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Forget Me Not

Summary:
The Cullens have left Forks, leaving Bella broken hearted and alone until a near-fatal car accident temporarily erases her memories. What happens when the one person she finds comfort with happens to be the brother of the man she can't remember? Will she regain her memories of Edward or will she find a new love with Jasper?


Notes:
This story starts around the beginning of New Moon. Rated NR-17. B/E and B/J. DISCLAIMER: All characters are the sole property of Stephanie Meyers but the story is my own.


5. Home Away From Home

Rating 3/5   Word Count 3126   Review this Chapter

Bella’s POV

A month had passed; each day bringing back a new piece of my memory. There were still a few things that remained fuzzy but the doctor felt confident that it wouldn’t be too much longer before I was back to normal. I had hoped to see the Cullens at least once since my release from the hospital but they never came. My friends from school had stopped by quite a bit to catch me up on the latest gossip that I, apparently, had to know and to insist that they be allowed to tattoo my casted arm with signatures and random thoughts. It was nice to see them, but I longed for the company of my secondary family. Charlie was holding some kind of grudge against the Cullens and flat out refused to allow me to go visit them. Enough was enough! I made up my mind that I was going to pay them a visit whether Charlie liked it or not. Now that I was eighteen I no longer feared telling Charlie exactly what was on my mind and on this particular day, it was the Cullens.

I woke up earlier than usual and made Charlie a full plate of scrambled eggs with bacon and toast on the side. It didn’t take long for the smell of the food and the freshly brewed pot of coffee to drag him out of the comfort of his bed and into the kitchen. He eyed the plate of food suspiciously before sitting down in his usual chair at the table.

“Alright Bella, what do you want?”

“Nothing,” I lied, “I just thought you might like a decent breakfast before heading out on your fishing trip.” It took him a minute to notice his fishing pole and tackle box stacked neatly in the corner by the door.

“Nice try, Bells.”

“Oh come on! I have been locked up in this house ever since I got out of the hospital.” I pulled out the chair across from him and dropped into it as dramatically as I could. He poked at the eggs and let out a sigh.

“It has been a while since Billy and I spent a day on the water.”

“I think you could use the fresh air just as much as I can.” I watched anxiously as he ran his fingers over the unshaven stubble on his chin. Say yes! Say yes! His eyes shot up to mine. A look of distrust swept across his face.

“What are your plans for today?”

“I’m not sure. I thought maybe I would go see what Alice is up to.”

“Bella, you know how I feel about you going over to the Cullens’ house.”

“Why? What is it that bothers you so much about the Cullens?” Charlie lowered his eyes to the half eaten plate of food, mumbling something before shoveling a fork full of eggs into his mouth. He purposely took his time chewing and then swallowed the food down in a quick gulp.

“Alright, but I don’t want you out too late.” Finally, he caved!

Charlie rushed through the last bit of his breakfast and was out the door within half an hour. I washed the dishes before making a mad dash for my truck. Once I was behind the wheel I was overcome with fear. I hadn’t driven alone since the accident and even with Charlie chauffeuring me around, being in a vehicle made me nervous. You can do this. Just like riding a bike. I turned the key and felt my heart jump when the engine roared to life. It took a few more mental pep talks before I had the courage to back out of the driveway. Once I was on the road it was easy. The drive was, for the most part, familiar. In the past I had a hard time finding the turn off to the Cullens’ house from the main road so I didn’t feel too much like an idiot when I overshot it and had to back up. My stomach churned as I pulled up to the house. It was even more breath-taking than I remembered. The gargantuan walls of glass reflected the warmth of the sun onto the perfectly tended flowerbeds. The tall stalks of colorful blooms accented the house with a graceful beauty as they danced in the shallow breeze. Although my truck looked out of place in such a close proximity of the house, I felt as if it belonged here.

With a deep breath, I climbed out of the seat and made my way up to the front door. I managed to knock once before Carlisle appeared in the doorway to greet me.

“Bella!” The warmth of his smile calmed the tight nerves in my stomach.

“I hope you don’t mind me stopping by unexpectedly. It’s the first time Charlie has let me out of the house.”

“You don’t need an invitation, you are always welcome here.” He took a step back, holding the door open for me.

“Thank you,” I whispered as I wandered in, taking a moment to familiarize myself with the details of each room’s layout. A baby grand piano in the room off to the side of the foyer immediately grabbed my attention. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it held some sort of significance and yet, I had no memory of it ever being in the house.

“What’s wrong, Bella?” Carlisle stood beside me as I continued to study the curious instrument.

“Have you always had that piano?”

“Yes. You don’t remember it?”

“No. Well, I don’t know. It’s so confusing the way my brain is working lately,” I sighed, the frustration building again.

Carlisle gently took my arm, leading me into the living room. I sat on the couch and dropped my head into my hands, hoping to hide the tears that were welling up in my eyes. I was tired. Tired of crying, tired of trying to remember the secrets locked away in the black abyss of my broken mind. Carlisle didn’t speak a word. Instead, he sat beside me, draping his arm around my tense shoulders. It was a losing battle, and in the end, the tears fell. I lowered my head into his chest, allowing my emotions to take over. Sobs escaped my lips as I clung to him like a lost child. The coldness of his skin penetrated the fabric of his shirt, cooling the heat in my face. I felt safe in his arms, like a daughter seeking comfort from her father. When my moment of overwhelming sadness faded, he handed me a tissue. I noticed the dampness of his shirt and immediately felt horrible.

“I’m sorry,” I sniffled.

“There’s no need to apologize. I can only try to imagine how confusing this must be for you.”

“I just don’t understand why I can remember only certain things.” I took a deep breath, twisting the moist tissue around my fingers.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Sure, but I doubt it will make any sense.”

“Just talk it out, Bella. You might surprise yourself.” He scooted back slightly, giving himself enough space to sit face to face with me. I started to sort through the blurry memories when I noticed Jasper standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

“Hi, Bella,” he said, shifting uneasily.

“How are you, Jasper?” I suddenly remembered his uneasiness around humans. It was still difficult for him to smell us after having spent so much of his immortality feeding off of human blood. It was unusual not to see Alice at his side, boosting him with moral support. Surely she could see that I was planning to come for a visit, and yet, she wasn’t here. I couldn’t think back to a time when I had been here with so few members of the family home.

“I’m good, how are you?” The strain in his voice made it obvious that I was causing him discomfort.

“Hanging in there, but I should go.”

“No, please stay,” Jasper said, his eyes darting up to mine. Despite the furrow of his brow, his request felt genuine and I certainly didn’t want to leave so soon.

“Bella is having a bit of trouble making sense of some of the memories that have returned,” Carlisle announced, updating Jasper on my latest dilemma.

“I see. In that case, let me give you your privacy.” Jasper turned to leave, muttering something so softly that it sounded like a quiet humming.

“You don’t have to leave,” I blurted out, “maybe you can help fill some of the holes in my memory.”

“I’m not sure how much help I will be, but I will try.” Jasper shrugged his shoulders. He sat in the chair across from us and flashed a wary look at Carlisle. They stared at each other for a moment, their lips barely moving. I had to assume they were talking about me which made me feel more nervous than ever. A rush of calm surged through my body, relaxing every muscle. Jasper winked at me with a smile, apparently feeling more at ease himself. I could feel myself starting to blush and tried desperately to hide it.

I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling these emotions for Jasper. I had known him for almost a year and never once had there been this awkward attraction. So why now? What was so different now that could bring on such a strong desire for the man I once looked up to as a brother figure? Maybe this attraction wasn’t new. My mind hadn’t really been dependable lately. As crazy as it might be, I wanted to smack myself in the head as a last ditch effort to bring some clarity to my out-of-tune brain. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I hadn’t noticed Carlisle and Jasper staring at me.

“Sorry,” I whispered, humiliated.

“It’s okay, Bella. Start whenever you are ready,” Carlisle replied.

“I don’t know how to explain my Swiss cheese memory. It’s like I can sense that I have forgotten something but when I try to figure out what it is, I come up empty handed.”

“Can you give us an example?” Carlisle inquired.

“Sure, your family. I remember a lot of things about each of you, but I have no clue how we first met.”

“You don’t remember Edward bringing you over to meet us?” Jasper asked, scooting to the edge of his chair, intrigue blanketing his features.

“Who is Edward?”

Carlisle and Jasper glanced at each other again, this time with a look of concern.

“Who is Edward?” I asked again.

“He is one of us, Bella,” Carlisle whispered. His eyes filled with sadness.

“Were we friends?”

“You and Edward were very close.” He seemed to choose his words carefully and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know why.

“Maybe if I see him I might remember something.”

“I’m sorry, Bella, Edward is in London.”

“When will he be back?”

“We don’t know.” Carlisle’s voice was withdrawn and full of pain.

“I’m sorry, Carlisle. I wish I could remember more.”

“I know it is frustrating for you but I am sure everything will come back to you when the time is right. In the meantime, I have been eager to try my hand at this new recipe Esme found.”

“I can’t wait,” I laughed.

“Excellent!” Carlisle jumped to his feet and disappeared into the kitchen.

“So,” I turned my attention to Jasper, “where is everyone?”

“Well, Emmett and Rosalie are in Paris on yet another honeymoon and Esme left early this morning to do a bit of shopping in Rome,” he replied, shaking his head with a smile.

“Did Alice go shopping with Esme?”

“No. She is vacationing in Europe.” I could hear the agony in his voice. Jasper and Alice were never away from each other for more than a few hours at any given time. Something was wrong.

“Sorry,” I said, unsure what I was apologizing for but knew he was hurting and I certainly didn’t want to pry. Jasper offered a simple nod then lowered his eyes to the floor. We sat in silence for what felt like an eternity, him with his eyes glued to the floor and me trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I thought I was the only one with problems but, judging by the Jasper’s behavior, I was wrong. The silence was becoming unbearable. I tried to think of an excuse to leave without making it obvious that I wanted to run away but everything that popped into my head was either stupid or extremely transparent. Jasper must have sensed my tension because he looked up at me and turned the TV on. Thank God for small favors! He flicked through the channels twice, and then settled on P.S. I Love You. I will admit I was shocked by his choice but grateful at the same time that he hadn’t chosen some testosterone filled action movie.

Ten minutes into the movie, I realized why Jasper had chosen this one. He was showing me the things he couldn’t say. Tears stung my eyes as I watched the heartbroken wife fall into a depression after losing her husband. Normally I would have been embarrassed to cry over a movie, but not this time. These tears weren’t flowing for the woman in the movie, they were there for Jasper. He wanted me to know he was hurting without having to expose his wounded heart. Although Alice wasn’t dead, his heart was mourning her. I didn’t need a detailed account of what happened, their marriage was on the rocks, if not already over. Poor Jasper. I wanted to hug him and comfort him through this difficult time but, I didn’t know how.

The credits rolled, leaving me a splotchy mess. I wiped the last tears from my eyes just in time to see Carlisle come through the doorway with a plate of food in his hands.

“I hope you like it, Bella,” his voice was eager with a hint of nervousness.

“It smells wonderful. What is it?”

“Coq au vin. Chicken in wine,” he laughed, handing me the plate with a set of silverware. I examined the dish, and then took a bite. It was beyond delicious. The pearl onions, bacon, and mushrooms gave the chicken a mouth-watering flavor that was beyond words. Carlisle set a soda down on the coffee table and waiting patiently for my critique.

“It is amazing! You are a very talented chef,” I complimented him.

“Thank you. I am glad you like it,” he beamed.

The meal was more than I could have hoped for, but the conversation lacked greatly. I decided that I would wait a little while before leaving - it would be rude to eat and run. I would just use the excuse that Charlie gave me a curfew. A rush of relief came from the sudden ringing of Carlisle’s phone. I couldn’t help but silently pray that it was Charlie calling to insist that I come home. I was half right. When Carlisle finished his call he flipped the sleek black lid closed and informed me that Charlie had agreed to extend my curfew so that I could see Esme when she got home. Apparently, she was due to be home in the next few hours.

“I have a few things I need to take care of for the hospital. Jasper, would you mind keeping Bella company for a little while?” Carlisle asked. Jasper was tense again.

“Sure,” his voice barely above a whisper. Carlisle excused himself before I had the chance to refuse the need for a babysitter.

“Jasper, you really don’t have to….”

“Would you like to go for a walk? Get out of the house for a little while?”

“Um, okay.”

Jasper darted out the French doors that lead to the backyard. When I got outside he was looking out towards the forest, his back facing me.

“I thought we would go to the lake,” he spoke with staggered breath. My hesitance to respond forced him to face me. He raised an eyebrow at me, waiting for a response. I nodded silently and nearly choked when he quickly grabbed my wrist.

“It’ll be quicker if you let me carry you.”

“O-Okay,” I stuttered.

He lifted me gently onto his back and started running away from the house. The wind whipped across my face; drying the natural moisture in my eyes to the point they burned. I could feel the sickness building in my stomach, sending the image of me vomiting on Jasper flashing through my mind. That combined with the painful stinging in my eyes was all it took to force my face into the nape of his neck. The muscles in his back tensed beneath me, sending a thrilling sensation through my body. Each breath I took teased my senses with the sweet juniper and sandalwood scent that radiated from his cool skin. The wind whisked over my head while the loud whooshing rang through my ears. I could feel Jasper’s legs push their vampiric limit. When I tightened my secured embrace on his shoulders it enticed him to run faster. My fear and anxiety melted away and suddenly, I felt free. I rested my chin over his shoulder, finding the courage to open my eyes. The lake was rushing towards us but we weren’t slowing down, in fact, I was sure we were going faster.

“Hold on!” he laughed through a rumbling growl and jumped at the embankment. I screamed with excitement as the adrenaline pulsed through my body.

Once we cleared the water, Jasper landed in a crouched position – one hand pressed flat into the grass, the other wrapped firmly around the back of my lower thigh. With trembling legs and a racing heart, I slid off his back and dropped down into the plush grass.

“That was incredible!” I panted, trying to catch my breath. Jasper grinned as he stretched out, propping himself up on his elbows.

“I guess being a vampire does have a few perks,” he laughed.

“Do you remember your life before you were changed?”

“Yeah. I can remember most of it, but a few things are a blur.”

“That sounds familiar,” I giggled. For the first time, I was able to laugh at the stressful condition of my brain. It was short-lived. The cheery smile faded from Jasper’s face and for a moment, I could feel his sadness.

“Familiar, but not the same. Your memories are coming back, mine are fading away.”

By now his face was expressionless and sadly enough, this was the Jasper I remembered the most.