What if the Cullens had not been in Forks when Bella went to live with her father. What if she had the life she was supposed to have with Jacob on the reservation in La Push. What if after several extremely happy years of marriage the Cullens did return to the area and Bella had to interact with them every day. Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
20. Chapter 20 - Decision
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"Bella?" There was his voice again. Every time I needed to be pulled away from the jaws of death or the edge of oblivion there he was, calling me home.
"Oh!" When I opened my eyes his face, the face of my own personal guardian angel, filled my vision. He was holding out his arms to me.
"Are you able to go home now?" Home, the word sounded so inviting. The sweet smell of his breath enveloped me and I struggled to remain focused.
"Home with you," I asked, reaching out my hand to his. Then I realized my mistake. The tension that must have surrounded us all along became palpable as Edward moved away from me.
"Concentrate, Bella." I realized that Alice was still holding me. "You are hosting a party. It is rude and irresponsible to be away longer than necessary. I am going to help you onto your husband's back and you are going with him."
There was a note of disgust in her voice as she said your husband and she and Jacob winced away from each other when she lifted me onto his back. I felt I would never understand the animosity that existed between my family and the other one that I was coming to love. I dreaded every step that brought me closer to La Push. I couldn't bear to face Jacob right now. Everything I do seems aimed at breaking his heart. All I wanted was for our running to go on indefinitely so I wouldn't have to look into his eyes. Even Embry ran in human form to avoid Jacob's thoughts.
We reached the edge of the woods far too soon. I slid to the ground and attempted to pull myself together before facing the party.
"Will you come with me?" The deep husky voice of my Jacob was pained and hesitant. His eyes were pleading and his hand reached out for me. I leaned into the warm body that had brought me so much comfort for so long. He was asking so much more than I could answer at the moment.
“We will go and find our children," I said.
Seth and Leah were sitting with the boys away from the rest of the party. They were talking in low tones and I could only guess what they spoke about. Jacob, with his supernatural senses, could hear and as we approached I could see his face as he discovered that Leah knew the secret.
"Don't worry," I said. "She figured it out herself. I don't know how long she's known."
Seth looked up, nodded to Jacob and the two of them walked off, leaving me and Leah with the boys.
"Mommy," they called as I took a seat. Then they launched into the story of what just happened. They still believed in legends and fairy tales and so their world view remained unharmed. As they told it they got lost in the woods and then the lady with the jewelry eyes (who Billy insisted smelled funny) found them and told them stories about great great grandpa Black who she said she met a long long time ago. That would make her a hundred. Then I came with the wolves and there was a man with jewelry eyes too. They wanted to know if the big red wolf hurt the man and I said no. Billy insisted that the wolf was not saying thank you and seemed to think me quite naive to believe that.
"Are you okay," Leah asked after the boys went off saying they were going to tell daddy all about their adventures and the wolves they saw.
"Not really. So tell me about Quil and Claire," I said, changing the subject.
Leah didn't look fooled but she told me how Quil had offered to tutor Claire in math and her family agreed. It turned out that she first noticed him when he was doing equations on the scrap wood to figure out the measurements for the roof. Considering that she was failing math and in danger of being held back her family was grateful for the help. Their only condition was that he come to her house for the tutoring and that one of her parents would be there as a chaperone until they got to know him better. I tried to get her to tell me what she had said to Claire's family but she wasn't about to give anything away. I don't think that she wanted the pack to know about her involvement. Quil was over the moon and we could hear him loudly making a fool of himself at the party.
It was getting pretty late and people were beginning to leave. Those of us who were hosting the party stood together thanking each of our guests for coming and handing out gifts. I knew that the Quileutes didn't have a lot of money but we avoided the abject poverty that seemed to exist on some of the other reservations. Maybe the magic that ran through their veins was greater than I thought. I was glad we had hosted this potlatch and was also glad at the practical gifts we had chosen, blankets and baskets of food. For the first time I came to truly understand the custom.
By the time the last of our guests left I was relieved, big parties wore me out, but I was also nervous. I would have to face Jacob and I didn't think I was ready to do that yet.
"Let's go home." I was startled when Jacob appeared behind me carrying our sleeping boys.
We walked home and took longer than necessary putting the boys to bed, both wanting to delay the conversation that faced us for as long as possible. By the time we were done I was dead on my feet and staggering around blindly. Jacob lifted me into bed and undressed me.
"I love you, Bella," he whispered, "more than you could possibly imagine." He was gazing at me, my face, my body, with adoration. But I could see it there, deep in his eyes, the fear and sadness that his love, strong as it was, might not be enough to hold us together.
"I know, Jacob," I murmured. His face fell and I saw my mistake too late. "You are my life," I said, knowing it was too little, that the damage had been done. Jacob had my life but he didn't know if he had my heart. How could he? I didn't know myself. I didn't know anything. I was so tired.
He climbed into bed beside me, pulling the light cover over us, his body provided enough heat for us, and curled up around me, pulling me tightly to his chest. I could feel the sobs that he held inside with each breath he took. My Jacob, my husband, I was breaking him.
As the darkness of sleep lifted I found myself in a field surrounded by a mob of people, the people from our potlatch. For some reason they were angry. Billy was standing before me in full regalia, looking like the chief he could have been if vampires had come in his youth. He looked incredibly tall, taller than Jacob. Then I realized that he was just the same as he ever was, I was tied up and the cords that bound me forced me to kneel.
The mob was growing louder but I couldn't make out what they were saying. Their words combined to become incomprehensible. But I knew they were yelling at me. Whatever I had done had infuriated them. I started to get scared. What was going to happen to me?
"Isabella Black," Billy called out, "you are charged with the vilest forms of witchcraft. You have brought a blight on our people after we took you in as one of our own. You love the dead above the living and have turned your children, our future leaders, protectors and counsel members, against us so that they too prefer the dead. The spirits have abandoned us; the magic no longer works for us. Our people hunger for what once made us strong. We must appease the spirits or our tribe will perish."
The mob started roaring and chanting but still I couldn't hear what they were saying. As if out of nowhere, Billy produced a torch. Then I knew what the mob was saying. Burn her! Burn her! The torch came nearer but it wasn't thrust into the pyre on which I was placed. As if they were lovers gently leaning in for their first kiss, the torch brushed along the sides of the pyre. I could smell the burning grass and wood but it hadn't met me yet.
"Do you repent, Isabella Black?" Billy's voice cried out. "Do you renounce the dead and choose the living?"
I looked across the perfectly round meadow; it seemed familiar somehow, as if from a life I could have had if I had chosen differently. The wildflowers were beautiful. I no longer saw the mob or heard the words Billy was speaking. All I saw were the Cullens standing perfectly still. Only the wind in their hair proved that they weren't statues. Their eyes were black and they were staring at me, cold, beautiful and aloof. One by one they left until only Edward was left. His eyes burned into mine and I knew that I wanted more than anything in the world for him to stay. But he too left and I was alone on a burning pyre before an angry mob.
"Noooo!" I cried out as he disappeared.
"So you have chosen death!" Billy's voice was distant as the larger pieces of wood caught. I could feel the heat begin to reach me but I was in such misery that the flames couldn't hurt me.
Then I saw Jacob standing behind Billy, holding our children. Tears streamed down his face but his expression was otherwise stoic. The boys were calling out goodbye momma. There was my family and I was leaving them. They were my life. Without them I was nothing. I called out to my children and my husband, fighting against the fire. But it was a loosing battle. The flames still weren't burning me as I expected but they were consuming all of the air and I was beginning to suffocate.
I thrashed about until I awoke. I was in Jacob's arms and he was holding me far too tightly.
"Jake, can't breathe," I croaked, trying to push him away.
For a moment his grasp got even tighter but then it relaxed as he woke up.
"I'm so sorry, Bella," he said. "I couldn't let them take you."
"I'm not going anywhere, Jacob," I said. "Everything I need is right here."
I put my hands on his chest and looked into his eyes. There was something there that I hadn't seen in over a month. Passion. I felt another burning, a good kind originating between my legs. My breath caught and every muscle in my body tensed, waiting for him to respond. Ever so gently Jacob leaned in and kissed me. A soft moan escaped my lips. He held me away from him for a moment and I could feel his eyes traveling along my body just as surely as his hand which stroked the curve of my hips. But neither of us could wait long, we had already been waiting a long time. Everything slipped away as our bodies came together. The last thing I remember thinking was that I was glad the children wouldn't be waking up early today.
- Chapter 2 - The Cottage
- Chapter 3 - Dr. Cullen
- Chapter 4 - Council Meeting
- Chapter 5 - Message
- Chapter 6 - First Day of School
- Chapter 7 - Birthday Present
- Chapter 8 - Please Help Me Name This Chapter
- Chapter 9 - Accident
- Chapter 10 - Forbidden
- Chapter 11 - Cold
- Chapter 12 - Walk in the Woods
- Chapter 13 - Consequences
- Chapter 14 - Goodbyes
- Chapter 15 - Stolen Moments
- Chapter 16 - Party
- Chapter 17 - Lost
- Chapter 18 - Stranger
- Chapter 19 - Saved
- Chapter 20 - Decision
- Chapter 21 - Return
- Epilogue - Bella Turns 30
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- 06 Feb 09
- 12 Jun 09
- In Progress