Chapter 4

Rated M

I forgot all about this one. I reread it today thinking I'd finished it but realized I'd just left it. I love it though.

The one thing I like about writing Twilight FF is taking a point from the original story and changing one thing. Changing one little thing can make a big difference. Hope you're enjoying this one. TJ

"Jake, maybe you need this time apart," Billy told his son reluctantly.

"We don't need time apart. She's only gotten better recently. She doesn't work, she spends almost every hour with me," Jake pleaded with his father.

"I know and maybe that's the problem," Billy answered.

Jake stalked off. He was frustrated. Why didn't anyone understand? She needed him, and he needed her. Like the air he breathed.

"Keep your dirty fingers out of the food, Jake," she said as she madly stirred it, trying to mix up the imagined germs he added to it.

"You know I can't resist your sauce. It smells delicious and tastes even better."

"Where you've been?" She asked him, trying to sound casual.

"Looking into some things," he answered, not ready to reveal his whereabouts.

"Jake, I'm sorry about earlier. I didn't handle it well."

"Bells," he said, as he turned her around. "Look at me. Please?"

She glanced up at him, her eyes searching his.

"Don't go. Please, stay here. We can make it work somehow. Charlie's already been sleeping on the couch for a year. Let's find a way to make it work. I can't stand the thought of being away from you."

"Jake, I've been unfair to you. Being here in your house monopolizing every minute of your day."

"You aren't monopolizing my time. I've done everything I needed to do. I've just had you by my side while I'm doing it, and I like it that way."

Bella continued to stir her sauce, chewing her bottom lip, and contemplating Jake's words.

"So does that mean you'll stay?" He pushed.

"Yes, we'll stay. If I left, I'd feel bad about all of these renovations you guys have been doing to the house to make room for me and Charlie."

Jake grabbed her from behind and gave her a tight squeeze, kissing the side of her head.

"Put me down!" She squealed.

Later at dinner, Charlie chewed thoughtfully as he stared at Jake and Bella. It was difficult to imagine leaving the house after all this time. He'd come to enjoy the company of his best friend and son. He noted that Jake looked relaxed and Bella leaned toward him when she talked.

Charlie sat up straighter and squinted his eyes at Jake. He'd finished his dinner and had one arm across the back of Bella's chair, his fingers grazing up the side of her arm, while he talked. Bella didn't flinch away like she used to do. In fact, it seemed like she was leaning a little bit into Jake. Neither of the kids noticed the look on Charlie's face as they were lost in their own private world.

"So, Jake, when is that addition going to be finished? You and the guys have been working on it for some time now," Charlie asked.

"It's almost done. We can bring down whatever furniture you want from your house next week," Jake responded as he picked at food on Bella's plate and ran his fingers through her hair.

"Good, good. It'll be nice for me and Bella to have our own part of the house. You can sleep in your own room now," Charlie stated, sounding disgruntled.

"Dad! What has gotten into you tonight?" Bella asked, shocked. She stood up, gathering dirty dishes and carrying them to the sink.

"Nothing," he spat and left the kitchen.

"What was that about?" Jake whispered to Bella as he brought the rest of the dirty dishes over.

"Who knows? Charlie was shooting laser beams out of his eyes at you."

"Yeah, it was kind of funny. Was it too much to start playing with your hair?" He grinned.

Bella chuckled and finished rinsing the dishes to load them in the dishwasher. She was amused by Jake and her father. It was nice to feel so carefree with everyone around her. The letter from Alice floated around in her mind. She finally began to feel like she could move on with her life. If she was going to remain living with the Black's, then she either needed to get a job or take some college classes online. Jake had gone out to patrol that night and Bella went into her room, while Charlie and Billy watched some sports show.

Carefully, she folded the letter and put it into a memory box she'd had forever. She kept her favorite treasures from various places in the box. In the box was the ring that Edward had given her. She'd had it in her pocket during the newborn battle and she'd always keep it to remember Edward by. The diamonds glinted in the light, so she pulled it out of the box and looked closely at it. It was a beautiful ring, though a little large for her hands. When Edward had first proposed, she'd been caught off guard. Many times they'd talked about marriage, and Bella had always responded that she wasn't really marriage material. But she couldn't deny him that night when he presented her with the ring. His face was joyful when she accepted, although a tiny part of her sent a jolt of regret through her body. Bella sighed and dropped the ring back into the black velvet box. Next to it was the diamond charm Edward had slipped onto Jake's bracelet. Slowly, she closed the lid. She held it to her forehead and remembered the first day she'd seen the Cullens at school.

"Good-bye, Edward," she whispered, placing a light kiss on the box. She put it back in the memory box, and slid the memory box back under the twin-size bed.

Bella glanced at the clock and saw it was only 8:30. She decided to grab a book and sit out on the couch with her dad and Billy.

"Hey, Bells. Whatchya doing?" Charlie asked her, as he put his arm around her.

"I just figured I'd read out here tonight." She hugged her dad and then turned to lay on the end of the couch. Charlie grabbed the afghan off the back of the couch and covered her feet, resting his forearm over her legs.

"Sounds good," Charlie murmured as his eyes focused back on the television.

Thanks for finishing this little short story. There may one day be an epilogue, but I tend to be one of those "imagine your own happy ending," story kind of people.