Bella swung her legs back and forth waiting for the doctor to give her the news. "So is there anything you can do?"
She heard him take a breath. "There is a possibility that your sight could come back but I don't want to get your hopes up."
Bella could hardly contain the excitement she felt. After four years of living without sight there was a chance she could see again. The last few years had been a struggle. First, Jase had married Chelsea leaving her to move on and then she had gone blind. Without Brian she wasn't sure she would have made it but the worst part hadn't even come yet.
Three weeks ago Brian had come home, and told her that Chelsea had been hit by a drunk driver. They had rushed to the hospital and found out that she hadn't made it. Jase had taken it really hard fleeing to the woods where he would be alone. Brian had tried to find him but Jase was nowhere to be found. Her heart was broken for him knowing what it was like to be separated from the one you love. Not to long ago Jase had chosen Chelsea over her.
"So, how soon could she have this done," she heard Brian ask the doctor.
"Well, I'm not a surgeon but the one I have lined up to test my theory says he could fit her in sometime next week. If that's alright with you."
"Yes, of course," Bella got up off the table stretching her hand out to Brian.
"Wait, I think we should talk about this. We don't know what could happen." Brian grabbed her hand pulling her closer. She stopped in front of him and he fixed her shirt; which had no doubt moved out of place. "Is this serious surgery?"
"All surgery is serious. I don't want to down play the possibility that something could go wrong but I also think this could be her chance to see again."
"What if we do this surgery and she can't see again? We would have put her life in danger for no reason."
She heard the doctor take a seat as if he knew this was going to be a long counseling session. "It all comes down to quality of life. I have many patients who live a very happy life just as they are. Bella, on the other hand, asked me to find a way to make her see again. I believe that this is the best course of action."
"Will you be there with me," she asked.
"No, they don't like extra bodies in the operating room but I will be there when you wake up."
Brian shifted pulling Bella against his chest. "I don't know Bella. Maybe now is not the best time."
"Please, I need to try."
"Bella, Jase is still missing and he would want to be here for this." Brian pushed her hair back off her face.
"I will find him in time. Let's do this."
"Fine," he said giving her a kiss.
"Okay, I will schedule the surgery then you are free to go," the doctor got up and left the room.
"Thank you Brian."
Jase walked around the house he had shared with his wife feeling the emptiness overwhelm him. There wasn't anywhere in this house that didn't have her stamp on it. His workshop where he had his project car also held her bike and workout bag, which she had dropped on the floor the night before the accident. The only place he could think to escape had been the woods where he had stayed for the last three weeks. The only time he had come out was to attend her funeral that her parents must have put together in his absence. He wasn't sure what he was going to do with the house but he knew he couldn't live in it. The place haunted him giving him little peace since she had passed away.
After three weeks of hiding Jase had finally decided to come back and face whatever future he had now. He was young so he knew he would find someone again but the thought of moving on didn't make any sense at this time. Jase walked downstairs carrying her favorite shirt in his hands. It smelled of her making him want to bury his face in the garment.
"Jase, you home," he heard his brother call from the back door.
"I'm in here Brian." Jase sat down on the couch when his brother walked in.
"I'm glad you're back. We've all been worried about you."
"As you can see I'm fine," he pulled the photo album from his wedding from the end table.
"Yeah, I can see that. You lose a few more pounds and you are going to start looking anorexic fine. Have you eaten anything?"
Jase turned the page of the album to his favorite picture of Chelsea. She was smiling, obviously excited about their new life together. "Don't start. Mom came over this morning and gave me the whole speech about taking care of myself."
Brian sat down beside him," she must be having a great day. If it isn't one of us it's the other."
"What are you talking about? What did you do now?"
"She's worried about Bella's surgery."
Jase felt panic hearing that his mate was going in for surgery. He wasn't sure he could handle this right now. "What's wrong with Bella?"
"She's okay Jase," his brother said trying to calm him. "The doctor thinks he found a way to get her sight back."
His relationship with Bella was more than complicated. Even though he was married he watched out for her having this internal need to take care of her. The fact that his brother was going to marry her made things difficult. The truth was, they were both in love with the same woman. Brian had been very understanding about the whole thing allowing Jase to check in on Bella from time to time. "I don't like this Brian."
"Neither do I but it's what she wants to do. I can't tell her she can't it's her decision. Anyways, you don't need to worry about that. I got it covered."
"Really Brian, because it doesn't seem like it. "
Brian took the photo album out of his hands and flipped through the pages. "I didn't come here to make things worse for you. I wanted you to know what was going on."
Jase wondered if anything was going to be normal again. It seemed as if everything was coming apart at the seams. "I'm sorry man. I just don't know what to do right now. It's this house and the whole situation and I feel like I am barely holding it together."
"You're going to be fine. If it would help you can come stay with me at the apartment."
"That's okay. I can't hide forever."
Brian closed the album and placed it back in his hands. "When you have a chance, go see Bella. She has been worried about you."
"Will do," he answered as Brian left. He didn't like the idea of Bella going through elective surgery. If anything happened it would be for nothing and this wasn't small surgery. They would be cutting into her head.
Nate Cates walked up behind his sister wondering why she thought living in the middle of nowhere was a good idea. If it were up to him he would be living in New York like his mother did when she was his age. Unlike his mother, he had a reason to stay in Wolf Lake. Sometime in the future he would become Alpha of the pack. He had wondered many times why his sister wasn't going to be Alpha but his father hadn't told him.
"Hey Nate. What's going on?"
He sat down in one of the lawn chairs. "Nothing, I just needed to get away for a while."
"Something you want to talk about?"
He thought about it for a second. Why had he decided to come to his sister? Maybe he felt like she would understand him like no one else could. They had grown up in Luke Cate's household. The rest of the pack saw his father as Alpha but he only knew him as dad. "I asked Megan to marry me."
"She's a great girl. I'm really excited for you."
"She said no, Bella." He watched her waiting for her reaction. Over the years they had fought like all brothers and sister do but they were close anyway. He wanted to talk to her about how he felt because out of everyone he knew she understood him the best.
"Why? I know she loves you."
"She gave me this long drawn out answer that had nothing to do with the truth. I believe that she doesn't want to marry me because of the family curse."
Bella laughed," I don't think you becoming Alpha one day is a curse. It's an honor and you are going to be a great Alpha."
He didn't feel that way. Unlike his sister, people didn't treat him differently because they thought he was going to be Alpha one day. As far as the pack knew his sister would take the job but he had told Megan the truth from the beginning. When she had found out she hadn't seemed thrilled about the idea. "Bella, why aren't you going to be Alpha? You're first born and it would be a lot easier for me."
"I didn't want to be Alpha."
"So, it's an honor for me but you don't even want the job."
"Nate, I decided in high school that it wasn't for me." He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Even his sister didn't want the job. "You got to grow up knowing who you were and knowing who your true friends are. I didn't get that. When you become Alpha these things will help you."
"I want Megan. I want her more than I want this." He stood up to pace the yard.
"Well, one of us has to be Alpha and I'm in no condition for it."
"I'm sorry. I came over here to talk about my problems and I didn't even ask you how you are doing. Mom told me you are going into surgery tomorrow." Nate watched his sister remembering how expressive her eyes used to be. Now they were dead staring off into nothing. She had taken it really well when she had lost her sight only getting angry a few times. He knew that if it were him, he would be angry all the time.
"It's no big deal. You need to focus on Megan. Your future with her is more important."
"I'm worried about you Bella. Jase had a responsibility to take care of you and he walked away. He's a coward."
Bella stood up and walked over to him grabbing his hand. "I know you are hurting right now but I want you to know that Jase did nothing wrong. This whole thing is my fault. Now, about Megan, I will talk to her about this marriage. Okay?"
Nate gave his sister a hug feeling better after talking to her. She always had a way of making him feel better. His dad called it a gift that the female members of the family possessed.
Jase walked into the hospital remembering the night Bella had the accident with Garrett. Every time he saw him around town he wanted to hit him. Why had he walked away with nothing but a scratch but his mate had been torn apart? The idiot had gotten away with it only having his car taken away for a while. Luke Cates had been no help either telling the judge that he wasn't going to press charges. If it were up to him, he would have asked for the maximum punishment.
In the waiting area he saw Bella's family huddled close together and his brother standing off by himself. Brian looked as if he hadn't slept in the last week with his eyes red ringed. He couldn't blame him; he hadn't slept very much either. Every night when he lay in bed all he could think about was her upcoming surgery and how things could go wrong. Jase was sure he was overreacting but he couldn't stop the thoughts from coming.
"Hey Brian," he said getting his brother's attention.
"Hey, the doctor said he would come out here to tell us when they are starting."
Jase handed him the coffee he had brought. "I thought you could use this."
"Thanks. I don't know whether I want them to get started or run in there and tell her how stupid this is."
Jase heard the doors open behind him and saw the doctor making his way over. Her family stood up and they all crowded around to get the news. "Well, she's all ready to go. I told her I would send someone in before we got started."
Jase and Brian both stepped forward. His brother looked at him showing all the pain in his eyes. "Go ahead. She'll want to see you," Brian said.
From behind him Sophia Cates grabbed his arm and whispered in his ear," let your brother go."
Jase nodded at his brother who followed the doctor out of the room. Feeling all the energy leave his body he fell down in the nearest chair. Behind the doors that his brother just walked through was Bella. His mate. Not his brother's. His mate. Part of him didn't know what he was doing there in the first place. That day in the garage when he had walked out on her, he had given up any right to be in her life.
Sophia Cates sat down beside him and placed her hand on his arm. "You did the right thing. Your brother needed to see her."
"This whole thing is messed up. I should be in there not Brian. I love her," he whispered the last three words feeling them ripped from his soul.
"I know," Sophia agreed. "Today Bella needs friends not drama. Your brother is going to marry Bella. They need to have this moment."
A few hours later, Brian was back in the waiting room staying with Bella's family till she woke up. Since Jase had let him see her before the surgery Brian had let him sit in the room with her. The doctor said it would take a while for her to wake up but the surgery had gone well. Brian breathed a big sigh of relief when the doctor had come out to tell them the good news. If anything had happened to her he wouldn't know what to do with himself.
Throughout the surgery Brian had watched Jase who seemed to be just as nervous as he was. Brian was in love with Bella but this was his brother's mate. He couldn't help but wonder if Bella would ever love him the way she loved Jase. He wasn't under any allusion that she had no feelings for his brother. Any time Jase was around she would light up in a way he had never made her.
"I wonder when she is going to wake up. Jase has been in there a long time," Nate Cates said getting up to stretch his legs. Brian couldn't believe how much Bella's brother had grown up in the last few years. He had spent a lot of time over at their apartment spending time with Bella. They weren't just brother and sister; the two were friends.
"Maybe I should go check on them."
Luke Cates nodded in agreement and he headed down the hallway towards her room. When he was just outside her room he heard voices and stopped to listen.
"Jase," he heard Bella ask.
"I'm here." Brian opened the door a little more to watch them. Jase was leaning over her bed holding her hand.
"I was so worried about you. Nobody could tell me where you had gone."
Jase brought her hand to his mouth and kissed it. "I'm fine, baby. It's you I'm worried about. How are you feeling?"
"I'm a little sore. When can I find out if it worked?"
"The doctor said that he would take the bandages off in a few days."
Brain watched Bella move around trying to find a more comfortable position. "I'm so glad you're here. I couldn't have done it without you"
Jase stroked her hair and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "I should go get Brian," he got up to leave but she grabbed his arm.
"Don't leave me, please."
His brother sat back down with his face inches away from Bella's. "I love you Bella," his brother whispered.
Brian felt like a knife had just plunged into his heart. He turned around heading out of the hospital feeling as if he needed to be far away. The truth was that their problems had just started. Would Bella stay with him now that Jase was free? His brother loved Bella deeply but would he sacrifice his feelings for him?
When Brian was back in the waiting room Bella's family asked how she was doing. "She's awake," he answered.
"Aren't you going in," Sophia asked him.
"I don't think so. It's pretty crowded in there."
Sophia gave him a knowing look before heading down the hall. More than anything he wanted to go to her but she had everyone she needed already in there. He could go see her later. When he got to his truck he saw his brother come out of the hospital coming after him. Without thought he threw the car into drive and sped off.