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worth the pain
Set about 6 months after the fateful 18th Birthday party from New Moon, the Cullens have left. A horrible tragedy strikes the Cullens. Can Bella help the remaining members heal? Bella/Jasper, Rosalie/Emmett.
6. chapter 6
Word Count 1459
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The next two months passed in a blur of grief. None of us could quite fathom that they were truly never coming back. During that time, we had also been busy settling their affairs, so to speak. Carlisle had an estate to settle because of his current work in the medical field. It was easy enough to dissolve his accounts and pay the required taxes. Esme's estate was simpler. All her accounts had long since been combined with Carlisle's, so there was nothing to be done from a legal standpoint. Alice's accounts were merged into Jasper's and Edward's accounts were transferred into my name, and though I protested this mightily, Rose, Emmett, & Jasper were adamant that it was what he would have wanted. Carlisle & Esme's accounts & all family properties were placed in Rosalie's name, since she was the "oldest" remaining family member. This money would be used by the family collectively as needed to maintain their lifestyle.
I had reluctantly sold my truck for scrap and now drove the silver Volvo that held so many memories for me. Charlie and Sue had moved to La Push into Sue's home with Leah & Seth. I loved them all and visited often, even spending the night quite frequently, but my home was now truly with the remaining Cullen's. We had bonded through our grief, to the point that none of us could bear to be without each other for very long.
Rosalie had become the sister and best friend that I had always wished she would be & Emmett was my goofy big brother. Jasper, well, Jasper was a brother to me, too, but also something much stronger. I wish I knew what he was to me. I'd recently realized that I cared very deeply for him, maybe loved him, but I knew he was still too broken to reciprocate those feelings. Alice had been his rock; never ceasing to believe in his strength. He struggled with his grief, magnified so much by the depth of ours.
I was also contemplating a brief hiatus from school. I felt like they needed me and I really wasn't ready to leave any of them. I was going to have to talk to them about my plans soon. Charlie and I had discussed options and he was not supportive of an indefinite hiatus between high school and college, but understood that I felt fragile still.
As I left La Push and headed toward my true home, my cell phone began to ring. "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred filled the interior of the Volvo. OK, Emmett was calling me. "Hi Emmett" I said. "Bells, whatcha doin'? Emmett boomed on the other end. Wincing, I pulled the phone away from my ear. "Not much, Em. I'm heading over to the house now. Why what's up?" I replied. "Nothin', just gonna have a family meeting when you get here, OK? No biggie." He said. "OK, see you in a bit, Emmett; I'm just going to grab something to eat on the way." I muttered, flipping the phone closed with a decisive click and wondering what I was getting ready to face.
Thirty minutes later, I was pulling up to the house. Jasper was sitting on the front porch steps waiting for me. He smiled his crooked gentle smile at me as I rounded the car. "Hello, Bella. Emmett and Rose are inside. Did you have a good weekend with your father?" he asked, pulling me to him in a gentle embrace. I was flooded with a wave of affection, curiosity, and something else that I couldn't quite place. "Yeah, it was good, Jasper. How are you doing?" I replied. "Your father loves you very much, Bella. He seems very content at La Push." Jasper responded. I looked at his face trying to decipher his unreadable golden butterscotch eyes. He hadn't answered my question about how he was, but that was very Jasper. He never wanted to burden us with his grief. "See anything you like?" he asked, teasingly. Lightly I punched his arm and laughed. With a quick peck on his cheek, I headed towards the front door and the unknown topic of the family meeting; sorry already to be leaving the circle of his arms and knowing it was futile to wish for more with him.
"Hey Rose, Hey Emmett." I hollered as I entered the house & made my way to the kitchen to grab a Coke from the fridge.
"Hi, Bella. I'm glad to see you." Rose called softly from the living room.
I popped the tab on the can and headed into the living room. Hopefully, the family meeting would be brief. I was feeling a bit apprehensive.
Jasper, Rose, & Emmett were waiting for me, so I plopped down on the floor leaning against Jasper's long legs. "OK guys, what's up?" I asked.
I tried to reign in my feelings as Bella settled back against my legs. It wouldn't do for me to project them to the room. After all, it had only been a few months and I really wasn't sure exactly what they meant yet. God, being an empath was a pain in the ass sometimes.
Gently, I reached down and began stroking her hair. She looked up at me and gave me a gentle smile.
Rose cleared her throat and began. She explained that it was time for us to move on. We all love it here, but we were risking exposure by lingering. We needed to discuss what move we would make.
Bella looked startled by the topic and I could feel her panic starting to rise. Surely she didn't think we were going to leave her behind? I sent a wave of calm to her and she glanced at me gratefully. "Bella, we're discussing this with you because we want you to help us decide and come with us." I murmured to her. Understanding dawned on her face and I was almost overwhelmed at the force of her gratefulness and relief. Silently, I cursed my dead brother for having so broken her spirit when he had forced us to abandon her all those months ago.
"Well, umm, I had planned to talk with you all anyway about this. You see, I was planning, umm, to go to Dartmouth in the fall, but, umm, I had just about decided to take a break for a while. You see, I can't bear to leave you right now." She stammered.
"Well, Bella, would you mind if we went with you?" I asked, "We have a great house near the campus and Rose, Emmett, & I could enroll, too. Unless, you want to have that experience just to yourself. We don't want to smother you." Emmett and Rose were nodding their agreement.
I felt a burst of love, definitely familial, rush from Bella as I finished speaking, but there was an undercurrent to the emotion, something stronger as she looked up at me from her spot on the floor. Suddenly, I was vividly aware of every spot where her body was touching mine and my fingers were tingling where they were still lightly twining in her hair. With a jolt, I realized that she cared very deeply for me, and not just as a brother. Did I feel that way, too? I was afraid to acknowledge it, but I was pretty sure I did.
"That would be fantastic!" she shrieked. "Rose, Emmett, Jasper, are you sure you want to do that for me?"
"Bella, you are our sister. It would hurt us to be separated from you! We go where you go." Rose responded quickly, her eyes shining with unshed tears.
"Well, awesome." boomed Emmett. "When do we leave?"
"Classes start in three weeks, so I guess we need to leave pretty soon to get the house in order and get registered." Bella mused. "Can we pull things together that quickly?"
"Piece of cake, sis." declared Rose. "Are you up for shopping tomorrow? We have a lot to do and not much time to do it!"
I gently detangled myself from Bella and dashed up to my room to get my laptop. We had arrangements to make and we were ready to get started. When I returned to the living room, Bella was on the phone with Charlie, telling him the good news. It went well and she was beaming when she hung up.
"OK, it's all set up with Charlie. I told him we would be leaving in a week." Bella trilled. She was so happy. Joy was radiating off of her and bouncing around the room. I couldn't help but smile at her enthusiasm. This would be really good for us all.