Stories like ours don't get much press. People nod and smile at stories like ours, but they don't really care. Stories concerning second chances will never be their favorites, because in the backs of their minds they are all thinking one of two things. They either think that you should have been smart and not screwed it up in the first place, or that you should have been the martyr. You know one, they feature in old poetry. They are the women in ghost stories that take place near the sea and the widowers with children to live for.
People want the image of you waiting and loving endlessly, forever after. They want to believe that that "one true love" and or that "one true happiness" exist and that you found it. If you lost it, well then that's it. You're done. Put a bow on it and wrap it up and while you're at fetch about a lifetime's worth of longing, 'cause you're going to need it. Forget that life doesn't work like that. Forget that living that way turns the rest of your life into a bruise, blue-black and stinging and making strangers wince in sympathy.
Back to the point, stories like ours don't get much press, so it was to my extreme surprise that you showed up on this, of all doorsteps, to ask to hear it. It made far more sense once I realized that you'd been to see my brother and sister-in-law. I still have to wonder what made you think, "Gee, I wonder what Jamie has to say about what happens next?"
Whatever it was, you're here and you've asked, so get comfortable and be prepared for a few visitors and for the other person that can lay claim to this story. She is…something. Just wait. She wasn't a big player in Izzy's story, but trust me when I say that once this all over with, you'll wish that she had been.
You didn't come here to listen to me ramble, or maybe you did, but not about this. All warm and comfy? Good. It's time we got started.
It was a typical morning when I woke up in bed at my family's house in Forks. A week before, I'd gone with them and Izzy to watch as they secured the alliance with the Cullen Clan and I was back again that weekend to meet the Pack and to do what little I could to help as they updated them on the situation with the Volturi and received whatever they might have to report.
I slipped my feet over the edge of the bed, did some stretches, and changed from my pajamas into some workout clothes. Then I stepped out into the hallway and walked to Jack's room, peering into the darkness to confirm that he was either there and sleeping soundly, or had left a note about running off to meet Izzy or deal with the pack. It was very early, so no one so much as stirred as I patrolled the house, protecting them in the only way that I really could in those days. Then I stepped out into the dark morning and started my run.
There was a time when I was younger, when I ran for the sound of cheering and for the pride of being the fastest; not anymore. Now I ran to prove to myself and my family that I was alright. I ran for the endorphins and the peace of repetition. My feet, my heart, my breath, all had their rhythms. When I focused on them I couldn't think about her, and in those early days after it happened, those breaks had helped save my sanity.
When I'd been running for a while without thinking about where I was going, I looked up and realized that I was on Izzy's street. Not only that, she was standing at the end of her driveway, holding an energy bar and a bottle of water. I ran over to her, shoving back the memories of times when Alexandra had taken the same pose, by the side of the track at my practices. It hurt, but I'd learned that grief could be stalled.
"So now you're my pit crew," I asked, stopping and breathing.
"Only when I feel like it. I was hanging out with Alice and she told me that you'd be running by soon," she replied, giving me the water and the energy bar. I finished both pretty quickly. She took the empty wrapper and bottle from me before reaching out and giving my hand a squeeze.
"Are you alright," she asked. She seemed to know that I was fighting grief, but then she shared it. She lived with the paradox of grieving someone she'd never really known. She didn't hurt like I did, but she could sympathize. I didn't need that just then.
"I need to run. See you in a couple of hours, ok, Izzy-bell," I said quickly.
"Ok, Jay-bird," she said, and I froze in the action of turning to run.
"Where did you hear that nickname," I asked, my voice harsh as the grief beat down suddenly.
"That was…? Oh God! Jamie, I'm sorry I don't know. Maybe I just heard it somewhere or maybe Jack mentioned it-"
"I have to go," I said quickly before turning and running back towards home.
She had had called me Jay-bird almost for the whole time that we'd know each other. She'd heard my mother call me that over the phone and she'd loved it, so it had become her nickname for me, given freely by my mother, who'd gotten the family to use it less. Wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. I should have called Izzy to see what she told you, but since now it's too late I'll just say this, to get you caught up:
If Izzy has told the story right, you'll know that Alex, Alexandra Abdima, was my Match. You might also know that she died in a car accident around a month after we started training. We'd been dating for nearly four months.
A lot of things changed in my family after she died, one of which was the use of my nick-name. She was gone. I didn't want to be "jay-bird" if she wasn't around to smile at me as she said it.
The ground was cold as I fell to my knees in the driveway. I sat there, trying to catch my breath and pull myself together. Eventually I dragged myself up and stumbled inside, right into the arms of my mother, who helped me over to the sofa in the living room.
"Do you want some coffee, love, or maybe some breakfast," she asked rubbing my back. She already knew that I'd just want coffee; her Match power had given her intuition a supernatural boost. Combined with her having raised me, it meant that she could nearly read my mind. It was only out of kindness that she asked me anything.
"Coffee, please," I replied, "but first I need a shower."
I rose and stopped by my room to grab a change of clothes and pulled a washcloth and towel from a closet on the way. Soon enough, I let the hot water soothe me, dulling the grief by inches and relaxing the muscles that I'd overextended in my sprint for home. My mother was waiting with a cup of coffee when I got out of the bathroom. She suggested that I go hang out in Dad's study, but the enforced calm of my father's presence before he'd woken up enough to control his match power would have just made matters worse.
I went to my room and played a video game, the violent kind that Alex had hated, not for the violence itself but for the senselessness of the violence. "Grand Theft Auto" had annoyed her to the extent that I'd only really played it when we fought. After a while Jack came to my door, entering without knocking and watching me play for a while before saying, " Izzy is on her way over and we'll be leaving fairly soon after she gets here. She wanted to know if you wanted ride on her motorbike to La Push."
"Sounds like fun, if you don't mind taking my spot in the car with Mom and Dad. Let me save this game and I'll wait for her with you," I said, stealing a car on the game and proceeding to grab a few more points before saving it.
Izzy was pulling up on her motorbike when we stepped out of the door. She pulled off her helmet and greeted Jack in their corny, sickening, but endearing fashion.
"Milord, the night was too long. Make it shorter. Your lady demands it," she said superiorly, tucking her forehead into his neck.
"I'll get right on that ma'am, but first you have to figure out when you plan to sleep, what with the nights being so short, and all," he replied taking her into his arms.
"Good point, and speaking of sleep, I've got a new vision to report," she sighed pulling away from him. I cleared my throat.
"So, Izzy, I hear that I've been invited to ride with you today," I said, entering the conversation by force.
"It's the least I can do after this morning. Come on, brother mine, it'll be fun."
Her tone was bright but her eyes begged forgiveness.
"I'm sure that it will be," I said, reaching out and touching her shoulder lightly, " now let's get inside and hear about that vision."
We gathered in my dad's study, which had been the center for all things paranormal even in our old house in Tucson.
"Izzy-bell," my mother said warmly in greeting taking a quick hug before settling on Dad's desk, next to him.
"It's good to see you Izzy," my father said. She blushed before quickly moving on to the topic at hand. She described seeing Victoria, the vampire that apparently wanted her dead, strolling down the streets of someplace that she hadn't been able to identify, she'd woken up just as her eye's had narrowed onto a girl waiting at a bus stop.
"Is it possible that she's just hunting, that it has nothing to do with you," Dad asked.
"No," my mother answered before Izzy could, "Something's up. I'll contact a few acquaintances. Maybe someone else has seen something. Jack, is anything new with the pack that we need to know before heading to La Push."
"Not really, Sam was concerned about us rushing off to the Volturi without a word, but he understood that there wasn't time or cause to rally the troops just yet," Jack replied, in a tone that was not pompous, but did seem to be just a little over-full of its own importance.
"Good," Dad picked up, " if there are no more questions or concerns, we'd do better not to keep our allies at La Push waiting."
The four of them stood and moved toward the door but a question sprang up in my mind and I stopped them.
"Wait," I said, " I do actually have a question. Why are the Watchers after the Volturi now? They've always been …well power-tripping psychopaths, really, and they've actually helped us in the past, despite not knowing that Watchers existed. Why is their power grabbing such a concern now?"
My mother tilted her head slightly before answering, "If they haven't changed, the world has, or perhaps they are going to try something new. The other Watchers were certain that the Volturi were a threat. The seer that alerted us to the importance of the Cullen boy told us that she'd seen the world in flames because of their actions."
I turned to Jack, who had been looking into mom's eyes since her explanation began. He was frowning oddly, and reaching for Izzy's hand. Taking a calming breath, his voice was a mixture of curiosity and trepidation when he said, "Mother, Are you sure that that's what they told you?"
"Yes, Nimble, I'm sure. Come on now, all of you. We'll be late if we don't get going."
We walked out behind my parents and I saw Jack and Izzy get the vaguely spaced out look of people communicating mentally.
Jack got into the car with our parents and Izzy told them that we would catch up. When they'd driven off, I turned to her.
"What's wrong," I asked directly, "Was she lying?"
"Not exactly," she responded slowly. "She told us what she knows to be the truth, but she has doubts. She thinks that there is more going on than the Watchers are telling us."
Then she mounted her motorbike and instructed me to do the same and to hold on. She fastened on her helmet, and we sped off onto to the morning air.
Speaking of speeding off, I'd better go fetch the co-owner of this story. Like I told you, she's something, and she's waited long enough to have her say.
Hey guys!! Welcome to the sequel!!! As you can see, we're back with a new point of view and a new structure. Each chapter is going to be a different point of view, though for the most part it should center on two main ones. I'll do what I can to make it clear who's speaking.
Thanks to all my readers and reviewers from Waking up and I hope you'll be just as awesome and supportive of its sequel. How am I doing so far?