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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.

22. Edward - Back To Forks

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“That was most odd” Carlisle said as he finished listening to Bella’s message. I read what he was thinking and agreed with him: it was most odd indeed. Carlisle made the call to Jacob. Emmett, Jasper and I listened in. “Half vampire, half human. Who would have thought it was possible?” Jasper said. All eyes turned to me. “Bella can’t have children, remember?” I said thinking, for the first time, that I was glad or she would most assuredly have gotten pregnant by now. Then I caught the fleeting thought going through Carlisle’s mind and started to panic. Carlisle must have read the panic: I heard him tell me to calm down since it was extremely rare for a woman to conceive without a uterus. But it was also extremely rare for a vampire and human to mate and for the human to survive to mate, and mate again. ‘She is certainly not pregnant at the moment, I promise you, unless you two have, you know, since her operation, strictly against doctors orders I hasten to add’ Carlisle thought. I smiled at him as I gave a gentle shake of my head. It was almost imperceptible, but Carlisle gave a little sigh of relief too. Carlisle then called the other doctor for the town. She agreed to cover Carlisle’s shift the day after the next but wouldn’t be in town to cover the first. Knowing what he was about to say to Esme I called Bella while he spoke to his wife. “Did you miss me?” I asked as a greeting. “Yes, I can’t sleep properly without you keeping my bruises nice and cool but I had a nice time at the pool. What did you bag?” “Not a lot, wrong season, we should have gone south. Never mind. As soon as we get back you and I are going to Forks with Esme. Did Jake or Lizzie tell you what’s happened?” “No, why?” So I told Bella about Huilen and Nahuel. “Oh my gosh! No wonder Jake said the place was more like Wierdsville! Kate called and told Esme that Embry had been called back and to bring Tanya if possible and that the others were welcome too if they should wish to go. Esme said that they were welcome to stay at the house if they preferred. Kate said that she would get back to Esme on that. Poor Jake, he always wanted a quiet, easy life, didn’t even want to be Chief, and now he’s lumbered with this” and heartless woman that she was, Bella laughed at her friend’s misfortune. We got back to Carcrix before midnight. Esme had already packed her bags and was helping Alice to pack Bella’s. I was barely given time to greet her when I was directed to pack. I wanted to drive my new Porsche but December in Alaska was not a good time for the roads, especially when travelling with a human who was as accident prone as Bella, so we had to take one of the four wheel drives. I sat in the back seat with Bella; supporting her as best I could so she could get some sleep but I could tell that she didn’t get all the sleep she needed. Hopefully it would be enough until we could get a bed made up for her. We pulled into our drive way just after eleven. A welcoming committee was waiting for us. “Bella, love, we’re here and it looks like we’re expected. Since you know some of them, why don’t you perform the introductions?” Bella opened her eyes and looked around. “Good grief, what’s Leah doing here?” “Leah has imprinted on Nahuel and phased again. Sorry I forgot to tell you before” I replied. Bella looked at Leah and sighed. “Oh dear. She would not be happy about that and I should imagine that her mother is spitting nails right now. But I bet Sam is pleased.” I was about to ask who Sam was when Jacob arrived. “Sorry, I wanted to be here when you arrived” he said and walked straight up to Bella and wrapped himself around her in a gentle hug. “Looking tired Bells, but looking good.” “Feeling tired Jake, been travelling all night. But you, you look frustrated, resigned and worried. How is everyone?” “Everyone is fine and dandy. Find your manners and introduce me, Brat.” To my surprise Bella laughed at the insult. “Esme let me introduce you to Jacob Black, Chief of the Quileute. Jacob, this is Esme, the architect for my beautiful house and wife of Carlisle who you have already met and you already know Edward, my mate.” “Esme, Edward, thank you for coming and allowing us to make use of your hospitality. Let me introduce you to Huilen, her nephew Nahuel, Leah, mate of Nahuel, and Jared who, with Leah, is a member of the Quileute tribe. This is Esme, Edward and Bells.” “On behalf of my nephew and myself I wish to thank you for your kind offer of hospitality. We did not wish to take advantage so have limited ourselves to the downstairs rooms” Huilen said. It was getting rather formal and I could tell that everyone saw this as a cause for concern. I needed to address it before it got out of hand. “We bought some supplies so we can offer some food and drink to the none vampires. Bella is fond of eggs and pasta, but we also bought some meat for those who would prefer that” I offered and moved to take some things out of the car. “But most important right now, is that there is hot chocolate, tea and coffee” Bella added. “Hi Jared. How are Kim and the girls?” and Bella started to walk towards the house. “Hi ya Bells. Kim’s great. The girls are not so good. At the rate they’re going they’ll be dead by the end of the year.” Jared was remarkably upbeat for such a prognosis. “What have they done now?” Bella was amused. “They’ve noticed boys. Boys for crying out loud. They’re ten so what are they doing noticing boys?” Even I felt sympathy for Jared at that point. “Those two girls of yours are ten going on twenty, take my word for it; and if it comes to who gets my sympathy, your girls or the poor schmuck who catches their eye, well the sympathies will all go to the poor schmuck!” Jared and Nahuel helped Esme and me carry the bags while Jacob carried Bella up the stairs. “First things first Bella, massage pad” I said as soon as everyone and everything was in the house. “I’m not too stiff, honest. You kept me pretty limber all through the journey. A hot drink first would be much better, really.” I looked at the way she walked, trying to gauge the veracity of her words. She did appear to be moving alright. “Actually Bells” Jacob said, “I should have thought of that, but you do seem to be walking quite well given how long you’ve been travelling.” I could tell that Huilen and Nahuel were very puzzled by our words. “Bella sustained serious injuries including severe muscle damage so finds that she stiffens up quite a lot, and she had major surgery just ten days ago and is still under doctors orders to not lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee” the latter I said in a loud voice as she bent to pick up her jacket. “Back and shoulders straight, Bella.” “Nag, nag, nag. What are you going to do when you don’t have to keep on at me all the time? You’ll need to find yourself another hobby” she retorted cheekily. “Knowing you, love, I’ll always have something to nag you about” I laughed. I knew Jacob would be very keen to check me out so to speak. As Bella’s brother by choice he would want to be very sure that I would not hurt Bella again the way I had in the past. But Nahuel was also very interested in our relationship dynamics and I wondered what he knew about his parents. No doubt all would be revealed over time. “Tea, coffee or hot chocolate?” Esme asked. Leah was about to refuse, quite rudely too, but a significant look from Jacob made her mind her manners. “Thank you, I would like a coffee please, milk, one sugar.” “Thanks Mrs C” “Please call me Esme” she interrupted Jared. “Okay Esme, I’ll have the same as Bells, exactly the same, please.” So we knew that Jared was familiar with Bella’s favourite drink. Esme smiled her acknowledgement and looked at Nahuel. “I do not know of these things you suggest’’ he replied. “Well, in that case let me prepare a little of each for you to try” Esme smiled at him. “Jacob?” “Coffee, black, no sugar, please.” Esme disappeared to the kitchen while the rest of us disported ourselves over the sofas. “Carlisle should arrive by the end of the day. He is flying into Port Angeles and I shall meet him there. You” and I looked at Bella, “will be fast asleep in bed having had an early night.” “You don’t have a bed in this house” she smirked at me. “No, but Alice and Jasper do and we’re stealing it. We could take Rosalie and Emmett’s but there is no way I could lie in that monstrosity so either Nahuel and Leah or Tanya and Embry can have that one. Also Alice and Jasper have a Jacuzzi in their bathroom.” I heard Leah mentally say that she would rather sleep on broken glass than a leech’s bed, but she looked at Huilen and softened her stance a little but I still took it to mean that she didn’t want to. Jacob and Jarred both wondered why we needed beds when we didn’t sleep. “What else do you two do in yours?” I asked them and, much to Bella’s delight, they both blushed. “But perhaps they’re both a bit more adventurous than to rely on their beds for that” she added and both Jacob and Jarred mentally said ‘I wish’. We all had a bit of a laugh with Nahuel as he tried all the drinks that Esme brought for him to taste. The tea was pronounced “disgusting”, normal hot chocolate “acceptable”, but Bella’s style of hot chocolate “not so nice”, but coffee, black and with no sugar “interesting and surprisingly appealing” so Esme brought him a full mug just like Jacob’s. Esme apologised to Huilen for her bad manners in not asking about her long journey. “I just thought you would prefer to wait until Carlisle gets here so you need only tell us the once. It really isn’t because I am not interested, because I am, very much so.” Huilen had the bearing of an older woman, a matriarch. I wondered how she and Esme would fare together, and if she would stay with Nahuel and Leah. “Thank you for your consideration. Would you mind answering some questions that I have?” “Not at all. Please feel free to ask anything you would like to know.” I wished Esme hadn’t been so free with her permission. I knew what was on Huilen’s mind. “Edward and his mate” and I felt Bella perk up, “how have they never had a babe?” I could tell that the Quileute’s all thought that we really had not had full intercourse so there would have been no chance of a pregnancy. Esme looked to Bella for permission to answer. “Bella received injuries that were so severe that she cannot have babies. But, until Jacob told us of your visit we had no idea that it would ever have been possible for them to have a baby.” “But the relationship is such that it would have been possible otherwise?” “If you want details you will have to get them from Bella or Edward” Esme giggled. I looked at Bella with a raised brow: she would have to be the one to answer. “Oh yes, it would most certainly have been possible, many times over” and this time it was she who giggled. I heard the mental shock in the Quileute minds. Despite what Bella had said on the ‘phone, and what Lizzie may have told him, Jacob had still had not believed that we enjoyed a full sex life. But he knew Bella was a bad liar and he could sense no trace of subterfuge on her part. “I guess at some point I’m going to have to get used to everyone’s interest in my sex life. It is a trifle disconcerting.” “Bells, forgive me for speaking of this in public, but the subject has already been raised. Your injuries are such that you should not be having sex with anyone, especially not a vampire. Sex could easily break your back, cause your heart to fail and that is without the additional risks of doing it with a vampire!” “Jake, as my brother you’re allowed your concern. My heart has failed twice in the last four months. Making love with Edward had nothing to do with either events. You’ve already noticed how much better I’m walking. Edward takes such good care of me each and every second that we are together, in bed and out, that my muscles are getting stronger and far from damaging my back, he is helping. More importantly, I am happy. I promise you, my sex life is no cause for you to worry about me.” I think everyone could hear the sincerity in Bella’s words. Jacob turned to me. “And what do you have to say? You have to know that one slip, one half second when you lose control and you could kill her.” “Yes, I know. And so does Bella. I made the choice to leave her over twelve years ago to protect her from me, to try to make her safe from what I am. Bella chose to not live if she is not with me. My reason to stay alive is to protect Bella, to make her happy. Making love with me makes Bella happy. So as far as I am concerned, that is what we do. I forced my decisions on our relationship before and it turned out badly. Now Bella makes all the major decisions about our relationship, I do mean all of them.” Bella looked at me and glowed, Esme looked at me with a proud smile, everyone else looked at me as if I had a screw loose! Huilen then asked the question that all vampires ask: why didn’t I change her if I wanted to keep her with me? I still resented that they just did not understand my desire to not take her soul. And now I have stated that Bella makes all the big decisions, I could not change her because now it would kill her. Huilen looked at me and nodded, she understood. I was feeling a little pressure from the conversation when I realised that two more visitors were arriving: Angela and Seth Clearwater. When he sensed them Jarred breathed a sigh of relief, he could go. Then it dawned on me, they were protection. “Why are you forming a protection detail?” I asked Jacob. He didn’t want to answer, but he knew I heard his thoughts anyway. “I want to be sure that Leah is safe, and that Huilen will not feel the need to feed off the local humans.” “As you know, Edward and I would not harm Leah and I am sure that between us and Nahuel we could protect her from Huilen if necessary. And I am also sure you know that we would protect Bella should she feel the urge for blood. Edward will monitor her thoughts to be on the safe side if that reassures you” Esme said. Huilen wanted to know what Esme meant by ‘monitoring her thoughts’ so I explained that I can hear what people are thinking, human, vampire and hybrids. “Even if you started to think that you were getting a bit thirsty I would know. Carlisle and Esme are well practiced in helping vampires move away from their thirst for human blood and directing it towards animals.” “Bells, it’s great to see you again!” That was Seth. He was not what I would expect a member of the pack to be like. He was calm, open, gentle and nice. Just like his wife Angela. “Hey, Seth, Angela. How are you both? Angela, you’ll remember Edward of course, and this is Esme his adopted mom. Esme, Edward, Seth and Angela Clearwater. Seth is Leah’s brother.” “Hello Edward. Although I know exactly how it works, it’s still a surprise to see you looking exactly the same as you did in high school” Angela said. Angela was exactly as I remembered her personality to be. “Angela, Alice asked me to tell you that the next time Lizzie visited you had to be sure to come too.” “If you value your sanity Angela, don’t. Alice is always too keen to arrange girlie evenings, talking clothes, painting toe nails that type of thing” Bella laughed. “Actually Bells, I like that sort of evening too!” I was finding it very hard to keep track of everyone’s thoughts at once. Nahuel wanted to stay nearby Bella to try to understand something: possibly her attraction. Huilen wanted to know how all the relationships worked and thought that she would pick it up by watching and listening, but she thought that Bella was the centre, or the link, and in that she was right. Angela and Seth were both pleased to see that Nahuel and Leah were clearly together even though they were not joining in the conversation, and were happy to see Bella looking so well. Jacob wanted to kill me because of all the hurt I caused Bella in the past and the hurt he feared I would cause her in the future. But he knew that he couldn’t because that would hurt Bella and he thought she had been hurt enough over the years. I could hardly disagree with any of his thoughts. Clearly the word was spreading around the reservation. We had another visitor: Lizzie. Lizzie, Angela and Bella slipped off to talk by themselves. I deliberately chose not to listen in and focussed on Leah, the one I was most interested in. Leah was torn. She hated vampires, but now loved a half vampire who in turn loved his vampire aunt. She didn’t know if she wanted to try not to phase again so as to be able to have children with Nahuel, or to phase regularly so that she didn’t age. It was something that she needed to talk to Nahuel about, but since she would be what he needed her to be, what she wanted was irrelevant. Leah leant her head on Nahuel’s shoulder needing his support. Nahuel was puzzled by Leah’s attitude but happily put his arm around her and pulled her closer into his side. I thought Leah and Nahuel needed to be away from all the studying and potential wrangling. They should just go off alone, even if for just a little while, like Tanya and Embry did. “Jacob, may I speak with you privately, please?” I could tell he wasn’t sure about me. He had lots he wanted to say privately, but wasn’t sure it would be a good idea, and he had no idea what I might want to say to him, but he knew there was only one way he was going to find out. “Sure” and he got up. We left the house with all eyes upon us. Leah worried for Jacob’s safety, the others wanted to know what we would talk about. “I wanted to thank you” I said. “What? What for?” “Thank you for keeping Bella safe from Laurent and Victoria when I didn’t. Thank you for giving her a reason to keep on breathing when I didn’t. In effect thank you for our lives.” “Right, well. I didn’t keep her safe for your benefit, but because I loved her and it is my duty to protect humans from you leeches.” “I know that you love her, and that she loves you and that is why you helped her, but that doesn’t change the gratitude that I feel for you. I am in your debt to a greater level than I could ever repay so if ever I can do anything for you, I will.” I read his thought that the only thing I could do for him was to get the hell out of Bella’s life. “That is something I cannot do” I said. “Bella makes all the decisions. I get out of her life only when she wants me to.” “Yeah, that I get. Lizzie says you adore her and that she can’t imagine how you were able to survive without her.” “Because I believed her to be safe and happy without me. I could endure any pain and misery believing that.” “Hmph, yeah, well. If I ever think of something you can do for me, I’ll let you know.” “Do you think Leah and Nahuel would prefer to stay at their own place rather than with us?” “Leah would, but she doesn’t think he would at the moment so she won’t mention it. Leah actually hasn’t lived on the reservation for a few years. She has her own place near to Olympia where she works. They have until the new year to decide what to do.” Which I didn’t think was long at all. How I wished Carlisle was here. He would know how to handle the situation. Back in the house the little circles had formed: the three human females, Esme and Huilen talking a little stiltedly, and Seth on the floor next to Leah and Nahuel, trying to set Nahuel at ease. “Bella, food time. Would you like scrambled egg or tuna pasta?” My words were received with shock by everyone except Esme, Lizzie and Bella herself. They were surprised that I would not only remind Bella when to eat, but get it for her too. “Would anyone else like anything to eat?” “Thank you. Leah and I have not eaten today so should have something. I do not mind what I eat. Leah?” Nahuel said, perhaps deciding he had just listened long enough. “Whatever you’re preparing for Bella would be fine, thank you” Leah replied. Lizzie, Angela and Seth said that they’d had lunch at home. I looked at Jacob. He was starving but didn’t like to say. “I’ll just prepare a load of tuna pasta for you all then. Come on Jacob, you can lay the table. I don’t think anyone has ever eaten a meal there but everything will need to be washed.” I directed Jacob where to find the necessary plates, silver ware and glasses for water. I also asked him to put Bella’s green medical box on the table so she could take her medications while eating. It wasn’t any time at all when I placed a large serving dish of tuna pasta on the table and called Bella, Leah and Nahuel for lunch. “Thank you” Bella said as she reached up to kiss me in appreciation. “Eat, drink, medicate, exercise, nap. That order, please.” I said since I could see the tiredness on her face. “When do I get to have my human minutes in that timetable?” “Okay, I’ll let you have those when you need them. I’m going to ask Esme and Huilen to help me sort out the rooms while you eat.” Huilen said that Leah and Nahuel had curled up together on the floor the previous night. I knew and understood why Leah would be averse to sleeping in Rosalie’s bed so I thought that they could have one of the guest rooms. It should help freshen the air if the windows were opened. Tanya and Embry could have Rosalie and Emmett’s room and Huilen could use my room to have a little privacy. Huilen applauded my plan and in no time at all the rooms were aired and cleaned. Everyone else left me to make the bed for Bella and me. In the dining room, Bella had eaten her fill and was staring at the empty serving dish and everyone else’s clean plates. They clearly ate a lot more than she did. She had taken her medications so without a bye or leave I just picked her up. “Bella needs to do some exercises then she needs to sleep. Esme can tell you who has what room. See you all later” and I carried Bella to our room. “How could making love break your back?” I asked since her carbon fibre spine should be almost unbreakable. “Technically it can’t. It’s just that the spinal cord could be so damaged that it would have the same effect as breaking my back. But since I have no doubt you would notice if I suddenly stopped moving in agony and screamed at you to stop you would be able to ensure that any damage was only temporary.” I would have to think about that. A few human minutes in the bathroom, some gentle stretching exercises to make sure that her spine was still centred and that the shoulders were not listing, and some intense massage of leg muscles had Bella groaning in agony. “Oh that hurts. That really, really hurts you sadistic monster!” “Sorry love but you wanted me to do this to you.” “What the hell are you doing to her?” Jacob had burst into the room. I felt sorry for him, I really did. Bella was lying fully clothed on her exercise mat while I had her leg in my arms with my hand clearly massaging the thigh. Bella looked at Jacob, looked at the audience behind him and laughed. “Physiotherapy Jake, necessary to stretch the muscles. Painful sometimes but oh so effective. Now unless anyone else took a physiotherapy course, get lost. And would someone please tell me why I have to keep throwing people out of our bedroom?” “Oops, sorry Bells, sorry. Catch you later.” Jacob was embarrassed and ... crap. That could be a problem, not least because I liked Lizzie, but if Jacob was going to start getting all possessive over Bella I was going to have to break his arm, or both of them. I left Bella on her massage pad in bed knowing that she would soon drift off once she was lying flat and had no distractions. It was childish but I left the bedroom door open a little to be sure that Jacob would hear. “Oh yes, that is good” Bella groaned in pleasure. “So much better than him.” I had to laugh at that point. I knew that she intended me to hear. Bella much preferred that I did her massages during the day, they so often led to other things, things that she was not able to do at the moment. “But it does feel good.” I don’t think Bella had realised how much her muscles had tightened up during the journey and the introductory time. Esme was looking at me with amused understanding. “Don’t worry, she’ll dose off soon. After an hour or two I’ll get her in the Jacuzzi and she’ll be fine. Jacob, you ever burst into our room like that again, I’ll break your arms and tell Carlisle not to use painkillers when he resets them. Bella is usually just in her underwear while she has her physiotherapy. How embarrassed do you think she would have been if that was the case today?” “Hey, no sweat, besides I’ve seen Bells naked before.” There was a collective drawing in of breath. “Make a crass stupid comment like that again and I’ll break your arms” Lizzie said, “and I’ll tell Carlisle not to bother resetting them at all. Isabelle would hate for you to see her body now, even in her underwear. She didn’t like it when I saw it.” “What? Why? I don’t understand women.” Poor Jacob really didn’t get it. “Scars, Jacob. Bella is still self conscious about her scars.” Jeepers, what did Bella see in him to want to go out with him at all? Even at seventeen she was more mature than he was now. “Anyway, since Isabelle is no longer here, Angela and I are going home. Jake, you and Seth should leave too so that they can sort themselves out.” I really did like Lizzie. Jacob grumbled, Leah panicked for a second before agreeing, and everyone else was relieved. Jacob could see the relief and reluctantly agreed. He had no real business here and he knew it.