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Storms

Summary:
storms banner We're far away from Forks, now. And what a lovely city Knives is- the perfect place to start afresh, don't you think? Edward is long gone and Jacob loves his wife-to-be. Bella is not happy- but then again, she hasn't been for four years. She's used to it. But mistakes have been made, and a destructive chain of events has been set in motion. Nothing can stop it. The storm is fast approaching- it's too late to get out now. Much too late. The Cullens are back.Char made my banner. She's an awesome person who has good things waiting for her in the afterlife.


Notes:
I'm alone, And more alone with every passing day; The danger is increasing every second that I stay. But the storms are fast approaching, And I cannot get away.


3. Thou Shalt Not Lie

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 4783   Review this Chapter

I had left the city far behind me. The engine of the Rabbit gurgled under my feet as I drove, faster and faster and further and further, desperate to get far, far away. The rain was hitting the windscreen so hard and so quickly that the only thing I could see ahead was the blurred orange glow of the headlamps from other cars. Sheets of water turned the day dark, and the shapes of the scenery around me were completely gone. The world was empty, and I was more alone than ever.

I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew it wasn’t home. I couldn’t face that tiny little house now. It was everything about my life I hated; full of worry and lies, and that feeling of being trapped, not being able to escape. I couldn’t go back there, couldn’t face Jacob’s cloying attentions. I needed to be alone, and I needed to be far away from Knives, Cawdor, from everywhere I knew. I just needed to get away, away, away…

My fingers clenched around the steering wheel, my nails digging into the foam where the leather had fallen away. I could feel the rush of thoughts in my head about to burst the banks of my mind, and desperately I scooped them up and hid them behind doors and locks. I couldn’t confront them just yet. I couldn’t do it.

I followed the highway blindly, not knowing or caring where I was going. I drove on and on for what seemed like an age, and the further I drove the lighter the rain got. Soon I could see the other cars going past, and the fields on either side of the road, and the sky. The rain slowed, and stopped. A blue truck flashed past me. A bird flitted across the skyline. A drop of water on my windscreen wobbled, and fell.

I didn’t know which direction to go; I took random turns, and passed signs to places I hadn’t even known existed. The scenery around became more open- wide fields, rivers, sloping hills. I was all alone on the roads now; I could see no other cars for miles around. I didn’t glance back at the cityscape I knew stretched across the horizon behind me. It was easier to pretend that Knives and all the problems it represented were too far away to see.

I didn’t know how long I drove - the clock on the dashboard had been long irreparable- but I knew it was a considerable period. The only sense I had of passing time was the increasing pressure against the locked doors in my mind. The thoughts I had locked away pushed harder against the surfaces with every passing second, threatening to break through at any moment. I concentrated as hard as I could on keeping them locked, locked, locked... but little pictures kept popping up in my mind, and little unwanted thoughts started straying across my subconscious.

I closed my eyes against them, determined to keep them out- I didn’t want the pain that came with the thoughts, didn’t want it, didn’t want it… My fingers dug into the wheel harder and harder, until little bits of foam embedded themselves under my nails. I clenched my eyelids shut tightly, concentrating on holding back the torrent, stopping it crashing over my head, because a tidal wave of that size would surely drown me in its depths- the muscles around my eyes hurt, as I clenched them shut, determined to lock away the thoughts that threatened me- I focused entirely on keeping it all locked away, away, away, making sure that the flood did not wash over me-

I screamed as the car lurched forward uncontrollably. I ripped my eyes open, tearing my foot off the accelerator and clamping down the brake so hard I jolted forward in the seat, hitting my head hard against the steering wheel.

*

Everything swam back into focus slowly. It was like I was at the bottom of a dark pool and I was slowly swimming to the surface, the light filtering down through the water. Everything around me was blurred and dark; but as I rose it got brighter and more defined, until I broke the surface and the world was suddenly clear.

I blinked, taking stock of my surroundings. I was in my car, lying across the steering wheel. The seatbelt was cutting into my shoulder and I groaned, leaning back and undoing it. All I could see through the windscreen was a hedge.

I swore, putting my head in my hands and holding my fingertips against my temples. This was just the icing on the top of that crap little cake that was my crap little day. You’d think the hands of fate would just lay off, seeing as they had already pretty much screwed up all of my foreseeable future. But no. Messing with Bella was obviously too much fun to stop.

I took a breath, and leaned back against my seat again. I could feel my eyes heating up with the stress of it all, and I clamped them shut, determined to keep it together. But I felt like my head was holding too much, that very soon I would explode with the pressure of it all. The locked doors were rattling now, shaking violently. I knew I couldn't keep them shut for much longer. I braced myself. Better to face it here, while I was stuck on a deserted road miles from home, that to face it later, in full view of Jacob.

I took a breath, and let it all out.

All the faces and the memories and the heartache and everything that I had bottled up inside me for so long, rushed into my mind and drowned my senses. I could see everything so clearly it was as if I was actually looking at it in real life. I could feel all I had felt, could remember all I had known, could see all I had seen. Pale faces, smiles, close embraces, and that feeling of comfort, of safety, of security. And with it all, came that feeling of loss, of something precious stolen from me, ripped out of my hands. The feeling of not holding on tight enough.

I recalled words that had built my heart, and words that had shattered it. I recalled kisses; careful, sensitive kisses that had made me feel warm and wanted. I remembered a time when I'd thought my entire life was planned out; a life that I had wanted, still wanted, more than anything. I remembered feeling secure, invulnerable, and excited. Excited about life, about prospects, about Edward and I forever and ever and ever, a long, perfect, amazing relationship that was going to last eternally and never wane or break or alter. I had thought I would be with him for as long as the sun shone.

I laughed bitterly as I brought my knees to my head and scrunched my face against them. How naive I had been; how immature, how stupid. I had merely been a pawn in a sick game. And now I was remembering, more clearly than ever, a time where I had been lost, a time of worthlessness, of pain, hurt and anger. A time when all I could hear in my head were the words pronouncing me unwanted- that little "No," that had torn my world apart. And I had come out of that time a different person. The person I was today. I had thought that this Bella was stronger and more altruistic.

How foolish.

I hadn't changed at all. I had been shoddily patched up, and now my seams were undone, revealing me as the little bundle of screwed up emotions and hidden agendas that I really was. The selfish, despicable, egotistical woman who was still in love with her high school sweetheart.

If I had ever thought I had moved on, even slightly, I knew know that I had been wrong. All these emotions had simply been bubbling below the surface, simmering away unnoticed; like a huge volcano, the pressure building and building until today; seeing Edward again had been the catalyst. Suddenly everything had erupted inside of me and had flowed through my body, engulfing my mind, soul, heart, engulfing everything in its path, burning and destroying. And I was still reeling from the shock of it. No, not just reeling- the pain physically hurt.

Of course I still loved him, I had always known that. But somehow I had forgotten how strong the attachment was. The way I felt about Jacob was nothing, nothing in comparison. It was like comparing a satellite to the sun. Like comparing a mouse to a blue whale. A Medieval peasant to a Greek God.

How could I possibly even dream of having back what I once had? But then again, how could I not? To love somebody and not be loved back is a pain you cannot understand unless you experience it. For the hand - the lips - the eyes - for the meeting of tomorrow. A meeting that I knew could not be. Would never be. It broke my heart a hundred times over.

I sat and wallowed in loss and pain for I don’t know how long. I was, for the first time, fully coming to terms with the part of me that was missing; fully understanding that I was never getting that part back. There was a huge section of me that I had lost forever. I could have a replacement, of course; but a hollow, meaningless nothing of a replacement. Jacob hardly even touched the void.

No, that was cruel.

Jacob was… great. He was sweet and kind and he loved me, and that should be all I needed, all any normal unselfish person could ever need. But of course, I was me, I was high maintenance and spoiled and ungrateful. Jacob’s love would never be enough for me. I would always want more; and it was the fact that I could not have more that tore at me. I was no better than a spoilt child. Worse, even, because I was playing with peoples' feelings instead of toys.

I wanted with all my heart to run off back to Knives and fall into cold arms and know I would be safe and loved forever. But I knew now that that could never be. And what I had realised in the courtroom was coming clear. I was not wanted, was not needed, by Edward Cullen anymore. And how dare I even think of abandoning Jacob? How dare I long for it?

I didn’t cry. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Because I did not deserve to be sad. I needed to go back home and carry on the pretence. The world did not revolve around me.

Slowly, I re-buckled my seatbelt.

Time to go home.

*************************************************************

It was completely dark when I got back. Finding my way had been harder than I’d expected, and I couldn’t pretend that my reluctance to return hadn’t hindered my efforts towards that aim. I parked the car quickly, slipping out and shutting the door as quietly as I could. I glanced at the front of my home; the lights were all out. Hopefully Jacob would have given up waiting for me and gone to bed.

I ran up the pathway to the front door, silently cursing whoever it was who invented gravel. It must be the singularly loudest terrain known to humankind. I might as well have run across a pile of car horns for the amount of noise I made.

The front door was unlocked, and I opened the door very slightly, slipping in. I turned around and closed it very, very slowly, so that the lock slipped home smoothly and soundlessly. Jacob was almost definitely asleep- after all, it was late- so all I had to do was undress and slip into bed without waking him-

“Bella?”

I jumped, my heart falling so fast I was sure I had digested it. The kitchen door opened and Jacob came into the hallway. He was rubbing puffy eyes and yawning; he had evidently drifted off while waiting for me. I watched as he blinked a couple of times, then reached out and switched on the light. His eyes searched me frantically, apparently looking for lost limbs or slit wrists. Not finding any evidence of either, his eyes met mine; and I sensed a kind of hardness in his gaze that was not usually there. “Where’ve you been? Couldn’t you have called me?” He said, and his voice was curt.

“Sorry,” I said, almost feeling genuinely guilty. He didn’t say anything, seemingly waiting for an explanation. “I just went for a drive,” was my pathetic excuse.

“You’ve been gone a long time.”

“I got lost.”

“Yeah, well, next time you go MIA on me, do you think you could check in?” He was waking up, and his tone was turning angry. “I’ve been imagining your dead body sprawled out on a road somewhere for the past twelve hours.”

“I’m sorry, Jacob,” I said, truly feeling apologetic now. “I didn’t mean for you to worry.”

I slipped my feet out of my shoes and made toward the bedroom. I had barely taken a step, however, before Jacob's hand was on my shoulder.

“No, Bella, we need to talk.”

But see, that was completely what I did not want to do. I had already talked things over with myself, and that had been hard enough. I was not prepared to unlock everything again in front of Jacob- as much for his sake as for mine. He didn’t need to know what was going on inside my head. And he might not know it, but he didn’t want to either. He didn’t want to know the truth about how I felt. He did not want to know and I did not want to tell. We did not need to talk. At all.

“No, Jake, we really do-“

“Bella,” he spun me around to face him. I felt like a marionette. I met his gaze and his eyes were burning with some hidden emotion. “I’ve been thinking about it all the time you’ve been gone- in between worrying about whether or not you were roadkill- and we- well, I, at least, really need to discuss this.”

“Discuss what?” I asked, stalling. His gaze hardened.

“This morning. At the courtroom.”

“There’s nothing to discuss,” I said, looking at the floor. “It was just a bit of a shock, that’s all.”

There was a silence, and I waited for him to say something. When he didn’t, I tentatively raised my eyes and looked up into his face. Immediately I wished I hadn’t, because he was giving me a look of pure, unrelenting anger. His brows were clenched and his lips were pressed tightly together. I felt my face flushing. His hand was still on my shoulder and the grip tightened.

“Bella,” he said, and his voice was only barely controlled, “could you try not to stretch my patience any further than you already have?”

I bit my lip. “I’m really sorry, Jacob-“

“I don’t need to hear whether or not you’re sorry, Bella," he interrupted. "You should be, seeing as you’ve scared me senseless today, but that’s not what I need to know. I need to know what was going through your head earlier.”

“Nothing,” I lied, avoiding his face. I didn’t need to see his expression, though; the force around my shoulder spoke for his response to my answer. “Okay, so I was a bit… surprised-“

“Well,” he said, coolly, “that’s one hell of an understatement.”

That one sentence immediately changed the tone of the conversation. He sounded livid, and I knew that this was Jacob as I had never seen him before; not this morning, not as a teenager, not ever.

“Jacob, I-“

“If you were only ‘surprised’, Bella,” he hissed, “how come you completely broke apart in front of me? You get surprised all the time, but you’ve never absolutely lost it when you’ve come home to find I’ve made the bed, or-“

“I-“

“If you expect me to buy that, you must think I’m really stupid,” the vice-grip around my shoulder was even tighter, “if you think you can foist this off on ‘surprise’ then you’ve got another think coming.”

He was shaking, and I was suddenly reminded that Jacob was no longer on a lycanthropic break. “Jake, I’m really sorry! But it was honestly-““

“You know what? What I really want to know?” His voice was getting louder and louder, “Above all of the other huge questions you’ve forced me to ask today, I want to know why the hell you were even at the courtroom anyway, after I’d asked you not to come! What is it, Bella, am I that hard to trust? Just because I’m not some freaky white walking corpse, am I not worthy of your almighty confidence? Why didn’t you listen to me in the first place?”

“I was just worried about you!” I said, desperately, trying to pull away from his grip. He didn’t release me. “I was worried because you seemed so upset, Jake, I do trust you, I promise I do!”

“Yeah, you’ve made a great show of that trust today, haven’t you?” He was shouting, and little bits of spittle landed on my face. “I was so busy worrying about you that I completely screwed up in court, and we now owe three hundred dollars to some undead monster that should, in all rights, be locked up in the fiery pits of hell-

“Jacob, you’re being so unfair!“

I’m being unfair?” he repeated, incredulously. “Cast your mind back, Bella: have I begged you to let me run off to a deceased bloodsucker today? Have I completely disappeared off the face of the earth? If I’m being unfair, what’re you being?”

“I just needed some time alone, okay?”

“Yeah, I get that, I don’t have a problem with giving you time to sort out whatever perverted mind-frame you’ve got going down at the moment. But would it have killed you to give me a call, just so I knew whether or not you were still among the fucking living, or whether you’d hurled yourself off a fucking cliff?”

“As if I would be stupid enough to jump off a cliff, Jacob!”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t have thought you were, but you have been acting a little out of character lately,” he spat, sarcastically. “A lot of things I thought about you have been shaken up a bit. Yesterday, I would have put money on the fact you loved me more than anything; but today, I’m not so sure I would gamble on that.” He gave my shoulder such a squeeze I cried out, but then he ripped his hand away and glared down at me. “You haven’t been sitting here all day, wondering whether or not the person you love is alive or dead; I didn’t have a clue where you were, Bella! The last time I saw you, you were a fucking wreck! I’ve been clawing out my own eyes! I rang the police! I rang your Dad!” He accompanied each of these phrases with a wild, angry gesture. “I rang every fucking person we fucking know, I rang the hospital; I rang your mother, and you know how much she hates me! I’ve been going fucking insane worrying about you, and then you come home at some Godforsaken hour of the morning, and your only excuse was that Edward life-after-fucking-death Cullen took you a little bit by surprise so you thought you’d pop off for a quiet drive? Not good enough, Bella! Doesn’t cut it, not by a long shot!” He glowered down at me, his breathing heavy.

There was a cold silence while I absorbed everything he had said. Against my resolve, I felt a tear fall down my cheek. Everything Jacob was saying was true- from the stuff about what a horrible person I was, to the stuff about love, to all the rubbish lies I had told.

But I couldn’t let him know how right he was, couldn’t hurt him that way. I had to lie to him, had to keep things from him. To let him go would be to cause him pain, and I knew that doing that was merciless and unforgivable. My lies were for his own good.

“I do love you, Jake,” I said, quietly, breaking the silence. My voice was a little unsteady. “I only-“

But he cut in, and his voice was bitter and full of resentment. “This better be good, Bella, because you’ve really screwed me over this time.”

“Jacob!” I said, my voice fraught as I tried to get my lies through to him. “I do love you, more than anything. It’s just-“

“Just what?” he snarled, loudly and viciously. “Go on, I expect you’ve been rehearsing this the whole time you were out. I’m ready for a world class performance-”

“I’m not acting!” I lied.

He snorted. “I’m not braindead-

“Please, let me speak!” I cried out, my voice breaking. There was another silence as I struggled to compose myself, stopping the tears and steadying my voice. “I… It was like...” I cast around for words. I could sense Jacob’s impatience building- I could practically hear him tapping his foot. “Like…” My tongue stumbled across the words and I threw them through my lips as fast as I could. ”Like seeing someone I thought was dead, just that. Imagine walking into a room and seeing your mom, Jacob. Would that not unsettle you a bit?”

Jacob seemed to contemplate this. His lips didn’t loosen, and his brows stayed furrowed, but his eyes searched my face. “It’s not the same,” he said, finally.

“What? Jacob, it’s exactly the same!”

“No, it isn’t!” he yelled. “I never dated my mom, Bella!”

“Just because I used to have a thing for Edward doesn’t mean that I am still in love with him!” I yelled back, putting as much force into the lie as I could. “You’ve said over and over again what a bastard he was towards me, and you’re right, he was!” The words hurt to say, because they was so, so untrue. “He disappeared and he left me behind! How can you even accuse me of still loving someone who could do that to me?”

“I don’t know, you seemed to be really eager to get back into that courtroom!”

“Do you not remember how crappy my life was in the months after he left?” I started gesticulating almost as wildly as Jacob. “I behaved like a self-obsessed emo. I ripped apart my dad, I screwed over my friends. How can I still be in love with Edward, after all that?”

“You didn’t seem so angry when I had to physically restrain you-“

“Jake, I don’t know what was going through my head during that particular lapse in my mental abilities, but please can you not judge me on something I did when I wasn’t entirely sane?” My voice was on a level with his.

“You mean, when you’d been ‘surprised’ into lunacy?” he bellowed.

“Am I marrying Edward Cullen, Jake?” I cried, “No, I’m marrying you! Why would I do that if I had any reservations at all about how much I loved you? Why would I have said yes if I wasn’t completely, one hundred percent sure that you were the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with?”

“I wouldn’t put it past you to lie!”

“Would I, Jake?” I said, struggling to keep my voice under control. “Would I really lie about something like that?” Yes, a little voice in my head whispered. Yes, you would. You did.

There was a pause. “I might be an awful person, but am I really that bad?”

I looked hard into Jacob’s eyes, and his lips loosened. His eyebrows shifted, and I knew the word he was thinking. Part of me was begging him not to say it.

“No,” he whispered.

But the thing was, that was exactly the lie I had told. I really was a despicable person. I was going to burn in hell and I was going to deserve it.

“Jake,” I whispered, laying my hand tentatively on his arm. “I’m really, really sorry about what I’ve done today, and how much I’ve hurt you. But if you can, then please, please will you believe me? Please?” I dipped deep into the well of deception, as I came up with another random piece of crap. “My life wouldn’t carry on if you were gone. I couldn’t make it through another heartbreak, Jacob; please don’t make me.” The words I was spouting made me sick.

He stared down at me, and I up at him. More tears had run down my cheeks, and I wiped them away. Jacob’s face was as smooth as glass, giving no indication of what was going on behind his eyes. I felt my chest rise and fall rapidly as I waited for him to speak. My eyes were wide. My future as I knew it hinged on his next words. Please let him believe me.

“I…” he said, his eyes staring into mine, his mouth moving as he searched for words. “Are you… I don’t know if I can believe you, Bells, not after-“

“Jacob,” my voice was frantic, “I’m really, really sorry, honestly I am, please will you just trust me? I honestly, truly want to be with you, honestly I do.”

His eyes searched my face, searching for a chink in my armor. I watched him, waiting, waiting, waiting….

His lips parted, and he took a breath. “Okay. Okay, Bella. I believe you.”

“Thank you,” I said, sighing, and wrapping my arms around him. He didn’t respond, but he didn’t pull away. I held him for a few moments, then took a step back, held his hand and looked up into his eyes. “It’s late. Let’s go to bed, Jacob.”

He looked away, and nodded.

**

I lay awake much later, staring up at the dark ceiling, and thinking. Jacob was breathing heavily beside me. I was warm, that weird, comfortable warmth that only descends over you when you’re in bed.

I couldn’t escape the all-pervading feeling of guilt that washed through my body. Should I have told Jacob the truth, let him leave me? He definitely deserved better; he wasn’t a bad guy, he at least deserved a fiancée who he could trust. And as long as he was with me, he could never have that. Was that the right thing for me to do? Yes, he’d be happy; he loved me, for some strange reason that I couldn’t fathom, but he did. As long as I made him happy, did it matter that it was all an act?

But then, even if it wasn’t the right thing to do, was leaving him really acceptable either? Could I really put him through the same heartbreak that I’d been through? What right had I to do that to anyone, let alone Jacob? The expression on his face earlier, as he had tried to restrain me from running away from him, burnt a hole in my mind. He had been so distressed, so upset. I couldn’t do that to him again. I knew that I was incapable of hurting Jacob that way. I might be a liar, but I wasn’t that cruel.

And it wasn’t as if I didn’t love Jacob- of course I did. I would always be, if not happy, then satisfied with him. But my love for him was like love for a brother, not for a husband. Every time I kissed him it felt deeply, deeply wrong.

But what could I do? Better to stay here, where at least I had a reasonable pretence of a life. There was nothing else out there for me.

I sighed, and glanced over at Jacob’s sleeping form. I reached out a hand and placed it against his cheek, feeling the warmth there.

He might be a huge, tall, invincibly strong persona of paranomality, but to me he would always be vulnerable; I had to protect him, make sure he never guessed anything. As long as I lied to him, he could be happy. And that was all that mattered.

I sighed, and rolled over. Despite his closeness, despite the fact I could feel his breath upon my back, I’d never felt more alone.