A/N: I wrote this story for Fandom Gives Back for cherieblossum back in August. The offer was a oneshot ranging anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 words. I asked for 3 songs from the buyer and I would choose 1 of the songs and write a story about it. This story ended up being nearly 50,000 words. Once I got started, I couldn't stop. I think she got her money's worth.
In the process of writing this story, I gained a wonderful friend in cherieblossum. She's amazing. She got together with Christag_banner who is another one of my good friends and has made almost all of my banners, to create an amazing banner for this story and given to me as surprise. The link for the beautiful banner is on my profile if you want to check it out. I also have the link to Christag_banners blog so you can check out the rest of her amazing banners she makes for so many other writers. She's very talented and takes requests too. Both of these women are such great friends and I'm glad I have them in my life.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or the characters. No copy write infringement intended.
The song chosen for this story is "All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You" by Heart.
Warning: Jacob is an ass in this story. If you're a Jake fan, I'm sorry.
"I'm so sorry, Bella. It doesn't look good." Doctor Stewart rubbed my shoulder, reassuringly, as she gave us the devastating news. The IVF procedure I had three weeks ago, didn't take. This was the second time and last time we had to try.
My husband Jake and I had been married since we graduated high school, seven years ago. We lived in Forks Washington all our lives and it was common knowledge if you lived in Forks, you died in Forks. Very rarely did anyone ever get out. It was a sick cycle. Jake was all there was for me in Forks.
My heart dropped, as soon as she told us the news. We had been trying to have a baby for years now. We had tried everything. We did the old fashioned method, thinking at first, there was nothing wrong and everything would work out fine. But after trying for three years and still nothing, I finally talked Jake into seeing a specialist in Seattle. Every time we did though, I heard about how much it cost and how much of an inconvenience it was for him.
He always told me he wanted a baby, but sometimes I really questioned if he did. I thought if I could give him a child, he would love me more. I would love him more. But every time we were told we weren't pregnant, it just drove a wedge even further between us.
"Well, are you happy now?" Jake asked, as we walked out to the car. "You aren't capable of having a kid. I suggest you give up on this silly little dream of being a mom, and focus on being a better wife."
The tears, from hearing his words, stung my eyes. I knew I had to hold them back. He'd be mad if he knew how much this upset me.
"What if we look into adoption?" I asked, hopeful.
"You know we can't adopt. I've already spent all my money on this ridiculous specialist. I can't afford to keep the shop running and pay for a child for you," he argued, rudely.
"It wouldn't be for me. It would be for both of us," I countered.
"I don't plan to raise another man's child," he argued, staring over at me in the passenger seat. "This is why we opted not to do the sperm donor."
"But Jake, there are so many kids…"
"Bella," he shouted. "That's enough. I let you try. You failed. Now drop it. It's over."
My shoulders fell and I sighed heavily. I dropped it, as he ordered, and stared out the window.
Jake was one of those guys who wanted to be in control of everything. When I was a teenager, I thought I liked it. I wanted someone to care about what I did and what I didn't do. But now, it was overbearing. Once we were married, he told me what I could and couldn't do. He made me quit my part time job I had at the library since I was sixteen. He cut me off from pretty much all my friends and family. He said I was his wife now, and I needed to do things with him, not with other people.
He wasn't ever physical or downright mean to me in any way. He just wanted me to have this perfect little homemaker image.
Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I guess every little girl dreamed of being a teacher at some point. After high school, I planned to go to community college in hopes of doing something with my life. However, Jake asked me to marry him on graduation night. I knew I couldn't say no. So, in the summer after graduation, we got married. We went to the court house, for the mere purpose of getting it over with and because Jake didn't like crowds. I didn't even have a wedding dress. I wore a pair of jeans and a band t-shirt.
I spent most days trying to make excuses why he was so controlling all the time and mad at me about everything. I didn't have much else to do, while I sat at home all day.
The problem was, I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life like this. I didn't want to be alone anymore. Honestly, living with Jake, made me feel alone. We were totally different people, who didn't click anymore. I wasn't sure if we ever did. He was just the only person I had. He was my security, and as a teenager, I wasn't willing to give it up. I needed to feel desired and wanted. I needed to feel like I had a future. There wasn't a day that went by, I didn't daydream about what my life would have been like, if I had turned his proposal down.
"I've got to get to work," he announced, once we were safely back in our hometown. "You can walk home from the shop, can't you?" I nodded my head. He pulled into the mechanic shop he owned, greeting his employee's with high fives and loud gestures. I got out of the car, ignoring all of them and walked down the sidewalk for home.
I walked slowly, getting lost in my thoughts. I stopped at the park a few blocks from our house and sat down on one of the benches. I looked out at all the kids playing and the mom's watching over them closely. I would never have any of this. No matter how much I wished for it, I'd never get my wish granted.
When the rain started coming down, the mom's gathered up their children and took off for their cars or nearby homes to get out of the rain.
I sat there and stared up at the sky, letting the water hit my face and drown out my tears.
Eventually, I walked the rest of the way home, only to find Jake's car sitting in the driveway. I opened the door and walked in, knowing he was going to be upset.
"Where have you been?" he shouted.
"I stopped at the park and got caught in the storm," I explained.
"You were supposed to come straight home. You haven't even started dinner."
"I'm sorry. I'll get on it as soon as I get out of these wet clothes." I walked back to the bedroom and began removing my wet clothes. Jake followed me back into the room and leaned against the doorway.
"Bella, I know you're upset about the baby, but there isn't anything we can do. It just wasn't meant to be for us. We'll be happy with each other. Think about all the stuff we'll be able to do without a child holding us back. We can go on trips and save money for our retirement," he theorized. "Everything will be fine." He walked over to me and kissed my cheek, bringing me into a tight embrace. I didn't hug him back, or attempt to show any love towards him. I didn't love him. I wasn't sure I ever did.
I wiggled free from his arms and went to the kitchen to cook his dinner. He huffed when I left the room, but didn't say anything more, before he went to the bathroom to shower.
I pulled out the chicken I had marinating in the fridge and placed it in a baking dish. I put on a steam pot with baby red potatoes and began putting a salad together.
Shortly after Jake came out of the bedroom, I had dinner on the table. We sat down and dished up our plates silently. It was like this every night. We very rarely ever talked anymore. We never had anything to talk about.
I took small bites of my food, not very interested in eating anything at the moment.
"Why aren't you eating?" he asked, sternly. His voice startled me, making me jump slightly.
"I'm just not very hungry. It's been a long day and I'm tired."
"Is this how it's always going to be?" he asked, sounding angry. He dropped his fork on his plate and leaned back in his chair. "I'm not going to have you moping around the house because you didn't get your way. I gave in to what you wanted and did all the fucking tests and spent my money, so you could have a kid. It's not my fault you can't get pregnant. I don't want you taking this out on me."
"I know it's not your fault," I cried. "Am I not allowed to be a little upset? It's all I've ever wanted and it's never going to happen."
"Whatever," he breathed, throwing his napkin on the table. "Let me know when you're done acting like a spoiled brat." He walked towards the door and slipped on his shoes.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
"To work," he answered. "Since I spent all day in the city, I'm behind." He walked out the door, slamming it behind him. I jumped at the sound of the door slamming. I watched out the window as he pulled out of the driveway. I walked back to the kitchen and stared at the uneaten food on the table for a few seconds, before putting it away in storage containers in the fridge.
I walked to the bathroom and took a long hot bubble bath, hoping it would ease some of my tension. I laid in the hot water, sipping on a glass of wine, while I listened to a radio talk show. It was Doctor Rose on tonight, answering caller's questions or giving them advice. I listened for quite a while, at the questions or the advice Doctor Rose would give them. For some strange reason, it made me feel better to know other people had just as many problems as I did. Some were even worse.
Once my water got cold, I stepped out of the tub and wrapped my robe around me. I grabbed my glass of wine and the small radio I had and walked into the living room. I sat down on the couch, looking out the window at our empty driveway. I wasn't sure if Jake planned to come home at all tonight.
Spontaneously, I grabbed the phone and called up the number to Doctor Rose. I was actually surprised I got through so easily. I had to answer a few questions, before I was connected to Doctor Rose. I was almost tempted to hang up, when I heard her voice on the other line.
"This is Doctor Rose, how can I help you tonight?" She asked.
"Well," I began, hesitantly. "I'm twenty-five and I've been married for seven years. I desperately want to have a child, but nothing is working. We've tried everything to make it happen. My husband acts like it's my fault we can't have a baby. But at the same time he acts like he doesn't want a baby. Today, we found out our last IVF attempt didn't take and unless we can come up with another ten thousand dollars, it's never going to happen."
"I imagine you must be devastated," she sympathized.
"I am," I cried. I didn't want to cry on the phone, so I tried to hold it back, but it only made my voice crack. "I don't know what to do anymore. My marriage is falling apart. I have nowhere to go. I have nothing. My husband acts like I shouldn't be upset about this and I should just get over it. He got mad at me tonight, because I was moping and he told me I was acting like a spoiled brat."
"Men," she chastised. "They have no clue what it's like being a woman. Honey, if he's really treating you this badly, you need to leave the bastard."
"I can't. I don't have anywhere to go. I don't have friends or family to help me out. I don't have any money."
"It sounds like you've considered leaving," she wondered.
I sighed. "I don't know. It's crossed my mind a few times. I just don't know how to do it."
"You pack a bag. You get in a car. You drive away and never look back," she suggested.
"What if he comes after me?" I asked. "What if he finds me and makes me come back. He'd be furious."
I heard a few clicks from the other end. I thought we got cut off. I couldn't hear her talking anymore and just as I was about to hang up, she spoke again. "I took you off the air," she announced. "Honey, are you in some sort of danger? Do you need some help to get free?"
"No, no it's nothing like that. He doesn't hurt me. I think we're both just really upset about not being able to have a baby and we're taking it out on each other," I excused.
"I'm giving you the abuse hotline number anyway and I highly suggest you call it," she offered.
"Really, I don't need it. I'll be fine. Thank you for taking my call." I hung up the phone before she could say anything more.
I listened to the show come back on the radio after the commercial break. "This is Doctor Rose in Seattle, taking your calls. And before I take the next caller, I'd just like to say to the last caller we had or anyone else in a similar situation, the best thing you can do is get out. I know it's a very scary thing to think about leaving and going out into the unknown all alone with nothing. But there are people out there who are willing to help you. Please take a stand for your own lives and make the call."
I flipped off the radio and went to bed. I knew she was probably right. But how could I?
I rolled over in the bed and cried until I heard Jake's car pull into the driveway. I quickly wiped my tears away and held in my sobs. He walked in the bedroom as quietly as possible. He sat at the edge of the bed, pulled off his pants and crawled into bed next to me. He rolled over and whispered in my ear he was sorry. I closed my eyes, holding in my anger. This is what he did every time.
"I'm just as upset as you are, Bella. I want a baby, too. But just because the IVF stuff didn't work, doesn't mean we can't keep trying the old fashioned way," he suggested, wrapping an arm around my waist to roll me over. I fought against his advances and stayed firmly on my side.
"I'm not in the mood," I firmly refused.
He grumbled, rolling over on his back. "Fine, have it your way. Maybe I need to find someone on the side, since you don't ever seem to be in the mood anymore," he threatened. The tears sprang from my eyes once again. I held the sobs and sniffling in as best I could, but I was sure he could hear me. Eventually he got up and walked out to the living room to sleep on the couch. I couldn't say I was upset about it in any way.
The next morning, I stayed in bed even after he got up for work. He came in on numerous occasions, noticing I wasn't getting up and hadn't moved much throughout the night. He made comments about me being lazy and if I didn't stop the moping he was going to have to do something about it. I just wished he had a little compassion for what I was going through and let me have a few days to adjust. But I guess it would be too much to ask of him.
I waited until he was gone, before I got out of bed. I was finally going to do it. I was going to leave. Even if in the end I came back, I wanted to prove a point. Or maybe I just needed a couple days to myself.
I spent all morning making up casseroles Jake could stick in the oven for dinner, and packing up his lunches for the rest of the week. I knew he could probably handle it himself, but I still felt like I needed to take care of him. It was going to be a huge inconvenience on him if I was gone.
I packed a bag and wrote a note to Jake. I told him I needed a couple days to myself to get over this and I'd be in touch. I didn't want to go into much detail about what I was really planning, since I honestly didn't know, exactly what I was planning.
I hopped in the car around two in the afternoon, and headed out of town. Once I was out, I'd decide what to do next. I prayed all the way out of town, he didn't happen to see me leaving. I avoided the area of his shop all together, even though it would have been a quicker route to go by it. But I couldn't chance him trying to stop me. I just needed to get away for a while, or maybe even permanently.
I drove south, knowing it would be the easiest and fastest way to get out. I stopped in the next town and filled up my tank with the little money I did have. I had no idea where I was going, or where I'd end up. All I knew was I needed to keep driving.
Just as it started to get dark, the rain began coming down. "Great," I said to myself. I hated driving in the rain. It always made everything so hard to see. I considered pulling over for a while, but I knew I had to keep going. I turned on the radio, trying to distract myself from the rain by listening to music.
I tried to sing along to the songs to calm my nerves, but it really didn't work very well. A semi truck passed me on the freeway, making a huge wall of water hit the side of my car. I slowed down, trying to make out the road in front of me. As soon as the truck went by, I realized I was on the edge of the road and right in front of my headlights was a person standing with an outstretched hand. I screamed, and swerved to miss hitting him. He jumped out of the way, just in time. I pulled alongside the road, letting my heart race. The adrenaline rushing through me, made me sick to my stomach. I almost ran someone over. I could have killed whoever he was.
I jumped once again, when I heard him tap on my window. I rolled down the window a crack, looking up at him.
"Are you alright?" he asked. I took a deep breath and opened the door to step out into the rain. He was tall, slender. He had a strong chin with well defined features. He didn't look more than seventeen or eighteen years old. Most importantly, he was drenched, from head to toe. The rain was dripping from his dark hair.
"I should be the one asking if you're alright. I almost hit you," I gasped.
"I jumped out of the way," he shrugged, acting like it was no big deal.
I noticed he was shivering from the cold. It was almost November and getting colder every day.
"Are you sure you're okay?" I questioned. "I feel horrible. I couldn't see anything when the truck past me and splashed water on my windshield."
"You don't need to explain. I'm fine, really."
"Well, what are you doing on the side of the road, in the rain?" I asked.
"I'm just trying to find a ride," he answered.
"You're hitchhiking?" I asked, giving him a shocked look. Why was a kid his age, hitchhiking at night? "Where are you going? Where are your parents?"
He laughed. "Do you always ask such personal questions from people you almost kill?"
I raised an eyebrow at him. He was obviously avoiding the question.
"Well, the least I can do for almost killing you is to give you a ride. If you tell me where you're going first," I demanded.
"I'm not really going anywhere. I'm just leaving," he revealed. I instantly felt a connection to him. I was doing the same thing he was. Maybe if he was running from something bad, I could help him work it out. He was someone's child and needed to have someone look out for him. I couldn't imagine how I would feel if I left him on the side of the road and later found out something horrible happened to him.
"Hop in," I commanded. "I'll drive you to wherever you're going."
"You really don't have to. I'm not planning to sue you for almost running me over or anything. It was only an accident."
"No, I insist. I'd feel horrible if I left you out here in the cold."
"You aren't worried I might be a highway killer?" he asked, with a smirk.
"Are you?" I asked.
"No," he laughed.
"Then, what do I have to be worried about?" I countered. "Besides, if you were, I don't think I'd care. Now get in. I'm getting soaked."
I opened my door and slipped back into my seat. I brushed my hair back, shaking off some of the water, still dripping from my hair. The boy slowly walked around to the other side of the car. He threw his bag in the back seat and climbed into the passenger seat next to me.
I turned up the heat in the car and slowly pulled out into traffic. I drove extra careful now, trying to focus on the road and not make any more mistakes or attempt to kill anyone else.
"So, where are you headed?" he asked, breaking the silence.
I turned my head towards him briefly. "I'm not really sure," I answered.
"What are you running from?" he asked.
"Who said I'm running?" I wondered.
"It's just an observation," he answered.
"I could ask you the same thing," I countered. He chuckled, but didn't answer or say much more on the subject.
"Do I at least get to know what your name is?" he asked.
"Bella," I answered. "And yours?"
He hesitated a second before answering. "Edward."
"So, where do you live?" I wondered.
"I'm actually living in Seattle right now. But my hometown is a very small town in the northern corner of Washington."
"What's so funny?"
"Is it possibly Forks?" I asked.
"I'm from Forks too. I've lived there my whole life."
"Really?" he chuckled. "Small world, I guess."
"Edward," I said out loud, remembering the name. "Are you Edward Cullen?" I turned my head to look at him, but he didn't answer. "I read all about you in the paper last June. You were going off to college in hopes to become a doctor like your dad, Doctor Cullen. He said some really sweet things about you in the article. I could tell how proud he was of you."
"Yeah," he agreed, mockingly. He seemed upset I brought it up.
"Did I say something wrong?"
"No. I just don't know how proud of me he is anymore."
"Why wouldn't he be proud of you?" I wondered.
"I left school," he admitted. "I'm not cut out for it. I thought it would be simple, like high school was, but it turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be."
"I'm sorry." I kept my mouth shut after that. I didn't want to upset him anymore. I probably shouldn't be talking to him so much anyway. His life was none of my business.
We were both silent for a long time.
"So, are you married? Do you have any kids?" He asked, breaking the silence again.
I hesitated telling him anything personal. I didn't truly know him. I had no obligation to tell him anything about myself.
"No," I answered. I could feel his eyes watching me curiously. I dropped my left hand into my lap, to hide my ring. It was dark anyway, but I didn't want it catching the light and proving I lied.
We remained in an awkward silence for a long time. I didn't want to tell him any more about myself. Considering he was from Forks, I didn't want word to get back to Jake somehow. What if he said something to his dad or someone else from the community? I couldn't take the chance.
As soon as we crossed the border into Oregon, I drove around, trying to find a pawn shop. I needed money if I planned to go any further.
I finally spotted one and noticed a small diner across the street. I pulled into the diner and turned off the car. "Are you hungry?" I asked. "I'm starving and I could use some coffee." He smiled and nodded his head.
We both got out of the car and walked towards the entrance.
"Why don't you go in and find us a booth? I suggested. "I need to go take care of something first. I'll be right back." He walked through the doors and I watched as he took a seat in one of the booths. I ran out into the rain and across the street to the pawn shop.
The place was dark and a little dirty.
"How can I help you?" the man behind the counter asked. I walked over to the counter and smiled at him.
I slipped the wedding band and engagement ring off my finger and placed them on the counter. "How much can I get for these?"
He looked at me skeptically. I kept my eyes on the rings, waiting for him to give me a price. He slowly picked them up and inspected them. "I guess, I could give you five hundred for the set," he offered.
"Is that all?" I asked. I knew Jake had spent over two-thousand for the two of them.
"It's all I can offer."
I sighed, contemplating in my head, if I should do this or not. If Jake found out, he'd be furious. But I was desperate. "I'll take it."
He had me sign some paperwork and explained how it worked. I had sixty days to come back and get it, if I changed my mind. I assured him I wouldn't be back. He handed me the money and a copy of the agreement. I left the shop and ran back across the street to the diner. I walked to the booth and sat down across from Edward. He looked up from the menu when I sat down. In the light of the diner, I could finally see his features so much clearer. His bronze colored hair was still a bit damp from the rain. It was definitely in need of a comb. For the first time, I could see his eyes clearly. They were a bright green and sparkled like no other eyes ever had. The black and white photo in the newspaper didn't do him justice. He was a very good looking young man.
"I thought for a minute you may have ditched me," he revealed.
"I just needed to do something." He nodded his head, accepting my explanation.
"Well, I ordered coffee to get us started. I hope it's okay?" he questioned.
"No, that's great. I need coffee. Thank you," I assured. He smiled.
I grabbed a menu off the table, looking it over for something to eat. The waitress walked over and put two cups of coffee on the table, with a small container of creamer.
"Have you two decided what you want?" she asked.
"I'll just stick to the coffee," Edward announced. My eyes shot up. Why wasn't he ordering anything?
"Can we have a few more minutes?" I asked. She smiled and walked away.
"Why aren't you ordering anything?" I asked.
"I don't have much money on me," he answered.
"Edward, it's my treat. You can't live off of coffee."
"I can't let you pay for food also," he said. "It's more than enough you gave me a ride this far."
"If you don't order for yourself, I'll order for you. We aren't leaving this place until you eat."
"You sound like my mom," he complained.
"Then, I like your mom already," I joked.
He laughed. "Fine, I'll order."
The waitress walked back over and took our order. We both ended up ordering a cheese burger and fries. I really felt like having a milk shake with my meal, so I ordered two chocolate shakes for us, too.
"Thanks," he said quietly, after the waitress left.
"You're welcome," I smiled.
"So, what was it you had to do?" He wondered.
"Nothing important," I insisted. "I just needed to get rid of something."
I poured some creamer into my coffee and added a couple packets of sugar.
We sat in silence for a little while, sipping our coffee.
"Do you see those two people over there?" he asked, gesturing towards a couple who sat a few booths away from us. I turned my head to see them better. It was a young couple, who didn't look much older than Edward. They were probably high school sweethearts.
"Yeah," I answered.
"He's about to ask her to marry him," he revealed. I turned my head again, looking them over curiously.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"I read people pretty easily," he shrugged. "This was their first date, probably all the way back from middle school. He wanted to recreate that night for her, even down to the milkshake they're sharing." I laughed, looking over at them again. They were in fact sharing a milkshake, which to me looked so adorable.
A couple seconds later we heard her squeal with excitement and bounce around in her seat. Edward laughed, staring at the table in front of him. I wanted to be excited for them, but my gut wanted to tell her to not do it. To give it a few more years and see if it's still what she wants.
"Well, aren't you the quite the mind reader," I teased.
"I'm not a mind reader," he laughed. I just know what to look for."
"So, tell me something about our waitress," I challenged.
He turned his head, watching her pour a man at the counter a cup of coffee.
"She's a single mom of two or three kids. She works two jobs, so she can pay the court fees she accumulated fighting for custody to keep her kids away from an abusive husband."
I watched him carefully for a minute, taking in what he said. He looked up into my eyes, with a smirk on his face. I laughed. "You're joking," I accused.
He sat back, cocking his head to one side. "What makes you think I'm joking?" he countered.
"There's no way you could know that much about a stranger."
"Ask her," he shrugged.
"I can't ask her personal questions."
"It would be rude and intrusive."
"Fine, just to prove I'm right, I'll ask." I narrowed my eyes, trying to decide if he was telling the truth or not. "Here she comes," he added. I turned my head, just as she walked up and placed our food in front of us.
"Will there be anything else?" she asked.
"Yes, actually, I wanted to ask you a question," Edward began.
"Don't," I screeched. "I believe you, okay." He chuckled at my obvious embarrassment.
"I really would like to know if I'm right, though," he argued. "Is this place run twenty-four hours a day?" My friend here seems to think it's not and I'm sure it is."
She looked between the both of us skeptically, before answering. "Well, you are right. It's a twenty-four hour establishment."
"Told you," he mocked. I glared at him. "Thanks for answering my question." She nodded her head with a confused look on her face. As soon as she was gone, I buried my face in my hands.
"I can't believe you did that," I whined. "I thought for sure you were going to ask her."
"What would have been so wrong if I did?" he wondered.
"People don't like answering personal questions from strangers," I explained.
"How much you want to bet she would have answered anyway?" he asked.
"No," I shook my head. "I'm not betting you anything."
He picked up his burger and took a bite of it, still grinning from my reaction to what he did. I sighed and picked up a French fry. I dipped it in the chocolate milk shake, before biting into it.
"What are you doing?" he asked, staring at me with questioning eyes. I looked down at my food, wondering what he was talking about.
"I'm eating my food," I answered.
"You just stuck your French fry in your shake," he observed.
"Yeah, so?" I shrugged.
He blinked a few times, trying to make sense of what I did. "That's really disgusting."
"It is not. It's good, you should try it."
"No, thanks," he declined, shaking his head.
"Oh, come on. Don't be such a baby." I grabbed a French fry off my plate and dipped it in my shake, and held it up to his mouth. He sighed, staring at the dreaded French fry in front of him. "It's not going to kill you," I added.
He quickly leaned forward and ate the French fry from my fingers. I could see him bracing himself for something awful.
"It's actually not bad," he revealed.
I smiled. "See, I told you." I picked up another fry and dipped it in my shake, before putting it in my mouth.
"Well, just because I said it wasn't bad, doesn't mean I plan to eat my fries like that." He reached for the bottle of ketchup and smothered his fries in it. I looked at them with a disgusted look on my face.
"Now, that's disgusting," I pointed out.
He laughed. "What's wrong with ketchup?"
"Nothing, but you use far too much."
"Says who?" He picked one up and held it up to my mouth. "I wasn't aware there was a law about how much ketchup you can use on a French fry." I shook my head at the fry in front of me. "I tried yours you need to try mine," he urged.
I took a deep breath and took the fry into my mouth. It didn't even look like a French fry anymore with the amount of ketchup on it. I chewed it up, forcefully, while Edward chuckled at my every expression.
"See, it's not bad, is it?" he asked.
"I don't mind ketchup. I would just like to taste the fry and not only the ketchup," I countered.
He picked up one of his fries and popped it in his mouth. "I can taste the fry just fine," he smirked. I rolled my eyes and went back to dipping my fries in my milk shake.
"What about him?" I asked, gesturing towards to guy sitting at the bar. "What can you tell me about his life?"
He turned his head and stared at the back of the man's head. "He's a drifter. He probably went pan handling for money all day and there was someone who was extra generous today, so he came to get a hot meal. I think he had a traumatic experience at one time and it made him go a little crazy. He pretty much gave up on life."
"You know, it's funny because I want to believe you, but I have no way of ever finding out if you're correct or not," I confessed.
"You just have to decide if you want to trust me. I'm sure at some point I'll say or do something to make you believe me. Or we could always ask," he suggested with a smirk.
"No," I refused. "I'll just take your word for it."
We ate the rest of our food in silence, watching the other people in the room. What he did made me so much more aware of everyone around me. I wanted to know what they were thinking or what their life stories were. I glanced back in Edward's direction and caught him watching me intently. I downcast my eyes, and blushed a little from his gaze.
"What are you running from?" he asked. My eyes shot up to his.
"What are you running from?" I countered.
"I told you. I dropped out of school."
"Yes, but you've also told me you have a mom and dad, who from my perspective are very proud of you and seem to love you. So, why are you not going back home, to them and running south, with no money, and hitchhiking, with strangers?" I asked.
He laughed, shaking his head. "Your perspective is a little clouded."
"Are you saying, your parents, don't love you, and wouldn't be worried about their son, if they knew, he was hitchhiking?"
"Well, I don't consider you a stranger anymore," he reasoned. I rolled my eyes, scoffing at his comment. He was good at avoiding questions he didn't want to answer.
After we were done eating and I paid the bill, we walked back out to the car. He lingered on the sidewalk. I stopped at the door and stared back at him with questioning eyes.
"Are you coming?" I asked.
"I wasn't sure if you wanted me to ride with you anymore. I thought maybe this was the end of the road for me."
"Why would you think that?" I wondered.
"I just don't want to assume you'll continue to let me ride with you. I think your debt for almost running me over is fulfilled. I can find a different ride if I need to," he suggested.
I sighed, rolling my eyes. "Edward, do you want a ride or not?" I frustratingly asked. He smiled this crooked smile and nodded his head, timidly. "Then get in."
I climbed into the driver seat and started up the car. He walked around to the other side and climbed in. I headed back out on the road. Thankfully, by now the rain had stopped, making the roads much easier to see.
I turned on the radio and flipped it to the Doctor Rose show. At the time I turned it on she was talking with someone, who was having trouble with their fourteen year old daughter sneaking out of the house.
I listened intently to the conversation, Doctor Rose, had with the woman on the phone. I felt so bad for the parents. I wanted to know what Doctor Rose would suggest.
Edward suddenly began laughing uncontrollably. I glanced in his direction, confused by his sudden outburst.
"What's so funny?" I questioned.
"Don't tell me you actually listen to this?" he wondered.
"Yeah, I do. I've even called in before," I revealed.
"What did you call in for? What advice did you ask for?" he asked in a mocking tone.
I didn't want to tell him what it was about. I had to change the subject.
"What's wrong with calling into a radio talk show to talk to a doctor? It's easier than paying thousands of dollars to see a doctor."
"That is true, if you were actually talking to a real doctor," he argued.
"What do you mean? She's not a real doctor?" He nodded his head. "How would you know?" I asked.
"Because Doctor Rose, is my sister and she's only twenty-three."
"You're kidding?" I asked, in shock. He shook his head with a smile.
"She did a summer internship at the radio station when she was nineteen and someone thought she had an alluring voice. So, they tried it out and put her on the radio. Turns out they were right and Rose became a hit."
"Wow! I can't believe she isn't a real doctor. She always gives such great advice to everyone."
"Well, there's a whole team of people in the studio who basically feed her what to say. She doesn't ever come up with much on her own," he explained.
I sat in amazement for a few minutes, taking all this in.
"So, she's really only twenty-three?" I wondered.
"Yep. So, unless she's some sort of genius and graduated from college and medical school in a matter of five years, there's no possible way she's a real doctor of any kind," he added.
"I can't believe I've been listening to her all this time, thinking she was real. She's younger than me and I was listening to her advice for people."
"How old are you?" he asked.
"Twenty-five," I answered.
"Hmm, you don't look twenty-five."
"How old do I look?" I asked, a little irritated by his reply. Did I look older?
"I would have guessed maybe twenty or twenty-one." I smiled at his answer. At least he didn't think I looked older.
We were both rather quiet, while we listened to Doctor Rose during the drive. Knowing she wasn't a real doctor, did make it harder to listen to her advice. But it was still entertaining to hear other's stories and I felt like it would be rude if I turned the channel when it was his sister.
I stuck to I-5, knowing if I stayed on the freeway, I probably wouldn't get lost. We stopped in Albany to get gas and some more coffee. I figured this would be a good time to call Jake and let him know I was okay. Edward went into the convenient store to get the coffee, so I went over to the pay phone.
I dialed the number and even though it was already pretty late, I needed to make sure he was there and not coming after me in any way.
"Hello," he answered, with panic in his voice.
"Hi Jake," I breathed. I closed my eyes, knowing this conversation wasn't going to be easy.
He sighed in relief. "Where are you?" he asked.
"I'm nowhere. I'm just driving."
"Where are you going, to your mothers?" he wondered.
"I don't know. All I know, is I need to get away for a while."
"Well, you've gotten away. Now it's time to come home. Do you have any idea how this is going to look if people find out?"
I thought maybe he'd say something about how worried he was about me or maybe how much he misses me and wants me to come home. But it's not what he said.
"I don't think I'm planning to come back," I revealed.
"Like hell you are," he shouted. "You're my wife and you need to do as I say."
"No, Jake. I'm not coming back. I don't love you. I don't know if I ever did. I want my life back."
"Is this about the fucking baby? God Bella, get over it. Why are you punishing me, because you can't get pregnant? I've given you everything you've wanted. I deserve a little respect in return."
"Why should I respect you when you don't respect me?" I shouted back. "You treat me like you own me and can tell me how to live my life. I don't want to live like that anymore. I'm sorry, but it's over."
"And what do you plan to do? You have no money. You have my car, which I should add I can very easily report it stolen and have you thrown in jail for stealing it," he threatened. "You'll have to come home eventually. And when you do, you'll pay for this little stunt."
"What are you going to do, Jake? Hit me? I'm sure you've wanted to for years. You sure as hell put me through enough with the intimidation and threats you use. You might as well start hitting me too."
"How dare you say I'd hit you. I've never laid a hand on you and you know it," he growled.
"It doesn't mean you won't," I countered. "I'm sorry, but it's over. I want a divorce." I finally said the words. I was surprised how liberating it felt to get them out and actually mean it."
"Whatever, bitch. You won't get very far. You'll come crawling home and expect me to take your sorry ass back."
"Well, that's where you're wrong, Jake. I intend to do everything in my power to prove it to you, too. By the way, I sold my wedding band and engagement ring for money. So, I have plenty to get by with." I hung up the phone, still shaking from the conversation. I knew the last words I said were going to infuriate him, but I didn't care. I wanted him to know I was serious.
I took a couple cleansing breaths, trying to relax my nerves. I combed my fingers through my hair and held my head up high. I did it. There was no going back now.
I walked over to the car, where Edward was leaning against the side, watching me closely.
"Are you okay?" he asked, with true concern in his voice.
I forced a smile. "I'm fine." I walked around to the other side of the car and paid the attendant for the gas.
We headed out on the road once again, drinking our coffee in silence. Jake's words kept playing over and over in my head. If he reported the car as stolen, I could get caught and be forced to go back. I needed to come up with a plan. All I knew is after this latest conversation with him, there was no way I was ever going back. I'd rather die.
"Are you getting tired?" Edward asked, breaking the silence.
"A little," I yawned at the thought of being tired. Edward chuckled.
"You know, I could drive for a while," he suggested. "Then you could get some rest."
"Are you not tired?" I asked.
"I am, but I could drive for a couple hours to help you out."
I looked at the clock on the dashboard and saw it was after midnight already. "Why don't I just stop somewhere for the night, so we can both get some sleep," I suggested. He nodded his head in agreement.
We came across a fairly large city named Grants Pass and I found a small motel not far off the interstate. I pulled in to the parking lot and looked over at Edward. All of a sudden it got very awkward in the car. I knew he didn't have any money to pay for his own room. Would he be willing to share a room? Did I want to share a room with him? He was technically still a stranger. I didn't know much about him or what he was capable of.
"Would you mind if I slept in the car?" he asked. "Or, I don't know, I can find somewhere else if you aren't comfortable with me in your car by myself."
"Don't be ridiculous. We can just share a room. I don't mind." Honestly, I was a little nervous about it, but I couldn't let him sleep out in the car in the cold.
"Are you sure? I don't mind staying here."
"It's fine." I got out of the car and grabbed my purse. I walked through the front door of the motel and asked for a room. The lady at the desk took my money and made the reservation for the night. She handed me the key and told me what room we had.
I walked back out to the car and grabbed my bag. Edward followed behind, hesitantly. Once we were inside, I sat down on the bed and removed my shoes. Edward stood next to the door, nervously.
"I'm going to change my clothes," I announced. I got the impression he needed a few minutes to get used to being here with me. I hoped he wasn't worried, I was going to kill him or something. I knew this scene had happened in horror movies before, but it was usually the guy killing the girl, not the other way around. And for whatever reason, I seemed to trust him. Maybe I was a little naïve in doing so, but I couldn't help the connection I felt with him.
I changed into a pair of sweats and a tank-top. I brushed my hair, which had managed to become a tangled mess of knots throughout the day. I brushed my teeth and made sure all my stuff was put away in my bag, before I went back out into the room.
Edward was sitting on the small chair in the corner, staring at the bed. For the first time, since walking into the room, I noticed there was only one bed. I suddenly felt very clammy. What was I going to do now?
"I can sleep on the floor," Edward assured. "Or in the car, like I suggested before."
"The floor is fine." He nodded his head in agreement.
"Would you mind if I took a quick shower?" he asked.
"Not at all," I said.
He grabbed his backpack off the floor and walked over to the bathroom. Once I heard the water running, I took the comforter and one of the pillows, off the bed and laid it out on the floor for him. I crawled into bed and curled up on my side, trying to sleep. Although, with the amount of coffee I'd been drinking today, I couldn't seem to sleep.
When Edward walked into the darkened room, with only the light from the bathroom silhouetting him, I noticed he was only wearing a pair of sweat pants. His chest was bare and well defined. I couldn't help but stare and be a little turned on by him. I scolded myself internally for even looking at him. What was I thinking? He's only an eighteen year old kid. I'm a grown woman, who should not be looking at him in such a way. I turned my head and stared up at the ceiling, while he walked across the dark room and crawled into the bed I had made him on the floor.
We both lay there, without saying a word for a long time. The only sound was our breathing and the hum of the cars passing by on the freeway. I thought for a while, maybe he'd fallen asleep.
"Are you awake?" he whispered.
"Yeah," I answered, with a small giggle.
"Is it as hard for you to sleep, as it is for me?" he wondered.
"I think it's the coffee," I theorized.
He started laughing. "The coffee we picked up in Albany was pretty strong." I laughed with him.
"It was awful," I added. "I had to put so much sugar and creamer in it, just to make it drinkable."
"I did the same thing."
We both laughed for a few minutes before going back into an awkward silence.
"Are you ever going to tell me what you're running from?" I asked, not expecting much of an answer. However,I needed to say something to break the tension and I was truly curious. The Cullen's always seemed like the perfect family. What could have happened to make him want to run?
"I went back home after I had a really bad day at school," he began. I held my breath as he spoke. I didn't think he'd say anything. "I explained to my parent's how I wasn't cut out for college and I quit. I told them I wanted to come home. My dad got mad and insisted I go back. When I refused, he said a lot of things I'm sure he didn't mean, but he said them regardless. I got even more upset and said some things I regret. My mom tried to break it up, but my dad and I just kept yelled at each other."
"What was it you and your dad said?" I wondered.
"I told him I wanted to stay in Forks and find a job there. He was upset and told me I was worthless and how I'd end up being a thirty something low life with nothing to live for and nothing to call my own, if I stayed in Forks and got some low paying part time job. I told him I'd rather be a low life than a father who cares more about his work than his son." I gasped at his words. How could either of them say such hurtful things about each other? "He said he was giving up on me and I was free to do what I pleased. He cut me off financially and took away the keys to my car. He said if what I wanted was to get a job, then I could have my car back when I could pay for it. I got really mad and I left. I hitched a ride with someone I knew in town and made it to I-5. From there I walked, until you almost ran over me and saved me from the rain and cold."
I could hear the hurt in his voice and it broke my heart. I understood why he was running now and why he felt like he had nowhere to go.
"Can I ask you something?" I questioned. I felt like I needed to change the subject to something a little less tense.
"Sure," he agreed. I rolled over on my side and stared down at him on the floor. He looked up, locking his eyes with mine.
"When you look at me, what do you see?"
He sat up, leaning against one elbow. "I see a woman who feels like she has nothing to live for. I see someone who cares far too much about other people. Who gives too much of herself to people she cares about and lets them take advantage of her. Who feels for others more than herself and gives up on what she wants to make others happy." His words stung a little. I knew they were all true, but it hurt to hear him say it and already know so much about me from only a few hours together. "She's also the strongest and most determined person I've ever met. She's beautiful in so many ways. I can't even begin to describe everything I find attractive about her." He paused for a minute, clearing his throat. "And the jerk who hurt her, doesn't deserve her." He brushed a strand of hair off my cheek, and tucked it behind my ear. "She deserves to be treated like the queen she is."
I stared at him, with a gaping mouth and pounding heart. His fingers lingered against my cheek. He glanced back and forth between my eyes and my lips. I knew he wanted to kiss me and for some reason I wanted him too. He slowly moved closer, breathing nervously. His lips gently brushed across mine. He pulled away, taking in my reaction. I continued to stare into his eyes, with no hesitation or worry in what he was doing. I wanted this. I wanted a man to want me and desire me. It's something I'd never experienced before, at least not like this.
His lips pressed against mine softly again. I gave myself to the kiss, letting my entire body feel it. My lips moved with his so easily. My fingers wrapped around his neck, holding him close. I didn't want this kiss to end. He sat up further, brushing the hair off my shoulder and running his fingers down my arm.
Before I knew it, he was climbing on the bed and continuing to kiss me. His warm body next to mine sent chills down my spine. He hovered above me, making a trail of kisses down my chin and across my collar bone. I arched my back, attempting to get closer to him. He wrapped an arm around my waist and sat me up in front of him. I opened my eyes, looking deep into his green eyes. Both of our breathing was heavy and erratic. I knew what I wanted and I was sure he wanted it too.
He bunched the back of my shirt in his fist, as he continued to kiss along my neck. My fingers traced along the well defined muscles of his chest and stomach. I heard his breath catch as I touched him. Slowly, I felt his hand rub across my lower back. My head fell back as I reveled at how he was making me feel. I'd never felt so sexually alive, as I did in this moment. He inched my shirt up, silently asking for permission to remove it. I raised my arms, giving him permission. He carefully slipped the shirt off of me. In the dark of the room, I could see him taking in the sight of me. It made me nervous at first.
He let out a raspy breath and smiled. His eyes met mine, before he kissed me deeply. His tongue slid into my mouth, so gently. He wrapped his arms around me bringing me closer to him. I brushed my fingers through his hair, wrapping my arms around his shoulders.
He laid me back on the pillow and continued kissing and licking across my shoulder and down my arm. His hand ventured down between my breasts and down my stomach. His fingers traced a line across my stomach where the hemline to my sweatpants was.
I closed my eyes, enjoying the sensation rushing through me, from his touch against my skin. He picked up my hand kissing the tip of each finger, before sucking my index finger into his mouth. He grabbed my other hand and did the same thing, before linking our fingers together in both hands and holding them above my head. He stared down at me, looking for any hesitation I might have. But I wanted him. I didn't care what he did. I wanted it all.
He began with my collarbone and ventured down across each of my breasts with his mouth. I squeezed his hands, and let out a pleasurable moan. I could feel him smile against my skin. He sucked one breast into his mouth, teasing the nipple with his tongue. He gently bit down, twisting it between his teeth. I cried out, tightening my grip on his hands. He worked the other breast the same way, eliciting the same reaction as the other did.
I fought against his hands holding mine. I needed them free, so I could touch him. I needed to touch him. He let go, leaning up slightly. I grabbed his face, and pulled him back to me. He chuckled at my suddenness to take charge. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders tightly, kissing his neck and chest. He breathed heavily across my shoulders, moaning in pleasure. My hands traced along his back, resting at the hem of his sweatpants.
He sat up suddenly, staring down at me lying out in front of him. He slowly let his fingers trace down my body from my lips to my belly button. He was sure to stop for a second at my breasts, pinching them between his fingers. My eyes rolled back and my mouth opened, sighing softly. He let one finger dip in the side of my sweats, pulling on them. I slightly lifted my body off the bed, so he could remove my sweats. As soon as he knew it was okay, he pulled them down further. He picked up one leg at a time, removing the sweats from me. His hands ran across my legs slowly. He kissed each of my ankles and continued his way up to my knee and into my inner thigh.
His fingers brushed across my clit, so gently. I wanted it more. I could tell he was nervous. I sat up, kissing him passionately and pulling him down on top of me. I reached down and clumsily removed his pants from him.
I never broke our kiss as I wrapped my legs around his waist, granting him easy access. He held back at first, not giving in to what we both wanted.
He broke our kiss and looked down at me. I could see the questioning in his eyes. I took a deep breath and nodded my head once, silently letting him know it was okay. I wanted him. I wanted to feel more of what he'd already given me.
He wrapped a hand around my leg and pulled it up over his hip, opening me up even more. I could feel his penis rub against me so gently. He slowly slipped inside of me, stretching me with every inch he went. I'd never been filled like this before. I screamed as he thrust all the way into me. He stopped, looking down at me with concern.
"It's okay," I whispered, kissing him deeply. He slowly began a steady pace, moving in and out of me. As he built momentum, I closed my eyes, letting every part of my body feel pleasure. He felt so good inside of me. I didn't want this to end. I moaned in ecstasy with every thrust. His hot, sweet breath blew across my face. He leaned into my neck, nipping at my skin with his teeth. "Bella," he breathed.
"I'm okay, Edward. It's okay," I whispered. I wasn't quite sure why he said my name, but I had a feeling he was worried he may be hurting me in some way with all the moaning I was doing.
Within seconds I tightened around him, letting go to everything I was holding back and came into a glorious orgasm. I never knew it could feel as wonderful as it did with him. He groaned, closing his eyes tightly and clenching his teeth as he came inside of me. He collapsed in a heap on top of me. We were both trembling from what we had just experienced.
I lowered my legs to the bed, and brushed through his hair with my fingers with one hand, while the other drew circles on his back.
He sat up bracing himself with his hands on the bed and took in the sight of me below him. He leaned down kissing my lips tenderly, before pulling out of me and lying on the bed next to me.
I couldn't keep the goofy grin off my face. What I had just experienced with him was like nothing I ever imagined was possible. We both stared up at the ceiling, coming down from the high we both had. I didn't exactly know what to say to him, or if I should say anything. I rolled over on my side and closed my eyes. The smile was still on my face.
Seconds later, I felt him roll over on the bed and spoon around me. My smile got bigger as he wrapped his arm around my stomach and began kissing my shoulder. I leaned back into him, placing my hand around his. I turned my head back towards him and smiled up at him. He grinned down at me and kissed me passionately. His kisses were so tender and warm. I really enjoyed kissing him.
We both fell asleep, wrapped around each other. I had never felt more comfortable in someone's arms, as I did when I was in his.
A few hours later, I was awoken by a stream of light through the window, from a passing car. I took a deep breath in, remembering everything Edward and I experienced. I rolled over noticing he had rolled onto his back sometime during the night. I took a second to look at him. I brushed a small curl of hair off of his forehead. He was so beautiful. He still had an innocence about him.
My stomach suddenly tightened as I watched him sleep. What had I done? He was only a kid and I was a twenty five year old woman. I was technically still a married woman. How could I do what I did to him? He deserved so much more in life than an older woman with a lot of baggage. He deserved to have a life. What was going on between us anyway? I hadn't even known him for an entire day yet. What was I thinking having sex with him? Was this some sort of rebellion against Jake? I had to get out of here.
I crawled out of the bed as quietly as I could and tiptoed to the bathroom to change my clothes. I threw on the first thing I could find and pulled my hair up in a ponytail. I slipped out of the bathroom and picked up my clothes off the floor, putting them back in my bag.
Edward mumbled my name in his sleep and rolled over on his side. I thought for sure he heard me and I was caught. But after a few seconds I could hear the rhythmic sounds of his breathing, indicating he was still sleeping. I tiptoed across the floor and sat down in the chair next to the dresser. I pulled out a piece of the hotel stationary and a pen, out of the drawer. I had to leave him some sort of an explanation. I couldn't just leave him here.
First off, I want to apologize for leaving this way, but I think it's for the best. I had an amazing time getting to know you and spending the night with you. You made me feel alive again, which is something I haven't felt in a very long time. You gave me the courage to go on. You gave me the strength to fight. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being who you are. I'll never regret offering you a ride. It was probably one of the smartest things I've ever done.
But unfortunately, I can't risk the possibility something horrible happening to you because of what we did. It's for the best that I left.
As for you, I really think you need to go back to school. I don't want to tell you what to do or make you feel like I'm trying to be your parent, but I always dreamed of going to school and I didn't get the chance. I always wanted to get out of Forks, but I got stuck there. I'm finally taking a chance and getting out. I wish you would do the same. I want you to better yourself and become something great, because I know you have the potential to do amazing things in life. I don't want you to end up the way I did.
You are a very strong and intelligent person and I know you can make it through college. I have faith in your abilities. Maybe you aren't cut out to be a doctor. Maybe you will end up doing something even better. But I know you have more to offer this world. Just please, for me, don't give up and get stuck in Forks. You deserve better. You deserve so much more from life than to give up now.
Whatever you decide to do, I'm leaving you a hundred dollars to help you out. I don't want you to starve or hitchhike anymore. Get a bus ticket, if you can. I wish I could leave you more, but I hope this helps. I'll never forget you. I hope you have a wonderful life.
I had a single tear stream down my face as I read over the letter one last time. Why was it so hard to say goodbye to him?
I left the letter and the hundred dollars sitting on the dresser. I grabbed my stuff, looking back at him one last time. I whispered goodbye and slipped out the door. I climbed into the car and drove away. I pulled into the first gas station I saw open and asked for directions to a greyhound bus station. The guy there was very kind and pointed me in the correct direction.
I drove across town and pulled into the parking lot. I grabbed all my stuff and walked into the building. I bought a ticket for Jacksonville Florida, where my mom lives. I knew Jake already assumed it's where I was going, but I didn't have anywhere else to go. I just hoped my mom would accept me there. She loved Jake and was overjoyed when we got married. She wouldn't be happy knowing I left him.
After I bought my ticket, I slipped the car key in an envelope and sent it out to Jake with a note telling him where the car was. I knew he'd find some way to get it back home.
I waited in the bus station for about two hours, before the bus was ready to board. I found a seat near the back and fought back the tears I felt like shedding. As much as I knew, it was for the best to leave Edward, it still hurt to do so.
As we pulled out onto the main highway, I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes, seeing visions of Edward's smiling face and his piercing green eyes. I don't think I'd ever be able to get his face out of my head. I never wanted to lose the image of him.
I slept most of the trip. There wasn't much else to do during the three and a half day trip. During one of our stops, I did buy a book and a few snacks, but it only took me a few hours to read the entire book. I couldn't afford to buy another one if I wanted to eat during this trip.
I attempted to call my mom on numerous occasions along the way, but I always chickened out.
Once we pulled into the station in Jacksonville, I knew I had no other choice than to finally make the call.
"Hello," my mom answered.
"Hi, mom, it's me."
"Bella," she gasped. "Where are you calling from? It came up as a local number on our caller ID."
"It's because I'm here," I admitted. "Would you be willing to drive to the greyhound bus station and pick me up?"
"Why are you here? What's wrong? How did you get here? Where's Jake?" she asked question after question without giving me a second to answer any of them.
"I can explain everything, but not over the phone. Could you come get me?" I asked again.
"Of course," she agreed. "I'll be there shortly." She hung up and I went outside to wait for her.
About ten minutes later, she pulled up in front of me and hopped out to help me with my bag. I climbed into the passenger seat and she drove off. She glanced back and forth between me and the road with questioning eyes.
"So, are you going to tell me what's going on or do I need to beat it out of you?" she questioned.
I sighed, looking down at my linked hands in my lap. "I left Jake."
"You what?" she exclaimed.
"Mom, you don't understand. He's not what I want out of life. I can't live with him anymore," I explained.
"What happened?" she asked. "I thought you two were having all those treatments done to have a baby. I thought you wanted to make a family with him?"
"Nothing we tried worked. He won't do anything more to make it happen," I revealed.
"So, you left him because you couldn't get pregnant?" she asked.
"No," I whined. "It had nothing to do with a baby. It had to do with how he treated me. I don't want to live like I'm nothing anymore. I don't want to feel like all I am is his slave and he can tell me what I can or can't do. Why do you think I very rarely call you or even have friends in Forks anymore? He won't let me work. He only lets me call you on specific days and only for a short amount of time, because he doesn't want to pay for long distance calling. He won't let me talk to any of my old friends. I'm supposed to do everything he tells me to do and not complain about it. As much as I want a baby and to be a mom, I'm glad I never got pregnant by him. I don't want to be tied to him for the rest of my life. I want out and I already told him I wanted a divorce."
She sat silently for a long time, taking in everything I told her. "What is your plan then? I'm not going to let you live off of me. You're a grown woman and do not need to be living with your mother."
I rolled my eyes. "I'll find a job and get an apartment of my own as soon as possible if you just let me stay with you for a little while."
"I don't know, Bella. All of this sounds a little farfetched. Every time I've been around you and Jake, you both seem so happy and completely in love. I've never sensed any problems between the two of you. Jake always seemed so protective and caring towards you. Maybe you just need a couple days apart and then you can talk things out and everything will be fine."
I sat quietly the rest of the drive back to her house. When she pulled into her driveway, we both sat there without saying a word.
"So, can I stay for a little while, until I get a job and find a place of my own?" I asked.
"Of course you can stay. I just wish I could understand what is going on."
"I told you, mom. I left Jake and I'm getting a divorce. There isn't anything else you need to know." I opened the door and grabbed my bag from the back seat. She walked up to the door and opened it up for me. She showed me around her house and led me down the hall to the spare bedroom.
My parents divorced when I was fifteen. At the time, Jake and I had just begun dating and I didn't want to leave him. I was completely infatuated with him and thought we'd be together forever. I stayed with my dad while my mom moved to Florida. She got remarried a year later. I always suspected she was having some sort of secret affair, even before my parents were through, but I never asked. It was none of my business and personally, I didn't want to know.
Living out my teen years with my dad was hard and awkward, but I got through it. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack about two years ago. It was probably the hardest thing I'd ever gone through. I missed him tremendously. He was the only person I was ever allowed to talk to after Jake and I were married. But once he died, I had no one left.
I walked into the bathroom and turned on the water for a shower. I slipped all my clothes off and got in the tub, letting the hot water spray over me. I closed my eyes imagining where Edward might be now. The thought of him brought tears to my eyes and I began crying uncontrollably. I didn't even know why I was crying so hard. I had nothing to cry about. He was just a boy I happened to cross paths with and would never see again. It didn't mean anything.
I got out of the shower and put on some fresh clothes. I walked out into the kitchen where my mom was attempting to make dinner.
"Do you need any help?" I asked.
"Oh no, it's fine. Why don't you go rest for a couple hours? Phil won't be home for a while. I'll come and get you when dinner is ready." I nodded my head and walked back to the spare room. I laid down on the bed and stared at the portrait of a waterfall on the wall. Something about the picture made me start crying again. I didn't know what it was about the picture, but I couldn't stop crying.
I ended up crying myself to sleep and didn't wake again until the next morning. I crawled out of bed and walked into the living room. No one was around. I went to the kitchen and saw a note on the counter.
I had some errands to run and a yoga class to go to this morning. I should be home around noon. Help yourself to anything you'd like. I left the paper on the table in case you wanted to look through the want ads. See you soon. I hope we can talk a little more today.
I walked to the counter and poured myself a cup of coffee. It was cold, so I had to stick it in the microwave to heat it up. I took one drink and spit it back out. Something about it tasted wrong. Maybe it was just because it was a few hours old and not fresh, but whatever it was I couldn't drink it. I poured it down the drain and toasted an English muffin instead.
I sat down at the table and flipped through the paper for the help wanted section. There were a few promising places who were hiring, I could look into. I grabbed a pen and paper to write down the addresses and phone numbers. I figured tomorrow I'd find a way to get to these places and fill out applications. I needed to get my own place as soon as I could. My mom and I never got a long very well when we lived together, as when I was growing up. It was another reason why I chose to stay with my dad when she left. I loved my mom and I know she loved me, but we were so different at times, it was hard to live with her and not want to yell at her. It was only a matter of time until I felt that way again.
My mom came home around noon, like she predicted she would, and made me sit down with her and tell her everything. I tried to explain to her all I'd been through with Jake. Most times, she looked at me like I was lying or making it more extreme then it truly was. But in the end, she accepted my decision for leaving and didn't ask anymore of me. I never told her about Edward though. I wanted him to remain mine. I didn't want what we shared to be tainted by my judgmental mother. Even if she cheated on dad with her new husband Phil, she would still look down upon me for doing practically the same thing.
At dinner, I finally met Phil. They had been married all these years and I still had never met him. On the rare occasion mom came to visit me, he always had something else going on and couldn't make it. He was nice though. He was very soft spoken and obviously quite a bit younger than my mom was. But he seemed to truly love my mom and want to make her happy. I found out he was a minor league baseball player for many years, until he blew out his knee. Now he's an assistant coach for a local high school baseball team. He also works as a district manager, of a fairly large restaurant chain in the area.
I went to bed early, knowing the next day I'd need to look for a job. The only bad thing about sleeping is all I ever saw was Edward's smiling face.
The next morning, I got up and searched through my mom's closet to find something appropriate to wear. I wanted to look respectable since I was looking for a job.
I picked out a flower print skirt and a simple white blouse. I fixed my hair into a bun and put on a little bit of mascara and lip gloss. Once I was done, I walked into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee. I hoped today it tasted better than it did yesterday. I added some creamer and sugar to it and grabbed a muffin off the counter. I sat down at the table with my mom, who was looking over the paper. She slid the keys across the table to me. I looked down at them, with questioning eyes.
"I've got some things to do around the house today, so I won't be able to drive you around. I thought you might like to use the car to search for a job today. It would give you a chance to get familiar with the city as well," she offered.
I smiled and grabbed the keys. "Thanks Mom."
I finished up my coffee and muffin and headed out to the car. I didn't know where I was going or what I was looking for, but I was determined to make a new life here. I had to.
I drove around the city, looking for the few places I had found in the paper. I stopped at a couple places along the way in hopes of not only getting direction, but inquiring about a job, too. It seemed like no one was hiring though.
I finally did find one of the places I had found in the paper. It was a factory setting and they looked like they would hire anyone. I filled out the application and turned it into the secretary. She said they'd be in touch. I couldn't wait. I needed something as soon as possible.
Instead of going to the next place on my list, I stopped at the mall for some lunch. I figured I could look around the mall for some places hiring too. I didn't care where I worked as long as I could find something paying.
After eating, I walked around and asked every store or kiosk there. When I came across a bookstore, I walked in and searched for an employer. I looked around but only saw people looking at books. The store was actually quite busy, so I was surprised there wasn't anyone at the front desk.
"Can I help you?" an older gentleman, who walked up behind me with an arm load of books, asked.
"Uh, hi," I greeted with a smile. He sat the stack of books on the counter in front of him. "I was wondering if you might be hiring."
He stopped what he was doing and looked up at me with wide eyes. "Are you serious?"
"Uh," I muttered, confused by the question.
"Sorry," he apologized. "I just wasn't expecting you to walk in and ask for a job."
"If you're not hiring, I can leave."
"No, no," he stopped. "What I mean is, I had this teenage girl working for me and this morning she up and quit on me. I've been frantic all day trying to keep up with everything. You walking in and asking for a job is like a dream come true. Do you have any experience working with books?"
"I worked at a library through most of my teenage years."
"When would you be able to start?" he asked.
I smiled. "Now… Tomorrow… Whenever you need me to start, I will."
"Great," he sighed in relief. "Could you start with unloading the boxes of books in the back and marking them with a price tag?" I nodded my head and he led me back to the storeroom. He showed me what to do and said at the end of the day we could take care of all the paperwork. I was so giddy with excitement.
I worked the rest of the day at marking the books and unloading the boxes. Mr. Caius, my new boss, said he needed to get ready for the holiday rush and losing one of his employees was really stressful. He had just hired her about a week ago and already she quit. He kept saying how grateful he was I walked into his store and asked for a job.
At the end of the day, I filled out the paperwork and told him I'd be back in the morning. He said he'd work out a work schedule and asked if I was opposed to working overtime during the busy season. Of course, I wasn't. I was more than happy to work as much as he needed me to.
I rushed back to my mom's house, and told my mom and Phil about my new job. I couldn't believe I already had a job and it only took about a half of a day.
I worked at the bookstore every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from three in the afternoon to closing, it was perfect. I still had my mornings open to enjoy the warm weather and I had a steady paycheck coming in.
My mom and Phil were both happy for me. I think my excitement made it even easier for them to be happy.
About a week before Thanksgiving and the dreaded Black Friday shopping day, which I volunteered to work, I got really sick. I was puking almost all day long. Eating was unappealing. All I wanted to do was sleep. I figured it was some sort of flu, but I couldn't get rid of it. I had to actually take a couple days off when it was really bad. I hated doing it since I had only been working a few weeks. I figured this would look really bad on my accountability. However, Mr. Caius was very sympathetic and told me to take all the time I needed to get better.
When I didn't think I'd ever get better, my mom insisted I see a doctor. I tried to tell her no, since I didn't have insurance, but she said she'd take care of it. So I went.
"You're pregnant!" the doctor said. I stared at him with a blank expression. I think my heart may have stopped beating. I couldn't breathe. How could this happen?
He gave me the card of an obstetrician in the area and a packet on what I should expect and what I can do to alleviate the morning sickness. I walked out of his office in a haze. My mom kept asking me what the doctor said, but I couldn't speak. I just laid my head back against the seat and closed my eyes. What was I going to do now? How could I have a baby when I was just starting to make a life of my own here? The thought of being pregnant made all those memories of Edward come rushing back to me. It had to be his. How could it possibly be Jake's? How do I tell my family I'm pregnant with a child, who's not my husband's?
I was so overwhelmed with all of this news. I went straight to my room and crawled under the covers to cry. If this baby was Edward's how would I tell him? Or could I even tell him? I knew I could contact his parents back in Forks. But they very well might not know where he is. He might have continued on in his journey to nowhere. Maybe I'd never find him. But even if I could, how could I tell him? I'd never expect him to be a father at eighteen. I couldn't do that to him. He deserved to have a life and make something of himself. Not be tied down to a baby he accidentally helped create on one night of stupidity. I couldn't tell him. I had to raise this baby on my own. I could do it.
The more I thought about, the happier I got. Not only was I getting my only wish in life, but I was getting something to remember Edward. As much as I tried, I couldn't get him out of my thoughts.
The next morning my mom walked into the bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed.
"I'm really worried about you, Bella. I wish you would tell me what the doctor said. Is it something serious? Please, just tell me what it is," she begged.
I rolled over on the bed to face her. "It's nothing serious mom. Well, at least I don't think it is. I guess it all depends on how you look at it," I admitted.
"Then, what's going on?" I sighed, internally questioning if I was ready to tell her everything. I knew I had no choice, but to eventually tell her. I just wished I didn't have to. "Jake's been calling. He's really worried about you. I told him about you being sick. He wants to fly out to see you. I told him I thought it might be a good idea."
"You did what?" I shouted. "How could you?"
"Bella, he's worried about you. He just wants to see how you're doing and try to work things out with you."
"Mom, things can't be worked out. I'm not going back. I can't now. I'm pregnant," I screamed.
"You're what?" she asked in shock. She sat there silently for a few minutes taking in the news. I was practically in tears at what she said about Jake coming. I couldn't deal with him right now. I rolled over facing the wall, holding in the tears. "This is great news, Bella. This is exactly what you and Jake wanted. Now, you can both work things out and be happy."
"I'm not ever going to be happy with him. I'm not going back to him."
"Bella, please, I know you're upset at him and you have every right to be. I don't want you ending up in some huge custody battle, though. I have a feeling Jake would not just let you have the baby and never want to see the it. You need to think about what's best for the baby."
"Is that what you did with me? Did you stay with dad just because of me?" I could hear her sigh, but she didn't answer. I already knew the answer. "How did that work out for you, Mom? How did it work out for me?" I waited a second before I continued. "Besides, I'll just tell him it's not his and then there's nothing he could do about it."
"Bella, all he'd have to do is petition for a DNA test to prove it's his. Then it would look really bad for your case if you lied to him. You can't lie to prevent a custody battle," she argued.
"I'm not lying, Mom. The baby isn't his."
"Then, whose is it?" she asked. I could tell she was upset and maybe a little disappointed, but she was trying to hold it in.
"It doesn't matter. I'm never going to see him again and he has no idea or ever will."
"Are you planning on having the baby?" she asked. "It's going to be a lot of work to be a single parent. And have you thought about diseases or anything? I'm assuming it wasn't protected sex, since you got pregnant. Did the doctor today check you out?"
"Mom," I whined. "Can you please, just leave it alone? I can take care of myself." I crawled out of bed and ran to the bathroom to puke my guts out. Not only was I scared and frustrated and extremely mad, but I was also suffering from morning sickness.
Once I finished puking, I took a quick shower and headed to work. I grabbed something to eat in the food court before I started my shift.
If Jake was coming here, I needed to get as far away as possible. I didn't want to face him. I had received my first paycheck, so I had money. I could leave for a while or hide out somewhere. I'm sure my mom would fill him in on the news. Then I wouldn't have to.
The next morning, I looked through the paper for an apartment I could rent. Only problem was I couldn't afford anything on what I was making. I thought it was a lost cause until I came across a shared rental. The ad stated: Twenty-two year old female student, looking for a roommate to share expenses of a condo; private room, private bath, shared living space. Four hundred dollars a month rent, includes all utilities.
It was almost too good to be true. I quickly called up the number and talked to the woman about the condo. She said her name was Alice and she only had one other inquiry all day about the room. I told her a little about me, leaving out the pregnancy and the impending divorce from Jake. I just told her I was new to the area and living with my mom at the moment, but I needed a place to call my own. I told her I had a steady job and didn't have much to move in. Which was one of her main concerns, because she already had the place decorated with her stuff and wasn't sure she wanted anyone bringing in even more to clutter it. I assured her it wouldn't be a problem. All I needed was my own space.
She agreed to meet with me and give me a tour of the condo, so I rode the bus over to her place. I walked up the stairs to the number she gave me, took a deep breath, and knocked on the door.
I didn't even have a chance to lower my hand from the door, before it flew open. There she stood this petite young girl with spiky black hair and a huge smile on her face.
"Hi, I'm…," I began.
"You must be Bella," she interrupted, excitedly. "Come on in." I stepped into her place and looked around. It was cozy and very well decorated. She had nice plush red couches with a small cherry coffee table in the middle of the room. There were beautiful paintings all over the walls. It was a really nice place. I could see myself liking it here already.
"These are lovely paintings?" I complimented.
"You think?" she asked, almost sounding like she disagreed with me. "These aren't even some of my better ones."
"You painted these?" I asked, glancing at her with wide eyes.
"Guilty," she answered, with a smile. Just as she said it, a man came walking out from the back. He startled me at first. He seemed a little reserved and almost angry. He had wavy blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was quite tall, at least compared to Alice. The biggest thing I noticed was the scowl on his face. I tried to smile at him, but it was hard to do without a little fear inside of me.
Alice walked over to him and gave him a small peck on the cheek. "This is my boyfriend Jasper. He's not so happy about me getting a roommate. I keep insisting it'll be fine once I find the right person, but he's afraid I'm going to get hurt in some way." She smiled up at him, playfully.
"Well, I can assure you, if you accept me as your roommate, I would never do anything to hurt you. I'm an honest and trustworthy person. My father was the chief of police back in Forks Washington, where I grew up and he taught me morals and right from wrong," I explained.
"Wow, your dad is a police officer? Will he be visiting at all?" Alice asked. "I'd love to ask him questions about police work. It's always been a strange passion of mine."
"He died a couple years ago."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she gasped. "I should have kept my mouth closed."
"It's okay, really." I smiled trying to assure her it was not a problem.
"Would you like to see the rest of the house?" She asked, changing the subject. I nodded my head and followed her around. She showed me the kitchen and small eating area. Then we went down the hall and she showed me where my room would be. It was actually quite large and had two very nice windows, which let in lots of natural light. I looked out one of the windows and loved the view of the park across the street. There was a good size closet and a small bathroom connected to the room. It was perfect, in my opinion.
"So, like I said, you're welcome to do anything you want to your room. If you want to paint or add anything, feel free to. All I ask, is if it's going to be a big project at all, you let me know so I can prepare for it. I am a student, so sometimes I need some quiet time to study," Alice explained.
"Does this mean you're giving me the room?" I asked, turning back to her.
"Of course," she laughed. "I can already tell we're going to be the best of friends. Jasper can too. He's just being a little testy today."
"Thank you, so much," I breathed. It was such a relief to know I had somewhere to live.
"I only ask for the four-hundred dollars a month to be delivered on the first. This month, since it's almost over I'll pro-rate it if you want to move in right away. And of course the four-hundred dollar deposit. You don't have any pets do you?" she wondered.
"No, I don't," I assured.
"Good," she sighed. "I'm allergic to animal hair, so I can't have animals around. I got a knot in my stomach. I should probably let her know about the baby. I didn't think it would be possible for her to be allergic to a baby, but it might be disruptive to her school work. Or she might not like kids all together.
"Um," I began, hesitantly. I stared down at the ground, trying to find the right words. "I should probably let you know now. I just found out I'm pregnant. I hope it won't be a problem."
"Oh," she said. She paused for a moment not saying anything. This was bad. She glanced at Jasper, with a concerned look.
"Will the father be moving in with you or will he be visiting often?" she questioned.
"No," I replied. "I'm actually going through a divorce. And to be honest the baby isn't his. The father was a one night stand I had after I made the choice to leave my husband. I'm not normally like that. It was a momentary lapse in judgment. I don't know how to find him or even attempt to contact him, so I'll be having this baby alone. I hope having a baby around won't be a problem."
"Are you kidding? Your baby is going to be the most spoiled baby by his auntie Alice." I smiled at the title she gave herself already. It made me feel good to know she was already so accepting of me and the baby. I think she was right. We will be great friends.
After I gave her the rent money for the rest of the month and the deposit, I went to a store and bought an air mattress and a bed set. I also got a small side table and an alarm clock, as well as some bathroom necessities. Everything else would have to wait until I got another paycheck. The air mattress would do for now too, until I could buy an actual bed. But I'd need to start saving money for the baby too, so things will have to happen slowly.
I went back to my mom's and explained to her how I found a place to live and my roommate was very nice and cordial. She didn't need to worry about me. I packed up my stuff and asked Phil to drive me over. I was hesitant letting either of them drive me. I didn't want them to tell Jake where to find me. But with all the stuff I had, it would have been hard taking the bus. I figured asking Phil was a better option than asking my mom. At least Phil seemed to be on my side in all of this. My mom still acted like I needed to go back to Jake and work things out. It got a little irritating with her at times.
I moved my stuff in and Alice and I spent the rest of the night chatting and laughing. It was nice to have someone to talk to again. I did end up telling her about Jake, but I still kept Edward hidden. She hated Jake immediately and told me if he happened to show up, she'd call the police and have him arrested. I was so glad to have someone else on my side.
The next day was a typical day at work. Mr. Caius was frazzled with his orders and shipments coming in. There were far too many books for the small store, but he was hoping for a big sale on Black Friday, so he wanted to be ready.
I called back to Mr. Caius and the other employee, who were back in the store room to tell them I was going to take my lunch break. I walked towards the door and out to the food court. That's where I saw him. Jake was sitting at a table, watching me. I gasped at first sight. How did he find me? But then I thought of my mom. She would have told him. He motioned for me to come over. I sighed and dropped my shoulders, before walking over to him and sitting down across from him.
"If it was a job you wanted, we could have discussed it," he remarked.
I rolled my eyes. "It wasn't a job. I work to support myself."
"What, I couldn't support you well enough?" he asked, sarcastically.
"It has nothing to do with you supporting me financially. I left because you weren't supportive in other ways."
"Did I not spend thousands of dollars trying to get you pregnant? Was I not being supportive then?"
"But you made a point to tell me how much it cost and how upset you were to have to spend all your money on something as ridiculous as a fertility specialist. Then after it didn't work, instead of being sympathetic and emotionally available for me you put me down and made me feel even worse."
"What exactly is it you want from me?" he shouted. I shushed him and glanced around to see if anyone was staring. I didn't want to make a scene, but I didn't want to be alone with him either.
"All I want is for you to leave me alone. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to contact a divorce attorney. I hope we can do this civil and as uncomplicated as possible."
"Your mom let it slip you're pregnant. Nothing about this is going to be uncomplicated. If you think you will be keeping my baby from me on the other side of the country, you're fucking crazy. I will fight for custody and I will win. So unless you want a nasty custody battle, I think you're only option is to come home. This baby needs both parents. And since you brought it up, I did pay for that baby, so it's rightfully mine. Don't even try to mess with me, Bella. You will lose," he warned.
I glared at him. How dare he threaten me? I'm not going to be pushed around by him anymore. It's why I left in the first place. "First of all, I have no intention, of ever going back to you. I will be filing for divorce as soon as I possibly can. As for a custody battle, you can't fight for a child, who is not even yours."
"What?" he asked, bewildered by what I admitted.
"The baby isn't yours," I repeated.
"You're bluffing. You would never cheat on me. You couldn't have. I would have found out. Everyone in Forks gossips, it would have gotten out," he claimed.
"It wasn't someone from Forks." I knew I was lying, because technically Edward was from Forks, but Jake didn't need to know.
He sat back in his chair and crossed his arms. He had an amused grin on his face. "So who is this mystery man, who isn't from Forks?" he mocked.
"It's none of your business. All you need to know is the baby isn't yours."
"Well, I don't believe you. I'll be contacting my attorney and finding out what my next step will be to gain custody of my child once it's born. Unless of course, you'd like to change your mind, and come home," he wondered.
I stood from the table, glaring down at him. "No way in hell will I ever change my mind," I promised. I walked away and went into the bathroom. I ended up puking again from the nerves running through me. I kept thinking back to the dates and wondering if I was correct. What if Edward wasn't the father like I thought? What if Jake did end up being the dad? What would I do? I knew it would be a hard fight against Jake. Did I even have it in me to fight him on this? All I knew was I had to start figuring things out now, before the baby was born.
I went home after my shift and cried for a good two hours. Alice was extremely concerned and did her best to comfort me. I had only known her for a day, but she was so easy to talk to and comforting. I told her the entire story of what happened and I told her about my one night stand with Edward. I figured she'd be judgmental like my mom seemed to be, but she was kind and understanding. She promised me we would do everything possible to make sure Jake never touched the baby. I hoped she was right.
After a restless night's sleep, I figured I needed to contact some divorce attorneys and find out about cost and custody, in case it came to that. The cost was so much more than I expected. By the end of the day, I was once again in tears. There was no way I could afford all of this. I was lost and distraught. I had no idea what to do.
I talked to my mom and Phil about it and they didn't seem to be much help at all. They suggested I get a second job or a better paying one. I had hoped they would offer to help me out financially with the attorney, but they didn't. I guess my only option was to get a second job.
I searched all week long for something. Phil finally approached me and said he might be able to get me a job at the school he coaches at. He overheard some people he knows, saying they were in desperate need of an assistant in the library. He told me where to go and who to talk to. I was hopeful, but I didn't think it would work out.
"Hello, I'm here to meet Mrs. Cope," I greeted, at the office of the school. I was led back to an office and greeted by short woman with graying hair and thick glasses on.
"You must be Isabella," she greeted.
"Yes, hello, it's so nice to meet you."
"Have a seat." She pointed out the chair across from her desk and I sat down, waiting for this to begin.
"You came highly recommended by Phil Dwyer. He's been with this school as a coach in baseball and soccer for many years and he's an amazing man. He's your step-dad, correct?"
"Yes, he is. He's been really nice to me during all of this."
"On your application it says you worked at your community library for many years and currently you work at a book store in the mall. Are you sure working in our library wouldn't be too much on you? I'm concerned you may be burned out from books."
"Oh, no," I insisted. "I could never get sick of books. I love to read and I enjoy the work I do at the book store."
"May I ask why you're looking for a second job?" she asked.
"Well," I began, nervously. This is where I always lost the job. People weren't willing to hire anyone who was pregnant. But it would be worse if I lied. "I recently found out I'm pregnant. My ex-husband is threatening to sue for custody. But he's a horrible man and I need to start saving money now so I can fight him. I can't let my child live in the environment I had to endure. I have to fight for my baby, but it takes a lot of money to do so."
She looked at me sympathetically. "When are you due?" she asked, quietly.
"In July," I answered. She nodded her head.
"Well, you definitely have the experience. The only thing I'm concerned about is this is a temporary job. Our assistant librarian just had a baby herself and is planning to take the rest of the year off to take care of her baby. She has every intention of coming back next August. And of course the school year ends in May."
"I don't mind. I just need something for right now. If I need to look for another job afterwards, I will."
She nodded her head and smiled. You would need to be here during school hours, so I'd have to ask you to do a back ground check. Mostly what you'd be doing is putting away books and cleaning up after the kids. The librarian will have the most contact with the kids, but by law, anyone working here has to have a background check."
"I understand. It shouldn't be a problem."
"Well, okay then. You have yourself a job," she announced. "As soon as I get the background check back, you can start. I'll let you know when I get it."
I grinned and let out a relieved giggle. "Thank you so much." I stood to my feet and shook her hand. She told me where I needed to go for the background check and wished me luck.
I rushed across town before the fingerprinting place closed, in hopes I could get in. Thankfully the lady at the front desk was happy to fit me in. I got fingerprinted and had to fill out quite a bit of paperwork.
I started working there Monday through Friday, from eight to two at the beginning of December. I didn't have a lot of free time available anymore, but I needed to make sure I could afford an attorney, if it came to a custody battle.
The next nine months, went fairly easy. Once I figured out how to prevent the morning sickness, or all day sickness in my case, things got a lot easier. I didn't have many complications during the pregnancy, other than being tired all the time. My doctor insisted I was doing too much and I needed to take a break, but I couldn't.
Jake had done as he threatened and contacted an attorney. I had no choice but to do the same. I hired Karen Newton as my attorney. She explained since I didn't want anything from Jake, the divorce should be easy. However, if it turned into a custody battle, then it could get ugly. I explained to her the situation. I left Edward's name out of it completely and only gave the facts. She said if the baby wasn't Jake's, then it shouldn't be a problem. It would be better if the other potential father was present and willing to take responsibility even if the baby wasn't his. It would give us an edge of a solid family unit. I knew it wasn't an option to find Edward. I didn't even know if he'd be willing to take on his own child. How could I expect him to take on someone else's child? I didn't want him to anyway. I wanted him to be happy and live a life he wasn't tied down to out of obligation. But either way, she assured me she would fight for me as long as she needed to.
I enjoyed working at my jobs very much. The school was great. I became friends with many of the teachers and assured them I would come back to visit once the baby was born.
I had purchased an old, beat-up truck to get to and from work. It wasn't the greatest, but it ran. I bought a bed for myself and a few other decorative items to put in my room. Alice even painted a portrait of me with my pregnant belly. It was one of the most cherished things I owned. I hung it on the wall above my bed, so I could see it every day. She also promised to paint a portrait of the baby as soon as he was born.
I found out around twenty weeks, I was having a boy. I couldn't be happier. I pictured him looking exactly like Edward in my dreams. I wondered how much of Edward's features he'd have. I hoped daily, he didn't look like Jake.
At the bookstore, everyone I worked with threw me a baby shower. I was so surprised and overwhelmed by all of their generosity. Alice threw a baby shower as well, but I didn't know half the people who came. I was polite and friendly to all of them and thanked them for their gifts, but it was a little awkward. Alice explained they were all friends of hers and she talks about me constantly, so they all wanted to help me out. I couldn't believe how thoughtful everyone was being.
Alice and I became even closer over the months and she was the only one I wanted present when the baby was born. My mom, of course, had a fit about it and insisted she should be present. I ended up giving in and allowing her to come in too. It would save me stress in the long run.
Jake called me constantly and insisted on updates on the pregnancy. I hated telling him anything, but my attorney said it would look better for our case if I was cooperative. The problem was if the baby wasn't his, I didn't want him knowing anything.
About two weeks before my due date, he showed up in Florida. He would sit outside of the bookstore and wait for me to come out. I eventually had to have Mr. Caius walk me out to my truck every night. He would follow me home and sit outside the condo all hours of the night. I did confront him about it, and he said he was only here to wait for the baby to be born. He didn't trust me and thought I'd do something to mess with the DNA test. He wanted to be present through it all.
I asked my attorney what I could do about it, but she said there really wasn't much I could do. He wasn't confronting me or doing anything physical. I could get a restraining order, but it wouldn't do much good since he was keeping his distance anyway and would probably continue to follow me around and practically stalk me everywhere I went.
Jasper began staying the night almost every night. He was worried about us being alone with Jake outside. I was really beginning to like Jasper. He was overly protective of Alice, but not in a smothering way. He was sweet to her and cared deeply about her safety and happiness.
On my last night at the bookstore, I walked out to my truck with Mr. Caius and we talked for a few minutes. He assured me once my leave was over I had a job to come back to. He wished me luck and told me I'd better bring the baby in for everyone to gush over as soon as I possibly could. I promised him I would and gave him a goodbye hug. I got in my truck and drove away.
Like always, Jake was right behind me and followed me home in his own car. I had planned to stop and get some pizza for Alice and I and most likely Jasper, that night. I had been craving pizza all week and tonight seemed like a great night to have it. It was sort of like a celebration since it was my last night at work. I was a little concerned about stopping anywhere with Jake following me, but it was a public place and there would be people around if he tried to come near me.
I grabbed my purse and opened my truck door to get out. Jake had somehow parked and made it over to me, before I even had a chance to get out of my truck.
"Who the hell was that?" he shouted, grabbing my door.
"Who?" I shouted back.
"The guy you walk out with every night. Who is he? Why were you laughing and hugging him?" he demanded.
"Jake, he's my boss. Tonight was my last night of work. He was wishing me well. I gave him a goodbye hug. There is nothing wrong with being friendly."
"Hugging your boss is a little too friendly, don't you think?" he argued.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head in embarrassment. "I'm not having this conversation with you. In a short time we will be divorced. If I want to have friends and even date someone, I will. You can't tell me what to do anymore."
"I am legally still your husband. I'll do anything I damn well please," he sneered. "And don't you dare roll your eyes at me. You've had your little freedom adventure. Once that baby is born, you'll be coming home."
"No, I won't," I insisted. "I'm not changing my mind on this. I will not ever go back to you."
"You do realize you're the laughing stock back home, right? Everyone thinks you're crazy for leaving me. And your desperate attempt to trick me into thinking this baby isn't mine is beyond pathetic. I talked to the specialist we were seeing and she assured me it was very possible they got the test results wrong. It was still early in the pregnancy."
"You, and everyone back in Forks, can think anything you want. I don't plan to ever go back there, so I'll never see any of them or have to face them," I insisted. "In a few days, once you have solid proof this baby isn't yours, I'll never have to see you either." He just laughed, mockingly at what I said.
"What are you going to do, invent some father who doesn't exist? A DNA test doesn't lie and once I have my proof, you'll be seen as nothing more than a fool. I'll have my son and you'll have nothing. I'll be sure you never see him again." He pushed off the door and stepped away. I hated him so much. I hated him for making me feel helpless and weak. I waited until he was back over at his car, before I shut my door and walked into the pizza parlor. I ordered the pizza and paid, with shaking hands and voice.
"Are you okay, Miss?" the young girl behind the counter asked.
"I'm fine," I assured, with a smile. She watched me closely as I sat down on the bench to wait for my pizza. I had to take many deep breaths to calm down. I seriously wanted all of this to be over. I couldn't do it anymore.
Once my pizza was done, I had calmed down quite a bit, but as soon as I walked out and saw Jake standing up against his car watching me, I got the tightness in my stomach again. I quickly got in my truck and locked all the doors. On the drive home, I called Alice and explained to her what happened. She said her and Jasper would be downstairs waiting for me.
All the way home, my stomach hurt. I didn't even want to eat anymore. All I could do was cry. What if the baby was his and I was forced to give him to Jake? I wouldn't do it. I'd run and hide somewhere if I had to. I never wanted him to even touch my child. All I could do was hope I was right and this baby was Edward's, not Jake's.
I pulled into the parking lot at the condos. Like they promised Alice and Jake were right there, waiting for me. As soon as I saw them, I felt such a relief come over me.
I turned off the ignition and opened the door. I handed Alice the pizza, before reaching for my stuff. Jasper put his hand out to help me. I took it and pulled myself out of the truck. As soon as I did, I had a sharp pain hit me. It took my breath away and made me fall forward. Jasper caught me in his arms to support me.
"Are you okay, Bella?" he asked.
"Um," I cried.
"Bella," Alice called.
"Get your hands off my wife?" Jake yelled from across the parking lot. My entire body tensed up when I heard him. I was terrified for Jasper. I tried to wiggle free from Jasper's arms in fear of what might happen, but he wouldn't let go of me.
"Bella, what's wrong? Did he hurt you?" Jasper asked. I shook my head vigorously. I closed my eyes as another sharp pain hit me.
"I said get your hands off my wife," Jake shouted again, standing behind me. He grabbed my arm and yanked me towards him. Jasper held tight and wouldn't let Jake get a hold of me.
"Sir, I suggest you back off. I don't want to call the police. Now give her a minute to get her bearings," Jasper suggested.
"Give her to me. I'll take care of her," Jake demanded. I grabbed onto Jasper's arm, tightly.
"Jasper, I need to sit down," I whispered. He looked down at me and brushed some of my hair out of my face.
"Do you need to go to the hospital?" he wondered. I nodded my head. "Okay, Alice is upstairs. Once she's back, we'll get you there." He helped me up into the truck so I could sit down and stood in the doorway in a protective manner.
"Are you in labor?" Jake asked. I didn't answer.
Alice came running downstairs with the phone in her hand. "I'm calling the police, if you don't get out of here," she threatened.
"Just get her to the hospital," Jake shouted. "I'll follow behind. I don't want my son being born in a parking lot."
"No, how about you go home. This is Bella's baby. Not yours," Alice screamed.
"Alice," Jasper warned. "Let's go. Call the hospital and let them know we're on our way and tell them we may need security."
I don't know what happened after that. The next thing I knew, I was ushered into the back seat of a car with Alice and Jasper began driving. I felt like I was in some sort of trance. I couldn't hear anything. I couldn't see anything. All I could do was feel and what I felt was pain. The pain was everywhere. I closed my eyes tightly, begging for the pain to stop.
Alice got me into a wheelchair and wheeled me into the hospital. I could hear Jake arguing with her to let him do it. Alice wouldn't let him though. I checked in and they brought me up to my room. Jasper was outside of my room doing his best to keep Jake at bay. I could hear him shouting outside of my room and demanding to be let in.
"Alice, please make him go away," I begged. "I don't want him in here."
"They are. There's security out there and even your mom and stepdad are trying to get him to calm down. It'll be fine. I won't let him in here," she assured. "You just focus on breathing." I closed my eyes and did everything I could to block out the commotion outside of my room. The nurse came in and got an IV set up and put the monitors on my abdomen. I wanted an epidural as soon as possible. I couldn't handle the pain anymore. Being stressed about Jake making a huge scene right outside my room and the fear the baby could be his and he'd try to take him away from me, made the pain even worse.
I was in labor throughout the night. I was exhausted and still not having any relief from the pain. My doctor didn't want me to have an epidural until I was at least five centimeters dilated. It was torture waiting to get to that point. When I finally reached five centimeters, it was such a huge relief. I finally felt like I could breathe again.
Thankfully the security guards, with the help of Jasper and Phil, were able to get Jake calmed down. He had to wait in the waiting room with them until there was news about the baby. If he made a scene again, he would be removed from the premises. He took them seriously and controlled himself.
Alice and my mom stayed by my side through all of it. I was surprised how glad I was to have my mom there with me. She was extremely supportive and knew exactly what to do to help me relax and get through each contraction. Alice didn't know much about it, but she stayed right there with me and let me squeeze her hand.
"Alright Bella, it's time," my doctor, announced. "I'm going to get myself ready and we're going to have this baby." As soon as my doctor said it, this overwhelming feeling of fear came over me. This was it. This was the moment I would find out my fate. Would this be Edward's child or Jake's child? Would I have to fight for him, or would I be free to be a mom to my child?
"I'm going to give the men a quick update," my mom said. "I'll be right back." She squeezed my shoulder reassuringly, before walking out into the hall. I squeezed Alice's hand as tight as I could and looked up at her with tears in my eyes.
"What if this baby is Jake's?" I cried. "I can't do it, Alice. I'm not strong enough to fight him. He's going to take my baby." I began sobbing uncontrollably.
"Bella," Alice demanded, grabbing my face between her hands. "You are strong enough. If you can go through nine months of being pregnant, while working two jobs and dealing with that asshole harassing you on a daily basis, and go through this excruciating labor, you can fight him. He will not take this baby from you." I nodded my head, trying to hold the sobs back. "You focus on bringing this baby into the world. Don't worry about anything else." She let go of my face and grabbed a washcloth to wipe my tears away.
My mom walked back in, right when the doctor and nurses did. "Okay, Bella," my doctor said. "Here's where it counts. I need you to push on your next contraction.
I did as she said and the next contraction I felt, I pushed with all my might. I pushed and pushed and nothing was happening. I wanted to scream. Why wasn't he coming out?
"You're almost there, Bella. He's getting really close. Just keep pushing. You're doing great," my mom encouraged. Alice continued to wipe my face with the washcloth. I think she was more nervous than I was.
"One more push, Bella and the head will be out," my doctor added. I took a deep breath and pushed as hard as I could. "There you go the heads out. Now stop for a minute and relax. I collapsed back on my pillow and panted from the labor.
"Can you see him?" I asked. "What does he look like?" I wanted to know if he looked like Jake or Edward. Neither Alice nor my mom would tell me anything. It scared me when they wouldn't tell me. It had to be bad if they weren't saying anything.
"Bella, one more small push and he'll be out," my doctor instructed. I sat up and grabbed my knees to push one last time. "He's out. You did it."
I sat up trying to get a better look of him. I wanted to see him. I wanted to touch him. "Can I see him now?" I begged.
"The nurses are checking him out and getting him cleaned up. It'll only be a couple seconds more," my doctor assured.
"Why isn't he crying?"
"He's just fine, Bella. Not all babies cry right away. Just as she was explaining, I finally heard a little cry come from across the room.
"Mom, who does he look like?" I asked. "Please, just tell me." I started crying once again. I knew it had to be Jake's.
"This little boy wants to see his mommy," the nurse cooed. She wrapped him up in a blanket and carried him across the room to me. I wiped my tears and held out my arms for him. She gingerly placed him in my arms. He was still crying, but I held him close, looking down at him and rubbed his little head, which had the slightest amount of reddish- brown hair. "Hi, my baby," I cried. When he heard my voice, he slowly opened his eyes. There staring back at me, were Edward's green eyes. I had read most babies were born with blue eyes and they would change within a few months. But not my baby, he had the bright green eyes I saw in my dreams every night. "My baby Edward."
"Get out of my way," I heard Jake shout. I looked up and saw him pushing his way through the door. He met my eyes for a split second, before rushing across the room. He looked down at the baby in my arms, studying him carefully. I watched his expressions, waiting for some sort of reaction. I held my baby close to my chest. His eyes slowly rose to mine. He looked hurt and betrayed. For a moment, I actually felt guilty and heartbroken for him. He knew it was over. Before he turned to walk out of the room, I was sure I saw a tear form in his eye. He never said a word or made a scene like I expected him to. He simply walked out. It was the last time I ever saw him.
Part 2 posted tonight too