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Twelve years ago Edward left Bella thinking she would be safe and happy away from the dangers of his world. She wasn't. How can he make it up to her?
Each chapter written from a different POV with some overlap as the same incident is seen from a different perspective. Some new characters of my own imagination.
You know, all the recognisable characters are not mine. They belong to Stephanie Meyer and I hope I've used them in the spirit in which she created them.
12. Bella - Jamie Somers
Word Count 5449
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I just couldn’t believe how much I loved the house. I loved the fact that most of the work had been done by hand, that they had searched for materials, and worked so hard because they knew I would prefer it that way. And it had all come together so beautifully, it was so much my taste. And even to the point of designing the porch just for me so I didn’t have to use the steps! I couldn’t wait to discover what the finished bathroom would look like. No doubt he was going to go overboard, making sure that it was exactly right for me, but since he went to so much effort to take account of my sensibilities I didn’t have the heart to be upset.
Speaking of upset: well I wasn’t exactly ‘speaking’, but I was thinking. Jake was very upset with me. I knew he would be and he didn’t know the full extent of my involvement with the Cullens. He was going to be livid.
And what was bugging him? I knew he didn’t like the Quileute, but surely he understood that I owed them so much love and friendship that it could never be repaid? I only hoped that he didn’t give me an ultimatum. My heart would choose him every time, but my head would choose Jake and his family, my family.
I tucked into my snack, thinking, well worrying actually, would it all go pear shaped so quickly? I really hoped not, not just because I didn’t know how I would be able to keep my promise if I were to lose him again, especially so soon after just getting him back.
I had taken the last sip of my drink when I realised that I needed some human minutes. I also needed to get his attention. I wondered if he had noticed, I hadn’t until that very moment but I hadn’t said, or thought his name since we met again.
“Edward?” Did he know how hard that was for me to say?
“Yes, love” well that was good news; I was still ‘love’.
“Is there anything plumbed into the bathroom?”
“Ah, erm, no. I’m afraid you’ll have to come with us to the house. Carlisle can carry you in for the benefit of any neighbours who might be watching.”
So he, no, Edward, Esme, Carlisle and I climbed into his, Edward’s car while Alice and Jasper ran back home. As expected, they were there before us.
Carlisle carried me straight to the bathroom and told me to shout when I was ready so that Edward could collect me. I decided against that. I had barely been allowed to walk two steps this afternoon and if that kept up I would stiffen up real bad. Of course that might be the plan so that he – I had to stop that - Edward had an excuse to force me into the Jacuzzi.
I shuffled slowly back to the room from which I could hear voices. I couldn’t make out most of what was said but I did hear “Damn it, you were supposed to shout when you were ready to leave” as Edward appeared besides me and lifted me into his arms before I could react.
“Actually” I tried to sound snooty, “I wanted to see how well Carlisle’s back support worked and until you came and spoilt my test, it was going remarkably well. It is very good Carlisle, thank you” I said as I looked him.
Carlisle smiled his appreciation.
“It is amazing the satisfaction that comes from working on a problem and solving it in a unique and beneficial way” Esme said. “I would never have thought of trying to source our materials the way we have if Edward hadn’t insisted we spend as little as possible.”
“Personally, I prefer to shop at Neimen Marcus or Bloomingdales rather than the second hand shops of Alaska” Alice disagreed.
“It was a pleasant change having to think of something a little differently to usual” Jasper agreed with Esme.
“I’ve spoken to Emmett” Carlisle changed the subject. “He and Rosalie will come back tonight. They are both going to the university tomorrow as originally planned. Sorry Jasper, but it looks like you’re going to have to stop them destroying the house.”
“At least I won’t have to start the semester alone, which would have been very odd.” For some reason Jasper sounded resigned, Alice laughed and he, I mean Edward, sniggered.
“What is going on?” I asked absolutely baffled.
It was Esme who replied. “Rosalie and Emmett had a little falling out. They went to Forks for some privacy while they tried to sort out their differences. They appear to have succeeded.”
“I don’t know who would have been the worse company if they hadn’t” Edward added.
Edward kept me sitting in his lap, supporting my back and shoulders with his own very flexible, but solid body. When I felt that I was getting stiff, he moved me to a slightly different position, moving the pressure points. He did it so naturally, and apparently without thought, that I didn’t notice it at first. But after I had been sitting in his lap for over an hour and I still hadn’t seized I noticed a bit more of what he was doing. I decided to test my new back support some more and snuggled into his body rather than just be supported by it. I was very comfortable.
“Bella, Bella love. You need to wake up. Come on, love, you’ve been in this position too long, you’ll be stiff even with the back support.”
I came to, to realise that I was indeed stiff. I moved and tried to stretch.
“Er, ow, ah! It’s not too bad. Actually, it really isn’t too bad. Carlisle, you are a genius.” I was very impressed with the support. School was going to be so much easier, if only I could get a couple of different tops.
“Thank you. Would you mind if we quoted you in the advertising, using your stage name of Jamie Somers, of course?”
“What do you mean, ‘stage name’?” I asked puzzled. I knew that I had heard of the name Jamie Somers before, but I couldn’t find the link.
“In the medical circles you are known as Jamie Somers, the Bionic Woman. When I told Andrew that the scans he looked at were for Jamie Somers, he asked if he could come and see you for himself. He said he would like to consult officially on your case and, naturally, he would be honoured to do it free, especially if he could brag to his colleagues that he was consulting on the Jamie Somers case.”
“You are kidding me? People actually want to work on me for free?”
“Yes, I was surprised seeing the cost of all your operations in your file. Most hospitals would have been pleased to arrange the surgeries at a much lower cost provided they could write them up in the medical journals. That is why a comment from Jamie Somers saying how good the garment back support is will persuade the manufacturers to provide you with a new support whenever needed, and donate twenty per cent of the retail price for every unit sold to a charity.”
“Goodness, I had no idea I was so famous. Could you ask if I could have a couple more of these tops, one in grey and one in navy and I’ll wear it for a week at school and give you a glowing recommendation. Hey, perhaps you could get the mattress, and bathroom fittings ‘as used by Jamie Somers’ so you don’t have to pay full cost Edward” I said half jokingly.
“Too late, I’ve already ordered them. How are you really feeling? Would you like to get in the Jacuzzi for ten minutes or so and I’ll fix you something to eat?”
I considered Edward’s offer. Even though I didn’t feel too bad, ten minutes being gently massaged in hot bubbly water did sound rather good. I agreed.
Alice supervised my soaking while Edward fixed my dinner.
“Do you know what upset Edward during your ‘phone call?” Alice asked almost casually.
“I assume it was the fact that I’m still so close to Jake and his family.”
“No, I don’t think it was that, although it wouldn’t have helped. He was more scared than upset. Perhaps he thinks you won’t come back. You’ll have to talk to him and find out. That’s one of the jobs of being a mate. Mate trumps sister, but sister still wants to know.”
“I’m chucking him out again tomorrow for a few hours so I can finish my school work without worrying about him being bored, or hovering. You can ask him then.”
“Nope, not unless you have already talked to him. Are you going to?”
“I’ll talk to him tonight” I promised gloomily.
“Remember, Bella, you hold all the power now. Edward will do whatever you want. You just have to make sure he knows what you want.”
I nodded to show I had heard, but I still didn’t quite believe it. How could I have even some of the power, let alone all of it? All the vampires said that Edward could not leave me again since he loved me and would always love me, and while I wanted and needed him he would not be able to leave me. It sounded very similar to the Quileute’s imprinting. If that was the case, then I did hold the power. My looks, age and health would have no impact on his feelings, Edward would be and do whatever I needed. The only problems would come when Edward’s view of what I needed went against what I knew I needed. At least the Quileute wolf automatically knew what their mate needed, even if it was something completely different to what they wanted.
My problem was that I still did not believe that he would stay.
I was lying in my bed, my massage programme was switched on, and Edward was kneeling on the floor with his head besides mine on the pillow and one arm around me. A human would have been very uncomfortable like that for any length of time.
“What bugged you about my ‘phone conversation with Jake? Was it because you realised how close I still am to Jake and his family?”
He was silent for so long that I began to wonder if he was going to ignore my quiet questions.
“No, although I did not appreciate hearing you tell Jacob Black, your former lover, that you loved him, or hearing him return the sentiment. No, my main worry is your promise to stay until the end of the school year. I am frightened about what happens after that.”
“I see. Yes, the end of the school year.” All was now clear. I did indeed hold much of the power, at least at the moment. “I don’t know what happens after that yet.”
“I wondered if that was the case. Do you know what the options are yet?”
It was my turn to think before I answered. Was this the right time for that discussion?
“I know some of them. Option one is that I do what I planned to do once I had seen you again. Another is that I do as you want and live somewhere with you, other than here, and we decide what we tell the world we live in, if we tell them anything. Or I could stay here and you and I could continue as we are, or I stay here and we split. Like I said, some of the options and not listed in any particular order.”
“I see. I don’t want option one under any circumstance, but a point I want you to bear in mind when deliberating: I can’t exist in the world if you don’t. Simply put, if you die then I die.”
“That’s silly Edward” I tried to sound stern, but I just sounded sad.
“No more silly than thinking I could let you kill yourself just because you have started looking at me. Another option is that you move into our family home. That way you could stay in your job, if you wanted to, and I could still be at home to look after you and you would have other company instead of just mine. And when the family move, you come with us. People might think that Carlisle had some strange ménage a trois going on, but we could think of a public story if we wanted to.”
“That is another option. Perhaps others will occur during the forthcoming months. Anyway, I’ve given myself permission not to decide yet, to just go with the flow for a while.”
“Okay, but my favourite is option two to start with, and after we have had a chance to be on the equivalent of a very long honeymoon, say a few years, then we move in with the family using whatever pretext you want for the public, or we be open and let people stare and comment.”
“That sounds nice. Where would you want us to go first?” I could tell that I was starting to get sleepy, my words were slurring.
“Esme has an island in the South Atlantic not too far from Rio. It’s beautiful there, you would love it. I think we could persuade her to let us visit.” His beautiful voice was getting quieter.
“Why does Esme have an island?”
“It was a gift from Carlisle.”
“Wow. It’s a good job that Esme doesn’t have the same aversion to people spending money on her that I have.”
I heard his soft laugh as he started to agree with me. It was the last thing I remembered.
For the first time in more years than I can remember, I slept until after six in the morning. Edward woke me at five past because he knew I needed to take my meds.
“How did that happen? What did you do to make me sleep so long? I don’t even feel too bad.”
Edward smiled his crooked smile that I loved so much. “I looked after you yesterday like I’m supposed to. And, you won’t remember since you were asleep, at two o’clock and four o’clock I massaged your arms and legs and turned you to pummel your back for just a couple of minutes, but I hoped it would be enough to stop you waking feeling so stiff.”
“Thank you, what did I do to deserve you?”
“You lived Bella, against all the odds you lived. I am never going to cease being grateful for that.”
I understood what Edward meant in one respect, but in another, I still couldn’t grasp why it was so important to him that I live when he left me. I am human and humans died, what difference did it make when I died? Until I really understood why he left me in the first place, I was never going to feel confident that he wouldn’t leave me again at some point down the line. But in the meantime, he looked after me very well. He even changed the bedding without me having to ask him.
After I was breakfasted, dressed and exercised I informed Edward that I was chucking him out again for a few hours.
“But why? What did I do?” he seemed, bewildered and hurt.
“So I can get on and finish my school work without worrying about you; so I can call Lizzie and then Jake without worrying about you listening, and so Alice can talk to you.”
“What does Alice want to talk to me about?”
“Wait and see. Now, what do vampires do for christmas?”
“Christmas! You’re worrying about christmas now?”
“I always start thinking about christmas after my birthday. I’ve got Phil and Charley’s birthdays in November too.”
“Who are Lizzie and Charley?”
“Lizzie is Jake’s wife, Charley their daughter and Clint is their son. Charley is seven, eight in November, and Clint is five.”
“And Lizzie doesn’t mind about your relationship with Jake?” Edward sounded like he would object in the strongest of terms.
“Lizzie knows that Bella Swann died on those train tracks. Isabelle is no danger to her marriage. Even if Bella could return, she doesn’t have the pull that Lizzie has with Charley and Clint. I think Jake would consign the whole world to perdition for one smile from Charley, she wraps the men in her life around her little finger. Lizzie tries to control it, but she knows she’s fighting a losing battle. At least when I’m with them she has someone on her side. Charley actually reminds me of Alice!”
I laughed at the outraged expression on Edward’s face, liking a member of the Quileute to a vampire!
“But why do you want to talk to Lizzie before Jake?”
“If I give her the heads up about you and me, she can take whatever steps she thinks necessary to reduce the effect of the fall out when I speak to Jake.”
I really liked Lizzie. She was cool, calm and very collected. I never knew what she was thinking unless she chose to tell me. It would be interesting to find out what Edward made of her. Jake mended, built and put together motor vehicles. Lizzie mended, built and put together household appliances. She was equally happy wearing a dress and heels as she was jeans and a sweater. When Jake was being an ass, she just looked at him with her steady eyes and he would shuffle about and apologise. I had never had that control over him. It was so the right decision to end our relationship.
After Edward had left, under instructions not to return before three o’clock, I finished my lesson plans for the week. That still left the marking, which I would do after I had spoken to Lizzie.
“Hello Isabelle, I thought I would be hearing from you today. You’d better tell me everything, including all the interesting details” Lizzie said with a suggestive laugh. “Don’t worry, Billy has taken the kids round to Rachel and Paul’s and Jake is killing some old car in the garage in lieu of killing your Edward so we are quite alone.”
I took Lizzie up on her offer and told her everything that had happened since the first day of term, two weeks ago.
“So let me get this straight. This guy has practically hand built and furnished a house so as not to offend your insane sensibilities about money even though he has loads of the stuff, he gave you the best sex of your life, found a way for you to be able to sleep past six in the morning, convinced you to let him move in with you, all within two weeks, and still you doubt his commitment?”
“Something like that.”
“Hon, you have a screw loose. Now tell me about the rest of them.”
Lizzie was not a Quileute so did not have quite the same disgust of vampires as her husband, but she did have the natural human aversion. But the fact that her husband changed into a giant wolf on occasion allowed her to accept that not all mythical monsters were really fiends.
“It sounds like they all feel deep regret for what happened to you. They care about you. In fact they sound pretty decent. Would they really sign over their house and land to the tribe?”
“Yes. It will be a blow because Forks is ideal for them weather and wildlife wise, and they’ll need to find a replacement home. Carlisle would probably like to talk to the Council about it before they finalise the details.”
“You know, I’m not too sure that it’s a bad thing having the wolf pack. Could you imagine what it would have been like if Victoria’s lot had come this way and we hadn’t the pack? And, who’s to say that we will not be visited by others. At least we know the Cullens will not attack us.”
I wasn’t sure that anyone could be totally confident on that front. It was Jasper’s attempt to kill me that had led to our separation. Human blood was such a temptation to them, except for Carlisle who had spent centuries immunising himself against the pull.
I had some lunch, finished my marking, made a drink, visited the bathroom, sent a message to my mom. And then I ran out of excuses.
I ‘phoned Jake.
“Hey Bells. Is he there?” was Jake’s opening gambit.
“No, I’m alone.”
“Good. Now tell me, what the hell do you think you’re playing at?”
“What the hell do you think Jake? You told me yourself how good I was looking on my birthday. Why do you think that was?”
“B-elllls, didn’t he mess you up enough last time?”
“You know I was miserable without him. I’m almost happy now, I’ve even joked and laughed a few times. No, I can’t be sure he’ll stay with me this time, in fact why should he Jake, I’m even more of a wreck than I was at seventeen? But while he is with me, I will be cosseted.”
“What exactly is going on up there?”
“He and his family built me a house. They’ve furnished it primarily from wood from fallen trees that they have cut and planed themselves. He and I will be living in it together from next month, but no one here, other than his family, will know that he is with me. He’s taking a physiotherapy course while I’m at work so he can look after me even better than he already does. If you’re so worried why don’t you come up for a weekend and see?”
“I couldn’t be in the same house as one of them. Perhaps Lizzie could visit?”
“I’d love to see her.”
Jake grumbled, but he knew that there was nothing he could say that would change things. But at least he acknowledged that I would get the best medical attention with Carlisle as my doctor.
Overall, that conversation went better than I expected.
“Good” Edward replied when I said as much to him. “So our first guest is going to be a member of the Quileute?”
“Our first overnight guest. I’m sure other members of your family will visit first.”
“True, what are you going to tell Renee?”
“I don’t know. I’ll talk to Lizzie and sound her out. Lizzie’s family know nothing about the pack and she sees them quite a lot since they live in Seattle. They have commented on how well Jake is aging, but nothing more yet. Mom is going to want to meet you again if she knows I’m with you, and she will notice that you and Alice are not thirty years old, and Carlisle is not over forty. I think I’m going to have to keep her in total ignorance, but we’ll see.”
“Other than weather proofing the porch, is there anything else you want me to see to at the house?” Edward changed the subject.
“No, I like the rustic look and feel. I didn’t really notice the yard out back though. Is it worth doing anything with that given the very short summers we’ll have here? I didn’t notice the bedroom closet though either. If Alice was involved in its design, it is no doubt large enough to turn into a spare room. Do we need one that large?”
“Don’t worry, Alice was over-ruled when it came to the closet size so it’s not that big. The living room is large enough that we could get a bed settee in there as well as your sofa.”
I was pleased that Edward was thinking about sensible options. I had half expected him to suggest that he could build an annex to house any guests!
Saturday and the trip to Denali arrived all too soon. The only thing that I was happy about was that Alice was seeing Jasper again for the weekend. (It was going to be a long school year for her, only seeing Jasper during school holidays and the weekends.) Alice had been miserable all week. I, mean person that I am, was not at all sympathetic.
“A whole four and a half days without seeing Jasper, how are you going to cope? It must be so much harder than, say, twelve years. And you, being immortal and all, have only had a mere sixty odd years together so far. Perhaps you had better use your free time to concentrate on your school work.” I had given Alice a ‘B-‘ for the last piece of homework and she was not impressed.
Alice had left to be with Jasper immediately after school the day before. We were taking bets on whether they would actually make it to Tanya’s. I thought it unlikely.
Rosalie had assured Esme that she and Emmett would be there. For some reason that assurance made me think that I was being the butt of some joke. No doubt Tanya, Kate, Irina and Carmen would turn out to be utterly gorgeous and I would feel even more like the ugly duckling. At least Carmen was already matched so wouldn’t be competition.
And that was the real reason I didn’t want to go, not that my presence could be awkward for Irina, but I did not want to start feeling insignificant again.
“Why are you so tense?” Edward asked the most stupid questions.
“I still don’t think I should be there with you” I prevaricated.
“Irina has to know that it was either your life or Laurent’s and as far as I am concerned your life was infinitely the more important. I can never thank the pack enough for protecting you.”
“The pack would have taken him down regardless of who his target was.”
“I know, and then we would never have known what happened. Don’t worry. It will be alright.”
‘Oh yeah’ I thought to myself, ‘easy for you to say’. I felt more like I was aged ten than thirty. I didn’t like it.
Our destination was a sprawling single level ... compound is the word that sprung to mind. It looked far too large for one family of five to live there. At least it explained how there was always enough room for guests. No one need worry about not having any privacy. But I was still glad that we were not staying the night.
And I was right to be worried. No sooner had Edward exited the car when a stunning strawberry blonde threw herself into his arms and kissed him. To give him his due, Edward was the perfect gentleman and extricated himself quickly, but with decorum.
“Tanya, you look as lovely as always. Please, I want to introduce you to my Bella” and he turned his back on the look of amazement on her face, no doubt pretending he hadn’t noticed, and helped me from the car.
By the time I was out, Tanya had been joined by more beautiful female vampires, including Rosalie who wore a look of smug satisfaction, and Emmett who greeted me with sincere friendliness.
“Hi ya Bella. Long time no see. Been fighting any trains lately?”
I couldn’t help it. I had to laugh at his openness. I did like Emmett, what you saw is what you got. There’s no hidden agenda or mean spiritedness. “Not lately, a bunch of high school kids is more than enough for me to handle these days. What about you?”
“The odd grizzly, you know how it is?” and we grinned at each other.
“I have to thank you both” and I looked to include Rosalie, “for all the work you did on our house. I think it’s brilliant. The tree turbines are works of art. It is wonderful.”
“Hey, you’re welcome” grinned Emmett. “I really missed your brand of entertainment” and he enveloped me in the gentlest of hugs.
I was quite overcome when he let go. Edward took a few seconds to check my stiffness before turning me to face everyone again and introduced me. If I had been more confident, I would have relished the looks of total amazement on the faces of the Denali friends. Edward was physical perfection. I was a physical wreck. He appeared to adore me. He clearly could have had stunning, magnificent Tanya, but he didn’t want her, he wanted ordinary, old wreck me.
Edward held my arm as we walked, or in my case, hobbled, into the house. Every slow step earned more looks of bewilderment. In the end I took pity on them and said “I’ve been sitting in the car too long, my muscles are starting to seize and need some exercising. For the most part Edward carries me everywhere, but I do need to move my muscles.”
Tanya looked down her nose at me “I didn’t realise that humans were quite so fragile.”
Edward bristled. Rosalie smirked.
“Hey, Bella is tough” Emmett was on my side.
“Tough enough to still be alive and walking, which is a medical miracle” Carlisle added looking at Tanya with disapproval.
“And to survive a vampire bite. I don’t know of any other human who can claim that” Emmett said.
And I rubbed at the cold, odd shaped scar on my hand.
Once I was seated to Carlisle and Edward’s satisfaction I looked around the living room. There was one vampire face that was regarding me with interest rather than shock: Eleazar.
Edward clearly picked up Eleazar’s thoughts.
“I didn’t want to risk her soul” he said in reply to the unspoken question.
“But we don’t actually know that we have no souls, any more than we know that humans do.”
“No, but while there is a chance that we don’t and humans do, I never wanted to risk Bella losing hers.”
“But you denied me the right to choose. Suppose you have a soul, would you want it to spend eternity without me? That is what you condemned me to.”
“I am so sorry Bella. I don’t want to exist on the earth if you don’t. I think I would go mad if I had to face eternity like that.” Edward looked up, he had clearly heard another unspoken question. “No, I have never been able to hear Bella’s thoughts. Perhaps if I had I would have been able to appreciate the level of her commitment to me.”
Edward’s statement brought shocked gasps from all the Denalis except Eleazar who was again looking at me with interest.
“I get no reading from her either” he said.
I looked to Edward and raised a brow. “Eleazar reads people’s talents. He cannot tell if you have one or have not.”
“And, I admit, I have been trying to probe you.”
“Mental mute, that’s me” I said, glad that it wasn’t just Edward who was baffled by my mind.
“No!” Edward shouted as Kate reached out to touch me.
Edward pushed Kate away, crouched in front of me as if to attack anyone who approached.
“Damn it Edward, you didn’t have to do that” Kate appeared angry rather than hurt as she picked herself up and gave herself a shake. “It was only a mild shock. See, she is completely unharmed. I am surprised that you didn’t yelp when you felt it though. You must have a high pain threshold.”
“I didn’t feel a thing” I said a little diffidently.
Edward came out of his crouch and looked at me.
“Did you feel Kate touch you?”
“But you didn’t feel any pain or discomfort or anything from where she touched you?”
“Nothing at all. Not a tickle or a tingle. Nothing.”
Everyone started talking at once. I couldn’t make out what they were saying. But Edward put his hand on my heart and started counting. He looked at Carlisle who had some of my heart medication in his hand and said that it sounded normal.
“Thank goodness, eh?” Carlisle said.
Edward explained that Kate could send what was like an electric shock through a person just by touching them. She could even down vampires.
On being told that, how this vampire so easily could have killed me for no reason sent me into shock. My heart raced for a few seconds, then stopped. I looked at Edward wanting him to be the last thing I saw. The horror I felt was so clearly mirrored in his eyes.
I could feel myself begin slipping into unconsciousness.