A few weeks before the wedding Bella has a startling memory that could change everything. I dreamed of hall lights and unfamiliar faces, darkness and feeling small and helpless. I woke with a start. May contain triggers
5. What Emmett Grabbed
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What Emmett Grabbed
I looked in the passenger side mirror as we pulled into the driveway. My eyes were still red and swollen from crying. I sighed, realizing that Edward was going to be worried and blame Rosalie. As we pulled into the garage, Edward was waiting for us. He opened the passenger door and pulled me gently from the car almost before it stopped moving. He frowned as he noticed the signs of tears on my face.
"Bella, are you all right?" he asked, glaring significantly at Rosalie over my shoulder.
"Rosalie and I had a good talk." I dodged the question. I wasn't all right, or okay, but that wasn't Rosalie's fault. She snorted at my non-answer and stared at Edward, obviously showing him at least part of our conversation.
I leaned into Edward while he concentrated on his sister. His arms were around me, and my head was on his chest. My doubts faded away now that I was in his arms. I inhaled deeply, and felt my body relax. As it always did, his scent made me feel safe. It smelled like home to me.
Rosalie's musical laugh pulled me from my thoughts. I realized she must have heard my deep inhalation of Edward's chest. I blushed and turned my face away, which made her laugh again. When I looked back, she touched my arm and said "See you later."
As she turned to walk out of the garage, I called after her "See you later Rose!" and was rewarded with a beautiful smile. It was the first time I had ever used her nickname.
Edward raised an eyebrow. "I'm glad that you and Rose are getting along so well."
"Yeah, she really does care."
"You say that like you weren't sure before. Rosalie has her own ways of showing it, but she cares deeply, once you get past the outside."
I sighed, happy to be with him, and temporarily blocking out the rest of the world. I didn't want to talk about Rosalie or anything else. He led me by the hand to his room, and we cuddled together on the couch. I was so happy to see him again, to have it confirmed that Rosalie was right and he was still here for me.
We sat like that for several minutes, soft music coming from the stereo on the bookshelf, when Edward kissed my head. "Bella, can I ask you something?"
I looked up at him, and nodded.
"When Rosalie was showing me parts of your conversation with her, I saw something... she was trying to hide it, but ... Rosalie isn't very good at hiding things..." He was visibly uncomfortable now, and my heart dropped into my stomach. My fears from the morning, put to rest after my conversation with Rosalie, flared to life again. He didn't want me - he was revolted by me. Tears welled up in my eyes. He was going to leave me.
Edward pulled himself together, grabbed me by the shoulders and began to shake me as roughly as he ever had. "Bella, do you really think so little of me?" I stared at him, confused. "Do you honestly think I would see you any differently? I swore to you that we would see this through together. And we will. Not because I feel I have to -although I do -but because I love you and want you to be happy."
I looked him straight in the eyes. I was expecting to see pity, shame, horror or even disgust. I was sure that he was lying to me. Edward will always do what he feels is right - even when what is right makes him unhappy. But all I saw in his eyes was love. Pure love; a love that wanted nothing more than my happiness. And then I knew that what he said was true. Rosalie's words had locked my fears away, but Edward's eyes got rid of them for good.
I realized that I'd been staring when I should have been saying something. Fresh tears streamed down my cheeks.
"Oh Edward, I was so afraid I'd have to do this alone. But I didn't want you to stay out of pity..." I cried, burying my face in his chest again. His arms closed around me; a firm reminder that we were a team.
"You will never have to do this alone Bella. I'm here," he soothed, patting my hair. We sat like that for a long moment.
"What's in your bag?" Edward asked me, nodding towards my shoulder bag.
"Oh." I blushed. "I was... having trouble believing that I'd really remembered what I thought I had. It doesn't really seem real. So I went looking for proof." I got up and showed him the scrapbook. "Renée made it for me. Before I left Phoenix. And this," I flipped the pages, "was my foster family. Well, the parents are the same, but some of the kids are different."
He looked at the picture for a long moment. "They look kind," he said approvingly.
"They were. They really care about all the kids they look after, and try to stay in touch when they can. This picture was from the Christmas card they sent us that year."
Edward nodded. "So this is proof? Proof of what, exactly?"
I blushed, and looked down. "Just that... part of what I remember is true. And that it happened like I think it did. And thatimnotcrazy." I mumbled quickly. Unfortunately, you can't mumble fast enough for vampire ears.
He hugged me tight. "My poor Bella. So you spent all morning thinking that you might be crazy and making it all up, but if you weren't, you were scared that I would leave you. I'm so so sorry that you had to wake up alone today." We sat in silence for another moment. "So, have you decided what you want to do next?"
He'd asked the one question I didn't have an answer to. I knew that I needed to talk to Renée but the thought made me nauseous. "I don't know. I'm so mad at Renée, and so... hurt." I suddenly realized that I'd stopped calling her Mom, and felt the distance between us grow. "Why wasn't this dealt with years ago? Why didn't she ever talk to me about it? Put me in therapy or something?"
"I don't know. And Renée is probably the only one who does. But it is your decision what happens next. We could go to Jacksonville to talk to Renée, we could fly her here. We can do this over the phone. We can wait - whatever you like."
My heart swelled with happiness when he said "we", but I was still dreading talking to Renée. "I think I'll start with Charlie," I said, biting my lip. "He must know something. I only saw him once or twice a year growing up, but he and Renée would talk on the phone at least once a week."
"Do you want to talk to him today?"
I shook my head. "No, tomorrow maybe." I didn't think I could handle anything else today. I would make meat loaf tomorrow, I decided. It was one of Charlie's favourite meals, and would help to soften his mood. Not that I expected him to be mad at me, but dealing with his anger towards Renée would be just as bad. I was so used to defending her from Charlie's disapproval.
Edward was staring at me again. "What are you thinking, love?" he asked.
I blushed. "Just planning dinner for tomorrow night." I stared out of his bedroom window, taking a moment to admire the view.
"Bella, do you remember when I drove you home after you passed out in biology class?"
I nodded. "You were asking me questions about myself, and wouldn't answer any of mine about yourself."
"Of course I didn't answer any questions. You'd have thought I was crazy. But, you said something that day that I've never really understood."
I frowned, trying to remember exactly what he'd asked me that day.
"You said that Renée was your best friend. But you don't seem as close to her as you do to say... Alice," he said quietly.
I sighed. This was hard to explain, and made me feel a little pathetic. "How long had I been in Forks when you asked me that? Six weeks? She was my best friend then - it's just that I didn't really understand what a best friend should be."
He frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I've told you that Renée takes lots of classes and joins all kinds of clubs and societies and things. When I was little, she didn't have a lot of money for baby sitters, so she always took me with her. As I got older, I could stay home, and sometimes I did, but then she'd get lost or forget to bring something with her, and it would turn into a disaster." I shook my head at the memory. "When I was little I had friends to play with on the playground, but Renée was never organized enough to get me to things like birthday parties, or to remember to arrange play dates, so I mostly just had friends at school. A lot of the people she spent time with had kids, so it wasn't like I was lonely, but when she moved onto something else I'd have to make new friends.
"In High school, and middle school, it was harder. I still went everywhere with Renée, which meant I was busy a lot of the time, but I was usually the only person my age there. I had people I spent time with at school, I ate lunch with them, picked them for partners, and every now and then went to a big group event like a day long beach trip or movie. But that was it. Renée was the one I went shopping with, the one I talked to, watched TV with, told about my day, about having little crushes on boys... I just thought I was weird. No making any friends was one of my biggest worries about moving to Forks. But at the same time, she missed Phil SO much. She always said I was her best friend, but she had a lot of friends. She didn't NEED me; she had other friends. I was there, like her room mate, so she told me everything, but I knew that if I weren't there, she'd find someone else to talk to. Looking back, it was a huge relief to pass that burden to Phil." I sighed. I'd never really thought about my relationship with my mother, and the more I did, the sadder it made me.
Edward put his finger under my chin and turned my face up so that I was looking at him. I stared into his beautiful eyes - a bright gold today - and slowly moved closer to kiss him.
He pulled his head away. "Bella, we don't have to do this. I don't want to push you..."
"I know. I want to." I stared at him again, willing him to understand. "I need to feel normal." I added quietly.
He didn't hesitate any longer, and as our lips met, my worries about the past and future began to melt away. The electric current I always felt when touching Edward was still there, and as I wrapped my arms around him to bring him closer some dim part of my brain realized how deeply I'd feared that he wouldn't be attracted to me - or worse, that being intimate would drag up more bad memories. Nothing happened for a few minutes except for the unique bliss of kissing Edward. I pulled away first, a giddy smile on my face. Edward quirked an eyebrow.
"I love you," I said before leaning in again.
I was so relaxed in Edward's room that I didn't want to leave. But it had to be done. I wanted to get to the grocery store before it closed so that I could pick up some things for Charlie's dinner tomorrow. I had to face the real world, or I was going to get sucked into depression again.
As we reached the bottom of the Cullen’s long staircase I was attacked by a small dark haired blur. "Bella! I'm so sorry, I wish I had had some way to warn you!" Alice grabbed me into a bruising hug.
"Hi Alice." I said.
Edward sighed. "Alice, this is not your fault."
"I know, I just wanted to say I was sorry."
"I also wanted to ask about the wedding."
"Alice, I'm really not in the mood right now..." I started, when she put a finger over my lips.
"I know. I'm just asking if you want to change the date. We could post pone it if you want to."
I blinked. The idea had never occurred to me. I didn't want to let what happened ruin my life anymore than I could help. I shook my head. "No, the wedding should be fine on schedule...."
Edward stared at me. "Bella, are you sure?" He sounded doubtful. "You don't have to you know, I'd understand."
I took both his cool hands in mine. "I know, but I don't want this to define my life, Edward. I'll deal with it, I promise, but I really want the wedding to go ahead as scheduled."
Alice was frowning, her eyes distant. "But it still looks postponed. Are you sure Bella?"
I stared at her. "But, Alice, I'm very decided." Tears welled up again. My wedding was going to be postponed? Why? I looked to Edward, but he was staring at Alice, who was watching the future.
"Edward?" I asked. He turned back to me.
"Something’s not coming through properly. She sees you driving, but it's very fuzzy and hard to make sense of, and then the wedding but in the wedding vision it's a bit later in the summer - almost September I'd guess."
My stomach sank as I felt the last bit of control I had over my life slide away. "There's nothing we can do?" I choked out before the tears began to fall.
"Bella, love, things will be all right." Edward's soothing voice washed over me as his arms held me up. I wanted to fall to the floor and cry but chose instead to bury my face in his chest.
"No, it won't!" I sobbed. "Nothing is the same. Nothing is all right."
"We don't know why the wedding looks like it will be later than planned. We may be able to make another decision which will change things, and if not, we'll still be together. Just a little later than we'd planned. There is no reason to believe that last night had anything to do with this."
"I don't care, it's still not all right!" I was so tired, and overwhelmed and hurt. I sobbed as though my heart would break as Edward and Alice led me to the couch. I continued to cry uncontrollably as their cool hands gently rubbed my back. And then, as suddenly as my latest storm of crying began, it stopped. The feeling of being overwhelmed faded, leaving behind a wonderful sense of contentment and love. As my eyes cleared, I noticed a hand on my shoulder and looked up into Jasper's concerned face.
I sniffed. "Thanks. I'm sorry Jasper, this can't be any fun for you. My emotions are all over the place. I just keep breaking down, and I don't really know why. I hate it, but I'm so angry and sad and... I don't know... all at the same time - well, you knew that, and I can't seem to get a grip on it all." I was babbling.
Jasper gave me a weak smile. "Please don't worry about me. Honestly, it's nice to be able to help you - even if it's only by giving you a little break." I look at him for a moment, worried that he was lying, but he seemed sincere. He was looking at Alice, who stared back at him with so much pride and love that I could practically feel it.
As I was catching my breath from my outburst of tears, the front door banged open, and I was pulled over the back of the couch and squashed in an enormous bear hug.
"Hey little sister!" boomed Emmett. He grabbed my shoulders as he set my feet back on the ground and looked me right in the eye. "You holding up all right? My Rosie was good to you?"
"Jesus Christ, Emmett!" said Rosalie, appearing from her bedroom. "What did you think I was going to do to her?"
"Nothing Rose, just making sure she's all right. After all, what kind of brother would I be otherwise?" Emmett and Edward exchanged a look that was likely a conversation. Then Edward smiled.
"The kind that doesn't grab people from behind and haul them around like rag dolls?" he suggested, quirking an eyebrow.
"Well, now, what kind of fun would Emmett be if he didn't?" Jasper put in. I smiled.
"He's just wondering what Bella and Rosalie got up to in the car." Alice added in a teasing tone. I giggled, and suddenly understood what Emmett had told Edward. They were trying to cheer me up.
"Wouldn't he like to know?" Rosalie's tone was full of implications, and she raised an eyebrow at me.
"Awww, damn baby, you know I do!" Emmett waggled his eyebrows at her, and I giggled again.
Rosalie crossed the room, and wrapped an arm around me, moving me away from Emmett. "You'll just have to use your imagination."
"Rosie, you're so mean to me... I think I'm going to have to leave you!"
"Oh really? For who?"
Emmett's eyes glanced around the room. I gave a little laugh. Clearly he was making this up as he went along. "For Jasper," he said, moving quickly to stand next to him. Alice lost it and her bell like laugh rang out, as Jasper took a step backwards. Emmett managed to grab his arm and looked up at him with wide eyes. "What's wrong Jazzy, don't you love me anymore?" he said, batting his eyelashes up at Jasper.
"Sure sweetheart," Jasper drawled, his Texan accent. "Does this mean you're going to be my baby?" he added suggestively. I'd gone from giggling to outright laughing, fresh tears streaming down my face.
"Absolutely!" Emmett put his hand over his heart. "I'm yours Jasper." Alice was laughing so hard that the couch was shaking, and Edward was chuckling next to me. Rosalie was wearing a Cheshire cats grin.
"Wonderful!" Jasper declared, taking both of Emmett's hands in his. "Emmett McCarty, will you be mine?"
"Of course my darling. Jasper Whitlock, will you be mine?"
"Absolutely. Does this mean we're now married?"
"Sure why not?"
"Than all of what's mine is yours?"
"Like I'd want any of it!"
"So this means that all of what's yours is mine? Like your PS3? And Rock Band 2?" Emmett's grin was wiped in a second.
"No way man, that's new!"
"Marriage vows, sweetheart. It's all mine now!"
"That's not how it works, right Rose?" A bit of panic was creeping into Emmett's tone.
"I'm not bailing you out now, Emmett. You left me, remember?" Rose laughed.
"But, but, but....Jasper, I hate to have to tell you this," he paused, and put a hand on his forehead like a Victorian woman with the vapours, "but I'm going back to my wife!"
Rose smacked the back of his head again.
"What was that for Rosie?"
"You, dumbass, forgot to ask your WIFE if she was willing to take your sorry ass back."
"You will, won't you Rose?" His faux-desperate voice rose an octave.
"Not a chance. You left me."
"Whatever shall I do?" Emmett was having a hard time keeping a straight face at this point. His eyes scanned the room wildly. Edward choked once, and Emmett said, "I know, I'll run away with Bella!" and then I was flying.
It took me a minute to realize that he'd picked me up and was running around the living room with me on his back. I was doing my best just to hold on tight. Emmett's waist was wider than Edward's and I was having trouble keeping my legs tucked in. Visions of taking out a piece of Esme's priceless art with a flying foot helped me keep my legs clenched tight. I could hear Emmett laughing, Alice giggling and Edward chuckling, but couldn't see anything but a dizzying blur.
At last, Emmett stopped. He put me down gently on my feet, winked and said, "You gonna make it little sis?"
I nodded. It felt nice to have a real family.
After lunch the next day, I opened the fridge door and groaned. I still hadn't been to the grocery store and if I wanted to make a meatloaf dinner I had to go soon. And I needed to make meatloaf, because tonight I was going to talk to Charlie. I gulped. I can do this, I told myself.
As I gathered the money and my coat, I cursed myself for staying at the Cullens until it was too late to go shopping yesterday. It had been cloudy by the end of the day, but today it was pouring with rain. I wasn't looking forward to grocery shopping in the rain. But it had to be done.
I darted to the truck and jumped inside, banging my elbow in my haste to escape to rain. I cursed and started the engine.
I was on a stretch of deserted road when I thought I saw something in the woods past the ditch. I turned my head for just a second, but looked back when I felt the truck hit a deep puddle and start to hydroplane. Desperately I turned the steering wheel, trying to aim the truck back at the road, but I over corrected. Gasping, I jerked the steering wheel uselessly as the truck plunged into the ditch. I heard a loud crunch and then everything went black.
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