Author's Note: Well this is goodbye Angels. For this story at least. I really hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. I'm sad our journey through Jasper and Bella's life together has come to an end. Okay one last time with the begging. I know that over 1400 of you have read "Where it should be" so as a parting gift to me please let me know what you think. Getting reviews really makes my day! Well here you have it guys, the final thrilling chapter...
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to Stephenie Meyer all others are mine.
12 years later
So much can change in twelve years. I thought wistfully as I traced the photo in the album I held in my hands. It was the first picture of my family, taken on the day we became complete, the day Maddy was born. And so much has changed! My little girl turned twelve a little over a month ago.
My son…oh, Conner. He's so much like his father and yet so completely different. He wears his dark brown hair exactly the way Jake used to, long, down past his chin and pulled back in a ponytail most of the time. But that's only so it doesn't get in the way of his helmet when he rides his bike. I was still debating on weather or not to kill Edward for that one. Edward's gift to Conner when he turned 17 was a brand new, shiny, black Ducati. Before I had even been able to protest Edward reminded me that my motorcycle was still parked in his parents garage.
Then there's Conner's girlfriend Sara. I like the girl well least I thought I did. She's always polite, doesn't demand anything unreasonable from him and she even helped improve his grades. The only thing I have against her is the fact that two months ago Jasper and I returned home early from a movie one night to find her naked and on top of my son, in the middle of our living room. I had pretty much decided then and there that I didn't like her nearly as much as I thought I did.
Tomorrow marked another change in the making. Conner's high school graduation. I was flipping backwards through the album watching as the Conner in every picture got younger and younger. I was sobbing by the time I reached the first picture in the album. It was of me, looking god awful, holding a tiny blue bundle. The day my baby was born. Jasper wondered into the room and saw me bawling on the couch. He looked terrified for a moment until he saw the album on my lap. He wrapped his arm around me and let me cry on his shoulder, probably leaving make-up stains that I would never be able to get out.
"Feeling better?" he asked when I had calmed down.
"Yeah, sorry. I just can't believe he's grown...Oh, did you need something?" I asked, realizing he probably hadn't left the party in our backyard for no reason.
"Ummm…the kids are starting to get hungry so I thought we should start the grill. But I can get Alice and Rose to help me if you need to take a little more time."
"No, I'm done being silly for today. Tomorrow will be another story though so be prepared." I warned.
"I think I can handle it." he laughed, helping me up and leading me into the kitchen.
I could see all our guest through the huge glass pocket doors leading out to the patio and swimming pool. All our family was here and most of Conner's friends. There were a lot more people in our family now. Em and Rose had two boys Garrett who is 11, Kevin, 9 and their beautiful little girl Emma who just turned 6. Edward and Alice have two girls Sophia, 10 and Ava, 7. Plus there's Angela and Ben, who we have pretty much adopted into the family, with their two, Brody, 18 who is of course still Conner's best friend and Allison who is now 15.
"You go ahead and get the grill ready and send in one of the boys to help carry the food. Preferably one of them that's not soaking wet, please." I told him, wrapping my arms around his waist and resting my head on his chest for a moment. He kissed the top of my head before going out to start the grill. I could see Emmett, Edward, Ben, Carlisle and Charlie surrounding the grill. I laughed and silently prayed they wouldn't blow it up. I pulled trays of hamburger patties that I had made the night before and hotdogs out of the fridge and placed them on the counter. A few minutes later Conner and Brody came in to carry them outside for me.
"Thank you boys."
"No problem Mom." they both said, kissing me on the cheek. I turned back to the counter and was chopping vegetables for the salad when I heard a smack as someone ran into the glass doors. I shook my head as the door opened. Without turning around I knew who it was and that he had probably done it on purpose just to make someone laugh.
"E.J., if you track water across my carpet you won't live to see your first day of college." I told him, laughing. E.J. was another of Conner's friends, the 'Emmett' of their group and besides Brody, whom I considered my son, E.J. was my favorite.
"Don't worry Mama Hale, I'm dry." he replied as he dashed through the room and up the stairs. He came running back down a few minutes later and I seriously doubted that I wanted to know what he had done up there.
"Can I help with anything Mama Hale?" he asked, pausing in the kitchen door.
"Actually E.J. could you grab one of the other guys and carry out the tub of drinks, please."
"Oh, I can do that …"
"NO! Get someone to help you or you'll hurt yourself." I said interrupting him. Like I said he is the 'Emmett' of the group and I have had to take him to the hospital a few times for trying to do something like lift the giant tub filled with soda, bottled water and ten pounds of ice.
"Fine." he mumbled.
"Thank you, E.J."
We spent the evening eating and talking. The kids played in the pool and tormented each other mercilessly as always, they were all like brothers and sisters and treated each other as such.
The next morning was spent in a rush getting ready. I had somehow ended up with a few extra kids, not that this was something unusual. Alice, Rosalie, Angela and I had given up trying to stop this from happening long ago since we all lived within a few blocks of each other, so when we woke up and found someone else's child asleep on our couch or floor we simply called the respective parent and told them where their child was. I had somehow ended up with Allison and Sophie, luckily the kids kept clothes at each house for occasions such as this so it wasn't too much of a hassle.
We finally made it to the high school with ten minutes to spare, a rare occurrence, we usually ran late. The guys had gone ahead of us to take Conner and Brody since they had to be there early. Don't ask me why it took five grown men to escort two teenage boys to the school because I have no clue. We had just settled into our seats and counted our children yet again to make sure we weren't missing anyone when I spotted someone very familiar. I shook my head to clear it, no that wasn't possible. I continued my conversation with Angela, convinced that I was imagining things. A few minutes later I saw him again, talking to Jasper and heading towards us. I excused myself, asking Alice to watch Maddy for me and went to meet them.
"Jake, what are you doing here?" I hissed at him.
"I'm retired Bella and I'm safe. I came to watch my son graduate."
I was shaking from head to toe. This couldn't be happening, I hadn't told Conner about his father yet, I honestly still hadn't decided if I was going to. Jasper wrapped his arm around my waist and supported my weight before I collapsed. I looked pleadingly into his eyes, silently begging him to explain to Jacob.
Jasper cleared his throat. "Jacob, we haven't told Conner anything about you. Bella is afraid that if we do then he's going to hate us for keeping it from him for so long." he explained.
"Are you asking me to stay away from my son Bella?" Jacob asked sadly.
"No Jake. I just never thought you would come back and I didn't want to hurt him by telling him about his father whom he could never know. And now you're here and I don't know what to do." I said, looking at Jasper once again. I could see the worry in his eyes as well. Would telling our son the secret we had kept for so long tear our family apart?
"I'll explain everything to him and let him know that you had no choice but to keep it from him. If he wants to hate someone then it should be me." Jacob said, looking toward the line of graduates. I followed his gaze and saw Conner waving at us as he laughed with his friends.
"You'll still have to let us talk to him first Jake. You can't just walk up and say 'Hey remember me'. And he should be able to choose for himself weather or not talks to you." I told him, my words coming out a bit harsher than I had intended. "Sorry." I apologized, trying to smile at him.
"We need to sit down. Jacob do you want to sit with us?" Jasper asked politely.
Jacob nodded and followed us back to our family. Everyone was looking at us strangely. Alice, Edward, Angela and Ben had already recognized Jacob and were staring at him with open mouths.
"We'll explain later." Jasper told them as we took our seats. Jasper pulled Maddy onto his lap. She may be twelve years old but she's still Daddy's little girl. I understood his need to hold onto our child right now as we were afraid we were about to lose our other one.
I somehow managed to forgot everything and be happy as I watched Conner and his friends receive their diplomas, I even cheered for Sara when she walked across the platform. But all too soon Conner was making his way toward us and the panic set in again.
"Mom are you okay?" he asked when he managed to fight his way through the crowd and get to us. I wrapped my arms around him and clung to him like my life depended on it.
"I'm fine sweetie. Your Dad and I need to talk to you after while that's all." I told him, when I was able to let go of him.
He groaned. "This isn't about colleges again is it? Because I told you I would decide and I working on it, I promise."
Jasper hugged him and shook his head. "No, that's not it. We'll talk about it later, okay." he said, somehow managing a weak smile.
Conner was congratulated by all of the family and after ten minutes asked if we could go home so he could change clothes before going out with his friends to celebrate. We had had his party the day before at his request because he had made plans to do something with his friends today.
"Sure. Edward is it okay if Maddy goes home with you guys for a little while?" Jasper asked, turning to Alice and Edward who still looked like they were in shock.
"Ummm…" Was all Edward seemed able to say.
"Yeah that's fine. She can stay as long as you need her too." Alice finally answered for him.
After saying goodbye to everyone we drove Conner home and told him we would talk to him when he got back home tonight. Jasper and I had decided not to ruin his day, he had worked too hard for this and he deserved to have fun.
I spent the remainder of the day crying while Jasper tried unsuccessfully to calm me down.
"He's going to hate us Jazz." I moaned for the hundredth time. He ran his fingers through my hair, a motion that usually calmed me down.
"He's a smart boy, Bella. He'll understand. He might be upset with us for awhile but he'll come around."
Conner was due back at 8 and we had told Jacob he could come over at 8:30 so by 7:45 I was up and pacing. I heard Conner's bike in the drive and froze. He was early and I wasn't ready for this. Jasper came up behind me and wrapped me in his arms.
"Just stay calm Bella. I can tell him if you want me too."
"No, I need to do this. I should have told him before now." I replied, still shaking.
"Mom, Dad , I'm home." Conner called from the entryway.
"Could you come in her for a minute sweetie."
"What's wrong?" he asked worriedly as he came in and flopped on the couch.
"We have to tell you something baby, and I'm afraid your going to be mad at me when I do." I told him, trying desperately to control my nerves.
"What is it Mom?"
"It's about your Dad…" I started. His eyes immediately went to Jasper.
"No sweetie, your biological Dad." I corrected his assumption quickly.
"What about him? He died when I was like 5 right?"
"Well, that's what we have to talk to you about. Your father isn't dead. He left us and joined some super secret military organization. I found out by accident right before Jasper and I got married and I was forced to swear never to tell anyone besides Jasper. It was for our safety, Jacob was apparently dangerous to be around because of the type of work he did he always had people after him." I paused, letting my words sink in. Conner was staring at me with an unfathomable look on his face. We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity.
"Why are you telling me this now?" he finally asked, still trying to understand everything he had just been told.
"He's here. He wanted to come and see you graduate." Jasper told him.
Conner's face finally screwed up in anger. This was what I had been waiting for.
"So you've been in contact with him for all these years and never bothered to tell me." He accused.
"No! The last time we had any contact with him was the day your mother and I got married. He left a letter and your necklace in our limo." Jasper said.
Conner fingered the medallion he still wore around his neck for a moment before ripping it off and throwing it onto the table. I jumped as the metal struck the wood.
"What makes him think that after abandoning me all those years ago and never contacting me that I would want to see him now?" He shouted, jumping off the couch and pacing around the room.
"I told him that it was your choice as to weather or not you see him Con. I'm not going make you do anything you don't want. Sweetie, I'm so sorry we've ruined what should have been a wonderful day for you. I should have explained everything to you a long time ago." I said sobbing into Jasper's shoulder.
Conner glared at me for a moment before sighing. "Mom, I'm not mad at you. I am very upset and still confused but I know you only did it to protect me." he said as he came over and took me from Jasper's arms. I clung to him, barely hoping to believe that he didn't hate me. The doorbell rang a few minutes later as I was finally getting my tears under control.
"That's him isn't it?" Conner asked as his arms stiffened around me.
"Yeah, what do you want me to tell him?" Jasper asked cautiously.
"Mom?" Conner asked hesitantly. He was asking me what he should do. My heart soared that my little boy still needed me but shattered at the same time because I didn't know what to tell him.
"Con, you know I've always wished that you could know Jake, but I can't make this decision for you. I'm sorry baby, but you need to decide if you want to let him into your life." I told him sadly.
"Okay Dad, you can let him in but I want you both to say with me." he said, clutching to my hand like he was 5 years old again.
"Of course baby. We'll stay for as long as you want us too." I reassured him.
Jasper left the room returning within moments followed by a timid looking Jacob. Jasper indicated for Jacob to take the chair across from the couch that Conner and I were sitting on before sitting down next to me. He rested his arm over my shoulders so he could place his hand on Conner's shoulder.
Jacob cleared his throat nervously "Conner, I'm sure you have a lot of questions. I'll try and answer everything I can. What all have you been told?"
Conner stiffened as soon as Jacob started speaking. Instead of answering the question he looked pleadingly at me.
"We told him why you left and why we weren't able to tell anyone. That's pretty much all we know anyway." I explained, my words coming out rather harsh. This time I didn't apologize, he was causing my baby pain.
"Were we not enough for you? Did you ever even love us?" Conner asked, his feelings of rejection dripping from every word.
"God no Conner!…I tried to explain this to your mother all those years ago. I thought I could help make things safer for you. I became the best in my field by thinking what if this guy is planning to strap a bomb to his chest and walk into a mall in Seattle where you might be happen to be. Thinking of you and Bella was the only thing that got me through some of the hardest times of my life. I love you more than my own life. Everything I've done has been for you."
Conner just shook his head, he had tears in his eyes but he was trying not to let us see. I couldn't figure out what he was feeling. I wanted desperately to take away his pain but there was nothing I could do.
"I don't know Jacob. I think I've had enough for today maybe in a few days we can talk again." Conner said, his voice strong, not betraying the whirlwind of emotions I could see in his eyes.
Jacob visibly flinched at the hardness in his son's voice when he said his name. "I understand. I'll leave you my number and you can call me whenever your ready." Jacob told us as he stood. Jasper walked him to the door while I sat with Conner who hadn't said anything else or even looked at me.
"Are you okay son?" Jasper asked when he returned.
Conner nodded his head but broke down sobbing on my shoulder seconds later. I held him to me and looked hopelessly at Jasper over his head, my own tears pouring silently down my face. Jasper shook his head and shrugged, not knowing what to do either.
"I…I don't know what I supposed to feel. Or think. Or how to even react. I'm so pissed but at the same time I'm happy he's alive." Conner said when he finally calmed down enough to talk.
"We can't tell you how to feel or think or act, Con. But we will support whatever decision you make. Your mother and I will always be here for you so take some time to think about what you want to do and if you want to pass up an opportunity you thought was lost to you along time ago." Jasper said, coming over and sitting beside of us and putting his arm around our son.
Conner agreed and went to his room. I collapsed against Jasper as soon as he left the room. He ran his hands up and down my back in an attempt to calm me.
"It could have been worse Bella. I think he just needs time to absorb everything."
"I know. I just wish I could help him." I whispered.
Two weeks passed before Conner brought up Jacob again.
"Mom, I think I'm going to call him. It doesn't feel right not to give him another chance."
"I'm glad Conner. Jacob is a really good guy. I think when he made the decision to leave us he really believed that he was making the right choice. I try to think of it like this. I'll never regret my relationship with Jacob because it gave me you. But if he hadn't left us then Jasper might not have ever been in our lives."
"I never thought of it like that. But it's still going to take some time for me to forgive him." he said thoughtfully.
"That's okay, take all the time you need. His number is by the phone." I told him, hugging him as I left the room.
AN: Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!! I hope you liked it the last of my little stroy! Once again if you haven't reviewed before here's your chance to tell me what you think. And to those of you who have been reviewing I love hearing from you and I can't wait to hear what you think about the epilogue! Please check out my new story "To Belong' the link is in my profile. Much love Angels. ~quickbunny01~