The other two current stories are just reposts of completed stories that were posted elsewhere , this one is my current work in progress. I will update it when I can.
The Other Twin
"We need you to say it out loud. For the record."
"Yes, this is my Mom. This is the body of Renee Marie Higgenbotham ," I stated shakily. It still felt quite unreal. I half expected her to sit up and laugh that annoying laugh of hers and tell me it was all some elaborate joke.
But she didn't move.
She looked like she was merely asleep.
I guess the real shock would hit me later.
For now, all I could think was, where will I go? What will I do?
What happens to me, her daughter, now that she is no longer here?
I mean, there is nobody else.
Obviously I do have a father, somewhere. Everyone does, but I have no real clue where mine is.
Or who is he is.
I know virtually nothing about him.
"Can I call anyone for you? Are you okay?" the woman in the white coat asks when I make no move to leave now the identification has been officially made.
"No thanks. I'll call a cab. I'm fine," I hurriedly answer.
Sure I am.
The small green metal lockbox proves little challenge against the screwdriver in my hand and I pry it open rather than search the house for the key. God only knows where Mom has hidden it. There are too many possibilities to make searching for it a better option.
Inside are a handful of papers, which I expected, and a single bundle of banknotes, which I hadn't.
We'd always lived very simply, Mom and I, and there had never been any money left over, so the idea maybe she had savings had never crossed my mind.
I flicked through the notes and guessed I was holding maybe three or four grand.
It would be useful of course, but it won't last long.
I know Mom brought home a lot more than this each month and every penny had always gotten eaten up by living expenses.
My own contribution was spent on our clothing and running the car the two of us shared.
There had never been a man in our lives, it had all been down to Mom and me to pay our own way.
Realistically, this money is a bonus but it is not enough to change the fact that I have to leave this little house that has always been home to me, and this town that is the only place I have ever lived. I haven't even been outside my home state.
But that is about to change, I tell myself as I unfold the first document .
There it is.
My birth certificate.
And on it:
My father's name.
Charles David Swan.
And his address.
Just the information I need.
The document is brief and official with the bare minimum words, as most are.
Just the facts, Ma'am.
It's the first time in my life that I have seen it, although I guess Mom had needed it on occasion, like when she enrolled me into school.
My eyes widen in shock at what is written there.
Actually, it is not just mine but our birth certificate, more correctly.
There's my name, Isabella Marie Swan, printed neatly on the appropriate line, but immediately underneath are the words that shock me to my core.
Under 'siblings' are the words "twin sister' and the name Annabella Kate Swan.
For a moment the room spins and I have to sit down.
How come I was never told about this twin sister?
How could Renee have kept something this huge, this important from me?
I read the words again, trying to make sense of them.
There was no indication my twin had been stillborn. If that had been the case I would understand Mom thinking maybe it was something I didn't need to know.
No point spending my life grieving for a sister who never drew breath.
I looked through the other papers, searching for maybe a Death Certificate for Annabella Kate.
Renee's Life Insurance.
Car registration and insurance papers.
Renee's birth certificate and passport.
And finally, one single sealed envelope.
This had to be it.
It did have my name neatly printed on the front.
I tore it open and pulled out the single sheet of notepaper inside.
My Darling Isabella,
If you are reading this then I must be dead.
I hope you will be able to forgive me for what you are about to read.
I know what I did was selfish but I just couldn't bear to give both of you away, even though I knew Charlie would be an amazing father.
I will begin at the beginning.
I met Charlie Swan when I was sixteen years old. He was twenty one, and my friends and I thought he was the most handsome guy in town. We sort of had a competition to see who could get him into their bed, and I guess I won.
But my glee was short lived.
A few weeks later I found out there were repercussions from that one night.
I was pregnant.
Foolishly I told Charlie, hoping he would help me out of this predicament nice and quietly, and nobody else would ever have to know, but instead, he marched me home and confessed all to my parents. They insisted we would marry and I would have the baby, and all would remain rosy in the garden that was their respectable, narrow little life.
I was not marrying a man I barely knew.
Okay, they may be able to force me to have the baby but there was no way I was marrying anyone from Forks and being trapped in that Godforsaken Hell hole forever.
Because I refused to redeem myself and marry, I was sent to stay with an aunt here in Phoenix, and it was decided when the baby was born, it would be handed over to Charlie Swan, seeing he was the one who wanted it.
The thought of being a single mother did not appeal to me at all, at the time.
Then as the months passed, as you grew inside me, I came to regret that decision, and I did want to keep my baby, but all the arrangements had been made.
There was no going back. The baby was to go to it's father, and I would never see it again.
When I felt the first contraction, I wanted to run away and hide and have you be born somewhere far away, where they'd never find us, and that way I could keep you myself, but my aunt soon put paid to that plan, and she drove me to the hospital herself.
Don't judge her harshly.
She honestly thought my parents had made the right decision, even though she sympathized with me, knowing how much I wanted to keep the baby now, it was too late.
Charlie's family had everything ready. His Mom was thrilled to be expecting a grandbaby, and she was going to mind it while he worked.
His father could afford to help out financially, and set his son and grandchild up in a modest house of their own on the same property where they lived.
They were more than ready to give my baby a full and loving home.
Aunt Marie wished we could change things and keep the baby but she was as committed to following through as my parents were.
I had no say, really.
Where would we live? How would I feed and clothe you, without adult help?
If only there had been more time, I thought to myself because Aunt Marie was beginning to see my side of things, and if I'd just had an extra few months, I was sure she would have come around to my way of thinking, and let me stay with her longer, until I had a job and something real to offer the coming baby.
But I'd changed my mind too late, and she sadly insisted we had to do this.
We had to give the Swan family the baby they so eagerly anticipated.
She came into the delivery room with me, and held my hand the whole time, and when Annabella was born, she let me kiss that sweet little baby girl goodbye before she was hurried out of the room by the nurse.
And she sat with me and cried with me over my loss.
We were both heartbroken to give that baby away but she said we'd kept our word, done the right thing, and now it was over.
I thought I would die from a broken heart and indeed, my whole body ached and screamed out with agony but then, a miracle occurred.
A second baby made her imminent arrival known.
And next thing, there you were, Isabella.
A bonus baby nobody had been expecting.
And there was no reason anyone else had to know you even existed.
My aunt agreed with me readily. We had already done what had been promised, and the way she saw it, you were my reward.
She took on all responsibility for your care and welfare and took us back home to her house, telling my parents it would be too hard for me to have to return to Forks and watch my daughter Annabella grow up in Charlie Swans house.
I think they agreed because they just didn't want to face the scandal. If I were there, always watching out for a glimpse of Charlie's baby, the whole town would soon know who the mother was.
If I didn't go back, they could pretend the small brunette baby girl Charlie was raising was nothing to do with them, and who could argue differently? After all, everyone in town knew I had left to live with my dear aunt who had offered me some wonderful job as a proof reader of her novels that she wrote and made quite a nice living from.
That was why I had moved away.
Why would I suddenly return and leave such a wonderful opportunity behind?
So, my aunt and I swore we would never tell a soul about the fact that I had given birth to two babies, not one.
She had always kept herself to herself and nobody in Phoenix knew much about her other than she was a recluse.
Who knew what conclusions they had come to about me, the girl who suddenly moved in with her one day, and was soon obviously with child.
Her neighbours had no idea that I was merely carrying a baby destined to be relinquished to it's father.
We could make up some sob story about how I had been widowed on my honeymoon, and left pregnant and alone so she had offered us both a permanent home. They had no reason to suspect you were in fact just one baby from a set of twins, and Charlie had the baby he expected, and would never know of your existence.
Unless you now want to go tell him yourself, Isabella.
It's entirely up to you.
You must decide if you want to go to Forks, and introduce yourself to your father, and your identical twin sister.
It's your choice alone.
Do whatever you wish, my darling girl, with my blessing.
I'm sorry I have nothing to tell you about your only living relatives, but I barely knew Charlie Swan and we have had no contact at all since that day that he told my parents he had made me pregnant.
And I have never had any news of Annabella, so I can't even warn you of what kind of reception you might expect.
Just know that you made my life worthwhile, and I have no regrets, my dear Bella. You were the very best thing about my life and I was so lucky to be your mother. I hope you will not hate me for what I did.
Forever yours, your Mom, Renee.
I arrived three days later and when I saw how small and provincial the place was, I admit I very nearly stayed on the bus for the return trip back to Sea-Tac to catch a plane home again.
Mom had not exaggerated about how wet, and dismal and unexciting the town was. She'd told me stories about growing up here, just never named the actual town in so many words.
All I knew was it was too wet, and too cold, and too green for her liking, and all she had ever wanted was to get out and leave it behind her.
She came back only once; to bury her parents when they died in a car accident when I was three or four, but of course, she did not take me with her.
I stayed with Aunt Marie, in our home, and a few days later Mom returned, and her family was never mentioned again.
They were nothing to me but a small photograph on the bedside table in my Mom's bedroom. I often sneaked in to gaze at their faces and wonder what they were like in the flesh.
Her father was a man of short stature but very fierce and dominating looking. His word was clearly law.
His wife was tiny and scared and completely submissive. Not the kind of woman to stand up and fight for her daughter and grandchild.
There was no photo of my father, so like many part orphans, I was free to imagine him however I wanted.
As a child, he was some kind of superhero who couldn't live with us because he was too busy off chasing dangerous villains, and he had to stay away to keep us safe.
As a teenager, he was a tragic romantic hero, married to a woman he didn't love but always holding a torch for his dear Renee, the childhood sweetheart Fate had ripped from his arms.
Or maybe he was an undercover detective, unable to ever come home.
My final fantasy was that he was a rich and famous movie star, adored by millions but only truly loved by my Mom and me.
They didn't know him, but we did.
Naturally I chose the most popular actor of the right age, but when he fell from grace in some public scandal, I switched to a more beloved star who had never been mentioned in the gossip magazines.
Now that fantasy was over.
Charles Swan was a real, flesh and blood man.
Not a superhero or movie star.
A small town cop.
I took my carry-on from where it has rested on the rack above my head and reluctantly alighted the bus.
The driver shocked me by seeming to know who I was, but I realized quickly he had mistaken me for my sister, who he clearly knew.
"So, Bella, you have returned. You will be lucky if he forgives you and takes you back. I wouldn't, if it were me."
I didn't attempt to correct him or pretend to understand.
It seemed maybe my sister was not as popular in her hometown as I had been in mine.
I got a few hostile stares from the townspeople as I walked along the main road. A couple of older ladies shook their heads and mumbled out loud to their companions some rather spiteful remarks about 'loose women' and 'cheaters' and 'women who deserted their perfectly wonderful husband and dear little baby' so I soon figured my twin had done a runner. Who could blame her?
Living in this constant state of dampness would be enough to send any sane person running screaming for the hills.
I glanced again at the page I had ripped from the local phone book at the bus station, and tried to work out exactly where I was now, and where the street was where my father lived.
Oh, I get it. This must be the main drag, if you could call anything this small that, so I have to walk to the corner ahead then go down the street to the right, and then...
I barely had time to scream as a shiny blue car tore around the corner and headed straight for me.
All my instincts kicked in immediately and I half jumped, half fell into the gutter at the side, and as I felt a sharp pain in my right temple, blackness took over.
The day started out just as the previous days had this month.
I awoke and checked my cell phone for messages, and as always, there were none.
Then I checked the home phone.
I walked out onto the balcony off the bedroom and stretched. My neck muscles were tied in knots, and screamed in protest as I tried to limber them up with my fingers.
My mind screamed even louder.
"Bella, where the Hell are you? How could you do this to us? How could you just walk away? "
I guess I knew from the start that our relationship was the doomed variety, but that hadn't stopped me chasing after her, and now not only was I paying the price for my foolhardiness, but so was our daughter.
She deserved better.
I wandered into the nursery and watched the baby begin to stir.
As soon as her eyes opened, she saw me there and immediately her face lit up with a delighted grin.
I lifted her up into my arms and kissed her sweet little face and wondered how on Earth Bella had found the strength to walk away and leave this perfect little angel behind? I could never have done it, no matter how bitter and twisted our marriage had become.
I stripped off the nighttime diaper and sang to my daughter as I replaced it with a fresh one, and then kissed her little pink face again.
"Good Morning, Princess. How is Daddy's Girl today? What shall we have for breakfast?"
She grabbed at my mouth and I playfully bit her fingers.
"Oh, shall Daddy just gobble you all up? That sounds like fun. You taste delicious. But then what would I have for lunch?"
I took her downstairs and strapped her into her highchair, and handed her half a banana to snack on while I made her cereal.
"Momma," she chortled, and my mood darkened for a moment. I shook it away, and faced the little darling again.
"Listen to your father and make sure you only ever consider marrying somebody who loves you as much as you love them. And also, never even consider dating anyone whose heart clearly belongs to someone else. That is just madness. And it never ends well. If only someone had said those words to me."
She squashed the banana on her tray and dropped a piece onto the floor, gazing down in wonder at where it had disappeared to.
"Bye bye," she chanted, then grinned her cheeky little grin at me.
"Okay, how about you eat or or Daddy takes it away?"
I grabbed a cloth and wiped her sticky little hands, then sat down on a chair and started spooning oatmeal into her waiting mouth.
My Girl loves her cereal.
She shivered in anticipation of each new spoonful.
"Edward," a cheerful voice called from the front doorway. Can I come in?"
"Sure, Mom. Look who is here. It's Nanny Esme. She has come to play with you while Daddy is at work. Won't that be fun?"
Mom approached the high chair and kissed my daughter on top of her shiny reddish curls.
"How are we today? Oh, you ate all your cereal. What a good baby."
She looked up at me and mouthed the usual worried greeting.
Any news? Has Bella come back?
"Mom, it's fine to actually speak out loud. The baby doesn't understand what you are saying, you know. No. No word. I guess she and Jacob have made a clean break. I honestly don't expect her to ever come back. I think it's been long enough now. If she was going to change her mind and come home, she would have done it already."
Mom smiled awkwardly.
I guess it was a difficult situation for every single member of our family and none of them knew what to say.
Right from day one, the first time I finally convinced Bella Swan to go out on a date with me just weeks after her relationship with Jacob Black seemed to be finally over for good, it was as if they had all been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I'd been willing to be her rebound guy, but I'd never wanted to become what she had made me.
Her revenge fuck.
If only I had faced up to that back then. I could have saved myself so much grief.
She had never wanted me, she had just used me to hurt Jake, after he had cheated on her with that black haired girl on the Res.
And then everything had spiraled out of control.
Bella had become pregnant.
She'd gone running back to Jake and he'd tossed her aside and told her she was damaged goods now. He would never want her again.
She'd come back to me, but only because she had nowhere else to go.
She'd stayed, like a little bird trapped in a cage, and carried our daughter but I knew deep down she never bonded with the golden haired baby, because what she really wanted was a little black haired infant with his eyes, and his honey coloured skin, not my milky white skinned daughter.
After that, it had merely been a waiting game.
I'd come home after every shift at the hospital expecting to find the house empty and a short note left waiting for me.
She had never gotten over him. Jacob Black had her heart and there was no room in it left for me or, it seemed, for our child either.
I'd feared so much that Bella would take the baby away with her, but no.
All she had wanted was to be with her true soul mate, and we were not needed.
"Maybe it's time to gain some closure and just accept this is your life now," Mom said sadly.
"I know I have to do that, but how? I miss her. Okay, she was a nightmare sometimes , most of the time, and she broke my heart on a daily basis, but I still love her, Mom. I want her back."
"Edward, she was never yours. Not really. You must have known that."
I handed the baby to my mother and stomped outside.
It felt like my body was tearing apart from within and my skin would split apart, and all that would be left of me was a pile of dust, to blow away in the wind.
My home phone rang and I reluctantly walked inside to answer it.
My father's voice sounded hesitant. This was not good news.
My stomach clenched, because always there in the back of my mind was the fear one day Bella would do something reckless.
Escape this life in a permanent way.
"Say it," I begged. Just say it and let it be over. I can't take any more.
"Edward. Bella's back. She's in the hospital unconscious. She fell and hit her head. Tyler almost hit her with his car, but she jumped out of the way just in time. You need to come in here now."
"Is she alright?" I asked, stunned. Bella had come back. I never saw that coming.
"I think she will be fine but there are some problems. Probably temporary."
"What problems, Dad?"
"She came to pretty much immediately after she was brought in to ER and James called me of course. I checked her over and I don't think there's any reason to worry but there is one problem.
She has no idea who I am."
"What?" I asked in surprise.
"She answered all my questions. She knows the year, and who the President is, and where she is, but then she thanked me for taking care of her, and asked me my name."
"Seriously? That's just weird," I agreed.
"So, I thought, maybe it would help if you came in and we see how she reacts when she sees you."
I wonder how she will?
If she is undamaged and of her right mind, she will probably tell me to Fuck Off and start asking for Jake.
I told Mom the short version of what was happening and kissed them both before heading for my car.
I just wonder what state my wife will be in when I get there.
Billy Black stifled a sob as Sam Uley finished speaking.
"But they are alive?" he checked.
"Barely. They jumped from the highest clifftop at Dead Man's Bluff. Quil and Embry witnessed the whole thing from Land's End and acted swiftly. If they hadn't been there, so close, and gotten to them so fast, it would be a different story."
Nobody had ever survived a jump from Dead Man's Bluff before, hence the name. It was a notorious suicide location. Nobody bothered with the uncertainty of self inflicted gunshot wounds not hitting the crucial spot, and risking a horrific survival, maimed and disfigured; or dosed themselves with pills that after all, your body may reject and expel, maybe resulting in a much nastier death by asphyxiation. No, the perfect tool was right there waiting, no risk involved.
You jumped, you died.
And nobody, not even the most reckless teenage boys from the tribe had ever used that peak as a place to cliff dive from. It was beyond dangerous. It was suicidal.
Billy moved his hands and turned the wheelchair around so he no longer had to look at the man.
"Do you think...were they..."
"I don't see how there could be any other answer. Embry said at first they were just standing there, on the edge. Jake was kissing Bella, and she seemed to collapse into his arms, crying, I guess. Then they both stood up straight, joined hands, and jumped.
They were trying to kill themselves," Sam replied quietly, his voice filled with the same fear and sorrow Billy was experiencing.
"You know how much they just wanted to be together, and Jacob has been so depressed ever since Bella married Edward Cullen. I guess they just wanted an ending, so there could be a new beginning, in the next life..."
Billy cringed. Jake had always placed too much trust in the old stories. If life got too tough here, then do as many an ancestor had done in the past, and just end this life now, knowing a shiny new better life would begin immediately.
Die together, and be forever bonded in future existences with your true love.
He wished he had never told his son the stories.
"Are they going to be okay? Did the doctor tell you anything?"
"Well, thanks to the boys, it seems neither have suffered anything irreversible. And Quil ran off to call for emergency services as soon as they had them both out of the water, while Embry kept watch.
The rescue chopper was there in minutes.
The doctor who admitted them into Seattle Hospital said he didn't think either of them was in immediate danger but it will be a very long, slow recovery and at the moment they are both unconscious. Bella was awake when they pulled her out but the specialist decided to put her into an induced coma to give her any chance of surviving and he says he actually thinks she is already stabilizing, so that's a positive sign.
Jake hasn't regained consciousness at all. Yet. It's bad, Billy, I won't lie. But there is hope. For both of them. We mustn't give up."
Billy turned the chair back to face Sam.
" I wonder where they have been hiding all these weeks? Why didn't they just run off together, somewhere far away and pretend they had never been apart?
Thank you for coming back all this way to tell me yourself. I don't think I could have handled hearing this by phone. How is Emily? And the baby? It's lucky for me that you were there."
"Emily is fine, she will be released later this week. The baby has to stay for quite a while yet. He's twelve weeks early, but despite that, the doctor thinks his chances are excellent. He didn't need to go on life support and he's breathing on his own already, so it's looking hopeful.
Don't you worry about them, Jake is the one who needs your hopes and prayers now."
"I have to tell Charlie about this myself. Will you drive me there?"
"Of course," Sam replied.
He wasn't looking forward to this part.
Bella Swan Cullen may not be one of his favourite people, and she could be quite abrasive and tactless, but when she was with Jake, she was a different person altogether. They should have been the ones caught out.
A baby would have cemented them even closer together and this whole disaster would never have happened.
If only that little pale skinned auburn haired infant had been Jake's...
Sam lifted the chair from the back of the truck and helped Billy back into it, then pushed the chair towards the front door of Charlie Swan's house.
Just as they were about to knock, they both turned as the police cruiser pulled up behind their vehicle, and Charlie himself stepped out.
"Hey. Here to watch the game?" Charlie said with a laugh, holding up a six pack of vitamin R. "I had a bet with myself you two would be over tonight to catch it on my flat screen. It's going to be one hell of a game."
"Charlie," Billy said falteringly, hating to break the news and wipe the smile from his best friends face. "We didn't come for that. I'm so sorry. It's not good news, Charlie."
"What isn't? What happened?" Charlie asked, his face instantly wary and grave.
"It's Bella. She's been hurt."
Charlie shook his head.
"Billy, she's fine. The car didn't actually hit her. She jumped back just in time and fell. She bumped her head a little. Carlisle is keeping her in overnight but he said she will be fine. She's a bit dazed and he thinks she has concussion but it's not serious. Don't worry about her. She was sitting up asking for coffee by the time I left the hospital. Boy, news travels fast. To be honest, I'm just so glad she's back and alive and going to be okay. Is there any news about Jake? I admit I thought they'd run off together. It seemed like the obvious conclusion."
"You saw Bella? In Forks hospital?"
"Yes. Room 54 if you want to visit. Just don't freak out if she doesn't recognize you. Carlisle said it's temporary, just part of the concussion. She will be her old self before we know it. Edward's there at her bedside, of course."
"Bella was in a car accident and now she is in Fork's Hospital and she fell and bumped her head? And you saw and spoke to her yourself? Today? You are sure it's her?" Billy asked, confused.
Sam scratched his head.
"So, it would seem it wasn't Bella on that clifftop with Jake after all. I wonder who the girl is?" he mumbled quietly to his friend.
Charlie looked at them both impatiently.
"I think I know my own daughter. Tyler Crowley lost control of his new sports car on the bend in town and Bella was walking over from the bus station. He almost hit her; she fell; she hit her head. Dave took her to Forks hospital in the ambulance. And Edward is there, at her bedside, as I said. We can't both be wrong. It's Bella alright."
"Then I'm glad she is okay and you have her back," Billy said. "We have to go. Jake was in an accident himself. He's in Seattle General. Sam's driving me there."
"I hope he's not badly hurt. Let me know after you get there. Call my cell phone in case I'm out on a call or back visiting my daughter, okay? I want to know how he is. I'm relieved we were wrong. I mean, maybe they did run off together, but obviously Bella had second thoughts and came back. I knew she would never desert her daughter."
"I'm relieved too. I will call you." Billy reassured him, and Sam pushed the wheelchair back to the truck.
"So," Sam said as he pulled away into the street," who on Earth is the girl Jake jumped with, if she is not Bella Swan Cullen?"
OK, now I need help. As any regular readers know, I like very few girl's names and tend to use Lucy, Scarlet, Kristabelle over and over, so please leave your suggestion for Edward's daughter's name in your review and no, please, no Renesmee's.
I only have one daughter myself and used the only girl's name I love and wanted to use, so had she been born with a twin sister, the other baby would not have had a name for months. Boys names..I always had way more than I could use. They all have 3 names each.