When journalist Bella Swan discovers Edward's long kept secret, how they manage their attraction for each other begins to take a twist. How much will they be willing to sacrifice to be with their hearts' perfect match?
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Chapter 2: Amends
I woke up with a pounding headache the next morning. I saw it as a sign of things to come.
I sighed and rolled over to turn off the whoooosh-ing of my alarm clock. It was supposed to be a soothing waterfall; however, I found that it was, in fact, nothing more than a loud, white noise kind of sound. How that was supposed to be soothing and pleasant to wake up to, I’ll never know.
I stared at the white ceiling above my head as I dreaded the day ahead of me. I got lost in my thoughts and started to drift off to sleep again, but Jacob woke me up with a quick tap on the door.
“Morning,” I mumbled as he came in and lay down on the bed next to me.
“I notice you don’t say good morning today,” he laughed.
“Just let me go back to sleep and forget this day was ever supposed to happen,” I grumbled, pulling a pillow to cover my face.
“Don’t think I can do that,” he chuckled as he pulled the pillow away.
“Whyyyy?” I whined like a two year old.
“Well, Bella,” he began patronizingly, “you would get fired.”
I scowled at him.
“It’s almost worth it,” I growled as I threw the blankets back and sat up to face him. “You know, it’s not fair that you get to stay here in your nice little cubicle while I have to go back to Forks alone to face my dad, your dad, and the rest of the town. You know how that place is, everyone will be whispering, pointing, and giving me dirty looks all week long- and it’s all your fault!”
Jacob threw up his arms in defense. “What do I have to do with this?”
“All the whispering, pointing, and dirty looks–that’s what. They’re going to think I up and left you already,” I teased.
When Jacob and I left Forks, it had been a common rumor that we were moving to Seattle so that we could be together romantically. It was no secret that, for many reasons, my father vehemently disapproved of Jacob and I becoming involved romantically. Like everyone else in town, he couldn’t understand that the only relationship Jacob and I would ever, could ever have was a friendship. Us moving away together cast some kind of small-town evil on us both.
Also, some people believed that I had wronged Jacob’s father. After high school, Jacob was expected to take over as owner/operator of his father’s store, which sold bait, tackle, and other fishing supplies. Mr. Black never realized that Jacob had no interest in following in his footsteps, regardless of whether or not we had moved away. I’m not really sure how I managed to be blamed for that.
“You would leave me?” he asked with wide, puppy dog eyes. Through the years, the talk of the town had become a joke between the two of us.
I just laughed at the ridiculous story and threw my legs over the side of the bed to stand and go to the shower.
I took my time in the shower; the hot water was far too relaxing to be rushed. As I dried my hair, I checked the time on the clock. 8:14. I was supposed to be at the car rental place at 10:00 to pick up the car I was to use for the week. I started to wonder if Jacob was still here, then I took a deep breath and smiled at the delicious scent of pancakes in the air. I dressed quickly and hurried out to the kitchen.
“Jacob, you are amazing,” I said as I looked at the plate he set in front of me, piled high with four pancakes with a side of bacon, and a glass brimming with orange juice off to the side.
“Hey, something about this day has to be good, right?” He smiled as he took his own plate off the counter and sat down beside me.
I shrugged and nodded, unable to speak due to the huge bite of pancakes already in my mouth.
We enjoyed our breakfast in silence for several minutes, too caught up in the delicious food to think of anything else, but he finally set his fork down and looked across the table at me. Following his lead, I put mine down too.
“I hate to bring it up,” he began slowly, “but does your dad know you’re coming?”
I sighed deeply, turning my attention back to my food and pretending not to hear him.
“Seriously, Bella, he’s going to find out you’re there whether you tell him in advance or not. It might be best to give him a heads up.”
I grimaced at the thought, knowing he was right.
We finished our breakfast in silence, me taking extra time to push bits of pancake around my plate, mopping up extra syrup. Jacob gave me a pitying look before going to my bedroom and returning with my phone. He sat it in front of me on the table and shrugged.
“You’ve gotta do it,” he told me, taking both of our plates to the sink.
I watched him as he rinsed off the plates and put them in the dishwasher. Pouting, I also watched him as he cleaned the rest of the kitchen.
“Bellaaa…. Call him!”
My only response was to cross my arms on the table in front of me and scowl at my phone. I knew I was being immature, but I couldn’t find it in me to care.
After a few minutes, Jacob sat down beside me. Waving my phone in front of my face, he said, “Bella......seriously.”
“Noooo,” I sighed, burying my face in my arms on the table.
“Uh-oh! It’s ringing!” Jacob announced with an evil tone in his voice.
My eyes bugged out and my head popped up off the table. Much to my dismay, Jacob was holding my phone to his ear.
“Jacob! You didn’t!” I cried, snatching the phone out of his hand and checking the number on the screen. It read “Charlie” in the taunting block letters across the phone with the unfamiliar number underneath.
I shot Jacob a death glare and held the phone to my ear. Holding the phone to my ear, I glared at Jacob, wishing I could inflict physical pain with only a look.
“Hello?” The deep, somber voice of my father came through the phone.
“Um, hi Dad.”
“Dad?” I asked, checking my phone to make sure that we were still connected.
In an instant, his voice seemed to have gone up an octave- probably due to the shock of hearing from his daughter again. I typically called him only on Christmas and he only called me on my birthday, if he wasn’t busy. Even then, our conversations lasted no more than a minute.
“Hey…” I started, unsure. What do you say to someone you really only talk to out of obligation? “How are you?”
“I’m fine,” he said stoically.
I rolled my eyes, searching for something else to say. It always seemed that there was an awkward silence attending our conversations.
“How is work?” I asked lamely.
“We’re busy. I guess you heard about the murders a few days ago.”
“Um, yeah actually, that’s why I was calling.”
I heard him sigh on the other end of the phone. Knowing I needed to give him my explanation, I continued.
“The Seattle Times is actually doing a story on it for next week’s Sunday paper. They are sending me up there to cover it and do a little digging of my own.”
He grunted his acknowledgment and I took that as a sign to continue.
“I’m going to be up there around two today.”
Having said everything I needed to tell him, I sat back in my chair and made eye contact with Jacob. I knew the look he was giving me--he wanted to know what was going on. I just shrugged in return.
“Well, then, I guess I’ll see you around, Bella,” he said. “Thanks for letting me know.”
“Alright, see you,” I replied.
I heard a click signaling that he had hung up, so I snapped my phone shut and threw it at Jacob.
“Happy?” I asked.
“Not until you tell me what he said!” Jacob retorted.
“He doesn’t care!” I practically shouted. “He just said ‘see you around’ and that was the end of it!”
He frowned in sympathy and sighed. “I’m sorry, I really thought he might react differently.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t expect anything different,” I said sulkily.
Charlie’s disinterest in my visit just made me dread going even more. Was it really too much to ask for him to be a little excited that I was coming?
“Alright, well, I’ve got to go to work,” Jacob said, glancing at the clock. “Promise you’ll call me when you get there, okay?”
“Yes, mom,” I said teasingly. Sometimes he acted just like my mother with his worrying.
He laughed and threw his tie around his neck, tying it in less time than it took me to blink, but leaving it crooked and loose.
He hugged me before he left, wishing me a good trip as he walked out the door. Doubtful.
Glancing at the clock, I realized that I had less than an hour till I had to be ready to leave. I sighed, remembering that I hadn’t even packed yet. Luckily, I’m low maintenance. Throwing a few pairs of jeans along with some slacks for any meetings I might set up, a few blouses and some t-shirts into my suitcase completed my clothes for the week. I went into the bathroom and swiped everything off the counter into my blue travel bag and threw that in on top of my clothes. I started going down through my drawers to make sure I didn’t forget anything. Top drawer- socks and underwear. Check. Second drawer: Shirts. Check. Third Drawer: Pants. Check. I almost didn’t even bother opening the bottom drawer- it was where I kept things I didn’t ever wear- but I decided to check to make sure there was nothing I needed down there.
I opened it and pawed through the clothes, unsure of what I was looking for. I was about to shut it and close my suitcase, but something stuffed into the back corner caught my eye. It was purple and lacy and definitely something I never wore. I remembered it as a tiny nightie my mother gave me several birthdays ago, just after I told her Jacob and I were living together. I never wore it for fear Jacob would choose that morning to come into my room to wake me up. I don’t think I would’ve ever been able to look him in the eye again. Picking the garment up, I decided that I might finally try it out. After all, there would be no risk of someone sneaking into my room in the middle of the night in Forks.
Taking that, along with a couple extra pairs of socks, I finished up my packing a zipped the lid of my suitcase shut. I took my suitcase out into the hallway and set it next to the door, unfortunately catching a glimpse of my face in the mirror in the hall. I used my hands to brush my hair back out of my face, but it didn’t help. I went back into my bathroom and ran a brush quickly through my hair and put on a small amount of makeup. Taking in my reflection, I decided that I was as good as I was going to get. After calling for a taxi, I slipped on a pair of comfortable shoes and left the apartment.
My taxi driver was overenthusiastic about Forks when I told him where I was going. He spent the entire drive going on and on about the scenery, the people, even the layout of the town. I spent the drive contradicting every good thing he said with something negative of my own invention in my head. When I finally got out of the taxi, I was even more depressed about going.
My mood was lightened considerably when I saw the car the company rented for me. I had never even ridden in a BMW, much less driven one for a week, so I was a little excited. All I had to worry about was messing it up somehow. Luckily, though, my driving capabilities are better than my walking capabilities. Stories about me tripping, falling, or running into things are practically legendary in Forks. With that, I had just thought of another reason to dread my trip.
The welcome sign for Forks came way too soon. I was hoping for at least another hour in the car, but I had no suck luck. Five minutes after the welcome sign, I was pulling into the Super 8 Motel. Classy. Apparently Forks still didn’t have a Hilton, but I wasn't going to complain as long as I wasn't staying with Charlie. Luckily, the fact that the company paid for my hotel kept me from an awkward stay in Charlie's house.
It was only a little after two in the afternoon when I collapsed onto the squeaky bed in my hotel room, but I didn’t know what to do for the rest of the day. The only thing I knew for certain is that I didn’t want to see Charlie yet. I had tried to rationalize not going down to the police station this afternoon because I would be in town too late, but you could hardly call two o’clock late.
I spent 20 minutes putting my clothes into the dresser in the room, then another ten taking another shower, but the time still didn’t seem to pass quickly enough. At three, I forced myself to put the story file into my bag and leave the hotel to go down to the police station.
Having been there so many times as a child, I had no trouble finding it. Over the course of the five minute drive, I think just about every person in town stared at my car going down the road. Thankfully, the dark tint on the windows kept anyone from seeing who was driving the car.
When I pulled in the parking lot of the police station, I said a silent prayer that no one would recognize me. Taking a deep breath and getting out of my car, I realized that my prayers definitely were not answered. Right away, I noticed two officers standing next to a police cruiser stop talking and stare at me as I walked inside.
I had slightly better luck with the receptionist, who did not recognize me, therefore, did not think it strange when I asked to speak with Chief Swan rather than asking to speak with my father. She directed me around the corner to his office, where the door stood ajar.
I tapped the door lightly with my knuckles before pushing it open. Charlie’s head popped up out of some paperwork and an expression of uncertainty covered his face. He looked a little older- more lines and wrinkles- and he looked a little heavier, but overall, he was the same. I could tell he was shocked to see me, but I tried to act like it was nothing strange.
“Hey Dad,” I greeted him in a forced casual tone.
“H- um- hey,” he stuttered in return, almost tripping over his words. “Sit down.”
I pulled the chair out from the corner and closer to his desk and sat.
“How was the drive?”
“It was fine,” I told him. “They gave me a nice car for the trip.”
He just nodded. Things with Charlie were definitely awkward.
“So... do you need to get started on your story?” He asked.
“Oh yeah,” I said with a start, jumping for my bag. “Would you mind looking over this file they gave me? I just want to make sure I’ve got my facts straight before I try to get any new information.”
“Sure,” he agreed, taking the folder and beginning to shuffle through the papers. “We can also give you a copy of the police report and some of the other information that we have, if you want.”
“That would be great.”
He removed a stack of papers from on top of another manila envelope and handed it to me.
“These are all the public files. You can take a look and make copies of the ones you need while I took over the information you have,” he instructed me. “You remember where the copy machine is, right?”
I nodded and took the papers he handed to me. Most of the papers were the originals of copies I already had in my folder, but there were a few new ones. I picked those out of the rest and took them down to the small workroom that adjoined the break room in the back of the building.
While I was waiting on the copies, I watched the local news running silently on a channel in the adjoining break room. It was nothing really interesting- local news around here never was. I was about to turn to go back to the copier when two men entered the break room. One, I recognized as an old friend of my father’s, the other was a burly man that I didn’t recognize.
“Hey, Fred,” I called casually across the room.
“Well if it isn’t the police chief’s daughter!” He exclaimed happily, coming over to where I was standing. He had always been friendly, and even if he didn’t think the best of me now, he wasn’t the kind of man to be rude to someone he used to know.
“How are you?” I asked pleasantly.
“Oh, I’m just fine,” he said with a shrug. “There’s a lot going on here recently.”
“I’ve heard,” I said, nodding. “The Seattle Times sent me to write a story on those murders.”
He raised his bushy eyebrows while he nodded.
“Oh, Bella, I guess you haven’t met our newest addition to the police force,” he began, waving the burly man over from across the room. “This is Emmett Cullen. His family moved here about a year ago from up North. Emmett, this is Bella Swan, Chief Swan’s daughter.”
He stuck out his meaty hand and I shook it while he grinned down at me. He looked more like a professional football player than anyone I had ever seen. It was hard to get over his enormous size, but when I finally did, I noticed something else strange about him. He had the palest skin of anyone I had ever seen. It was a sharp contrast to the dark uniform he wore and to the dark mop of curly brown hair on his head. He was very attractive- easily one of the most attractive people I had ever seen outside of a magazine- and his eyes were the strangest color of shimmering honey.
“It’s nice to meet you, Bella,” he said happily while he grinned with a row of perfect white teeth.
“Nice to meet you, too,” I replied. If Emmett had heard any of the negative gossip floating around about me, he didn’t let it show.
Just then, Charlie came in the door, glancing around the room curiously.
“There you are, Bella,” he sighed. “I was starting to wonder where you had gone.”
“I’m sorry. I was just talking to Fred and meeting Emmett Cullen. I’ll go grab those papers,” I said, excusing myself to the workroom where my papers were sitting in the copier waiting for me.
After I picked up my copies, I followed Charlie back to his office, where he handed me back my folder.
“Looks like you’ve got a pretty good start there,” he told me, nodding toward the stack in my hands. “There’s nothing wrong with any of the information.”
“Alright, thank you,” I said, stuffing the folder back down into my bag.
“We’re going back up the mountains where the bodies were found tomorrow,” he said hesitantly. “You want to tag along?”
I could tell by his tone that he was hoping I would say no, but what kind of reporter would I be then?
“Sure! I’d love to,” I said confidently. “When do I need to be here?”
“Ten tomorrow morning,” he said grudgingly.
“Thank you!” I chirped, excited by this opportunity.
I got up and put the chair back in the corner, preparing to leave, but I thought of something right as I opened the door.
“What are you doing tonight for dinner?” I asked slowly.
He looked at me curiously before slowly answering. “Well, I was just planning on reheating some potato soup.”
“Why don’t you come with me to that old diner you used to like so much?” I asked.
He smiled for the first time since I had seen him.
“Sure. Seven sound ok?”
“Sounds great,” I smiled. “See you then, Dad.”
I practically bounced back outside to my car. I don’t know why I had decided to have dinner with Charlie. I think, perhaps, I was hoping to mend our relationship somewhat. Having taken a step in that direction, I felt great about it. Also, I was excited about going up to the mountains tomorrow with the police to check out the area again. I had been wondering how I would find it by myself, but my father had provided the perfect opportunity to check it out and ask questions at the same time. At this moment, Forks didn’t seem to be so bad.