Disclaimer – Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thanks goes out to my outstanding Beta, shelikesthesound.
In the Long Run
We stayed out of school for the rest of the week, grieving. Bella and I mostly held each other and didn't get out of bed until noon, refusing to socialize. The gang kept coming over after school, but we couldn't make ourselves take part in the afternoon entertainment down in the basement.
During the weekend, Edward pulled out our school books, and we attempted to study. I knew that we were a week behind in our academics, and the fact that we had studied a week ahead made us two weeks behind. I needed to get my act together and put my grieving to the side long enough to make some headway into our studies, but as soon as I put the first book against my stomach, I missed her kicks which would interrupt my reading. I tried not to tear up or to allow an outward sign of my grief to show, because Edward would react to it, like he had done in the past. I couldn't continue to bring him down with me, but try as I might, the tears welled up in my eyes.
"Bella, honey, what's wrong? Did I do something to hurt you?" Edward asked. He always thought that my tears were his fault.
"No, Edward, you didn't do anything. I just thought about her. I expected her kicks to bump the book while I was reading, and she won't do that anymore. I just got sad," I said.
"I'm sorry. What can I do to make it better for you?" he asked, taking my hand.
"I don't think that there's anything you can do for me. I just have to get used to the fact that she's gone. It's just hard," I said, squeezing his hand with one hand while wiping my eyes with the other. "Let's study. What do you think we need to do for English?"
"Well, we were studying Hamlet, so let's finish reading the play. She usually has us summarize each scene, so let's summarize the next Act. I don't think that they'd be much further than that. What do you think?" he said.
"That sounds good. Do you wanna read it out loud?" I asked, thinking if we read the story out loud that I'd get more caught up in it and my mind would wander less. So that's what we did. After writing the summaries, we advanced to our American History. We finished the chapter and did all of the chapter questions, then we studied for the test we knew we had missed. We studied our notes and the book. It was unfortunate that we missed class because Mr. Samuels's notes were straight from the test. It would mean extra studying for the next test. We would study again tomorrow night for the test so we'd be ready to take it on Monday when we went back. After history, we worked on the next two sections of the chapter in Chemistry for the previous week, and then we worked the rest of the chapter for the following week. We were certain that we would have a test at the end of the next week. We then turned to Algebra II and worked the rest of the chapter. We would also have a test the following week in that class. The biggest problem was in Anatomy and Physiology. The textbook didn't break into sections with problems to work, and Mrs. Conner usually just lectured, so we missed notes. We weren't far enough along to have an exam either last week or this coming week, but we'd miss the notes. We just read, re-read, and discussed the chapter that we were on.
I guess that it worked. We crammed for six hours straight, and for those at six hours, I didn't think of my daughter. The problem was, as soon as I put the books up, the pain returned. I took Edward's hand and brought it to my lips. I kissed his fingers one by one, and then I kissed his wrist. I looked in his eyes, and I could see the passion that he held for me. I leaned into his body and kissed his ear, blowing on it a little bit. It was something I knew that caused him goosebumps. He pulled away, laughing, and I giggled. I leaned in and whispered, "I love you. I want you. Please."
"The doctor told us to wait until your follow-up visit," he said. "We should listen."
"I don't care. Right now I need you," I said.
"Okay," he said, and helped me up, leading me toward the bed where we made love for the first time since we lost our daughter. I needed him to be my husband. I needed him to reassure me that he loved me as my husband. I needed him to reassure me that his love for me hadn't changed since our daughter had died, and he did. Afterwards, we held each other and cried in each other's arms. The emotional release that we both felt was cathartic. I felt renewed. I found it funny that making love to my husband was all it took for me to let go of the emotional baggage I'd been carrying around. We stayed there for about an hour, just holding each other until we heard the gang pull up outside.
We got up, got dressed, and met them downstairs. Going to the gameroom, we made an effort to be social, and I think we were able to do so. Neither of us cried during the time that they were with us. We spent the rest of the evening playing around in the basement, playing the video games and the board games, trying to lose ourselves in the activities.
The next morning, we went to church with Mom and Dad. Brother Tucker asked us how we were doing, and we told him that we were doing as well as we could. The service was okay, but the socializing afterward was painful. People wanted to talk about what happened and told us how sorry they were. Some of them were mean enough to tell us that at least now we could get on with our lives. I know that they didn't mean it in a mean way, but they were just insensitive enough to make the pain worse. They would have never told an adult couple who'd lost a child, like we did, the same thing. Sometimes I just wish that people would think.
After church and lunch, we got back on our homework. We studied until dinnertime, and then we watched a movie with Mrs. Esme and Mr. Carlisle. The last thing that I wanted to do was think about going to school the next day.
However, the next day came, and we had to go back to school. We walked into our English classroom, and I took my seat while Edward went to talk to our teacher about what we'd missed. When he came back to me and told me we were ahead, I gave him my work to turn in, and I went back to looking at my desk. I tried hard not to listen to everone's conversations going around me. Some mentioned the visitation or the funeral, some were about us, and still others were about the fall. None were malicious, it was just that I couldn't think about it there, at school, not if I was going to make it through the day. All of a sudden, I heard the one conversation I wanted to hear. A police officer had come to talk to Mr. Samuels. Charlie hadn't told me that. Mrs. Sims started her lecture, ending my chance to hear more. I'd have to wait until later to question Michelle about what she had been saying.
I didn't get another chance to question Michelle, but it was okay, because our next class was with Mr. Samuels. He stood outside of his classroom door, waiting for the bell to ring, as we walked up to him.
"Mr. Samuels, is it true that the police sent someone to question you about Jessica pushing me down the stairs?" I asked before he even had a chance to say, "Hello."
"Yes, they did. Friday. They wanted to know what I saw, and I told them. How are you two holding up?" Mr. Samuels asked.
"Well, we're here. Sometimes we're okay, and sometimes we're not. Most of the time, we're not, to tell you the truth," I said. "I miss her terribly." I tried not to tear up. I wiped my eyes frantically.
Edward broke in and told him what we'd done as far as make-up work went, and we were pretty much on track. We had again overestimated and had worked past where he was in the lesson. The test was scheduled for that class period. The rest of the day was the same. It seemed that the teachers didn't get a whole lot out of the students on the day of the accident or the day of the funeral. Therefore, we weren't behind.
When the school day was over, and Edward went to baseball practice, Coach Ingalls apologized for the things he had said about him for missing the night we had lost the baby, even though he never said them to him. He was afraid that Edward might hear of them. Edward told him it was okay, that he should've thought of the game and called in. They came to an understanding, and Edward went on to practice. I just sat on the bench and watched. There was a game scheduled on Thursday night that week, and Coach came over and asked me if I'd be able to keep the stats for the game. I told him I'd be fine to keep them. He looked relieved. I don't think he knew what to say to me.
The rest of the week, and the game, went as well as could be expected. We won the game, and Edward played well. I actually had a good time. The boys on the team were very protective of me, not letting me jump up and down or anything when Edward hit a homerun. I had to put them in their place pretty quickly. I informed them that I was physically all right and that, when Edward did well, I was going to celebrate. They lined up to give him the high-fives that he was due, and when he got back to the dugout, he picked me up and kissed me. He had tied the game for us. We went on to win by two runs.
The next week started spring break. The six of us had no plans, so we hung out at each others' houses. The week passed by faster than I thought possible. I had my good days and my bad days, but none of them had been horrible. The nights, however, were the worst. I would lie awake long after Edward had finally fallen asleep and think about what should have been. I would then fall asleep only to dream about what could have been.
The final day of spring break arrived, and we were at Alice's house when my cell phone rang. It was Charlie calling. He wanted to let me know that he'd just been handed an arrest warrant for Jessica for the murder of Victoria and the attempted murder of me. He was on his way to pick her up. I was literally speechless. I hung up the phone without saying a word. Edward was at my side in an instant wanting to know what was wrong.
"He's on his way to arrest Jessica. For murder," I finally said.
Everyone spoke at once. "For murder?" Edward asked. I nodded.
"She's gonna be tried as an adult?" Alice asked.
"I don't know," I answered.
"He's going now?" Jasper asked.
"Yeah, he said that he's on his way," I said.
"Well, let's go to the police station," Emmett said.
"NO!" I said, probably too loud. "I don't want to be near her. I don't want to go back to the police station ever again, Not ever!" I ran into Edward's arms, and he wrapped me in them tightly.
"Shhh, Bella, it's okay. They cleared me. I don't ever have to go back there again," he whispered into my ear. I was shaking. He ran his fingers through my hair and ran his lips along my neck. "I'm yours; I'm one hundred percent yours." I tilted my head back to give his lips better access to my neck. I forgot all about being scared and trembled for another reason: his lips on mine.
"We'll just wait here for word then," Alice said as Edward continued to kiss me. He picked me up and carried me to the couch, sitting down with me in his lap. We continued to kiss for several minutes, until the others began a new tournament. Then we snuggled and watched while we waited for new information.
There was still no new news by the time we had gone home, so I decided to call Charlie. The switchboard operator was adamant that Charlie was busy, so I left a message for him to call me when he got a second, no matter what the time. She said that she would tell him, but not to expect him to call me back tonight. She was right. He didn't call me back until the next morning after ten o'clock. When he did, he told me that Mr. Tyne had put in the paperwork to try Jessica as an adult and that she was being held in the adult jail. She wouldn't go in front of the judge for bail until Monday morning. So far, she didn't have an attorney because Uncle George's firm was the only criminal firm in the city, and they had refused to represent her. Her parents would have to go out of town to find an attorney for her. The court wouldn't even be able to appoint any of the attorneys from Uncle George's firm because they worked with him, and he was related to one of the victims by marriage.
School was chaotic, to say the least, on Monday morning. The arrest had made the newspaper, and even though her name was withheld because she was a juvenile, everyone knew who she was. Everyone approached Edward and me about how we felt about Jessica being arrested. Even the teachers wanted to know how we felt. We felt like we wanted to make an announcement over the loudspeaker. We got tired of answering people. We were glad that she was going to be brought to justice for what she did to Victoria and to me, but we didn't want to think about it. It was hard.
That day, we took a trip to the cemetery and sat with Victoria for a little while. We let her know that the person responsible for her death was going to answer for it. We sat there, holding hands and shedding even more tears. When the sun went down, we gathered ourselves and left for home. We didn't tell anyone where we'd been. It was our business. We did our homework and ate supper with the family. Then we held each other. The day had been trying and full of stress. We were both glad it was over.
The rest of the week brought snippets of conversations. Jessica's friends were hateful to us, but we'd expected that. The teachers put a quick stop to any confrontations they witnessed. Mrs. Hall didn't take any time in reinstating me to my position on the cheerleading squad to the chagrin of Mr. Green, but fortunately, he couldn't find any rule that said married girls couldn't participate. She wouldn't let me cheer, however, until I was cleared by Dr. Bush.
Things gradually got back to normal, and we slowly got back into the swing of things. We got word that Jessica was going to make bail around the first week of May, but she wasn't gonna be allowed back at Forks High School. She was forced to attend the alternative school because of the seriousness of her charges. Mr. Green didn't have any choice in the matter. We weren't happy to have her out on bail, but the trial was due to start the first week of June, and she wouldn't be out long.
As May ended, Mr. Tyne called us into his office to go over our testimony. I gave him a second by second account, playing it back in my mind. Edward did the same. That night was bad. We both cried for the first time in weeks. Having to go over everything again, reliving the details, brought everything home. I was sobbing into my pillow, unable to control the feelings of loss, the feelings that a big part of my life was missing when Edward turned to me and took me into his arms. We held onto each other, and that way, we managed to get through the night.
Jessica's trial began the first week of June. Since she was being tried as an adult and not as a juvenile, we were allowed to attend the trial after our testimony was given. Mr. Tyne put me on the stand first, and I was terrified. He asked me questions beginning when Edward and I started dating and ending with the death of Victoria. I cried as I reloved the moment I realized something was wrong with my baby, and it only got worse when I had to tell them that she was dead.
The cross-examination by Jessica's lawyer was cruel. He brought up how accident prone I was, pushing me to say I had just fallen on the day I was assaulted. I told him there was no way in hell that I had fallen. I was pushed. The only thing his questioning accomplished was making me angry.
The next witness was Edward, and Mr. Tyne brought into evidence Jessica's accusation that Esward had raped her and her actions following that. Besides that, our testimonies were nearly word for word the same. He told about how evil, yes, that's the right word, Jessica was to him; he told about how she wouldn't leave us alone once we were together; he told about how she pushed me and killed our baby. He was strong while he was on the stand. I could see the tears just beneath the surface, wanting to come out, but he held them in. I could see how nervous he was, being back in a courtroom, but he hid it well.
Following witnesses included Mr. Samuels and Dr. Bush who told their sides of what happened. He then called the lab tech who examined the placenta and confirmed the abruption. The police officers who handled the case were also called to the stand. The defense attorney argued they were biased because they worked for Charlie. They stood their ground and said they followed procedure loke any other murder investigation.
Then the prosecution rested and the defense had a chance to argue their case. They had a doctor who said that the chance of Victoria living at such a young age was slight. Mr. Tyne, on cross examination asked him, "If Bella hadn't been pushed down the stairs and had an abruption, what were the chances of Victoria living?"
Their doctor said, "Very good."
"Do any babies Victoria's gestational age live?" Mr. Tyne asked.
The doctor had to say, "Yes, they do."
"How frequently do those babies live?" Mr. Tyne asked him.
"In these days of advanced medical science, they frequently live, though not without complications," their doctor admitted.
"No further questions," Mr. Tyne said, and the judge dismissed their expert witness who had helped our case immeasurably.
The defense called their own witnesses who said I was clumsy, and I most likely fell. Most of these people were Jessica's friends. Mr. Tyne just used them to show the animosity Jessica had for me.
The defense finally rested, without putting Jessica on the stand. The jury went out, and it only took them four and a half hours to bring in the verdict. We were called back into the courtroom. The jury's foreperson handed the verdict to the bailiff, who handed it to the judge. The judge skimmed over the document and gave it back to the bailiff to read.
"In the case of Washington vs. Stanley, as to count one: Murder in the second degree, we, the jury, find the defendant guilty as charged. As to count two: Attempted murder, we, the jury, find the defendant guilty as charged."
"Is this your verdict," the judge asked.
"Yes, Your Honor," said the Jury Foreperson.
"Sentencing will be set for August 31st. Are there any conflicts?"
Mr. Tyne and Jessica's lawyer both said there weren't, and Jessica was handcuffed and led away. Edward took my hand, and we stood. Our baby's murderer was going to be locked away for a very long time. We kissed each other, and we left the building for a long time, until August 31st.
On the way home, Edward took a wrong turn. "Where are you going?" I asked him.
"I want to show you something," was all he would say.
Soon, he pulled up in a driveway of a precious little house. He got out of the car and walked around to open my door for me. I followed him, and when he went to the front door and opened it with a key, I was curious.
"Whose house is this?" I asked.
"It's ours, if you like it," he said. "I've been looking in what little spare time I have, and I wanted to surprise you with our first home." He led me into the house, and it was wonderful. There was a living room/dining room combo, a nice kitchen, a laundry room, and then he took me to the back of the house. "This is the master bedroom, with a master bath." I looked where he pointed, and the room was large. "These rooms could be guest rooms for when the gang comes over, and finally, this room, well, I was thinking, that this room could be for a nursery for when we get ready to have another baby. It's the closest to the master bedroom, and we'd want to be able to hear the baby crying."
"Edward, it's perfect. I love it. I want it. I love you."
"It's settled then. Our house. Our future. Our love."
A/N – I want to thank all of you who have come with me on this journey. I've had a wonderful time.
Coming soon – a sequel. Continue to follow our Edward and Bella as they proceed through their senior year in high school in "Can Love Survive". Please put me on Author Alert if you're interested.