Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
One Bite Changes Everything by Heartbroken1
Chapter 25 - Hidden Memories
I wanted to hate Edward as we left him standing alone in the yard. However, I felt nothing but compassion for him. He did love her. I knew that. Bella's words had been harsh -- really harsh. I followed her into the house, narrowly missing the slamming door. She ran toward her bedroom, tripping up the stairs. I didn't react until she started sobbing, then scooping her into my arms finished the journey.
"Jacob, don't," she whispered. She was still mad at me, but all the fight in her was gone. She'd managed to stay strong for her confrontation with the man who'd destroyed her.
"I'm sorry. I should have told you sooner."
She shifted on the bed as I crossed the room, looking out the window. "Jake..." I turned to look at her. She wiped at her tears. "You lied to me," she spoke quietly. I hated that I had hurt her. I wished I could go back and fix my mistake.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted to protect you from what happened this afternoon. If you hadn't known..." The words tumbled out of my mouth in an attempt to explain my actions.
"Jacob, stop." She sat up. "I don't care if you think I can't handle it. I don't care if you think you're protecting me. I'm not that fragile."
She looked pretty fragile to me right now.
"Let me finish."
"Edward used to pull that crap with me all the time. I will not have you doing the same thing." Her voice was strong. "I need you to promise me that you will never lie to me again. Never. Not even by omission because that's still a lie."
"I promise." I smiled timidly. "Forgive me?"
She nodded. I could see the tears starting again. "Will you hold me?" she sighed.
"Of course," I chuckled. What a silly question.
Half way to her, one of the floorboards moved opening up a hole in the floor. I looked up to see Bella's face resembling the surprise I felt. I reached down and pulled out the contents from their little hiding place. Pictures, plane tickets, a CD. It looked like all of Bella's memories of Edward -- except Bella didn't know they were there.
I sat all the stuff on the bed. Bella took each item and carefully looked at it. With every new thing, her sobs grew louder. I sat down next to her, not sure of how close she wanted me to get.
"Why would he leave this stuff here?" It sounded like a rhetorical question so I said nothing. When she looked at me, I shrugged. "But he didn't want me," her voice cracked as she spoke the words.
"Bella, he still loves you," I stated.
"Are you trying to make me feel better?" her tone was incredulous.
"No, he told me." My heart broke saying the words that could potentially take her away from me.
"He told you?" she managed to squeak out between sniffles.
"Bella, he said that he left because he loved you -- because he wanted to protect you." My eyes pleaded for her understanding as to why I didn't tell her this before.
"He loves me?"
I nodded, then cringed, seeing a flash of recognition in her eyes. I wondered if she'd listened to a word Edward had just said to her. She suddenly swept all of the contents from the tiny hole onto the floor. She fell forward as she continued to sob. I sat down next to her and stroked her beautiful hair.
"Bella, what can I do?" I asked as her crying continued. I rephrased the question, "Do you want me to go get him?" I said the question, fearing the answer, but I would do anything for her -- anything.
"No," she said quietly.
"Tell me what I can do."
"Just hold me," she whispered.
She laid her head down on the pillow. I pulled her body next to mine, holding her. I wondered if this was going to rip that hole in her chest open again. I hoped she had the strength to let me mend her twice.
It had been an emotionally taxing afternoon, full of revelations.
I found out Edward was back. Jacob waited days to tell me. But eventually he did tell me. I understood his reasoning, whether I agreed with it or not.
All of the Cullens were coming back -- to protect me from Victoria.
But the most disturbing fact I learned today was that Edward loved me. He told Jacob he left because he loved me. Could I believe that? If I did, what did it mean? I waited for my chest to rip open exposing all the hurt and anguish I felt when Edward left me.
I waited and waited. Nothing happened. Laying here in Jacob's arms I felt whole -- complete.
"Jacob," I said as I rolled over to face him. His eyes were full of worry as they searched for what I might say. "I need to do something." I sat up. He followed my lead sitting up, placing his feet on the floor. "Stay here," I told him.
I went into the bathroom and splashed some cold water on my face. I ran a brush through my hair. My eyes were still puffy, but they looked better. I stood in the doorway and felt horrible for the agony Jacob was experiencing. He had his face in his hands.
He looked up, eyes glistening. In that moment, my heart melted. All the anger I'd felt because of his deception was gone. I walked over to him taking his hands in mine. "Oh, Jake."
"I'm sorry for everything. So very sorry. I should've..." I placed my finger on his lips. His eyes again searched mine.
"Will you let me talk?" He nodded. "Seeing Edward this afternoon has made me think a lot about things." He swallowed hard. "I can't believe he still loves me." Jacob dropped his eyes, looking down at our hands. I knew he'd had enough of my stalling. "But that's too bad. Because I love you, Jacob Black!"
I decided not to answer his questions with words. I didn't want to talk about this anymore. I pressed my lips to his and guided his arms around my waist. He reacted pulling me on top of him as he laid back down on my bed.
"I can't believe you ever doubted."
"I know that a piece of you still loves him, Bella. I just wasn't sure how big that piece was."
"I'm with you now -- forever." I leaned in to kiss his lips, letting myself get lost in it. I let my lips wander to his neck and back to his ear. "We're not under Billy's roof," I said seductively.
"Bella," he warned.
"Hey, I was just reminding you of our location," I tried to sound innocent.
"I'm a man of my word, Bella Swan."
"Well, I guess we should just go home then."
"Yes, Bella, let's go home."