Are You Happy Now?
Disclaimer: all characters and copyright belong to SM.
Yet another rainy day in Forks, Washington. With her elbows resting on the windowsill of her bedroom, Bella blew on the cold glass, the pane immediately misting up. Using her forefinger, she wrote her name in the condensation, using the full version and dotting the I over Isabella with a small heart. She gazed at it for a few seconds before she watched her name disappear again when she breathed. Sighing, she used the sleeve of her thick sweater to clear the glass completely.
As more rain hit the glass, each droplet like a kaleidoscope, she wondered what it would be like to stop time, to suspend this watery gift and peek through each one. Perhaps it would be fun to sit inside those raindrops and take that gravity propelled ride to the earth, as she imagined it to feel her inner self laughing - a little at the crazy daydream and a little at her own silliness.
"I'm definitely losing it." Bella mumbled.
Leaving the window, she threw herself down onto her bed, once again counting away the days in her head since Edward had left. She couldn't believe it had been so long. Now she was out of numbed state, she was finding it harder to cope with the abandonment. Time passing was supposed to ease the symptoms not increase them. It wasn't like she wasn't trying. She really was. It was just hard that was all. Edward Cullen had been her first big love affair-one she believed would continue forever. Never had she thought it would end the way it did. In the end his words of devotion had meant nothing. She meant nothing.
A solitary tear dribbled down Bella's cheek and she wiped it away with trembling fingers. She was tired of crying. She was surprised she had any tears left. Her tear ducts should be bone dry by now. She had a sudden longing to be with the one person who made her feel better, who made her at least feel partially human still. Bella got up from the bed, intending to grab her coat and keys to the truck and drive immediately over to La Push. But then in a rush of melancholy she remembered that the person she had become so self-reliant on to prop her up emotionally had also tired of her.
"Oh, Jacob." Another sob erupted from Bella's dry throat. "What did I do? I don't understand."
Just like Edward, Jacob had pushed her away, right after promising her that she could count on him. It was a mystery how he had changed his attitude overnight. One moment he had been her sole source of comfort, the next he was cruelly rejecting her in the rain in full view of his new friends. It didn't make any sense. Nothing in her life did anymore.
So, Bella remained in her room-alone and afraid.
Charlie came in from the rain. He was soaked to the skin. He whipped off his hat and shrugged out of his jacket. Droplets of water coated the skin of his face. It had been a slow day at the station, he had spent most of It catching up on paperwork. Admin was the side of the job he hated the most, and that's what it seemed all about these days, making sure to dot every I and cross every T.
"Bells, I'm home."
When there was no response to his announcement Charlie let out a resigned sigh. He knew she was at home; her truck was parked outside. She must be holed up in her room again. She was sinking back into depression again after her falling out with Jacob. He had no idea what that was about. Bella insisted there was nothing wrong on her side, she just assumed Jacob had grown tired of her company. Charlie didn't believe this for a moment. He knew how smitten the boy was with his daughter. He had tried approaching Jacob directly but Billy had put a stop to that. There was something strange going on. Billy was acting oddly, refusing to even help the teens mend fences. It was like his friend preferred them divided. It irritated Charlie immensely and had led to another falling out between them.
"Bells, I'm home." Charlie hollered again as he took off his gun belt. "I want you to come down here, otherwise I'm coming up."
Charlie knew this threat would work. He heard the click of Bella's door as she opened it slightly. Moving to the bottom of the stairs, he saw her peering through the gap in the door.
"What have you been doing all day?"
"Reading." Bella answered with a small shrug.
"All day? Have you eaten?" Charlie demanded.
Bella couldn't remember. She gave another offhand shrug of her shoulders. The nonchalant gesture irritated Charlie. He was weary of trying to get through to his daughter. She was sad. He knew that. He understood the severity of a broken love affair. He had been through it himself when Renee left and took Bella with her. He had been sad and bereft but worked his way through it. Bella was letting her sadness kill her spirit.
"Enough, Bella. I've had enough." Charlie called up to her with his hands on his hips. "I don't know how to help you anymore. We've discussed it before, but I really believe you need to go and spend time with your mother. Maybe being in the sunshine state will lift your spirits. Staying moping around here is doing you no good…. especially now you've fallen out with Jacob."
Bella paled, her fingers curling around the door so tight that her knuckles turned white. "I didn't fall out with him. He fell out with me."
"I don't believe that, Bella. There is something you're not telling me."
"I don't know anything." Bella felt more tears coalesce in her eyes and she made to shut the door again, but Charlie was not having it. He charged up the stairs and managed to put his boot in the gap before she closed it. "Dad, what are you doing?"
"Getting you out of here." Charlie pushed on the door, forcing it to open wider. Ignoring the astonishment on his daughter's face, he grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the bedroom and toward the stairs. "I've had enough of this; we're going to sort this out once and for all." He said determinedly.
Bella had never known Charlie to be so forceful. He bundled her into the cruiser and ignored all her protests as he sped out of the driveway and headed straight for La Push.
"Dad, what do you think you're doing?" Bella asked weakly as she watched the incessant rain bounce off the windscreen. "Where are you taking me?"
"La Push." Charlie said curtly.
"No! Dad, that is not a good idea." Bella argued.
"Why? Is there something I should know? Are you concealing something from me? Is there more to this falling out with Jacob than you're telling me?" Charlie looked at her sternly.
"Then why are you so worried."
"You don't understand." Bella slumped in the passenger seat miserably. "You won't get anywhere. I've tried to contact Jake. He doesn't want to know, okay. Taking me there now is only going to make me feel worse."
"You deserve answers, Bells." Charlie replied. "I deserve answers." He added under his breath.
Bella sighed, knowing that there was no arguing with Charlie in this mood. She was just going to have to endure Jacob's public rejection again and try and deal with the utter loneliness and humiliation.
Charlie stopped at the front of the Black's house, killing the engine, and rolling down the windows. A movement to the left flashed in his peripheral vision-he turned and spotted Billy looking through the front window with a worried frown. Charlie glared back at him, slowly opening the driver's door of the cruiser and motioning for Bella to get out. He saw Billy's eyes narrow as he let the curtain fall across the glass.
"What is his problem?" Charlie scowled as he grabbed Bella by the arm and led her toward the house. She protested all the way but he refused to listen.
They had barely made it the house when the front door was thrust open and none other than Jacob appeared. At least they thought it was Jacob. He had changed so radically since they had last seen him, it was hard to tell whether it was the same person.
The first thing that Bella herself noticed was Jacob's hair-his beautiful hair was all gone, cropped quite short, covering his head with an inky black gloss like satin. The planes of his face seemed to have hardened subtly, tightened…aged. His neck and shoulders were different, too, thicker somehow. The tendons and veins were prominent under his russet skin. But the physical changes were insignificant compared to the expression he was wearing. The open, friendly smile was gone like the hair, the warmth in his dark eyes altered to a brooding resentment. There was a darkness in him now, a fluctuating pain that Bella felt with every fibre of her being.
"What on earth has happened to you, kid?" Charlie sounded as shocked as Bella felt. "Why have you cut your hair?"
"I needed a change." Jacob's surly reply made Charlie stiffen. "It's not a good time for visiting. You should leave." He didn't even look at Bella as he spoke, it made her heart hurt.
"Really?" Charlie drawled sarcastically. "Well, I'll need to hear that from your old man. Or is he too cowardly to come and tell me to my face?"
"Charlie." Jacob swallowed thickly. "I- "
"Its not me you need to speak to, son. It's Bella." Charlie interrupted him. He pushed his cringing daughter in front of him. "You owe her an explanation. Excuse me while I go deal with your old man." He then left abruptly, shoving past Jacob and disappearing inside the house.
"Jacob." Bella whispered.
Jacob finally looked at her, his eyes were sad, but the rest of him was tense and angry. "You shouldn't have come here, Bella." He demanded.
"It wasn't my idea. Dad made me. I didn't want to bother you ever again. I get it, Jake. You hate me now." Bella sobbed. She tried to focus but her eyes were already streaming with tears.
A pained expression crossed Jacob's face suddenly. He looked to be in absolute agony. "Bells, don't cry. Please don't cry. I can't stand it. And I don't hate you. Far from it. Its all me. Nothing to do with you."
"Oh, the old it's not you, it's me, right?" Bella cried. "Spare me the pity, Jacob!"
"I don't pity you." Jacob ground his teeth in frustration. "And it is me."
"How so?" Bella reached out to him but Jacob retreated as if her very nearness caused him immense pain. "What did I do wrong?"
Bella stared at him bitterly. "You're not going to tell me."
"I can't explain it."
The pain in Jacob's face unnerved Bella. He looked absolutely desolate, as if his very life had ended. She felt a lump beginning to build in her throat. "Are you ill?"
Pain crossed Jacob's face again. "In a way."
"Then let me help." Bella pleaded. "You helped me. I'll always be your friend, Jacob. Whatever is wrong, we can deal with it together. You're not alone."
"Oh, Bella, you have no idea how much I wish you could." Jacob ran his fingers desperately over his shorn scalp. "But you can't. I'm not good. Can you leave it at that? It's dangerous to be around me."
"You're talking nonsense." Bella implored. The watery alphabet of the clouds continued to rain down on her. She blinked away eyelashes full of water. "You're not dangerous. You're good."
Jacob studied her face for a long time, a deep yearning lighting up his dark eyes. For a brief moment Bella thought he was finally going to confide. Then just as quickly the light died. Raised voices coming from inside the house confirmed that Charlie was having the same argument with Billy.
"I thought we were friends." Bella whispered.
"We were." Jacob responded miserably.
"But not now." Bella's lips quivered, which had nothing to do with the cold. "I see."
Jacob began to breathe deeply as if trying to calm himself. His hands were visibly shaking. Bella wanted to reach out to him, but his constant rejection hurt too much. She had tried. There was nothing more she could do. Taking a step back toward the cruiser, she threw one last anguished question at Jacob.
"Are you happy now, Jacob? Are you?"
A/N-thanks for reading!