A/N: Well, I'm back people!! It only took me a month to write this chap. I would say sorry, but, shit happens. I will try to get my next chap out a lot sooner.
I want to thank my extreme beta extraordinaire ElleCC for her wonderful work on this chap! Trust me people, it is sooo much better after she cleaned it up for me. If anyone hasn't read her story "A Murmur of Fire in the Vein" yet, please do! It's excellent!
Also one more rec.....I recently came upon a wonderful historical J/B story called "Lovers at War" by Chocoholic-Vampire0419. The girl is only 17, but her story is amazing! It has wonderful depth to it. It is well written with wonderful characters. It also has the promise of major angst, which has yet to come.
Thanks for reading! I appreciate every review/story alert I receive.
The next few weeks fly by in a blur of pain and, oh yeah, more pain. After the conversation with my dad - it is so much easier to call him "Dad" instead of just "Charlie" - I take more interest in where my life is headed. He helps me fill out all the college forms and mails them for me. I still have nightmares every night, but I wake screaming less often than I used to. I have some hope for the future now, and my dad is a big part of that. He helps me believe that I can do this. I can live again, be happy again. It is hard to be optimistic but, as I said, I have some hope now.
Living in a place that constantly reminds me of my past is difficult on the best of days. Neither Jake nor my dad wants to see me slip back into a depression, and their bright idea on how to keep this from happening is to keep me very, very busy. Between Jake, Emily, and Charlie, I am under constant supervision. They try everything to keep me happy. My time is continuously occupied with some form of activity. I am exhausted, but at least it keeps my mind off the Cullens. I am even too tired to dream.
After six long weeks – about two weeks after the one on my arm is removed - I finally get the damn cast off my leg. The only downside to having the cast removed is PT – the dreaded physical therapy, but it is needed to help me learn to use my leg again. My femur had a crapload of screws in it and coupled with the fact that I also have a weak arm, I have to learn how to adjust my weight to support myself. Sounds easy? Well, it's not. And it's very, very painful.
I am dragged to physical therapy three times a week. I swear whoever designed some of those machines were sadists. It is pure evil how torturous those contraptions can be. Needless to say, I hate it. My therapist, Tom, is this body builder-type guy who is constantly making me feel like a lesser species. Kinda ironic, I know. "Come on Isabella, you can do better than that... Just one more. You're not pushing yourself hard enough." Urgh. I swear I have to restrain myself from beating him with my crutches. Every time I meet with him hurts more than the last. Jake thinks it's funny when he finds me scowling after every session. I would smack him if I didn't think I would break my hand in the process.
"Come on, Bells, it can't be that bad, can it?" he asks after a particularly horrible session. We're sitting in the diner where he brought me to eat. PT makes me freaking starving. At least I have gained back the twenty pounds I had lost and no longer looked like the anorexic I had become.
"Are you kidding, Jake? Have you lost your damn mind? Did you not see me crying in there after the PT Nazi yelled at me again? I freaking fell and all he did was laugh and tell me to get back up again. I had to crawl to the bars to pull myself back up. Crawl, Jake. It wouldn't have killed him to be nice for once and just help me up," I nearly scream. I hate that man.
"Fuck, Bells. You know he is just trying to motivate you. It might be sick and twisted, but you have to admit it has been working." I growl because I know he's right. That man provokes some kind of deep-seated anger and forces it to the surface. It pisses me off to no end, but it also brings out the defiant side of my behavior. He makes me determined to prove him wrong, so that one day I can go back and kick his ass.
"Whatever, Jake. That man is the devil. If you cared more about me, you would put some of that massive body weight of yours to good use and kick his ass for me." He just laughs at me. Bastard, I think.
"So, have you figured out which college you want to go to?" he asks, clearly trying to change the subject.
"Well, I got a few letters of acceptance back already. I just don't know if I want to go that far away from my dad. I'm thinking maybe the University of Washington in Seattle would be the best choice for me. Far enough away to feel like I'm on my own, and close enough so I don't feel like I'm too alone. Besides, I heard they have a really good English program. That's something I could be interested in."
It's taken me awhile to figure out exactly what I want to do because up until a few months ago, I was sure that I would never go to college. I had a different life planned out. Edward took that away from me when he left. I never had a Plan B and I now find myself scrambling to figure out what to do for the rest of my very short, very human life.
"You could just do Community College in Port Angeles for a year. You know, earn some credit, save some money before you move on to a big university. That way when you're ready to go, I could go with you and neither of us has to be alone," he tells me. Poor Jake. I know this is hard on him. Heck, it's hard on me too. I will miss him so much. Every time he talks about me moving away, he gets this brokenhearted look on his face. I just can't be there for him, not the way he wants me too. I am too broken for that.
These past two months Jake, has put all his energy into "fixing" me. He's hasn't left my side once. I'm so thankful for that. It is true that wouldn't have been able to heal like I have if it wasn't for him. Yet I just can't help but feel suffocated by him. I know he means well, but I have to get away. I need room to breathe, which is something Jake seems highly opposed to. He doesn't seem to understand that I need this - I need to find myself again. I needed time to heal from my memories without the prying eyes of the gossiping townsfolk of Forks.
"I can't stay here, Jake. I need to get away from this place. I just... I just can't be here any longer," I whisper more to myself than him. The food that is on my plate no longer looks as appetizing as it did when the waitress set it down in front of me. I sigh and pick at a piece of mushroom with my fork. I really don't want to talk about this.
"It's because of him, isn't it?" he asks, though it's more a statement than a question. What? I look up at him incredulously. How dare he bring them up? I mean, yeah, they have a lot to do with me leaving, but it is more than that. The truth was that I am running from a lot of things, and one of them is Jake.
"Dammit, Bells, he has already taken so much from you. Don't let that fucking leech run you away from your home," he spits at me with a hell of a lot of malice. He's so pissed he doesn't even notice when he bends his fork to look like the letter U. What is his problem? He knew that this was coming. He knew I was leaving soon.
"He's not running me away, Jake. I'm an eighteen-year-old soon-to-be high school graduate. Going away for college is the normal thing for me to do," I say, stressing the normal. He is just pissing me off now. I haven't even mentioned them in the last month and a half. I don't even flinch when I hear their names anymore. Well, maybe inside a little, but anyway. Jake bringing them up is like a slap in the face.
"Please, Bells, spare me the whole, 'I'm a normal teenager whose dearest dream is to go to college,' shit. There is nothing normal about you," he says, laughing.
I can't believe he just said that to me. He's a damn werewolf and I'm not the normal one? Right. A quick glance around the room tells me that our little spat has not gone unnoticed. I've had enough of this crap. I refuse to talk to him when he's like this.
Pushing my plate away, I stand up. I reach for my crutches while glaring at him as best I can. "You know what, Jacob Black? Screw you. You and I both know this has nothing to do with the Cullens. This is more about you not being able to watch over me every second of every day. I am able to take care of myself, Jake. I don't need you as my babysitter any longer."
"Whatever, Bells. You and I both know you don't make the best decisions. I refuse to allow you to make one based on what that piece of shit did to you," he harshly whispers back.
"What he did to me? What about you? How do you think this overbearing shit of yours is making me feel? Maybe I just can't stand to be around people who judge my decisions. People who smother me so much it makes me want to pull out my own hair sometimes. Or better yet, I don't want my life to revolve around mystical fairytale creatures anymore," I say, breathing heavily now. "You know, you're right, I'm not normal. But I plan to be," I hiss, making sure only he hears me. With that, I turn on my heel and walk out of the damn diner. I ignore his pleas to come back. He can pay for my half-eaten lunch. It's not like he ever gives me a choice anyway, even though he knows how much it pisses me off. God, he is acting just like Edward used to.
I still can't believe he said all those things to me. We have never fought... okay, that might not be true... but we have never fought this badly before. In public, no less. Is he so opposed to me going to college? What the hell is his problem? Why did he have to act like that?
Stupid traitorous tears start falling down my face. Perfect. Yes, let's get everyone to look at us, Bella. Give the people a good show. Good job. This town makes me feel like a circus freak. Another freaking reason I have to get out of here.
"Bells, come on. Stop for a minute," I hear Jake say. Damn, why do I have to be so slow? I sigh and stop. I am in so much pain I don't think I can move anymore, and I was fighting a losing battle anyway. It is pain versus will and the pain is winning. And it's not like I could outrun him, even without twelve pins in my leg.
"I'm sorry, Bella," he says. Sure enough, he's right behind me, and I turn and face him. All the anger that had built up during our conversation has now ebbed away into defeat. I love Jake. I do. Without him, I have no one. No matter what he says, I need him here with me.
He takes one look at my tear-stained face and immediately pulls me into a big hug. I want to be strong and tell him to let go of me. That I don't want to see him right now. But that would be a lie.
"Bells, I am so, so sorry, honey. I'm a fucking jerk. I didn't even think about what I was saying before it had already flown out of my mouth. I never wanted to hurt you. Please understand that. I would never want to make you cry. God, I swear I will do whatever you say from now on. No more stupid hovering. No more arguing about college. I know you want to get away from here. Hell, so do I. Maybe I'm just jealous because you can go away to college. I don't really have that option. And I swear I didn't mean what I said about you not being normal. Okay, maybe I did. But I didn't mean it in a bad w-"
"Jake, shut up," I say to cut off his word diarrhea. He looks at me and appears to be terrified of what I might say. "Just take me home, okay?" I ask quietly. Truth be told, I'm not mad at him anymore - just a little hurt - but I need to get off my leg. I also don't want to keep standing in the middle of the street giving out a free show. Sorry, people, there will be no need to bring out the popcorn and lawn chairs this evening.
"Bella, I..." he starts.
"Jake, I'm fine. Okay. Yes, you hurt my feelings with the crap you said in there. Yes, sometimes I feel smothered by you. You don't let me do things on my own, Jake. But I love you, and I know you love me. We will figure stuff out, okay? Just give me some time. Now, can you please take me home so I can rest, because my leg is killing me." I say all of this while looking him straight in the eye, hoping to convey the truth in my words. Apparently, it works, and without another word, he picks me up and carries me to his truck. The whole ride home, I stare out of the window, watching the trees fly by so fast they're nothing but a giant green blur. I can't help but wonder about what just happened. I don't even really know what our argument was about. There were so many underlying themes. I'm not sure we were really talking about college at all. Whatever the reason, I would not let this stand between us. I needed my friend.
~~~ *^* ~~~
"Bella. Are you okay? You sure you don't need any help in there?"
"I'm sure, Mom. Everything is almost done, anyway. I'll call you guys when it's ready," I yell to her. Renee and Phil came up to Forks to watch me graduate. The school is being kind enough to let me walk with the rest of the class. This, of course, makes Renee and Charlie happy. I, on the other hand, would have preferred they mail my diploma.
Chuckling to myself over the ridiculous idea of her helping me in the kitchen, I grab the forks and knives out of the drawer. Ah, Renee, my mom. It has been so long since I last saw her. The last time she was here, I was in a near catatonic state. Not our best social visit.
Lost in thought, I find myself staring out the window, watching the last rays of sun fade into the darkness of night. It is surprising how nice our June has been. With mild temperatures and a couple of days of sun, it has been one of the best weeks I have seen in Forks. It's a shame that the sun doesn't make me as happy as it once had. I still can't help but think of sparkly things. No. Stop that train of thought right there. I've told myself I won't go down that road again.
The urge to think about them comes and goes. Memories triggered by certain smells or sounds. For the most part, I avoid trips down memory lane by steering clear of all things Cullen-related. It's not the easiest thing to do when you live in a town full of whispered ghosts of the past.
With a heavy heart, I walk away from the window and the warmth the light gives. Back to the subject at hand. Graduation is tomorrow. I can't wait for it to be over. I don't really have it in me to be excited about it. I'm not scared, per se. I'm just a little nostalgic, for lack of a better word.
Things here have pretty much stayed the same for me these last few weeks. Since our big fight, Jake has backed off considerably and hasn't started another argument over school. Instead, he seems to be doing all he can to help me out. It's nice, but I know his heart is not into it.
Charlie and I have already visited U of W to get a tour. I was astounded by the pure size of it. I am all scheduled to move into my dorm in mid-August. Time is flying by quickly, and I can't believe I will be moving out soon. I am both excited and terrified.
"Dinner's ready," I yell out to the living room as I put the finishing touches on the table. It has been such a great comfort to me to be able to cook again. My arm isn't sore anymore, and I finally got rid of my crutches about a week ago. I still have physical therapy once a week. Tom, evil though he still may be, has helped me get into incredible shape. My balance has improved greatly. Of course, there is no way I would admit it to Tom, but he really has helped me a lot.
My dad comes in followed by my mom and Phil. They all take a seat as I put the remaining dishes on the table. I decided to make something simple tonight. You can never go wrong with meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
"This looks great, kiddo," my dad says.
"Yes, it does look good, Bella," my mom chimes in.
"Yeah, um, thanks. No biggie. It feels good being able to cook again," I tell them. Since Charlie doesn't cook, we had been eating out a lot. I swear I never want to see another pizza again in my life. The only time I cooked a meal was when I went to Emily and Sam's. Emily was a great cook, but barely had time to make a decent meal. She was too busy feeding a group of overgrown, over-hormonal, teenage werewolves. I still don't know how they can afford all that food.
"You know, I never really understood how you could have learned how to cook so well. You certainly didn't get it from me," she says, laughing. I heard my dad mumble something under his breath that sounded a lot like, "that's for sure." He quickly covered it up with a cough, however.
My mom glared at Dad a little but then continued on as if nothing had happened. "Poor Phil here hasn't had a home-cooked meal since you left, honey. I tried, once, to make something special but it didn't turn out that well." She laughs again. I give her a small smile, not really knowing what to say. I don't know if she is trying to make me feel guilty or what.
"You should have seen it, Bella," Phil says while laughing hysterically. "It was like these brown, mushy lumps of goo. I swear if I didn't know that she loved me, I would have thought she was trying to poison me." My mom looks like she is going to kill him. My dad is snorting into his food, clearly finding this whole thing amusing. I have to admit it was pretty funny. Remembering all the nasty things my mom made through the years makes me smile. I would have given anything to see the look on Phil's face when she unveiled her "homemade" dish.
"Ha ha, Phil. It wasn't that bad," she states. Phil gives her this "yeah, okay" look. "All right, it was pretty bad. But at least I tried. You know, maybe Bella can teach me how to cook at least one thing before we fly back home. What do you think, honey?" she asks. Wow, I wasn't expecting that.
"Really? I mean, sure, Mom. I could help teach you," I say. She just smiles at me and returns to eating.
The rest of dinner passes by in relative silence for which I am grateful. I can't help but steal glances at the people around me. I love these people with all my heart. They are my family. A crazy kinda broken family, but a family no less.
After cleaning up, with help from my mom, it's about time to get ready for tonight. Angela invited me to a graduation party at First Beach. I originally wasn't too sure I wanted to go because it would mean that I would have to see everyone from school. It had been so long since I had made contact with any of them, and I wasn't too thrilled about the probable interrogation I would face upon arrival.
But Jacob assured me that he and the guys would be there, too. Besides, I couldn't say no to Angela's smiling face. Out of all my so-called friends from school, she is the only one to whom I still talk.
For these reasons, I had decided to attend the party.
I am just finishing throwing on a pair of jeans when I hear a knock at my door.
"Bella? It's me. Do you think I could come in for a minute?" my mom asks through the door.
"Sure, Mom," I say as I open the door. "What's up?" I turn around to go to my closet to find a shirt for tonight.
"Nothing much, I just wanted to spend some time with you before you go. I haven't seen you in so long. How are you doing?"
I turn to look at her. "I'm fine. I'm just excited about tonight." I say, attempting to put on a happy face.
"Sure you are, Bella. Because walking into a firing squad of gossiping harpies is ever so fun. I know what it's like, to be the talk of the town. To be stared at and whispered about," she tells me. She looks at me with an all-knowing kinda face. It's true, I realize. She knows exactly what I'm going through. Hell, my mom is still the talk of the town sometimes. Even after all these years. A pregnant teen, who later runs away with her young child, does tend to leave an impression upon small town folk.
Letting out a long breath, I flop down on my bed. "They look at me like I'm so weak. Like I should be pitied. I hate that more than anything else. I could handle all the whispers, sniggers, or whatever. But when they stare at me with pity in their eyes, it makes me want to beat the crap out of them. How am I supposed to get through tonight without bitch-slapping someone?"
"Bella! I'm just going to pretend that you didn't just curse in front of me," she states. She looks like she is trying to put on a stern face but I can see the humor in her eyes. Thank god she found it funny because I was mortified and blushing like mad. Being around Jake has definitely had an effect on my language.
"Look, honey. What you're going to do is go in there with your head held high. You don't let anyone bother you no matter what they say. You said that boy Jake will be there, right? Well, just stick to him. He's a big hunk of teenage man meat. No one will mess with you if he is standing next to you. Plus, he can keep you from bitch slapping the sluts."
"Mom!" Eww, I can't believe she just called Jake a big hunk of teenage man meat. That's just so wrong. As for saying "sluts" in front of me, well...let's just say I've heard her say much worse. She just smiles at me and gives me a little wink. It's not long before we burst into laughter.
"Bells! Angela just called and said she'll be here in twenty minutes!" Dad yells from downstairs.
After our giggles subside, my mom helps me finish getting read, and it's nice as we chat and get caught up with each other's lives. It seems as though Phil has been able to keep her in line. For the most part, anyway. I mean, this is my mother we're talking about here.
After putting on the last of my makeup, I turn to my mom to get her opinion. She asks me to do a little twirl. It's childish, but I oblige. When I'm done, she just stares at me with a look of awe and love.
"Wow, honey. You are so beautiful. When I was pregnant with you, I always wished you would be born with green eyes. But as I look at you now, I am so glad that didn't come true. You have turned into a beautiful young woman, Bella. I couldn't be prouder of you." The surge of emotion on her face brings tears to my eyes.
"I have loved you since the day you were born, baby. I may have not always been the best mom, but I tried the best I could. You are such a strong and confident woman. Never doubt that. I'm so happy for you. You get to do something I never got a chance to do. You're going to college, honey. You can get out of here and make something of yourself. I know you can do it. You were always smarter than your silly old mother. Don't let anyone stand in your way, okay? Promise me, Bella. Promise you will continue on for me," she says, and she's almost pleading.
My makeup is totally ruined and I can't stop the fountain of tears that are splashing down my face. I love my mom so much. I swear I will not let her down. "I promise, Mom. I love you too," I say back to her. I want to tell her that she is a great mother. Even though we have had our ups and downs, I still respect her - my love for her has never wavered - but I'm so choked up I can't find my voice. She pulls me into a warm motherly embrace and just holds me. My fears for the night seem to melt away as I cry in my mother's arms.
I don't know how long we stay like that, but eventually I hear Angela's car come into the driveway. My mom helps me fix my makeup and gives me another big hug before I head out the door.
The ride with Angela is fun. We sing along with random songs that are on the radio and discuss where we are going to college. She's going to Stanford along with Ben, and I am so happy for her.
After we arrive, we split up. She goes to look for Ben while I go to find Jake. Before I can find him, Emily ropes me in to helping her prepare food for the barbecue. I don't mind much because it keeps me away from the harpies I was desperately trying to avoid.
"So, Bella, are you excited about tomorrow?" she asks while handing me one of the coolers.
"Kinda. I would rather just avoid the whole thing though," I say, trying to tell her the truth.
"Oh, come on.. You only graduate from high school once. You've earned it. This is a good thing. Something to be proud of, and we'll all be there to support you," she tells me.
"Oh god, Em. Please tell me they're not all coming. Please," I say when I realize what she is trying to tell me. This is going to be so embarrassing.
"Sorry, Bells. Couldn't talk the guys out of it," Sam says all of a sudden from behind me. He's grinning from ear to ear. The smart ass thinks this is funny. He turns and kisses Emily on the cheek before relieving us from our burden. Taking both coolers in one hand, he strides off toward the fire.
"Come on, Sam," I call to his retreating form. "Can't you use some of that alpha power or something?" I can hear his laughter floating back to me. Damn it. My face must pale considerably because Emily takes one look at me and laughs.
"It will be fine, okay? I promise to try to rein the boys in. Don't know if that will work," she says, laughing. I just glare at her, and she laughs again.
"Okay, how about this. I'll threaten them with no food for a week."
I can't help but snort. "Yup, that will work. Thank you, Em. I will owe you one." She gives me a hug and we turn to walk back towards the beach to meet up with the guys.
A little while after I get there, I realize I am actually having a good time. The guys are pretty funny tonight, telling hilarious stories about all things Forks and La Push. Jacob throws me into the water once. I retaliate by having Quill and Embry hold him underwater and steal his shorts. I hope this will force him to stay in the water and beg for his shorts back, but unfortunately my plan backfires and he runs out of the water naked - which makes all of the girls squeal - while he chases Embry down. I end up a blushing mess who's trying to convince my brain to forget what it just saw. I mean, Jake is really cute and well...he is umm pretty well endowed but... oh god, I don't even know. His thing is just flopping up and down and... well it's not something I intended to see. Like, ever! Not to mention that he catches me looking and calls me out on it. It is completely mortifying. Yet I am determined to not let him get to me.
"Wow, Jake, thank you for showing me the effect cold water has on a person. Always thought that was a myth. Huh," I say to his face, loud enough for everyone to hear. I try to stifle my laugh as I turn and walk away. I can hear the guys in the background laughing uproariously.
"Dude, she just owned you!"
"That's not funny, man. She just didn't see it clearly. It's dark as fuck out here," Jacob mumbles. The laughter only grows further after that. Serves him right for all the times he embarrassed the shit out of me.
I am making my way slowly over to the coolers to get a drink when I am accosted by Jessica and her cronies.
"Hi, Bella. It's so nice to see you. Oh my gosh. It's been so long. How have you been? Are you dating Jacob Black now? You guys looked pretty buddy-buddy over there. He's no Edward Cullen but... when he ran around naked, I thought I would die right then and there," she says all in one breath. Please God, help me now.
"Oh, um, hi, Jessica. I, uh. No, Jake, is just my friend. Um, I've been okay. Just healing and all. What about you? Excited about graduation tomorrow?" I ask, trying to distract her from asking any other personal questions.
She starts droning on and on about high school ending and how excited she is to be starting over. I tune her out about as soon as she starts. My focus goes to the beach by the fire. It is the time of night when couples start forming, sitting together, touching each other. My heart aches at the sight. There are just times when I miss him so much. As I think about him, it gets to the point where I felt like I can't breathe. I excuse myself from Jessica, giving her some lame story about having to go to 0the bathroom. Not wanting to join the others, I make my way over to the forest's edge and sit on a large rock. I hope and pray that the emptiness I feel inside will recede before the night's end.
Movement from behind me tells me that I am not alone. A surge of fear goes through me, but quickly fades when I recognize the figure that is approaching me. Leah Clearwater emerges from the trees to my left and takes it upon herself to sit next to me. She doesn't say a word and neither do I. I haven't really had any contact with Leah these last few months. Her father is one of my Dad's close friends and he's been incredibly sick recently. He had almost died the day I jumped off the cliff. Thankfully, he's made it this far. I can't even imagine what Leah and Seth must be going through. I know she is a werewolf like Jake. I also know of her past with Sam and Emily. I feel bad for her but at the same time, I also feel a kinship toward. I know what it's like to be left behind, thrown away. I know she doesn't like me because of my affiliation with the Cullens. I think a part of her blames me for her having to phase. I can't really blame her, though. I probably would blame me too.
"Hurts doesn't it?" her smooth voice asks me. Her eyes are trained on the happy couples down at the beach.
"You know, I come to this rock when I want to get away from things. From certain people. It helps." Crap, am I intruding on her rock? No wonder she sat next to me.
"Oh, um. I'm sorry, I didn't know. I can leave if you want me to," I tell her as I start to get up off the rock.
"NO," she says, grabbing my hand. "I mean, no. It's fine. I just think it's funny that you somehow found the same rock as I did. I just can't stand to be near the rest of them when they're together like that. I'm pretty sure you know how I feel." She gives me a small smile and drops my hand.
I give her a small smile back because I do know what she's going through. I sit back down next to her and together we just stare at the people down by the ocean, neither of us wanting to rejoin the group right away.
A few minutes pass before I can see Jake in the distance making a fool of himself while playing football with the guys. Leah must have been watching the same thing because she chuckles.
"You know, I never thought I would like Jake, but the boy's pretty funny," she says.
"Yeah, that's Jake. I don't know what I would have done without him for these past few months. I'm really going to miss him." I say, sighing.
She catches me off guard when she suddenly turns to face me. She's staring me dead in the eye and I have a feeling that whatever she's about to say is important.
"He's in love with you."
I had known this, but to hear someone else voice the words... it leaves me momentarily speechless.
"I know," I finally whisper.
I drop my head in my hands because, I don't really know how to deal with his feelings. His love for me goes way beyond friendship. I don't want to hurt him or give him false hope, yet I need him to stay around. I feel horrible for the way I am treating him - it feels as if I'm using my best friend.
Leah just stares at me, not saying a word. We sit here in silence, watching the guys play football, lost in our own thoughts. Eventually Jake comes to find me. Nodding his head at Leah, he asks if we would like to rejoin the party. I agree, but Leah decides it would be better if she goes back to patrolling the area. I feel sad for her and wonder if we could become friends if we were to spend more time together. I let Jake lead me back to the fire where we sit down. He wraps his big arms around me when he sees me shiver, and I can't help but lean into his chest.
As time winds down, the night gets darker and the fire starts to burn out. We're all sated from the massive amounts of beef that we consumed. I can't help but reflect on all the good times I have had here, along with the bad.
I am snapped out of my reverie when I hear a car skid to a loud stop nearby. All the guys jump up quickly to their feet.
"Bella!" my dad's voice calls. What is he doing here? Jake pulls me further into his side, as if he's trying to shield me from seeing my father.
I push against him.
"Stop, Jake. Let me go! I have to get to Charlie. What's wrong with you?" I ask him. "Dad!" I yell.
Charlie pushes his way through the large crowd that has formed as I rush to his side. He falters when he sees me and stumbles to the ground.
"Dad! What's wrong? Are you okay? What's going on? Where's Mom?" I ask, a little hysterical now. Sam and Jacob reach my father's side quickly and pull him off the ground. I can now see from the light of the fire that he's been crying.
"Dad, please. You're scaring me. What's going on? Please!" I'm really begging him to tell me everything is okay, that nothing has happened, even if I suspect otherwise.
"I'm sorry, kiddo. I'm so sorry. It's your mom. She's... she and Phil. Bella, they were killed!"
Gasps* I know! LOL Please, please, please leave a review!! Tell me what you think. Next up we find out what Jasper and the rest of the Cullens have been up to!