A/n: yay! i finally finished this story. i'm so proud of myself. you have no idea.
sorry it took so long.
don't hate me too much.
I woke up the next morning, not alone, although I wished I was. I sighed, tried to pull the covers over my head and blot out the world like I wanted so desperately to, but he wouldn't have it.
"Come on, Bella," Emmett bellowed, throwing the sheets off the bed and into a heap in the corner of my room.
I simply groaned in response and curled into the fetal position. Please God, make him go away.
"Aw, don't be like that."
"Go away," I tried to slap him away but he avoided my blow. I really wished I had superhuman strength because I seriously wanted to throw him out of this house. I wanted to be alone, damn it, and Emmett was not making this easy for me.
"Get up," Emmett demanded, though his voice was friendly and thoroughly nonthreatening. "I'm kidnapping you."
I looked up at the huge vampire that was leaning against my bed. His face was dangerously close to mine and I would have screamed if I knew he'd never hurt me. "But I have school today."
"No you don't. You don't feel well today. You're staying home because you don't want to risk getting sicker than you already are." I knew he was joking, and making up a cover story, but the look on his face almost had me convinced. That scared me a little.
My eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Does Edward know you're doing this?"
Emmett shrugged. "Kind of. Sort of. Okay not really so hurry up before he can stop us."
"Where are you taking me?"
"I'm taking you to Volterra."
I was confused for a second, but then I remembered once that Edward mentioned Volterra to me. Wasn't it the place where those scary wannabe royalty vampires lived? The ones who thought they ruled the world?
"You're taking me to Italy?" I raised an eyebrow. I was surprised I wasn't more alarmed. Shouldn't I be at least a teensy bit more concerned about this?
"No silly," Emmett laughed and slapped my mattress playfully. "I'm taking you to possibly the best Italian coffee place on the west coast. And then we're going to the Ballard locks, because I love watching the fish ladder and I just know you will too."
I didn't even want to begin to question how he knew what Italian coffee tasted like (or any other coffee for that matter) so I opted for another line of questioning. "May I ask why you're doing this?"
"Because this may be one of the only times I get to hang out with you without Edward being there too. And I want to talk to you without him because I know you need to talk but you won't admit it to yourself." Emmett reached over and picked me up out of bed. "Now go get dressed so we get to Ballard before noon."
I rolled my eyes as I made my way to the bathroom. "Because with your driving it'll totally take, like, three hours, right?"
Emmett just laughed and settled himself on my mattress to wait.
I emerged from the bathroom not twenty minutes later and plopped down on my bed next to Emmett and proceeded to put my shoes on. It was quite difficult, I must say, since Emmett was in the middle of the bed, and he practically took up the whole thing. Not to mention the fact that I kept falling over because the bed wasn't level anymore.
"So how did you get in here anyway?" I asked, pulling the heel of my Converse out from under my foot. I'd finally gotten it on after God knows how many tries.
"Your father let me in," Emmett replied in a tone that suggested he did this sort of thing all the time. Because, you know, he was so buddy buddy with Charlie that he could do whatever he pleased.
I shot up and looked at him through narrowed eyes. "And he let you in my room? But you're of the male persuasion. Charlie never let's guys in my room." Emmett raised an eyebrow. "That he knows of." I added quickly.
"Charlie likes me," the giant vampire explained, a giant grin plastered on his face. "Plus, I explained the situation and he agreed completely. You need a little getaway without actually getting away."
"You told my father that my former best friend just happens to be a werewolf who declared his love for me and told me I'd be better off with him than my vampire boyfriend who I just rescued from the dumps in Rio and got back together with and that I went all mental and decided against my will to tell my former werewolf best friend that I basically hate him now because he's nothing like the person he used to be and that I'm in the process of having an almost complete mental breakdown and I don't even know why?!" I was gasping for breath by the time I finished. Holy crap.
"Well, I didn't word it exactly like that," Emmett shrugged lamely, "but I'm pretty sure he got the gist."
"You're unbelievable," I growled and attempted to shove him away from me, but it was like pushing against a concrete wall. It was no use.
"Relax, Bella," Emmett said, gathering me up into a hug. "I told your father that you've had a lot on your mind lately and you need to have a mental health day."
I raised an eyebrow. "And he bought that?"
"I can be very persuasive, Bella."
"Charlie's still in one piece, right?"
"Yes," Emmett laughed. "Your father is fine. Now can we go?"
"Fine, fine," I rolled my eyes. "I'm ready. Let's get this show on the road."
The only car I'd ever seen Emmett drive was that Jeep that had tires as tall as I was. So seeing him driving a Lexus was, indeed, a very interesting sight. He reminded me a lot of a group of clowns in a Volkswagen Beetle. Strange comparison, but it makes sense if you think about it.
We drove in silence for the longest time, but once we hit Olympia and merged onto I-5, Emmett decided the quiet wasn't good enough anymore. It started with just humming, and then Emmett was full on singing a cappella, and when he got bored of that (and he was horribly tone deaf for a vampire) he finally shut up and turned on the radio. I smiled to myself and sighed in relief. I didn't know a creature that was designed to be perfect in every way could be so bad at singing. Maybe it was the fact that he only knew Britney Spears songs, but still, he was pretty bad. Or maybe he was just doing it on purpose. Who knows.
Emmett also had radio station ADD. He basically kept one hand glued to the preset station numbers and every two and a half minutes (on the dot, I swear), he'd press the next button and change the station.
Finally, I snapped. "Emmett I swear to god if you don't stay on one station I'm going to explode."
His hand immediate jumped from button to steering wheel.
"Thank you," I said sweetly, turning to smile at him. He returned it, tentatively. I could tell he was afraid that I really would go full meltdown on his watch.
The station he left the radio on was one of those free radios, indie type things. Even though the volume wasn't loud enough for me to hear everything, it soothed me, and soon I found myself in an immensely better mood. Maybe I wouldn't need this quote unquote amazing Italian coffee, after all.
Ballard was a quaint little suburb just north of downtown Seattle. Its high school was home to beavers, which I thought was so much better than the Forks Spartans (even though I totally loved 300, but that's not the point). Ballard, as a town, was known mostly for the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, but everyone locally just called them the Ballard locks. (Emmett let me Wikipedia Ballard from his phone during the drive.)
As Emmett drove us down Market Street, I couldn't help but fall in love. As much as it pained me to imagine it, I started thinking about how wonderful it would be if Edward and I could move here and start a family. It saddened me that I could never give Edward children or the life I knew we both wanted, but at least we'd have each other. I shook my head, trying to dispel the thoughts from spreading further. Instead, I distracted myself by admiring the sights just outside my window. We passed by a movie theatre, The Bay, and it reminded me of those old time theaters in small towns that only charged you a dollar fifty a ticket for movies that were already out on DVD but they'd just opened there. I smiled to myself and was thankful for the distraction.
About a block down from the movie theatre, Emmett stopped at a stoplight and turned left onto a side street. We drove a little further, and then on the right hand side I saw the sign: Volterra. Huh, so Emmett wasn't lying. I was suddenly excited, and I didn't even know why. I felt like a tourist in a foreign country (after all, the smallest town I'd ever lived in was Forks and it was a city, not a suburb).
Emmett skillfully parallel parked and, ever the gentlemen, opened the passenger door for me. I would have thought it ran in the family, but since Edward and Emmett weren't technically related by blood, it wouldn't work out so well. I suppose Esme had instilled some kind of manners in her children, though. He paid for the parking meter, giving us twenty minutes and then we were off.
We walked arm in arm into the coffee shop and stood back, examining the menu. Emmett would bend down every so often and whisper a suggestion in my ear, but I'd brush him off. His opinion was not needed at the moment. Eventually, I decided on the largest Italian soda – piña colada, because I feeling a little experimental today – they could give me, since I wasn't particularly in the mood for coffee right now. Emmett handed over a crisp ten dollar bill, after many a protest from me, of course, and one of the barista's handed me my drink.
I sipped at my drink while being led back to the car. I had to admit, this was pretty amazing. As Emmett opened my door for me, I shoved the cup in his face. "Wanna taste?" I asked, smiling brightly.
Emmett grimaced and pushed my hand away lightly. "No thanks," he replied curtly.
I laughed and stepped into the vehicle.
Emmett executed a perfect U-turn and we made our way back to Market Street. He made a left and continued down until the road forked and he veered left. Not two minutes later we were pulling into a parking spot in front of a huge wrought iron fence and sign that read "Hiram M. Chittenden Locks". We were parked near the end of the lot, next to a quaint little restaurant slash bar called The Lock Spot. If I got hungry, I'd have to suggest Emmett take me there.
Said vampire got out of the car once again and was opening my door in no time at all. He grabbed my drink out of my hand so I would spill it getting out and handed it back to me when he was sure I was balanced.
"Come on," he said, taking hold of my hand and pulling me along. I'd never seen Emmett look so excited.
We walked hand in hand through the gardens and past the administration buildings until we reached the actual locks. At the moment, there weren't any boats going through, but it was still an amazing sight to see. I'd seen picture of the Panama Canal once, and even though the Ballard locks were ten times smaller, it was still just as cool.
Emmett tugged on my hand again and we began walking, following the signs that pictured a small fish jumping up a ladder of water. We crossed a couple of bridges, walked down a few flights of stairs and then into a large concrete room with windows under water. Emmett continued to lead me down a couple more steps and then he sat me down on a bench in front of a large window. We sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the fish swim by.
"You know," Emmett said eventually, "I'm really glad you finally put the mutt in his place."
I glared at him. "The mutt has a name."
"Sorry." He rolled his eyes. "I'm glad you put Jacob in his place."
I sighed. Perhaps Emmett was right and it was time to tell Jacob what I truly thought. Maybe we weren't even meant to be friends. But then again, I couldn't help but feel so guilty it almost made me sick. I loved Jacob, that much was true, but I hated who he had become since his transformation.
It was likely that it wasn't only him that changed. I had to have been altered in some way, also. So maybe it wasn't just Jake. Maybe it was a combination of things and events and whatnot that led to what happened.
I smiled to myself.
"I wish I wasn't so cruel," I said out of nowhere.
Emmett had to stop himself from laughing. "You were not cruel, Bella. You were simply telling the truth. The truth that needed to be said. Stop beating yourself up already."
"I can't help it, Em. Jake was there for me through one of the hardest times in my life. It's really hard to just let that go like it was nothing. It's hard to disregard all the time we spent together and how close we got."
"Bella, I know it's hard. But don't you realize that you were going to have to do it eventually, don't you? When you become a vampire you're going to have to say goodbye to everyone and everything you've ever known and you won't be able to look back. If you're having this hard of a time saying goodbye to a little werewolf, then maybe you shouldn't be considering immortality so much."
I wanted to punch him. "You don't get it, do you?"
"No, I really don't, Bella. Enlighten me."
"I can't let this go because of the way I said goodbye. I know that what I said was the right thing, but I keep running it through my mind and I keep wishing that there was some other way I could have said it. Not nicer, necessarily, but in a way that wasn't so hostile. I wish I couldn't have been able to hug him and say we had a good run and to have a nice life. I wish I could have left with a smile instead of practically in tears." I paused to catch my breath. "There is nothing in my life I regret more than the way I walked out of Jacob Black's life. I just…I wish…I don't know. My brain is all scrambled and fried right now. I don't want to think anymore. I just want to be happy and hopefully forget this ever happened."
I buried my head in my hands and tried my hardest not to cry. I'd been doing that too much lately and I was surprised I even had tears left. I felt Emmett grab in his arm and bury me in his side.
He rubbed his hand along my arm. "You shouldn't regret it, Bella. If yesterday had gone any differently you know you wouldn't have been able to say goodbye. As much as it hurt you, yesterday was a good way to gain closure. You probably won't see it for a little while, but eventually you will and eventually you'll be grateful for it."
I sighed. Emmet was right. I just didn't want to admit it out loud just yet.
"Thanks," I mumbled into his side. "I really did need the mental health day."
The burly vampire holding me shook with silent laughter. "Told you so."
We sat and watched the fish for a little while longer and then decided it was best to be heading back to Forks. On the car ride home, Emmett and I fought over radio stations for a bit and then finally couldn't take it any longer and turned it off completely.
"Can I borrow your cell phone?" I asked suddenly.
Emmett handed it over silently.
I dialed the familiar number and waited for the answering "hello."
"I'm sorry about last night," was the first thing I said when he answered the phone.
"It's okay, love. I understand."
I smiled and welcomed the acceleration of my heart rate. "Emmett and I are headed home right now. I'm pretty sure we'll be there soon."
Edward laughed. "Oh, yes. My brother kidnapped you this morning. He didn't do anything too terrible, did he?"
I laughed, too, and glanced over at my brother. "No, nothing terrible at all. We had a nice talk, actually."
"I'm glad to hear that."
I smiled. "Me too. I love you, Edward."
"I love you too, Bella. I'll see you when you get home."
"Yes," I said. "See you when I get home."