A Little Piece of Forever
I wonder why all the love songs I seem to remember involve finding the one, or never finding someone, or losing the one. What if there was more to love than just loving that one person? What if it were possible to love two people with just the same intensity? The same fire? The same depth. But in a different way. At the same time.
And if one had to choose, could a choice be made that would leave one's heart whole? Or will the choice leave one alone? For having chosen one, would you forever mourn the one not chosen? Or could one still be happy without either choice?
My name is Bella Swan.
And this is the story of how I found my one, true love.
Chapter 1 Where She Flies Away
Three Years Before
It was overcast outside, the skies hinting of rain the next day and hiding even the brightest stars. The following day would have been a dismal day for a wedding – had the wedding not been mine. Only a vampire bride would look forward to clouds and gloom instead of the bright sunshine of a perfectly clear day.
I shut the drapes and moved away from the window, rubbing the tops of my arms to ward off the chill. It was always cold, or rainy, or both, in the little town of Forks where I lived. It was then that I thought of him – Jacob – and his warmth. Everything about him radiated warmth – his smile, the russet color of his skin, the lights that seemed to glint off his jet black hair. I half smiled, remembering how I used to call him "my sun". I remembered how he would hold me quietly all those times I would cry as my heart broke, waiting for me to finish, to pass out in the exhaustion borne about by weeping. Sitting quietly beside me, stroking my hair, saying nothing, just being there.
And then I felt a wrench in my heart, remembering the last time I had seen him and how he had turned away, broken. My sun was lost to me now.
I pushed all thought of Jacob aside. I was marrying in one day. No, not even a day - in 14 hours, I would be Mrs. Edward Cullen. Lying on my bed, I realized it would be the last night I would sleep in this room – under Charlie's roof. I looked around, taking in the familiar sights with fresh eyes – the old pine rocker in the corner, the purple spread over my bed. I remember how I hated this room that first week that I had arrived to begin my self-imposed exile in Forks. I had hated everything. I had hated my little room; the ridiculously slow internet connection that I had felt was my last link to the outside world. I hated the constant cover of clouds, the ever present threat of rain. It was strange to realize that after tomorrow, when I left this all behind me forever, that I would actually miss this little room.
My gaze drifted to the cork board mounted on the wall over my desk. It was covered with notes from Charlie – usually telling me he had left for the station before I awakened, and reminders to call Renee, there were pictures of my friends, most of them "candid" shots taken by Eric at the lunch table. I pulled out one from the board – it was a picture of me, Jessica beaming while Mike had his arm wrapped awkwardly around her, Angela beaming her shy smile, all eyes for the photographer. I would miss them.
There were pictures of Edward and me – many, many, many pictures. After he had returned to me, I realize now that I had become obsessed in accumulating tangible evidence that he was there – I took hundreds of pictures, I kept all his notes, saved his text messages on my telephone- I suppose it was my way of reacting to the fear that he could leave me again, and like the last time, I would be left with nothing but my memories and an aching hole where my heart used to be. So I wanted proof – tangible proof that he had existed. That he had loved me, however fleetingly. I shook my head to clear away images of myself that I wanted to forget. My emaciated face, the haunted look in my eyes, memories of waking from nightmares that left me screaming.
But that wasn't completely true – I wasn't left with nothing but memories when he had gone. I had found solace with Jacob. And while he had never filled the hole in my heart, his warmth like the sun, had made my heart grow bigger, to accommodate a new love. Not to replace an old one. A new love that had made me whole again or at least, glued together enough pieces of me so that Edward, when had come back, had something to come back to.
I noticed the corner of an old photograph sticking out from under one of me and Edward at a school dance – he in his godlike perfection, and I with what I realized was a tentative, scared look on my face, the face of someone who knows she's only dreaming and was afraid she would wake up at any moment. Funny how when I first saw this particular photograph, I thought that we had looked happy, made for each other. The perfect picture of a perfect, engaged couple.
I pulled it from under the pile; it was an old photograph of me and Jacob from when we were little kids. We were sitting on the sand at La Push beach, Jacob had his head turned away from me and was trying to drag me in the water. The five year old me was resisting with all my might, but even then, although he was younger by over a year, Jacob was winning the tug-of-war and had half-dragged me into the surf.
I smiled at the face I knew so well – the waterfall of dark, dark hair that was always falling into his eyes, even then, even the little red birthmark on his left shoulder, a dime-sized crescent moon. "I think I was marked to be a werewolf even before this all happened." he had laughingly joked once, when I had commented on the one imperfection in what was, as much of it as I had seen, the perfect boy.
Another picture fell from the corkboard and brushed my hand – a newer one, taken just the past summer – the summer of Jacob – the one before Edward had returned and before Victoria's invasion with the newborns. We were on the beach again, and the sun was shining in the picture, I had my hair thrown back, in the middle of a laugh, Jacob had one arm wrapped around my shoulders and the other holding the camera out at an angle in front of us. Embry and Quil were shadow figures in the background, goofing off in the sand behind us. It had been taken only a few days before my ill-fated cliff dive, a few days before Harry Clearwater passed on – a few days before the "Summer of Jacob", as Angela and Jessica had dubbed it, ended.
It had been sunny that day, but still chilly – this was, after all, still Washington. Jacob and I had been lounging around his house, lying on the rug in front of the television, too lazy to do more than flip channels. Jacob spoke, breaking the silence, "All this Emeril is making me hungry."
"Honey, you're always hungry…" I teased.
"You called me honey." He said a hint of a smile in his voice.
"It was a figure of speech." I snorted disdainfully.
He rolled to his side and looked down at my face. As usual, I felt dwarfed by him, almost overcome by his sheer heft and how even supine, he loomed over me.
"Was it? Or are you starting to succumb to my charms and hot body?" he joked, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"Hah! You wish! You're delusional, werewolf!" I retorted, pushing vainly against his chest as he loomed over me. "Am I? Am I really?" he grinned evilly, coming closer and closer. My breath hitched in my throat and I saw a shift in his eyes, gone was the laughter playing there earlier – now his eyes were like liquid pools mesmerizing mine. He leaned into me and my mind went blank for a second, was he….. and then the recognizable roar of Embry's old pickup truck sounded from the front yard and the moment was lost. Quil and Embry burst into the small house like twin whirlwinds and they practically dragged us out to the beach, where we had spent the rest of the day.
My hands stilled as I put down the picture. That was the moment I chose the sun, to live, to grow old, to have friends and family…to give up forever, and Edward, to touch Jacob Black.
Barely had the magnitude of my decision begun to sink in, when my telephone rang - the shrill sound breaking me from my stupor. The caller ID flashing on my screen surprised me. What reason did she have to be calling me at this hour?