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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.
26. Jacob - Consequences
Word Count 3596
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I was really furious with Bella. How dare she say those things about me and Charley? And as for saying Clint thinks I don’t love him! Of course Clint knows I love him. Just because I don’t treat him like my precious little girl, he’s a boy so of course I don’t mollycoddle him! He’s probably going to be the tribe’s Chief one day so he has to grow up proud and strong like I did. And saying that I spoil Charley, where did that come from? Sure I give her things, but every dad wants to give his daughter things. Okay Charlie never seemed to give Bella much stuff, but surely he was the exception. And why would I need to speak to Charley’s teachers about what she’s like at school? It must be the fact that she can’t have children that has warped the way Bella looks at things.
Suddenly it dawned on me, I was thinking of her as Bella, not Bells. That, for some reason, made me even angrier. I was in love with Bella, and she died on the train tracks. What was left is Bells, a pale shadow and as much as I love her, I am certainly not in love with her. But I could see the difference, Bells was quiet and sad, and easy to brush off. Bella is persistent, watchful and impossible to brush off. Bella was back, Bells was gone and I didn’t like what that might mean to me or my marriage. And that made me even more angry.
I stormed into my home. There was no sign of Billy or the kids: good.
“Do you know what Bella said to me just because I took her precious Edward and Embry to task for throwing Charley across the river?” I demanded of Lizzie.
“Well, I would immediately wonder why it bothered you that Charley was thrown but not Clint.”
“Damn it, not you too! A son is different to a daughter.”
“Yes; apparently you can love your daughter too much, but you can’t love your son enough.”
I know I shouldn’t have, but that’s when I lost it.
I picked up a chair and threw it to a corner of the room.
“No!” I heard Lizzie shout as I saw her dive in front of the chair.
Then I saw Clint, cowering in the corner as the chair crashed into my wife.
“I told Granddad that you didn’t love me: he said I was wrong. But I wasn’t. You hate me and now you hate mom and Aunt Isabelle because they love me” he didn’t shout it, but said it calm and very sad. Clint stood and went to Lizzie to help her up.
“I’m alright sweetie pie. Don’t you worry about me. I’m just so glad that you’re not hurt. Will you help me tidy up, please?”
And in front of my eyes, my little boy helped his battered mom clear up a mess that I had made. I couldn’t take any more. I ran.
I wanted to phase, but I knew I couldn’t if I didn’t want the pack to know where I was or what I was thinking and feeling. I remember once complaining to Bella that being a wolf meant that everything you were ashamed of was laid out for all to see. But I never thought I would ever do anything that made me as ashamed as I was then.
I ran to the mountains. It was winter so I knew I wouldn’t come across any hikers. I needed to be alone with my shame while I worked out what I was going to do next.
I wanted to blame Bella but I knew that it was no one’s fault but my own. My son really did think that I didn’t love him, and now he thought that because Lizzie and Bella did love him it meant that I didn’t love them either. How had I ever let it get to that point?
I don’t know what time it was when my ‘phone signalled a call from Lizzie. I couldn’t speak to her. But I knew that she would be worried about me. After everything that I had done to her she would still be worried.
I sent a text message: I’m so sorry. I’m fine. Please look after you and the kids.
I couldn’t even bring myself to put a salutation.
I soon got a reply: Please, please come home. We need you. Love L.
It was the ‘love’ that hurt the most. I knew that Lizzie loved me. I just didn’t deserve it.
My reply was necessary: I need to sort stuff out – sorry. I sent it and switched off my ‘phone so I wouldn’t receive any more messages.
The night turned to day and still I sat.
I knew it was cold up in the mountains, I just didn’t feel it. I wished I could feel the cold so that I would suffer from the physical discomfort instead of feeling my usual toasty warm.
While I was sitting up on my lonely vigil I decided that I would have to quit the role of Chief. The tribe deserved a Chief who wouldn’t throw chairs around their living room endangering his family; a Chief who accepted the advice of family in the spirit it was meant instead of being self righteous; a Chief who would be able to let his children know that they were loved and wouldn’t spoil one of them to the extent that I had.
Quil seemed to be the obvious candidate, but I didn’t think that Seth could be ruled out either. Perhaps I should embrace the potential for change and consider Leah, but no, she, like Paul would always have trouble with her temper and would not be a good Chief. Perhaps Jared or Embry would be good Chiefs? No, they were both too easy going and while not push overs, would struggle to make decisions when there were two or more close options with equal support from within the pack or the Council. So, it came down to Quil or Seth and both of them, and the Council would need to be consulted before I decided which I would recommend to the tribe.
The next thing I needed to figure out was what I was going to do.
Could my family ever forgive me for my behaviour, not just for yesterday, but for the past? How would Charley adjust to the idea that she wasn’t daddy’s spoilt little princess anymore? How could I find the words to tell Clint that I loved him so much, would he ever believe me? And how did I find the words to beg the forgiveness of best wife a man could have?
Lizzie knew that I had not imprinted on her, but if I ever did imprint on someone, then I would leave her and the children in a heartbeat. She knew that but she still loved me enough to take the risk and marry me. And how did I repay her? Not by imprinting, but by setting her children up to be hurt through sheer thoughtlessness and hurting her by throwing furniture. I didn’t even stop to see what harm I had done to her. What kind of husband was I?
It was then that I thought of Edward and Bella. Edward had hurt Bella so much in the past but she had forgiven him. She loved him. Edward did love Bella. I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t deny it. Because his choices had caused Bella so much pain he had declared that she now made all the big decisions in their relationship. Could I do that with Lizzie? Could I beg her forgiveness for the harm I had caused the family and declare that Lizzie would make all the decisions for the family and stick to it? That, I thought, would be the difficult part, the sticking to it.
But that didn’t cover the fact that I actually physically hurt Lizzie. For all Bella’s physical hurts, Edward did not cause them directly. But Sam had physically hurt Emily. He had caused her immense physical pain and permanent horrific scars. I didn’t think that Lizzie’s injuries were anything near as bad as that. Would she be able to forgive me for them like Emily had forgiven Sam? The tone of her text suggested that she could, and did. So what could I do to make up for what I had done on that front? There I was at a complete loss.
It was nearly nightfall when I knew I had company. I considered phasing so that my senses would be that much better but didn’t want the downside of being a wolf so I just stayed alert.
It was vampires who were following me, familiar vampires, plus Embry.
“Damn it! Why can’t you guys just leave me alone?”
“Bells sent us with a message” Embry replied. “I quote, ‘Get your sorry ass back home where it belongs before I come and kick it!’ And I think she meant it.”
“She did” that was Edward, “and given the precarious state of her body, I would much rather it was not put through all the stress and strain.”
“Not to mention the fact that your family want you back home for some unfathomable reason” said Tanya. “But I thought you might like to know that Carlisle looked over Lizzie and there is nothing but superficial damage that will soon heal.”
I breathed a sigh of relief at that.
I didn’t stand a chance against two vampires and a wolf if I wanted to run for it. I may be fastest (although Bella did say that Edward was extraordinarily fast even for a vampire) but I would tire, the vampires would not. And, damn it, Edward would know what I was thinking and would be able to counter any move that I made. Life, sometimes, really sucked.
“Why don’t you switch on your ‘phone and tell Lizzie that you’re coming back with us? You should know that when we left, Bella and Clint were discussing what should be your punishments for your bad behaviour, and whether it was right to punish you for being stupid instead of teaching you the things that you don’t know. And the longer you leave it before coming to your senses and coming home, the more stupid it means you must be” Edward said.
“And I will enjoy watching you endure your punishments” Embry said with a sympathetic smile.
I switched on my ‘phone and saw that I had five unread messages from Lizzie. I didn’t read them, I would look at them when I was alone, maybe with Lizzie, but sent a text to say that I was returning home with Embry, Tanya and Edward.
The reply was succinct: Gd. C U sn.
I suggested to Edward that we have a race to get back to the reservation.
“Since Leah is the fastest wolf, it would only be fair if I raced her since I am the fastest vampire.”
“Great, just what we need, a vampire verses wolf sports day” I muttered.
“Actually, I think that’s a great idea” Embry said, clearly aware that I was being sarcastic.
I felt very embarrassed as I walked to my house at the reservation. Luckily, because it was late we were not seen by many people, but I was seen enough for me to know that there were no secrets in La Push. I should have just phased and been done with it since everyone clearly knew everything anyway.
Quil and Paul were at my house with Lizzie, Billy and Bella. The children presumably were in bed. Billy took one look at me and went to his room. But the audience didn’t shrink any further.
“I’m sorry Lizzie. I’m really sorry. Not just for the chair, but for all of it. I don’t know if you’ll ever be able to forgive me but ...”
“Do you love me?” Lizzie interrupted.
“Yes, so much.”
“Do you love both our children equally, differently but equally?”
“Yes I do.”
“And will you take the consequences of your choices with good grace no matter how daft they may appear to you?”
“Good. Okay, drama’s over guys, you can leave now. We’ll see you later.”
At that Quil and Paul left with a consoling clap on my shoulder.
Bella looked at me “You, call me tomorrow, after lunch. I want to know how you like your consequences and how well you’re doing with your lessons. Bye” and she gave me a brief hug and lifted her arms to Edward who carried her out of the house.
That left Embry and Tanya. I didn’t really want them to leave. They were a buffer.
Lizzie guessed how I felt and jerked her head towards the door and said “Thanks for your help. I’ll call you if he acts like an idiot again, bye.”
“Our pleasure Lizzie. Let us know if he needs help with accepting his consequences with grace. Oh, and we had a brilliant idea: wolf verses vampire sports day. It might be fun.” Embry and Tanya left.
That left me looking at the floor wondering how I was to get through the next couple of days.
“Isabelle told Clint that when she gets hurt, she feels much better when Edward kisses every spot where it aches or is bruised or sore. Clint thought it a little silly but decided it was a girl thing and you should have to do that to me. I warn you I have some real doozy bruises and they are going to need a lot of attention before they start to feel better.”
I was the luckiest man in the world. I had seriously broken the trust, but I felt that I was being given a really big gift, bigger than I had any right to hope for.
“Good, you’re back. What you did was very, very wrong and when you make a bad choice it comes with a bad consequence. You made lots of bad choices” my son declared almost with relish, “but Aunt Isabelle said that you can’t really punish people for being stupid, you just have to make sure they learn their lessons even if you have to spend a lot of time teaching them. When you have had your breakfast, we will talk.”
“For a moment I thought he was the father and I the son” I said with a nervous laugh to Lizzie.
“Yes, and you had better get used to that feeling if you want to have a proper father son relationship with him.”
“Part of my accepting the consequences with good grace I presume” I accepted while wondering what further surprises were in store for me.
I showered then had my breakfast under the stern eyes of my son and daughter. When I was finished Clint took my plate and told me to stay.
“I told Charley what you did and she said I was lying. You have to tell her everything” Clint said to open the meeting.
I was about to take umbrage. I didn’t want Charley to know how awful I had been. She thought that I was perfect and I wanted her to continue to look at me that way. But it wasn’t fair that Clint should be thought the liar just to protect me so I confessed to everything.
“But daddy, you said that a boy should never hit a girl and you did that mom?”
“I didn’t mean to, baby, but yes. Sometimes people do things that they don’t mean to and they have to learn not to lose their temper.”
“Well I think mom was mean to you first and she should be the one to say sorry.”
“Your mom was not mean to me at all, and even if she was that would have been no excuse to throw a chair, but as I said, your mom was not mean.”
Charley looked at me as if she had suddenly discovered that I was evil incarnate. It was very hard to see the disillusion on her face as she turned and stormed out of the house.
“Good, you told the truth. You should always tell the truth ‘coz it’s the first step to putting it right” my grown up son looked at me proudly. “To make up for breaking the chair you have to make a new one better than the old one. Do you agree?”
I was rather chuffed at how he was conducting this meeting. “Yes I do.”
“Good. The next part is harder for you. You hurt mom real bad and you have to make up to her for that. I know mom hates cleaning the bathroom. You should clean the bathroom every day for a whole month or until her bruises get better if that takes longer. Do you agree?”
I had to think about that one. Cleaning the bathroom every day? Who cleaned the bathroom every day? Lizzie, Clint and Billy were waiting for me. “Sure” how difficult could it be?
“Are you sure dad? You didn’t sound like you really meant that. Will you clean the bathroom every day for a whole month?”
Boy did that son of mine know me. “I will” I said hoping the reluctance didn’t show.
“Good. Here is your chart with the days marked. Mom will sign every day when she has seen that you have cleaned the bathroom.” This, I knew, was Bella’s idea to make sure I stuck to the punishment. “Why don’t you stick it on the wall so you can see how much longer you have to go?” Clint suggested to be helpful.
I took the chart and pinned it to the door so I would see it whenever I walked into the room.
“Good. Now you have to learn some lessons. First I need to know, do you love me?”
And this was where it got really hard. My six year old son needed to ask me that.
“Yes son I do, very much.”
“Good, so why would you never tell me?”
“Because I thought that you would somehow know.”
“Boy children cannot read minds. They need to be told things, and shown things just like girl children do. So what are you going to do to show me that you love me?”
There I was at a complete loss. I knew how to show Charley that I loved her. I didn’t know how to show Clint. “I don’t know son. I will need to give it some thought.”
Clint sighed, clearly disappointed with me. “Okay, I’ll give you until after lunch to think of something. Tomorrow you me and Charley are going round to Aunt Isabelle’s new house again and we are going to play a new game. Mom can come and watch if she wants. Now you can clean the bathroom then you can go to your garage while you fix something and think.”
I got up from my chair, totally dazed by the way I had been managed. Lizzie and Billy hadn’t needed to say anything, Clint hadn’t needed any reminders of what he had to say next, he had been well in control. I was very impressed.
Without thinking too much about it I went to the bathroom and began cleaning it. How the hell had it ever got into that state? I was sure that it wasn’t usually that bad. Perhaps Lizzie hadn’t cleaned it the previous day (and who could have blamed her?) so it was worse than usual.
I tried to think of a good way to demonstrate to my boy that I loved him but I couldn’t. Truth be told, I didn’t really know him. I didn’t know what he would like to do with me. I was still pondering when Quil came to find me.
“How are you doing?” he asked, sounding equally sympathetic and gleeful.
“I think all told I’ve probably got off lightly” I replied.
“I think you have too. So what’s the verdict?”
“I have to clean the bathroom every day for a month or longer if Lizzie’s bruises take longer to heal, make a new chair to replace the one I broke, and find a way to show Clint how much I love him.”
“Definitely lightly. So what are you going to do with Clint?”
“I have no idea. I’ve realised that I just assumed that since we were father and son that we would automatically bond that I actually did nothing to form that bond. I don’t know my son and I did nothing to let him get to know me other than how he sees me interact with others.”
“Then that’s what you have to do, spend time with him.”
And how sad was it that someone had to point out to me that I needed to spend time with my son?
The new game that Clint devised for me to join in round the Cullen place was based on the game of the kids being thrown across the river by Edward and Embry. Only this time I had to stand in the middle of the river and try to jump up to catch the one being thrown. When I caught a child, the person who threw them had to take my place in the river and I got to take a turn at doing the throwing.
I thought it was insane. Both Charley and Clint loved it.