Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Stephenie Meyer created it all. All credit goes to her for the lines utilized from her books.
A/N: I apologize in advance for the multiple POVs covering the same events in the first few chapters. I have utilized them to establish the perspective of each of the characters, but I promise it will change soon. Promise!
The rain started to drizzle, stinging here and there against my skin. I couldn't take my eyes off the house. Jacob would come back. He had to.
The rain picked up, and so did the wind. The drops were no longer falling from above; they slanted at an angle from the west. I could smell the brine from the ocean. My hair whipped in my face, sticking to the wet places and tangling in my lashes. I waited.
Finally, the door opened, and I took a step forward in relief.
Billy rolled his chair into the door frame. I could see no one behind him.
"Charlie just called, Bella. I told him you were on your way home." His eyes were full of pity.
The pity made it final somehow. I didn't comment. I just turned robotically and climbed in my truck. I'd left the window open and the seats were slick and wet. It didn't matter. I was already soaked.
Not as bad! Not as bad! My mind tried to comfort me. It was true. This wasn't as bad. This wasn't the end of the world, not again. This was just the end of what little peace there was left behind. That was all.
Not as bad, I agreed, then added, but bad enough.
I turned onto the highway, headed toward the house. As the thoughts began to sear through me, it felt like something snapped. What was wrong with me? Why did everyone I love leave me? Renee cared, but I had been as much a mother to her as she to me. Charlie loved me in his own way. But they were my parents, weren't they obligated to care about me in some way? I'd never engendered any strong emotions from anyone or at least ones that really stuck. It was almost like when people got to know me that they found me lacking something.
I don't want you to come with me. The velvet voice echoed in my head. You're not good for me, Bella.
The pain crippled me, and my breath expelled from my chest in a rush. I jerked the truck over on the side of the road to keep from wrecking. I laid my head against the steering wheel. The one person in my life that I would've thought loved me more than anything, would've given up everything for me. Nothing. I had been nothing to him. He had torn my heart to pieces. Then, I had trusted what was left to the other person I thought would stand by me. I knew I had been unfair, but he had promised.
And, maybe it doesn't help anything, but I wanted you to know that I'm always here. I won't ever let you down - I promise that you can always count on me.
And then he too realized how undesirable I was.
I thought we were friends.
We were. I'm sorry, Bella.
The remaining pieces of my heart shattered while I sat in my old wheezing truck on the side of the highway in Forks, Washington. What a testament to my life … wanted by no one, loved by no one.
Pulling myself up and looking through the windshield, I realized the truck sat just off the road at a cliff overlooking the ocean. I'd driven through town, passing the turn to go home. It was as if the waves called to me. Turning the truck off, I stepped out as the rain slackened and went to the edge. The stormy water crashed against the base of the cliff. The roar soothed my soul. There was no compulsion to die; to want to die meant you felt something … at least despair. I felt nothing … I was cold inside, denied of even hearing his voice anymore.
The wind whipped furiously over the cliff edge, coming from the ocean. I started shivering from the cold and went to the truck to get my jacket. The wind decided to throw me another insult, ripping the thing from my hands. I reached out, attempting to grab it, and watched as it flew over the edge. Peering over, I saw that it had landed on the rocks at the base of the cliff. Great, my phone was in the pocket. My only consolation was that my debit card and ID were in the truck glove box, compliments of my gas stop earlier in the week.
I sat down on the wet ground and put my head on my knees, wrapping my arms around myself for warmth. How long I stayed that way, looking out at the swirling water was unclear, but it felt like hours. Listening to the waves, one thing was clear, I wasn't going back. I'd call Charlie and notify him of my destination. It was unbearable to think about facing school, and the pity when they realized even Jake had rejected me. He wasn't coming back, and so I rethought all my earlier conclusions. Maybe if I left, Laurent and Victoria would follow me and leave Charlie alone. Wasn't that the least that Charlie deserved?
I didn't really know where I was going, and decided to make decisions as they hit me. Climbing into the truck and turning the key resulted in no response. Several more times convinced me nothing was going to happen. Great. How appropriate. Even the truck that every one had made fun of had deserted me. I screamed in frustration, and as the sound tore out of me, the tears flowed and splattered all over the seat and steering wheel.
I slammed my hand against the wheel, and of course started bleeding. Watching the blood drip down my hand onto the seat beside me, I felt morbid humor. This substance was the bane of my existence. So much the reason for why I was what I was.
Unloved … Unwanted.
I realized absently that I had used my blood to write the words onto the seat.
It was time to go, before I wimped out and changed my mind. After reaching into the glove box and grabbing the cards, I opened the door, stepping out into the falling rain. Slamming the door on my beloved truck, I began walking toward the road and headed away from Forks, never looking back. Hopefully, I'd be able to catch a ride from someone into the next city. Some cash and a new coat were a necessity, I thought, shivering. About a half mile down the road, an older couple picked me up, having seen my truck as they passed it. They reminded me of Charlie's parents. They were headed to California. When I asked if I could travel that far with them, the exchanged looks were obvious.
"Don't worry, I'm eighteen and nobody is looking for me."
As I started to fall asleep, lulled by the blanket that Dot (as she informed me was her name) had given me and the heat that poured from the front of the car, she said, "Such a shame."
Bella stood in the yard for what seemed like hours. I wanted to go to her, but was too mad. She had known all along what the Cullens were and she had still loved him. I'd been making headway. Then this thing happened to me and ruined everything. It had destroyed my chance to make her love me, instead of the monster that had ruined us both. Sam and Paul had grabbed me a couple of times as I almost went out to her. Jared and Embry looked at my face and shook their heads sadly. I was dangerous to her now, and she could never know why. But that wasn't the only reason I didn't break free and do it anyway. I wanted to nurse my anger at her for awhile. After Billy went out to speak to her, and she left to go home, I finally breathed a sigh of relief. I'd figure all of this out later, and find a way to make it up to her. Turning on our crappy TV was the only way to drown out my own thoughts and the fighting between Paul and Jared.
A couple hours later the phone rang, and my dad picked it up. The storm had been picking up energy. "No, she's not here, Charlie. She left when I called you."
I leapt to my feet, the hair on the back of my neck standing up. Something was wrong. Sam and Paul's faces jerked to me, as I began growling. I ran to the phone, snatching it out of my dad's hands.
"Charlie, Bella should've been home hours ago."
"Jake, Billy said the two of you fought. Do you think she might have gone to a friend's to talk?"
Charlie's voice was frantic. The only other time he'd heard sounded this way was when Bella went missing the first time. When that bloodsucker had left her in the woods.
"I don't know, Charlie. But, we'll go looking for her. I know where several of her friends live."
I spun to find my four "brothers" standing behind me. Sam started to say something, but I interrupted him.
"Bella is missing. She didn't go home. This isn't like her. I have to go look, Sam. I might not be able to be around her, but I don't want her hurt," I said forcefully, attempting to leave no room for argument.
Sam shook his head. "Jacob, we can find her quicker if we search as a pack. That way we can communicate and cover more ground."
I was stripping off my shorts before even going through the front door. What if Bella was hurt? She didn't know about the red headed vampire that we had been chasing and that we had killed the other one that had threatened her. What if the female got to her? Trying hard to remember what I had said to her last, it finally hit me. "I'm sorry, Bella." Oh God, what had I done? After all the promises I made to her. I started howling my anguish turning toward the highway.
The second after I gave up the fight, the phone starting ringing, it had to be Alice. Consumed with my sense of relief, I just couldn't speak to her at that moment. Staying away just wasn't an option any longer. Needing to know Bella was okay, I was going back now, whether or not it was right. I would live around her world and make sure she never knew of my presence, if she was happy. But, existence no longer had meaning without seeing her face, even if it was from a distance.
I shut the phone off while boarding the plane toward Texas. It had rung countless times during my trip to the airport in South America, and then through customs. Alice certainly was insistent. She was probably just going to say "told you so" so I'd wait until we landed in Seattle to begin that particular torture.
As the plane took off, the scene in the woods just outside of Charlie's house raced through my mind one more time. How was I going to explain myself to her? If she was happy, it wouldn't matter. Leaning my head back for the trip, my mind took over reliving every moment of my and Bella's time together. It had been wrong to leave, that was clear now. Making decisions for her. Lying to her. There were many amends to make, and I was willing to do it on my knees if necessary.
My love for Bella would never change, and I just wasn't as strong as everyone thought. If she would let me back into her heart and arms, we'd find a way to make it work. I shuddered at the thought of turning her into something like me, but was honest enough to realize that I just might consider granting her wish, to keep her with me.
I finally remembered to turn my phone back on as the rental car flew past the sign informing me that Forks was only sixty miles away. One hundred twenty four missed calls. I listened to the first message just to satisfy my curiosity.
"YEAH, Edward! I'm on the way; we all are, and we couldn't be happier that you decided to finally go home to her. Call me!"
I'd been right. So I wondered what the other calls could have been about. Probably the plans, my siblings calling in joy, except of course Rosalie, and most likely my mother to admonish me for waiting so long. Starting to hit the button for Alice, I saw a call coming through from her. I hit the green button, smiling into the phone, anticipating her excitement. Instead, I heard her sobbing.
"Edward, where are you? You have to hurry, PLEASE! All I can see is her sitting on the cliff. I don't know what she's going to do because she hasn't made up her mind."
It felt like my long dead heart clenched.
"WHAT?" I roared.
"I keep seeing her on that cliff just south of town. She is staring out at the ocean. Please just hurry. She's crying."
Slamming the gas pedal to the floor, I yelled, "Alice, I'm about thirty minutes away from there."
"Jasper and I are about fifteen minutes behind you. Esme, Carlisle, Emmett, and Rose are probably closer than us, and they are coming from that direction.
I hung up and called Bella's number. It was etched into my brain. A voice devoid of emotion came on. I'm not available; leave a message. It took me a second to realize the voice was Bella's and not an automated one. Throwing the phone down on the seat resulting in it bouncing off, the battery coming off as it hit the floor. I cursed but knew stopping to find the battery and put it back into the phone wasn't an option. The car was pushed to its limits. I couldn't fathom why Bella would be standing on a cliff, other than for one reason. Growls ripped from my chest realizing that my lies had caused this. I lived a multitude of nightmares as my hands shook against the steering wheel. Every second it took to drive the distance felt like a thousand nights of the pain of transformation.
Realizing I was just around the corner from the pull-off Alice had described, I took the curve at over a hundred miles an hour, and saw Bella's truck just up before me. Gravel went flying as the car slammed to a stop. Beginning to call her name, I ran to the truck, and tore the door open. She wasn't in it. The smell of Bella and her blood hit me and overwhelmed me for a moment, bringing a rush of venom to my mouth. Why would I smell her blood? Then, I looked down at the seat. It was obvious where her tears had fallen, but what froze me in my tracks was what was scrawled in blood on the seat. Unloved. Unwanted.
"BELLA!" I began screaming, the panic overwhelming me. I raced around the truck, looking everywhere. When nothing but the waves answered me, my feet slowly crept forward to the edge, my mind unwilling to face the unimaginable. I looked over and saw a jacket half floating in the water, attached to a rock, and fell to my knees.
Agony devoured my body. She was gone. I'd killed her, as surely as if I'd pushed her off the cliff myself. The smell was incredibly concentrated where I knelt; most likely this was exactly the spot that Alice had seen Bella in her visions. My hands started clawing into the ground as my anguish poured from me.
We had searched everywhere. I spoke with several kids, and one stated that he had seen Bella's truck come through an hour previous, heading south. That would have made sense if she didn't turn off toward home, but I couldn't figure out what she would have been doing heading that way. Sam had spoken to me just before I phased back and told me he would pick me up in town, indicating we would head back to Charlie's house and begin our search there. Sliding in beside him, I said, "Head south."
When Alice called us, telling us to hurry to meet up with Edward and the where and why, our mood had turned immediately from one of joy to fear. We had packed up and headed toward Forks upon receiving her first call – when she saw Edward's decision. Esme was anxious to get to Edward and Bella after being separated from them for so long. Emmett and I were just happy to finally be going home with the knowledge that Edward would be back where he belonged. I would finally have my other daughter back.
In addition, although Rose was not shouting hallelujah, she was relieved to know that Edward was finally going to make the right decision. She and I had spoken at length about her feelings about Bella. She now understood that she was projecting her own needs onto Bella. By being angry and vindictive, she was, in effect, treating Bella the same way she felt she had been treated, as if she should have no say in what happened to her. Rose had felt ashamed at the realization.
"Carlisle, the area Alice told us about is just up ahead," Emmett said, in an unusually subdued voice.
I instantly saw Bella's old truck and a rental and pulled in beside it. Esme was out the door before I even stopped. She froze for a second and then ran toward the cliff. That is when I saw Edward. He was on his knees beside the edge, sobbing. My hopes sank. We were too late. "NO," Rosalie whispered, horrified, before she opened the door and leapt out as well.
A late model truck pull in beside us and two young males stepped out. One ran over to Bella's truck and opened the door. The other stood staring at Edward, with a solemn look on his face. The situation had gone from horrible to disastrous, and as Emmett and I stepped out of the car, the phone started vibrating in my pocket. Ephraim Black's heirs had arrived.
I would love to know what you think! Unlike my other story where I couldn't ask for reviews, I'm soliciting your thoughts here. Please!
As always, I want to thank my Betas – please check out their stories here on FF – they are incredible:
In honor – CullenFest – My first contact in the FanFiction world. She has encouraged me in ways that cannot be described. Her life has a new exciting path, and in respect I've chosen not to burden her with my horrible grammar. My gratitude will never cease, however. See the link to her profile below:
hopeforastalemate – A better name for this woman would be Volturi Girl. I'd started this story months ago, during short breaks from Harvest Moon. So… in response to her love of the 'Italian scum' and her personal invitation for me to write something a little darker, my planned sweet, angsty story between Bella, Edward, and Jacob took a dramatic turn. Hence the ten other chapters now residing in my recycle bin. I hope I make you proud. See the link to her profile below:
Crmcneill – For his patience with me (contrary to how he presents himself on his FF profile) and his incomparable editing skills. Male twilight fans are not a myth – they do exist, and I am so glad I was able to connect with him. I've called many men 'friend', but I've never called one master until now. "Strong is the power of the comma. Mind what you have learned. Save you it can." See the link to his profile below: