Before heading to Billy's house, we got a hotel room in Forks. They only had a single so we took it. Howie instantly sat on the bed with a big smile on his face.
"Mommy, can we go see Daddy now?" I rolled my eyes at how excited my son was. He was too adorable.
"Go wash up and we will go." He clapped his hands happily and ran to the bathroom at lightning speed. He quickly came back with a clean face and teeth brushed. Howie was very self-sufficient for five, which he probably got from me.
We walked the short distance from the hotel to the Black house. I was so used to visiting every day before my move to New York City. It was the same red, barn-style house with a small garage attached to the house.
"Here we go, Howie." I gently grabbed his hand in mine and he smiled at me encouraging. I could see that Billy still had the same truck and there was no vehicle for Jake. It would be easiest to start with Billy and then tell Jake about Howie.
I lightly knocked on the door, taking a step back. I lightly squeezed Howie's small hand as we waited.
"Just a second!" Billy's voice rang and I couldn't help, but smile when he opened the door. "Bella?" Billy looked shocked at my presence and change of appearance. I simply nodded and he pulled me into an embrace. "Oh, my god, Bella! You're back!" I giggled and pulled back.
"It's good to see you, too, Billy. Is it okay if we come inside?" He shook off his surprise and took a few steps back.
"I'm so sorry. Come on in." He looked down and looked at Howie for a moment as we walked in. "He is so cute. Is he yours?" I took a deep breath and nodded. I placed my hands gently on Howie's shoulders as he stood in front of me, looking around interested.
"Billy, this is Howard, but I call him Howie for short. Howie, this is Billy Black." Howie gave him a smile that would put Jake's to shame.
"Hello, Mr. Black." Billy chuckled and smiled at Howie.
"Hello to you, too, little man. Has anyone ever told you that you look like your mom?" Howie bit his lip and shook his head.
"Are you my Daddy?" I gasped and Billy couldn't hold in the laughter any longer.
"Howie!" I lightly covered his mouth with him giggling. "I'm so sorry, Billy." He chuckled and nodded.
"I'm sorry, buddy, but I'm not your dad." I could sense how sad he was. My poor baby boy. He was about to talk again, but I interrupted before he could say anything that would tell Billy anything about his father.
"Billy, can we sit? I need to tell you something." He nodded and we sat on the couch. I pulled Howie into my lap. "I'm just going to come out with it before I lose my nerve. I promised Howie last summer that if he was good during his first year of school that I would bring him here so he could spend the summer with his daddy.
"Howie has never met his dad and I haven't seen him since the day after I conceive." Billy had a look of recognition when he looked at Howie again.
"Ho-how old is he?" Howie flashed his hand to him, stretching his fingers.
"I'm five, Mr. Black. I will be six in three weeks." Then Billy gasped and looked at me.
"He is Jake's, isn't he?" I took a deep breath and nodded.
"His full name is Howard William-Snyder Black." He gulped and nodded, smiling at Howie.
"Howie, you look a lot like your dad." Howie smiled.
"Where is my daddy?" Billy smiled and glanced at me.
"He should be here any moment. He just went to the store for me." I nodded and then heard a car pulling up. I glanced out the window and watched as a tall, dark, and handsome young man got out of a red car that looked so different from the Jake I knew. This man was very tall, his skin was darker, he had thick muscles covering his body, and his hair was chopped short. He looked so handsome, but I couldn't think of that.
I would never give Jake the time of day again. This was all about Howie.
Jake walked in with a few bags in his hands. He instantly went into the kitchen. I gently whispered a 'don't say anything' before kissing his forehead.
"Son, there is someone here you might be interested in saying hi to." I lightly giggled and kissed Howie's cheek. Jake walked out after a moment and looked at Howie in confusion. I kissed the top of his head and shielded my face with my hair.
"Umm, hello." I felt Howie wave and then I got the courage to look up. Jake searched my face and then gasped when he saw me beneath the blonde hair, heavy makeup, and sad expression.
"Hello, Jacob." He dropped the bottle of water in his hand after I spoke.
"Bella, is that really you?" I nodded with a small smile and hugged Howie.
"It's good to see you, too, Jake. Five years is a long time." He took a few steps forward and a big smile spread across his face happily.
"What are you doing here?" I blushed heavily from what I was about to say and he saw it.
"We are here to see you. This is Howie." Howie waved happily to him with a huge smile that would mimic the Jacob I knew. He always reminded me of him.
"Hello, Howie." Jake didn't seem to see himself in Howie, which was good for now.
"Jake, can we take a walk? I need to talk to you." He nodded and I kissed the top of Howie's head. "Billy, will you watch him for me?" He nodded as I hugged Howie. "I love you, bud." He giggled like the kid he was.
"I love you, too, Mommy." That last word made Jake's eyes widen.
"This is your son?" I nodded and sat Howie on the couch and walked to the door, leaving. Jake walked close by me and we quickly made it to First Beach.
"Jake, we really need to talk and I should have done this a long time ago. I don't know why I didn't do it. I guess I was scared." He nodded and looked understanding.
"Yeah. Six years is a long time to be away from home, Bells." I gulped and crossed my arms as we stopped walking and I turned to face Jake.
"Five years and nine months in two weeks to be exact." He looked shocked.
"You kept track of that?" I nodded and sighed.
"I had to because of Howie." He looked confused.
"Why? Is he like three?" I huffed.
"God, Jake. Why are you making this so hard to say? He will be five in two weeks." That was when Jake stiffened.
"So, you got pregnant right after you left?" I widened my eyes.
"No!" He seemed taken aback by my tone as I groaned, placing my hand in my face. After a moment, I took a deep breath and removed my hand from my face. "Jake, Howie is your son. You got me pregnant the day before I left." His eyes widened and he looked away for a moment.
"No, that's impossible. We used protection and we only did it once, Bella. There had to be someone else." I felt his words chop at my heart and I sat at our driftwood tree, looking at him with my intense hurt.
"God, you are an asshole. I only had sex that one time with you so unless it was Immaculate Conception then Howie is your son. Every fucking day he looks more like you and less like me." He had sorrow in his eyes and I stood up, crossing my arms at him.
"The only reason we are here is because unlike someone I know," I made an indication at what he had done. "I actually keep my promises and I promised my son something two days before he started preschool." He looked interested and tried to grab my hand, but I pulled it back.
"Bella, you don't understand what happened the day you left. It wasn't what you think." I groaned and rolled my eyes.
"Really? Because it seemed pretty clear cut by what you said to Lauren that you were fucking around on me and that you loved her, not me." He lightly growled and lightly grabbed me by the bottom of my biceps, pulling me closer.
"That wasn't it. I would never do that to you. You should know that. I never kissed her, never had sex with her, and I never even held her hand. I didn't love her. I loved you. I still love you after almost six fucking years; you are still the one I want.
"What you heard that day, I planned for us to take a break so I could find out what I really wanted. I loved you, but I liked Lauren. She was nice and sweet, at least to me. When you left, so did she. I realized then that I was nothing to her, but revenge for you taking Cullen from her." I rolled my eyes and looked away.
"This, me and Howie being here, has nothing to do with what happened and I don't love you anymore." He released my arms and I looked at his gorgeous face. God, he was so beautiful. No, Bella! Don't think that! You hate him for what he did!
"Look me in the eye and tell me that you don't love me and mean it. If you can, then I will not fight with you over this ever again." I took a deep breath and looked him in the eye, lying my ass off.
"I don't love you anymore." He looked optimistic. Oh, god.
"You are lying. I can see it in your eyes. Bella, I never cheated on you. You have got to believe me. Lauren held nothing in my heart compared to you. I planned to take a break so I wouldn't hurt you. It was the last thing I wanted. Please, Bells, forgive me. I will do whatever I have to for you to forgive me for what I put you through." I looked away and had a single tear fall.
"You have no chance of ever getting me back, Jacob. You want forgiveness? Work it out through your son. Stop denying he is yours and be a man about it. He just wants a father. He doesn't need you to be perfect." He looked shocked when I looked back at him.
"He-he knows about me?" I nodded with a small smile on my face.
"Only the good things. The promise I made to him was, if he was good during his first year of school, I would bring him to La Push and let him spend the summer with his dad." Jake suddenly looked excited.
"Really?" I nodded at how happy he looked. His face was so bright.
"Are you staying, too?" I sighed and nodded.
"You don't really think I was going to let him stay with someone he doesn't know at all other than what I have told him?" He looked like I stabbed him in the chest and then his expression went to spiteful.
"It's not my fault that he doesn't know me. That is all on you! I at least looked for you and tried to find you." I rolled my eyes and hugged my chest.
"It's not all my fault, Jake. I would have lost him during my pregnancy if I came back and I already loved him. He was my miracle." He had a look of pride on his face.
"Your miracle?" I nodded. I wanted to stop this conversation.
"We will stay at Billy's until seven and then you can see him tomorrow." I moved past him and we both walked back to Billy's house to see Howie watching TV with Billy.
My son was definitely my miracle.