I can't believe it's the end! This has been more than four month's worth of my life, not counting the writing process. I sincerely hope you enjoy this peek into their future.
***I'm so excited to tell you that Angry All The Time has been nominated for the top ten completed fics for August! I would be thrilled if you would go and vote.
twi fan fiction recs (dotcom) /2016/09/01/vote-for-your-top-ten-completed-fics-august-2016/
I saw that you were perfect,
and so I loved you.
Then I saw that you were not perfect,
And I loved you even more.
I'm running errands while Edward takes Charlie to the playground when I see her coming toward me on the sidewalk. The former head of human resources for the University of Washington, Jessica Stanley.
I sincerely consider ignoring her, looking at the ground as she passes, and not making eye contact. Then I think about what she and Mike did to me.
"Jessica?" I call in a saccharine voice. She looks up from her cell, catching my eye. Her cheeks darken and I assume she's going to bolt.
"It's Bella Cullen, remember me?" It's perverse, the satisfaction I'm gaining from her squirming.
"Yeah, sure. I remember." Suddenly, she looks around us before meeting my gaze. I'm a little startled at the intensity in her large blue eyes. I watch her throat bob as she swallows. "Can we talk somewhere?"
I stare at her for a few long seconds, then nod and gesture to the nearest place. We step into the cool interior of a bakery and order drinks at the counter before sitting down.
I watch her twist her fingers together and notice the lack of a ring. I'm confused, because I thought she and Mike were getting married.
"Was there something you wanted to discuss?" I ask cooly.
She sighs, sounding defeated. "Yes." She fidgets again, then looks right at me. "I thought you'd want to know that Mike is in prison."
My eyebrows shoot up into my hairline. "What? Why? I mean, I'm sure he deserves it, but what did he do?"
She sighs again and rubs her temple. She takes a sip of her drink. "I guess you don't remember me from Forks, do you?"
I frown. "I always kept to myself. I only had one friend, so no."
"Well, I was jealous of you. Your parents were great, you had Angela for a friend, and the guy I had a crush on was into you," she says in a pained voice.
"What guy?" I laugh in disbelief.
"Jacob Black. He was always in love with you, but you were dating Paul."
"Well, that explains a lot," I mutter. "Last I heard, he's still single. He's going to school to be a Physician's Assistant, and interns with Dr. Greene. Since you're clearly not married to Mike, you should go for it with Jake."
She smiles, a little wistfully. "Maybe I will. Anyway, I hated you in high school. It seemed like you had everything. I was fat, my parents were divorcing, and I had glasses and braces and this frizzy hair I've always hated. So when Mike said you'd snubbed him in college, we basically bonded over our hatred of you. I let him do whatever he wanted at work, if he would agree to marry me." She looks down at the table. "I'm ashamed at how desperate I was for a guy's affection."
"I can kind of see how you would want to help him out. It's just… do you have any idea how much he scared me? He found me on Mercer Island and stalked me. He suggested that he was responsible for my parent's deaths."
She laughs, a sad, bitter sound. "Yeah, I have an idea. When you were fired, he started insisting I dress differently, straighten my hair more, dye it darker, and I thought it was creepy. Then he wanted me to wear brown contacts and called me Bella. More than once, while we were, uh, intimate."
I shiver, and it has nothing to do with the air conditioning. "Wow, that's… yeah, that's deranged. What happened after that?"
"I called an attorney. I wanted to get the hell out, but we were living together. He helped me invest some money, hide some away. We spoke to the police, and they hired an investigator. Turns out, Mike likes to stalk brunettes, and he keeps all sorts of momentos. I caught him following me around after I moved out, and had him arrested."
Holy shit. "So, how are you doing after all of that?"
"I'm in therapy. I'm much better now that I testified against him. He's in a mental hospital, and he's not getting out." She's still being fidgety with her hands, but I have sympathy for her I never felt before.
"Well, that's a relief." I pause, thinking about my words. "I forgive you. You were caught up with a mental case, so I don't hold a grudge."
"How is Jasper?" she asks suddenly.
"Jasper? He's married to my sister-in-law. They're expecting any minute, a boy. Why do you ask?"
"Mike was always incredibly jealous of Jasper," she whispers.
"Why?" I ask incredulously.
"He says you were dating in college, and that he was your boyfriend while you worked for U-dub. Now I can see that's laughable."
"Oh, Lord. Jasper was my first friend at school, but we were never even sort of romantic." I roll my eyes at the thought.
"Yeah. Well, I just wanted to clear things up. There was enough evidence against him from my case, among others, that I asked them not to involve you, just so you know. I put you through enough. I'm sorry that I ever helped him, and more sorry that I lived with him." She stands, her chair scraping harshly against the linoleum floor. "I've gotta go. Thanks for listening."
Another chapter in my life I can consider done.
"Hey, Jess!" I call at the last minute.
She stops and turns.
"You should look up Jake. He still goes home to see his dad on holidays. Maybe you can start something."
She grins before disappearing.
I make my way to the park to meet Edward and Charlie. There's nothing she enjoys more than running with bigger kids. We have a playset at home, but sometimes she just wants to play with others.
When I get there I see that Emmett has joined them with Vera. Rose was going to be at Alice's, helping with dinner. Vera and Charlie are running around playing tag with a group of kids that are a few years older. The men are standing nearby, talking.
Emmett sees me first. "Hey little sister, who's your superman," he sings.
I roll my eyes. "You, Emmett. Always you."
He grins. "Hey little sister, shotgun!" he belts out. A few parents turn to look at him.
Edward punches him on the arm as I reach them, then puts his arm around me, kissing my cheek. "How are my little loves?"
"We're great. I ran into Jessica Stanley." I cover his mouth with my fingers when I can see what he's about to say. "Children, Edward. Watch your mouth."
"What happened?" Emmett asks sternly. "Did you punch her in the face?"
I scoff at his ridiculousness. "Of course not. She told me Mike is in prison, which is the part I thought you'd enjoy."
"That's awesome," Edward says, and Emmett bobs his head in agreement.
"Turns out he's a stalker from way back, and she turned him in when he called her Bella a few too many times." I shiver again.
Edward holds me closer. "Then I'm especially glad he's in prison."
"Is he in the nut hut? Cause he sounds psycho!" Emmett ends in a soprano.
"Yes," I laugh. "Apparently Jess had a thing for Jake, but he was crushing on me while I was dating Paul. So she hated me. I told her to find Jake and go for it."
Now Edward rolls his eyes. "Good Lord."
"So, Emmett, how are Rose and H?" I ask to change the subject.
Emmett launches into a story about baby Henry as Edward absently rubs my tiny baby bump. Charlie spots me and runs over, Vera on her heels. We spend the rest of the afternoon together at the playground, then head to Alice and Jasper's for Sunday dinner. It's a tradition that started up after Charlie was born.
I've discovered that this life full of friends and family is perfect for us.
Name the song Emmett was singing: Billy Idol, White Wedding
Thank you so, so much to my beta, SarcasticBimbo, aka BeLynda. She whipped my story into shape and held my hand through worrying no one would read. Turns out, I have some awesome readers, and I appreciate each and every one of you.
I have more in the works, I promise. The last outtake will post this week, so don't forget to follow/fav if you want the notice when it goes live. If you haven't started my other story, (Un)Requited, it's a funny one with a hilarious Edward. Go check it out!
Thanks to my pre-readers for giving me their honest reactions each chapter: 71star, starsmina, and rebadams7. You three rock!