Listening suggestion is Alan Jackson's "Remember When" It's truly a beautiful song reflecting the journey of a couple.
Announcements at the end, let's get straight to the point. Here is the conclusion to Separation and Lies.
Chapter 57: The Journey Worth Taking
"Remember when I was young and so were you and time stood still and love was all we knew... "
It was like a floodgate opened in his damn mind. How had they missed it? Ace was healing before he was ever born. He healed the bite, he put Renee in remission from MS. There were probably countless instances he'd helped out. That damn leech, Monica bragged like she was so sure she'd killed Quil, but Ace must have been in the room long enough to reverse some of the damage inflicted on the pack.
Leah brought him next to Bella's lifeless body. Edward was still rambling, but no longer about turning Bells. "That's it. That's what we couldn't pinpoint. He not only projects his shield, he projects his healing. Phenomenal."
His son still appeared groggy. Jake wondered if the battle had drained him of some of his abilities or if he could still work miracles with ease. Bella wasn't breathing and her heart had stopped, a miracle was their only option. Jacob placed his son's hand in Bella's palm and closed his hands around theirs. "Help Momma!"
Ace nodded. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths in and out his nose. He moved closer so he could lay across Bella's chest.
"That's right. It's there, in her heart. Heal her, son."
Their son wrapped his arms around her as far as he could get them. "I help."
"Of course, you do. You're helping. You have been all along."
Jacob didn't know how long it took. It couldn't have been terribly long, but also seemed like forever. When that first sound uttered from her chest, he knew Bella wasn't the only one that got her life back, he'd also been resurrected. Ace didn't let go. He kept holding his mother with his arms around her and his head on her chest. Her heart got stronger, louder and in the perfect rhythm that Jacob had memorized long ago when a teenager girl came to him, broken and confused, but seeking some sort of human connection. The whole room stood still until Bella's hands reached around her son and joined with Jacob's across Ace's back.
He repeated himself again, "I help."
Bella opened her eyes and pointed to her mouth. She'd been in and out of consciousness for hours. Jacob asked if was alright to give her water. Carlisle said most definitely, small sips at first though. He'd started her on IV fluids when they got back to the plane. Emmett said a weather system was expected by morning. They decided everyone was safe to travel almost immediately after boarding, since waiting wasn't going to be in their best interest.
He watched Bella reach for her belly. She looked slightly worried. How could she have forgotten? Maybe she thought she was trapped in a nightmare. "Bells, they're up front, sleeping. Leah has Rebel and Paul has Maximus.
She sipped the water and then cleared her throat a few times. "Are they okay?"
"Perfectly fine. However, they don't like that weird milk from a can Blondie tried to give them with a syringe."
Rose heard them talking. "It's all I could find in a rush."
"What? Oh my gosh, they're starving. Give them to me."
"Carlisle said they were fine. They held down enough to stay hydrated. You were a bit incapacitated at the time. I wasn't going to trouble you to breastfeed. Take a few minutes to wake up. I don't want you pushing yourself too soon."
"He was talking to Eh, but I'm pretty sure he bored him senseless and he's crashed now." He wiped his fingers across her crinkled brow. "I know that look, but I assure you there's no need to worry about him ever again."
"I'm his mother. Of course, I'm still going to worry. He's a remarkable kid, isn't he?"
"Yes, more than we realized. Now that he knows the gist is up, he's been talking a mile a minute. Paul already asked what some of the words he uses actually mean."
He gave her a few more sips of water until she announced she really needed to pee. Jacob didn't hesitate from lifting her up to carry her to the back of the plane. Bella insisted he put her down and she stopped him at the door.
"There's very little chance we both can fit in here. I can handle it from here."
"But you just had two babies in a vampire fortress and you... "
"I, what, Jake?" He wondered if she knew how bad it was. He couldn't even say it out loud yet. "Trust me, it wasn't my first rodeo. I know how to take care of myself after giving birth. You can stay by the door."
Jacob waited until he heard the sink run, then he opened the door. He didn't trust her walking around or maybe he just couldn't let her away from him. He got her settled back down on the converted bed.
"I want my babies now, please."
What else could he say to that, but yes? They were both quiet and sound asleep, but their mother needed them. "Be right back."
Jacob put one baby in each arm. "Oh Jake, look at them. They're perfect. Please, tell me you have a surefire way to tell them apart."
He uncovered Rebel slightly. "Look, Rebel has a tiny strawberry birthmark on his ankle. Lahote says it's cuz Dr. Fang burned him when pulled him out by the foot." They heard Paul chuckle from his seat. Bella said she was giving them both a spanking as soon as she was a hundred percent.
"Don't tell Rach, but that sounds hot."
Jacob growled at him and told him to stop eavesdropping on them.
She lowered her voice a little more. "That's a terrible thing to say. Carlisle, obviously did a great job. I don't even remember the second delivery."
Jacob filled her in a little, not going into too much detail. He wasn't ready to relive it actually. The boys noticed they were finally in their mother's arms. They both woke up and started to root around. Carlisle came from the cockpit and talked to her a little. He was keeping her on the IV fluids until they landed. Air travel naturally dehydrated the body. He removed the empty bag of blood. He told her to drink as much as possible and that Rose was gathering her some snacks. She was still depleted but he said breastfeeding the twins was best for all of them. He told her to let him know if she needed some pain medicine and then he turned away to give the family their privacy.
"Wait, Carlisle. Thank you. You've always been there for me. Thanks for bringing my sons into the world safely." Jacob had asked them all to keep quiet about Jasper and Alice until she had some time to heal. No one wanted to talk about it so soon anyway.
He smiled and told her it was his honor, but she did all the work, he was merely a catcher.
Bella was curious. "Who gave me blood?"
A hand stuck out from behind a seat and waved. "That'd be me, best she-wolf blood on the market. Don't worry if you get the urge to howl or kick ass as soon as next week."
Bella said her thanks to Leah. She looked a bit baffled as if what Leah said was accurate. "It's only blood, Bells. She didn't alter your DNA."
The boys started to get pretty vocal that they were ready to eat. "Oh my, this might be a challenge. Can you help?"
Jacob got some extra cushions to help prop the babies. He announced to anyone that was actually awake not to come back there while Bella was breastfeeding. She wanted him to completely remove the clean shirt Rose dressed her in once they got her washed up on the plane when she was still out of it. She said being skin to skin was best for the boys. Max figured out immediately what he needed to do. He latched on perfectly. Rebel was getting frustrated and kept letting go before he could get started.
"You're determined to be a troublemaker, aren't you?"
"I guess you were spot on when you named him. Here, flip him around. I think I know what will work better for him since he's so small."
"You mean flip, like upside down?"
"No, silly. Turn his legs facing the other direction and bring him up under my arm. It's called the football hold. Imagine he's a ball and I'm going to carry him." He got it after she used a sports analogy.
Jacob held his head for her since her hands were taken. Finally, Rebel caught on and got his fair share. Bella brought up the fact they never gave him a middle name. Jacob didn't think he needed one. Rebel said it all, but she was pushing for one. Her idea of good, strong names and Jacob's slightly differed.
The ever-present annoyance in Jacob's life chimed in. "Edward is still a fine name."
"Are you shitting me right now?"
"Hardly, I'm not even sure I understand that gruesome phrase. It would be fitting in a round about way."
"No, it wouldn't. Bells, you got one chance to wow me or no middle name."
She took a few minutes of thinking when she finally decided on a name. "I like Gregory. I want him to be Rebel Gregory. Will that do? I only brought him into the world under the direst conditions practically at death's door. I should get a say so. Admit it, he needs something to soften that brutish first name up a little."
"Fine, you can add Gregory. No one but moms ever use the middle name anyway. Besides, RGB are his initials, kinda sounds like a weapon. I like it."
Carlisle came back out into view again. Bella waved and smiled. He mouthed, thank you to her. Jacob didn't miss the glances between the two of them.
"Wait a minute, is that some bloodsucker name I don't know about?"
"Of course not, it's just a nice name and you already agreed. No take backs. Actually, the boys are slowing down. I'm going to need your help again."
"Is it always going to be this complicated with two? If you think it is, I'm probably going to have to quit my job because I don't feel comfortable letting anyone else be your official tit holder."
She giggled. Her laughter was music to Jacob's ear.
Bella said she was sure after an adjustment period, she would have a system with her two babies. She looked up at Jake after staring at their sons for a good ten minutes. Bella picked up on every similarity and difference between them, Ace and Zoe. "Poor Zoe, she's going to be surrounded by boys her whole life."
"Maybe one day, we'll provide her with a little sister. I think she'd love that considering how much she plays with dolls."
"Jacob Black, don't dare mention getting me pregnant again right now. You better have a solution for those aggressive wolf sperm or you're not coming anywhere near me for the foreseeable future."
He told her to calm down, he'd handle it because staying away from her was an impossibility.
After the joking, she got pretty serious, "I know it was a difficult childbirth. I didn't screw up things in there, did I? I mean, did Carlisle mention if we could safely have more? I don't mean anytime soon. I need at least five years to think about it, but I'm open to the possibility if you are."
"Honey, our son jump-started your silent heart. I'm pretty sure, in a few weeks, you'll be completely healed and perfect like you always were. Don't worry about our future anymore. We're set to live that wonderful, normal life you always dreamed about."
"How hard was it fighting Aro?"
"I told you earlier, all our side is fine."
"Yes, but you left out so many parts. I think you're keeping me in the dark on purpose. I know when you're holding back."
"Aro was all talk, easiest kill I ever had."
"You're such a liar."
"Maybe, but I love you so much it hurts. That's the truth. I don't want to dredge up all the bad memories so soon. Also, I've been up for nearly forty-two hours straight. How about I burp these boys and get them settled? Then you and I can snuggle on this tiny bed and fall asleep in each other's arm until this plane lands in Washington."
"Sounds like a plan. You always did make the best plans for me."
Jacob refused all visitors except for their parents the first 48 hours they were home. The guys were respectful but they were all on edge to see their alpha queen after her experience. He finally told the entire pack they could come over for dinner. The ladies said they were making a week's worth of food so Bella wouldn't have to do anything but sit still and take care of the twins.
Bella slept a lot. Jacob would take care of the babies and bring them to her for feedings. Moments when she was alert, they'd talk. He and Bella had a very long discussion about everything that took place over those two days. She was heartbroken about what happened to Monica. He knew she second guessed some of her choices, but admitted her old friend was never the same when she lived on the reservation. Now that she really gave it some thought, she and Barry must have never really known her at all if she'd already been seduced by Aro's will. They'd never know what he did or what he held over her all those years.
Bella was equally crushed about Jasper. "Poor Alice. Is there any change?"
Jacob said not yet, but Carlisle was hoping the urge to feed would eventually force her into moving again. "Look, Edward told me he's not giving up on her and when you were better, maybe the three of you could sit together and talk. He hopes seeing that you were rescued might snap her out of it. He said Alice was always a sucker for nostalgia."
She said she would definitely be willing to try. "They brought us into this strange world but they also saved our lives a few times. Kind of ironic, isn't it?"
"Yep, that's the best description I can think of, but what's done is done. At least, you and I have each other the way we were meant to be. I'm relieved that heavy burden that followed you for so long is now gone, permanently."
"I have a confession to make."
"Carlisle told me once his father's name was Gregory."
"You're kidding. I knew it, that name is connected to a bloodsucker."
"No, think about it. It's not. I have this feeling if it wasn't for Carlisle upbringing, he never would've remained such a kind, compassionate being after the violence that stole his human life from him. It was my way of honoring his choices. It's kinda like we've all come full circle, but I wanted you to know the whole story."
Jacob decided he could live with that. Bella had a way for making him understand her motives. He finally told her more about the opponents they faced in Volterra, since she wouldn't stop asking for the details. Most of the time, he talked about Ace and how he amazed him more and more each second. She said with certainty, "We truly broke the mold when we made him, didn't we?"
Jacob informed her about the life-threatening injuries the guys suffered that day. Ace saved the day when he reversed the damage. He assured her every guy there was fine now, even Quil. "I swear if he tells one more story about being disemboweled by a vengeful bloodsucker and living to tell about it, I'm ripping out his tongue so he can't talk anymore."
"He's certainly got a unique campfire story."
Jacob said Renee asked about moving into the cabin. "I told her yes. I hope that's okay. I figured you needed the help with all these little ones, not that she cooks or cleans but at least it's an extra set of hands and when we're sick of her, we can lock the front door."
"Umm, we might have to ship her off to Billy occasionally but I think she's good with the children and we know Ace is exactly what she needs for her health to stay on track. Thank you for extending that offer. I'm sure she was touched."
"Yes, touched isn't what I'd call it. I'm the one that got molested by her. She grabbed me and kissed me a little more than I wanted. Your mom needs a man."
"You're clueless sometimes, aren't you?"
"Hey, I'm insulted by that statement. I know everything that's going on with our pack."
"Jake, Mom loves Billy and he loves her back."
"No way, they're like best friends."
"Whatever you say. You're my best friend, but I'm still madly in love with you and we do all sorts of naughty things to each other." Jacob covered his ears and made juvenile noises to block out what Bells was saying. "I think they keep it hush hush because they're afraid of what you might think. It's been years, you should probably give them your blessing."
"Ugh, but it's so weird."
Bella said Renee assured her she and his father were never getting married. Billy didn't even like her living with him. She about drove him crazy those months she stayed in Embry's old room. This was just about having a special someone to grow old with while enjoying the grandchildren they shared. They didn't want to label it, they just wanted their kids' support and understanding.
"Just mention it to Billy when you have some alone time. Tell them we love them no matter what."
"Fine, but if I ever see Dad wheeling out of the cabin one morning, I'm going back to bed and pouting for at least three days."
"You can't be serious?"
"It's still weird to me, Bells, so yeah, I am. I always supported their friendship, but I never pictured them being more than that."
She climbed on top of him. "Fair enough, you need some time. You know when I first left Edward, I spent many a night staring up at the ceiling, I never once pictured this scenario." She rubbed her fingers across his stubbled jaw. "I thought I would always be alone and that I deserved my fate for the way I hurt you."
Jacob swallowed hard because of the emotions that surfaced at the mention of those lost years. He remembered the years of punishing himself in various manners because of the lies he told or the truths he withheld.
"How did we survive years apart when I barely can stand being at work half the day?"
She said she didn't have a clue, she was just glad they didn't have to know what separation was like anymore.
"Bells, those minutes that dragged on when your heart wasn't beating was the lowest point in my life. I could feel my own strength slipping away. I know you would've wanted me to stick around for our kids but I would've been dead within the hour. Our son saved us both when he performed his little trick." She buried her face in his neck and they held each other close promising never to take one second of the life they shared for granted. Bella's hormones kicked in and she started crying. It had to be at least the tenth time since they'd been home.
"Rose told me about your and Edward's disagreement. I hate that you were put in that position, but I wanted you to know. You chose right. He was wrong to push."
"What else is new? I'm right and the tick is wrong. Will he ever truly admit defeat? I doubt it."
Jacob could hardly blame the bloodsucker for loving Bells through it all. However, it seemed he'd learned his place in her life and that he was nothing more than a good friend. Jacob had kinda hoped the Cullens would move on now. He was fairly certain they would depending on Alice, but he doubted they'd ever truly lose touch with them. The unlikely bonds had formed between their coven and his pack. Bella was the reason mortal enemies united to fight for a common cause. She eventually grew tired again and dozed off against his chest. Bella was the reason for a lot of things and he was never letting her go.
Quil was anxious to pull Bella aside when he got there so they could compare afterlife experiences.
She shrugged at all his crazy questions. "Honestly, Quil. I can't remember."
"Well, I remember everything. I was a wild stallion running across a celestial prairie. The skies were blasting a heavenly symphony in my honor."
Embry came up behind him and smacked him on the back of his head. "He's lying, Bella. He was a jackass just like he is in this realm. He embellishes the story a little more each time he retells it."
"Shut up, I would have been fuck-awesome at being dead, but Claire-bear needed me so I came back for her."
Quil reached out and grabbed Claire to pull her into his lap. Those two were no longer putting the next stage on hold. They weren't taking another second for granted.
"Sorry, Bella. This is the last time he's talking about it. I told him I don't wish to relive that day ever again." He gave her a big sloppy kiss in front of the whole crowd. It was going to take a little time getting used to them like that, but it felt right. It felt like it was time.
The rest of the evening was spent like any other night they all got together. The babies got passed around, but slept through the majority of it. Barry was super excited to introduce his and Collin's little girl to the babies. She was just over a year old. They adopted her from a young waitress that worked for Brit. She'd been thrown out of her home when she was seventeen and pregnant. The guys offered her a place in Katarina's life always and they helped her get settled in an apartment in Seattle so she could go to school. It turned out to be the best for everyone they found each other.
Barry said, "Kat can't wait to help with those babies. I told her maybe next time she can hold them." She babbled 'baba' over and over.
Billy and Renee were happy to each hold a twin. His father was super proud Max carried his name. He added the Black line would flourish for certain now and he could die a happy man. Renee kicked at him. She said they both had plenty of life left and she was waiting for the day they actually held great-grand-babies in their arms. Bella reached for Billy's free hand. "I'm so sorry about the tribal center. I felt sick the first time I thought about what happened to all our hard work."
"Don't you worry a second about that. All that matters is that the lives were spared."
She agreed, but Bella was crushed for the tribe. She'd tried to call the reporter that was covering the story, but hadn't gotten through.
"He didn't tell you?"
Bella saw glances exchanged between Jacob and Billy. "Tell me what?"
Jacob gave her the good news. He called the magazine as soon as they got home. He said they'd had a bit of a natural disaster and suffered some damage. On top of all that, Bella had their babies early. "They were happy to reschedule for next month."
"Next month? Can we repair it by then?"
"Yes, honey. I had a work crew out there already this morning. The guys did their best cleaning up the blood and gore first so it wouldn't look like a major crime scene. It's going to be perfect in time for the rescheduled shoot."
"You're the best husband in the world. I'm so excited now." He gave her a quick kiss and added she made him better than he ever was without her.
Jacob got even more praise from Charlie when he pulled him into the kitchen, "You did good. You brought my girl back to me. I knew you would." He gave him the usual one-arm hug and called him son.
Bella winked from across the room. She'd been watching them. Jake mouthed love you and she blew him a kiss. He had one last surprise to reveal to her when Sage and Ryder walked inside searching for food. They needed refueling. Jacob had been a bit chicken avoiding the talk they so desperately needed to have.
"Oh my God! You boys, you both grew at least six inches since I last saw you. Jake, stop this. They don't have to now that Aro's gone."
They both walked over, kissed their aunt and told her not to worry that they felt great. In fact, they were anxious to go back out and run. They'd spent very few hours as boys since phasing a few days ago.
"But, they're so young. Why didn't you tell me?"
He figured she had enough to absorb with everything else and she still didn't know the other shocker, but it was coming. Ace came running through the crowd, bounded over an ottoman in his path without missing a step.
Bella watched as their young son also bolted for the door. "Atticus, stop!" The pup listened and turned around to come back to Bells. He gave her a kiss on the cheek when she bent down to speak to him. "Sorry, Mommy. I forgot to say goodbye. Later. Don't wait up."
Jacob did a face palm. What four year old tells his mother something like that? "Stop! Jake, stop him. What's he doing? It's already dark out."
Ace looked at Jacob for permission to spill the beans.
"He's going to go run with the pack, honey. You know what happened. We can't reverse it."
"Yes, of course, we can. I know what happened during a life and death situation, but we're no longer having an emergency. I thought things would go back to normal for him now. You can't be seriously considering allowing him to continue to phase. He's too young. Go to bed, Atticus!"
Jacob playfully patted his son's behind, "Go on, Mommy's going to continue to freak out for the next couple of days. Behave, no showing off." He left to catch up to his older cousins. "I know that I'm so pissed at you look, honey, but come on, he was never normal from the start. He's in his element. He has alpha blood coursing through his veins. To be honest, I'm tired. He's paying attention to everything I do. I predict he'll take over before he's even a teenager. It's not like before. The chances of real danger are very slim and I already told you what he can do. I'm not worried about him in the least."
Jacob wrapped his arm around her and kissed her flushed cheek. She was beyond annoyed, but he could tell she also was starting to accept things as they were. It was their kind of normal. The party had settled down and all eyes were on the alpha pair.
Bella crossed her arms in front of her, "So that's it, he's a wolf at five years old and you're encouraging him? End of story."
"Damn, Bells. Of course it's not the end of the story. Our story is just getting started."
***** The End*****
~Thanks so much for reading my story.
My mind is boggled by the attention this story received. Let's talk reviews, most likely going over 1,300 soon. I seriously love that I'm seeing reviews from people that aren't frequent reviews. I've been trying to show my appreciation in PM's lately. If I missed a few, I apologize but I read every single one. Thanks to my loyal guest reviewers as well.
This was a completely spontaneous idea, but I'm so glad I chose to write it. I took some hits in the beginning because some people couldn't handle the angst. Sure, Bella and Jacob's behavior was questionable at times throughout the early chapters, but I was trying to incorporate real human emotions. Hurt people don't always behave themselves.
Truth is, I like to write Epilogues and I always thought I'd write one for this story, but when the final words came together, it suddenly felt complete. I'll let my readers imagine what else they picture happening in Jacob and Bella's lives along with their children, parents and pack.
Finishing this was my ultimate fanfiction goal. I'm not planning on totally disappearing, but I have some other goals I've set for myself, so I won't be updating other stories as often. I truly appreciate every reader and reviewer that's encouraged me over the two years I've been writing.