Safe Haven (Rewrite)
I wiped the bar top, staring out at the regulars at the Swans. We had just reopened after being closed for six months. I was going to sell Swans, but at the last minute, I just couldn't. It wasn't what Pops would have wanted, and I just couldn't part with this place. It held so many memories for me, and I know that that was true for many of the people in town as well. I couldn't sell, I just couldn't. So I packed up my tiny apartment in Seattle and moved Emerson and I back to a town I swore I would never set foot in again. It took months of cleaning and planning, but Swans finally opened back up, and was actually bringing in some decent business.
I looked over at the men who were lining the bar. There were some old faces like Mike Newton Sr. and Waylin - one of my dad's fishing buddies - but there were some new faces as well. Apparently when the Seattle Seahawks moved closer to Forks, it revived the small, dying logging town. The football players were snatching up land all throughout Forks, which lay about an hour from Seattle and thirty minutes from their newly built stadium.
It was a welcome revival for the town. I bet Esme Cullen was up to her eyeballs with clients now. I heard the Cullen clan was coming back after leaving a while back. Carlisle had gotten an opportunity to go to England for two years to teach at Oxford, and couldn't turn it down. His sabbatical was up now, and they were due to return at any minute.
Esme was taking back over her architectural company, Cullen Designs . . . which had been getting clients left and right now with the upturn of the economy here in Forks. She needed to resume being the face for the company, not Aria Banner, who was capable, she just wasn't Esme Cullen.
My stomach dropped thinking about the matriarch of the Cullen. I tried so hard not to think of them over the past couple of years, but every so often, the thought of them flitted across my mind.
How could it not?
"Bella?" A familiar voice interrupted my thoughts. A voice from the past.
"Bella . . . Bella Swan?"
"Alice!" Angela yelled from the table she was currently working on. She ran up to Alice, giving me a couple of seconds to compose myself.
Did I mention how much I love Angela? She knew almost everything and knew I would need a moment. Angela was keeping her busy for a moment, showing her the changes around while I pulled myself together.
Don't lose it now. You just opened for the night.
Shit, Alice Brandon was back. I held my breath for a second, plastering on a smile for her. Maybe this would blow over fairly quickly . . . maybe she was just here for a visit.
I left the sanctity from behind the bar and greeted my best friend from high school. We had gone to separate colleges, her in New York and me in Seattle, but had always come back to Forks for the school breaks. Alice, in true Alice Brandon fashion, launched herself at me.
"Alice Brandon, I thought you were going to Paris and to make a big name for yourself in fashion. What are you doing back in Forks?"
What the hell indeed.
"Plans didn't exactly go the way I thought they would go," she replied, and I could relate to that. She wiggled her left hand in front of me and I saw the sparkle of an engagement ring on her finger.
"Congratulations." I told her. Alice was truly an awesome person and she deserved all the best.
"Jasper and I are getting married in six months."
"Jasper as in Jasper Cullen . . . as in one of the Cullen Triplets?"
"I haven't heard them called that in the longest time, but yes, the one and only."
"But you two couldn't stand each other in high school," I told her puzzled. They were always going at it like cats and dogs.
"A rouse," she explained. "Typical for us. We saw each other last summer and just could keep our hands off each other. It's like it was always meant to be. Jazz is an architect with Esme now, and I came to see if Pops would hire me."
"My grandfather died about nine months ago." My voiced cracked thinking of Phillip Swan, the original proprietor of Swans. "Charlie and I originally closed Swans and we were going to sell it, but when push came to shove, I couldn't do it. I moved back from Seattle a couple of months ago to reopen and run the join. I couldn't let everything that Pops worked for just vanish, he loved this place and loved the people of Forks. Not exactly on how I planned on using my degree in psychology, but everything happens for a reason."
"I heard you guys are hiring . . ."
"Yeah, and I need a bar manager and front end manager." I looked over at Angela, who was shy and timid in high school, but now, she was one of the best bartenders that I have seen, she did the marketing side of Swans and when she was competent would be one of my managers. "Ange, watch the bar while I do an interview."
"No prob boss." Ange smiled as she wiped down the bar top, Waylon was sloshing beer again. So far it was just Angela, Tyler, and myself, but we were getting busy and needed more staff pronto.
She followed me into the office, which was truly a mess right now. I was the accountant, bar manager, general manager, etc. I bit off more than I could chew, but hopefully that would soon change. Swan's was bringing in more money, meaning I could hire more staff, and that is what I would do. I wanted and needed to spend more time with my son.
I smiled thinking about Emerson, he is all sunshine and pure boy.
Alice stopped, staring at the pictures on the bookshelf. I heard her take in a deep breath.
Shit, fuck, damnit! She saw the picture of Emerson and me at the park. I closed my eyes waiting for the little pixie to start yelling.
It never came.
"Is this why you suddenly dropped out of our lives three years ago?" Her voice was soft, but demanding and accusing. "I tried calling you, emailing you, but you just disappeared. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into years. I thought it was something I did, or didn't do. Then I thought you just got really busy with grad school, and made new friends, but I never imagined . . ."
"Alice . . ."
"Is this why when I went by Charlie's year after year to find you, he gave me the cold shoulder? The man I loved like a dad wouldn't tell me where my sister in everything but blood was. You didn't have to hide from me."
I took in a deep breath. "Alice . . ."
"Oh my God . . ."
I hung my head. "I was young and stupid. Scared. It's not how I planned my life. I just got accepted into graduate school, just found a small one bedroom apartment. Then I found out I was pregnant after a stupid night of drinking it up! One time, that's all it freaking took. It's not like I planned it, but I would never have gotten rid of Emerson, he's my life."
"His name is Emerson?"
"Emerson Swan . . ."
"Is Jasper his father?"
"No, Alice, I promise you, Emerson isn't Jasper's."
She let out a breath she had been holding, and truthfully, I couldn't blame her. I wouldn't have wanted to hear about my fiancé with another woman. Jasper and I had never hooked up, but flirted shamelessly with each other throughout the years. We were close friends after being made lab partners one year, but that was it. He was like a brother to me.
"All the Cullen boys were like brothers to me," I tried to tell her.
"Sure . . .he looks so much like the Cullen boys with the curly blonde hair and blue eyes. Are you telling me he isn't a Cullen?"
I wasn't going to deny or confirm, I just stayed silent. It was the same reaction I gave to all the townspeople when he started looking more and more like his father.
"So I know he isn't Jasper's, Edward or Emmett then? Man, the townpeople must be gossiping like crazy."
"Like you wouldn't believe," I sighed. "I haven't fueled any of the rumors. But yeah, Emerson is a Cullen." I finally confirmed after a year of speculation. When Emerson was first born, I could bring him here to see Dad and Pops in his bald headed glory, but when he turned a year old, he started looking more and more like his father every day. I couldn't hide it anymore.
"God Bella." She plopped down in her seat. I was trying to formulate something to say to her, to ask her not to tell her future in-laws until I had the chance to figure out something to tell them.
"I can't not tell Jasper. He is Emerson's uncle and he is back in town getting the old Cullen place livable again. Esme and Carlisle are coming home tomorrow. Edward is moving back after doing a stint in South America with doctors without borders for a year. Emmett is still in Chicago, but you know he is going to come visit his family."
"Forks isnt't that big."
"You have to tell them that Emerson is theirs."
I sat down putting my head in my hands. I knew all this, but I just didn't know how to tell someone that after a one night stand that you got someone who wasn't even your girlfriend pregnant.
"Come over tonight before shit hits the fan."
I shook my head.
"Bella, you can't run from this forever."
"Yes I can. He's my son."
"He's my nephew!"
"If I packed up everything tonight and left . . ."
"I would stalk your ass down. I lost you once, and I'm not doing it again. I want my best friend back, and I want to meet my nephew."
"What if they reject us?"
"Have you met the Cullens?" Alice asked staring at me.
"I kept them from him for three years. I know how they are about family."
"Bella, you won't know until you tell them. Come over tonight for dinner, bring Emerson."
"Alice, I don't know."
"Just say yes."
I nodded minutely and that was all that Alice needed to jump at me, engulfing me in a hug.
"Let me run home and get ready. I'll see you in an hour."
I looked down at my watch and nodded. I needed to go get the kiddo anyway from the Res. Sue had taken Emerson there today to go fishing with his uncle Jake and uncle Seth.
Sue had been really supportive of me throughout the pregnancy and helped Charlie come to terms with the fact that his little girl had been "defiled."
Really, I was twenty-one and pregnant. I was scared and alone. When I called my mom she laughed and said the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Thanks for the fucking support. Then she said that I could just dump the baby with the father, just like she did with me when I was six. Thanks for that anyway Ma.
I pulled up at the reservation by the lack and watched my son cast a line in the water with Jake. Out of the corner of my eye, Dad was walking up to me.
"Bells, I didn't plan to see you for a couple more hours. What's up."
"The Cullens are coming back."
"We knew that they were going to eventually come back. Aria Banner confirmed it a couple of weeks ago." Dad sighed.
"I know, but I thought I had a couple more months. I know that the building for the Seahawks training facility is breaking ground soon, and that land is selling like hotcakes around here . . ."
Dad looked at me knowingly. "So, what are you going to do?"
"Not going to let you Bells. You need to tell them. Don't make the same mistakes that Renee made with you. I lost six years of your life Bells. I never supported your decision not to tell them and it is time to make things right. Past time to make things right. Why didn't you tell them before?"
"I tried," I yelled, letting the frustration get to me. "I tried," I whispered. "I called him a couple of time, and each time that bitch answered the phone. I am not going to let her be a part of Emerson's life."
"But he has a right to be a part of Emerson's life. No matter what happens Bell, I will be there to support you, backing you up with my gun and ready to shoot to kill, just tell me when."
I rolled my eyes, he had been looking for a reason to kill Emerson's dad for a while.
"So what do the Cullens coming back have to do with you coming to get Emerson early?"
"Alice found a picture of him at the office at Swans. She wants to meet at the mansion tonight so Jasper can meet his nephew. I couldn't refuse, and quite frankly, running just wasn't a real option. I was just throwing it out there."
"So he isn't Jaspers. A shame, I like him, have for years. The other two should have been in lockup for a while."
I braced myself just in time to catch Emerson, and swing him around. I kissed his chubby cheeks and brushed his curly blonde hair out of his deep blue eyes. He had a gigantic grin on his face covered in a blue, gooey substance. Damn it Jake!
"You were only supposed to be fishing, where did he get cotton candy from?"
Seth looked up sheepishly. "We took him to the carnival at Forks High earlier and then took him fishing. It was left over from the second bag."
I shook my head. The diaper bag was is the car, his sticky face was going to have to wait.
"Is my baby ready for dinner? You are going to meet some friends of mine . . ."
Seth and Jake both looked at each other, however Dad cut them off at the pass. Thank god for that man.
"Bells is going to be late if we don't let her get going now."
I sighed, wishing that I could put this off longer, but I knew that it was now or never. Time for life to change, again. I hoped it would be for better, and not for worse.