This is a story that picks up in New Moon shortly after Jacob asks Bella for a chance to be with him. Fate, for some reason or another, comes just seconds late and Bella decides to give him that chance. What will be the consequences of her actions and what shape will the story take when one decision impacts another and consequently the next? (Disclaimer- I did not make up any of the characters in this story. They are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer)
Just as a head's up. Because Bella's decisions are only slightly different in the beginning of the story, initially there's only certain differences. Tha major differences are towards the end and so I would appreciate it if you would give this story a real chance by at least reading half way through. I know it is kind of long. Also I decided not to make it into chapters as it is more of a short story than it is anything else. This is my first time submitting any fan fiction and so I might get this wrong the first time. Thanks for reading!
1. Alternate Destinies
Rating 5/5 Word Count 11669 Review this Chapter
I could still feel the salt water in my throat from my earlier near death experience. I was just glad that Jacob was there to rescue me when he did. That was twice now that he saved my life in some way. First when Ed.... he left me, and Jake had to put my heart back together like a jigsaw puzzle, and then today when my addiction to hearing his voice propelled me to jump off a cliff.
I thought back to when I was underwater, so close to death but nearly in heaven when I
realized that he was so close to me. His perfect face had impacted me the most, it was as if my very own personal angel had come for me at last. I was drowning but I didn’t care at the moment, not when his presence was so close to mine. And yet here I sat, in a car with my best friend waiting for me to answer his question. But could I do it? Could I really love Jacob the same way he loved me?
It was unfathomable to think that I would ever love Jake the way I loved him. But I knew deep in my heart that I already loved Jacob, in a different way, yes. But love was there nonetheless, I knew deep inside that if I just let my heart love him that tiny bit more that maybe things would work out between us. I could see it now, my life laid out before me like an opened book. Jacob sitting on a sofa watching the game with Charlie while I cooked lasagna in the kitchen. In Charlie’s arm sat a little boy with Jacob’s features except for his lips which were clearly a genetic trait of mine.
I gasped thinking of the possibilities. The things that I would never have even been able to dream about with the person I couldn’t even bare think about now. I looked up to see Jacob’s face, his eyes searching mine, searching for an answer.
I cleared my throat trying to expel the salt taste out of my mouth. I tried to think of the words I wanted to say, but none came to mind.
"Bella," Jake began, disillusion in his voice. "You don’t have to answer me right now if you don’t want to. I just want you to consider what I am offering you."
In his face I saw a hint of what I felt when he tried to explain to me that he was leaving me. That same awful pain spelled out across his face and I knew at that moment what I had to do. I would never hurt Jacob the way that I was hurt. I would not be able to live with myself if I caused him that same pain that I knew so well. And so, in that moment my decision was made.
"Jake..." I paused, something inside me gnawed at my brain like a caged animal trying to get out. I had a strong feeling like my destiny had just split into two, that maybe what I was going to do was not what I was supposed to do. That maybe a glitch in time had opened this door I was not to go through. I ignored those feelings at once. I had to let myself start a new life, no matter what consequences or repercussions came from my decision.
"Jacob you already know that I love you..."
"But not the same way I do, I know that Bells. I just..."
"Jake can I please finish?" I raised my eyebrows hoping he would just let me say what I needed to say before I chickened out. "I know that we love each other in different ways but, maybe, just maybe I could one day reciprocate the love you feel for me."
He raised one eyebrow either in disbelief of in confusion.
"Jake I am willing to take a chance with you. If that means being your... girlfriend or whatever you want to call it, then that’s what I will be." Before I could finish what I was saying his hands went straight towards my face caressing my cheek, he was going to kiss me but not before I finished telling him what I needed to say. "But, I will need you to have patience with me. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget... my past It might take me a while to truly be able to love you the way you love me. But if you give me the patience, and the chance, I think I could..."
"Sweetheart..." He kissed my forehead. "You have all the time in the world if you need. And patience? I loved you the first day I saw you again. I have more patience than you give me credit for Bells." He smiled. "I just can’t believe you are really saying this. I feel like I might wake up from this dream any minute now." He sighed.
"Well, it’s no dream." I smiled at him. "I’ll prove it to you."
I leaned in, unsure of what I was about to do. My fingers touched his lips and found the way to the back of his head, tangling themselves in his mane in the process. I closed my eyes and willed myself to lean in those last five inches that separated our faces but I could not move. As much as I wanted to kiss him I just couldn’t do it. My heart still didn’t belong to him. Before I could rethink what I had just said Jake’s lips were on mine. They were warm but soft, something completely different than what I was used to but to my surprise I liked it. I liked the feeling a lot, more than I maybe should have. His hand settled in the small of my back while his other hand gently held my hair.
The kiss started out slowly and ended with more passion than I had felt in a long time. For a moment I thought I was going to have to rip myself out from Jake’s arms but to my surprise he let go of me first. When I opened my eyes he was staring intently at me, the look of victory in his face. It was almost a bit too smug for my liking.
"So what? Am I a better kisser than you thought I would be?" His face full of excitement.
I crossed my arms in disbelief. "Yes actually. Have you been practicing your kissing methods with your fruit?" I taunted.
"No, but I wouldn’t mind practicing with you!" he countered. I rolled my eyes.
"I’m sorry, I just got a little bit exited." he amended.
"Okay a lot." he allowed. "But I still want to know your opinion."
I looked up pretending to think through his question. The anticipation was killing him.
"Well?" he encouraged me to answer but not as confidently as before. His eyebrows furrowed creating a little crease between his eyes. "You can tell me the truth." he said deflated.
I laughed a little. "You are a good kisser."
"Cool" said pleased with himself. "Do I get grown up points for knowing how to kiss?"
"Sure but I don’t know why you would need them, you’re probably over a hundred already if you were keeping tally of the points." I giggled.
"Actually one hundred and nine. I have been keeping score."
We both laughed inside the cozy truck. I was glad Jacob was my own personal air conditioner. He held my hand and leaned in to kiss me on the cheek when all of a sudden he froze.
"Jake? What’s wrong?" Fear escaped my voice. There was only one thing that would make Jacob this rigid... vampires. Which only meant Victoria. Immediately I remembered back to when we were at the beach looking through the water I saw something red. It was her, and it was probably her now again. My muscles tightened.
"Vampire" he hissed through his teeth.
My suspicions confirmed only made it that much worse. I was starting to hyperventilate, adrenaline flowing to my mouth.
Jacob stepped on the engine and we were off. I knew I shouldn’t have but I turned back, expecting the menace that was Victoria directly behind us, but instead I saw something awfully familiar. A shiny car was parked on my driveway. And not just any car, it was the...Carlisle’s
"Jake stop!" I pleaded.
"No they are in your house." He bellowed.
"It’s not Victoria. It’s.... It’s the Cullens."
Instead of stopping he floored the gas peddle. With furry in his eyes he looked through the rear view mirror.
"What do those leeches want? As if they haven’t taken enough already."
I winced. "Jacob please... I have to go back. What if it is important?"
"What is important is keeping you safe. We are NOT going back there." his decision was final. I looked back, my chance to stop was slipping away. This might be the one chance I got to see them again, any of them. My chance of making sure that what I lived was not a dream but a true life fairy tale. I had to validate the reason for my sanity or insanity depending on how you see it.
"Jake stop!" The seriousness in my voice was what stopped him at last.
"We have to go back." I declared. I waited for him to respond but he was frozen. "Jacob listen to me, we have to..."
"Do you know what you are asking me to do? You want me to take you back to them after everything that’s happened? After everything you’ve had to live through and I had to live through with you? I won’t let them break you again Bella, I won’t."
"Jake... this is something I have to do." A moment passed in silence.
"Fine" he spat. "But I am going in with you."
"Fine." I spat back.
The tone of my voice caught him off guard. "I have to protect what is mine now right?" he tried to amend but I could still hear the strain in his voice.
And with that we made our way, slowly, down the street again until we were in front of my house once more. Jacob led the way but he never let go of my hand. Before we walked though the door he shifted a little. His muscles relaxed by just the tiniest fraction.
"Alice." He whispered in a tight voice.
Alice? Could it be? My pixie like friend came back to see me? I could feel the joy overwhelm me almost immediately. The only thing that held me from running through that door was the hold that Jacob had on my hand. I looked up at him wondering why he wouldn’t let me go.
"Slowly."He advised me.
I opened the door expecting to see her on the other side but she was not there. She must have seen me coming by now and it worried me that she was not at the door to greet me. I turned the corner and peeked into the living room. Sitting on the sofa was my elfin friend with a wide smile spread across her face.
"Bella..." Her angelic voice called me. "You have some explaining to do."
"Alice!" I cried with joy. Jacob stopped fighting me and let go of my hand. I ran to her arms wide open and flung myself to where she sat. I couldn’t believe it was her. As happy as I was to see her I pulled myself back when I sensed her rigid. I looked up to see an apologetic smile on her face.
"Excuse me Bella. I was in such a hurry to get here I didn’t think to sedate my thirst before I came."
I sat down at the other side of the couch not once leaving my eyes from her perfect face. She crossed her arms and gave me a stern look.
"May I ask what the hell you were thinking jumping off a cliff Bella? You scared me half to death. I came back expecting to console Charlie thinking you were dead but no. Here you come open arms not once thinking that what you did was inexcusable."
She was expecting to see remorse on my face but I couldn’t feel anything that was not sheer joy because of the fact that she was there, sitting right in front of me. Before I could say anything she looked towards the corner of the living room.
"Ughh... I thought I smelled something foul. Mangy dog."
"I could say the same thing, stupid leech."
I couldn’t bare all the animosity in such a happy occasion like this. "Alice, I have missed you so much."
"I’ve missed you too my dear Bella." She sang. She was reaching out to me when her cell phone rang.
"Excuse me for a minute Rose is calling me." She headed out the back door.
I couldn’t bare seeing her walk out even if only for just a minute.
"Jake, please try to be civil, for me at least. Can you do that?"
"I’ll try but I make no promises Bells."
"That’s all I ask."
He was walking towards me, most likely to embrace me when the phone rang. Jacob got the phone but I got up to answer it myself.
"I got this Bells don’t worry."
"Last I remembered this was my house so I would appreciate you handing me that phone." I extended my hand waiting for him to hand the phone to me. He did but not before stealing a quick peck from my lips. "Ah, Jake... grow up."
"Hello, Bella speaking."
I heard someone gasp. "Hello?" I inquired. The person on the phone cleared his throat.
"Hello, is this the Parker residence?"
How odd. "No, this is the Sw...."
"Sorry for the inconvenience." The voice said curtly before they hung up.
"Who was it?"
"I’m not sure... wrong number I guess."
Before I could explain what had happened Alice was at the door. Her eyes wide.
"Alice? What’s wrong?"
"Rosalie is what’s wrong. I can’t believe her. How can she be so inconsiderate. The nerve of her. As if all of my visions were one hundred percent correct. They count on me so much they don’t realize how faulty my visions truly are. Oh, for the love of God. Why does Edward always have to be so dramatic. If he just did what I told him from the beginning he wouldn’t have had these problems but noooo! Everyone just does what they want and..."
"Alice..." I asked pleadingly. I couldn’t bare to hear his name. "What exactly happened?"
"What happened was that Rose told Edward what I saw in my vision. Which was you, but dead Bella. So then he wanted to go to the Volturi but not before making sure that you weren’t dead." She stopped talking when she heard me gasp. My fingers started to tremble a little.
"Who are the Volturi?" Jacob asked seeing the cause of my fear.
" The people you go to when you have a death wish like Edward had just a few seconds ago." She scoffed.
"Had?" I asked, my voice dead.
"Yes, had. When I was talking to Rosalie outside he called your house. Thank goodness you answered because if you hadn’t I don’t know WHAT would have happened then."
So that was him on the phone? I was so close to him and so stupidly oblivious to it at the same time. I should have known his voice, even if he did try to disguise it.
"Don’t worry about it Bella. The false alarm has ceased. You have nothing to worry about I promise you that."
"Pfft. Says you but you are not the one making sure that bloodsucker Victoria doesn’t get her hands on her to kill her. You’re not the one running around her house all night making sure that leech does not get the chance."
Alice gasped. "Victoria."
Immediately I looked at Jacob. Although I had not told him not to tell her I saw him as a traitor for having done so. Alice’s face was shocked and confused. A moment later her cell phone rang again. She looked down on it but without looking away from my face.
"It’s Edward." she explained. "Ready to chop my head off for having come here."
She opened the phone and stuck it to her ear. "Edward?" her voice flat. "I know, I know... but even you can’t say you didn’t over react. Don’t think I am not watching you... Of course I did do you really think I am stupid enough not to? Listen, there are bigger problems... Yes, I know but there are and the name is Victoria." The phone was silent for a while. "Yes, apparently she’s not over the fact that we killed James and knowing our kind I am sure she want’s Bella in order to get revenge on you."
I blinked hard. I never once thought that Victorias vendetta was really about Ed... him. What kind of revenge could she achieve when I meant nothing to Edward anymore. But of course, she didn’t know that. That is why she was still after me like a lioness praying on a deer. I shuddered and immediately Jacob held me close to him. I stopped listening to the conversation and focused on getting my heart to beat normally again.
"Goodbye." Alice shut the phone and looked at me. "Bella, darling I am so sorry you have to go through this. If we knew that this would happen we would never have left. Carlisle and Esme are on their way now as well as Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett." I didn’t fail to notice she missed that last name. "Edward is in South America at the moment." She said guessing my chagrin. "It’s going to take him at least a day or two to get here."
"Call them now and tell them they’re not needed. I can take care of Bella myself. There is no use for you leeches anymore." Jacob spat. I hit him on the rib but he didn’t budge.
"Bella, tell that dog that there is no way we are leaving you here unprotected, we..."
"What like you haven’t done it before?"
"Jacob!" I pleaded.
"Alice!" I couldn’t bare it anymore. I loved them both and they both had to deal with it.
"I can’t have my best friend and my boyfriend fighting anymore... Please stop this because I don’t think I can take anymore of it."
"Boyfriend?" Alice whispered. I didn’t even realize I had used that word. And though I wish I hadn’t I knew that was what we were now. No point in hiding it.
"So Edward was right after all." She examined. I caught my breath when she said that. I was infuriated that she would suggest that I had forgotten him. Or that he was betting on the fact that I was a weak human in need for attention. I was raging mad that she thought he had won because I decided to start my life again. When if they knew the horror that my life had been the past months, they would have at least sympathized. I wanted to say many things but I stopped myself. If Jacob heard me say what I really felt, that I was still a mess, an empty hole with only hope for a new life then he would be devastated. I had to hide my feelings, my true feelings to protect him. Ed...ward was coming soon. And for Jacob’s sake I had to be strong. I would be strong, I could at the very least do that for him. I would have to feign being completely happy, I would feign not having missed Edward. I would never let him know the damage he did me, the damage he made me. Maybe if Edward thought I was happy, then he would be happy for me. And that was enough for me wasn’t it? Wasn’t it? Somehow I couldn’t answer my own question.
"Either way we are responsible for Bella being hunted down by Victoria. If anything were to happen to her my family would not be able to live with it. I don’t care what you say Jacob, we are taking care of this ourselves."
With Alice’s declaration began an ongoing feud. I went upstairs trying to get a hold of myself. Soon the Cullen’s would be here. Soon he would be here and I had to find a way to rid myself of all the feelings I had left inside me. I was going to need a strong mask and I would not achieve it with this gapping hole pounding in my chest. For the first time in months I went to my bed and cried whatever was left in me. It was not an easy task. I knew they could hear me downstairs but couldn’t care at the moment. I had to drain myself of anything that would make me falter when he came. And so tear by tear I cried the life out of my soul, I cried Edward out of my soul. No longer would I feel numb, whatever was left in me was long gone now. I knew as soon as I was finally able to say Edward’s name out loud without wincing at his memory that I had done it. I had grieved Edward out of me, or maybe very, very deep within me where he would never surface again. I was strong now.
Alice and Jacob were guarding the door every thirty minutes in intervals until I finally opened it. Apparently they had also come to a resolution. They had agreed to work together in order to get to Victoria. I was just happy that they had stopped fighting. Even though the silence was killing me now. Jacob went home in order to tell his pack that the Cullens were on their way back home. I had walked him out the front door before he left.
"Don’t be scared anymore Bella. I won’t let anything happen to you... ever." He had promised. I was just glad he didn’t know the real reason for my grief, and happy that he would never know it.
Back inside Alice and I started chatting. She made me spill the beans about why I had jumped off the cliff. Although I didn’t give her all the details I had a feeling she knew exactly why I did it. When Charlie got home he was delighted to see Alice but concerned about what her visit would do to me. He was a bit angry when Alice told him her family was on their way back. The story was that they didn’t like it much in Los Angeles and had decided to move back.
I made Alice stay with me during the night after she went to feed. We chatted most of the night and I couldn’t help but think about how much I would miss her when she left again. In the morning Alice was waiting for me downstairs. She was talking to Charlie but I was too tired to truly pay attention to the conversation. I got ready and headed down stairs. Charlie had gone to the Clearwaters early in order to keep with vigil. Alice was waiting for me in the kitchen.
"They got back this morning." She said sighing. "As did Edward."
I couldn’t help but raise my eyebrow. So much for my stupid mask. I was going to have to work on that. "He ran faster than I had expected. Ran straight through the night actually."She stated matter-of-factly.
"Bella, he really want’s to speak to you."
Here we go, this is where my mask comes in. "Really? I don’t think we have anything left to talk about. He made his feelings perfectly clear last time he was here."
She looked at me in disbelief. "Is that truly how you feel Bella?"
I had to be strong. "Yes. It is."
She looked down bewildered. "I could see why you wouldn’t want to see him. I completely understand actually. But, he really needs to get..."
"Alice." I cut her short. "Things are not the way they used to be anymore."
"I can see that." She said sadly. "But if I asked you to do me one favor, just one little favor..."
"For me, not for him. But for me. You don’t even have to talk back to him. Just listen to what he has to say and when he’s done you never have to talk to him again. Please Bella? Don’t you love me enough to do this little thing for me?"
She got me. Ugh, stupid vampires always knowing my weakness. "Fine."
She got up in less than a second and gave me a huge hug before she danced around the house with joy. "Okay Bella, he’s just outside at the crest of the woods, it won’t be more than..."
"Woah, woah, woah wait. He’s here?" I pointed towards the floor. "Right now?" I asked incredulously.
Her smile said it all.
"Ugh, you are so impossible Alice." I said before stomping towards the woods.
I could hear her giggle as I slammed the backdoor. I looked up but I couldn’t see him. I walked towards the forest careful not to slip as it was drizzling. As soon as I was under the cover of the trees I heard my name.
"Bella?" asked the sweetest voice I had ever heard.
The memories of me and him went flooding towards my head. Incredibly none of my memories, not even the most vivid had done justice to his voice. He was right behind me, I could hear his footsteps now. At that moment I doubted my new self proclaimed strength. Was I really going to be able to live through this again? A shiver went through me.
"Bella..." His angelic voice called from behind. I was afraid now. My heart pumping faster and faster. Slowly I turned to face him but without thinking my eyes were closed. I heard him sigh and immediately I wished I could do something to ease his pain. I couldn’t bare to hear him like that. I slowly started to open my eyes. Before me started to appear the most perfect being ever bestowed upon this earth. In front of me stood Edward. His face a mixture of turmoil, relief and sadness. I held my breath.
"Bella, I am...utterly...I, I don’t know what to say to you."
"Then don’t say anything." I whispered. Don’t say anything and just hold me in your arms was what I really wanted to say. Though I knew it was the wrong thing to wish for. He didn’t belong to me, he never did. I heard his voice choke.
"I... am...just." He dropped to his knees. My arm was headed towards him but I stopped myself in time. "I am so sorry about EVERYTHING!" He managed to choke out. I had never seen him cry. And although there were no tears streaming down his face, I knew he was sobbing.
He tried to form words but his sobs destroyed every word he was trying to form. He just looked at me with an expression that pained me more than anything. Never had I felt as horrible as I did then. Not even when he left me and I was alone in the woods. This was worse than torture. This was just inhumane. How could this... this angel be sobbing? And of all reasons for me? At that moment I just wanted to give in, I wanted to drop on the ground and hold him and not let go. Even if he wanted to leave me again, I would find a way to permanently attach myself to him. I belonged to him, he owned me... he. He...wasn’t for me. He’d told me already once and I was about to commit a horrible mistake.
"It’s okay... Edward, I... I forgive you."
"What?" I heard his angelic voice say. "You... you forgive me? I...I don’t even...I can’t. I’m..."
"I know, I know you probably feel horrible that Victoria is after me now but really, I just think that this was inevitable. Don’t you remember? My number was up a looooong time ago." I said as lightly as possible.
His expression was confused. "You think I’m only sorry that, because of my carelessness, there is a monster out there lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on you?"
"Well, aren’t you?" I asked a little confused myself. What else would he be sorry about?
"Well, yes I am. I can’t believe I was stupid enough not to think this through. I just never expected Victoria to be so vicious... so animal. But I am sorry for a lot more than just that."
I should have known what this was about as soon as he said the words. Thinking back on his words I realized why he was so upset. He wanted me to be happy, that was the reason he left. With Victoria around how could I have achieved that purpose? How could he not have seen that I could only truly be happy with him. I composed my face. This angel would not be hurt by me any longer, even if I hurt myself in the process.
"Is this about me then?"
His expression sulked a little. I could see that I had hit the nail on the head. Poor, Edward.
"Bella I..." I cut him short. I could not bare his pain.
"Edward, I am not going to lie to you. When you left...I was more or less a complete mess." His face burned with agony. "But things are different now, it has not been easy but I am getting my life back together somehow. Most of that is thanks to Jacob." His expression changed automatically, it went stiff and I couldn’t tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
"The fact that Victoria is out there looking for me is, well it is more than a nuisance, but it is not your fault. You can’t blame yourself for everything bad that happens to me Edward." With that said his expression changed. Maybe I was really getting through to him.
"I see." Was the only thing he said. I could tell that there was an internal battle with himself. Little twitches in his face that varied from agonized to happiness back and forth spelled across his face. "I am sorry if I caused you any pain Bella." He said carefully. "On the other hand I am glad that you are beginning to live a healthy life." He half smiled.
A healthy life? Is that what he thought of it? I let it go before I said anything that would ruin what little advancement I had made with him.
I heard a growl just beside the house. Edward lifted his head and then dropped it when he realized who it was.
"Yes, she is living a healthier life, no thanks to you." Jake accused.
He stood right beside me in a protective stance. Edward stood up.
"Jacob if you don’t mind me just having a few more moments with Bella, I promise it will not take long."
"I few moments? Just a few moments? Ha! Do you know what a few moments can do to her? You have no idea do you? That’s right because you never got to see it."
In the next moment Edward was on the floor again hunched over in pain. This time I could not help but try to touch him. I crouched down next to him.
"Edward what’s wrong?"
"Bella stay away from him."
"What is happening to him? What are you doing to him Jacob?"
"What am I doing to him? I am just showing him what he did to YOU!."
Before I said anything Alice was outside the house opposite me on Edwards side.
"Jake, please..." I begged him. "Stop."
Jacob closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Edward was semi-normal again. I stood up and went to Jacobs side. He was not stable, he would phase any minute now if I didn’t calm him down.
"Bella, I... I’m so sorry for what I have put you through." Edward began. "I can’t believe I was so ignorant..."
"Well believe it." Jake spat.
Alice helped Edward up. "I will never do that to you again Bella. I can’t be..."
"Well, don’t worry about it, you wont get that chance again. Not while I am here, and I am not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, or ever."
"Jacob, you have every right to hate me but this does not concern you right now."
"The hell it does. This is my girlfriend you are using for you own sick enjoyment. I will not stand for it bloodsucker."
Edwards eyes widened. He looked at me as if looking for a clarification of what he heard was right. I smiled at him, if he saw that I truly was picking up the pieces of my shattered life then maybe he would leave with peace of mind. He turned to Alice who gave him one solid nod and quickly looking away.
Something happened then. Edward stood straight and with a face that resembled the time when he had told me that he was leaving he looked at me and said, "I am happy to see that you are happy Bella. I wish nothing but the best for you. I only wish Jake can make you as happy as you have clearly made him." I was unsure if what I saw was a wince but he kept talking. "As for Victoria, don’t worry about her. I will make sure she never comes near you again. Again please accept my apologies for any damage I ever did to you."
And with that, he was gone. Only Alice, Jacob and I were left.
After that moment I was under house arrest. Both the Cullens and the wolves wanted me inside the house at all times. Esme went to visit me as did Carlisle and Emmett. Jasper was busy discussing strategy with Sam and his pack. Rosalie, well, she just didn’t want to see me which was not something I was not expecting.
I was held down in a fortress, or rather my personal prison for about three days. It was the fourth day that the hunt for Victoria began. Alice had seen her creeping around the edges of the Quileute reservation. She had taken a break trying to regain her strength but unaware that the Cullen’s had come back. Esme had stayed behind as did one of the wolves. They were my only protection if Victoria happened to sneak past everyone.
For two hours Esme and I stood still in the silence of my room until we heard the wolves howl in victory. Esme kissed my forehead but there was still worry in her eyes. Neither of us knew if everyone had made it out okay. Although Victoria was vastly outnumbered she was a force to be reckoned with. Five minutes later Alice, Jasper, Carlisle, Emmett and even Rosalie were outside my front porch. Relief spelled out across Esme’s face until she realized that one person was missing.
"Edward?" she whispered, a bit of hysteria in her voice.
Carlisle was the one who spoke. "He is fine. He just needs some time on his own is all."
That was the last time I ever saw the Cullens. Although they had said that they were moving back in town they didn’t feel comfortable living in the home which reminded them so much of their son Edward.
That day I finally got to say my goodbye’s. Ironically the first time I was left behind the only person I got to speak to was Edward. This time, he was the only one I didn’t say goodbye to. Maybe it was better that way. Maybe I would not have been able to stand it the second time around. God only knew that those three days imprisoned in my house had me rethinking everything I had done. Many times I wanted to climb out the window and find Edward because I knew that this time he was there. He was no figment of my imagination. My last chance of ever seeing him again were slipping, and slip they did because after that day in the wood’s I didn’t see Edward again.
My life resumed at school. Although this time it was a bit different. I had Jacob waiting for me to get home everyday after school ended. Mike was not too happy about that but Jessica and Angela couldn’t be more excited for me. Slowly they began to accept me back into their gang and even Jacob was welcome by most everyone, everyone except Mike. I had begun a routine that would last me my last years of high school. My last years living with my father.
By some miracle I was accepted into every school I applied to. Including the only Ivy League school I attempted to join, Dartmouth. I even got a full ride scholarship, though I couldn’t explain to myself how I got it since I never applied for one.. I never told anyone but that was the school Edward and I had talked about joining. And although my life was put back together somehow, I never stopped thinking about him. Not a single day passed when he would not cross my mind. Secretly I felt that if I went on with our forgotten plans that I would be close to him somehow.
High school graduation had passed and the summer was nearly over. I was finishing my packing late the night before I was to leave for Alaska when one of the boxes fell of my bed spilled my things across the floor. That was when I noticed that one of the floorboards was loose. One of my needles from my sowing kit fell between the crack. I lifted the floorboard and to my surprise, the pictures I deemed lost long ago sat neatly stacked on top of each other. They were pictures of Edward.
That night I hardly slept thinking of the "what if’s" and everything else that was completely beyond me. For over a year I had deemed my fairytale a sad ending. Maybe not sad, because I had Jacob in my life but stale. Jacob loved me, and I loved him back with whatever was left of my heart, but even through all that time I never felt complete. That night I realized that maybe things were not played out like they were supposed to be. What if I had taken a wrong turn in the corridors that was my life? For the first time in a very long time I cried myself to sleep. I was coming to a realization that I did not want to face. What if there was a reason Jacob had not imprinted on me? What if he was really meant for someone else? What if I was meant for someone who didn’t belong to me? Before I let myself get carried away I burned the pictures on the stove. If Jacob ever found them he would be devastated.
I went to college not sure of what my major would be. I made a few good friends and kept in touch with most of the people I knew from Forks. Although I was far away from home Jacob would visit me every weekend. We came to an agreement that he could only visit me if he had done all his schoolwork throughout the week. On the weekends he would morph into a wolf and run a day and a half straight to visit me. I was always happy to see his beautiful smile when he saw me. I truly did love him and he was deeply in love with me. I knew our circumstance was a bit uneven, a bit unfair too. But Jacob made due with what I could give him and never asked for anything else. He was truly my best friend.
After my second year of college Jacob proposed to me. I would lie if I said that it was completely unexpected but it was still a shock to me. I had gone home for Christmas at Charlie’s. It was Christmas eve and we were sitting around the fire. Billy asked me for a glass of water and when I returned to the living room Jacob was down on one knee by the Christmas tree. Charlie and Billy were both at the opposite corner of the room with camera’s. Once I got over the shock of what was happening and the fury of always being the last one to know I said yes and hopped into Jake’s arms. He had positioned himself right under the mistletoe and so I planted one on him. Charlie and Billy were howling in laughter as were the rest of our guest who had watched the whole scene through the living room windows.
What I was not expecting was the date to come so fast. Jake wanted to get married withing a year of so of our proposal and a year at that point in time seemed like a long time from now. But that time came by quickly and now I find myself just two days before the wedding.
At twenty one years of age I am about to graduate with a Bachelors in English Literature. I find myself literally hours away from my wedding which will take place outside of Charlie’s humble home. And most importantly I find myself a nervous wreck.
"I’m sorry yes?"
"I just need you to sign the bottom portion for me and you will be free to go."
I signed my petition for a wedding license. Jacob had already come days before and as usual I had waited until the last minute. I still needed to go to the bank to deposit some money.
"Thank you, we will see again on Saturday?"
"Saturday it is."
I walked out of the building with a piece of paper in my hand. For some reason that hand trembled. I felt unsure of myself for a minute. For months on end I had the strange feeling like someone was watching me, intently watching me. But I knew that was impossible, Victoria was dead and there was no reason for me to believe it was anyone else. No matter how much I wanted it to be true. I walked towards my truck and turned on the heater. It was spring but it was still cold out. As I looked out my rear view mirror I stopped.
It was him. It was Edward. I blinked twice, three then four times to make sure he was really there. But by the time my brain was starting to take in what it saw, he disappeared. I froze in the truck not knowing what to do. Was it really him? Or did I just imagine it and if I did was this a bad omen?
The day I found the pictures in the floorboard I had come to the conclusion that although I would never truly get over Edward Cullen, I had to stop wasting my time thinking that things would have ended up differently. Destiny had unraveled itself and this was the outcome. I was with Jacob and Edward was doing what he loved to do best and that was that. I traitor tear went down my left eye. The pain was still there deep, deep inside me but bubbling, urging to come back up. I stopped it on it’s track before it could do more damage that it had already done.
I went home to find Charlie had gone fishing again despite the weather. Jacob was waiting for me on the sofa.
"Hey Babe, how did it go?"
"I got it." I waved the paper in my hands. Jake crossed the room in only a few steps. He kissed my forehead and then my eyes down to my mouth where his lips seemed content there. I lost myself in this embrace happy that I could forget about what had happened earlier. My willingness was mistaken for eagerness and the kiss became more hurried, more intense. During the last few months, since we got engaged actually, this happened on a regular basis.
Jacob had always respected my decision to stay abstinent until our wedding night. But as the day’s grew closer he became more demanding with his kissing. I stopped moving my lips and he unwillingly pulled back.
"I’m sorry my love... I got a little carried away." I could see a bit of shame in his eyes.
I leaned in and gave him another kiss but this time I was the one in control, not him. I pulled back and pecked him once on his nose. "It’s not your fault you still have crazy teenage hormones." I chuckled.
He reached down and before I knew it I was airborne tucked under his arms.
"Jacob don’t." I warned him. Before I had finished what I was saying he was already blowing hair against my skin trying to make fart noises with his mouth. He knew it tickled me like crazy and so he did it more often than I would have preferred. Once I was in his arms I was completely under his mercy.
He set me down after a minute or two when I just couldn’t take it anymore and threatened him through hysterics that I would pee my pants if he didn’t let me down. As soon as I was safely on foot I reached up and grabbed his ear. That was Jacob’s ONLY weak spot. I yanked him down to where we were both at face level.
"Say you are sorry." I said pulling his ear harder and trying not to laugh.
So he was going to try to take it like a man was he? I pulled even harder.
"Say sorry Jake or I’ll keep you like this for hours if I need to."
"No!" He said stubbornly.
I smiled and pulled as hard as I could.
"Okay, okay I’m sorry." He squealed.
"Now say Uncle."
"Gee, Bells give your Husband a break. I could put you away for domestic violence. What do you think Jake? Shall I send her in?" Charlie chuckled. I had not noticed he walked through the door.
I let go of his ear. As soon as I did I regretted doing so. Jake took me in him arms and turned me around with my wrist behind my back and my face on his chest. He didn’t have a tight grip but I could barely move.
"Go ahead Charlie get the hand cuffs I have her ready."
Both Charlie and Jake started with a roar of laughter. Jacob saw my annoyance and let go of me. I crossed my arms over my chest.
"You can’t charge me for domestic violence if I’m not married yet." I reminded them. "Maybe I won’t get married seeing how I have to defend myself against my husband to be and my father at the same time." My lips pouted a little involuntarily.
"We were only kidding Bella, give Jake here a break." Charlie said going towards the kitchen looking for something to grub on.
Jake leaned in close to my ear so Charlie would not hear. "I’m sorry Bells, I didn’t mean to upset you." He kissed my ear and retreated back to take a look at my face. I was not smiling.
"If you want I’ll let you pull my ear."
"Really?" I questioned him. I knew he didn’t like me doing it.
He smiled a little, "If it makes you feel better." His smile widened "Just don’t pull too hard, that really does hurt."
At that I had to laugh. I threw myself into his arms and let him catch me. He lifted me to where I was close to his face, practically touching the ceiling. I just stayed there feeling like a little kid because my legs were swinging in the air.
"I love you Bella, more than you would ever know." He whispered. "I can’t wait until you become Mrs. Jacob Black." He smiled ruefully.
Many things crossed my mind at that moment. Doubts, fears, and most importantly a feeling that this was wrong. That although I loved Jacob this was not the way things were meant to turn out. Before I could hesitate a second longer Jake stop swaying.
"You don’t have cold feet do you?"
"You mean literally or metaphorically speaking?"
He set me down. "Bella if you are having any doubts please just tell me I..." he trailed off but I put my fingers to his mouth closing them together. I couldn’t bare to see him suffer.
"Jake, you know I love you." He sighed in relief. "And I can’t wait to see you down that Isle with a tux and your best men at your side."
"Wait, I am supposed to wear a tux? How come nobody told me?"
I looked at him in disbelief, everyone knows you are supposed to wear a tux at your wedding no matter how small and private it may be. Pictures were going to be taken of us and... well, how could I blame him? The only reason I was wearing a wedding dress, my mothers wedding dress because I declined everyone who offered to pay for a new one, was because Rene would kill me if I was not dressed in white. I sighed.
"Just kidding." He smiled widely. He got a kick out of seeing the reaction in my face.
"Jerk." I said before I nudged his ear.
The next day was full of errands. Rene was arriving to Forks for the wedding and what little family we knew would soon get there as well. I was surprised how much work a wedding took despite only having forty five guests and most of those made up Jacob’s pack.
I was glad that Jacob’s older sister was willing to help because I was not sure if I would be able to finish on time. The day went faster than I had expected and before I knew it I was upstairs in my bed dead tired from all the errands I had to make.
The next morning, the morning of my wedding day, I woke up to find that my room was full of flowers. I saw a note next to my bed. It was from Jacob. It read a simple, I love you. It was such a nice gesture I almost sat down and cried.
I didn’t deserve the man that was waiting to wed me. I didn’t deserve to treat him the way I did because despite the fact that I was only with him, I was cheating on him. I was cheating on him because my thoughts still, after all this time, after everything that I had gone through with Jake, belonged to Edward. I felt a lump on my throat the size of a baseball.
This would end here and today. As soon as I said the words, "I do." My heart and soul would belong to Jacob and Jacob alone. Despite who it belonged to before. Never again will I think of anyone in the way that I should only see my husband. Never will I think of Edward Cullen in that way again. That was my wedding gift to Jacob Black, I would give him myself entirely, body and soul completely.
I had only a few hours in which I would still belong to myself. And in those hours I had to get ready for my wedding while burying whatever feelings I had left for Edward Cullen. I took a deep breath and began my work.
I was glad that my mother had hired someone to do my hair and make up because I would not have had the patience to do it myself. She turned me to face the mirror in my room. I couldn’t recognize myself at first. She did a wonderful job, when I heard what my Rene was willing to pay I thought the sum was outrageous but looking in the mirror now I realize that I was the one cheating her. I would have never been able to look this way by my own hand.
"Do you like it?"
"Yes... I look..."
"Beautiful?"Asked the young stylist named Angie. She was only a year younger than I was.
"Yes." I said looking at my reflection in the mirror.
"I’m glad you liked it. I’m going to go downstairs so you could get ready. Unless you need help putting on the dress?"
"No, I think I can handle it."
"Just make sure you don’t tangle your hair." She said before walking downstairs.
Alone in my room I looked in the mirror again. She had done a wonderful job making me look pretty. I had enough make up to notice a difference but not so much that I looked like I was overdone. My hair was in intricate curls going past my waist. Over the last years I had let it grow since Jacob liked seeing me with long hair. Now, even though it was in curls it was still past my waist touching the top of the jeans I was wearing.
I looked harder in the mirror this time. The same mirror that had seen my face at seventeen, eighteen and every single holiday until I turned twenty one. My face had changed a little. The little bit of roundness that I had carried through my adolescence was completely gone. My face had become more symmetrical somehow. I had finally grown out of my awkward stage, well for the most part because I was still as clumsy as ever.
I remembered how my face used to look like in this very mirror whenever Edward would come through my window. Excitement flooded my eyes, I was more alive then than I have ever been in my life. I looked down at my hand then, noticing the ring on my left hand. These were the last moments I would allow myself to think of Edward ever again. In these moments I would make my peace.
I looked over to my bed, the white dress waiting for me to put it on. I stripped myself of anything that was not essential and carefully wiggled myself into the dress. Despite it being a bit outdated it fit me well. The dress had gone through some alterations in order to make it look a bit more modern. It had a long train that my mother threatened to kill me if I altered it. It was a rather simple dress made of satin besides the sash of lace that hugged my stomach.
My shoes were of the same material although they were not the shoes Rene wore for her wedding. We weren’t the same size and so I had mine made with the fabric that was left over after all the alterations.
The only thing left was the crown and veil. My mother decided that hers was too dated and torn to be of good use. She had bought me a simple tiara made with pearls and roses weaving into each other intricately. The veil was made of lace which matched my sash.
I looked in the mirror then, these were the last moments to myself. I smiled a little. Soon a new chapter would start in my life. My childhood, my adolescence was being left behind in this very room. I sighed looking for something to do with myself but I was completely finished. Not a hair out of place. I looked around the room looking to for something to do until the hour struck three, which would be in half an hour. As I was about to turn I saw something in the mirror I had not seen before. My heart stopped.
I turned around trying to make sure that he was not just in my imagination. I blinked hard. But there he stood perfectly motionless by the corner nearest the window.
"Edward?" I whispered. Disbelief in my voice.
"Bella!" he sighed. His eyes squinting with his huge smile.
All of a sudden the room felt hot and I could see the floor swaying. I caught myself by leaning against the chair before I could fall to the ground.
"Bella!" Edward said not knowing what to do. I could tell that he was torn. Had this been when I was seventeen and forever wanting to stay seventeen he would have automatically been at my side but there he stood. Not knowing if it was okay to touch me or not. Did he really think I was that fragile?
"Edward is that really you?"
"Yes." He sighed. He walked over to me then giving me his hand for support. He did not touch me like he did before though, he barely touched my skin.
"What are you doing here? I... I thought you were..."
"What can I say? I just can’t help myself. Here you are in a house full of wolves who would rip my throat at first chance they get but I just couldn’t stay away." He half smiled.
"You look, absolutely...dazzling Bella." We both smiled thinking back on the day.
"You have not changed a bit have you?" I asked stupidly. "I mean, not that you could change physically but... God Edward I am just so happy to see you." I leaned closer wanting to hug him. Wanting to make sure that this was not just another one of my dreams I often had.
He hesitated for a second but then gave me a slight squeeze on my hand.
"I am glad to see you too... Mrs. Black." He teased but I sensed hurt in his eyes.
"Well, not yet I only have a half hour left."
"Is that all that’s left?" He said mostly to himself.
"I suppose I better leave then. I am sure my scent will soon be penetrating the house and I wouldn’t want to cause any trouble. These human clothes only dilute my smell for so long until... well, you get the picture."
He was right. I could already begin to smell his sweet scent. "Edward don’t leave yet."
"Okay... what would you like me to do? I never got a formal invite to your wedding you know. Alice is still a little bit hurt about that." He smiled.
"Alice? How is she, how has she been? What about Esme and Carlisle and..."
His chuckle cut me off. "They are all fine Bella. Same as always." He looked at me for a second. "You don’t change eighter do you?"
I glared at him. Of course I had changed I was still getting older while he stayed forever seventeen.
"Don’t get me wrong." He amended. "Time has been kind to you, you’re beautiful Bella. More than I could possibly remember. What I was referring to was you, the inner you. Still the same o’ sweet Bella. The same girl...woman I fell in... Well, I don’t want to ruin your day with my imprudence by coming here. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck Bella. I truly am happy for you." He smiled weakly.
"Edward... don’t leave until you finish what you were just about to say."
"I’m sorry I was speaking without thinking. I couldn’t fathom speaking to someone the way I almost did when they are just minutes if not seconds from their wedding. Please Bella, forgive me."
His eyes furrowed, his angelic face in shock.
"Not until you finish what you were about to say Edward, please I... I’ve been living the past few years wondering every single day if what I was doing was right. What if I am about to make a big mistake by marrying..."
"Got the case of the cold feet Bella?" His eyebrow shot up.
"Listen to me Bella. You ARE doing the right thing. Jacob loves you and I know you love him back. He’s the right choice for you, he can give you everything you could ever want. Children, life a home with Charl..."
A moan escaped my throat. "Yes Edward but he cant give me you!" The words were out now. There was no turning back from this. I had taken a dive into the abyss.
"You listen to me Edward, I am tired of thinking what the right thing for me is. Children, a home a life... it means nothing if it is not with you. Don’t you see Edward? How can I be with someone when my heart belongs to you?"
He froze for a minute his expression in disbelief. I decided to just let it all out.
"I’ve had enough Edward. I can’t take it. I don’t want to hurt him but how can I make him happy if I’m not? How could I be faithful to him when my mind is always with you? Will always be with you no matter how much I will it not to be. Today I promised myself that this would be the last day I ever thought of you... for him, I thought I could do that for Jake. But seeing you now, here in front of me. Seeing for myself that my love for you has never stopped but took a wrong detour, how could I go down those stairs and through that isle and face the man whom I promised my heart to by wearing this ring? How can I face him and tell him that I can’t give him that? That my heart belongs to you and only you."
I was in tears at that point, I let the tears flow freely down my face. I looked back up, he was frozen like a statue.
"Where did it all go wrong Edward? I thought you loved me as I loved you but somewhere along the road something happened and your love for me ceased to exist. When you left me you left a huge hole in my chest that ached and burned and grew with each passing day. At first I thought Jacob had healed it, I thought he put me back together somehow. But here’s the evidence that that is not so. It was an illusion Edward, an illusion that I willingly let myself be fooled by besides knowing of it’s existence."
The tears that covered my eyes impaired my vision. I couldn’t bare not seeing his perfect face and so I automatically wiped the tears of with my hands.
"I am sorry I should not have come. Look what I have done to you Bella. Once again I have ruined everything." He reached for my face but stopped dead on his tracks. He turned around to face the window. At that point in time I had all I could take.
"Don’t leave me again." I managed to whisper through tears.
That was enough to stop him halfway out the window. He turned around agony in his face. He walked slowly but deliberately across the tiny room until he reached me. Slowly he put his arms around me and left his chin lightly on my head.
"Oh Bella." Was all he said. I looked up then. I realized what I had done was wrong, I should have never put myself on the line like that, especially since he had made his feelings towards me so clear so long ago. I pulled back realizing that maybe he had someone else by now. I was a stupid woman for having done this.
I turned around not being able to face him. But the fact that he was there and I was not able to face him ripped my heart in two. I began to sob like a child.
"Forgive me Edward. I should have known better than to let myself get carried away. Just know that, although you don’t love me anymore, my life will always be yours. Thank you for showing me what true love is, even if you can’t reciprocate the feeling any longer. In the end I would have rather felt something than nothing at all."
I felt a pull on my shoulder, he was turning me around. When I saw his face I saw the same pained expression I saw when Jacob showed him the memories of me as a lifeless being. He leaned closer and his breathing got heavier.
"Bella..." he said through his teeth. " I have never, listen carefully now, NEVER stopped loving you." I gasped, partly because at that proximity I could see his perfect features but mainly because I could not believe what he was saying to me.
He pressed his forehead against mine and his hold on my got stronger. "Everyday of my life has been a struggle since I’ve been without you. I exist but there is no life, no meaning to my being if I can’t be near you, smell you touch you, hold you. I fear everyday that what’s left of me will deteriorate if I spend one more day without you." His voice strained.
"The day I left you I split in two Bella. Leaving the other half here with you. The day I thought you were dead I nearly died. The day I left you to Jacob my soul disappeared from the face of the earth." His head fell against my shoulder.
"I thought I could leave you, I thought you would make it without me. I was so sure that I was doing the right thing for you but as I stand here and listen to you I realize that once again my arrogance and stupidity has stolen happiness away from us." He shuttered.
"Bella..." he whispered softly. "You simply are my life."
My hands went wild in search for his face. I held him by his temples as he wrapped his arms around me. "I love you Edward Cullen."
Immediately his lips were against mine. The cold familiar feeling sent impulses down my neck. Time, whatever amount of time that we had spent without each other seemed to disappear and it was as if we picked up where we left off. I didn’t care about the time or place or anything that was associated with me besides Edward. I forgot my inhibitions and although I was fully aware of the lines he had set when we were just testing our limits I completely ignored them letting myself indulge in what was Edward Cullen.
It was not he who stopped nor I. Instead it was my mother who had interrupted us. We both froze when we heard the knock at the door.
"Bella it’s almost time. Are you ready?"
I looked up at him looking for something to say. "Nearly, I just need a few more minutes."
"Alright honey do you need any help?"
"No!" I said much too quickly.
"Okay I’ll see you downstairs."
I looked up, Edwards expression had changed but his arms did not leave me.
"What am I doing? Stealing the bride... I would never condone doing..."
I looked up almost angrily. "Edward you are not taking something that is not already yours." His eyes met mine. "Take me with you."
"Are you positive about this? What about Jacob?"
Jake, oh god how could I be so cruel. What was I going to do to Jacob? Would I leave him standing at the altar? I chocked back some tears. How could I ever had allowed myself to do this to him. He was a part of me as well. How could I be so heartless?
Edward took my silence as a bad sign. "Bella you promised him, you gave him your word and I can’t live with myself knowing that you could have been happy with him. That I came and stole his chance at happiness despite the fact that I had mine and threw it away... I can’t"
"Edward we belong together, I know you can feel as I do." I took a deep breath. "I’m going to hurt Jake more than I would ever want to know and I am going to have to live through it. But if I don’t hurt him now I know eventually, one day I will. Fate decided we belonged together and one day fate will decide who Jacob will be with." For some reason I felt a bit of deja vu saying this. Maybe in some future I would be a part of his happiness. Jacob was too big a part my being that I couldn’t picture my life with him somehow not being around to share the joyful moments with. I knew fate would put things in order somehow. Yes, Jake would forgive me one day, of that I was sure.
I leaned forward and kissed Edward again, this time he didn’t fight it. He had given in as I had to where we belonged in the universe... together.
As soon as we let go of each other I took two pieces of paper out. One was a letter to Jacob and the other was a letter to my parents. I set them by my drawer and turned around to face the most perfect being God had created. He smiled at me
"Are you ready?" He asked holding my hands.
"I’ve been ready for you all my life." I said before he swung me across his back and made our escape out the window.
Our new life ahead of us.