Hello everyone! I promise, I am trying to answer reviews, but I also have 13 days before I leave the country for study abroad, so I thank you for your patience. This will, most likely, but not certainly, be my last post on this story before I leave. But I WILL still be updating while abroad…updates may just take longer.
ALSO I will be submitting a story for Fandom LLS which is an organization that will auction off several stories in order to raise money for different forms of blood cancer. I have a good idea now of what I will be submitting, but if anyone has any suggestions for one shots or short sequels or anything else they'd like to see (I can post the story to my page after December 1st) then please let me know! Even if I don't end up submitting the piece, I may still write it, so I will be taking requests under consideration for a while as long as they are cannon pairings!
Thank you all so much for reviewing and I hope you enjoy!
I'd never seen my son this upset. I'd never seen any of my family like this. He had literally sat on the sofa in my wife's arms, shaking, not responding to any of us until Bella had come home. At first, I'd knelt in front of him, my arms on his shoulders as I'd begged him to speak to me, terrified that he was in some kind of physical pain. I had no experience with this…with my family being physically hurt. That thought had brought me back to Jasper who held a hand over his neck, and I fought the urge to yell at Rosalie again. Glancing up at Esme, who looked just as hopeless as me, I had sat back on my heels, sighing deeply.
Edward didn't even look up when I thought his name, when I called out to him silently. 'Son, please.' I begged him in my mind. 'Please, you're scaring us. Just let us know that you're okay…please?' Clenching my jaw, I'd rested my head in my hands, and Jasper had approached, crouching beside me, and he'd remained still, his expression ambivalent when I'd reached out, my fingers brushing against his broken skin that would have been pouring blood had he been human. It would have been fatal…just seeing that wound made another surge of fury pass through me. That was my son…my youngest son, in my mind, although he was the second oldest in our family.
"It's okay. He's going to be okay…he's upset." That was obviously an understatement, and a corner of my mouth quirked. Jasper smiled slightly, but he was still worried.
"Are you sure you're okay?" I asked softly, dropping my hand to his shoulder, and he grinned.
"I'm fine, Dad. It's already pretty much healed." He murmured, the warmth washing over me, the emotions coming from him. "What's another scar?" I closed my eyes at that, his light tone only making it worse. "Come on." He stood, pulling me up as well, and I let him. "He needs a minute…there isn't much we can do."
"You can't calm him down?" I asked, a bit surprised. He shook his head.
"I shouldn't force it…he's upset, and he has a reason to be. He saw…in Jacob's thoughts…" He trailed off, and even though I'd already suspected…the words broke my heart again. It wasn't fair…it wasn't fair that Jacob had been able to do this to Bella, and it wasn't fair that Edward had had to see in vivid detail what had been done to her. I didn't know if I could bear it…it was so much harder for him. Esme pulled away from him, and I pulled her into my arms, kissing her hair. She put a hand over her mouth; a harsh sob tearing through her, and Jasper put a hand on her back, calming her easily. She turned with a weak smile for him, but he reached out, throwing his arms around her. I stepped back, letting her hold her son for a moment…or letting her son hold her.
"I love you." She whispered, holding him fiercely for a second, then reached back, one hand touching his neck. "I'm so proud of you." He shook his head, chuckling and squeezing her gently once more. "No." She whispered, her hand touching his cheek. "I am."
"I know." He told her with a laugh, then kissed her forehead. "I'm proud to have you as my mother."
It wasn't the words…not so much. The expression, the emotions, though…he knew. Jasper knew what only Edward and I knew. Or he at least suspected. For a moment, Esme's eyes widened as she stared at him. I waited, not sure what to expect, but she only smiled a little, patting his cheek, then stepped back into my arms, watching as he turned and headed into the kitchen where Rosalie waited, pulling his phone out of his pocket.
I held my wife closely, trying not to remember the horrified look on Jacob's face…the way his body had felt in my arms, rapidly cooling as his body ceased to function. It was hard to kill a shape shifter…especially when all one had was a gun, but Charlie had gotten him twice in the heart and once in the lung…he was a police officer, trained to kill if the occasion called for it. I couldn't exactly judge him. We had been planning on doing the same thing…well, the same outcome, and had Bella not protested, Jacob would have already been dead. Jasper and I had taken him miles away into the middle of the Canadian wilderness to burn his body, then had scattered the ashes and pieces that hadn't burned in the ocean, far away from land. We doubted very much anyone would find them. But when we'd returned, Edward had been in the exact same position, Esme's arms around him.
"Where is she?" We all looked up at Jasper's hushed voice as he spoke on the phone.
"Looking around the bookstore." Emmett answered quietly, obviously trying to keep the girl from hearing. "I haven't let her out of my sight…she's fine. Why?"
"Jacob showed up…Charlie was coming over. He killed him." There was stunned silence on the other line, then a harsh sigh.
"I can't say I'm sorry to hear that."
"Yeah, I know. But Edward heard him…"
"Oh, god." Emmett's voice cut off for a second. "Is he…"
"Not responding to any of us at the moment…we can only assume he saw everything." Emmett swore, using several new colorful phrases I'd never even heard, then sighed.
"Should we bring her home?"
Jasper hesitated for a moment. "Let her finish looking around the bookstore…maybe try to get her to engage with Alice. She needs a break from all of this pain." I seemed to hurt Jasper to say it…I knew he wanted to help his brother too. "There's nothing I can do for him right now…it's like his emotions are…in shock? No…that's not…he's almost in hysterics. I think these emotions are causing him physical pain…maybe only Bella can help him at this point. But she needs a break too. Bring her home whenever you guys are done…don't rush her home. Try and let her have a good time."
"Okay…call me if anything else happens." With that, Jasper hung up, breathing a deep sigh, and Esme and I entered the kitchen and found Rosalie standing in the corner, eyeing him warily. "If I were going to hurt you, I would have done it an hour ago." Unlike his words, Jasper's voice was surprisingly gentle, and Rosalie seemed to slump in relief, her eyes closed as she dropped her head to the ground. "I know you didn't mean it."
"I hurt you." She told him, shame in her voice.
"Yeah, well, you weren't the first vampire to take a bite out of me." That only made her feel worse, apparently, because her hand came up to cover her mouth, and he walked over to her, slowly resting a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, I know you didn't mean it." He murmured, squeezing her shoulder, and for a moment, she rested her head against him.
"I wanted to kill him." She whispered. "It wasn't fair…that he should live after what he did. That any of them…" She broke off, covering her mouth once more, and Jasper moved deliberately, putting his arms around her.
"I know. He was a monster. He deserved to die, just like they did. Just…not by vampire, in front of a human." His voice was teasing, and Rosalie smiled a little reluctantly.
"I didn't mean to hurt you. I'm sorry."
"It's okay." He assured her, tousling her hair. "Are you alright?" Neither of them seemed to notice our presence in the doorway, because she shook her head a little, making my mouth drop in shock. Rosalie didn't admit that to anyone…especially not anyone who wasn't Emmett. "We'd never let anyone hurt you Rose, even if you needed protecting." He murmured, rubbing her back slowly. "It's okay…you don't have to be afraid."
"Bella…she's scared….and he…now Edward…" She spoke in half formed, disjoined sentences that he seemed to understand, and he wrapped both arms around her.
"We'll take care of Bella…we'll never let anyone hurt her again, you know that. Jacob is dead now…regardless of how it happened, he's gone. And Bella will mend her relationship with her father and she'll join our family…it's all going to be okay. Alice will keep an eye on her. Edward will be okay…we all will."
"The other wolves?"
"What can they do? We didn't kill him." Jasper reminded her, and she exhaled, rubbing a hand over her face. Then, glancing up, she flinched when she caught sight of his neck.
"Jasper, I really am so…"
"Stop." He ordered playfully, tugging her blonde hair and stepping back, moving so that his almost chin length hair shadowed the wound. "You're starting to sound like Bella. It's fine. It's already healing…no one will even notice." She lifted an eyebrow, going from apologetic to skeptical in half a second.
"Alice is going to kill me."
"Nah. Emmett would never let her." He teased. Rosalie didn't look so sure.
Edward clung to me. He'd never clung to me like this…like if he would let go, he would die. Sure, he'd held me protectively before…he'd held me as if I would disappear, as if he needed me as close as possible so that he knew I was okay. But never like this. He held his face in my hair, sobbing. Actually, full-on sobbing. I'd never seen Edward cry. I'd never seen Edward this upset, period. I didn't know if I even wanted him to tell me what was wrong…then berated myself for the thought. He always listened to me when I was upset or needed him. I had to do the same for him. But he didn't seem capable of talking at the moment, so I rested my head against his shoulder, feeling my eyes fill. What could be so bad? After what had happened…what could have upset him so much that he couldn't even speak?
The rest of our family was strangely absent…Emmett and Alice had disappeared right after I'd gone to his side, and none of the rest of them had come in, nor could I hear anyone outside our door. After a while, a long, long while, he seemed to calm down a little, and then I felt myself relaxing against my will. Not having the energy to fight Jasper, I just tried to relax, closing my eyes and curling up beside him.
And then he explained himself. Jacob was dead. Jacob…Jacob…the name repeated in my head, swirling around, knocking against my skull. The boy who'd been my best friend, with the ridiculous long hair and the goofy smile and…the boy who'd put me back together when I'd been destroyed…and the boy who'd thrown me down on the ground and…
"Bella?" A cold hand, fingertips just barely brushing against my cheeks, jolted me back into the present, and Edward's hand was withdrawn before I even saw it. He stared at me, his hands clenched in his lap, his lips in a tight line. He didn't say anything else, he only waited as I took a deep breath…but I didn't really feel anything…other than cold. I felt cold. So cold…he flinched a bit at the look on my face. I wondered if I looked as dead as I felt. I didn't care that Jacob was dead…did that say something about me. I had briefly worried that my dad would get in trouble, but if I knew the Cullens, then it would be fine. They'd probably already disposed of the bodies, and Carlisle was going to talk to Charlie, so he wouldn't get caught. The wolves couldn't do anything…it was great news actually. So why didn't I feel happy?
"Okay." I had to make myself say the word, and Edward gave me a strange, almost confused look.
"Okay?" He asked hesitantly, although he didn't say anything else when I nodded. "Just…okay?" I nodded again, and he stared at his hands for a moment. "Are you…I mean…do you want to talk about it?" I shook my head numbly, and he sighed, reaching out and touching my hand. I didn't mean to stiffen…to jerk my hands back, but the look on his face when I did made my heart break…but I couldn't. I just couldn't. My father had seen Jacob and shot him on sight. Jacob was dead. It didn't even seem possible…I didn't even know how to comprehend that…my stomach lurched and I bit down on my lip, refusing to throw up and swallowing hard. I wasn't sick…I told myself over and over that I was fine. I didn't…I couldn't… "Bella?"
"Don't." I whispered, pleading with him. "Please." Once again, his face crumpled, but he nodded, remaining still.
"Do you…want…do you want me to go?" I made myself shake my head. I'd hurt him so much already…I couldn't do it again. "Do you want to lay down? Or…do you want to eat something." I shook my head again. I didn't know what I wanted…I didn't want anything. I just…I wanted to close my eyes and forget everything.
He dropped his shoulders, clasping his hands tightly together, and waited. I had no idea why he'd been so upset…and suddenly it clicked in my mind. Jacob had been there…Jacob had been close to the house. Edward must have read his mind. I jumped up, racing to the bathroom, and didn't even bother to shut the door as my lunch came back up painfully, burning my throat, and instantly, Edward was behind me, his hand on my back. "Shh…shh Bella. Just relax, don't fight it. It's almost over…just relax." As soon as I was done, I slumped sideways in his arms, sobbing weakly. "Shh, love. It's okay. You're okay. Do you want me to get Carlisle?"
"You…you saw…" I choked out as he gently wiped my mouth with a cold cloth, his hand pausing on my face for a moment before placing a glass of water he'd seemed to pull out of thin air to my lips, encouraging me softly to drink.
"Shh, hush Bella. Don't worry about that. You don't have to be worried about that."
"You saw!" I nearly screamed, my body folding in on itself from the pain. I heard someone knock softly on the bedroom door, but he ignored it. "Oh god…you…"
"Shh." He whispered once more, kissing my hair. I was pulled into his lap, his arms around me as he rocked me back and forth.
"I'm so sorry…so so sorry…oh god I'm sorry." He continued to rock me, not even trying to shush me as I continued to apologize. I didn't even know why I was apologizing…what I had to apologize for. I knew it wasn't my fault that Jacob had come to the house. I knew it wasn't my fault that he could read minds…or that he'd…that he'd…my body rebelled once more, and Edward held my hair back with one hand as I threw up once more.
"Edward? Can I come in?" I wondered how long Carlisle had silently been trying to call out to Edward for him to speak aloud.
"No." I was surprised at Edward's quiet answer as he lifted me in his arms, cradling me close and moving back to the bed. The bedroom door didn't open, so I assumed that Carlisle was respecting his wishes. He lay me down on the bed, pulling back the thick comforter and pulling it around me, then climbed into bed beside me, holding me, blanket and all, in his arms. We stayed like that, him holding the glass of water to my lips every so often and encouraging me to drink, or kissing my hair, rocking me back and forth and humming until my eyes were drooping, and although it didn't seem possible for me to fall asleep, I did.
Upstairs, I watched Carlisle slide to the ground, his back against the door, his eyes closed as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Esme had her arm around Rosalie and was reassuring her of something…Emmett and I had raced Bella home as soon as I'd seen. We had, of course, had to keep it from Bella, and we'd had to give Carlisle time to dispose of his body, so we'd led her into another store and convinced her to shop a bit while Emmett carried the bags. My family had disappeared from view, and I'd worried for a moment…but before I even had time to call, they had all reappeared….with Charlie. Charlie…who handed Carlisle the gun…why fled back home. He would return the next day and wonder why we all seemed so calm. Would he suspect that we'd wanted to do the same thing?
Jasper moved to my side…he hadn't come near me since I'd returned home, but I figured he was just upset. Maybe he'd wanted to go see Bella. Edward wasn't letting any of us near her at the moment, not even Carlisle, and it was killing our father, but I assumed Edward had his reasons, although I couldn't see them yet. Bella was asleep…I broke off my train of thought when I looked up at my husband, catching sight of his throat, and I reached up, touching his throat at looking up at him, about to ask what had happened when his answer came to me in a vision.
I immediately lunged for Rosalie, growling furiously. She'd attacked my mate! Bella had been raped and now she was in so much pain and Edward had been forced to read Jacob's mind and see everything he'd done to her and he our family felt like it was breaking apart and Rosalie had hurt Jasper. Esme pushed herself in front of Rosalie, backing the girl up and guarding her, and I was only a centimeter away from Esme's throat when Jasper caught me, calling out to me to calm me down, and Emmett was pulling Rosalie back, holding her tightly in his protective embrace, his teeth bared. Maybe it was the stress or the fear or the panic I felt for my sister…I didn't exactly stop to examine the overreaction. I snarled at my sister, almost pleased to find a convenient outlet for my emotions, but before I could get to her, Carlisle was in front of both her and Esme, his arms out protectively.
"Alice, stop!" Jasper called, squeezing me gently against him, not willing to hurt me, but wanting to keep me away from our sister…and our father who seemed to be losing patience.
"You b*tch!" I screamed at her as Jasper held me, but I felt the fight draining out of me, and although I didn't know if it was Jasper's handiwork or just the exhaustion I was feeling, I turned in his arms and gave up, slumping against him as he caught me easily. "B*tch." I whispered, shaking my head and touching the new scar. He had another scar. "God, you…b*tch." Everyone in the room seemed to relax as Jasper pulled me into the living room, sitting down with me, and once we were on the sofa, the other joined us, Rosalie approaching me on the couch and sitting beside me, Emmett right behind her, and our parents on the opposite chair.
"I'm sorry…I already told him…" I gave her a baleful glare, telling her exactly where she could stick her apologies, and Emmett gave a reluctant chuckle. Carlisle sighed, and I could nearly taste his disapproval.
"It's okay, Alice. You know I'm fine. You're not really mad at her." Sighing, I lay my head against his shoulder, closing my eyes and wishing I could sleep. "Do you want to go upstairs?" I shook my head. To be upstairs and not be able to go to Bella would just make me feel worse.
"She knows that he saw." I murmured.
"Yes." Carlisle told me, nodding sadly. "Jasper?"
"I can't even describe it." He told them simply. "I'm sorry…she's just…pain. More pain and fear and humiliation…I don't even have a name for it." He kissed my hair briefly. "I eased it a bit…she was able to fall asleep. I thought it would be better if she could sleep." Carlisle nodded, his jaw clenched tightly.
"You're right…she needs it." He paused thoughtfully for a moment. "What about Edward?" Our brother hadn't said a word to us, other than denying Carlisle permission to enter his room, and I knew our father was hurt.
"He needs to rest too." Was all my husband said, and I closed my eyes once more as Jasper rubbed my back.
"I really am sorry." Rosalie whispered again, and I looked up to find her staring at her clenched hands, her teeth digging into her bottom lip. Emmett had an arm around her and was giving me a look. I sighed.
We all sat in silence until Carlisle's phone vibrated, and he didn't bother getting up to speak to the person…Charlie, I saw instantly, in private. "Hello, Charlie." He greeted the man quietly.
"God…Carlisle I can't…you can't…" Carlisle sighed softly at the human's loud, frantic voice.
"Are you at home, Charlie?"
"Good. Stay there until you've calmed down." For a moment there was silence on the line.
"I can't…I can't let you do this. I have to talk to Billy…I have to…to turn myself in."
"Charlie, there are many reasons why you cannot do that." Carlisle almost barked at him. "And you probably don't want to know any of them. But remember, if you admit to killing Jacob, you have to tell them why you killed him. Are you really going to do that to Bella?" Charlie didn't respond. "Come over tomorrow. We can talk about this in person."
"How is she?" He finally asked, his voice choked.
"She's asleep. She went out with Alice and Emmett today, but I don't believe she's feeling very well right now. We'll see when she wakes up. She had a good time today thought."
"Does she know?" He nearly whispered.
"She does…Edward spoke to her."
"How did she take it?"
Carlisle hesitated, then seemed to decide to tell the truth. "No…she was extremely unwell after he told her and she immediately went to bed." It sounded like Charlie sobbed on the other end, and Carlisle seemed to soften. "She is not upset with you, Charlie. I don't believe she blames you for this at all. She is upset because of the entire situation, as is Edward. He's with her right now.
"Do you think she'll want to talk to me tomorrow?"
"I can't be sure." Carlisle admitted. "And you must understand that we will not, under any circumstances, force her to speak with you."
"But I will suggest she come down to see you. I would ask you not to ask her any questions about what happened, or try to get her to talk…even be careful about touching her. But you'll at least be able to see her for yourself. It will be up to her though."
"Thank you." Charlie swallowed hard. "Thank you so much…for everything. I can't ever thank you enough…and now, after this…"
"You don't have to think me. Believe me, I am working for Bella's best interests, although I do not regret Jacob's death."
Charlie sighed on the phone, seeming to collect himself. "Me either."
Thank you all for reviewing! Please remember to let me know if you have any ideas of things you'd like to see for the piece I will be submitting, or anything else you'd like to read! :D