AN: I'm baaaaccck! It has been FOREVER, but I wanted to keep my promise to the fans of the story and FINALLY post an update. A few things about this chapter first: It's complete filler; only meant to transition this story over to it's next phase and it's a lot shorter than what you're used to from me. This chapter is completely un-beta'd and has not been pre-read so I take full responsibility for all spelling and grammatical errors. Also, this could possibly suck. It's been 3 years and I'm rusty so I just ask that you stick with me as I try to get my groove back. Thanks!
Disclaimer: Twilight isn't mine.
"Now you're sure you're not forgetting something kiddo?" Charlie said as he picked up the suitcase that Bella had literally dragged to the front door.
She threw her backpack/carry –on over her shoulder. "Nope. I'm all set Dad." She sighed. "Ready to get going."
"I still don't think you should go."
Bella smiled sadly at her father. "I'll be back dad. This isn't good-bye."
"Yeah I know. Forgive your old man. No since in me blubbering over this thing again."
Bella giggled. "Right. I just need a little break. That's all."
"Mm hmm. I still want to strangle that damn Jacob."
Bella felt a small twinge of pain at the mention of her ex's name. Jacob Black was a taboo subject in the Swan household as of late. He had become her ex in more ways than one: ex-boyfriend, ex-first love, ex-best friend. Until recently, the mere mention of his name had been enough to reduce her to tears.
She shook off the residual ache and offered Charlie a waning smile.
"Let's not talk about that, okay Dad? I'd rather not leave home with bad memories at the forefront of my brain."
"I guess your right Bells. Still, it'll be a while before I set foot in the Black house again."
Bella smiled as they walked to the cruiser. If there was anyone she could count on to be in her corner, it was her old man. She hated leaving him like this, but Forks held too many painful memories for her to deal with right now.
Charlie tossed her suitcase in the trunk and they were soon on their way to Sea-Tac.
The one thing about long car rides is that it gave you time to think, and in this case, Bella could only think about everything that had been happening. She had gone over every single hurtful detail over and over again and rehashing the memories was starting to feel like reopening a scar that was partially healed and pouring salt into the wound just for fun. Still, through everything, she had to admit to herself that running seemed like a cowardly move, but what was her alternative? Sure, she could always face the problem, but it was just too much to face head on with her mind as cluttered as it was. Between Jacob's betrayal and Paul's lies and manipulation she was too busy feeling the hurt and anger to be able to wade through that river of emotional upheaval.
This whole issue with Paul made her brain hurt. The imprint made being away from him almost unbearable. Truth be told, it made her heart ache, but she had no choice. Bella just couldn't believe that the Quileute gods hated her this much; to curse her with two men that claimed they loved her but caused her the most pain than she had ever experienced in her short lifetime.
She sighed and stared out the window at the constant sea of green that flew by. She would miss the never ending forests of Forks. She stared out as far as her eyes and the moving vehicle would allow. After a moment, she felt her body temperature flare and became immediately more alert as she stared out the window. She spied what she thought was a flash of gray and studied the trees intently looking for what she knew was there. She gasped audibly as a gap in the trees allowed her to make out Paul's wolf.
"Paul." She whispered.
"You say something Bells?" Said Charlie; breaking her out of her trance-like state as she watched the wolf leap over rocks and fallen trees, keeping pace with Charlie as he made his way to the airport.
"Huh? N-no dad. I didn't say anything."
She couldn't believe he was there. She released a breath she didn't realize she was holding as she felt the ache inside of her soften to a small throb. Of course, their close proximity had an effect on the imprint. She huffed silently. She was immediately at war with herself. On the one hand, she wanted nothing more than to have Charlie stop the car and run to Paul with open arms. On the other, she remembered what he had done and wanted to be as far away from him as humanly possible.
She steeled herself against her feelings from him and looked forward. She wouldn't let the imprint control her. She had made it this far and there was no stopping her now.
Charlie pulled into the drop off lane at the airport and sighed.
"Last chance, kid. You can always stay home."
Bella leaned over and gave Charlie a peck on the cheek.
"Two and a half months. That's all. You'll barely even notice I'm gone."
"I doubt it."
Bella laughed as they exited the car. Charlie wheeled her suitcase to the sidewalk and enveloped Bella in a bone crushing hug.
He broke their hug and then held her at arm's length. "Have a safe flight; and come home soon, ya hear?"
"I will, Dad. Love you."
Charlie dropped his arms and watched as his only child headed to check in. Bella waved good-bye and disappeared in the sea of patrons waiting in the security line. As she made her way through the gate she looked out to the entrance one more time; and that's when she saw him.
Paul was standing just inside of the doors, an imposing figure in a t-shirt and cutoffs, watching as she made her escape to Florida. She held his gaze for a beat and in that moment felt the world melt away. She moved in slow motion as she watched him watch her; a look of longing on his face. She wondered if the look on her face mirrored his because she knew she felt the same and if only for a moment, she wanted him to come after her; to stop her from going. It was like she could feel her soul reaching out to his; clawing and scratching at her to make its way home; to where it belonged. She could imagine being enveloped in his arms; his warmth heating her to her very core. She imagined what it would feel like to have his skin against her skin. She shivered at the thought.
Somehow remembering herself, Bella shut her eyes tightly in an attempt to push out the thought of giving in. She looked up, with every intention of offering her meanest glare, but when she did, Paul was gone; the hustle and bustle of the airport returning to its norm as the connection between them was broken. She briefly scanned the area, trying to find a trace of him, but there was none to be found. He had disappeared and in his absence, Bella felt the deep ache inside of her return. She shuddered. She would be the last to admit it but she knew it the moment the ache returned. Paul had finally respected her wishes and given her up; and deep down, something inside of her was breaking.