I'm sure a lot of you are surprised by this update! Well, today is Thanksgiving here in the US, so I wanted each and every one of you to know that I am thankful for you! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for taking the chance and reading this and falling in love with Jack as much as I have!
Thank those of you who take the time to review every week! With this chapter, Parachute will more than likely catapult to over 10K reviews, which is mind-blowing to me! I never imagined it would touch so many of you! Thank you to Stratan, who Beta's this and puts up with my wonky writing schedule! Thank you to all of the gals on Facebook who make me smile!
And one last, special thank you to those of you that I chat with on Twitter and Skype! You make me laugh, cry and let me vent. I couldn't ask for better friends, even if I only know you behind a screen.
Sorry for the long note, but I figure that it should be acceptable today. Enjoy your holiday, if you celebrate it. If you don't, then still have an awesome day, know that I love you and enjoy the early update!
August 9, 2010
Bella bounced her leg nervously as she waited for the plane to touch down in Miami. She had three hours to rest and freshen up before her book signing. She picked up her iPhone and pulled up her calendar for the week, wondering once again if Tanya had it out for her. Seven different cities in eight days. Tonight, they would stay in Florida and then fly into Atlanta tomorrow, before making their way to Raleigh, NC. From there they would hit Washington, DC and then Philadelphia, PA. The bright spot was being able to spend a whole weekend in New York city before finishing up in Detroit, MI and then heading back to Chicago.
She felt a gentle touch on her arm and turned away from the window, to face a smiling Esme.
"Are you okay, Bella?" she asked quietly.
Bella nodded and gave her a smile in return. "Just nervous, Esme. These things are always overwhelming. Plus, I've never been away from Jack for so long."
Esme nodding in understanding and patted her shoulder.
"That's understandable. Everything will be fine. Hopefully, this week will go by quickly and we'll be home soon."
Home. The sound of that word made Bella bite her lip, to keep from grinning. She closed her eyes for a moment and relived yesterday.
"What would you say if I said that I was considering moving to Seattle?"
Bella's mouth popped open and her eyes widened in shock. Edward rubbed the back of neck nervously and started to ramble.
"I mean, it's not set in stone, but I was thinking that it would be easier all around if I moved closer to you two. I love you both and want to be in your lives, not just every now and then when one of us could get away for a visit. And I don't want to uproot Jack from his home, but I-"
She reached up and placed her hand over his lips, cutting him off. Edward raised an eyebrow and gave her a questioning look.
She smiled widely and said, "Ask me again."
He laughed lightly and shook his head.
"Bella, what would you say to the idea of me moving to Seattle?"
"I'd ask if you needed help packing," she responded happily before launching herself into his arms and kissing him soundly.
"Ugh, more kissing? Come on now."
The love-struck pair turned and regarded their son, who was watching them with an amused look on his face.
"Yes, more kissing. And you're next!" Bella exclaimed as she traded one Cullen for the other.
"What has you smiling so beautifully?" Esme asked curiously, just before the flight attendants announced that they were free to exit the plane.
Bella wasn't sure exactly how to respond. Edward wanted to be the one to sit down and explain his desire to relocate to his parents. Plus, nothing was set in stone, like he himself has said. She decided to go with the partial truth.
"I was just thinking about Jack and Edward. I thought my life was complete with Jack, but Edward adds a whole other dimension. I can't picture our lives without him."
Esme gave her a motherly smile as they pulled down their carry-on bags and began to exit the plane.
"Thanks again for coming with me, Esme. Tanya flew down a few days ago to get the ball rolling. The tours are hectic for her and it gets lonely when I'm by myself."
"Oh, sweetheart, I don't mind at all. The boys were going to spend the week at our cabin on the lake anyway, so I'm more than happy to spend some bonding time with you."
Bella nodded and led the way over to pick up their suitcases. As they waited, she looked around for Tanya and was happy to see her friend waving from across the room, accompanied by her assistant, Felix. Bella gave Tahn a quick hug and Felix smiled before picking up their bags.
"Come on now," Tanya said. "Let's get you two settled in at the hotel and rested before we need to head over to Barnes and Noble."
Esme linked her arm with Bella's and they quietly followed Tanya to the parking garage.
Seven hours later, Bella said goodbye to the last of her fans and handed her the now-signed copy of "Jack Attacks the Library," her latest book.
"Thank you so much, Ms. Swan. My son, Shaun, loves your stories about Jack. He really enjoys that they're based off a real little boy."
Bella smiled and shook the woman's hand. "Not a problem. Thank you so much for coming out and waiting in such a long line. It was a pleasure to meet you."
As the woman waved goodbye and made her way out of the store, Bella noticed a person standing quietly off to the side of the table. She looked up and prepared a smile, but her face quickly froze in shock when she saw who it was. Her mother was standing there, fidgeting with her purse nervously. When she caught her eye, Renee greeted her with a strained smile.
"Hello again, Isabella. Do you think we could talk?"
Bella was caught off guard at the sound of Renee's voice. It sounded the same as she remembered from her childhood. When she looked into her mother's hazel eyes, she noticed that the wrinkles and tired expression on her face made her look older than her forty years.
"What is there to talk about, Renee?" she asked, doing her best to keep hostility out of her voice.
Her mother smiled sadly and nodded. "I know you probably hate me, but there's a lot that I'd like to explain to you."
"Bella? Is everything alright?" Esme asked, walking over to her side.
"Yes, Esme. Everything is fine," she replied with a kind smile. "Who is your friend, dear?" Esme asked, wary of the woman who had caused Bella to become uncomfortable and tense.
"Esme, this is Renee Dwyer. Renee, this is Esme Cullen. Esme is my son's grandmother," Bella explained, her voice betraying no emotion.
Renee's eyes lit up. "Oh, isn't that lovely. I'm Bella's mother."
Esme looked at Bella in surprise. When their eyes met, Esme's heart broke at the sad look in the young woman's eyes. Her "Mama Bear" instinct kicked into overdrive and she linked her arm protectively with Bella's.
"I'd say that it was a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Dwyer, but I've never heard Bella mention you before."
Renee's face fell and she dropped her gaze to her feet for a moment, before returning it to Bella.
"How is your son, Isabella? Jack, isn't it?"
Bella's eyes narrowed, wondering what kind of game her mother was playing.
"Yes, his name is Jack, and he's doing well. Thanks for asking."
Renee nodded and smiled slightly. "Phil kept a scrapbook for me with anything that mentioned your name and your books. I'm very proud of you, Izzy."
Confusion filled Bella's thoughts. "I'm not following you. Why would Phil keep a scrapbook of me for you? You've never cared before," she responded in a hurt-filled voice.
Renee's eyes filled up with tears and she blinked them away. "That's part of why I wanted to talk to you privately. I was diagnosed a few years ago with Bipolar Type I. It's taken me quite a few months to work up the courage to speak with you."
She looked away for a moment before looking back and continuing. "I know I'll never earn your forgiveness and that I'll never be 'normal', but I just wanted to try."
Bella swallowed the emotion lodged in her throat. "We're staying at the EPIC Hotel. Come over at eight and we can talk."
Renee moved to hug her, but Bella stepped back. Just because she was willing to listen, it didn't mean that she was ready to forgive sight unseen, so to speak. She quickly turned and practically ran to the back room of the store, desperately trying to keep her emotions in check. Both Esme and Tanya were closely behind her.
"Bells? Are you okay, babe?" Tahn asked quietly, moving to stand close to her friend and rub her back.
She ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "Shit. Why did I say that? I don't think I could sit through a conversation with her."
Esme placed her hand gently on the younger woman's shoulder. "Why don't we head back to the hotel and have a drink. I'd be more than happy to lend an ear."
Bella nodded slowly and took a deep breath. "That actually sounds like a good idea."
Eight o'clock came quickly and Bella nervously twirled a straw in the glass of her Fuzzy Navel. Esme watched her sadly with a heavy heart. When they got back to the hotel earlier, Bella opened up and told her all about her mother, or lack thereof. Esme's life had revolved around her family for the past twenty seven years or so, and she just couldn't imagine a mother walking away from such a beautiful and sweet daughter. The sound of a chair scraping across the floor made both women look up. Renee smiled apologetically as she sat down at their table in a secluded corner of the hotel bar.
Her eyes flickered warily in Esme's direction before speaking to Bella. "Thank you again for agreeing to meet me, Isabella."
Bella looked down at her drink and nodded, silently.
"It's nice to meet you again, Mrs. Cullen," Renee said quietly. "I guess I can hardly blame my daughter for not coming alone."
Bella jerked her head up and flashed an angry glare at her mother. "Don't. Please don't call me that. You haven't been my mother in over a dozen years."
Renee smiled sadly. "I'm sorry, I'll try to not do that. But you should know that I've never stopped thinking about you."
"Then why did you leave? If you weren't happy with Dad, you could have still kept in touch with me. Do you know what's it like to have your mom just up and disappear, not giving a damn about you?"
Bella swiped away angry tears. "And don't get me started on how you treated me the last time I saw you. After ten years of not seeing you in person, you give me an attitude about being a parent? You?"
Renee swallowed and looked at her hands. "You're right. I was out of line when I saw you in Disney a few years ago. It was a shock, and I had no right to say anything."
She looked into Bella's face with wide, teary eyes. "As for leaving, I thought that you'd be better off. I started to notice things that were off about me, and I didn't know what to do. At first, I thought that my mood swings might have been brought on by pregnancy, but any test I took came up negative. The day before I left, I noticed that I was missing a chunk of time that I couldn't remember. Then I started to think that maybe it was Alzheimer's because both of my grandparents had suffered from it. I decided to leave quietly and hope that you and Charlie would get over me. You both deserved a happy, stable life. I couldn't give you that."
She blinked and fat tears rolled down her cheeks. "Trust me, Izzy," she said with a small sob, "leaving was the hardest thing that I've ever done, but I was scared, and I wanted you to be safe. I thought about you everyday. There were so many times that I just wanted to come home, but it wasn't until I met Phil four years ago that I realized just what I had done. I met him through his father, who was my physician at the time. I was hesitant to date, especially after my diagnosis, but he was determined. He held my hand and has been my rock ever since. I don't know where I'd be right now without him."
Bella sat back in her chair and let a few tears slip as she observed her mother. "What did you mean when you said that it wasn't until meeting Phil that you realized what you had done?"
Renee smiled sadly. "He has a daughter from a previous marriage. Her name is Mary, and she's sixteen now. Spending time with her hurts so much sometimes because I can't help but think about everything that I walked away from." She chuckled slightly. "I don't regret leaving your Dad. We had lost our spark years before I left. We were too different; too opposite to be happy with each other. I will regret leaving you though. Until the day I die."
"So, what now?" Bella asked skeptically. "You're cured? Everything is all better so now you want to be a mom?"
Renee shook her head sadly. "No, unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. I'll never be "cured." I take meds and see a therapist, but there are still moments where depression or mania will break through and it feels like I'm over my head. Having someone who understands me and what to look out for with my disorder helps so much."
She looked up and locked eyes with her daughter. "I would like to be a part of your life. I know that you may never consider me your mother again or that I may not deserve the opportunity, but I hope you'll give me a chance someday."
Bella bit her lip and searched Renee's face, searching for any indication that she wasn't telling the truth. Finding none, she felt her heart start to melt slightly.
"Maybe someday, but not now."
Renee smiled and nodded. "That's more than I expected, thank you." She reached into her purse and pulled out a business card. "Here's my information, if you'd like to contact me."
Bella gazed down at the words written on the cardboard and felt herself smile slightly as she looked back up at Renee.
"You're an artist?"
Renee smiled brightly. "Yes, I draw and paint. It started as therapeutic, but it became something more. I even volunteer at a local recreation center to teach a few art classes to kids."
"That's good. I'm glad you found something that helps."
A slightly awkward silence settled over the table before Esme cleared her throat slightly.
"It's getting late, and we have an early flight tomorrow, so I think I'm going to head up to the room. It was nice seeing you again, Mrs. Dwyer. I hope everything continues to go well for you."
Esme turned and leaned over to kiss Bella on the cheek. "I thought you might like a moment alone with her. I'll wait by the elevators for you, just in case," she said just quietly enough for Bella to hear. She reached out to squeeze Esme's hand and smiled appreciatively.
When the mother and daughter were left alone, they studied each other silently for a moment. Renee stood up and broke the silence with a small sigh.
"Well, I guess I should be going then. Please, think about what I've said. I'm not expecting things to change overnight, maybe not ever. But I had to take this chance."
Bella rose to her feet and watched her mother sadly. "I- I just need to digest everything. I'm not saying never, but I do need some time."
Renee smiled and quickly hugged Bella before she had the chance to pull away. "Thank you, Izzy," she whispered into her daughter's ear. She laid a gentle kiss on her cheek before smiling and walking away. Bella stood next to the table and watched Renee walk away, her heart heavy and sad, yet she felt a slight weight lift from her shoulders. She hadn't been called Izzy since she was a little girl. After Renee left, she refused to let anyone call her that anymore. She was surprised by how much she had missed the name.
Bella felt completely and utterly exhausted as she walked into her hotel room and flopped down on the bed. She sighed and closed her eyes for a few minutes, before she forced herself to sit up and change into her pajamas. She picked up her laptop and started up Skype. She no sooner logged on when an incoming video call from Alice was chiming in.
She smiled and accepted the call, watching Allie's face pop up on her screen. Her friend's blue eyes shone with excitement as she bounced slightly.
"What happened? What did she say? I can't believe your mom wanted to meet with you!"
"Allie, darlin', give Bella a chance to talk now," Jasper drawled from somewhere in the room. Alice visibly calmed down and nodded.
Bella sat the laptop down on the bed and leaned over on her elbow to get comfortable.
"It was definitely weird," she sighed. "The main gist of it was that she wanted me to consider letting her become a part of our lives again. She apologized for bailing and said that she had been diagnosed as Bipolar a few years ago."
Alice's eyes widened. "Whoa, heavy. What did you tell her?"
Bella shrugged. "I told her that it was a possibility, but I needed some time to think."
Allie nodded. "That's a good idea."
"Hey, Al, can I talk to Jasper a second?"
Alice nodded and hopped off of her chair, Jasper quickly appearing in her place. He smiled kindly at her before speaking.
"I'm guessing that you'd like to know if I gave your father that cd I burned?"
"Yes." Bella nodded.
Jasper shook his head slightly. "Yeah, I did. Let me tell you, he was none too pleased when I had to inform him that the call probably wouldn't hold up in court. We can still use it as leverage off the record if Victoria has any ideas further down the line."
Bella chewed her lip and nodded thoughtfully. Jazz cleared his throat slightly.
"Look, I want to ask you something, and I don't want you to get mad at me, okay?"
Bella shot him a curious look. "Um, sure?"
"I get why you emailed me a copy, but why not show this to Edward? Do you honestly believe what was coming out of that Jezebel's mouth?"
Bella smiled sadly and shook her head. "No, not at all. Even if things don't work out between the two of us, he adores his son too much to have anything to do with her again. I mean, I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me a little bit insecure at first, but I know how much she hurt him. That's something that you can't get over."
She took a deep breath. "As for not telling him, I might be wrong, but at the time, I was sure that he would run straight to James. And then James would run straight back to Victoria. Then, bam, our edge is lost."
Jasper ran a hand across his face and sighed. "Do you really think he would have gone to James with this?"
She thought for a moment before nodding slowly. "Yes, I really think he would have."
"Okay, then I'm on your side with this one."
"Me, too, Bells!" Alice chimed in from somewhere next to Jazz.
Bella laughed lightly. At that moment, her phone started to play Edward's ring tone. She smiled up at her friends and waved her phone.
"It's my boys. Good night, guys!"
"'Night, Bells!" they chimed together before closing the Skype connection.
"Hello?" Bella answered, bringing the phone to her ear.
"Good evening, Beautiful," Edward's warm voice responded.
"Hey, handsome. How's Jack? What are you guys up to?"
He chuckled lightly. "He's actually out like a light. We went fishing earlier and Emmett threw a tantrum when Jack caught more fish than he did."
Bella laughed, picturing that scenario clearly.
He sighed. "I love you. You just left this morning, and I miss you like crazy."
Her insides melted and she curled up with her pillow. "I love and miss you, too, Edward. It's been a long and hellish day. I tried to call you earlier, but it went straight to voicemail."
"I know, baby. I'm sorry, but the signal out here is shifty. I just got off the phone with my mom, who filled me in a little about what happened. How are you holding up?" he asked, concern lacing his voice.
She smiled. "Much better now. It was a surreal experience. I'll tell you all about it later, but right now, I just want to listen to your voice and fall asleep."
He laughed lightly. "I think I can handle that. Would you like me to sing you to sleep?"
Her heart skipped a beat and she impossibly fell a little more in love with him. "Please?" she whispered.
"Hmmmm, let me think for a minute."
The last thing she remembered as she closed her eyes was his voice settling over her like honey.
So easy to forget all of the little things we do.
Like callin' for no reason, just to say the words, "Baby, I love you."
I know lately I've been busy, but a second doesn't go by without you crossing my mind. It's been so long since we had time, let's take a day and make everything alright. Just take my hand, fall in love with me again.
Let's runaway to the place where love first found us. Let's runaway for the day, don't need anyone around us.
When everything in love gets so complicated, it only takes a day to change it. What I have to say can't wait, all I need is a day,
So let's runaway.
Let's runaway, just for the day.
August 14, 2010
Bella sighed and flipped through the cable channels in her New York City hotel room. Frustration getting the better of her, she turned off the device and opened up her laptop. She opened up Facebook and started to immerse herself in some games when her phone began ringing. She smiled at Edward's face on her screen and answered it.
"Hello, love. What are you up to?" he asked.
"Bored out of my mind and waiting for Tanya to stop by with some clothes that she insisted upon foisting on me. What are you guys up to?"
She heard a dinging noise and his response was covered up by another male voice.
"What was that? Edward I didn't catch what you said."
"I'm sorry, Bella, can I call you back? My hands are full of Jack at the moment. He fell asleep on the ride."
"Um, sure. I'll talk to you later?"
"Sure, sure. Love you," he responded before hanging up.
She blinked and stared at her phone for a minute, wondering what the hell had just transpired. Why would he even bother calling if he was busy? And what was that ding? Her brow furrowed and she turned back to running her restaurant on Facebook. Ten minutes later, she was interrupted by a knock on the door.
"It's about time, Tanya," she grumbled. She walked over to the door and checked the peep hole, her jaw dropping at the sight before her. She flung open the door quickly and came face-to-face with a tired and disheveled Edward.
He smiled wryly and held open his arms. "Hey, baby."
She grinned and jumped into his arms, kissing him madly.
"What are you-"
He pulled back and chuckled lightly, adjusting her legs that were wrapped around his waist.
"We missed you. Can we head inside before someone calls security on us?"
She nodded and he walked into the room, not removing her from his grasp. As soon as the door was shut, Bella found herself pressed against it, with Edward's lips searing her own. After a few moments, their kisses slowed and he rested his head against hers, breathing heavily.
"Wow, hello to you, too, mister."
He smiled and kissed the tip of her nose.
"Wait," Bella said suddenly. "You said 'we.' Does that mean Jack's here, too?" she asked excitedly. She had missed her son terribly.
Edward smiled brightly and nodded. "I wasn't kidding about him falling asleep on the way over. He's going to be mad that he didn't get to see you right away, but I couldn't bring myself to wake him up."
"Where is he?"
"He's in Esme's room, since she had an extra bed."
Bella narrowed her eyes playfully. "You planned this out, didn't you?"
He bit his bottom lip and nodded shyly. She ran her hands through his hair, scratching his scalp gently with her nails and causing him to groan.
"What am I going to do with you?"
His eyes popped open, vibrant and green. "I can think of a few things..."
AN: The song used in this chapter was Runaway by Bruno Mars. The video is up on the Blog!