What if Alice never saw Bella jump? Will Bella ever be able to let go of Edward?
Bella continues life in Forks with out Edward. Jacob has picked up the pieces, will she finally realize he is there for her? Will she ever be able to let go of Edward?
14. Chapter 14
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I could feel my comforter around me and I slowly became aware that I wasn’t sleeping anymore. My eye lids opened and as I began to focus on the room around me I suddenly and painfully remembered what had happened yesterday. My heart was throbbing in time with my sluggish thoughts; Jacob…Jacob…Jacob…
When I finally dragged myself out of bed and slumped down the stairs, I found that I had missed Charlie. A short note was scribbled on a bright yellow post-it note which he had left on the end of the table. He had to go to work. He wouldn’t be home until late. He was my only hope of escape. He was gone. I tried my hardest not to concentrate on my current predicament, but the harder I tried to push the thoughts from my mind, the more frequent I thought of them; their ferocity tearing and picking at my fresh wound. After much convincing I was finally able to will myself to get some chores and homework done although I wasn’t able to focus my attention entirely on either of the more or less, mindless tasks. I found myself dressing and mechanically moving out to my decrepit truck.
The cool leather slid easily beneath my hands as I drove down the deserted back roads. I didn’t really know where I was going, but there was a definite direction to my travel. Soon the pavement ran out and I found myself being tossed lightly around the seat as my truck maneuvered the deep, muddy ruts that I seemed to have wandered onto. I pulled the car to a stop and slowly got out. The air was still and the atmosphere pressed heavily upon me. The waves crashed in and out as they beat rhythmically against the sheer cliff face. I peered out over the blackening water into the distant horizon. A blanket of deep, black clouds were moving in from the mouth of the small bay; I could almost smell the rain already.
I shuffled towards the edge, careful not to get too close; there was no need here Edward’s voice now. Everything seemed to slow down out here; even the waves seemed to draw in and out more slowly than usual. I pulled my arms around my chest as I felt the tears sting my eyes. I needed Jacob now more than ever and I was the reason he was gone. Why couldn’t I see it before? It all made sense now. I had always felt happiest with Jake; he truly was the sunshine in my personal dark ages. He protected me, and he never pushed me into a relationship I wasn’t ready for. Then there was the matter of Edward. I had no idea how I would handle that little problem. I still loved him…at least in some way I did. But I couldn’t deny that the love I felt for Edward and the love I felt for Jacob were two entirely different things.
My head snapped up as I realized someone was standing behind me. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up as I braced myself for what could be behind me. Pictures of Victoria’s vibrant red hair blazed trails through my mind. My fits clenched tightly, my nails biting into my palms as I readied myself for a fight I knew I wouldn’t win.
I spun around on my heel as my face came in contact with a burning hot brick wall. I could feel hot arms circle around me just before I hit the ground.
“Whoa, Bella. What’s the rush?” My head swirled as the deep voice echoed in my ears; my heart stuttered when I realized it wasn’t who I had been hoping to catch me.
Embry stood me up and backed up an arm’s length. I suddenly had the urge to throw myself at him; let him envelop me in that strong, warm embrace. It wouldn’t be Jacob, but it would be kind of like it. His eyes searched my face. “Man, Bells, you don’t look so good…” His hands released from my shoulders.
“Thanks, Embry, nice to see you too.” I dodged around him and headed for my truck. Nope, he definitely wasn’t Jacob.
“Wait, Bella,” He trotted after me and took my hand in his. “I came up here to talk to you; don’t leave.”
I looked at him, his deep russet skin, a thin covering over the bulging muscles of his bare arms and chest, seemed to glow. His hair was cropped short and he looked so much older than I felt. “Ok, what?”
“I just wanted to check on you; see how you’re handling everything.” He looked down at me with pity in his eyes. “Billy told me what happened…”
“If you came up here to keep me from jumping off that stupid cliff again you wasted your time. I’m fine. I just came up here to think. It’s…relaxing.” I attempted to cross him and climb into my truck but he blocked my path again.
“No, Bella, I…I just came to say hi. Um, and to talk to you. We haven’t seen you around in a while. We miss you Bella.”
They missed me? They missed me? Billy had made it pretty clear that no one missed me; in fact, he made it sound like they had a warrant out for me! I didn’t want to play anymore. “How dare you? They don’t miss me! They hate me for picking Edward over Jacob!” I slammed my fist into his chest, “Don’t pretend that you all suddenly like me! I know it’s a lie! Unless there is any way you can fix this mess, why don’t you just leave me alone! I got what I asked for. Let me suffer in peace.”
His arms curled around my body once more, extinguishing my fury. “Bella,” His voice was low and serious. “We don’t, nor have we ever hated you. We’re worried about you; just as worried about you as we are about Jake. We feel the pain he feels; we know it can’t be much easier for you. Jake chooses to suffer alone, but you don’t have a choice; you have to suffer alone because you can’t tell anyone. We want you to know we’re here for you. We still love you; we respect you for following your heart.” Guilt crushed me; wave after agonizing wave of regret crashed over me. It had never occurred to me just how much this would affect not only Jake but his family and friends as well. I could feel the tears slide from the corns of my eyes as I hugged him back.
“Can you bring him home? Please, I need to see him; talk to him.” I sobbed into his chest.
“Wha…wait, Bella. He doesn’t want to be here. Believe me; we’ve been trying to talk him into coming home since the night he left. He just says its better this way.” The wind had begun blowing and almost like my dream his words became lost in the gusts swirling around us. I stared into his eyes, pleading for the help I knew he couldn’t offer.
“Please, Embry.” I whispered.
“I…Bella, it won’t work. I can’t…he won’t.” My heart sank and my legs began to feel like jell-o beneath my body weight. He held me fast against his overly muscled body; he cradled me in his arms and brought his mouth to my ear, “I’ll try Bella.”
It took me a long time to get home that night. I found myself driving aimlessly through the twisting road; hoping for a glimpse of the russet fur. The light was fading from the sky when I finally pulled into the muddy drive in front of the small house Charlie and I shared. Rain drops as big as golf balls were pounding over me and everything else as I struggled up to make it inside the house. All the lights were off so I as I walked into the kitchen I flipped on the lights by the door. To my surprise Edward was sitting quietly at the small kitchen table. “Edward, geez!” I huffed as I crossed the room to him. “You could have turned on a light at least; you scared me!”
“I’m sorry, love, sometimes I forget about the fact that you can’t see in the dark.” His cool lips brushed my forehead as he pulled me onto his lap. I slid my arms around his neck and press myself tightly to him. Being with Edward, when I was actually physically touching him, felt so right. We fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. But when I was away from him; from his dazzling, god-like presence it was different. Without him near me I was able remember just how much I loved Jacob too. “Bella, what were you doing at the cliffs today?”
His question shook me from my reverie. “I, uh, was just trying to find some place to be alone and to think.” I looked down at his perfect face as his features went blank. “Just thinking, Edward, really. I wanted some space and I just kind of ended up there. I’m sorry. I probably should have told you; I guess I wasn’t really thinking about it.” I trailed off. His eyes were focused out the window across the kitchen; he was suddenly very still. “E-Edward? What is it?” I began thinking of Victoria, her high tinkling voice ripping through my thoughts.
“Hmmm? Oh, no, it’s ok. It’s just, when you were at the cliffs today you disappeared from Alice’s vision. It was rather alarming. One moment you were standing by the edge and the next you were gone, erased from her view. We couldn’t try to find you, Bella. We knew you were across the treaty line and we couldn’t do a thing about it. We very nearly came after you when you suddenly reappeared in Alice’s vision.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense.” I thought hard, trying to understand why or how I could have disappeared from Alice’s visions. “I was there the whole time. Well, not the whole time, after about 5 minutes I left. But I don’t really see how I could have disappeared.”
“That’s just it, love, neither can we, but it’s very dangerous.”His eyes pleaded with mine. “Alice has a theory, but we are still very unsure; it is much too dangerous to test unless we absolutely have to.” His hand ghosted through my hair; his fingers brushing my ear lobe, sending a wave of shivers up my back.
“Test it? What are you talking ab-” I felt Edward stiffen under me and before I understood what has going on I was pressed against the fridge, his back to me as he crouched in defense. “What? Edward, what’s going on?”
“Shh, Bella, please. You must be quiet.”
Tears welled in my eyes before I could stop them; fear was building in my chest and I knew I would either pass out or scream. Edward stood abruptly and crossed the room to the front door. The second his hand touch the handle there was a loud knock that seemed to shake the whole house.
“Where is Bella?” A half growled sentence emanated from the massive Quileute boy standing in front of Edward. “She’s in danger; and not just from you.” He sneered.
“She’s right here. And yes, she is in danger.” He stepped aside and allowed Embry to push his way into the tiny kitchen toward me. “I’ll let you explain this to her, I need to take this.” He recovered a small silver cell phone from his coat pocket and stepped around the corner.
“Bella, you’re in danger! She’s back! That bloodsucker is back!” His hands were on my shoulders; my head bounced back and forth as he shook me over and over.
“Victoria.” Edward’s soft voice filled my ears as I felt his arms slowly pull me from Embry’s grasp.
“What? She can’t be!” His arms circled around me as the floor rushed to meet my face.
“Better believe it Bella, she’s circling about 5 miles out.” Embry quipped. I shook my head; she couldn’t be back.
“He’s right Bella.” Edward confirmed quietly.
“But, why? What does she want?”
“Revenge.” The tones of their voices were twisted around in the ugly word as they answered my question in unison.
Before I knew it we were speeding down the slick, black highway toward the Quileute reservation. The trees whipped by with furious speed as the silver Volvo growled under the lead foot of its puppeteer. “Why can’t I stay with you? Or Alice even?”
“Because, Bella, we will be a bit preoccupied. Emily will watch after you, and there will be a wolf guarding the house at all times.” His hand found mine and circled my fingers lightly. “Bella, although this is serious, you don’t need to worry. We will take care of Victory. She really doesn’t stand a chance, so no need to worry about our safety. We will be fine. Just try to get some rest won’t you?”
His words echoed hollowly off the insides of my head. This whole situation we becoming all too similar to the mayhem that had occurred just one year pervious, and I was in no way mentally prepared to go back to those purposefully buried memories. “Ok, I’ll try. Will you come pick me up when it’s all over?”
“Of course, Bella.” He leaned in and kissed me sweetly on the forehead. “And trust me, we won’t be long.”
The car slowed to a stop, its headlights clearly illuminating Embry and an old Ford pick-up in the darkness. Edward opened my door and took my bag which he lightly placed on the roof of the car before wrapping his arms around me. “I’ll miss you, Bella.” His cool fingers brushed the side of my face and gently tipped my chin up until our eyes met. He looked at me and a small smile turn up the corners of his mouth. “I love you, Bella.” His lips surrounded mine in cool heat as he kissed me ever so carefully. I found my head swimming when he broke the brief exchange; Edward would always be able to dazzle me without fail. I could hear Embry clear his through in the distance as Edward untangled himself from my arms and handed me my backpack. “Miss you.” He called after me as I walked toward Embry.
“About time, Bella. We are running on a schedule you know.” It was deadly silent for the majority of the ride to Sam and Emily’s house. Embry’s slender fingers tapped nervously against the steering wheel. The closer we got, the more his tapping increased until he was nearly beating the poor thing out of nervousness by the time we parked in front of the small house. “Ok, Bella. I tried talking to Jake. He’s still really reluctant to talk to us or give any information on where he is, but he said he wants you to know that he’s sorry for not telling you about the imprint. He said you deserved to know.” He paused and cleared his throat. “He also said he misses you.”
My heart skipped a beat as I registered what Embry had just said. When my heart started beating again it went into overdrive, spreading goose bumps all over my body. “He…he said that?”
“Yeah, Bella. Don’t be so surprised; he imprinted on you. Those feelings don’t fade easily.” My face dropped; he must have noticed. “Don’t be down on yourself Bella. You can’t help how you feel. Sometimes feelings change…And hey, he can’t stay away forever. He has a commitment to the pack and no matter how hard he tries to stay away, he’ll come back eventually. He has to.” Embry hopped out of the truck and grabbed my bag from the back, motioning me to follow as he did. I slipped out of the truck, the cool air caressing my face as I jogged after him toward the small house.
The bedroom was small but homey. There was a lamp on the old bedside table that gave the room a fairytale like glow; the bedspread was an assortment of old scraps of fabric that had been meticulously stitched together. “The bathroom is just across the hall, and feel free to eat anything in the kitchen.” Emily’s half smile made me feel better, if only barely. I smiled shyly in response and sat down on the edge of the bed; Emily hovered in the doorway and took a small step forward. “You know, Bella, if you ever need to talk you can come to me. I know I don’t know exactly what you’re going through but I can relate to your situation.” She leaned forward, hand outstretched toward the bed. “Do you mind?” I shook my head and she sat down lightly next to me. “Has Jake ever told you about Sam and me?” I instinctively looked down, away from the scars that marred her perfect skin. “About how he imprinted on me, I mean?” I shook my head once more.
“It happened a few years ago when I came to visit my cousin Leah here in LaPush. She was actually dating him at the time and had talked about him incessantly since they had begun dating. I was pretty indifferent about their dating. I was glad she’d found someone she cared about who cared about her too. No big deal. I was supposed to stay with her for a week, so the day I got there she invited Sam over so I could meet him; that way I would have someone to hang out with during the day while she was at school.
“The first thing I noticed about him when he walked in was how big he was. He looked close to six and a half feet tall and all muscle. But when our eyes met it was like fire burning through my heart. I had no idea what had just happened but I felt the need to be close to him. I fought it though. It seemed wrong. He was dating my cousin after all. No matter how hard I tried to avoid seeing him he always seemed to show up where ever I was. During the day I would mostly just hang around Leah’s house or down at the beach, but soon Sam would show up there too. It was hard for me to tell him to leave, so I usually let him stay and hang out with me. After all, I was lonely without my cousin, and there was just something that kept pulling me to him. We would talk for hours about nothing and everything. He would always open the door for me, or help me out of the car. Whenever we walked down the beach he would hold my hand; not in an intrusive way, but as if he was making sure I would be harmed.
“He was my protector, my confidant and soon our relationship was growing too strong for me to deny. I knew I had to leave the reservation as soon as possible before I ended up ruining my cousin’s relationship with him. I packed my things and planned to leave early the next morning before he came over, but that night there was a bonfire at the Clearwater’s house that I was obligated to attend. I remember sitting across the fire from him next to Seth, Leah’s little brother, and Sam would just stare at me. It finally got to be too much so I got up and left. I walked into the forested and just cried; a pitiful heap on the dead tree trunk I’d planted myself on. I couldn’t handle leaving him; I knew it would hurt me and I was scared by that. Soon though, I felt his arms around me. ‘Emily, please don’t cry. I’m just as scared as you are, but we can’t fight this. It’s the way things are supposed to be. I would never intentionally hurt Leah, but I can’t keep myself from you.’ And that was it. He didn’t kiss me, he just held me until I was ready to go back; until I was ready to tell Leah.
“It took me a while but we finally made our way back to the house; by then the party had broken up and Leah was alone, sitting in front of the fire. Sam asked me to wait for him in the house while he told her. I agreed, but I first went to my cousin. I looked her in the eyes and told her I loved her very much, that no matter what I always would. I looked back at them when I reached the door of the house. Leah’s shoulders were shaking, her head in her hands. I could see tears streaming down Sam’s cheeks in the firelight. He went to her, placing his arms around her tentatively at first and then embraced her fully once she pulled him closer to her. I turned around and went into the house at that point. I couldn’t help but cry. I was desperate to keep my relationship with Leah, but I could not deny my feelings for Sam.
“My eyes were red and swollen when I heard a knock on my bedroom door. It was Leah. She just stood there for a few moments. Silent tears began to slip down my cheeks as she stood tall and erect in front of me; I felt like a child ashamed of breaking a window. She crossed the room slowly, until she was standing in front of me. Her face was emotionless, her eyes dry. She leaned down and put her arms around me. ‘I could never hate you, Emily.’ She kissed the top of my head and just held me while I cried.
“Sam picked me up the next day. The odd thing was that although he had imprinted on me, he still looked at Leah with those same eyes. I knew he still loved her, and frankly, I was fine with it. At first I almost hopped that it was a dream; that I would wake up and everything would go back to normal. I knew I Sam loved me, but I didn’t love him yet, or I guess I wasn’t in love with him yet. My life felt so…final. It seemed like everything was decided, and I think that’s what scared me the most. I was scared that I would never be able to choose my own path.
“But when Sam started the car and began to back out of the driveway I saw the look on Leah’s face. It was like all the life left her eyes in that instant; the farther away we got, the more lifeless she looked. She stood there, arms hanging limply at her sides; face completely blank. The last thing I saw before we turned down the winding road was a single tear glide down her beautiful brown cheek and then her face crumpled, her knees shook and she feel to the ground. I knew then that this was my choice. I didn’t have to be with Sam. I had decided to be with him. It was then that I knew I had to do everything in my power to love and support Sam; in my heart I knew that would be the only way to help Leah cope with her loss; to show her that I could be good enough for him.”
I looked up at her face. Tears filled her deep brown eyes, but her lips formed a beautiful smile. She looked so purely happy. Something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. “I’m sorry, Bella. I didn’t think I would get so emotional like that.” She laughed to herself. “I guess even after two years I still feel so lucky to have Sam. I don’t know what I’d do without him.” She brushed a tear from her scarred cheek. “I know you’ve had to make a lot of difficult choices lately, Bella. I just want you to know I am available to talk any time. Please don’t hesitate to drop by; I’m always here.” She smiled down at me, patting my knee before she left the small room.
I hadn’t thought much about Emily and Sam before, but it was good to know someone else had as much werewolf drama as me. Although, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between our situations and I began to think there was a specific reason Emily had offered her guest room to me. I just needed some time to get over Jacob. I had Edward now, and I loved him. I picked him. Maybe someday, if I was lucky, Jacob and I could be friends again. Maybe we could have the same carefree friendship we’d enjoyed before his transformation. Maybe we could share the same company and laugh and smile together again without any strings attached. Maybe someday things would be normal again. And maybe someday I would stop loving him.
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