.~.~.~.~.


32. Gone


I would hold you in my arms

I would take the pain away

Thank you for all you've done

Forgive all your mistakes.

There's nothing I wouldn't do

To hear your voice again.

~Hurt; Christina Aguilera


When I was seven, my grandmother died. She had been sick for a while, spending the better part of two months cuddled up in a dingy hospital bed with only a staticky old box TV to keep her company. My mother, Renée, went to visit her everyday, trucking along little cards and crafts I would make for her when I could. On rare occasions she would take me along.

I remember stepping into her room for the first time and wanting to cry. She was pale, almost as white as the comforter she had drawn up to her chin. She looked frail and sickly under her blankets, nothing but a ghost of the woman she once was. When I went to her side, she could hardly smile at me through her pain. I hated seeing her like that, but I still went to visit her. Each day could have been her last; I knew it without having to be told.

Gradually, the pain of seeing her like that slipped away. It still hurt to see her so sick, but instead I looked forward to being able to see her; to spend time with my grandmother before she would leave the world of the living forever. When she died, I felt like a truck hit me. I had mentally prepared myself for her death, but it still stung to lose her. It was the worst pain I had ever felt, and it lasted for months.

But the pain of losing my grandmother was nothing like the pain I felt when Jacob died.

There had been no preparation; I hadn't even seen it coming. Instead of feeling like a truck had hit me, it was semi. Every breath stung, every second of continued existence hurt. I couldn't even cry. My shock wouldn't let me.

I felt desperately for a pulse, my fingers gliding over the caverns of his neck. There had to be one. He couldn't be dead. My Jacob couldn't be dead.

I searched endlessly: his neck, his wrist, his chest itself. Futile.

He was gone.

Then, something inside of me snapped. I emitted a sound that surprised even me, a gritty desperate sounding moan that hurt my throat. My hands shook. My breath caught in my throat and I gasped for air. My lungs couldn't work properly; I didn't know how to breathe.

My hands found his shoulders and I shook with all my might, screaming and crying for him.

Cold arms found my middle, and they lifted me off him. I kicked and swung, the tears flowing down my cheeks impairing my vision. I needed him. I need Jacob.

The arms, cold and odd, tried their best to comfort me. They were familiar, I knew, but I hated them. I wanted Jacob's, his warmth. Messily, they fumbled over my belly, trying to hold me in place anyway they saw fit. He was strong I could tell. I could feel his muscles strain against my stomach, and his chest was hard behind his cotton t-shirt. Nevertheless I fought. I didn't want to feel the coldness of his skin, forever ruined through brutal actions of a former lover, or even associate with a man who shared the same name.

Emmett.

My tumultuous mind briefly drifted to the Cullen's. Were they all back? I hoped so. I wanted to watch the pack rip them to shreds for murdering a fellow brother. I wanted to hear their screams; I wanted to watch the purple smoke rise over the tips of the trees. I wanted them to all pay for what he did.

"Careful Emmett!" an overtly cheery voice chided. The tears flowing over my cheeks began to slow just enough for me to see a black-haired pixie bound over. "She's pregnant."

Just then, a churning sense of calm boiled through my veins. Heavy like lead, it pulled me down, my back instinctually slumping in Emmett's arms. It numbed and cooled the fire blazing in my heart, even though I desperately wanted it back. It took an enormous amount of effort to look up and focus on Jasper standing across from me, his eyes narrowed in concentration. I so badly wanted to reach out and smack the stupid look off his face, but I couldn't find the energy. His cocktail of mind-numbing drugs left me practically paralyzed in his arms.

Emmett's arms went weak against my stomach, making me tip forward at the waist. In response, he tightened them again. His knuckles dug into my stomach and Alice screeched. I could barely feel her fingers brush against my stomach as he adjusted his hands.

"Maybe there's a good reason Rosalie is too afraid to adopt any children," she hissed, glaring at him, "You'd break them!"

Emmett grumbled a response, too deep for me to hear, but I could feel the rumble against my back.

Edward walked over to us and my heart sped up. I swore I could hear a howl roar from the forest. I glanced at the forest. It was dark. I wished I could see the wolves run. Their faces would be just as dark as mine was, hatred would seep from their very pores. It wouldn't be long now. Jacob told me the wolves shared a pack mind. They knew when a pack mate was in trouble, and obviously, if one had died.

I looked over Edward's shoulder. Jacob still lay in a heap on the ground. A halo of blood had formed around his shoulders, it looked black against the sandy gravel. I felt my stomach constrict again. I couldn't contain the geyser that erupted out of me. He really was gone.

A chorus of howls rang out. Edward hissed.

"Get her in the car," he snapped and walked to the black Volvo still perched in the driveway.

I felt myself get shoved into the back seat. Alice climbed in the passenger seat and Edward in the driver's. The door across from me opened, and Emmett shoved another body in next to me. It fell into my lap. My heart sped up, and I couldn't look down. Was it Jacob? Were they really cruel enough to put his dead body next to me?

After a few moments I forced myself to look down. To my relief, a wave of blonde hair had fallen across my lap.

It wasn't Jacob it was Grace. My heart sped up again. Had they killed her too?

I had just begun to plot ways I could viciously murder a couple of vampires when I felt her stir against me. She didn't awake, but at least she was alive. Maybe Jasper had used his power on her too.

The car fell into uncomfortable silence, at least, uncomfortable for me. I ached for Jacob, but even though I wanted to cry for him, I couldn't. A false sense of calm, masked my face and actions; even my rational thinking was hazy.

It probably took half an hour for it to dawn on me that the car was moving. Obviously, cars moved. That wasn't what surprised me though. What surprised me was that I was in the car, with Grace next to me and Alice and Edward in the front seat. They were…taking us somewhere.

My eyes slowly flicked to the window. A wall of green was basically the only thing visible. The sun was starting to dip beneath the trees; it must have been close to six by then. Edward had mentioned taking me away, he had even wanted me to pack a bag, but I had been so angry with him that I never really let it sink in.

They didn't come back to stay in Forks. They came back for me.