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August 12, 2009

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Bella laughed and smiled as Jack sang along with Lady GaGa's Poker Face. The stations that she got in Forks were crap, but here in Port Angeles, their options were moderately better. She was really starting to regret not bringing her iPod along for this trip. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye when he stopped singing. He was staring at her. She turned her head towards him briefly, before settling her eyes back on the road in front of her.

"What?" she asked. Jack reached over and turned the music to a lower volume before speaking.

"You know, now that we have a ton of money, why dontcha buy a new car? Something cool!" he said excitedly. Bella shook her head.

"What's wrong with the Chevy? It's a classic and she gets us where we need to go."

Jack rolled his eyes and scoffed at her.

"Mom, I'm seven and even I know that this is not the definition of classic."

She raised an eyebrow at her son.

"Really? And what kind of car do you think we should get?"

"A Porshe! Or a Hummer! Or maybe a Ferrari," his eyes lit up in excitement.

"Hold on there, Little Bit," she laughed, "we have more important things to focus on at the moment."

Bella pulled into the driveway of a small two story house on a street filled with about a dozen other houses. There were children playing on the sidewalks, and a few older people rocking on porches. All in all, the neighborhood had a completely relaxing and friendly feel to it. Jack looked up at the little house and cocked his head to the side.

"Who lives here, Ma? Why are we here?"

Bella bit her bottom lip softly and gave him a small smile.

"We're looking at it to see if maybe we'd like to live here. It's about a ten minute walk from your school and a lot closer to the bookstore."

Jack turned and gave her a confused look.

"Why do we have to move? Can't we stay living with Pops?"

Bella worried her lip for a moment, trying to figure out how to word her response.

"Jack, moving here to Port Angeles will be good for us. Pop and Sue like to be alone sometimes, plus wouldn't it be nice sleeping in an hour later every morning? We'll still see everyone. Pop said that you can even stay at his house every weekend if you'd like."

She watched Jack as he stared at the house with his brow furrowed. She reached out for his hand and gently squeezed it.

"Come on, let's at least go in and take a look, okay? Nothing needs to be decided today."

Jack nodded and started to get out of the truck. Bella met him at the hood of the Chevy and reached out to hold his hand. They walked onto the porch and up to the front door. Bella inserted the key that the Realtor had given her when they met yesterday and her and Jack walked inside. The house opened up into a small foyer with a closet to the side, as well as a round table. Bella could just picture coming home there and tossing her keys on the table and her coat on a hook. They stepped into the hall, and on the left opened to a living room which was about the size of the one back at Charlie's. To the right was a small dining room and an open archway which lead into a kitchen, much bigger than what they were used to. The room was done in a white and black theme and the appliances were all stainless steel and looked brand new. Off to the side of the room, there was a nook with a cushioned bench and small, round white table with three chairs. Behind the table was a black, glass paneled door. Jack walked over to the door and looked out to the concrete patio and grassy area.

"I know the yard is a lot smaller than Pop's, but there's the big playground about three blocks up. Plus, I figured you'd want to stay in Fork's on the weekends and sometime during the summer anyways," she explained to him, nervous about his reaction. She had fallen in love with this house the first time she had stepped foot into it. She was hoping with everything in her heart that he would be amicable to moving here. She needed him on board because she would never think to force him to move somewhere that he didn't want to be.

Jack turned to look at her with contemplative look on his face and nodded. She breathed a sigh of relief that he was at least thinking about it. After working hard over the past four years to give him a loving and stable home, Bella knew this might be a hard sell, but she was willing to fight for it. She had an ace up her sleeve.

"Wanna go check out upstairs?" she asked, jerking her head towards the stairs. They were situated in the middle of the hallway, in a direct path to the foyer. Jack nodded again and they walked up to the second floor.

"There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms up here," Bella started to explain. When they got to the top of the stairs, she motioned towards three doors on the left.

"The room in the middle is the bathroom. I thought maybe that you could take one of the rooms and we could use the other as a study. Over on the right here is the master bedroom. I'll have an en-suite bathroom, which just means that my bathroom is attached to my room."

She walked over the the door on the right and opened in up so Jack could walk in and look. The room was a soft cream with dark wood accents. It comfortably held a queen sized bed, a pair of dressers, a walk-in closet and a large window seat that could hold two people comfortably. The bathroom was done in the same color scheme and held a toilet, a long counter with sink and a deep claw foot tub, as well as a glass enclosed shower.

Jack's eyes widened and he whistled.

"Dude, it's huge in here!"

Bella grinned, glad to see his excitement growing. They left and turned to check out the other rooms. The first bedroom was simple, holding a full sized bed, dresser and small desk. The bathroom was half the size of the master bedroom's, holding a sink, toilet and glass shower. It was about the same size as the bathroom back in their current home. With one room left, Bella knew that this was the time to play her ace. She stood in front of the room and turned to him.

"I saw this room and immediately thought of you. I honestly think that you'll love it, but if not, don't feel bad about telling me so, okay?"

He nodded his head in assent and turned the knob.

When Jack walked into the last room in the hallway, his eyes lit up. There were two nice sized windows that over looked the yard. A bed was nestled in a corner underneath one of them. A dresser sat next to the bed and a small desk was situated in the other corner of the room, in front of the second window. There were shelves that completely encircled the room at around six feet high.

He walked over to one of the shelves and reached up to touch it reverently. Bella had come to adore that Jack had an appetite for books that was as voracious as hers. It was one of the many things that made her feel like he was truly her son.

Jack walked over to the window by the desk and gazed outside. He turned to her with his eyes ablaze.

"When can we move in?"

Bella grinned from ear to ear.

"Really? You like it?"

Jack grinned right back at her.

"I love it, Mom. I think it's going to be good for us," he said as he walked over and hugged her, wrapping his arms around her waist. Sighing, she ran her fingers through his hair, which almost reached up to her sternum at this point. She couldn't believe how fast he was growing and changing, but she knew there would always be some part of him that would remain that lost little boy that she found years ago.

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With the help of their family and friends, including Seth and his buddies, Quil and Embry, Bella and Jack were finally all moved into their new house the first week of September. Alice had gone to town decorating and livening up the place. Bella tried to reign her in, but Alice was a force that couldn't be contained, especially when she felt she a had a debt to repay.

She and Jasper had decided to hold off on their wedding plans until both of them were financially and professionally secure. Jasper achieved that fairly quickly, but Alice had had trouble financing her plans to open up her own store. Six months ago, after Bella had deposited another rather large check from her book sales, she approached Allie about becoming an investor in her venture. At first, Alice declined, stating that she wanted to do it all on her own. She eventually relented when Bella argued that borrowing money from her would be the same as the bank, except that Allie would not being paying interest.

In the end, it was decided that Bella would become half-owner of the business and Alice would design and add to Bella and Jack's wardrobes however she saw fit. Alice went ahead and named the store, Bella Cuore, without letting Bella know ahead of time. It roughly translated to 'Beautiful Heart' in Italian and she saw it as a fitting homage to her best friend, who had the most beautiful heart that she had ever come across. The shop opened at the end of August and it had literally knocked everyone's socks off. Just under two weeks old and they had had to hire an assistant for Alice, not counting to the two girls they had originally hired as sales clerks. They planned on being super busy through the holiday season, so Alice and Jasper planned to have a small ceremony on Valentine's day.

Alice asked Bella to be her maid of honor and Jack to be the ring bearer. Since her father had passed on while she was still a little girl, Alice had even asked Charlie to give her away and he readily agreed. This wedding was one of the few times that Bella actually used her semi-celebrity status to charm people into helping her out. She was able to sweet talk and over-pay to be able to hold the wedding reception at the Fairmount Olympic Hotel. It was almost impossible since Valentine's was such a huge day for weddings, but Bella was able to pull it off. They would be married at a small church and then everyone would meet at the hotel for the reception. She had even organized to have a few rooms set aside for out of town guests.

Bella would run the shop while Alice was away on her honeymoon. It shouldn't be a problem since she was going to be working there off and on during the week while Jack was in school. Another big change was that Bella also bought the little bookstore off of Mrs Dabney, who was more than happy to sell it to someone who loved the store as much as she had over the years. She and her now-deceased husband had opened the store back in 1971 and she was settling down into retirement and to enjoy her grandchildren. Bella's plan was to upgrade the store along and convert the building next door into an adjoining coffee shop. She would drop Jack off at school and then oversee the work on the bookstore. She'd then either go spend sometime with Alice at B.C. (their nickname for Bella Cuore) or do some writing. She'd pick up Jack after school and they'd go home to make dinner together and do his homework before hanging out, watching a movie or playing a video game.

As the school year progressed, Jack started to make more friends, since he lived in a closer neighborhood. His two best friends, Riley and Garrett starting showing up after school to do their homework together. Most nights, they'd end up staying over for dinner as well. Riley's mother could barely cook anything edible, so the boy was thrilled to have another dinner option, besides Garrett's house. Garrett, on the other hand, was all too happy to hang out at Jack's because he had a crush on Bella. To be honest, both boys did, but Riley was much better at hiding it. Once homework was finished, the boys would hang out front and teach Jack to skateboard until Bella called them in for dinner.

Bella was thrilled to see Jack making friends and interacting with other kids his age. Riley and Garrett were good kids. Both were polite; Garrett overly so. She chuckled every time he tried to act smooth around her. His crush was rather obvious. The boys were a good influence on Jack, pulling him out of his shell a little and in return, Jack was a good influence on them by helping them keep up on their school work.

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December 5, 2009

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Bella was sitting on her deck, proofing her work on the latest Jack Attack book. It was the third one in the series, Jack Attacks the Aquarium. Her first published, Jack Attacks The Museum had done very well and hit the top ten on the best seller's list. The second, Jack Attacks the Zoo made it all the way to the number three spot. Tanya was extremely positive that this one was going to be at number one before too long. But then again, Tanya was biased. She had grown into a fairly close friend, loyal and fierce. No matter what was going on in their lives, Tanya made it a point to make sure she came over to their house for dinner, usually every other week. She became close with Jack and put huge effort into setting up the charity on behalf of the Swans. The Lost Treasures Foundation was set up to give help and support to lost, abandoned and kidnapped children. There was also an off-shoot that dealt with helping families of missing children as well. Five percent of all of the Jack Attack's sales went straight to LTF. Bella also volunteered for guest appearances at various events that the charity held, in hopes of spreading awareness and inspiring others to step up and support the worthy cause.

Finishing up, Bella hit save and emailed a copy of the finished draft to Tanya. She sighed and stood up, stretching her back. She had been sitting in the same spot for just over two hours, since Jack had left with Riley and Garrett to hang out at the park and enjoy the snow that they had had over the past couple of days. There had been a big snow storm, which started on Wednesday night and didn't end until yesterday morning. She had decided not to take the trip to Forks this weekend because of it. It was the first one that they had missed since moving. She walked over and and pulled open the curtains, allowing in the bright sunshine as she gazed out over the peaceful winter scene.

Bella turned from her spot at the window when her phone started ringing.

"Hello?" she answered.

"Hello, is this Mrs. Swan?" a cheery voice responded.

"This is Bella Swan," she replied hesitantly.

"Hello, Mrs. Swan, I'm calling to inform you that your son, Jack, has just been admitted here at Port Angeles County Hospital."

"Oh, my God, is he alright?"

"There's not much I can tell you over the phone, but he seems to be doing fine. He took a tumble and the doctor here thinks that he might have broken his arm, but we need you to come down here before we can treat him."

Bella was already rushing downstairs to grab her purse and coat.

"I'll be there in 15 minutes," she answered before hanging up.

When she got to the hospital just over ten minutes later, she walked up to the E.R. receptionist.

"Hello, my name is Bella Swan and my son Jack was brought in. Can you tell me where he is?" she asked, almost frantically. The woman smiled kindly at her and picked up her phone. She placed it back in the cradle after speaking to someone else for a moment.

"Someone will be right out to take you back to him, Ms. Swan. He is a beautiful little boy. So brave," she smiled. Bella tried to smile back, but she was sure it came off as more of a grimace.

A nurse came out a few minutes later and took Bella back to Jack. He sat on a table, cradling his arm. His face was pale and pinched in pain, but he made no sound or any other show of pain. His eyes met hers and her heart broke at seeing his pain. She walked over and carefully pressed his head to her shoulder and ran her fingers through his hair.

"Oh, baby," she whispered, "how did you do this?"

"We were practicing ollies in the park when I hit a patch of ice and the board flew out from under me. I landed on my arm. Ry panicked and got his older brother to bring us here."

"Jack, you should have called me! I would've come straight to you, sweetie. I was only a few blocks away."

"I'm sorry, it just hurt so much that I didn't think about it at the time. I'm pretty sure that Ry and Max are still out in the waiting room. Can you tell them it's okay to go?" Bella nodded and went to speak with the boys while the technician took Jack for x-rays. She found Riley and his brother sitting in the waiting room.

When he saw Bella, Riley jumped up and walked over to her. He looked like he had been crying.

"Miss Bella, is Jack okay? I'm so sorry, I told Garrett that it was a bad idea."

Bella gave the boy a small smile. At least he had had the sense to get Jack help. She reached out and hugged the boy.

"It okay, Ry, he'll be fine. They sent him up for x-rays and he'll probably get a cast. You guys should head home. I'll have him give you a call when we get home."

Riley nodded and his brother walked over. She turned to the tall boy, who looked about 17. He had Riley's dirty blond hair and grayish blue eyes.

"Ms. Swan, sorry about not calling you. I didn't know the number and the runts were too freaked out to let me know."

She put her hand on his shoulder and smiled at him.

"That's okay, I understand. Thank you so much for getting him to help. That's the most important thing. I promise either he or I will give you a call when we get home," she told the boys as they made their way out of the hospital.

By the time she made it back to Jack's room, he was waiting patiently with a doctor. He had sustained a small fracture of his left ulna and would be in a cast for 6-8 weeks, depending on how well he healed. The doctor assured her that children heal much more quickly than adults and that Jack should follow up with his pediatrician in a few weeks for him to check it out. Worried that he might upset Alice, Jack chose a black cast to match his suit for the wedding, just in case it didn't come off in time. When he told her that, Bella shook her head at how sweet he was and made a mental note to make sure she told Allie about it.

Jack was soon discharged and they headed back the house. On the way home, they made a stop at Rite-Aid to pick up a prescription for pain medicine for Jack, and a white marker to sign Jack's cast with. Bella had the honor of being the first one to sign it. Once they got in, Jack made a beeline for the phone and called his friends to let them know how everything turned out. Bella used that time to call Charlie on her cell phone and let him know what had happened as well. He was the second-most protective person about Jack, just behind herself, so she knew he'd probably be upset.

Charlie took it fairly well, reminding her about all of the time that he had spent in an E.R. on her account, since she was an inherently clumsy little girl. When she had wrapped up the call, she went to check on Jack. He was curled up on the couch, fast asleep. She walked over and unfolded the blanket that was across the back of it, and place it gently over her sleeping son. She kissed his forehead and tucked the blanket around his shoulders. She'd let him rest for a few hours before waking him up to eat something. She headed into the kitchen to figure out what to make for dinner, leaving the sleeping boy to dream.

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June 10, 2010

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Bella sat in the office of the bookstore and finished printing up next week's schedule for the six employees that worked there. Her manager, Steven, ran the store efficiently and Bella barely had to step foot in the door anymore. That was a good thing, considering that Jack's last day of school was next week. Then it was summer vacation. They had yet to sit down and decide what their general plans were. She planned to have a sit down this weekend and have a family discussion about it.

She grabbed her purse, and the schedule, and headed out into the employee lounge to post the schedule. As she was making her way out of the door, she waved good bye to the girl at the register, Rebecca, and stepped out into the sunshine. Her phone started to ring almost immediately. She glanced down and noticed that it was Angela.

"Hey, Angie, what's going on, girl?" she asked.

"Bella, you are not going to believe this," she said in a shaky voice. Bella immediately became concerned.

"Ange, what's wrong? Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine, it's not me," she replied. "I was doing some legwork on an interview that Mike has with Senator Wilder in a couple of weeks. It turns out that his son is a lawyer in Chicago with some pretty prominent clients."

"Oh-kay," Bella drew the word out. "But why does that have you so spooked?"

"I think I found Jack's parents!"

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AN:

Uh oh! Guess what's coming up next chapter? I'm super excited! I know some of you might be disappointed that I skipped over the wedding, but I might be persuaded to do an out take of it later on.

Don't forget to check out the Parachute Blog (Link is on my Profile!) on Monday for a pic and teaser for the next chapter! Every review gets a special teaser for the next chapter, which will remain private and not posted on the blog!

Thanks for all of the love and support!

XoX

Shel