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?
8. Chapter 8
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Bella’s Point of View
I woke up disoriented, and my head throbbed painfully. Sleep clouded my mind and it took me a few moments to remember what had happened last night. I reached under my pillow and felt the smooth paper between my fingers; “It wasn’t a dream…” I whispered aloud. My stomach churned and I dashed to the bathroom. After nearly being sick for what seemed like hours I laid down on the cool tile floor. All I could think about was Jacob; what was he going to think? Would he be mad? Maybe he would just blow it off like he did with my much too vocal dream. I exhaled slowly; he would be furious. A dream was one thing, but now that Edward was back, in the flesh, sort of, it was a whole different ball game. I pulled my clothes off and hauled myself up over the edge of the tub.
My stomach was still tossing by the time I made it down to the kitchen so I decided to skip breakfast and call Jacob instead. The phone rang three times before Billy answered it.
“Hello?” His voice was gruff and unwelcoming.
“Um, hey Billy, it’s Bella. Is Jake home? Can I talk to him?”
“No he’s not here, I’ll tell him you called.” He hung up before I could say anything else. I could feel tears springing to my eyes and I blinked furiously to hold them back. I just needed to get through today, through tonight; just one day at a time. I needed something to take my mind off of everything going on; the fridge was running dangerously low on food so I decided a trip to the grocery store should be enough to silence the thoughts that were bouncing around inside my head.
The store was pretty empty when I got there; just a handful of customers milled about gathering things into their shopping carts. I took my time as I padded up and down the aisles, picking up random items and reading the labels before setting them back on the neatly stocked shelves. Something about the fluorescent lights and the soft background music actually seemed to be helping to calm my thoughts; I concentrated on nothing in particular as I walked through the produce department. The small, right wheel in the front of the cart squeaked quietly with each revolution. Air conditioner vents rattled overhead, and I could hear the high pitched beep as an employee scanned items at the checkout counter. I was content just walking through the quiet store, but I decided I couldn’t hide out forever and I headed to the checkout counter. Even though I had spent almost two hours in the store I had bought only two small bags full of groceries and I knew I would have to come back soon if I didn’t want to starve; I took comfort knowing that I could have one more chance at peace in my tumultuous reality.
After making dinner, thoroughly cleaning the kitchen, living room, and laundry room (which didn’t take long) and taking a shower I finally went to my room after saying good night to Charlie. My mind was working double time, questions I couldn’t answer zoomed around my head making me dizzy. I paced the length of my room; toward the closed window and away, towards it, and away. It mocked me and my indecision. After nearly wearing a hole in the floor I decided to e-mail René, it had been a while since my last e-mail and I knew she would get nervous not hearing from me. I sat down at my little desk and turned on my ancient machine. It groaned and finally starting booting up; nearly five minutes later it was finally running and I checked my e-mail. René’s last message was about a week old; she was probably freaking out. I typed a quick response and gave her some of the details of my spring break, Harry’s funeral, and told her about Jake and I; I didn’t mention the note from Edward. I hit send and quickly turned off the computer.
I crossed the little room and sat down on the edge of my bed. Butterflies were fluttering violently in my stomach and I wondered if I was going to have to spend the night on the bathroom floor. I popped every knuckle of every finger on both of my hands before I got up and opened the window; it hit the frame with a crack. There was no way to avoid it; he was like a drug to me and after all this time I still couldn’t turn him down. My heart thudded loud and uneven in my chest as I flicked my light off and crawled into bed.
It was silent in my room. Moon light streamed in my window and skipped across my bed creating abstract pictures as it was caught in the rifts and valleys of my comforter. I looked out my window into the night; the sky was more beautiful than I had ever seen it, with no clouds to obstruct the view I could see every detail. Stars layered thick over the black canvas of night and the lustrous, full moon made it looked more like the kind of picture you see in a magazine or on a post card. And it was still; no crickets, not even the rustle of the trees to take my mind off him. Had I made the right choice? My mind fought against itself, turning and flipping sides, making up excuses; I couldn’t understand any of it. I balled my hands up and pressed them to my eyes to keep the tears from coming, and concentrated on breathing slow and deep. There was light pressure on my knee and I knew he was there. Slowly, very slowly, I pulled my hands back from my face and opened my eyes.
He sat motionless on the edge of my bed; his hand resting lightly, almost undetectably so, on my knee. He was gazing out the window, his face completely emotionless. We sat in silence for close to an eternity, but the moment he opened his mouth I wished he hadn’t; I wasn’t ready to hear what he had to say, I didn’t know if I ever would be. “Bella…” He murmured, his head slowly turning toward me. His eyes were golden and smoldering as they captured mine. For the first time since meeting him I felt shock and terror flood my body; I flinched infinitesimally as he reached his hand toward me. His eyes widened; he retracted his hand slowly and dropped his gaze from mine, his shoulders hunching over as he did. My heart wrenched and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I had hurt him; my reaction was causing him pain.
I found myself slowly crawling toward him; kneeling by his side I reached one hand up to his face and slowly pressed it to his cheek. His eyes closed and he leaned into my hand; my heart twisted painfully in my chest. I cautiously raised my left hand, placed it under his chin and gently turned his face to mine. His eyes slowly opened and what I saw there can only be described as agony. The breath caught in my chest as I felt his pain tear me apart. A tortured look spread across his face as his eyes blazed into mine and suddenly my resolve melted. My arms were around his neck, crushing myself closer to him. His hands were around my body, cradling me to his chest
“Edward…Oh, Edward…” I sputtered between sobs. My chest was constricted and I found myself gasping for breath; I could feel his pain and there was nothing I could do to help.
He patted my back gently, willing me to control myself. I curled myself against his chest, my fingers clawing at his thin t-shirt; hot tears spilled down my cheeks and soaked the delicate cotton. “Bella,” His hands smoothed my hair as he gently rocked me back and forth against his stone chest. One hand cupped my cheek and lifted my face until I met his gaze. “What’s wrong?” His pain was now replaced by confusion; worry creasing his brow as he studied my tear filled eyes.
“I…I don’t know. Nothing…and everything.” A low sob escaped my lips. “You’re here…I can’t believe you’re here.” I marveled at his angelic face, and touched my hand lightly to his cheek again. I trailed my finger tips up to his forehead and down over his eyelids. My pulse quickened as my thumb brushed his marble lips; the lips that had kissed me so softly in my dreams. “It’s just…the look on your face. The pain you’re in…I can feel it too.” I whispered.
“Bella,” He stared at me, his eyes searing into mine. “None of this is your fault. I’m in pain because I was stupid enough to think I could live without you. I brought this upon myself. You will never know how relieved I am that you, in fact, left your window open, and by extension, your heart.
“You must first understand that I always have, and will always love you. I left you because I didn’t want to condemn you to the very kind of existence I have tried so hard to escape.” By now I had sat up, so I could more easily look into his perfect face. “Bella, you could never know just how much you mean to me; I realized I’m more selfish than selfless and I’ve finally recognized that I can’t live without you. If the only way I can be with you is to grant your wish of immortality- then so be it.”
I was stunned; my brain unable to fully process the enormity of the words that were being uttered by the more angel than man sitting next to me. My mouth was dry as I tried over and over again to speak the words which would bind me to him forever. His face slowly iced over as he realized I was in complete and utter shock.
“I’m too late.” He barely whispered. “You have moved on…just what I had hoped for, but certainly not what I had planned on.” Recognition settled over his golden eyes; my thoughts returned to the nightmare- he was going to leave now. My mind was frantic. I had to do something to keep him here; keep him with me. My fingers started reaching for his face, and without thinking I closed my eyes, leaning up to touch my lips to his. I was close enough that I could feel his cool breath on my face when his iron hands locked around my wrists. “Bella, what are you doing?” My eyes popped open; I was just an inch form his face. What was I doing? “I…don’t know…I just didn’t want you to leave again…I just…I’m sorry.”
“Bella, you don’t need to apologize to me. And you surly know that I am keeping you away for your own good. To keep you from doing something you will most certainly regret.”
He dropped my hands, knowing I wouldn’t try anything more. He ran one perfect hand through his hair, almost nervously. “I’m just morbidly curious…Who is it?”
“I…Jacob.” I breathed.
“Right…I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me.”
It was silent after that; just the sound of his even breathing and my ragged heart beat to keep us company.
“Will you stay?”
“I will stay until you order me away.” He got up, sliding me off his lap as he did, cupping his hand around my cheek. “I will not make the same mistake twice.” He leaned in swiftly and pressed his cool lips against my forehead; my eyelids slowly shut and my face dropped. I felt his hand leave my cheek and I knew he was already gone. Tears slipped from my still closed eyes.
Jacob’s Point of View
I woke up in hell. My dad was in the kitchen arguing with Sam, just as they had been since the moment we walked in the door last night. By some miracle the pack was able to calm me down enough to get me to phase back before I had the chance to run off and shred that bloodsucker to pieces. Hatred filled tears stung my eyes; I pinched the bridge of my nose to hold them off. I just had to make it through today; just had to keep going. Everything would work out, I had to believe that. My stomach churned and I for a second I thought I might be sick again. A light knock sounded at my door, I could already tell it was Sam. I don’t know why he bothered to knock; probably wanted to respect my privacy. Ha. What privacy.
“Can I come in?” His voice was low and husky. I grudgingly pulled myself from the bed and leaned over to open the door. Sam stepped in and shut the door quietly behind him. “We need to talk.”
“If it’s about the treaty I don’t want to hear it. If he gets in my way he’ll just have to suffer the consequences. I can’t just let him-” He held up one hand to silence me. I shut my mouth immediately.
“This isn’t about…Edward.” Great, he was on a first name basis now. I rolled my eyes. “Jacob, listen to me. I need to talk to you about your relationship with Bella.” Now that was pushing it.
“I don’t think that’s any of your business, Sam.” I spat. My fists were shaking at my sides.
“Not your physical relationship with Bella…Jake, I think it would be best if we did this somewhere more private. Do you mind?” His voice was calm and steady.
“Um…sure. Is the beach ok?” I was confused now.
“That should be fine.”
It wasn’t raining, but I could feel the pressure of the clouds all around me. The waves rolled in more violently than usual; a storm must be coming. Sam slowed our pace and bent down to pick up an old seashell. He twisted it over and over in his hands, crushing the delicate edges as he did. I had had enough; he didn’t drag me all the way out here to show me how to pulverize a stupid shell. “Ok, Sam. Spill.”
He paused for a moment. “Jacob. You must understand I have your best interest at heart; I’m not trying to pry although it may seem that way now.” The shell was getting smaller by the second. “I’m worried for you Jake. I have seen into your mind, as much as I have tried to give you the privacy you deserve, and I can see how strongly you feel for Bella. You love her.”
“Yes. Of course I love her.” I gave him a blank stare.
“I know you understand how imprinting works, the pull it creates, but I’m concerned that you may have underestimated just how strong your relationship with Bella has become.” The little shell exploded in a cloud of dust.
“You think I imprinted on her?” My jaw dropped and my heart stuttered.
“I’m not sure. Ever since you joined the pack I have been able to see your relationship with her. The odd thing is it has never changed, never weakened, and never erupted the way I saw Paul’s relationship change, or lack thereof, I should say, when he imprinted.” He took a deep breath. “Jacob, I’m not even sure it’s possible, but I think you may have imprinted on Bella before you first phased.”
Heat was sliding over me in waves causing my hands, arms, and legs to shake. It took all my will to keep from phasing on the spot. I suddenly understood why he was so concerned; so nervous. The problem was not my imprinting or the unusual timing in which it occurred.
“You think she may go back to him.”I felt an uncomfortable lump rose in my throat.
“That is my worry, yes.” His eyes were burning into mine.
I shook my head slowly. “She can do that? I mean, the imprinting doesn’t prevent her from leaving?”
“To some degree, but it is ultimately her choice.” His gaze slid to the ground; I knew he was thinking about Emily, and Leah. “I’m meeting with the Elders about it tonight. We need to know if this has ever happened before and what the repercussions may be.” My heart was throbbing unevenly now. He placed his hand firmly on my shoulder. “Jake, we will get through this. We are all behind you on this. We will be by your side all the way, no matter the outcome.” His eyes were filled with tears now; I know he could feel every twinge of pain that was ripping through my body. “We will handle patrol tonight.” With that he turned slowly and walked up the beach. I watched him until he reached the forest and then my legs gave out; shredding my heart on the way down.
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