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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.


23. Bowling & Froot Loops

Rating 5/5   Word Count 4520   Review this Chapter

Twenty Three. Bowling & Froot Loops

BPOV

We arrived home shortly after one to find the house completely empty. Luckily enough, though Jasper was nowhere to be found, he had thought to leave a house light on so that we’d be able to navigate our way around the house in the dark without complications. I was guessing that he had chosen to either spend the night at Alice’s or with Rosalie at their dad’s.

Since it was late when we finally got home from Seattle, we decided to all head to bed and call it a night.

It was slightly after three in the morning, and I was lying in bed still wide awake. So far it had been a long night of tossing and turning, overall just trying to readjust to sleeping alone again.

Agh! I bet I’d be able to sleep if Edward were here... Last night had been the best night sleep I’d had in quite a while; there was something that I found so soothing about Edward’s presence. It was like having him lying next to me just put my mind at ease while I slept, and something about that was very comforting. I just felt so safe lying in his arms, like nothing in the world could touch me.

Dumb brothers and their damn rules! I grumbled. If they hadn’t of nailed my window shut I’d be asleep in his arms right now, rather than lying here wide awake.

As I continued to lie here, I figured that waiting here for sleep to succumb me wouldn’t work, so I decided to get up and go downstairs and retrieve some Tylenol in hopes that the effect of the pills would induce drowsiness and allow me to succumb to sleep faster.

I sat up in bed and wrapped a comforter around my shoulder in an attempt to fight off the night chill; the house always seemed to be relatively cooler at night. Riley was lying at the bottom of my bed so I picked him up and wrapped him up in some blankets, allowing him to enjoy the warmness. I tightened the comforter closer around me and made my way downstairs.

When I got to the kitchen I reached above the stove and pulled down the green plastic basket that we kept our meds in. I placed it on top of the stove, and began rummaging through it for the plastic white bottle which contained the Tylenol. Once I had found it, I unscrewed the cap and poured some of the countenance of the bottle into my hand. I picked out two of the tablets before pouring the remainder of the pills back into the bottle.

I then walked over and retrieved the glass jug of water from the fridge. I rested it on the counter before reaching up and grabbing a clean glass from the nearby cabinet. I poured some water into the glass, making sure to take a big gulp of water before popping the two pills into my mouth.

I drank the rest of the water down greedily before putting the dirty glass in the dishwasher. I picked up the jug and was prepared to replace it back into the fridge when I was startled by the sound of a high pitched whimpering, causing me to lose grip and drop the container on the tile floor, spilling out its contents everywhere. In a rush decision I decided to forgo the clean up until later and raced towards Austin’s room.

“Austin.” I mumbled, scrambling into his bedroom to find that he was still very much asleep but in the middle of another continuously occurring night terror. “Shh... Austin, it’s just me.” I cooed, caressing his face gently with my right hand.

He obviously couldn’t hear me because he just kept thrashing around, whimpering out it pain. I moved closer to him, crawling in the bed beside him, carefully resting his head on my lap like he usually did.

“Shh- Austin, calm down hun. It’s all going to be okay, you’re safe now.” I whispered, running my fingers through his short, brown hair that had grown out quite a bit since he has been rushed to the hospital back in October. Like usual his whole body was vibrating in fear, his head shaking back and forth fiercely on my lap.

‘God, I knew bringing him with us to Seattle would come back to bite us all in the ass.’ I should’ve known that he would have been affected seeing all the returning soldiers and would automatically connect it with him losing his leg as the result of the suicide bombing that took the lives of his fellow armed men.

Ever since the nightmares had started, he has never once told me what he dreamt about that could cause such a reaction. Instead, always insisting that it would be better if I didn't know, promising me that he would discuss it in his latest therapy session with Dr. Brideau.

Tonight I could hear him continuously chanting ‘no’ under his breath, something which I had found to be a regular occurrence whenever he suffered from a nightmare quite this severe. Like usual, I sat there holding him with no real clue what the hell I should do to help him, but I did know from the many previous discussions that I had with both Carlisle and Dr. Brideau that waking him wasn’t the best idea. I was just going to have to let him ride it out because risking waking him up would just scare the shit out of him even more.

I continued to do as I usually did, continuously reassuring him that it was going to be okay and that he was safe now and that nothing was ever going to hurt him like this again. Tonight’s wasn’t quite as severe as previous ones had been; I found that lately the degree of severity had decreased ever since he had come home from the hospital and had adapted to a new routine.

I knew I should be coming accustomed to these types of episodes, but I wasn’t. Each and everyone always scared the shit out of me. It was like every time I witnessed one, a part of me screamed out in pain as I watched my brother, lie there, rifling around in agony. He was fighting his inner daemons, and no matter how much I wanted to, it was something that I just couldn't do for him. This was something he had to conquer himself and all I could do was support him and present him with the resources to help him.

Austin’s whimpering eventually subsided and gave way to a heavy, shuddering sob, as he leaned forward and anchored onto my arm as though I were a life raft and he was drowning in whatever horrors that were continuously playing out inside his head. He held a tight grip, and I knew I’d have another bruise in the shape of his hand there in the morning.

“Here why don't you let me sit with him for a while” Tory offered, standing in the doorway.

“How long have you been standing there?” I asked, confused.

“Long enough, is it always like this?” he inquired.

“Pretty much, although his attacks have been occurring less often lately, which the doctors assure me is a good sign.”

“Why don't you head up and get some sleep, I’ll take it from here.”

“Thanks Tory, night” I said kissing his forehead before going over to Austin and wrapping my comforter around him to keep him warm. I kissed him on the cheek before leaving the room.

After Tory took over for me, I made my way back into the kitchen, taking the time to clean up the pool of water off the floor before retrieving another couple of Tylenol from the cupboard. I knew taking four in the span of an hour wasn’t the smartest idea, but I was so desperate for sleep at this point that I really didn't care. I threw the Tylenol bottle back into the cabinet before scurrying up the stairs and nestling back into my bed. Within a couple minutes a welcomed darkness took over me, allowing me to finally succumb to a much awaited sleep.

*****

The morning light that streamed through my nailed-down window ended up waking me up shortly after ten. I reluctantly flipped over on my side, coming face to face with a sleeping Riley. I couldn't help but smile at the sight of my dog all snuggled up with my Emmy-bear.

“Good morning handsome,” I cooed, reaching up to scratch the favourite spot behind his ears.

As I half-heartedly got out of bed I decided that since it was a relatively cool morning, I’d just to wear one of the new pairs of yoga pant’s that Alice had picked out for me on her and Jasper’s shopping extravaganza the week before. After throwing those on, I dug through my closet for Edward’s track sweatshirt that I was able to steal after one of our previous afternoon excursions together.

My clothes seemed to be fitting looser then they usually did, but I just shrugged it off and grabbed Riley before venturing downstairs.

“Morning Bells,” Austin and Jack greeted me as I entered the kitchen.

“Morning Boys” I said, acknowledging them before I staggered over and placed Riley down by his bowls. I then proceeded to dig through the pantry, grabbing his bag of food and digging out his breakfast.

I then continued to grab the half-empty box of Froot Loops out of one of the cupboards. I was guessing Tory’s absence meant that he was either still asleep or in the process of getting ready. I grabbed a clean bowl out of the dishwasher that had still yet to be emptied out from the night before and then dug around the cutlery drawer pulling out a spoon before joining my brothers who were sitting down at the kitchen table. I realised I had forgotten the milk so I jumped up and retrieved the 2L carton of milk out of the fridge. As I rejoined my brothers at the table, I looked up from my cereal to see them both looking at me expectantly.

“What?” I asked, scooping a mouthful of soggy Fruit loops into my mouth. Mmm....

“Aren’t you going to make us breakfast?” Austin asked, staring at me, looking thoroughly confused. Well at least he had recovered from last night...

“No.” I stated, bemused as I shoved another spoonful of cereal in my mouth.

“But what about us?” he asked, bewildered. “You always make us breakfast. Aren’t you going to make us some of your famous French toast, or pancakes, or anything?!”

“Well today this is breakfast, so I suggest you both get off your asses and get a bowl if you want to eat because I'm sure as hell not going to do it for you anymore.” ‘That’s right boys, today’s the day Bella Swan takes a stand and this is what you get for nailing my damn window shut!’

“But you always make breakfast!” Jack whined.

“Guys, leave Bells alone. You two are both extremely capable of making your own damn breakfasts! Now you two need to stop taking advantage of our baby sister’s kindness and generosity and start helping out around here more.” Tory scolded, as he joined us in the kitchen. He was wearing a fresh pair of grey sweatpants and a navy blue t-shirt with ‘Army’ written across the chest. ‘I guess he had been freshening up after all...’

“Pass the Fruit Loops, Bells” Austin mumbled solemnly, as Jack reluctantly got up and retrieved two more bowls from the dishwasher.

I chuckled before gleefully passing the Froot Loops over. I was extremely glad Tory was home to put these two knuckleheads in their place.

After I was finished breakfast, I took out the clean dishes from the dishwasher before refilling it with the dirty dishes from breakfast. I turned on the radio on and was dancing around to ‘Tik Tok’ by Ke$ha, when I felt two strong arms wrap around me. “Morning beautiful,” a velvety voice mumbled before nipping at the exposed skin around my neck, causing shivers to run up and down my back.

“Morning handsome” I said, turning around to greet my glorious boyfriend. “Who let you in the house?”

“Tory.” He laughed, giving me another chaste kiss. “Well... actually Jack answered first, but then he just slammed the door shut in my face once he saw it was me, but then Tory answered it afterwards and apologized.” He laughed, hopping up so he was sitting on the cupboard beside the sink.

Tory was definitely turning out to be the most understanding of all my bothers, I was grateful that he had at least attempted to put on a good front in front of Edward.

“Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and see you. Emmett guilted Jasper and I into helping him pick out a two month anniversary present for Rose.”

“Ooh, exciting” I laughed. “Buy me something pretty?”

“Most definitely” he laughed, kissing me one more time before taking off.

“Hey Bells, where’d the boyfriend go?” Tory asked shortly when I joined him and the guys in the living room.

“He had to leave, he’s spending the day with his brother” I explained.

“So... you think your boyfriend would be willing to relinquish his car again tonight?” Tory inquired.

“Why?” I asked warily.

“The guys and I were thinking we’d have a family night, get out for a little bit. I don't think you’d appreciate it if we all squeezed into your truck”

“I’m sure he wouldn’t have a problem with that but Austin and Jack are going to have to start going easy on him, he’s done a lot for this family and he doesn’t deserve their nonsense.” I warned.

“Pfft, what a sissy.” Jack laughed, “What’d he do? Go complaining to his little girlfriend.”

“I’m sure Jack and Austin can handle being nicer around Edward. Why don't you invite him over tomorrow?”

“Noo!” Jack and Austin both moaned, not liking Tory’s idea one bit.

“Well I have yet to really meet the young gentleman who’s managed to woo our sister’s affection, other than letting him in after you so rudely through the door in his face!” he snapped looking pointedly at Jack, making him sheepishly look away. “Why don't you bring him over tomorrow and we’ll play a game of football.”

I grimaced just thinking of all the ways my brothers could hurt Edward in a game of football, especially since when it comes to sports, they like to go all out.

“What’s the matter squirt, scared your guys gonna get hurt?” Austin chuckled.

“No, I just want to make sure you’ll all be on your best behaviour, Edwards means a lot to me and I don't want you hurting him.” I explained.

“Don't worry, you just bring the boy over tomorrow and we promise to behave,” Tory assured me.

My brothers were relentless until I finally gave in and agreed to bring Edward over tomorrow after lunch so they could get to know him better.

I spent the rest of the morning cleaning around the house, getting care packages ready to send to Ryan and Dad, and looking up information about Austin’s rehabilitation process once his cast comes off next week. Lucky enough for me, since football was finished for the season, Emmett, the best friend that he is, had wholeheartedly agreed to help Austin regain the strength in his right leg so that he’d be able to start using crutches. If all went well, he’d soon be able to be fitted for a prostatic leg.

“So baby don’t worry, you are my only,
You won’t be lonely, even if the sky is falling down,
You’ll be my only, no need to worry,
Baby are you down down down down down,
Down, Down,”

“Hello?” I said, answering to my cell phones ring tone. ( Down by Jay Sean )

“Hey girlie, long time no see.” Rosalie greeted me.

“I know things have been crazy lately, I miss hanging out with my bestie.”

“I know, which is why tomorrow were having a girl’s day, just you and me. Alice won’t be around since she and Jazz are taking a day trip down to Seattle.”

“Sounds fun, but I already had plans with my brothers tomorrow, they plan on getting to know Edward with a good old fashion game of Swan-style of football. I’ve to be around to make sure they don’t beat the crap out of Edward.”

“Sounds like fun,” she sighed, sounding a little left out. Lately with everything that’s been going on, I haven’t really had the time to hang out with Rose and the guys like I used to. Other then Edward and Jasper who I saw on a daily basis around the house, the other were feeling neglected.

“Why don't you and Emmett join us tomorrow... who knows, maybe they’ll actually behave if you and Em are around.”

“Sounds like a plan!!” she cheered. Rose and I exchanged a few more pleasantries before hanging up to get ready for a night on the town with my brothers.

At first a night with the guys didn't really sound to appealing to me, seeing as how I was going to have to spend another night without Edward, but I shook it off, I was long overdue for a family night. I would spend tomorrow with Edward anyway, and if he was going to end playing football with the guys, than it was definitely in my best interests to butter them up tonight by spending time with them.

*****

In the olden days, before my brothers were sent on tour in Iraq, we all used to love spending Friday nights bowling. Although it sounded random, it was actually the one thing that every town our family was posted to had in common. Bowling always seemed to give us a sense of normalcy. That’s how the tradition started, and why Friday nights became bowling nights.

So basically that’s what prompted Austin, Jack, Tory and I to head down to the small bowling alley in Port Angelas to play a little two on two.

My brothers were already bowling addicts before I was even born so it wasn’t to anyone’s surprise that it would obviously rub off on me. When I was finally old enough, my brothers had brought me down to one of the local bowling allies in Texas to try and teach me everything they knew. (Try’ being the key word.)

My brothers had always been pro at the game, and it was unfortunate that I wasn’t blessed with the same bowling gene that they had been graced with. Even though I may not be considered the greatest bowler, it didn't really matter to me, what mattered was that it was more of an opportunity to spend time and have fun with my brothers.

As soon as we entered the alley, the guys wheeled Austin over to the canteen to order a pizza and pick up snacks, leaving me to get a lane and the rental shoes.

The bowling alley wasn’t too busy and for a small town place it was rather nice, although it did have a questionable smell... but overall, it had a very ‘homey’ atmosphere compared to some of the others shit holes we’d previously visited.

“Hi! How can I help you?” asked the way too chipper male employee, who was overseeing the shoe rental desk. I tried to ignore the fact the he was bluntly staring at my chest, not even bothering to put on a pretence that he wasn’t.

My previously smiling face fell to a scowl. God, could he make it any more obvious that he was checking out my chest? I subconsciously folded my arms over my chest, trying to hide them from his view as best as possible. Eyes up here pretty boy!

“Um... can I rent a lane and get four pairs of shoes, please? An eight, a ten and an eleven.” Grimacing as the pervert continued to stare. It wasn’t that he was sneaking a peak here in there, but he was full out gawking!

“Absolutely, beautiful” he winked, turning around to get the shoes off the racks behind him.

“Thanks,” I replied meekly, still very much repulsed. God, three brothers and not one of them could’ve stuck around to help me?!

“Anything else I can do for you tonight?” he asked in a low voice, trying to sound seductive but failing miserably.

“WHAT THE HELL!” I heard someone roar behind me, I guess my brothers had finally clued into this creep’s lame attempts at picking up their sister. “Is this asshole bothering you, Bella?” Jack asked, storming over.

But I didn't have time to respond before Tory joined in. “Dude, I swear to god if I ever catch you staring at my sister again I’ll drag you sorry ass over this counter and knock down every single bowling pin in this place with your head” he threatened.

“Umm-” the boy shuddered, looking panicked.

“Guys the creep’s not worth it. If you still want to bowl then you better lay off or we’re all going to get kicked out.” I said, trying to calm down. Sad thing is, it wouldn’t be the first time we got kicked out of somewhere because of my one of my brother’s childish antics.

“Fine, but stay away from our baby sister!” Jack spat at the guy, before leading me towards our lane, leaving Tory and Austin to gather the shoes.

“You okay Bells?” Jack asked all concerned, once we got situated at our lane.

“Yea, I'm fine, just glad you showed up when you did. That guy was seriously giving me the creeps” I shuddered.

“Don't worry, we got your back!” Tory said, wrapping me in a warm embrace.

“Some of us more than others” Austin said sadly, staring down at his missing leg.

“Hey! Look at me!” I said, grabbing his chin so he was facing me. “I have no doubt you would’ve ran him over with your chair if he would’ve threatened me, I'm just as grateful for you as I am for the other two overprotective weirdoes”

“Okay,” he mumbled, looking a bit more chipper.

“Okay, that’s enough sulking for one night boys; it’s time to bowl!” I cheered, “Let’s have a nice, clean game.” I instructed, moving to put on my bowling shoes.

While my brothers were tying up their shoes, well everyone with the exception of Austin who was going to have to stay in his chair, I grabbed the scoring sheet with the intention of writing down the teams.

But as I glanced at the sheet I had to fight the urge to rolls my eyes. In the upper hand corner of the sheet was the pervert’s number. I quickly ripped it off and throwing it in the garbage before my brother’s see, Austin caught the action though and sent me a confused look, but I just shrugged it off turning my attention back towards the sheet. The last thing I needed was one of my brothers to cause a scene.

When the game first started up the guys were playing it up, throwing a few tricks in an attempt to impress the girls that were openly gawking at them.

At first I was a little sceptical about how Austin was going to be able to bowl, but I’ll admit he was doing just fine. Obviously he wasn’t bowling his usual 100%, but every time it was his turn to bowl he would wheel himself over to the end of the lane, lean down from his chair and let the ball rip down the lane, usually making contact with most of the pins.

Tory and Jack didn't take it easy on him either; they knew that it would just insult him if they did, so they all played like normal, like nothing changed. They both treated him like nothing was wrong, and I could tell he appreciated it. Tonight he wasn’t a cripple; he was simply just another one of the guys.

“Come on, Jack! God, would ya throw it already!” Austin complained. I chuckled at his griping as I watched Jack finally let go of the ball that he’d been holding for the past five minutes, bowling a perfect strike.

“Strike!” he cheered, throwing his fists up in the air in victory.

“Whatever,” Austin griped, pouting like a toddler.

“Its okay big brother, you can’t win ‘em all” Jack taunted, in a mocking voice causing all of us to laugh.

Finally it was my turn. While my brothers opted for the heavier balls, I preferred the lighter ones seeing as how the heavier ones tended to hurt my arms and cause them to be sore for a couple days after.

I lined my feet up with the line before squatting down like a child would do. I then proceeded to stick my butt in the air, clenching the ball with both hands I heaved the ball back and threw it down the lane. My aim immensely sucked and I ended up throwing it strait in the gutter, causing all my brothers to quietly snicker in their seats, I repeated the same thing another time, causing the same thing to happen.

On my last ball, I was so frustrated that I didn't even bother with the squatting, instead throwing it down the lane as hard as I could, knocking down half the pins. Unfortunately for me, the ball had bounced into the neighbouring lane and knocked down their pins instead of my own.

“Shut up,” I grumbled, sulking over to the bench, trying to ignore the cackles coming from my brothers who were all laughing their heads off.

On my second turn, I made sure to aim the ball before throwing it, but due to the weight of the ball and my obvious weakness, it didn’t make it very far down the lane before falling into the gutter.

I turned around and returned to my seat defeated, yet again.

On my final turn, I finally made contact. I let out a squeal and jumped up and down like a fool, “I did it! I knocked down a pin!” I cheered proudly causing my brothers laughing at my childish antics.

After one game, I grew tired of playing, so the boys just played singles. I just sat down and kept score, just enjoying watching them.

My brothers continued to play, trying to one up each other every turn. I’ll admit it was fun watching my brothers fool around and enjoy themselves. Every one of them was trying to show off, bowling strike after strike continuing to add more and more tricks into their moves.

Overall it was a pretty sweet night and I was anxious about what tomorrow would bring for me, Edward and my brothers.