When this idea for a oneshot came to mind, it was actually rather short. But when I started to write it it just grew bigger and bigger, and before I knew it I had like 13 pages (in word) I thought about cutting it in two but I couldn't find a right way to cut it. So it's just an incredibally long oneshot. I hope someone will like it. Please read and review.
Also this story starts at the ending of new moon. Some of the things that have happened in Eclipse are mentioned, but some are not. It's completely AU though.
Don't own Twilight. Don't own the movie. Trust me if I did Jake and Bella would have ended up together.
'Relationships are like Rome - difficult to start out, incredible during the prosperity of the golden age, and unbearable during the fall. Then a new kingdom will come along and the whole process will repeat itself until you come across a kingdom like Egypt ... that thrives, and continues to flourish. This kingdom will become your best friend, your soul mate, and your love.' Hellen Keller.
Rosalie votes no.
And Bella thinks that it shouldn't have mattered. She knew Rose didn't like her. Never had and probably never would. So it didn't come as a surprise when she votes no. So Bella thinks it shouldn't matter what Rosalie thinks. And yet it does. Somehow, for some reason she can't begin to understand, it does matter. It matters more than everybody else's vote.
It's not the vote. It's the reason behind it.
It's the first time Rosalie has truly looked her in the eye. And Bella can't understand how she had never seen it before. All the pain in it. All the suffering. She wonders what happened to her. But what she sees the most in that moment. When Rosalie tells her she would have wanted somebody to vote no for her, all Bella sees is sincerity. Sincerity and pain. It's not the first time Rosalie is against her. So to speak. But Bella feels later that perhaps Rosalie is the only one who's truly on her side.
Rosalie votes no. And Bella begins to doubt.
She'll never forgive herself.
For hurting Jake. For causing that pain in him. For not going over to him when she could have. She remembers a time she was broken. A time she was in pain. And Jake had never hesitated. Not once had he blamed her. Not once had he been impatience. He had loved her unconditionally. Stood by her. Allowed her to lean on him. And this is how she repaid him. She wanted to go to him. She wanted to hold him in her arms until the pain disappeared. Until he smiled again. But she could not do it. It wasn't just because Edward was holding her back.
It was the fact that something else was stopping her.
She could not understand the emotions within her. Battling for control. Jake was her best friend. Of this she was sure. He was the best friend she had ever had. And yes she counted Alice in that as well. Jake understood her in ways nobody else did. But she could not go to him. Though she loved him. Two emotions battling within her. For control of the situation. To tell her what to do. Her love for Edward – the love that had once meant everything to her – had disappeared. Almost as if it never existed. Two emotions battling within her for control. Fear – for the Volturi, who would come for her eventually. The fear she once had for James and Victoria was nothing compared to this one – and love – for Jake. For the pack.
Love and fear battling for control within her. Fear won.
So she let him walk away.
Edward asks her to marry him.
Jake has just run of. God only knows to where. He was broken and hurt – just like she had been not to long ago – and Edward asks her to marry him. As if it's really the moment to ask that. As if it will somehow make her forget that she has just hurt Jake. The most important person in her life. He asks her to marry him. And all she can do is stare at him. She tries to find the reasoning behind this request. She does not find it. This is hardly the time or the place to ask this question. Yet he does ask it. Jacob runs from the pain she has caused him.
And Edward just asks her to marry him.
And she can't find an answer. She wonders if he even means what he says. If tomorrow he will not decide to leave her again. She doesn't want to marry him. But she knows that what she wants doesn't matter anymore. There are no more choices. All her choices have been taken away from her by the Volturi. They have decided what is to happen to her. So she knows what will happen. And she can not change it. She should say yes. But she can't. he tells her it's okay. He understands. She just needs time. Bella wishes he wouldn't say he understood. Because every time he does she is the one who feels guilty. And she's not sure this is her fault. He is the one who broke her after all.
But it's not like it matters who's fault it is. It's unchangeable.
The future is set in stone.
She tries to shatter all the ties.
She tries but it's not that easy. In order to protect them all she must push them away. Destroy all ties with her loved once. Allow all friendships to burn out. But Angela is so nice, and Bella thinks that it doesn't matter. She won't see her again after graduation. So why not be her friend until that time arrives? And she has to work with Mike, so she can't destroy that friendship either. All other friendships were destroyed during her zombie months.
It's the pack that hurts the most.
She knows. That if she will just tell them about the Volturi. About why she is so afraid. That they will help her. They will protect her. And they will die trying. And Bella will never allow them to do that. Never. She will not let them risk their life for her again. Not again. Not ever. She will not let them pay for her mistakes – a voice that sounds like Jacob tells her it's not her fault. It's Edward's. But she can not afford to blame him. Any of them. The Cullen's are all she will have from now on – so she doesn't tell them. They think she has chosen them. That she has never cared about them. But she does it because she cares so much.
They think she crossed the line. They will never know she hasn't.
It's never been easy.
As a child especially. She couldn't understand why her family was not like the others. Why her parents were not together. When your parent's are divorced. When they don't love each other anymore, it's not so easy to believe in the fairy tale. In the happy ending. It's not so easy to believe in anything at all. Her mother used to rely on her for everything. Bella thinks that that is what made her strong. And in a way weak as well.
She thinks that is perhaps the reason for it all.
That she never believed. That she never truly understood. That almost never seeing her dad, hurt her so much more than she will ever admit. Not to mention the dozen of boyfriends her mother brought home. Perhaps that's why she never trusted Phil as well. She had never truly believed in the fairytale. Maybe that's what made it so easy to believe Edward when he told her he didn't love her - if it had truly been a lie – and so hard to believe Jake when he said that he did.
She didn't believe him. She didn't trust him.
Now it's to late.
She tries to go to La Push.
She has to. If only to change that last memory. If only to make sure she sees a smile on his face again. Only so that for the rest of eternity she will remember his smile. And not the pain in his eyes. She wants to see him. She needs to see him. The Volturi have taken everything from her. They will take her future as well. All she wants is one more moment. Just one more moment. It's not that unreasonable to ask is it? She can have that. She can say goodbye.
The Volturi would probably have let her. Edward does not.
She can't honestly say she has ever been more angry at Edward. She can't understand what he is doing. This is not normal. It is not good. He can not control her like this. He does not have the right. She is her own master. She has her own free will. If she wants to see Jake she has that right. She can do what she wants. But even she realizes that she can not go tonight. She doesn't know how to fix her truck. And she can not let him destroy Charlie's car as well. It's not like she can walk all the way to La push. It's rather far.
She closes the window. She doesn't want him close to her.
Perhaps dying is a better alternative.
He has Alice babysit her.
She's eighteen years old and he has somebody babysit her. As if she's a child. A stupid insolent child that makes mistakes. Like wanting to see her best friend for example. She can not believe it. Dying seems to become a better alternative every moment. Everything is better than having to live like this. Having to live like this for all eternity. Maybe it would be better if she went in search of Victoria. She dismisses the thought almost immediately. She doesn't want Alice to see that after all.
She feels like a puppet.
His puppet. Their puppet. It's like both Alice and Edward are controlling her every move. Everybody else is more lenient. But those two almost force her to do the things they want her to do. She doesn't even argue. It's not like she can stop them. All she wants to do is see Jake. Just once. She wants to say goodbye to him. She wants to see him smile. Just one more time. That's all she wants. But they can't allow her to have that. They can't give her that small piece of happiness.
Sometimes she thinks she hates them.
She never considered her dreams.
She had never truly thought about Rosalie at all. She didn't know how she had been changed. But now that she does she wishes she had never known. Finally she understands the pain in Rosalie's eyes. The understanding. She understands why Rosalie voted no. She never thought about the dreams they might have had. She had never truly thought about their lives. It had been much easier to consider they had it all now. That they were different persons then who they once were. That they had forgotten. Just like Alice had.
Rosalie didn't forget.
But Bella sees it in her eyes. She wishes she had. Forgotten every single thing. Bella has to admit she has never thought about any of this. She has never thought about children. She is young still. A child in so many ways. To young to be thinking about a family. But for the first time she does. She does and she sees what she will lose. But there are no alternatives. No way out of it. The Volturi will come. And she will be one of them. Or she will die. All of her dreams – the ones she has and the ones she might one day have – have to be stored away. But Bella finally understands that Rosalie is the one who's truly on her side. Who would let her go to Jake if she would ask. But she doesn't.
Rosalie voted no. Because she really honestly cares about Bella.
She wishes she had known this before.
He asks her to marry him. Again.
That night. After she tells him she will not let him control her. That this isn't right. That she can make her own choices. That she will not stand this over protectiveness. That she will not stand for this abuse. Because it is abuse. No matter how he colors it. He can not do this. She tells him all of that. And he turns around and he asks her to marry him. And again she is left to wonder what his reasoning is. Why he seems to choose the worse moments to pop this question. Maybe he thinks that if he surprises her she will say yes automatically. But her automatic answer is no. She doesn't love him anymore. She's just here because she is afraid. It's not entirely true and she knows it. He was her first love and a part of her will always love him. It just isn't the same.
He asks her to marry him.
And again she doesn't answer him. She doesn't know what to say. The knowledge hurts her more than anything else. She can't say yes. But she can't say no either. She's stuck. And she thinks again that perhaps she should just die. Allow Victoria to have her way. It would be better than saying no to Edward or no to the Volturi. She can do neither thing. But she doesn't want to say yes either. She's truly stuck. And there's nothing she can do to change it. If the Volturi show up here they will harm the people she loves. She will not allow that to happen. She doesn't answer him.
He says something about her needing time.
If that was her only problem, she'd be the happiest girl in the world.
It's all her own dumb fault.
She is the one who ignored everybody else. She could have stayed away from Edward. Admittedly she knows that she couldn't have. Forgetting that she was in love it was his eyes. She had wanted to walk away from him. At several times. But she looked him in the eye. And she couldn't walk away. He dazzled her. He took her choices away from her. Now he couldn't do that anymore. But it was to late. She had made mistakes in her live. She does not deny it. But everybody makes mistakes. It doesn't mean she should die for them does it?
It's not all her fault. It's his fault as well.
After all it was not her that made James angry. It was not her that killed James. It was not her fault that Victoria was angry. It was their fault. They were after all the ones who had murdered her mate. In some way she can even understand Victoria. She is evil and sadistic. But she is also in pain. And pain is something Isabella Swan understands to well. So she understands Victoria. On some level. That was not her fault. She was also not the one who overreacted and went and made the Volturi angry. She was however the idiot who went in search of him.
It was not all her fault. She however was the one paying the price.
It wasn't fair. But then again. Life isn't fair.
Bella thinks it could have been easy.
If he had never left her. None of this would have happened. She would not have met the wolves. Victoria would have left her alone. The volturi would have never known about her. And she would never have been broken. She hates him for leaving her. But in the same breath she is grateful as well. For if he had not left her she would have never met Jake. She would have never loved Jake. She would have never met people that actually liked her for who she was. Not who she could one day be.
People who let her make her own choices.
Her own mistakes. Jake was the best friend she had ever had. They all were the best friends she could have ever wished for. Her friends. In a way her brothers. Angela was another one of her great friends. But that was different somehow. She was human after all. She had nothing to do with all the magical creatures. She had made some great friends in her few months here in Forks. Not to mention the fact that she had finally managed to build a relationship with her father. She sighs. And now she was going to los it all. Lose everything she loved. Because she had gone to save Edwards. Nice reward for saving a life. Well vampire.
She hadn't thought about what she would lose.
And now it was to late.
Memories begin to plague her.
Memories of moments she thought she had forgotten. Things she wants to forget. Forget because it hurts to much to remember. But she does not want to forget either. Because she doesn't think she can live without the memories. Forbidden to remember. Terrified to forget. She's been here before. History is repeating itself. And she wonders if she will ever learn. If she will ever stop making the same mistakes. Running around in circles. Determined to escape her fate.
The truth is she wouldn't do it differently.
She couldn't have let Edward kill himself. It would have killed her. Not because she still loved him. But because she just couldn't' live with it. Being responsible for his death. Blood would have covered her hands for all eternity. She would never have been able to wash of the guilt. So she had to go. It was her fault. She was the one who had jumped of the cliff. But she wasn't trying to kill herself. He had overreacted. They had all overreacted. She couldn't understand why he hadn't called Alice. To at least be completely sure. It was not only her fault. But she had made some mistakes as well.
Those memories would be her punishment.
Haunting her. Forever.
Wedding catalogues. Magazines.
Wedding dresses. Brides maids dresses. Churches. Flowers. Everything. Suddenly it's all there. And Bella thinks she's going crazy. Alice is already planning everything. She is planning her wedding. And she hasn't even said yes yet. She hasn't even given her answer. And Alice is already planning. She must have seen something in the future. But Bella had not made a decision. She didn't love him. But she was so afraid. So afraid. She supposes it won't matter what she says.
They just take all the decisions out of her hands.
Even her own wedding. Alice is planning everything. Not once does she ask anything. Not one does Bella get to give an opinion. And even though it is not what she really wants it annoys her. Because shouldn't she get to decide things about her own wedding? Shouldn't those be her choices? Shouldn't having a wedding be her choice as well? Why were they so determined to decide every second of her life? She was not a child. She could make her own decision. She was allowed to make her own mistakes.
She was trapped inside this relationship. All she wanted to do was run.
But she couldn't.
She doesn't know why.
The next week her college mail begins to arrive. It's the third letter in the pile. The university of Florida. She had almost forgotten it was in there. She and Angela had both applied there. Hoping they could still go to the same college. Bella hadn't thought about it in a while. After all the plan was to go with Edward to Alaska. But she can't help but hope. Dream. Rosalie had given up her dreams. Her dreams had been stolen from her. She had not been given a choice. Shouldn't Bella get to choose.
She doesn't know why she goes to see Angela.
Or in a way she does. She is finally taking control of her own life again. Finally she is doing what she wants. No more controlling. No more hurting. Angela got in as well. She doesn't even think about it at that point. She accepts. She's going to Florida. She's still scared. The Volturi will kill her for the choice she is about to make. But if anything Florida is sunny. There they will not come. Maybe it will make her life a bit longer.
She just wants to live. Is that so wrong?
Graduation catches her by surprise.
Time passes quickly. To quickly. Suddenly her end line is there. And she has not even talked to Edward. She has not even shared her feelings. She hasn't seen Jake. She wishes she had found a way to avoid them. But they were with seven. And she was all alone. And even if Rosalie was on her side, she was not much help. After all Alice could see the future and Edward could read her mind. Bella is grateful he at least can't read her thoughts. She hears her name being called. And she begins to walk.
There's wolf whistles in the crowd.
Her eyes begin to scan it immediately. Her father is sitting in the third row. Billy is right beside him. She doesn't see the Cullen's. But she's not searching for them either. She's searching for them. And she was right. There they are. In the last row. All of them. The entire pack. Come to see her graduate. And she smiles. Her heart leaps up and for the first time in weeks she feels happy. And now she knows what she has to do. For she could never become the enemy of the people she loves so much.
They came to see her graduate. They care about her. And she finally saw Jake.
He smiled. She got her wish.
Two days later.
And they fight. For the first time the wolves and the Cullen's work together. Side by side. Against a common enemy. All for her. And she has never been more grateful. And more angry. For a part of her still believes that death would be the way out. And even though Victoria scares her, dying by her hand would be less painful then dying by the Volturi's. But she will not die. They will protect her with their lives. They stand side by side.
And Bella wants nothing else than to get between them.
She is left alone. Well not alone. She is with Seth. She has never truly spend much time with Seth. But he's very easy to like. Very easy to let in her hearth. He's sort of like a little brother she never had. And it just makes everything more difficult. In the end he saves her live. He saves her from Victoria. And all she could do was watch. Because even though she thinks dying would be the better way out she couldn't do it. She didn't want to die either.
It's all over. And now she still doesn't know what to do.
Sam's the only wolf she sees.
Seth goes in search for his sister. Sam came to tell her everybody had made it out alive. Some had been wounded but it wasn't so bad. He looks at her. As if he wants to say something else to her. And Bella knows what it is. He wants to say she doesn't have to do this. That she can just come with him. But she already knows this. She knows. But she can't change the facts.
It's not her choice anymore.
He tells her it's okay. That they will protect her from anything. That she doesn't have to do it. She looks him in the eye. And she wants to go with him. Accept his offer and simply walk away. But she can't do it. She will not bring them in danger. She will not harm them more than they have already been harmed. She will not be responsible for more boys phasing. So she simply says 'Thanks' and 'I know.' She whispers Goodbye as she hugs him and walks away.
They can't save her from this anyway. They would lose the fight.
The Volturi are to strong.
She calls Jacob the next day.
She calls him because she needs to hear his voice. Because she needs to find a way to say goodbye to him. Because she needs to be sure he's alright. He begs. He begs her not to do this. Not to become one of them. He doesn't want to fight her anymore than she wants to fight him. And Bella wants to come out and tell him everything. But she can't. She can't do it because it would just make everything worse. She can't tell him she loves him.
It will just hurt him more.
So she just listens to him. Eventually he stops talking. Even he must realize it's useless. But still he tries. Because he loves her. And she just whispers 'I'm sorry.' And he says nothing. 'I know you don't understand. But someday you will understand. I'm sorry. Goodbye Jacob.' She hangs up on him before he has a change to say something else. Tears are running down her cheeks. And before she knows it she's crying. Sobbing uncontrollably.
She places her head in her arms. And lets it all out.
She goes to see her mum.
She tells Edward she's going because she needs to spend time with her mom. Before. She doesn't know how much of the lie he's already seen. How much he already knows. She doesn't care either. He made her suffer. He made sure she could never trust him again. So he shouldn't feel pain because she doesn't talk to him. She only wants to talk to one person. But she can't.
She goes to see her mum. Alone.
And she watches her with Phil. And she's so happy. And Bella can't do it. She can't leave her mother. She can't leave her father. She doesn't know what she will do about the Volturi. But she will have to think of something. Because she can't do it. She tells her mom she's going to the university of Florida. Mumbles something about the sun. her mother has never looked so happy. Or so proud.
Bella has finally made a choice. But she's still afraid.
The Volturi also made their choice.
She returns to Forks.
To spend the summer with Charlie. She doesn't tell him where she's going. Not yet. She wants to postpone it as much as possible. Because if she tells him he will tell the world. And Edward will know. And she doesn't know what she will tell him. But she thinks he might already know. And he has no right to threat her the way he did. Lie to her. Break her. Leave her. Control her. She suffered for him. And now she doesn't even know why.
The summer passes quickly.
To quickly. Before she realizes it's over. The ending. She's suddenly standing in front of a crossroad. And she knows. This is it. This is the moment she has to voice her choice. This is the moment she has to go on. The moment she has to start living. For as long as she can. Until they come for her. She can't change what has happened. She can not change what will happen to her. But she can decide how to live until they come.
It doesn't matter who's fault it is. Some things can't be changed.
But she begins to think that perhaps the future is not written is stone.
She tells Charlie.
Exactly two days before she leaves. She tells him where she's going. He seems pleased with her choice. A little hurt perhaps, because it is so far, but happy nevertheless. He's happier about the fact that she is going alone. That he is not going with her. He says something about a farewell diner. He even mentions the Blacks. She wants to say no. Tell him she can't face Jake. If she does she will break. But he looks so happy.
So she says yes. For him.
This is her change. To say goodbye. She doesn't know how long it will take the Volturi. But she does think this might be the last she sees him. She sees any of them. She cooks diner. And she begins to wonder if these are perhaps her last moments in Forks. Her last moments with her father. She goes over a dozen scenarios in her head. A dozen things she wants to say to Jake. The right way to say goodbye. A meaningful conversation.
Jake doesn't show up. Billy comes alone.
No time for goodbye.
She didn't tell them.
She didn't tell them she was leaving. Couldn't tell them. She knows they will know. Maybe they already do. After all Alice can see the future. But she couldn't tell them. She was to afraid they would manage to convince her. To afraid to look into their eyes. Afraid that Jasper would make her choose them again. And she could not do that. So she did everything possible to avoid them.
She leaves letters behind.
She knows what it feels like to leave without saying goodbye. But she can not face them. So she leaves letters. It seems like the cowards way out. But in her eyes – in her mind – it is the only way out. The only thing she can do. She runs. But she should have known that wouldn't work. He's there. At the airport. As she says goodbye to her father. And walks trough those gates. He's there and she smiles. And then it downs on her. He thinks this is a trick. So that her father wouldn't worry to much.
But for the first time since she met him she's actually sure of something.
She just doesn't know how to say it.
He looks her in the eye.
And she almost crumbles. Almost. But she can't. She may not be strong enough to fight the Volturi. But she is strong enough to fight him. She loved him. She could have loved him forever. But he left her. And with that he broke their love. She should have never gone back to him. Should have gone to Jake immediately. But she didn't. She didn't and now it's to late. She can't turn around. But she can turn away. He looks her in the eye.
And she finally understands.
The depth of her feelings for Jake. Now that it's to late. To late to turn around. She knows she still could. But she will not expose them. She will not put them in danger. She will not be responsible for their deaths. She will not be responsible for that. She will not. He looks at her. Touches her cheek. And all Bella can do is shake her head. 'I'm going to Florida Edward. And I'm going alone.' She can see the hurt in his eyes. And she wants to take her words back. To make him feel better. But she can't. It's her life. And she is finally making the choices.
He asks her to marry him. She says no.
Florida is different.
She never expected anything less. It's the opposite of Forks. The complete opposite. In a way that is good. She thinks, as she walks trough the sun, that it's better. She's grateful for the sun. She thinks – that maybe just maybe – this will protect her. That this way they won't show up here. At least not during the day. She's glad she didn't come alone tough.
Angela is there. And Bella has never been more grateful.
Angela turned out to be one of the best friends she's ever had. And she's grateful for her. Still she misses Jake. She misses him everyday. Every second. She wishes he had come to say goodbye to her. She wishes she had seen him just one more time. She didn't. She hasn't heard a word from the Cullen's either. And thought this - in some way – hurts her as well, she can accept that. Sometimes she picks up the phone. Determined to call Jake.
She never does. There is nothing to tell him after all.
She's never celebrated thanksgiving.
Her mother never liked the holiday. She's not really sure why. And the one time she was at her father's, well she didn't have much to be grateful for. Not at that time. It doesn't seem to matter anyway. It doesn't look like she'll be celebrating this year either. Angela is going home for the holiday. And though her father did ask her to come, she couldn't. She was to afraid to lead the Volturi strait to them. So she tells him she already has plans. She promises she will come soon though.
She ends up at some kind of party.
It's fun. Not exactly her kind of thing, but fun nevertheless. Her friends are all here. She stays until she spots Lauren and Jessica – she was sure that Lauren didn't go here. Just Jessica. With her luck she will have transferred or something – then she goes home. She stays outside for a while. It's warm – even though it's night – and she loves it. And she hates it at the same time. It reminds her of Jake. To much. Tears shine in her eyes. She just wants to go home. But she can't.
She calls her dad an hour later.
She was expecting him to be home alone. Instead it seemed like he was having some kind of party. And by the sound of it most of La Push was there. Or at least the entire pack. And Bella was suddenly very conscious of the fact that they could probably hear the entire conversation. Nothing much is said. He asks her when she's coming home. She lies. She tells him she's thinking about the holidays. She knows she's not going home. He puts Jake on the phone before she can protest. She's never had trouble talking with Jake. Now she does not know what to say. There's only time for him to whisper her name and ask her if she's okay. She assures him she is before making up an excuse and hanging up.
She wonders if she's strong enough for this. If he'll ever know she did it for him.
The future is set in stone.
Two weeks before Christmas.
That's when they finally start showing up. Emmett is the first. She just opened the door of her room one day and there he was. Sitting on her bed. Going trough one of her books. He looks up the second she walks in the room. Their eyes meet. And at firs there's complete silence. She doesn't see hate in them. Nor anger. Just understanding. And acceptance. He doesn't like the fact that she won't be his little sister, but he has accepted it. And he loves her nevertheless.
She's glad she'll still have him. Somehow.
Rosalie and Esme show up next. Rosalie is perhaps the one that is most happy. Finally Bella feels they have connected. It's strange it took this long. And it took Bella to walk away from them, for Rosalie to finally accept her. Esme is more difficult. She loves Bella like her daughter. But she understands that this is Bella's decision. It's two weeks before Christmas and Bella finally feels like they have accepted her for who she is. Carlisle shows up the next day. To talk to her about the Volturi. And Bella feels the image shatter around her.
Alice, Jasper and Edward never show up.
There's no snow in Florida.
She hadn't expected anything else of course. This is Florida. It's sunny and warm, even in the winter. In a way it's comforting. The idea that even in the cold winter, the Volturi will never come here. At least she hopes they never will. Carlisle seemed sure of that. Still he could be wrong. But somehow it also seems wrong. Winter – Christmas – is supposed to be cold. There is supposed to be snow. Her father called her to ask her if she's coming home.
She told him she wanted to spend Christmas with her mom.
She could hear it in his voice. He was hurt. He felt like he was losing her. And she didn't try to convince him otherwise. She could not go home. She would not expose him to that danger. But it did not make her feel any better. She was still hurt. She was still in pain. He put Jake on the phone again. She made another excuse. She couldn't talk to him. She was sure she'd break if she did. She did end up going to her mom for Christmas. It's not like she could stay home alone.
Jacob send her a present. It turned out to be a stuffed animal. A wolf.
'So you'll always be protected.' The card reads. And Bella forgets she's actually to old for stuffed animals. It's the best present she gets that year. Which is strange.
Bella sleeps better that night.
The old year ends.
And a new one begins. And Bella hopes this one will be better than the last. Or the one before that. Bella hopes things will look up from now on. She will find a way to get out of this mess. The mess she has created herself. Well not completely. They had helped her with it. She spend new year with Angela. Just two college girls in their freshman year. And Bella promises herself she will live from now on. She will never let anyone hurt her like Edward did again.
The clock strikes twelve.
And the new year starts. Her phone rings almost on the second. Of course it's her dad. Her mother would never call her. She expects Bella to call. Bella talks to Charlie for a while, until he places Jake on the phone yet again. It's the new year, and Bella is beginning to feel tired from all the running and hiding. She makes up no excuse. She talks to Jake. It feels like a burden falls of her shoulders. 'I miss you Bells.' 'I miss you to Jake.' 'We all miss you.' Bella doesn't say what she wants to say. But she hears his unspoken questions – Are you still with Edward? Are you a leech yet? Am I your enemy now? – but she answers none of them.
'Please come home.' I can't she says. Before hanging up.
The new year starts. And Bella runs again.
It's Jake's birthday.
And Bella feels like she should acknowledge it this year. She has never done that. Before when they were children it never mattered. She was never around during the year. Only during the summer. The only time she was actually in Forks during his birthday, she had been lost to the world. She had forgotten. So this year she sends him a gift. And she calls him. She can not tell anyone why she does it. Except that she's tired of running.
And she doesn't think she can do it much longer.
A part of her feels like she shouldn't have to. Sure she's made some mistakes in her life. But she's only human after all. Everybody makes mistakes. Does that mean that she should hide away forever from what she wants. From people that actually love her? Does her mistake of going to save Edward – saving somebody turned out to be a mistake. What a joke – mean she should spend the rest of her live looking over her shoulder. Terrified to find the Volturi there, ready to murder her? Is that fair?
She wants to go home. But she can't. Choices have been made.
And the future is written in stone. At least that's what she thinks.
Hours turn into days. Days turn into weeks. And before she knows it it's almost the end of the year. Time is passing far to quickly for her liking. She wishes it could just slow down. Just long enough for her to catch up. Long enough for her to understand. The year is almost over. And she knows Charlie will be expecting her home. She has no more excuses to give him. The truth is she doesn't want to think of one. She just wants to go home.
She opens the door to her room. And there she is.
Alice. Bella stands frozen in the door. Staring at the little pixie like girl on her bed. Just staring. Unmoving. Uncaring perhaps. Alice had been one of her best friends for so long. And now she feels almost no connection to her. The truth is Bella knows that despite what she says she could have stayed in touch. When Edward left her last year. Alice could have said goodbye. Her relationship with Edward had never been connected to her friendship with Alice. Yet Alice had always acted like it had been. Alice had been her friend.
Alice smiles at her. And Bella finds herself smiling back.
Alice has been sitting beside her for a couple of hours now. She's been talking almost non stop since she arrived. But Bella stopped listening two hours ago. She's safe. She's not sure how, as Alice had not explained properly. All she knew was that the Volturi owned Carlisle a couple of favors. And he had decided to cash in. With her safety.
They weren't coming for her. They would never come for her.
Bella feels liberated. She can finally breath again. She's free. No more looking over her shoulder. No more crazy vampires wanting to kill her. Finally she can do what she wants. She can go back home. Accept what she feels. Do what she wants. Be who she wants to be. She calls her father that night. She tells him she's coming home. She's sure he's never sound happier than in that moment.
It makes her smile.
She's going home.
Finally after almost a year. She's going home. And she feels like she's almost come full circle. The last time she sat in a plane she was running away. Now she's coming back. Edward had asked her to marry him then. As if that would somehow make everything better. As if it would magically make her love him again. She said no then. Now she's going home to Jake.
She hopes he will still be her friend.
She's not sure how long the flight truly lasts. But it seems to last for eternity. The flight home is long and at the same time to short. To short a time to figure out what to do. To figure out how to live again. To figure out what to say. She knew she had to explain everything to them. But how to explain the Volturi? How to tell them the amount of fear she felt? How to explain things to him.
The plane lands before she is ready to get off.
She sees them first.
It takes her father awhile to find her. She's different. Different then how she was last year when she left. She's not pale anymore. There's so much sun in Florida, even she got brown. She's happier. And calmer. He hasn't changed at all. She has this crazy feeling that he will stay the same way forever. Or maybe he will stay the same way for her. But he will change for everybody else. He's not alone. Billy came with him. She should have been expecting it.
They wouldn't let Charlie come alone.
Finally it downs on her that they probably think she's become a vampire. A part of her resents them for it. She would never put Charlie in that kind of danger. Never. Her eyes meet Billy and she can't help but smile at him. The grin that spreads across his face – at the realization that she is in fact alive – is the biggest grin she has ever seen. A smile spreads across her face as well. She wants to run towards them. But that would be a very bad idea. Instead she settles for walking fast.
She hugs her father with all the strength she has.
Billy just smiles.
It's a silent drive home.
To silent. Not one of them is up for speaking much. Charlie turns on the radio at some point, but Bella is not truly paying attention. She is thinking of the home she left so long ago. The friends she left behind. She is thinking of Jake's warms smile. Of his warm arms. And she hopes, she prays that he is still her friend. He doesn't have to love her. He doesn't have to be with her. Just her friend.
It's all she's asking for.
She has no right to ask for more. Nor will she ever do it. The ride home seems to last forever. And she just wants it to end. She wants the torture to end. She wants to be home already. They arrive home. But Bella is sure somehow years have passed since they began their journey. And there they are. All together. In front of her house. The entire pack (except for Leah). And Bella smiles.
Maybe the future isn't written in stone after all.
She gets out of the truck.
And stops. She's not sure what to say. Nor what to do. Not sure of how to convey her feelings to them. Of how to tell them she did it all for them. And now she has come home for them. Finally. After almost a year. Jake is the first to walk up to her. He looks shocked. Also at loss for words. Billy and Charlie disappear inside the house. Later Bella could never tell anyone how long they had stood there. It could have been hours. It could have been days. For all she knew it had just been a couple of minutes. Jake is the first to speak. He has never sounded more surprised.
'What did you think I was dead?'
'Actually yeah. Dead, pale and sparkly. I thought you would sparkle in the sun, like a diamond.'
'I never really liked diamonds.'
'So you really went to Florida.'
'How do they do it? The Cullen's? With all the sun'
'They don't. I don't know where they are. But it doesn't matter anymore.'
Bella swears that Jake has never looked so happy. He rushes towards her and grabs her in one of his hugs. And Bella doesn't mind that he's holding her to tight. Doesn't mind the fact that she can't breath. 'Welcome back.' He says. But the way he says it it sounds more like welcome home. And that's what it feels like. Like she's home. Finally he lets her go and grabs her hand.
And together they walk inside the house.
Sometimes you just need a little time. Sometimes you just need to separate yourself from people, to understand how much they mean to you. A little distance can make you understand your heart better. And Bella finally understands. She loves them.
She belongs with the wolves.
After all she has always known one thing. Bella Swan was not made to live in the cold. She was made to stand in the sun. She was made to live in the warmth.
Rosalie voted no. And Bella began to doubt.
It took her a year to realize it. The future is NOT written in stone.
You write it yourself.
I didn't bring Jake and Bella together at the end. I wanted to, but that just seemed like the right moment to end it. In my mind they get together after the story ends. Just wondering is there actually someone who reads these rambling author notes? If so does anybody know how old all the pack members actually are?