Ch. 19 Remember.
I can't help but wonder what he s thinking. His pupils are dilated; his skin is pasty and shining with sweat. His breaths are coming in quick rapid gasps. Is he thinking about dying, is he thinking about a loved one?
If I could have a choice and one last thought, it would be of her.
She was always there for me, in ways I never expected her to be. She saved all our lives and helped bring justice to the death of my parents. I mean, fuck, she wasn't born into this lifestyle, she wasn't a part of it, yet she fit so perfectly with me, with my family and with this life we lead. In some sort of fucked up way, it s as if she was meant to be brought into my life. Just maybe, she was truly destined for me...
And I just left her.
I shouldn't have done it.
I should have stayed there and fought off anyone who would try to take her from me. She begged me to go; again, she was looking out for me, saving me... I would have never gone if she hadn't begged. Even so, Jasper had to drag me away. But not before I promised her I'd find her again, that I'd come for her soon.
The guy in front of me chokes, pulling me from my thoughts, blood spatters on his swollen face. I don't generally take someone out this way, beating them until they're nearly dead, but I'm frustrated.
Carlisle sent James to keep watch over what's mine. Though I'm a bit more okay about it now, I'm still pissed off that I couldn't send someone I fully trusted or better yet, gone myself.
I understand why I can't go and be with her, but it doesn't make it any easier. I want to protect her the way she protected me, but I know I have to make it safe for her to come back and taking out the Volturi has put a target on the backs of the Cullen family, especially mine since I'm in line for my father's territory. With the Volturi out of the way, others think they have a chance at claiming what is not theirs. I may not want this life, but I will do this for Carlisle and for Riley because they are family and around here, we always have each other's backs.
"Can I please just shoot him?" Emmett whines, yeah he's accompanied me on a few of these hits. In some ways, they act like I need a fucking babysitter like I'm going to snap, fuck things up and go find Bella. I'm not going to put her life at risk any more than it already is.
"No, he's my hit, Carlisle sent me." I run a hand through my hair. "I don't even know why you're here."
"We're brothers, partners in crime," Em says way too enthusiastically. "Who's going to have your back better than me?"
Just to be an asshole, I say, "Jasper."
"Fuck you, man."
"No, honestly, I don't mind working with you, Em. I just want some alone time."
"You know I don't have a choice. Uncle C is worried."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Fuck it, just shoot him, and let's go home." I say, standing. I haven t seen Bella in eight weeks; I'm not allowed to contact her or James, which I think is bullshit.
"Thank you, fucking finally." Emmett doesn't hesitate and the gurgling stops immediately.
"You're so stressed, Edward, don't worry so much. It's all almost over." A gentle voice comes from the doorway of my office.
"Is it almost over? I feel like it will never be over." I glare out the window and into the moonlit swimming pool.
I feel a small pair of gentle hands touch my shoulder. I sigh, "What are you doing here?"
She doesn't say anything for a while, so I continue. "Jasper is working tonight, Emmett has the night off, so he's with Rosalie."
"I know, I just wanted to check up on you, that's all." When I don't respond, she goes on. "What's on your mind, Edward?" I still don't answer. "I talked to James." Now that has gotten my attention.
"And?" I ask turning to face her.
Alice sighs and takes a seat at one of the empty chairs. "He said her leg is fully healed. She's eating a little better, but she doesn't talk much besides with her dad or him." I grit my teeth, "She's in summer school so she can graduate."
I run a hand roughly over my face and into my hair, "I miss her, Ali. I'm not going to lie, I never meant to want her the way I do." I sigh, and my vision actually blurs. "I can't stop thinking about her. Everywhere I fucking look in this house, I want to see her. How can my home not feel like my home now that she's gone?"
"You fell in love with her, Edward," Alice whispers.
All I can do is nod in agreement. I fell for Bella unexpectedly, I don't know when I did but nonetheless, I have. "She thought you were dead."
"What?" I snap back to Alice.
She nods, "She finally asked about you. She was afraid, no one ever says your name around her, she thought that maybe you weren't alive. James explained how you're not allowed to contact her or him. He told her about Emmett having to restrain you the night you found out James was there. He said it was the first time he'd seen her smile in eight weeks."
I swear, the first chance I get, I'm stealing Alice's phone, so I can hear about Bella first hand. I stand from my desk, making Alice jump. "Where are you going?"
"To Carlisle. I have to finish all of this. I have to bring her home." I tell her searching for my keys.
"Eight weeks is way too long, I'll drive." Alice says, hauling ass past me. I don't argue, I just follow her.
Bella s POV
"Fuck, fuck, fuck, Edward is going to kill me, Bella!" James is freaking out. "First the pregnancy and now this, yeah I'd say I'm fucking dead." Each time he says fuck he hits the steering wheel.
I stare at the picture that was printed for me. That's our baby, I mean...fucking aye, it actually looks like a tiny baby. I just went to the doctor a couple of days ago, but yesterday I got a call saying they had a cancellation at the obstetrician's office. I made James come with me; I was terrified, and then we saw the baby, we were both in awe.
The nurse printed out a couple of photos, she handed me one and James the other. She said, "There you go, Daddy." before handing it over and leaving.
Now you know why James is freaking out.
"Chill the hell out, James. I won't say anything, you don't say anything, it never happened." I tell him, waiting for him to calm down and start the car already.
He looks over at me, "Fuck, I'm sorry. How are you feeling, momma? I can't believe you're two months pregnant already." And que the water works. "No, no, I'm sorry," James says gathering me in a hug the best he can while sitting in the car.
"I haven't seen Edward in two months, I miss him." I sniffle, "I can't button my jeans anymore, I'm tired, and my dad keeps making eggs every morning, and the smell is making me sick. The stupid girls at school keep looking at me, but I really miss him."
"Take a nap, Bella, you're exhausted. I'll wake you when we get there." James says soothingly. I nod, scooting over, as I rest my head on the door. Sleep never comes, but I do feel better by the time I get home.
I get out of the car and head over to my truck. Charlie isn't home, he's actually out fishing. "Where are you going?" James growls.
"I have therapy."
"I could give you a ride?"
"And have to explain why some creepy guy is dropping me off. No thank you."
He glares at me. "I am not creepy."
"You came uninvited to Edward's house, hit on me, and..." I start listing things that creeped me out when I first met him, but he interrupts. "Okay, I came off a bit creepy, but I'm not that bad anymore." he smiles a disturbingly wide smile.
I smile innocently back at him, "Keep telling yourself that."
He glares, "Get going," he waves me off.
"So you can creepily stalk me?" I joke. "Honestly, thanks for being here, James."
He nods with a genuine smile, "Come on, get going." he waves me off.
Why don't I wear looser fitting shirts? All of my shirts fit snug on me, now they show a bump, one I'm not ready to show off yet. Oh, and I'm using a hair tie to keep my pants together.
"Please, please, you'll be my best friend," I beg James. "Just throw it through the window."
"I am your best friend," So? He goes on, "Damn it, Bella, what am I supposed to do?"
"Don't you have a jacket, an undershirt or something? Please just give me your shirt!"
He groans, "Fuck, okay, stop your bitching. I'm under your window, hurry up before the chief catches me and shoots me."
I push open my window, and almost immediately I am smacked in the face with a black shirt.
"Thank you, James."
"You owe me," he says whispering into the phone.
I snort, "Please, like you don't like walking around without a shirt. Maybe Stephenie will see you."
"Hey...doesn't she live just around the corner?"
"I'm just kidding; I'll see you at lunch, kid."
"Sure you are, bye now," I say hanging up on him.
Okay, please don't be observant this morning. I head down stairs and find Charlie in his usual spot, bacon, eggs, and toast in front of him, at least the toast is new.
"Morning," I tell him as he watches me pull out a bowl for cereal.
He humphs, "Whose shirt is that, Bella?" damn it.
"Uh, it's mine?" it comes out like a question. "I just want to be comfortable this morning."
I can tell by the look on his face that he's not letting this go. "I don't ever remember seeing that shirt," I walk past him. "It smells like a guy, Bella!" He growls.
I sneak a sniff, oh jeez, why didn't I notice that? Maybe because I'm around James so much it's a normal scent to me now? I don't even know what to say to that, how do I answer?
"Bells, you know you can tell me anything, and I won't hold it against you, ever," Charlie says so seriously that I completely stop what I'm doing. It seems like he's gotten this sudden burst of courage to speak what's on his mind. "Who is Edward, Bella?" he flat out asks. "I won't ask about the other one, but it's Edward you cry out for the most."
We're silent, he's waiting for me to say something, anything, I don't know what to say. I can't look at him, the way he's watching me, expecting something. "Do you know what I think?"
"What do you think, Dad?" I know I'm going to regret this.
"I think Edward means something to you. I just don't know what, and I kind of want you to tell me."
I feel sick; I can't do this, not yet, not now. "I'm going to be late for school." I don't stop; I don't pause when Charlie calls my name. I get into the truck and make it to school in record time.
I shouldn't be surprised when James is there the second I get out of the truck.
"What happened, why did you haul ass out of there?" he asks, he's still shirtless.
"He was asking questions, ones I can't answer, about Edward."
"I'm sorry, I really am." he says wiping tears from my face before pulling me into a hug.
Hearing another vehicle door close, I remember where I am and who I'm with. Looking to the side, I see Jessica Stanley. She's been coming here to tutor kids who have trouble in math. We make eye contact.
"Shit," I mumble.
James looks to see her too, "Fucking hell, do you think she'll say anything?"
"Yeah, probably, she hates me."
"Aw, who can hate you." he pushes my shoulder.
"Thanks, I'll call if I need you," I tell him.
"I will be here," he says climbing back into his car.
The second I get inside, all eyes turn towards me. The teacher isn't in yet, and it's obvious Jessica went and opened her giant mouth. This day can't get any worse...never mind, it can.
"Was that your boyfriend, shirtless and hugging you outside?" Jessica has been pissed at me ever since I walked out on her blubbering a few weeks ago.
"It's none of your fucking business, that's who it is." Stupid kids "ooh" and "ahh."
"I'm curious to know," a girl named Lauren says. She and Jessica are best friends forever, gag. "I m sure daddy dearest would want to know too."
I grit my teeth, "What the hell is it to any of you?"
"We spent a lot of time out there looking for you, you little ungrateful bitch." Jessica snaps. Whoa, she can't be serious. "You play the victim so well, but you probably left on your own to go whore around with that guy outside."
I can't even help the little laugh that escapes me. "You don't know shit, Jessica. You don't know what the fuck I've been through, so shut the hell up and leave me alone." I take a seat furthest away from everyone.
From the corner of my eye, I can see Lauren stand. Everyone here is still watching, where the hell is the teacher when you need one?
"So, Jessica and I were talking, and we noticed something on Friday," she smirks at Jessica. "We know why you're wearing your boyfriend's shirt; it's the same reason why you have a hair tie holding your pants together." No, no, no, don't say it. "You've gained weight since coming home, not a whole lot but it s noticeable to those who pay attention around here. Jessica and I paid attention." I stand to leave; I really don't want to do this. Jessica blocks me and when I turn around Lauren stands to block that way too.
I hate everyone here; they sit and watch, they do nothing to stop this.
"Isabella Swan, victim, is pregnant." People gasp, exchange shocked looks before looking back to me. I surprise myself, I don't cry, to me there's nothing to cry about. I'm having a baby, Edward's baby, and that to me is pretty special.
"Fuck...off." I tell her.
"Come on, show everyone just how innocent Bella Swan really is," she says grabbing at my shirt.
I lose it.
I punch the bitch in the face, over and over again. Hands grab at me, and anyone who gets near my stomach is punched too.
"Bella, stop, it's me!" I hear James' voice and stop struggling. "Come on." I grab my bag and let him pull me from the room. No teachers ever came. Before I know it, James is driving me away from the school. "My truck."
"Stephenie is on her way to pick it up," he says. "What the hell happened back there?"
"They told everyone you're my boyfriend, that I'm pregnant and then tried pulling up my shirt."
"Fuck no!" he hits the dashboard, "I'll kill the bitches, just wait!"
"They're not worth the lead, James."
"Can I do anything for you, get you anything?"
I see a gas station coming up. "A drink sounds good and maybe something salty."
He nods; "Yeah, I can get that." he pulls into the parking lot and then searches for a shirt. "Do you want a Slurpee?"
"A blue one," I tell him as he climbs out.
Alone, I feel like I can finally breathe. I take a deep breath and try to relax. I look down and sitting in a cup holder in the middle console is a cell phone. I startle when it lights up and starts buzzing. I look back to the store and can see James still messing with the Slurpee machine. I hesitantly pick the phone up and recognized the name instantly. Contact reads Alice. I swipe the green button and place the phone to my ear. "Alice?" I ask.
It stays quiet for a minute.
I hear a breath catch on the other end.
"No," a male voice says.
I close my eyes and smile; I'd know that voice anywhere.
Author's Note: All mistakes are my own.
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