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A/N Thank you to my friend and Beta SparklingWand and to my beautiful proofreaders Twimoments and Melarimo. You guys are my heart!
I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance make a change and breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance make a change and breakaway.
Chapter 11 (Break Away)
As I stood there wrapped in the arms of my father, I watched as Edward started his car, gave me one last sad smile, backed out of the driveway, and disappeared down the street.
The moment his car left my line of site, I felt a terrible sense of loss sweep over me. Now that I had seen him again, it was very difficult to let him just drive away from me like this.
"Bells, I'm so happy you're finally home," my dad said, pulling me from my thoughts of literally running after Edward's car. I pulled away to look at him.
"Me too, dad, it's been too long. I didn't realize how much I'd missed everyone until now," I replied.
"Let's get you inside, so we can talk more," he said wrapping his arm around me and pulling me to his side and up the porch steps.
Once inside, I sat my bag down at the bottom of the stairs and wandered into the living room. It was incredible. Everything was exactly the same as when I'd left.
"Dad, haven't you ever thought about redecorating?"
I knew the answer before it even come out of his mouth. He would never change things, not just because of me, but because everything reminded him of her, my mother. It was exactly as she had left it, when she walked out on us all those years ago.
Renee had never been cut out to be a mother to me, much less a wife to Charlie. I can still remember the night she left as though it were yesterday.
She'd come into my room to say good night to me. Tears fell from her face as she hugged me to her.
"I'm so sorry, Bella," she kept chanting over and over again, as she rocked me back and forth. Her tears trickled down her cheeks onto mine. I couldn't understand why my mother was so sad.
"What's wrong, mommy?" I remember asking her but got no reply. She just kissed my cheeks, and hugged me one last time. I remember the feel of my mother stroking my hair as she tucked me in to bed without a word. She turned off the light and left my room. I had no idea, only being five years old, that she was really saying goodbye.
It didn't take long to figure it out though, when I'd come down stairs the next morning to find my father still sitting on his knees sobbing, in front of the door she had left from hours before. That's the day my father started drinking, and the gambling followed shortly after.
Neither my father nor I heard from my mother again, except an occasional birthday card that would appear in the mail. I'd asked him many times when I was younger why she'd left. He'd just simply reply, "Your mother was a free spirit, who couldn't be held down by anything or anyone, kiddo. But never think she didn't love you, because she did."
Now being a grown woman myself, it's hard to imagine she could have loved me and walked out the way she did. Real mothers just didn't do that shit their kids.
"So you gonna tell me what happened between you and Jake?" he asked as he motioned for me to sit on the couch. "You know he's called here a dozen or so times looking for you this morning. You should call him to let him know you're okay."
"I just can't right now, Dad. Too much damage has been done. I need to sort things out before I call him."
"Just because the two of you had a fight, Bells, doesn't mean you should ignore him, and let him worry about where you are, and if you're okay."
"It wasn't just a fight, Dad. Jake's been seeing someone else. He's been cheating on me," I said sounding annoyed.
The memories of finding her text on his phone last night filled my mind, causing the pain to resurface all over again. I didn't want to think about Jake or my marriage right now. I needed time to figure out exactly what to say to him when I did talk to him. I really couldn't condemn him completely. Again, all of this was really my fault. I'd never been what he needed, and that would probably push anyone into doing what he did.
"I'm sorry, Bells. I had no idea you guys were having these kinds of problems."
"It's okay, Dad, really. Can we just talk about something else please?"
"Okay, then why don't you tell me why Edward Cullen dropped you off here then? I thought that ship had sailed long ago, but from the look in his eyes I'd say I was wrong."
"Dad, you aren't wrong. Trust me. I told you I was going to see Alice when I got here."
"Yeah, what does that have to do with Edward?"
"How can you live in this small town and not know that Alice and Edward are married? Edward offered to give me a ride here, so that I wouldn't have to call a cab that's all."
"Bella, regardless of whether or not they are married, I saw the way the two of you looked at each other, and frankly, honey, it worries me. I can't just forget what he did to you all those years ago."
I placed my head in my hands. All of this shit was really starting to wear on my nerves. I wanted nothing more than to believe that Edward still had feelings for me. Even though I knew it was wrong to want that. He was bound to my best friend, and she was sick. Now that I'd seen him, actually touched him...I wanted him more now than ever before.
"Dad," I groaned, "those things happened a long time ago, and none of it matters anyway. Edward is married to Alice. I mean nothing to him."
"How is Alice anyway?" he said putting his arm around me and thankfully changing the subject.
"Not very well. She looks even weaker today than she did yesterday when I saw her. I'm so worried she doesn't have much time left," I said sadly.
He lifted my chin with his fingers, and placed a peck on my cheek. "Then I guess it's good you'll be here for her, because she'll need you now more than ever."
We spent the rest of the afternoon much the same way, just talking. I knew he needed that, and honestly, so did I. Before I knew it, he was leaving for his overnight shift at the station, and I was left alone for the first time since I'd arrived here this morning.
It had been a long day, and I wanted nothing more than to take a hot shower and get some sleep. I hadn't slept much at all the night before, and the weight of everything that had happened over the last twenty four hours was taking its toll on me.
Just as I was about to make my way up the stairs to my room, I heard the phone ringing in the kitchen. I debated on whether or not to answer it, fearful that it might be Jake, secretly cursing my father for never having gotten caller ID.
Against my better judgment I made my way into the kitchen and picked up the receiver. It was probably just my dad calling to say goodnight anyway. I had already worked up the nerve to text Jake and ask him to respect my wishes for some time. I didn't get a response from him, but assumed he got my message.
"Hello," I said.
"Bella, it's me." I heard his velvety voice whisper. Edward was the last person I expected to be calling and an immediate sense of dread washed over me. My first thought was maybe something was wrong with Alice.
"Edward, is Alice okay?" I asked sounding panicked.
"She's fine. Jasper's with her." he said sighing heavily in the phone.
Jasper, why would he be with her and not Edward? None of this made sense. Earlier today the way Jasper and Alice acted in front of Edward, all seemed so confusing. It was as if they were married, and Edward was just the brother hanging out. Someone needed to give me some answers.
"Edward, what do you mean 'Jasper's with her'? Why wouldn't you be with your wife?" I asked puzzled.
"I told you today, angel, there's a lot of things we need to talk about, and that's really why I'm calling. I'd like to see you tomorrow, is that alright?"
I wanted answers from him. I needed them like I needed air to breathe. I just didn't know if I was prepared for what those answers might be, despite this, however, there was no way I would refuse to see him. He had just left me hours before, and I missed him already, more than words could say. I wanted to tell him to come now, that I didn't want to wait, but I couldn't find the courage to tell him that.
"I'd like that... Yes," I choked out, sounding entirely too desperate.
There was a long pause, and I could hear him breathing but he wasn't saying anything. I pictured him sitting there pinching the bridge of his nose like he'd always done when he was stressed about something.
"Edward, are you there? Is everything okay?"
"I'm here... I was just thinking how much I wish I didn't have to wait until tomorrow to see you. It's hard, knowing you're so close…," he trailed off.
I couldn't help but smile at his words. It was kind of a confirmation for me that he wanted to see me just as much as I needed to see him. So I reached deep down inside and found the strength to respond.
"Then don't...," my voice barely audible, whispered.
"I'm sorry," he groaned. "I don't have a choice. I'm stuck at the hospital until tomorrow morning,"
"Oh...uhmm, it's okay. I really need to get some sleep anyway. It's been a long day," I said trying to hide my disappointment.
"I promise I'll be there as soon as my shift is over in the morning, is that okay?" he asked.
"Yes, that's fine." I replied. "I'll see you in the morning, Edward."
"Okay, angel. Good night."
"Good night," I whispered as I hung up the phone and stumbled towards the stairs. I was exhausted, and I still needed to shower. Just as I made it up the stairs there was a knock at the front door. That couldn't possibly be Edward. I thought we just hung up, and he said he was at the hospital.
I padded back down the stairs and opened the front door to find Jake standing there looking at me with fury in his eyes. I wasn't prepared for this. I just stood there in shock.
"Jake, what are you doing here?"
"I think we need to talk, don't you?" he responded, pushing past me and walking into the living room.
"I'm not sure that's such a good idea right now," I said closing the front door hesitantly.
"Bella, you run out on me in the middle of the night, and you don't think it's a good idea for us to talk. I think I deserve an explanation, don't you?" he growled.
"An explanation, are you kidding me, Jake? No, I don't think I owe you anything. Not after what you've done!" I screamed at him, my blood was boiling over with anger. How dare he come here and treat me like this? I'm not the one who cheated, he is!
His shoulders slumped and the anger in his eyes dissipated immediately, and was replaced with sorrow. He reached up with his hand, trying to touch my cheek, and I smacked it away.
"Don't touch me!" I scolded. He placed his hand back at his side and sat down, placing his head in his hands.
"I'm sorry, Bella, please let me explain." he begged.
"I don't think there's much left to say. Why did you even come here? You've obviously moved on. Are you actually going to sit here and try to tell me that you're not in love with this Leah? I read your texts, Jake. I know what you've been doing with her behind my back! So why are you here?"
"Because I owed you an explanation, and because I needed answers myself, Bella. Please don't act all innocent now that you know I've been unfaithful, because as far as I'm concerned, your heart has never been in this marriage. Now I know before you even say it, that's no excuse for what I've done, but like it or not, your coldness towards me and this marriage, is what drove me into Leah's arms.
"Since the very first day I met you, Bells, I've done nothing but love you, even though I knew from the beginning, that my love would never be enough for you. I mean did you honestly believe that I couldn't see that your heart has always belonged to someone else? Did you think I would never get tired of chasing after this ghost from your past? A man can only take so much rejection, Bella. I know I should have walked out long before any of this happened, but I just couldn't. Why, because believe it or not, I never lost hope that someday you would get past this... this, whatever it is that's happened to you, and move on with me."
I moved to sit beside him on the couch, because no matter how much I wanted to hate him right now for what he'd done, I just couldn't. He was right about all of it...everything I'd done in this marriage had drove him to her. I looked up into his tear-filled eyes, "I'm so sorry, Jake, you're right. I've never been what you deserved," I cried taking his hand in mine.
"You have a right to know everything, I owe you that. Please know it was never my intention to hurt you, Jake. I guess maybe I always hoped that I could move on too, but I should have admitted to you a long time ago that moving on...just wasn't possible, not with you, because I just couldn't stop loving him... inside I've always belonged to him."
"Who, Bella, who is it?"
"Edward….you were right, it's always been him, Jake, and I had no right to hold you down all these years knowing that," I said sobbing.
"You have every right to want happiness, and to belong to someone completely. If you have that with her, I will never keep you from that. If I can do anything at all to make any of this right, it's that. You deserve that kind of love, Jake."
Before I knew it, the sun was coming up. We'd spent most of the night crying in each other's arms and confessing everything. As we fell asleep on the couch together, for the first time in a very long time, I knew everything was going to be okay. At least it would be between Jake and me. We finally understood everything about each other, and we could part now without all the anger and bitterness.
Maybe we could actually be friends, I thought. Suddenly there was a knock on the front door. Jumping up in a rush, I startled Jake, and he sat up rubbing the sleep from his eyes. I remembered that it would be Edward standing on the other side of that door. Although I wanted more than ever to see his beautiful face, I was too frightened to open the door. I really didn't know what Jake's reaction to him would be, now that he knew Edward was the man who had kept me from loving him all these years.
"Are you going to answer the door?" he asked standing up.
I just stood there unable to speak, contemplating what I should do. Jake looked at me and shook his head. "I'll get it then," he chuckled, walking towards the front door.
He swung it open, and there stood Edward. I was frantically trying to get myself under control while they just stared at each other for a moment, not saying a word. Finally, Edward cleared his throat.
"Who the hell are you?" Edward growled.
"I think the better question is, who the hell are you?" Jacob replied angrily.
"Jacob, this is Edward," I said sliding in between them.
"What's he doing here Bella, after everything you told me about him last night, why in the fuck would you give him the time of day?"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Edward screamed moving me to the side and planting himself right in front of Jake"
Jacob turned grabbing Edward's shirt collar and shoving him hard against the wall, "It means after all the fucking pain that you've caused her, I'm not sure I understand why she's been willing to throw her entire life away for you.
"All this god damn time I've spent loving her hasn't mattered one damn bit, because of you. You've taken everything that ever meant anything away from me." Jacob screamed.
Edward grabbed Jake and pushed him off hard, "Well, maybe, if you hadn't spent your time fucking someone else, you wouldn't have lost her, asshole!"
"You're gonna preach to me about fucking around, really? If you hadn't done what you did all those years ago, none of us would be in the fucking mess we're in."
Edward looked at me, and I could clearly see the rage in eyes as he turned back towards Jake.
"You don't know a fucking thing about me, or my life, so stop pretending that you've had nothing to do with your wife leaving you. We've both clearly made mistakes where she's concerned. I've spent half my god damn life paying for those mistakes, and I sure as hell don't need someone like you reminding me of that."
Once again I stepped in between them and placed a hand on each one of them, "Stop this, both of you. We've all made mistakes that can't be undone. We have to find away to move past them," I cried.
Jacob backed away from me, "Tell me, Bella, how am I supposed to get past the fact that I've wasted so much time loving you, knowing that the whole time, you were in love with him?"
Edward appeared stunned, he looked at me and then to Jake, "What the hell are you talking about? he asked.
"I'm talking about the fact that, since the day I met Bella she's been haunted by her past. She's never been able to let it go, never able to let you go! She was supposed to be my wife, but she never really wanted me. No, she's been locked inside herself all these years secretly loving you. Desperately trying to understand why you never loved her, and what kills me the most is, it's so clear on your fucking face that you do love her. So she's spent all this fucking time broken and dead inside, all because apparently you were too afraid back then to admit how much she really meant to you. You couldn't man up and own her the way she deserved to be. Because of that, I've had to suffer right along with her. I had to watch her wither inside herself, longing for someone who…
"Jake! Enough!" I screamed.
"Edward backed away towards the door, and with tears in his eyes he looked at me, "I never wanted to hurt you, to cause you any pain. I was young and scared back then, and there was so much about me you didn't know."
"Because you wouldn't let me know, Edward," I whispered, tears now streaming down my face.
"I couldn't. I just couldn't."
"Why?" I questioned.
"Because if you knew..." he trailed off, "...if you knew the real me, and what I was capable of, you would have run from me long before you did, Bella. Trust me," he said turning to leave.
"How do you know that? You never even gave me a chance, Edward," I said grabbing his arm, trying to stop him from walking out the door.
"I'm a monster, Bella, and the things I've done in my past, prove that you've always been too good for me. I've never been worthy of your love, and I'm not just talking about what happened that night with Jess."
I cringed at the memory of finding him that night, laying there on that bed with her. I looked at him unable to breath at what I saw in his eyes at that moment. The pain there told me everything I needed to know, all of it, everything that we'd been through, it wasn't because he never loved me.
It was because whatever had happened to him in his past had broken him, made him believe he was less than human, and that he didn't deserve to be loved. It was so clear on his face, why had I never seen it before?
"Edward, you're no monster. What I deserved back then was your trust. I loved you so unconditionally and you never trusted me. I just wanted you to tell me the truth about who you really are, the reality of what your life was like before you came here, and the horror that would make you believe you are unworthy of love and compassion from another human being.
"Please don't go!" I begged him "You promised me answers, Edward, and that's all I'm asking from you."
"I'm sorry, angel, I thought I was ready to give you those answers, but I know now, I'm not." he said as he opened the front door.
I moved away from him stunned. I couldn't believe that after all this he was going to do this to me again. He hadn't changed one damn bit.
"Then go, Edward, if after all this time, I still don't mean enough for you to allow me to know the real you, then just get out!" I screamed.
"Bella...I...I'm sorry," he said, defeated and turned and walked out the door.
I turned around to see Jake standing there with a smirk on his face. I'd almost completely forgotten he was even here.
"What the fuck did you do that for?" I groaned
His smirk disappeared, he moved towards me with anger in his eyes. "You're defending him? After everything he's done to you, and that he continues to do to you. You still don't see him for what he is?"
"Please tell me, Jake, what is he? You've got a lot of nerve belittling him for things that he's done, the same things that you've done I might add. I know that things have not been perfect between us, but you have got a lot to learn if you think you have no fault in this."
"Bella, I didn't say I'm not at fault, that I haven't done anything wrong. It's just I needed you to see that he's not right for you."
"So everything that we talked about last night meant nothing to you, Jake? What does it matter to you who the hell is right for me. You're moving on with Leah, right? Why is it so hard for you to allow me the same happiness, regardless of who it's with?"
"Look, Bells, I'm sorry, it's not that I don't want you to be happy, because I do. I've spent so much time watching you suffer on the inside. I just don't want to see you get hurt again. You're right. I have no business telling you what to do anymore, but, Bella, I can't help the fact that to me you'll always be my best friend; and I'll never stop caring about you, so don't ask me to."
"I think it's time for me to go, it's time for us both to start our lives over," he said leaning over and kissing me on the forehead.
"Promise me one thing before I go?" he asked
"What is it?" I questioned.
"Promise me, you'll be careful, Bella, that's all I ask."
I wasn't promising him any such thing. As far as I was concerned, I'd spent my entire life being careful, playing the safe side, and damn it, I was tired of it. If I wanted my happy ending, it looked like I was going to have to fight for it with every ounce of strength I had. Despite everything that happened here today with Edward, I wasn't going to run again. I wouldn't allow him to get off that easy, he was going to have to face this sooner or later. I would make sure of it.
"I'm sorry, Jake, but for once in my life, I'm going to take a chance and not be safe; because if I don't, I'll never know what could have been, can you understand that?"
He smiled at me and turned towards the door, "I think I understand more than you'll ever know, Bella," and with that, he walked out the front door and out of my life.