AN: If everything goes as planned, there's only one more chapter left of Parachute, before the epi. It kinda brings a tear to my eye.
The EPOV Outtake for Chapters 31 & 32 is up now, so go check it out if you can! I really enjoyed writing it.
One more thing, I'm writing a Victoria POV from Parachute for the Fandom Against Domestic Violence Fundraiser. It's been completely insane trying to get into her mind! The link for them is on my profile!
August 29, 2010
The first thing that Bella did, after arriving home, was open all of the windows to air out the house. An entire summer away had left it smelling stale and slightly musty. Jack carried the bags up to their respective rooms and sat them on the beds. He walked slowly down the stairs, almost reluctantly, and watched his mother standing at the window, staring off into the distance. Bella turned and caught her son's eye, smiling kindly at him.
"Six weeks, Jack. We can make it, Little Bit," she spoke in a comforting voice. He smiled in return, slightly amazed at her mind-reading skills.
"I know," he murmured in response.
A knock at the door pulled them from their contemplative moment. Bella looked through the window and laughed lightly at the eager visitors waiting on the front steps. The door had barely opened when Jack found himself on the floor, tackle-hugged by Riley and Garrett.
"Dude!" Riley shouted. "We missed you! How was the flight? Did you take lots of pictures?"
"Were there any cute girls? Did you bring me anything?" Garrett interjected.
Bella shook her head and wandered into the kitchen to see if there was anything salvageable for dinner. Finding the cupboards bare, she decided that a shopping trip would be in order. Walking back to the living room, she found all three boys talking animatedly on the couch.
Jack looked up, the previous sadness now replaced with excitement.
"Mom! Can I? Can I, please? Pleeeeaaasssseeee?" he begged, bouncing in his seat.
She arched an eyebrow. "Please what?"
"Garrett was just telling us about the Flag Football team sign-ups. I really want to play this year. Please?"
She placed her hands on her hips, eyeing her son carefully. "Let me talk to your dad and we'll see."
Garrett's eyes widened and he looked at Jack, grinning. "Does that feel weird?"
Jack's brow scrunched in confusion. "What?"
"That you have a dad now."
"I always did have a dad," Jack responded. "I just couldn't remember where he was."
"But still," Garrett continued, "after all of this time apart, does it feel weird now?"
Jack thought for a moment before shaking his head. "No, not really. It feels right."
Bella felt warmth fill her chest. "Hey guys, we need to hit the store. Feel like coming along?"
Both boys eagerly nodded, causing Bella to grin. She had missed these two almost as much as Jack had.
"Okay, then. Go ask your moms first, okay?"
Riley and Garrett shot off the couch and out the door, calling out behind them, "Be right back, Miss Bella!"
Jack rolled his eyes. "Suck-ups," he giggled.
"Yeah, but I missed them," Bella responded with a wistful smile.
Jack gazed into her eyes for a minute before nodding resolutely. She shot him a questioning look, but he merely shrugged in response.
"I wondered a couple of times if we made the right choice. You know, coming home instead of moving to Chicago."
Bella's eyes widened and she sat down on the couch next to him.
"What do you think?" she asked, almost afraid of his answer.
"I think this was the right one. I'll miss MeMe and PopPop and Uncle Em and Aunt Rose, but Pops and Nana and all of our family is here. Seth, Leah, Aunt Ali and Aunt Angela. Uncle Jasper and Ben, too. Not to mention my friends."
He sighed and rested his head against her shoulder. "No matter what, we'd end up missing someone, right?"
She rubbed his back comfortingly. "I know what you mean. It's not really fair, huh?"
He nodded. "Yeah, it sucks, but there are more people here to miss. Does that make sense?" He turned his face so that he could look into hers.
She smiled sadly. " promised to go back and visit, though, so it won't be too bad, right?"
He sat up straight and smirked, his eyes glinting mischievously. "You know what would make it better?"
She eyed him warily. "What?"
"A little brother."
Bella started to sputter in shock. "A wha-what?"
"Just something to think about, Ma," he replied before jumping up to let his friends back into the house.
She shook her head in disbelief. She wanted to be married and settled before having a baby. A thoughtful expression crossed her face and she wondered if Edward even wanted more children. That was definitely a topic to be brought up at some point. As much as she loved and adored Jack, the idea of growing and carrying a child inside of her was a joyful feeling.
She stood up and chastised herself for indulging in fantasy. What would be, would be.
When she opened the front door, the boys were horsing around on the front lawn and Bella couldn't help but smile. The errant thought of a younger sibling for Jack flittered across her mind again before she bottled it up for a later time.
"Alright, gentlemen, what should we get for dinner?"
"Steak and potatoes!"
Bella, Jack and Garrett all turned to look at Riley in surprise. The boy merely shrugged.
"What? My mom can't cook for crap. Frozen pizza and take out gets old, dude."
Bella laughed and shook her head. "Steak and potatoes it is, Ry."
Riley smiled up at her. "Thanks, Miss B!"
She ruffled his hair before shuffling the three boys into her car. "It's not a problem, kiddo."
Fours hours later and two children lighter, Bella finished drying the dishes from dinner while Jack spoke animatedly on the phone with his father.
"Uh-huh, yes. Totally. Yes, sir. Good night, Dad! I'll talk to you tomorrow, here's Mom."
Jack handed her the phone, grinning. She arched a brow and took the handset from her son. She nodded towards the stairs. "Bath, kiddo."
"On it, Ma!" he shouted as he raced up the stairs.
She smiled and shook her head before greeting Edward.
"Hi," she murmured softly.
"Hey, baby," he replied, his voice creeping over her like honey. "How was your first day home?"
"It was fine. It felt a little empty, though, if that makes any sense."
He let out a sigh. "It makes total sense, Bella. I miss you guys."
She felt tears sting her eyes and flopped onto the couch. "We miss you, too. Two months isn't that long, right?"
He chuckled. "47 days, actually."
Her heart melted. "You're counting?" she asked in awe.
"I may or may not be counting down the days on my calendar."
She let out a sniffle. "Edward, I love you so much."
"I know, baby. I love you, too. This is just a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of our lives, right?"
"You say the sweetest things sometimes. Every now and then, I need to pinch myself to make sure you're real."
He laughed. "I'll remind you of that when you're living with me and I drive you up the wall because I leave my socks everywhere."
Warmth filled her chest. "I like the sound of that."
"Of what? Me leaving my socks everywhere? Maybe you are indeed the perfect woman, Bella."
"No, goofball. The living with you part." She paused a moment before continuing. "Look, I just want to say something and then I'll drop it, okay?"
He hummed an agreement.
"I don't want to date you."
"Wh-what?" he sputtered, taken by surprise.
"I don't want to date you. I want to be with you; all of the time. These next two months-"
"47 days," he cut her off.
"47 days," she corrected herself with a giggle. "This time apart is going to be enough time apart. After this separation, neither me nor Jack are going to want to be away from you for any length of time, Edward."
"Okay? Okay what?" she replied in confusion.
"Okay, no dating. No apartment. I'll move in with you."
Bella let out an Alice-worthy squeal, almost dropping the phone. She covered her mouth and tried to sober the giddy happiness bubbling up in her chest.
"Okay," she mimicked him. "As long as that's what you want," she added, growing serious. "I don't want to pressure you into anything. Knowing that I've been completely honest about how I felt, I can let it go. I'll be bummed out, but I'll move on. Please don't make yourself uncomfortable by trying to please me."
He laughed lightly. "Bella, I really don't want to be apart from you, either. I just wanted to do right by you."
She sighed. "Edward, nothing about our relationship is conventional. I know in my heart that you're it for me. I'm all too happy to share my life and home with you."
"Well, then it's settled then. I'll call off the apartment search."
"Mom!" Jack hollered down the stairs. "I'm finished!"
"Sounds like you have a bedtime ritual to perform, so I'll say goodnight, love," Edward murmured in her ear.
Her happiness stayed roaming around her chest as she made her way up to Jack's room, but it moved over to make room for the sadness of their goodbyes.
September 4th, 2010
The following Saturday found Bella and Jack pulling up outside Charlie's house in Forks. Sue had invited them over for dinner and she was looking forward to catching up with her family. The car had barely come to a halt before Jack was out the door and racing up to his grandfather's outstretched arms. Charlie held the boy close and swung him around.
"Jack, my boy!" he exclaimed joyously.
"Pops! I missed you!"
"Do you miss the big city yet?" Charlie asked as he set the boy back on the ground.
Jack, nodded his head thoughtfully. "Yeah, but I'm happy to be home and in my own bed. Plus, Riley and Garrett need me around to keep them out of trouble."
Bella hid a giggle behind her hand, knowing full well that Jack spoke the truth. Charlie ruffled his hair before turning towards his daughter.
"Well, that's good then. Why don't you head in and find Sue? I think she just took some cookies out of the oven." He was talking to Jack, but his eyes didn't leave Bella's.
After Jack had disappeared in search of the promised treats, Charlie pulled her into a bone crushing hug.
"Oh, Bells," he whispered brokenly. "Don't scare me like that again, you hear?"
Tears welled up in her eyes and she squeezed her father tightly.
"I promise, Dad. No more being kidnapped by psychos for me."
He pulled back and glared at her slightly. "I'm not kidding, Isabella."
She arched an eyebrow. "Neither am I, Dad."
His eyes widened, before breaking out in a chuckle. "You certainly pull off the 'Mom' look, don't you?"
She sighed and smiled. "I try."
Charlie wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Come on, let's go inside."
Two hours and a full belly later, Charlie cleared his throat, causing her to look his way. He narrowed his eyes in her direction, causing the skin between them to furrow.
"Bells, would you mind coming out on the porch with me, so we can have a talk?"
Seth had taken Jack upstairs to play a video game, so Bella looked over the only other person in the room. Sue gave her a motherly smile and a quick nod.
"Okay, Dad, sure," she replied, placing her napkin on the table and walked towards the front door.
The sun had just begun setting, casting a fiery orange shade across the sky. Her gaze was momentarily caught by the brilliant colors, until she heard her father's footsteps behind her.
Bella sat, lightly swaying back and forth, on Charlie's old porch swing. She turned and eyed her father, who was resting against the door jamb.
"So, what did you want to talk to me about, Dad?" she asked in curiosity, pulling one leg underneath her.
He took a swig from his beer bottle before sitting down on the porch top step, looking up into her face.
"I got some news about Jacob the other day. I figured that you'd want to know."
Bella's breath left her in one quick gust, her stomach dropping. "Is it bad?" she asked nervously.
Charlie smirked slightly and shook his head. "It depends on how you look at it."
She cocked her head to the side slightly. "I don't understand."
"You know he was living down in Olympia?"
Bella nodded, motioning for her father to continue.
"Well, he was dating a girl down there and it didn't take him long to show his true colors. He tried to rough her up, but the girl was black belt in karate. She broke his arm and pressed charges. Since it's his third strike, he's in the Pen for about 20 years without parole."
Her mouth popped open in surprise. Charlie let out a loud guffaw, pointing at her comical face.
"That's pretty much how I felt," he replied. "Stupid boy," he muttered, taking another drink. He eyed her carefully for a moment before continuing.
"You certainly seem to be a magnet for trouble, Bells."
She sighed and shook her head. "Don't I know it."
After a few minutes of enjoying the crisp evening air, Charlie cleared his throat.
"So, when will Ed be here?" he asked, a little too nonchalantly.
Bella cocked an eyebrow. "In about six weeks, but why do I get the feeling that you already know the answer to that question?"
He shrugged innocently, but the light blush that bloomed across his cheekbones gave him away.
"Dad," Bella warned. "What are you hiding?"
Charlie's mustache twitched slightly as he shook his head. "Nope, you're not getting anything out of me."
She rolled her eyes and unsuccessfully tried to hold back a smile. Even though her curiosity was now piqued, she couldn't help but be thrilled that the two of them were getting along.
"Soooo," she drew out. "You really like him, huh?"
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his mustache twitch again as he held back his own smile. "Something like that."
She let out an exasperated sound and blew some hair out of her face. "What does that mean?"
He looked her dead in the eye and smirked. "I haven't dusted off the shotgun yet, have I?"
Bella rolled her eyes. "That's because I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't let you bring it on the plane."
Her eyes widened in realization and she began to shake her head back and forth. "Oh, no you don't! Daddy, I swear, if you break out the shotgun on him, I will never-"
Charlie held up his hand and cut her off. "Okay, okay, calm down there, baby girl. I'm just messing with you. I do like Edward; he's a good man. He makes cute kids, too." He winked at her.
She laughed, throwing her hands up in the air. "Oh no, not you, too!"
"What? Who said what?" Charlie laughed.
"Jack. On the very first day back home. He mentioned a baby brother," Bella replied, shaking her head.
Charlie nodded, biting his cheek to keep from laughing. He coughed and stood up, growing serious. "Well, as much as I like Ed, there better be a ring on that finger before a bun in the oven. That's all I'm saying on that subject."
Bella groaned and put her head in her hands, causing Charlie to laugh again. He patted her on the back as he passed by and into the house. She straightened and looked upwards once more, the orange now blending into crimson, setting the sky ablaze. Her belly tingled in anticipation.
"One day," she whispered into the wind.
September 10th, 2010
Just under a week later, Bella puttered around her bedroom, waiting for Edward's call. He had promised to Skype her during his lunch break and she had gathered up all of her courage in an attempt to be seductive. At two pm on the dot, her laptop started ringing. She quickly accepted the call and sunk onto her bed, sighing happily as she gazed into Edward's smiling face.
"Hello, baby. I miss you."
"I miss you, too," Bella replied in a sigh, reaching out to touch the computer screen.
"One month, Bell. One month and I'll be there by your side. It can't go by fast enough."
She couldn't help but return the bright smile that was etched across his face and nodded in agreement. Her brow scrunched up in confusion when a bell rang from her laptop's speakers.
"Where are you at?"
Edward grinned sheepishly. "I'm at the bookstore a few blocks from the office. I've been coming here for lunch. It might sound weird, but I kinda feel closer to you here."
She smiled mischievously and twirled a strand of hair around her finger.
He narrowed his eyes. "What's going on in that head of yours?"
She bit her. "Can you move to a more, um, secluded location?"
His eyes widened and looked over his shoulder, before quickly scooping up his coffee and the laptop, moving to a far corner of the shop.
After setting back up, he leaned back in his chair and smirked. "Secluded, dear. Now, what did you want to talk about?"
"Talk?" she asked coquettishly. "Who said that I wanted to talk?"
After a few clicks on her end, a soft beat started up and she maneuvered the laptop to face the open area of the room. He watched, intrigued. That is until Bella stood in his view and started to sway seductively to the music. She ran her hands up her neck and released her hair from its band. She started to softly sing along and dance, leaving him in a state that was quickly becoming uncomfortable.
Between two lungs it was released
The breath that carried me
The sigh that blew me forward
Cause it was trapped
Trapped between two lungs
It was trapped between two lungs
It was trapped between two lungs
And my running feet could fly
Each breath screaming
"We are all too young to die"
As the beat quickened, her movements sped up and she twirled a few times, before whipping off her t-shirt, leaving her in a pair of yoga pants and camisole. His eyes widened as she dropped to her knees and began to crawl towards him, still singing her heart out.
Now all the days of begging
The days of theft
No more gasping for a breath
The air has filled me head-to-toe
And I can see the ground far below
I have this breath
And I hold it tight
And I keep it in my chest
With all my might
I pray to God this breath will last
As it pushes past my lips
He swallowed thickly and discreetly adjusted himself. She crawled up onto the bed, pushing the laptop further back, to make room for her to lay next to it.
"Fuck, Bella," he hissed.
She batted her eyelashes and pouted. "You didn't like my serenade?"
He closed his eyes and hit his head on the back of the chair, groaning. "Of course I liked it. But this," he waved his hand in front of his crotch, "situation while I'm in a bookstore filled with people is not my idea of fun. At least in private, I could have given you a show of my own."
He looked dead into the webcam and waggled his eyebrows, causing her to laugh heartily.
"There's always next time," she responded flirtatiously.
He smiled brightly. "Next time?"
She nodded eagerly.
He bit his lip and gave her a crooked smile. "It's a date, then."
September 13th, 2010
The day started off bright and shiny, with even Jack waking up excitedly for a Monday. Ten minutes after she dropped the boy off at school, the skies turned murky gray and the heavens opened up, creating a deluge of biblical proportions.
"What a great way to kick off my birthday," she muttered to herself.
After a quick stop at the bookstore, she headed back home, her mood almost as dark as the sky. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled. She made her way swiftly into the house and kicked off her sopping shoes, picking them up before making her way into the laundry room. As she stripped down, she was thankful that she hadn't had a chance to take the clothes from the dryer yet.
A knock sounded loudly through the house. Startled, she gazed down at her half-naked body and shook her head, quickly grabbing a pair of sweats and a white undershirt. Padding down the hallway in her bare feet, she wondered who the hell was at her door in the middle of a storm. Her heart started to hammer in her chest and she gasped when she looked out the peephole. Throwing open the door with abandon, she launched herself into Edward's arms, wrapping her legs around his waist and kissing every inch of his face.
Taken off guard, he stumbled backwards, just barely remaining upright. His lips caught up with hers and his hands gripped her bottom tightly. They were so lost in each other that neither of them took notice that their clothes were getting soaked. The cold rain water dripped down their cheeks, as their kisses turned languid and adoring. Edward pulled back slightly, squinting through the downpour, but smiling brightly.
"Happy Birthday, baby," he murmured right next to her ear.
Thick, hot tears fell furiously down her face as Bella held him as if he were an apparition, waiting to disappear like a rainbow. He unlatched her legs and set her on the ground, before leaning down and kissing her gently once more. He pulled back and grinned, pulled something out his pocket, but the rain obscured her view.
Her chest almost exploded as he went down on one knee. He smiled up at her, rain pouring all around them, and held up a ring.
AN: Well, since this is the last time I'm really going to get a chance to rock your socks with a review reply teaser for Parachute, let's make it good shall we? Everyone who reviews this chapter will get a special extended teaser of the proposal plus a separate tease from the Victoria Outtake.
Before anyone takes this the wrong way, I've never asked once for a review and I won't start now. While I adore reading them and listening to what you guys have to say, if you choose to leave one, that's your choice. Since this is one of the last two chapters, I want to go out with a bang, so to speak.
Music used in this chapter was "Between Two Lungs" by Florence & the Machine. The video is up on the Blog!
Love you guys and I'll see you next Friday!