Chapter 1: Heartache and Hope
It's been five months now since we left Forks. Since Edward insisted we leave Bella behind 'for her own protection'. We are currently living in Laramie, Wyoming and although I had gone back to work and the kids had gone back to school, they, Alice especially, had felt that there was something missing. We all knew what it was though we never spoke of it.
It was hard seeing my family go through this much pain and loss. Edward was suffering so much the pain must have been akin to the transformation. He could see how much his pain and loss was affecting his entire family, Jasper could never be in the same room as him anymore. He couldn't stand the hurt radiating from my first son. So Edward left us. He only stayed for two weeks. He calls in on us now and again but last I heard, he was in South America.
I smashed my fist against my office wall. "Gah!" I screamed to myself as I broke down. I hated seeing my family torn up. First Bella, then Edward. Now Esmé. There was a knock on my door.
"Come in" It was Emmett. I composed myself as he entered.
"You alright Dad?" he queried as he glanced at the dent in the wall from my hand. "What happened?"
"Nothing son. Just thinking about things..."
He looked at me sympathetically. "Don't worry Dad. She'll come back soon. You and Mum are inseparable. Just give it time."
"Yeah, thanks Emmett. Tell the others I'll be down soon. We need a family meeting" I guess it was finally time to tell them the truth. I just didn't know how to do it.
I made my way downstairs slowly, about human pace. I was running over how to tell my family why Esmé had left us when I heard a blood-curdling scream.
I flitted down the remaining stairs into the living room to see Alice curled up in the foetal position, sobbing, with Jasper hovering over her protectively, Alice's pain evident in his face.
"What's going on?" I demanded as Rosalie and Emmett ran in." What happened? Did she get hurt?"
"No, she had a vision and then she just screamed" Jasper explained. "But she won't tell me what she saw'
He picked her up, put her on the couch and sat next to her with his arms wrapped around her shoulders trying to calm her. I sat at the other side of her and grabbed her hand.
"Alice? Can you tell me what you saw? Was it Edward? E-Esme?" My voice broke on the last name.
Alice shook her head still sobbing tearlessly. She whispered just one word so quietly I had to strain myself to hear it, even with my perfect vampire hearing.
"Oh for Christ sake! Not her again!" said Rosalie exasperatedly. "I have heard enough about that...Human! We left so we wouldn't have anything to do with her anymore. Not so you and Edward could still obsess over her!" She spat out, her voice filled with venom. She span around and ran out of the room. Poor Emmett looked torn. Rosalie his mate or Bella his fragile little sister. "Just go" I told him. "We'll fill you in later" He nodded grimly and chased after his wife.
By now Alice had calmed down enough to explain what she saw. "I wasn't looking for her. I promised Edward I wouldn't. She just popped into my head" She took a deep, unneeded, breath and continued. "Bella is going to jump off a cliff."
I froze as a sense of déjà vu swept over me. It was Esmé all over again. All I could think of was whether Bella would survive.
"When? Why?" I couldn't bring myself to ask Alice the question that counted most. Would she survive it? I feared the consequences of what Edward would do if his mate died.
"She will jump in..." her eyes glazed over as she checked her vision "About eight or nine hours. I think she will do it because Edward left her. She can't stand the pain of never seeing him again."
I felt a pang of a strange new emotion flicker over me. I knew Jasper had sensed it because he looked over at me curiously before shrugging it off.
"Does she...Will she survive?" I brought myself to ask. Hoping for Edwards's sake she does.
"I see her struggling for about a minute before her eyes close and then... everything goes black" So she doesn't, I finished in my head. She jumped up suddenly and headed towards the door.
"Whoa, where are you going?" Jasper was full of concern.
"Forks" She replied. "It will be too late to stop Bella but Charlie will be heartbroken. He can't go through this alone."
"And how are you going to explain to him that you already know? Before even her own mother?" I asked. Alice faltered. "Exactly. Besides you need to calm down properly. But I do agree on one thing. Charlie cannot do this by himself. I will go. I can pretend I had some paperwork to drop in at the hospital and decided to check in on them on the way home."
Jasper and Alice nodded as I made my way to the door.
"Oh and one more thing" I added before I turned out the door. "Do let Emmett know but try not to let Rosalie find out just yet. She would just love a reason to hurt Edward more than he is already. I'll call you and let you know when I have more news." And with that I swept out the door and into my car.
I took about a full day of driving to get to Forks from Laramie but, with the urgency of the situation, I floored the accelerator so I would get there in about half the time. But that still gave me half a day to wallow in my misery.
My own depression over my mate abandoning me. Well I guess it turned out she was never my mate, we were only ever just in love. Nothing stronger than that. I thought we would have forever together, but that all changed on that one night out we had, a month after leaving Forks...
We were both out hunting together after a night out at the theatre, when we came across a scent, a scent so strong it could only have come from a very powerful vampire.
We followed it until, to our surprise, it led us to another 'vegetarian' vampire still hunting. He span around at the sound of our approach.
He crouched into a defensive position, placed his hands on the ground as if to prepare for something and started growling.
Esmé and I froze our hands up in a sign of surrender.
"Peace." I called out." We were just hunting when we came across your scent. My name is Carlisle and this is my wife Esmé." I put my arm proudly around her waist.
"My name is Matvei" he introduced himself with a strong Russian accent. "I am sorry for hunting here; I did not know this land was already claimed." He straightened up fully then, "I was just passing through on my way back to my homeland. I will leave now"
"It's OK. We maintain a permanent residence nearby if you wish to come and freshen up before you leave" Esmé offered. She moved forward to shake his hand. As their hands touched, a flash of something shot through their eyes. I recognised it immediately. I had seen it so many people's eyes before, Emmett and Rosalie, Jasper and Alice, Carmen and Eleazar.
It was the recognition of one's true mate.
Once again that unfamiliar emotion flashed through me. The same emotion I had felt in the house when talking to Alice. I made a note to ask Jasper what it was when I got back.
I realised by this time that I was almost at Forks. I started to think about what I would say to Charlie when he told me about Bella. It was going to be hard. When I got to the Swan household I decided to park my car around the corner where Charlie wouldn't see it until he came home.
I checked my watch. According to Alice's prediction Bella would have jumped off the cliff about three hours ago. A pang of loss shot through me as I realised that. The beautiful soul that was Isabella Marie Swan would never grace my life again.
I waited another half an hour before I heard a car pull up in front of her house. I heard a car door open, someone get out, the door close again. The person walked to the door and let themselves in. There was silence again. I decided it was time. I brought my car to the front of their house and got out.
A strong smell of wet dog hit me and I reeled for a moment before I realised what it must be. There were wolves in Forks again and they must have taken Forks under their protection as well as La Push when we Cullens left. I made my way to the door and knocked, bracing myself for the emotional train wreck that Charlie would surely be.
I heard a heartbeat reach the door as it opened. "Jake I thought I had already said I would be..." The voice cut of and gasped in shock instead. Next thing I knew a fragile, weak and shivering body flung themselves at me. "Carlisle?" I breathed in deeply and inhaled a familiar sweet scent. I hugged them back in shock.