Summary: Set During N.M. Edward leaves behind more than just
Authors Notes: I really want to start writing again. Waning Moon Changing Tides
was my first attempt at that kind of plot. I have some new ideas and want to do a few things differently.
I hope you all will like this change. I'll leave that one up as is for now.
Chapter 1: Headaches-Bella
Getting to school to find out that my only class of the day had been cancelled wasn't the relief I shared with my classmates. After going back to my truck, I sat in the driver's seat not moving. It was nine in the morning. With no class and my homework done, going home to my daughter was the responsible choice. The problem was, home was the last place I wanted to be. Carlie was my life now, and I loved her with everything I was. She wasn't my reason for not wanting to go back. The argument this morning with Charlie began to trickle into my mind. As it began to replay, my eyes shut.
We never used to argue. My dad had his work, I had school. Life changed after that night, even before then. The summer before Edward left had been the best one I'd ever had in my life. There were Cullen baseball games, as well as walks to the meadow that belonged to just Edward and me. We had even gone to a few movies, though as I recall, Edward had been more interested in tracing his fingers over the back of my hand, or playing with my hair. One day we had gone to our meadow. It was one of the only times I wore a dress. A sundress that my mom and I had bought the summer before I moved to Forks. That day had been unseasonably warm. When Edward came to get me, he stood just outside the door of my house staring at me. He of course recovered quickly.
The vibrating cell phone in my jeans pocket brought my attention back to the present. I realized that I'd been sitting in my truck for twenty seven minutes. The text was from my dad, asking me to stop by the store and get some more teething gel for Carlie. Even though I wasn't looking forward to going back home, knowing my baby needed the gel gave me the courage to start the engine and head to the store.
Driving always helped to clear my head, and as I made my way to the small grocery in town, I thought about my argument with Charlie, realizing it wasn't really my dad's fault. He just worried about me. Of course Charlie wouldn't have had to worry if Jacob hadn't informed him that I'd driven to the Cullen's empty house. It wasn't like any of that hurt me. I'd gotten used to the idea that Edward had meant what he said. He was making it like he had never existed. Part of me still wanted him to come back. Carlie needed to know her father in spite of what Charlie, Mom, and most everyone else thought. Again, they wanted to protect me, and after the months of being nearly catatonic, who could blame them.
My arrival at the store was the same as always. I was met with people staring at me and whispering when they thought I didn't notice. In the baby isle I got the teething gel, standing still to mentally check off the things that Carlie may need. Before going to the front of the store, I grabbed a teething ring, even though my baby likely wouldn't use it
The cashier offered me a smile as she scanned my items. After paying for them with the cash I had, I rushed back to my truck. Being the gossip of town was getting on my every last nerve. I was happy and excited about flying down to Florida with Carlie to see Mom and Phil. We were staying there for the summer. Hopefully being away from Forks would give me time to try and figure things out. Was it selfish of me to want to live in a town where no one knew my past? The only guilty feelings I had was for Charlie. He loved being Grandpa Charlie, and Carlie loved my dad. He was really the only consistent male role model in her life.
At the house, as I walked up the stairs, the front door opened. Carlie was facing outward being supported against my dad's chest with an arm under her bottom and one around her middle. My little girl's face was wet with tears. When she saw me she smiled reaching out. Her small hands opened and closed as she leaned against my dad's arm.
"I'll trade you."
I set my book bag down before taking my daughter. Once she was in my arms, Carlie pressed her face into my shoulder. A chilly breeze blew against us so I hurried inside, heading for the family room. After sitting down on the sofa, I set my daughter on my lap so we could look at one another. "Are you having teeth issues again?
Carlie smiled as she leaned forward shifting her legs. That meant she wanted to stand on my legs. Once she was upright, Carlie smiled and began to bounce.
"You're home early."
I glanced past Carlie at my dad as he approached with the gel. "Yeah, class got cancelled right as I walked into the building. I stayed for a few minutes just to make sure I really did have everything ready for Wednesday."
Carlie's small hand pressed against my lips. When I nibbled on her palm, she laughed. "When did she eat last?"
"After you left. She ate half a banana and some Cheerios, and had one of her small sippy cups of water. Bells, I'm sorry I got so mad this morning." Charlie sat down on the couch next to us, taking my baby as she reached for him. For a moment he was distracted as she patted his lips, laughing again when he nibbled her fingers. When Carlie struggled to be let down, my dad put her on the floor. We both watched as she crawled over to her activity blanket. "I just worry, well you know how that goes now."
My eyes focused on my baby, but I did know a little about worrying for a child. "I know, dad. You don't understand why I did that. It's something that is between me and Jake."
Dad cleared his throat and I glanced at him. From the expression on his face, it was evident that not only had Jake told him that I'd gone by the Cullen's old house, but that he had also seen fit to tell Dad something of what drove me to do that. "Don't defend him, please don't."
"Bells, he just said you two kissed. I told him that was enough for me, and that you needed to work things out. its hard honey, because when Edward left you, well it was a scary time."
Carlie was chewing on some of the toys attached to the activity blanket. She wasn't yet aware that I was getting stressed out again. The one thing I felt was different about her that showed, was how sensitive she was to an emotional environment or maybe it was just me she was in tune with.
"Listen, I need to go on and head in. Call if you want to go out to eat at the diner tonight."
Finally I looked to my right. Charlie was looking at me and he offered me a smile. I reached for him and we hugged for a second before he got up. He got his things together and after giving Carlie a kiss on the head, he left us alone.
Before my baby could fuss, she was in my arms. I carried her upstairs to the room we both shared. My old room hadn't changed too much. The desk that had been in here when I moved was gone, replaced by Carlie's crib. It was two steps from the end of my bed. Next to that was my old rocking chair. There were new cushions that went with the beautiful Quilt hanging on the wall behind my daughter's crib. Sue had made both of them.
At the end of my bed I spread out the changing pad, grabbing a clean diaper and the wipes before laying my little girl down. Carlie looked up at me no longer smiling. instead she had a very serious expression on her face. Before changing her diaper, I leaned in and nibbled under her neck. My little girl laughed, smiling at me as I lifted away from her. "That is so much better." While I undid her sleeper, I continued to find different spots to nibble on in an effort to keep her happy.
Since Carlie was only wet, I was done quickly, including dressing her in a pair of jeans and a long sleeve top. It was pink with flowers printed all over the fabric. While I was putting her socks on, Carlie yawned, rubbing her eyes.
Once she was dressed, I carried her to her crib, lifting out the pink polar fleece blanket my mom had gotten for her a few days after she was born. It was Carlie's security blanket, and she never fell asleep without it.
A minute later she was nursing and her eyes were already shut. I leaned my head against the chair as I rocked letting my eyes shut.
Jacob was in love with me. He had been since before Edward left. He had been there during everything and he deserved someone who could give him all of what he wanted from me.
My daughter fussed, so I turned her around and got her to drink from the other side. As she settled, there was a tap at my window. "Come up." I whispered knowing Jake could hear me.
He slid the window open and I tried not to wish that it was Edward. After he shut the window, Jake sat down at the edge of my bed. "I'm sorry."
More than anything I wanted to yell at him and tell him to get the hell out of my room. It wasn't Carlie preventing me from doing that. "How many times are we going to do this Jake. I like you as my friend. I love you as my friend. I know that I held your hand that night at the movie. Carlie changed it all Jake.
His head lowered and he grasped his hair. "Bella, will you tell me why you feel obligated to him." When he looked at me, I started to speak, but he held up his hand. "I know. You have Carlie, and she's his daughter. I get that. But if you didn't have her, if you just had yourself to think of, what then?"
The baby in my arms had changed my life. As I looked down at her while she continued nursing, I knew that was my answer. "Jake. She is here, and yes maybe if I hadn't have gotten pregnant, maybe I would be different. She's given me a purpose, a huge reason for everything I do from the moment I found out she was inside me." My throat began to close, because finding out about her hadn't been normal. Even though it hurt, I trudged on. "The second he told me he smelled my baby, everything from that moment on became crystal clear. I had and have to put her first Jake. I don't get to date like everyone else. I don't get to go out to the movies every weekend. Coming to La Push scares me to death. Every time Charlie and I go see Sue with her. I know you put an Alpha command on your pack, and I know you took over to keep us safe. Carlie is my obligation."
The pained expression on his face hurt even more than the memory of Laurent telling me I was with child. As much as I wanted to comfort Jake, I realized any comfort I gave him would further mislead him. I'd been doing that too much. He had said it was alright for me to get comfort from him, but now, for the first time, I saw what that was doing to him, and to me. It wasn't fair, but my life hadn't been for a while now.
Jake looked at me and sighed. "I need to go."I nodded, not ready to say anything. After he got up, Jake stood in place a second before he turned back to the window.
When we were alone again, I let out the breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding. In my arms, Carlie was asleep. Normally I would have put her down in her crib, but right now I needed to hold her. It had been a long time since I thought about that day in the meadow, the day that had changed my life so much.
It was a little past five when Charlie walked in from work. On the floor in the family room, Carlie and I were playing with her puzzles. She was chewing on one peg while I put the other pegs in their respective places. I heard my dad pulling his belt off and the soft thump as he put his gun up on a shelf in the foyer, just like he'd done when I was younger. He didn't join us until he'd changed into jeans and an old shirt. The second Carlie saw him, the peg dropped from her hand and she began to fuss as she reached for him.
Charlie was quick to comply with her fussing, and when he lifted her above his head she laughed, kicking her legs out. "There's my beautiful granddaughter." He settled her against his chest joining me on the floor. Carlie sat on his lap already reaching for another puzzle peg. My dad was unusually quiet.
"So, Billy said something?"
He rubbed the back of his head with his free hand. "Just that Jake came in looking like he'd lost his best friend."
That hurt, but in a way he was right. "We talked. I told him that Carlie comes before anyone else." The only information my dad was getting was what he just heard. It was funny. Since having my daughter, we had begun talking more. There were a lot of good things that had come from having Carlie, and as she smiled at me, I couldn't help but smile back.
"Is some of it because of, well, because of the wolves?" His question didn't surprise me. When everything had happened with Carlie's birth, he was let in on their part of the secret. It was so he wouldn't freak out if he walked out back and found a huge wolf just within the tree line, and because of Sue.
It was a day for changes, as I looked at my father. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Why is Jake and I getting together so important to you? Why can't I just be a single mom?" I wanted to continue by telling him that Renee had practically raised me by herself, but also knew that would hurt him. Charlie hadn't chosen for her to leave, and he regretted the long lapse of time before I came to live with him when I was seventeen.
While I waited for him to answer, Carlie reached for me. "Hi beautiful girl" She wanted to stand, so I held her up. My little girl was fifteen months old and didn't walk, or really talk. She fussed when she wanted us to do something for her, and that was a worry. Sue said it was due to her being born so early. I had been prepared for developmental delays, but this scared me. It was part of the reason I wanted Edward to come back. Carlisle might be able to shed some light on all of this, if he'd even seen a baby like my Carlie. Sue did the best she could, and I was glad she was a Midwife and could act as my daughter's doctor. The fact that Sue cared enough to help out was a relief. Then again, Carlie had a lot of the woman cooing over her, even Emily, when we were at Sue's house, loved to hold her.
"I don't want to see you struggle."
What my dad said caught me off guard, and I looked past Carlie to him.
"One thing that had to be hard on your mom was that she did it all on her own. Yeah, I got you summers, sometimes, but she had you the rest of the time, and that couldn't have been easy. I don't know because she never would tell me."
There was regret in the tone of his voice and I lifted Carlie to my shoulder while I scooted over to sit next to him. "She loved being my mom, and she never regretted anything. We went on a lot of trips when school was out. Mom was great because she never really grew up." Against my shoulder, Carlie snuggled down and I leaned into my dad as he put his arm around me.
"You had to do a lot of the things she didn't though."
"And having Jake wouldn't change me having to do the things Carlie needs me to? Yeah he could help clean the house, or put her to bed so I could get my homework done without any interruption, but you do a good job of that."
Charlie huffed a little. "Things with Sue are getting serious. I may not always be here like I am now."
His confession wasn't a surprise. "Then I'll be okay wherever we end up."
"How did you grow up so fast?"
Both of us glanced at Carlie as her head lifted and she began to struggle to be let go. He didn't need that answer.
"I'll try and do better about all of this."
"Dad, your doing really good now. Just trust me to do what is right for me and for my little girl."
He nodded before we hugged.
"Will you keep an eye on her while I go get dinner started?"
Carlie was crawling toward the rocking horse that her Grandpa had gotten for her first Christmas just a few months ago. While he went to keep her company, I headed for the kitchen feeling stronger than I had in a long time.