"Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, or any characters associated with Twilight.
Reader Warning: While I will not be publishing any explicit sort of content, there may be some mention of physical/emotional abuse and, or sexual assault. I do not condone these behaviors, but due to the storyline, mentioning them will likely be necessary. I do realize that speaking/reading about these behaviors may be painful or triggering for some people. PLEASE, if this is you, just skip over this story, and I won't be offended in the least. I'd much rather it wasn't read than to have it cause anyone that sort of distress.
Authors Note: First of all I just want to thank you for reading this story. Some of you out there may recognize it, as I did have it published before. I am now in the process of re-doing it, because there were several things about the original that I did not end up liking. This version will be a bit different than the last, but not drastically so. I cannot promise regular updates. I tried that before, and it simply didn't work. As I republish, there may be frequent updates, and there may even be several chapters done in a day. This will likely be a rarity, though, and updates may take anywhere from several weeks to several months.
"Bella! Bells! She's back!" Bella hurried out of the cabin at the sound of Jasper's voice. He hadn't even dismounted from his horse yet, and the excited grin on his face made her smile, "Who's back?" she asked, walking over to the horse. "Lorraine O'Flannery; I heard the postmaster talking at the general store when I went to get supplies." "Really?" Bella exclaimed, unable to keep the excitement out of her own voice. Jasper nodded, laughing as he reached his hand out for her, "Let's go talk to her." Bella quickly took his hand, and soon she sat behind him as they rode towards the woman that they had been waiting months to meet.
"You doing okay?" Bella nodded in response to Jasper's question, taking a deep breath and then slowly letting it out. Up until this moment her excitement had spurred her on, but now as they stood just outside of the cabin belonging to Lorraine O'Flannery, well, now her nerves were getting the best of her. Jasper lightly placed his hand against the small of her back and for a moment Bella allowed herself to draw strength from his touch. "Bells", Jasper said softly, "It'll be alright." She nodded shakily, "Okay, but can you...can you be the one to knock? Please?" "Of course." Jasper only hesitated a second before rapping his knuckles against the wooden door. Soon they heard footsteps echoing across the floor inside and then the door swung open with a loud squeak.
"Who are you?" demanded the short woman who now stood glaring up at the pair standing on her porch. Her red hair was pulled back into a tight bun and her skin appeared weathered, as though she had spent much of her life outdoors. The scowl she was giving them looked as if it could curdle milk, and Bella moved closer to Jasper's side, recognizing the woman who took Scarlet, and suddenly unsure of what to say. Thankfully he stepped forward, addressing the woman with a polite smile, "I'm Jasper Whitlock, ma'am, and this is my wife Isabella. Are you Lorraine O'Flannery?" Although she didn't return the smile, the woman's frown lessened slightly as she nodded, "That I am. What's it to you?"
Jasper glanced at Bella quickly and then looked back to Ms. O'Flannery, "We heard that you might be able to tell us something about my wife's baby." "What's wrong with the child? I ain't no doctor." Jasper nodded, "We know." The woman squinted at Jasper, " And what do ya mean 'your wife's baby'? Ain't it your baby, too?" He shook his head slightly, "No." Ms. O'Flannery turned to Bella, crossing her arms, "What's going on here?" Bella swallowed nervously, "My-my daughter was born before Jasper and I were married. I was already expecting when we met." The older woman nodded, sighing, "So what's the problem now?"
"My daughter was taken away from me when she was born. Y-you took her." Ms. O'Flannery studied Bella's face for a moment, then snapped her fingers "I recognize you now. You gave me more trouble than most of the girls I meet. You pitched a fit, now, didn't ya? Most of the girls just hand 'em over. You didn't want to let her go." Bella felt tears begin to sting her eyes, "My mother had her taken. I wanted to raise her." Jasper placed his hand on her back again, looking at the woman in front of them, "Please, do you know where the baby was taken?" "That I do." "Please", Bella pleaded, "Please, tell us where to find her."
Ms. O'Flannery studied both of them for a long moment, then nodded, "Alright. I'll write down the name of the orphanage she was taken to. If she ain't been adopted yet, you might can find her there."
"Jasper, are you sure that you want to do this?" Bella asked, looking up at him as she folded a dress into her trunk. He laughed, shaking his head, "That's the same question you've asked at least ten times today." "Well, I just want to be sure that this is what you want. I don't want you to feel pressured into doing anything." Jasper sighed, motioning toward the bed, "Bells, come sit down for a minute." She looked at him curiously, but did as he requested, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. "Alright", Jasper took her hands, crouching in front of her, "Understand me. If I didn't want to do this, I wouldn't be doing it." She shook her head, "It's just, you're taking on a lot of responsibility that you don't have to take, and I don't-" "Stop." Jasper cut her off, placing his finger against her lips, "Stop, Bells. You're a mother who's about to go looking for her daughter. You don't need to do this alone; I'm willing to go with you. I'm your friend Bella. legally your husband, and this is something that I want to do for both of us. Just stop doubting and accept my help."
"I'm sorry Jasper-" she started to apologize, but he broke in again, "There's nothing to be sorry about." Bella studied his face for a long moment, then finally nodded, "Alright." "Now, will you accept my help?" She nodded again and Jasper smiled at her crookedly, "It's about time." She smiled back slightly and he stood, drawing her to her feet in front of him, "You know, you're kind of impossible Bella Whitlock." She tilted her head curiously when he chuckled, "Lucky for you, it's one of my favorite things about you." She wasn't sure how to respond to that and he grinned, "It's getting late, Bells. Try to get some sleep." And with that he winked at her, turning on his heel and walking out the door, leaving Bella staring speechlessly at the spot where he had stood.