Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

War of the Heart

Summary:
Lieutenant General Charlie Swan moves his family to Forks while he and his sons our deployed to Iraq. Can the Cullens & the Hales help Bella survive while her whole family is on tour overseas? What happens when the only family member she can rely on runs away? Or when a brother is injured in a road side explosion? Thanks to XxBleedingSoulxX for the amazing banner :) NOTE!! I'VE GIVEN UP UPDATING ON THIS SITE, IF YOU WISH TO KEEP READING YOU CAN FIND THE STORY AT FANFICTION. THANKS FOR ALL THE LOVE.


Notes:
Everything belongs to the one and only Stephanie Meyer.


18. High Tensions & Family Therapy

Rating 5/5   Word Count 5027   Review this Chapter

Chapter Eighteen – High Tensions & Family Therapy

**Recap**

“Oh my god, Jack!” I shrieked again, right before clamping a hand over my mouth to hold back a sob, I couldn't believe he was finally here, he had finally come home.

“Shh.” He said gently, “don't cry baby girl, I'm sorry it took me so long to get here, but I'm here now and everything’s going to be okay.” He assured me, whipping the tears from my eyes.

“Oh God I missed you.” I said joyfully, making him smile sadly at me. As much as I wanted to still be mad at him for leaving me, I couldn’t do it, I was just too happy that he had finally come home.

**Chapter Seventeen End**

“I’m so sorry, lil’ sis, I never meant to leave you to deal with all this.” he said, sorrowfully. I shook my head quickly and hugged him again, feeling very emotional. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Jasper and Alice’s head’s peeking out from around the corner, looking very sheepish and apologetic for intruding on a very private family moment.

“Who do we have here?” Jack asked apprehensively, appraising my two nosy friends, still peeking around the corner.

“Mary Alice Cullen, what do you and Jasper think you’re doing spying on Bella like that? I’m disappointed in you young lady; I know your father and I raised you to have better manners then that.” Esme scolded, as she entered the room giving me a warm, heartfelt smile, and shooting a not so friendly glare towards my brother.

“Hello young man, I'm Esme Cullen. I’m glad to see you that you finally found your way back home.” She said, giving him her protective mother bear stance.

I laughed at the incredulous look on my brother’s face. “Jack, this is Esme Cullen. She’s been absolutely amazing to me these past few months; I guess you can say that she and her husband have been keeping a watchful eye on me while everyone’s been gone.”

“It’s nice to meet you Mrs. Cullen, I'm glad to hear my sister has had someone as lovely as you looking out for her.” He said, trying to soften her up by giving her his famous Jack Swan boyish smile.

“Well someone had to.” She snapped, not letting his smile affect her one bit. I had already informed Jasper, Rose and the Cullens when I first arrived about Jack’s taking off, so I was guessing that this was her not-so-subtle way of showing her distaste for his actions.

“Okay...” he laughed nervously. “Come on Bells, I want to show you something outside.” He said, taking me by the hand and half-pulling, half-dragging me out the front door.

“Geez, I didn't realize I’d have to face the firing squad so soon...” he complained as we stepped outside.

I should have scoffed at his words, but I wasn’t really up to holding a grudge for Jack’s actions, I was just happy he was finally home. “There just upset right now, they’ll lighten up after a while.” I assured him.

“So... are you home for good?” I asked warily, trying not to let him see just how much it hurt me when he up and left last time so abruptly.

“Of course I am Bells, and apparently that’s a good thing, judging by your friends reactions, I have a lot of broken bridges to mend. So what do you think?” he asked as we rounded the corner into the driveway.

“Oh my god!” I shrieked, hopping up and down. “What the hell! When did you get that?”

“Shortly after I left, I went back to the dealer and traded in my Ford Focus for this bad boy.” He said, running his hand gently along the contour of his brand new motorcycle. But not just any bike, but a flipping Harley Davidson! God he knew I had a weakness for bikes, and he was using it to his advantage...

But my happiness was short lived, as a fuming pixie came barrelling from the house, Jasper hot on her trail. “So basically you’re telling us that you abandoned your sister so you could go off riding along the countryside!” she yelled, getting right up in Jack’s face.

“I came back...” he said, trying to defend himself.

“Not before selfishly abandoning her to deal with the stress of everything by herself!” Alice countered.

“Kids that’s enough, I think we should head home and let Bella visit with her brother for a while. Jasper you can spend the night at our house tonight. Now come along you two,” Esme reprimanded, ushering them towards the car.

“Um, I’ll let you say goodbye Bells, I’ll meet you inside.” Jack said, kissing me on the forehead, before retrieving to the safety of the house. I sighed, deciding that trying to get the four of them to get along would be futile at this moment.

“Thank you for everything Esme,” I said, thinking about Austin’s brand new room courtesy of Esme and friends. “I don't know what I would have done without you and your family’s support these past few months. You’ve all been so kind and understanding with me and you’ve done so much to help Austin with his recovery.”

“It’s no problem dear. I’m sorry if I was a bit abrasive with your brother earlier, I guess I shouldn’t be reprehending Alice for her manners when I can’t even keep my own in check” she chuckled. “It’s just I’ve watched you, a young girl, step up to the plate and take care of your family when everything seemed to fall apart, I guess I'm just disappointed that a nineteen year old man couldn't find the courage to do the same.”

“I know.” I agreed. “I'm just hoping that now that he’s home thing’s will start getting better and he’ll be able to help me deal with Austin’s PTSD and physical therapies.”

“If he has a decent bone in his body, then he’ll finally step up and do the right thing. Anyway Bella, we’re off dear, if you need anything just give us a call and we’ll be right over, though I'm sure you’ll be hearing from Edward soon enough.” She said, giving me a suggestive smile, which just caused my cheeks to warm up. “There’s no need to be embarrassed sweetheart, you two really are cute together.” She laughed, kissing me on the cheek before joining Alice and Jasper in the car.

“Goodbye Esme.” I said, waving them off before heading back into the house.

ooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOoo

Thanks to Austin’s PTSD, his mood had become increasingly more irritable lately. I had yet to be the victim of his outbursts, but Jack was another story. Austin didn't appreciate the fact the Jack had shown up out of the blue after leaving us five months ago, but I kept insuring him that we needed Jack; we needed our family back together again.

Things hadn’t gone so smooth when Jack first went to visit Austin in the hospital.

xXx flashback xXx

“Ah, isn’t this just wonderful, the prodigal son finally decided to make an appearance.” Austin grumbled, when Jack entered his room.

“Austin, let it go” I warned.

“No Bella, he needs to hear this!” he yelled, turning his attention from me back onto Jack. “You need to smarten the hell up! I can’t believe you dared to show your face around here after what you’ve done to Bella and this family.”

“Austin.” I scolded, giving him a warning look.

“No, someone needs to call him on his crap for once! Fine, you don't support the war; then go rally your bullshit ideas somewhere else! It doesn’t matter whether or not you approve of the war, what matters is that you support your family members who are fighting in it. You may not support our decision to join, but as a member of this family you should have at least supported us. You say you love us, and were a family, so that’s all that should’ve mattered” he yelled.

“You’re just upset because I didn't enlist in the army the second I was finished school like the rest of you guys! I'm so sorry if I don't actually agree with this war! That I'm not willing to put my life on the line for something I don't believe in.” Jack fumed.

“Oh grow up Jack! Joining the army was a personal choice. None of us were pressured into it, no matter what your fucked-up mind tells you! No one expected you to enlist, what we did expect was for you to have the balls to stick around and maybe be supportive for once in your god damn life! You couldn't handle the stress, you didn't like the idea that dad was intrusting you to look after our baby-sister! You should’ve been the one here comforting her, reassuring her that it was all going to be okay! You should’ve been the one who had to deal with finding out about the explosion. You should’ve been the one here running the home front, not Bella!”

“That’s it! I came home to help out, I don't have to stand here and take this shit!” Jack fumed.

“Just face the facts, you cracked under the pressure and you bolted!” Austin yelled, as Jack bolted from the room.

xXx end of flashback xXx

Yea, that was a fun visit...

But finally, after a few heated arguments, Austin consented to letting Jack join in on our therapy session with Dr. Brideau this afternoon. I was desperately hoping that talking would be the key to patching things up between my two brothers.

Dr. Brideau thought it would be nice for Austin to get out of his hospital room for a little while, so we all agreed to meeting up at her office on the fourth floor. Austin refused to let Jack touch him, so I had to get a couple of nurses to help me lift him out of his bed and into a wheelchair so I could wheel him around. Even though Austin refused to admit it, I think he enjoyed escaping the confines of his room for a little while.

When we finally arrived at Dr. Brideau’s office, I found it to be quite quaint. It had a small oak desk, a couple bookshelves filled with medical journals, and random knickknacks floating around the room. There was also two brown leather chairs facing a small leather couch centered on an antique throw rug. Jack strolled into the room and made himself at home in one of the two chairs.

“You two wait here, I'm going to go get a soda from the vending machine.” I said, parking Austin near the end of the leather couch.

I wandered out of the room and headed in the direction of the closest vending machines. I undoubtedly needed the extra caffeine today, especially if I was going to make it through this session in one piece.

“Good Afternoon Bella, how are you doing today?” Dr. Brideau asked, meeting up with me on my way back to her office, after I had finished retrieving my soda.

“Not so well I'm afraid. In fact, I think you’re going to have your work cut out for you today, Dr. Brideau.” I sighed, reminiscing about the earlier encounter between Jack and Austin.

“In that case, we better get started.” She said, opening the door to her office. “Shall we?” she asked, signalling for me to go in first. I nodded and entered her office, sitting on the couch near Austin.

“Good afternoon gentlemen,” she said, addressing my brothers before taking a seat in the chair next to Jack’s. “I’ve been told I have my worked cut out for me today, so let’s get started.”

“So Austin, it’s been a couple of day since our last session, how have things been?” she asked, signalling for Austin to begin.

“Things have been as good as can be expected for a man with no leg.” He griped. “But, my mood had lessened in the past few days and I guess you can thank the almighty Jack-ass for that.”

I sighed, leaning back into the couch cushions. This was going to be a very long session.

“Okay Austin, since we addressed a lot of your medical issues last time why don't we work on some of your family matters today. Why don't you explain exactly why you’re so upset with Jack.” Dr. Brideau suggested.

“Why wouldn’t I be upset? Bella shouldn’t have had to grow up so fast and Jack was the reason behind that! He robbed her of her youth for God’s sake!” he roared, turning his attention towards Jack. “She should have been able to enjoy her last two years of high school to the best of her ability without having to worry about keeping our family together too! You had your chance to grow up; she should’ve had hers too!”

“So basically, you blame Jack for Bella losing her youth? Is that correct Austin?” she asked.

“Can you blame me?” he sneered.

“Is that the only reason you’re upset with your brother Austin?”

“Of course it is!” he yelled.

“You aren’t scared or intimidated or anything?” she pried.

“Of course not!” he cried, “What reason in the world would I have to be intimated by him?!”

“Austin, I can’t help you if you’re not going to be honest with yourself.”

“Well I honestly don't know what you mean doctor.” He sighed.

“Austin, all I’ve ever heard come out of your mouth since I met you has been praises for your sister. Is it possible that you feel threatened of losing your newfound sibling bond with Bella now that Jack’s returned home? That she’s not going to have enough time for you anymore?” I swear I choked when the words came out of her mouth. Is it possible that Austin’s feels threatened about how close Jack and I used to be, and he’s scared he’s going to lose his sister?

“Fine, I’ll admit that I’ve always been a little jealous of their bond growing up. I mean she’s my baby sister and I love her, but we’ve never really had an opportunity to really bond when we were kids, seeing as how we’re six years apart in age. I mean there wasn’t really an opportunity when I was off playing football with the guys while she was still running around the house playing Barbie’s. By the time she finally grew up, I was already headed off to war. I guess I'm upset because she was always closer to Jack as a kid since they got to grow up together, and he just threw that all away when he took off.”

He paused for a moment before turning his attention towards me. “Bella, I just feel like we’ve never really gotten the chance to sibling activities together. I’ve never really gotten to play the role as your older brother before and as much as everything has sucked over the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed getting to know my little sister.”

“Okay, now that we’ve addressed some of Austin’s issues, why don't you go next Jack?” she said, turning her towards my youngest brother. “Jack, how do you feel about Austin’s accusations?”

“I think he’s being a little unfair. I mean I’ll admit it might not have been the smartest decision to leave Bella here all alone...”

“Ha,” Austin scoffed, “that’s an understandment!”

“Fine, it was a really stupid idea, but I panicked! I wasn’t ready for the responsibility, and I just freaked and took off. But somewhere over the past five months, I found myself again and woke up to the realization of just how much all my actions were affecting my family. So I swallowed my pride and came back home, hoping to right a few wrongs. Is there any way you can forgive me Bella?” It was true, I could tell the man sitting before us today, wasn’t the same Jack who bolted a couple months back.

“I already have. It may not seem like it but I'm truly proud of you, Jack. It took a lot of courage to come back home.” I sighed, with tears running down my cheeks as I gave him a warm, sincere smile. “I’ll admit I was mad when you first left, but I'm happy you found the courage to return home to us, I just want our family to be whole again,”

“Thank you Bella, I'm sure your brother enjoyed hearing such an encouraging, heartfelt remark.”

“Thank you Bella, I really don't deserve to have such a forgiving sister.” Jack whispered, tears spilling from his eyes. “I'm just happy to hear I haven’t completely messed things up with my baby sister, and I want you to know that I promise I’ll never leave you again, I’ll always be here for you from this moment one.”

“Thank you Jack, now why don't we move on to another touchy subject; if you don't mind me asking, where exactly have you been for these past few months?” Dr. Brideau asked, trying to keep us on track.

“Well I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to travel the country.” He sighed, running his hand through his messy brown hair. “I traveled the northern states for a couple months before finally settling down in a small town community outside of Kansas. I know you’re going to kill me for this Bells, but as I was bumming around the town, and I ended up volunteering as I fireman, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. I just love the trill it brings, and the idea it’s helping people-”

And just like that, my happiness had become pure rage. “God damnit Jack! You were so thoroughly against joining the army how in hell’s name is this any better?!” I yelled. “What the hell is with all the men in this family and their insane need to run towards the danger instead of going in the other direction like any normal, sane man?” I yelled

“What can I say? The Swan men have a hero complex.” Austin smirked, “I'm proud of you man.” He said with sincere honesty, which was a bit shocking, seeing as how that was the first nice thing he said to Jack, since he had arrived home.

“Thanks Austin,” Jack replied, the look on his face was nothing but astonishment. Jack was a lot like me, although he didn't like to admit it, he still looked for approval from our older brothers.

“Jack why don't you continue with your story, how’d you end up back here in Forks?” Dr. Brideau asked.

“Okay, well you see I’ve wanted to come home for a while now, and after hearing about Austin’s troop and the explosion, I started making plans to return home. You see there’s a small firefighter training school in Port Angelas, so I decided I’d move back home and become a full time fire fighter.”

“That’s good boys, I think we’re starting to make progress. Bella, you’ve been fairly quiet this afternoon, is there something you’d like to share with your brothers?” she asked.

“I have a couple things to say. Jack, earlier this week you and Austin got in an argument about you not joining the army.” I sighed. “I understand that you felt like everyone was disappointed with your decision not to enlist, but you have to realize that wasn’t the case, at least for me anyways. I rejoiced at the fact that that was one less Swan man I had to worry about coming home in one piece.”

“Thank you Bella” he whispered, tears in his eyes.

“Is there anything else you would like to add Bella?” Dr. Brideau asked.

“Yea, I just have two more things to add. Firstly, I think we should all put our differences aside and celebrate the fact the Austin is here with us today. I mean, it was less than a month ago that I was struggling with the very real possibility that we might never get to see him again. So can we just ignore everything, put away our differences, and just enjoy our time together. I think we’ve all learnt in the past few weeks just how fast life can change.

“Secondly, I just wanted to say how proud of Austin I am. In just the past week that he’s been finally getting help; I’ve already seen a remarkable change in his demeanour-”

“Yea right...” Austin scoffed.

“It’s true Austin, you may not see it but I do!” I retaliated. “A week ago, you were sitting in your room, wallowing in self-pity, making everyone around you miserable. Now, I see a light of determination in your eyes. You finally have a will to fight again, for both your family and yourself! I couldn't be prouder of you Austin.” I cried, leaning over and wrapping my big brother in a warm embrace.

“Honestly Squirt, if anyone’s been the poster child for bravery these past few weeks, it’s been you. You don't know how proud you’re making all of us. I was talking to dad the other day, and he was in awe after I informed of how great of caretaker you’ve been to me. I don't think I’d be getting better this fast if it wasn’t for you and your support these past few weeks. I mean you dropped school and everything to head for Seattle when you found out I was hurt for God’s sake!”

“You’re my brother and I love you, I do anything for you. But can you do one thing for me Austin?” I asked with a pout.

“Sure Kid, just name it.” He grinned.

“Can you please try to reconcile with Jack. It would mean more than anything to be able to have my family getting along. I know our family’s not really whole without dad, Tory and Ryan, but I want them to come home to a happy, loving home, not another war zone.” I pleaded.

“I’ll try Squirt, but only because of you. And I guess the bonus would be having someone to help chase away all your little lovesick suitors.” He chuckled.

“What! What boys?” Jack asked, shifting into big brother mode.

“That’s not important Jack” I sighed. “And anyways, Austin’s over exaggerating there’s only one boy!” This was not a conversation I wanted to have today.

“So you admit then, there is a boy” he grumbled.

“God you two are too much alike for your own good!” I groaned.

“I think that’s enough for today boy’s, your sister’s love life will have to wait for another session.” Great!, I sighed.“But just one thing before you all take off; Austin, Dr. Cullen was informing me the other day on your medical progress. He said that as soon as your right leg is healed, they could start prepping your left leg for prosthetic replacement. How does that make you feel?”

“I’m excited about the idea of finally getting out of this place,” he admitted. “I think it’ll be better on all of us if I come home.”

“That’s understandable Austin. Okay guys that was a very good session, I think we definitely made progress today. I’ll see you all again sometime next week,” she said, signalling our session being over.

ooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOooOOoo

After Jack and I returned home from the hospital, I decided it would be best to take a walk and try to clear my head and calm down some of my nerves after having such an intense session with the Dr. Brideau and the guys. I didn't really feel up to being alone, so I called the one person who I knew would be able to help me salvage my day and make me see reason about the entire situation.

“Hello?” he answered after the third ring.

“Edward?” I asked.

“Hey Bella, What’s up? I thought you were spending the day with your brothers?”

“Yea but we ended things early, basically there was another huge war at the home front,” I sighed.

“Ah yes... that’s right, you guys had your therapy appointment this afternoon? How did it go? Were your brothers at it again?” he asked.

“Very crazy, but I think we made a foot in the right direction. I hate to bug you so late at night, but I'm going to take a walk, think you can sneak away for a few? I could really use you my right hand guy right about now.”

“Just name the place love, and I’ll be there as soon as I can. I doubt my family will even notice I'm gone” he chuckled.

“Thank you Edward. Why don't we meet at the park?”

“Okay, I'm leaving now so I should be there in a few.”

“Thanks again Edward. I'm really glad I can count on you.” I said.

After hanging up with Edward, I told Jack I’d be out for a little while. I threw on my coat and went to my room to find a sleeping Riley cuddled up with my Emmy-bear, sprawled out across my bed. I grabbed his leash and lifted his sleeping form off the bed, figuring he could use a little fresh air too.

Walking down the driveway, I found the cool November night air to be rather refreshing. It had snowed the day before, so there was a light snow blanket covering the ground. It was a bit chilly out, but I just shook it off and took a deep breath, letting the cool night air enter my lungs and refresh my senses. I set Riley down on the pavement and we started making our way down the road, towards the park.

After a short five minute walk, we arrived only to find the park completely empty. I guess everyone else was home enjoying a nice night in with their normal families, the thought just made me envious. I untied Riley’s leash to let him run freely around the abandoned park and made my way over to the swings. I sighed, as I brushed off the snow covered seat before sitting down and gently swaying myself back and forth, letting my senses escape to the sights and sounds of my surroundings.

I was pulled out of my reverie, when I snowball hit me in the stomach. “Hey!” I complained, whipping the snow off my coat, “what was that for?”

“Sorry love, but the opportunity was too good to pass up,” he chuckled before sitting in the swing next to mine.

I shrugged. I wasn’t okay, far from it in fact.

“Wanna talk about it?” he asked.

I shrugged again and reached up to wipe away a tear that had escaped from the corner of my eye as it traveled down my cheek. It had been a long day and I was exhausted. I sighed and leaned into Edward’s shoulder as he reached his arm around me and pulled me in close, lightly swinging us in the process.

“God Edward, I knew this was going to be a rough couple weeks, but I hadn’t anticipated world war III to break out as soon Jack re-entered the picture” I sighed, frustrated.

“Come on B, you have four siblings; you don't need me to tell you that's its normal to fight. God knows Emmett, Alice and I have had our fair share of arguments over the years...” he laughed.

“Not us Swan’s, we’ve never really gotten into any serious fights like this before. I know both of the guys have valid reasons to be upset, but I guess I was just hoping that considering the circumstances and everything, they’d both be able to put their differences aside and let things go for one night.”

“I know Bella, but there guys. Let them fight it out and get it out of there system. That’s how guys work through their issues.” Edward said, trying to sooth me.

“Yea I guess that makes sense... Thanks for meeting up with me tonight Edward. You’ve been amazing lately and I don't know what I would have done without your help over the past few weeks. It means a lot that you met up with me tonight.”

“Anytime, love. You know I’ll always be here for you.”

“Thanks Edward, and on the plus side, Austin and Jack have seemed to find at least one common interest in the fact that they both detest you.”

“Oh great, I'm overjoyed!” he groaned.

“Anyway...” I laughed, “now that I'm feeling a bit better, I think me and Riley are going to head on home and got to bed, It’s been such a long day and I'm exhausted.” I sighed, hopping off my swing and heading towards Riley who was still busy playing in the snow.

“Can I call you tomorrow, love?” Edward asked, getting up with me.

“Sure, maybe you, me and Jack can spend the day together tomorrow? It might be nice if you got along with at least one of my brothers,” I laughed.

“Sure Bella, as long as I'm with you it doesn’t matter what we do.” He said, kissing me on the cheek, before Riley and I took off for home.