Alice had taken to sitting outside my bedroom door - she never set foot inside the room. She still wasn’t talking, and her thoughts were still a faint humming. When she was there, Jasper would either sit with her, or come inside to talk to me. He and Emmett were pushing to start hunting Victoria; Emmett was practically going mad. Rosalie continually convinced him that it was up to me when we started the hunt, and I wasn’t going anywhere until Bella was ok. When not checking on Bella, Carlisle was spending almost all of his time in his study, trying to figure out what could be happening to Bella.

It was about three in the morning when I heard it. Alice. She screamed at the top of her lungs, her voice full of pain, followed by a crashing sound. Esme was sitting with Bella and me at the time, so I ran down the hall to see what had happened, practically colliding into Emmett, Rose & Carlisle. We all tore into her room, only to be hit with massive waves of anxiety coming off of Jasper. Alice was thrashing around on the floor, grasping her head in her hands, and Jasper was trying to get her to hold still. The crashing sound had been the window breaking, as she had obviously thrown something through it.