It was a cloudy day. Emmett and Jasper were alone in his Jeep and headed back to Ithaca, the family's home until Edward, as Emmett kindly put it, "got his shit together," after a long hunting trip. He didn't suspect it would be much longer before they moved back to Forks. It had been two weeks already, and Emmett knew how Edward was without his Bella. They hadn't seen him since he told Bella goodbye, and told the rest of them not to follow. The family was distraught without him. It was funny, really, how just one person could have made such an impression in a family as big as theirs. Emmett wondered if it was because Edward had always been there from the beginning, or if, he had been a crucial thread holding them together all along.
Jasper's phone rang. He smiled as he read the caller ID. Alice. He had been hoping she would call.
"Are you going to be here anytime soon?" she thrilled. She was angry. Jasper felt his excitement droop.
"Calm down," he said, "We'll be there in an hour or two. Have some patience." Silence, then he asked, "Why? Did you see anything?"
"Yes," Alice said, struggling to keep her voice relaxed, "Edward is coming home."
Emmett, who had heard Alice's words through the phone, grinned widely. He moved into the right lane so as to pass the car in front of him, no longer content to go a normal speed, when he saw it.
"Is that?" Jasper asked him, seeing it too.
"Looks like it. Complete with Washington license plates and everything. Should we go check it out?"
Jasper took a deep breath, and then replied, "We should."
Emmett pulled the car over to shoulder of the road and parked behind what looked to be Bella's truck. It was undoubtedly hers, and by the smell of it, she was most likely inside it.
Emmett slowly got out of his jeep, and walked over to Bella's window, as to not startle her.
"Bella?" he called softly.
She turned her head toward him. She was sitting with her knees up to her chest, and had wrapped her arms around her legs. She was also sobbing uncontrollably.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
She didn't answer for awhile. Jasper had come to stand beside him. He wasn't afraid of hurting her. They had just been hunting, and he sensed that she needed their help. She looked sad, but he knew she was feeling terror.
Finally she looked up and gave Emmett and answer.
"My truck's broken."
Emmett chuckled. "Of course it is. It's a thousand years old. It's a wonder it's lasted this long already."
His attempt at humor wasn't working. Bella wiped her tears with the sleeve of her ratty gray sweatshirt. "Will you help me?" she pleaded.
"Of course," Emmett said, "Let me take a look under the hood."
He was done before Bella had a chance to say anything else, and she knew from the look on his face that it wasn't good news.
"It's pretty busted up. I might be able to fix it if I had the proper parts, but even then there's no guarantee. I'm sorry," he said.
Bella continued to sob.
"Where are you headed, Bella?" Jasper asked, "We can take you there."
"Nowhere," she choked out. "I'm going nowhere," she sobbed.
"Why don't you come home with us?" Emmett suggested. "We'll have someone fix your truck, if they can, and you can stay with us until you decide where you want to go. How's that?"
"I don't know," she said slowly.
"Why not? You don't really have a lot of options," Emmett said. He was beginning to understand what Edward had said about her being stubborn.
"But you don't want me there," she argued.
"Yes, we do. Our family loves you, Bella," Jasper said, fervently. He desperately hoped his actions now could make up for almost killing her two weeks ago.
"Not Edward," she mumbled, and a sad cry ripped through her as she said it. "He doesn't want me," she said, and a fresh round of tears found their way to her face.
"He won't be there," Emmett said quickly, throwing a glance at Jasper. "He's wanted nothing to do with us since we left Forks."
"Okay," she said weakly, "I'l come."
She moved to open the door and jump from the cab, but stopped halfway through as she had just remembered something that prohibited her from going with them.
"We haven't got eternity, Bella," Emmett joked.
"I can't," she said quietly.
She didn't say anything. Jasper could sense that she was embarrassed, and still fearful. But of what?
"Bella," Emmett said sternly. His tone reminded her of Edward's impatience when she was keeping her thoughts to herself. Oh Edward, she thought, what would he think of this situation now?
"Okay," she said, exhaling. "You have to promise to not tell Edward. At least not yet."
"I'll try," Emmett said.
"Me too," said Jasper.
"Okay," she said again, and moved to get out of the cab.
Emmett and Jasper watched as she struggled to get down, and were distracted by how unhealthy she looked. Her face was more pale than usual, almost as pale as theirs, and her face appeared thinner. Too thin. She was too thin everywhere. Well, except for one place. They both gasped as they saw it.
Her stomach was huge and swollen, and barely hidden by her gray sweatshirt. Her stomach seemed to be bigger than the rest of her. Jasper and Emmett exchanged nervous glances with each other, not quite sure what to say. They had last seen Bella two weeks ago. There was no way she could be this pregnant.
Finally, Jasper spoke, breaking the heavy silence that had come between them.
"Is it Edward's?"
Bella nodded weakly, and started to cry again.
"Don't worry, Bella, we got this. We'll take care of this," Emmett said calmly. He knew he should punch Edward real hard in the gut for this, but all he wanted to do was go with Jasper and find ways to tease Edward about no longer being a virgin. He knew this was serious though. How he wished it was different. He already knew this pregnancy wouldn't be easy for Bella, and by the looks of her already he wasn't sure whether she'd survive it.
He mentally kicked himself for thinking that. She would be okay. He had to hope for Edward's sake that she would be okay, although he was just given even more reasons to be upset with Edward. How dare he put Bella in this position, and how dare he not tell Emmett about losing his virginity. He felt shocked, but he also felt a little betrayed. Needless to say, he wasn't looking forward to arriving back home.
The car ride to the house seemed interminable, even to the vampires. Everyone seemed to know that whatever awaited them wasn't pleasant. The silence was crushing Bella, and she was glad when Jasper's phone rang, temporarily bringing sound to the car.
"Alice," he said. He was surprised it'd taken her this long to call. A little warning might have been nice.
"Where are you?" she demanded.
"We're almost there. Don't worry," Jasper said.
"You were supposed to be home an hour ago. We're all waiting for you."
"Sorry," Jasper apologized, "We got held up. I'm sure you saw it." He turned to smile apologetically at Bella who was curled up in the back seat.
"Saw what? I saw you two morons pull over to the side of the road and then completely disappear? Do you know how terrifying that was?" She was furious.
"I'm sorry, honey. We're almost home, we'll explain then."
"Jasper," she said slowly, "I think I'm losing my vision."
"Can that happen?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said dejectedly. "Just hurry home."
"See you soon."
"So what'd Alice yell at you about this time?" Emmett jokingly asked Jasper.
"She didn't yell at me," he replied.
"She sounded pretty mad. C'mon bro, fess up. What'd you do?"
Jasper sighed. "She was mad because we were supposed to be home an hour ago. She apparently didn't this coming." He tilted his head in Bella's direction, who was now fast asleep.
"That's a first."
Jasper laughed in agreement.
"Do you think she'll end up being okay?" Emmett asked, and he didn't need to tilt his head toward Bella for Jasper to know who he was talking about.
"I hope so," he said after awhile, "I'd hate to see what it does to Edward if she doesn't."
"True. You know, though, I think we're gonna be pretty kick ass uncles," Emmett said, hoping to lighten the mood.
"I think we will too, assuming we make it through the next few hours."
"Yeah. It's not gonna be pretty."
"Not pretty at all. I don't want to see this."
"Well good, 'cause we're here!" Emmett announced, throwing the jeep into park.