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Bless the Broken Road

Summary:

Thanks to lunamoon for the awesome banner please show her some love Bella and her family are con artists. Her path crosses with Edward and the opportunity is too great to pass up, making him her next mark. Edward is blissfully unaware, and it will take a lot of mistakes to finally lead him back to Bella and the truth.


Notes:
No copyright infringement intended. All things Twilight belong to SM


18. Life Goes On

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Chapter 18: Life Goes on

The months ahead were a struggle for me. As much as I valued everyone's help I needed to rely on myself to care for Carly. At first it was hard to balance some level of normalcy and care for Carly as well. I had read all these books, taken Lamaze classes, but none of it had truly prepared me. I found my rhythm after a few months and I was able to fully appreciate motherhood.

Time moved forward and Carly looked more like Edward every day. When Carly was born she had piercing green eyes and I was ecstatic that she had acquired that trait but I also worried that they would change as she got older. As the months past it didn't seem like they were going anywhere. Charlie insisted that Carly was an exact duplicate of me when I was born minus the eyes and initially I agreed. Slowly, as her features became more prominent I saw more Edward-like features. Her hair grew and became wavy with hints of bronze coloring that became more apparent in the sun. Her face was a mixture of Edward and me. Her small lips were similar to mine and her soft nose was similar to Edward's. Edward's traits weren't limited to just her physicality but also her personality.

Carly was a smart child, determined, kind, giving, perceptive than most, and picked things up quickly. Determined to explore the world, she learned how to crawl and walk quickly. A little over a year she became a parrot and began talking, repeating every single word she could say. All day she would repeat the same words, “mama,” and “papa.”

As much as I enjoyed motherhood, Charlie reminded me that I needed to go back to school, as part of our deal and I had to separate myself from my little angel.

There was a panic within me that I felt when I was away from Carly. She represented so much of Edward that it made it a lot of easier to keep moving forward with her by my side.

When I started school after her second birthday and before my twenty-ninth, I enrolled her in daycare and she was determined to like it, despite the sadness over the separation between us.

We ate breakfast together and she was sitting on her high chair, frowning at her food.

“Carly, I promise you'll like daycare. Just imagine all the friends you're going to make and all the new things you're going to learn.”

“I'm scared,” she said softly.

“Want to know a secret?” I asked leaning in closer to her. She nodded.

“Mommy is scared too,” I whispered.

She looked at me and smiled, and proceeded to give me her version of kissing which was licking my cheek. She laughed and licked my other cheek.

“Okay,” she said and finished eating. I was never more astounded by her than I was at the instant.

My first day of school was hell; I had enjoyed school but getting back in the groove proved to be a difficult task. I had enrolled in Pasadena Community College to help ease the transition and Charlie was never more proud.

Time progressed; I finally declared a major and decided to pursue literature, after my first year. Carly was now three and getting bigger and bigger every day. Jacob, Charlie, and Leah had really been there, lending out a hand whenever I allowed them. Leah had decided to pursue a career in interior decorating, after she had helped me out when I had first moved, and was working for a design firm. Jacob's business was growing immensely; he even opened a new location. Charlie still continued working as a private detective but had limited his workload immensely to be by my side.

My life was moving forward mostly because of Carly and the support of my family. Carly was the driving force that helped me to keep moving forward, without Edward by my side. I tried not to think about my past much, Carly and school, constantly keeping me on my toes, wouldn’t let me anyway, but Edward was always on my mind. It took every fiber of my being not to keep tabs on him, but I told myself that if I knew how he was and what he was doing I would go back in an instant, never giving him the happy life he deserved.

I was thinking about Edward again, how could I not, when Jacob walked in.

“Bella I have the perfect idea for Charlie’s birthday. You know how he loves classic cars, a buddy of mine is selling a 67’ Mustang, already restored,” he said enthusiastically.

I knew it would never be enough to show Charlie how much he meant to me with gifts, but I wanted to get him something big. I knew for a fact he loved classic cars from the collection he had in the garage. He had wanted a ’67 Mustang for years but someone would always beat him to it or it wasn’t in the right condition. “I can call him for you and we can set up a meeting after your class is over?”

“Yeah that sounds fine,” I said looking at the clock. Leah still had not showed up to watch Carly for me and I was getting worried something had happened to her. I called her and she didn’t answer. Jacob called her and no answer, he called her at Sam’s house, to see if she was there but again there was no answer.

We called her at home and Sue picked up, she told us Leah was not feeling well and must have forgotten about Carly and was so sorry. Sue apologized on Leah's behalf, and I asked her to keep me updated. Jacob offered to watch Carly, but my class had already started by then and I saw no point in going.

Jacob called his friend to set up an earlier meeting and he agreed. Two hours later we were at his friend’s mechanic shop. The mechanic shop looked like a very professional and pristine place to be. Unlike other places, this shop looked like it was well taken care of; a woman’s touch was obvious.

The receptionist took our information and made us wait as she went to get Jacob’s friend. I was chasing after Carly outside when I saw a beautiful red convertible that reminded me of Rosalie. I had not thought of her much but seeing such a special car made me think of her. I was still cashing after Carly when the receptionist informed us that the dealer would be coming out. I was still playing with Carly when I heard someone enter and speak, in all too familiar voice.

“Hey, Jacob, Rose will be joining us soon.”

“Hey, Emmett, this is Isabella, she’s the one interested in the car,” Jake said. I still had my back to Emmett and Jake, and I was freaking out. My past had come back to haunt me, and I had no choice but to face it. I turned around and gave him a weak smile.

“Hey,” I said awkwardly as I grabbed Carly to bring her closer to my side. Emmett’s face was stunned, his mouth opened wide.

“Bella!” screamed Rosalie as she walked into the reception area. She made her way to an open mouthed Emmett and looked me over again.

“Bella, is this really you? How is this possible? What are you-” she stopped mid sentence and looked at Carly. “Who’s this? Is she? Oh my god, Bella, please say something to me, what’s going on?” she said throwing her hands in the air.

“I… uh...umm I,” was all I could say. I had never expected to see her or anyone from my past and I didn’t even have a cover story for her.

I was completely caught off guard. Jacob finally stepped in and asked, “Bella, you know these two?”

“Yeah, I met them when I was in Seattle,” I said giving him a look that screamed 'get me out of here now'!

“Oh,” he said as realization hit, “Oh,” he said again extending the word. Jacob had learned about my past after Carly had turned one when he found me crying with Edward’s picture in my hand.

We stood there in silence and Emmett finally broke the tension by grabbing me into a bear hug. As he let me go he whispered into my ear, “I’m glad you’re not dead.”

Rosalie was scrutinizing Carly and I when she asked, “Bella, can you please tell me what is going on?”

I thanked the heavens when my phone rang, the caller id said Leah and I picked up, “Hey, Leah, how are you feeling?”

“Bells,” she said in between sniffles, “I need you to come over. I’m not sick I just told my mom that because… because Sam and I broke up he wants to see other people.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I said and hung up. I directed my attention back to Rosalie who was standing there with an irritated look on her face.

“Listen, Rose, Emmett, you deserve an explanation and I will give it to you but right now I got to go,” I said picking up my purse and grabbing Carly’s hand. “Jake let’s go.”

“Bella, wait,” Rose said as she embraced me into a hug, “It was really nice seeing you again come back tomorrow please or I will hunt you down.”

I laughed at her but she looked serious. Shit! Already, I had my escape plan ready to go, and this time no one would find me. I would go to Leah be there for her and then I would run as far as I could go.

Jake and I dropped Carly off with Charlie; he would be home by now. We went to Leah’s house and let ourselves in, it didn’t look like Sue was there and I found her scrunched into a ball on the couch in tears.

“Leah, what happened?” I asked.

“We broke up, it’s over,” she said in between sobs, “he said he loves me but wants to see what else is out there, and he didn’t want to have to go behind my back to do it.”

“Well at least he broke up with you before he cheated,” Jacob supplied.

“Not helping,” I growled. Jacob and Sam were good friends so it didn’t surprise me that he defended him.

“Sorry,” he said, “I’m not good at this whole touchy feeling stuff.”

We sat there and held Leah in my arms as she cried. Jacob sat and watched us awkwardly, until Sue came back. I wanted to say goodbye, but in her current state I didn't have the heart to tell her I was leaving.

Before I arrived at Charlie's I wrote a letter to Leah and Jacob, explaining to them in full detail about why I had to leave. Jacob had only heard a condensed version of my past and I thought it fair for him to know why I was leaving. I went over to Charlie’s and prepared myself for what was to come.

I let myself in and found Charlie on his favorite couch.

“Hey, dad,” I said, sitting down on the couch next to him.

“Carly’s asleep,” he said, never taking his eyes away from the TV.

“Thanks, Leah was really falling apart,” I offered.

“Poor girl,” Charlie said.

“So I ran into Rosalie today,” I said.

“Is that so? So you’re finally going to tell Edward, huh?” he thought out loud.

“No, I didn’t get a chance to explain because Leah called. We’re meeting up tomorrow. I’m going to ask her not to say anything and then I’m taking off.”

“Bella, quit running away from your problems. Just tell her the truth and be done with it.”

“I can’t do that, dad,” I said softly.

“This fear you have is only going to get worse as you get older,” he said.

This conversation didn’t offer me anything new. Charlie had always insisted I tell Edward the truth but something inside me wouldn’t allow me to.

“I’m not asking you for permission to leave; I’m just informing you on what’s going to happen. After I tell her whatever story I’ve concocted I’m taking off,” I said flatly.

“I really wish you wouldn’t. I’ve just gotten you back and I’m still getting to know Carly. She has a family here too. You shouldn’t be so selfish and take that away from her,” he argued.

“I’m not being selfish I’m protecting her,” I reasoned.

“No you’re not, you just think you are,” Charlie retorted.

“Whatever, dad,” I said.

“Bella, listen to this one last thing and then you can make whatever decision you want. Don’t be so haste in your actions. Look what happened when you decided to fake your own death, you find out later that you’re pregnant and ruined Carly’s chances of getting to know Edward. Don’t make the same mistake twice,” he said.

“Goodnight,” I said, heading upstairs to take Carly home.

I entered her room and broke down. Charlie had a point; Carly had a life full of love and happiness here. One look at her room and there was no denying it. Charlie had insisted on creating it for her, for when he babysat. Pictures of trips to the zoo, park, and birthdays were hanging on the walls, along with a bunch of toys for her to enjoy.

I knew it was selfish but I didn’t know what else to do. My flight or fight response always seem to lean towards the flight response.

After arguing with Charlie, I decided I would give Rosalie some sappy story so that I could convince her to keep her mouth shut and I could run away. Charlie thought it best I just came out and told the truth, but I didn’t think that would be the best solution if I wanted to remain hidden. Besides, I knew if she kept her mouth shut she would make Emmett do the same.

Jake, of course, insisted that I stay and that he would handle whatever would happen but I knew I couldn’t. If things didn’t go according to plan, Vanessa and Rene would come after me. It wouldn’t be as simple as just giving them their money back, they would want more and make my life a living hell if I didn’t oblige. I didn’t want to admit this to anyone but they had a power over me I wasn’t sure I could ever truly break free of. I didn’t want to but I wasn’t sure I was strong enough just yet. I knew if I ever faced them it had to be not only for myself but for Carly.

Furthermore, I didn’t want Edward to know who I was back then, I knew that he knew I loved him, but would that really be enough after all this time. I was curious to know what happened to him. I knew if I asked Rosalie she would tell me but I didn’t want to do it for both of our sake’s.

All night I tossed and turned in my bed, losing sleep over what to do. A part of me wanted to just let everything come out into the open but an even bigger part told me I wasn’t ready for that. I woke up the next morning and went through my day without a second thought. I packed all of our more important possessions and put them into the trunk of the car. Since I wasn’t planning on going to school I went straight over to the mechanic shop that belonged to Rosalie and Emmett. I had my speech prepared and I was ready to get out of town as soon as possible.