Chapter 27 - Why Isn't Her Memoria Like Cobain's?
A/N: Here's the finale for you guys! Eeep!
Bittersweet. That was the feeling the next three days left on my heart. The fact that I was able to finally bring my wife and son home was amazing. I loved holding him and spending time with him and watching him do the simplest things. However, the knowledge that a memorial service mourning one of my dearest friends was quickly approaching drew the happiness of even the best of moments.
I was torn. Hurt. Crushed. Confused.
Leah had done a lot of stupid things in the past few months. Everyone knew that. However, I never wanted something to happen to her... or our child. Although I wasn't in love with Leah, I loved her. She was my beta... and my friend. Regardless of the stupidity of the decisions she had made that had encompassed our lives. I knew that I would never forget her... or the life that she had created. Not only did I mourn for my friend, but I mourned for my child. And as happy as I was with my wife and our two children, I couldn't forget the fact that Leah and our baby had died. And although Irina was dead and gone, I hated her, too. I knew she had had something to do with Leah's death and I couldn't stand knowing that she had suffered before the end came.
"Jake," Bella said, coming up behind me and wrapping her arms around me. I was standing in the kitchen, staring out the window toward the little shed that had once been Leah's home. My fists were clenched tightly and I was shaking, holding back emotion. Bella pressed her lips into the middle of my back, trying to calm me back down.
"Jake, it's okay," she crooned.
"It's not," I said, sighing. "It's really not."
"I know you're hurting, honey. And I wish there was something I could do about it... but there's not," she said, sighing heavily. "But I need you. Norah needs you. Rowan needs you."
"I am perfectly aware of what everyone needs from me," I said coolly. "But what you fail to understand is that I need - " I broke off, clenching my jaw.
"You need what? Leah to come back from the dead? Jake, you know that's not going to happen," she said sadly.
"That's not what I was going to say," I snapped. "I need you, Bella," I said simply, my voice giving way to the tides of emotion threatening to drown me.
"I'm here," she said helplessly. "I promise you, no matter what happens, that I will always be here. And so will Norah and Rowan."
I could only nod, unable to feel anything but numbness slowly ebbing away to true grief.
Leah's memorial and celebration of life was held on a Tuesday. A very gray, rainy Tuesday.
"Perfect, the weather," I said, gloomily looking outside as the rain seemed to pour down even harder. Bella zipped up Norah's jacket and she turned around, smiling.
"Daddy, let's go!" she said excitedly. Too bad she was too young to understand exactly where we were going.
"Just a second, love," Bella said, reaching for the sling on the couch. She put it over her head and headed into the nursery.
I wondered briefly if Leah was operated the heavens and punishing us all down here for not saving her... having a last say by making her memorial gray, cloudy, rainy, and muddy. Looking up at the sky, I noticed that it was the exact same shade as her wolf had been. Beautiful, yet sad at the same time.
"Ready, Jake?" Bella asked, clutching Rowan to her chest.
"As ready as I'll ever be," I said dully. I dutifully took Norah's hand and we ran out to the car, dodging pellets of rain.
Seth was standing in front of the small table, covered in a black tablecloth, his back turned to us. Sue was sitting in a corner of the room, tears silently trailing down her face. The room was silent in the sort of eerie quietness that makes one shiver to the bone.
"I can take Norah to the nursery where the other children are," Emily whispered, coming over and taking her hand out of mine. I didn't want to let go. I was afraid she wouldn't come back. Snap out of it, Jake, I told myself. No one else is going to die.
Seeming to understand, Bella came up and held my hand. Together, we walked toward Seth, toward the table, toward the thing I least wanted to see. The thing that would make this all seem real. I didn't want it to be real. I wanted it to all be a lie. A stupid silly lie that would come back and haunt me. Perhaps Leah was alive somewhere... or perhaps I was too stupid to try to fool myself.
We reached the table and Seth turned around, hearing us approach.
"Jacob, Bella," he said, nodding to each of us. "I heard you finally had the baby," he said softly.
"We figured you were busy with the arrangements," Bella said, nodding. "We didn't want to tear you away from your family at such an important time," she said graciously.
"I'm sure he's beautiful," Seth said, nodding.
Bella pulled back part of the cloth sling and Seth looked in at Rowan.
"He looks more like you," he said to Bella. "He looks like his father, too, but more like you than Norah does."
"I must go and comfort Mom," he said, not even glancing at me. My stomach dropped. Was he really this mad at me for hurting Leah? Did he really not want to be friends with me anymore? Or part of the pack for that matter?
Bella seemed to notice my discomfort and took my hand once more. She led me toward the black tableclothed table. I swallowed nervously and closed my eyes.
When I opened them, the contents of the table were right under my nose.
A small plaque with Leah Mae Clearwater etched on it was on the table, a bowl of sand taken from the La Push beach underneath it, complete with seashells and a notebook to one side.
Not even thinking, I opened it and flipped to the first page.
Today was... hard. Sometimes I don't think they really get the fact that I'm a girl. I mean, sure I know I'm a girl and I obviously look like a girl, but they just treat me like one of the guys. Except for Jacob. I don't know what it is lately, but he seems to have become more of a friend than the others. I know he's completely infatuated with Bella Swan (or is it Cullen?) and I know that he'll never look at me the way he looks at her. I just wish... hell, I don't even know what I wish anymore. I just wish that someone would look at me like that. I wish that he could just forget about the vampire-wannabe and realize that we could be perfect together. Like two sides of the same peanut-butter sandwich.
I flipped through the next few pages, further in time.
I'm so stupid. So, so incredibly stupid. I know Jake loves Bella. Obviously, considering they just got married. So why did I have to get him to kiss me? To make myself feel better? To make myself think I'm worth something? I don't even know anymore. I'm just so lost... and confused. Just because I love him doesn't mean I have to ruin things for him. I guess the best way to show him that I love him is to let him be happy and take the higher road, even if it kills me.
I couldn't read that part anymore. I flipped forward a whole bunch, realizing that Bella's eyes were locked on me as I read.
What the hell is wrong with me? Not only do I have the selfish stupidity in me to go and vindictively get pregnant on purpose with a married man's baby, I have the selfishness to pretend that nothing is wrong at all. I've been walking around the last few days here at the Makah reservation, acting like everything's just peachy and perfect. Like hell it is. Mindy's been eyeing me the last few days, noticing that I've been getting sick right and left. I know she's going to ask me if I'm pregnant soon... she's probably just waiting on the right time to do it. But I know one thing. I WILL NOT RUIN JACOB'S LIFE. This was my stupid, drunken, foolish, disrespectful bitch of a decision and the only way to fix it is to pass the baby off as David's. I will live here as a Makah because it's the only decision I have. The only way to keep Jacob's life intact is to stay away from him.
Bella pulled the notebook away from me and sat it back down on the table, leaning up to kiss my cheek. I shook my head, trying to clear Leah's confusion and hurt out of my thoughts. This wasn't what I needed to read right now. I needed to think. I needed to mourn my child without Leah's thoughts and feelings clouding my healing process. Sure, I'd like to know how she was feeling in a few years, but definitely not now. Not while I was a mess like this.
I turned around and saw Sue standing behind me.
"Jacob," she whispered, coming over and hugging me tightly. I froze. I didn't know what to do or what to think. Before I could wrap my mind around everything that was going on, she spoke.
"Jacob, I am so sorry for everything that's happened. But I do want you to know that my daughter truly loved you, regardless of the severity of the decisions she made. I think she would want you to know that," she said, nodding.
"Sue, with all due respect, I'm married and I love my wife. Leah was always just a friend. She knew that."
"Just because she knew it doesn't mean she had to understand it," Sue said sadly. "I know that you and Bella are married and I respect that. You know I love you two - "
"But you loved your daughter more," Bella interrupted. "Leah was a good person who let her intentions and own personal desires get the best of her. She got pregnant with my husband's baby behind my back and Jacob did not have any part of that decision. She drugged him and got pregnant with his baby in the hopes that he would leave me for her. But it didn't work, Sue. And now look. Leah and the baby are both gone and Jacob and I are still married. Getting pregnant with Jacob's baby made her a target, Sue. And she tried to run when we were attacked and Irina got the best of her."
"Bella!" I hushed her, not wanting to hear anymore. "I don't want to hear anymore of this," I said. And with that, I took the notebook off of the table and left, running back out into the rain, away from the enclosing walls of the tribal center.
I spent the next two hours sitting in the same spot Leah had taken her last breaths, flipping through her journal, trying to understand... trying to comprehend...
When I finally returned to the house, Bella had dinner on the table. Rowan was asleep in his nursery and Norah was eating at the table. Bella was standing at the window, staring outside, waiting for my return I supposed.
"I'm sorry for running off," I said, tossing the journal into the top of the coat closet.
"I'm sorry for not considering your feelings," Bella sighed. "It just hurts that Leah got pregnant and then died right when Rowan was born. It's almost as if she not only stole my thunder, but she stole his as well."
"It's not about stealing anyone's thunder. A wolf has died, Bells. And whether you liked her or not, it affects all of us. Especially me, since she was carrying my child."
"I know," Bella said, walking over to me and giving me a hug. "And I'm sorry."
I nodded, my eyes clamped tightly shut, squeezing away the tears once more.
"Jake, if you need to cry, then cry. No one will think any the less of you."
I bit my bottom lip before answering.
I kissed Bella softly before heading toward our bedroom.
I loved my wife and our children. And no one would ever be able to take that away from me. I would keep them safe from every single threat that came near them. I would be the best father and husband that my family deserved... because after everything that they had been through the last year, that's the least I could do.
I know this was short, but I wanted to have a decent ending that would lead into the third installment of the trilogy.
First of all, I would like to thank my lovely reviewers. Without you, I would not have had the strength to get through this story. There were so many times where I really didn't want to come to the computer and type, simply because I didn't have the time or the patience. Thank you for letting me bounce ideas off of you and for putting up with my crazy zaniness! I love you guys so much!
Secondly, I would like to thank my friends over at Fanforum. You guys have been amazing! Thanks for letting me post updates there and for the ridiculous amounts of enthusiasm that I have received over the last few months! I've made so many friends and I can't wait to talk about my ideas for the final chapter of this series!
And FINALLY, I would like to wish all of my readers a happy Eclipse-release EVE! I'm not going to be able to see it for a bit, so I hope you guys really like it! I'm not really sure if I want to see Jacob get his heart broken... :(
Anyways, after this long awaited finale, I'm going to go get a cookie, pat myself on the back, and get to work on Part III.