"As you wish Miss Black. As you wish."
I followed Sophie home, staying about ten feet behind her. She never looked back and she kept her pace steady. I found myself wondering what all this meant. Was the fact that Sophie remembered everything and got her powers back tied to me, or was something else happening that we didn't know about? And what was that comment regarding Will about? So help me God, if he hurt her, he would be nothing more than a distant memory when I was done with him.
When we got back to the house, Jake and Nessie were pacing on the front porch. Jake started to talk, but Sophie held up her hand.
"I am tired. I have a big day tomorrow and I don't want to talk about this now." She walked in the house, but before the door closed, she stuck her head out and said, "Just so you know; all three of you are on my shit list." As the door shut I heard her say, "That was so worth the dollar."
We all looked at the door in silence for a few seconds after it shut, and then it was Jake that spoke.
"Holly Hell. What was that all about? Talk about coming out of left field. I mean, it has been a long time since she could do anything." There was an edge to Jake's voice, and I think in the back of my mind I knew it registered as fear that I was hearing. "I mean talk about bad timing. She is going to be away from us, with all this new power and no one there to help her control it."
"Jake. That's enough." Nessie's voice was full of tears and she turned her back, taking deep but ragged breathes. Jake stood behind her and held her close, kissing the top of her head.
"Sorry Ness. I know that she will be fine. I guess I am just in shock."
I stood there like an intruder. I wanted to slip away, but when I tried to go into they stopped me.
"Seth, if it isn't too personal, what did she say?" The pain seeped from Nessie's words.
I turned and smiled at her, the door still in my hand and halfway open. "She understands, to a certain degree. I think we will all have to make some kind of amends; especially me. I just hope I am up to the task." I walked into the house, grabbed my suitcase and walked the very familiar walk to my apartment. I paused outside Sophie's door, and I heard beautiful yet sorrowful music escaping from her room. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and walked down the hallway. As I got to the stairs that took me to the happiest home I had ever known, I heard a click behind me. I turned to see Sophie standing halfway out of her door. She had her hand on the door frame and was leaning against it. Her eyes were puffy and I could tell she had been crying.
"We are leaving about 9 in the morning. Are you going to be available to help? I am sure we could use the muscles." She half smiled and I knew this was a big effort on her part.
"I would love to be there. I can't wait to see your new place." She smile and stepped back into her room. I wanted to see her one more time before I was alone with my thoughts. "Hey Sophie," she leaned her head around the corner. "Sweet dreams." She smiled and I turned and opened the door. I was about to take the first step when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and she was right there, her sweet smile softly painting her angelic face. She motioned for me to bend down and I did. She leaned forward and gave me soft kiss on the cheek.
"I'm still mad, but I am so glad you are home." She raised up on her toes and did a half turn and practically danced back to her room without looking back.
When I got to the top of the stairs, it was like my apartment had been trapped in a vacuum. Everything was the same. I unpacked and took a long, hot shower. By the time I climbed into bed, it was close to ten, but I had been awake for what felt like days. The alarm seemed to go off after what felt like five minutes, even though I had slept for nine solid hours. I heard some hammering going on down stairs, and I had to assume that the windows were going to be replaced by the end of the day.
I climbed out of bed, dressed in my Levi's and a black t-shirt, grabbed my shoes and socks and headed down to see what the day would bring. In a way I was grateful that Sophie was leaving so soon after me getting here. I didn't have a chance to get into any kind of a routine in which she was always present.
Emmett, Edward and Jake were removing the old window panes and when the saw me, it was Emmett who made it seem like no time had passed at all.
"Grab a hammer you slacker."
I put on my shoes and joined them. We caught up and when Nessie told us breakfast was ready, Jake and I practically ran to the table.
Shortly before 8:30, Sophie made her way downstairs. She sat quietly at the table, and again, Emmett was on a roll.
"So I see hurricane Sophie came out of hiding last night. Glad to have you back!" He stood there, waiting for a response. A look registered on Sophie's face. I couldn't tell if it was anger or doubt. I think it was the latter, because she closed her eyes and suddenly Emmett was lifted off the ground and sent sailing through the trees. He let out a yell and Sophie quickly opened her eyes and looked in the direction he went. The corner of her mouth raised and then she quickly began eating again.
"Sophie Rae. Be nice to your Uncle." Nessie was in mom mode, but I knew her well enough to detect the amusement in her voice.
"Or at least wait until all your stuff is moved and the windows are replaced." Jake got a stern look from his wife, but Sophie giggled.
We all continued to eat in silence; that awkward kind when everyone knows something is about to happen that none of us wants to transpire. Finally Sophie broke the tension.
"So everything is packed and in the garage. The furniture is coming at noon, so I am hoping to have everything unpacked by dinner. You guys don't have to stick around if you don't want to." She played with the last piece of fruit on her plate.
"Of course we will stay for dinner. I hardly ever get to go out on the town." Jake grabbed her hand. "Do I need to pack my suit?" He winked at her and she slapped his hand.
"I was thinking pizza Dad." She paused then and looked at me out of the corner of her eye. "You still like pizza right?"
I smiled down at my plate and nodded my head. "As long as there are no anchovies, I am golden."
Sophie pushed her chair back and quietly took her plate into the kitchen. When she came back she quickly walked to the stairs, calling as she ascended, "I'll be ready in 20 minutes. All my boxes are in the garage."
I looked at Nessie and a tear ran down her cheek. She took a deep breath and Jake took her hand. They didn't say anything. I didn't say anything.
We cleaned up the breakfast dishes and went to the garage that sat at the edge of the yard. It housed four cars, and I hoped that they had an extra that I could use while I got my finances in order. The Cullens had helped me so much over the years, but I wanted to start making my own way. Jake pushed a button on his key ring and all four doors opened. Sophie's convertible was in the first bay. Next to hers was Nessie's convertible. Jake had a Jeep. It looked like he had been out in the mud recently, and in the last bay was a Toyota pickup. Jake threw the keys at me.
"Well you have to drive something while you're here. Now shut your mouth and get to loading boxes."
I knew better than to protest. I would let them know that this was just a loan. Now was not the time though. As we started to load boxes, Edward and Emmett joined us. We loaded my truck and the back of the SUV we drove the night before, full and as the last box was being placed, Nessie and Sophie arrived at the garage, each carrying a box. They put them in the back of Sophie's car and then came and stood with the group.
"Well it looks like the dogs will be doing the heavy lifting today; too sunny for us blood suckers." Emmett shrugged his shoulders and made a fake pouty face.
Just then, Bella, Carlisle and Esme arrived. I gave them all hugs and said quick hellos, but then stepped aside so they could spend time with Sophie. She hugged them all and told them she would be back so often she would be a pest. There was one last goodbye from everyone, and I got in the truck, Nessie and Jake in the SUV and Sophie in her car. She led the way, with me bringing up the rear.
The ride seemed long and lonely. I kept searching for something to listen to to lift my spirits, but everything was morose and kept reminding me that she was leaving.
We got to Seattle and Sophie led us to a high rise building in downtown. We followed her into the underground parking and she parked in her assigned spot, while we took visitor parking at the opposite side of the structure. This was a pretty swanky place, and I knew that this was the only way the family would let her stay in the city on her own.
I got out of the truck, stretched and grabbed two boxes. Jake did the same, and Nessie went to help Sophie with the boxes in her car.
The elevator ride up was full of nervous chatter from Sophie and Nessie. Jake and I stood in silence, and I watched as his jaw clenched and flexed. I knew this was almost impossible for him to do. This was his little girl he was leaving in the big city. But we all knew we had to let her go.
Her apartment was on the twentieth floor. It was all white walls and windows. The floors where a dark wood, almost black. Just as we set out boxes down, there was a buzz on the intercom by the door. The furniture was here.
This started the first of many trip by Jake, myself and the delivery men down the elevator. Luckily for them, there was a service elevator. I couldn't imagine going up twenty flights of stairs with that stuff. Nessie and Sophie unpacked as we carted boxes, and by the time we were done, they had just a few boxes left. I looked at the clock and it was almost 3. The day had flown by. It is amazing how being with your favorite people will do that.
We all finished the last of the boxes, and Jake settled in on Sophie's sectional, remote in his hand and some college football game on the flat screen that had been freshly mounted above her fireplace.
"I don't think so Dad. Let's get something to eat."
We made our way downstairs and decided to walk to the place since it was only a few block. We got a to this little whole in the wall restaurant where the only real seating was outside, ordered our pizza and people watched.
"I can see you spending a lot of time here and at the little coffee shop we passed." Nessie was proud of her daughter, and radiated off of her like the sun.
"You know me so well." Sophie leaned over and kissed her mom on the cheek.
We all talked about trivial stuff, but it seemed priceless. Before we knew it the pizza was gone and it was time to head home. As we were walking back to our cars, I stepped back to give them some time alone. I couldn't hear what they had to say to each other, but it was laced with tears. They got in their car, and I walked up to her to tell her goodbye.
"What Clearwater, you don't even walk a girl to her door." She shook her head and clicked her tongue.
Jake rolled down his window and yelled, "See you at home. Love you Cub." And with that they drove away.
"Shall we Miss Black?" I motioned for her to go ahead of me. We got in the elevator and rode in silence. When we got to her door, I told myself I would not go in. For both our sakes, I would give her space.
She opened her door and stood in the middle of the opening, turning to face me. "Thank you for all your help."
"Of course. I really like your place."
There was this awkward silence, and I just wanted to go inside and sit with her and talk, or not talk. Just to be in the same room with her. But I knew that would take time.
"Well, goodnight Seth."
I didn't want to leave without some kind of indication of when I would see her again, so my words didn't surprise me, even though they seemed to have a mind of their own.
"Sophie, would you like to meet for coffee the day after tomorrow? I don't know what your schedule is like…." I let the words trail off, and as I did, a smile painted her face.
"I will meet you at the place on the corner, Monday morning at 9. I have class at 11." Her smile lit up my whole world.
"Until then." I nodded my head and headed for the elevator.
"Seth." I turned. "Take care of them for me."
"Of course. If you need me, call."
She giggled, "I don't have your number."
I backed into the elevator as the doors open. "I have yours. I'll send you a text. Be seeing you Baby Girl." As the doors closed, I left my heart there in that hallway. This was going to be a long two days.