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3. THE STORM
4 years later
The Alaskan wind was beating against the fragile windows of our house as I sat idly thinking about home, Forks I mean, my truthful home was anywhere Edward and Renesmee were. My human memories of the town were etchy, which made me feel uneasy. Everything seemed to be slipping away. Out of all my friends from high school Angela was the only person I’d had contact with, an email 5 years ago. Mike Newton of all people was the only ‘friend’ I’d seen since my wedding and that was from a distance. Me and Edward had been hunting in the woods near forks when we’d made the trip to see Charlie. We were on our way back running when I heard the familiar voice, two familiar voices. It was Mike and Jessica and they seemed to be arguing. Jessica stormed off and Mike was standing on his own. I grew curious, I don’t know maybe I wanted some reminiscence of my old life and my had he changed! But that was it, I knew that if anyone saw me it could jeopardise the whole life we’d built so I carried on running with Edward.
I haven’t even seen Charlie for 4 years! A wave of guilt rolled through me, he must be so lonely! He had Sue with him and the kids popped in every now and then but to not see his daughter or grand-daughter in so long must be horrid. We were past being able to visit him now, if he figured out our secret it put him at risk from the Volturi, I shuddered remembering them, the ultimatum they gave Edward to save me being killed.
We couldn’t visit him because if we turned up with Renesmee now looking around 15 years old and me 18 he’d probably have a heart attack!
I shook off my depressing thoughts as thirst pierced in my throat. Edward and I were going to hunt tonight and I was suddenly very ready for it.
Just then I heard a scuffling in the hallway “Hey Jake!” I called, my voice sounded odd to me. “Renesmee’s in her bedroom.” Jake didn’t stay in our little house, he had his own place, still on the grounds of the main Cullen house just like ours.
“Hi Bells!” Jake bounded into the living room.
“Jake!” Renesmee hollered from behind us, she danced, always gracefully up to us and hugged Jacob tightly.
Edward came in then and she stepped away slightly, he was never comfortable with their progressing relationship.
“Are you sure you don’t want to wait the storm out, love?”
“No, I feel thirsty now, besides what is a bit of rain going to do to me?”
He chuckled lightly, “Right let’s go then.”
I followed him out the door and before long we were running, it felt so liberating, so exhilarating! When we’d ran about a mile into the trees I caught a scent, it was only elk but I decided to follow it, a nice snack at the very least.
As I was approaching, lurching forward silently, my phone sounded, shrill and demanding in my pocket. The elk leapt away. “Damnit!” I cursed, I really was quite thirsty.
I took a swift look at the number recognition, Billy. This caught me up and it took one more ring of my wondering to answer it.
“Hey Billy, what’s up?” I tried to make my tone upbeat but, suspicion and questioning leaked through.
“Bella… it’s Charlie. We went fishing today and he seemed okay, but when I rang him to say I’d left my bait in his car there was no answer. I called and called and then decided to ring Sam and see if he could give me a lift, you know to check up…” Billy was babbling now and my thoughts were frantic, I just wanted him to get to the point, though some part in my mind knew I didn’t want to him to say the words.
“When I got there he didn’t answer the door, but it was open so I went in. He was on the floor at the foot of the stairs. He’d had a stroke, they said, and fallen. Bella, Charlie’s gone.” If my heart had still been beating I’m sure it would have stopped at that point. If I could cry, tears would be streaming down my face. But I couldn’t I just froze. “Bella?” Billy’s voice sounded strangled on the other end. “Bella, are you okay?” Of course I wasn’t okay, I felt like I was being torn apart. I let my capable legs buckle and I sank to the ground. Edward grabbed me by the arms, though, and pulled me back up to stare into my face. I didn’t hear his words but they were hysterical, panicking. He took the phone out of my hand and listened as Billy told him, I watched his face, a flicker of emotions that settled on distraught worry, for me, I guessed but I couldn’t worry about that enough to pull myself together. I just let the rain lash at my marble skin until the news sank in. The rain matted my hair and soaked my clothes but I stayed, trying to organise my thoughts.
“Bella, it will be okay.” Edward reassured me, with his hand on the small of my back. How was it, how? My father had died and I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye! I’d never see him again, in all the years I’d live. Never again!
All I could think about was Edward’s words that he’d spoken many years ago, the memory wasn’t so good but the words stuck out to me now like fiery beacons. After a few decades, everyone you know is dead. Problem solved. So this is how it would be from now on, it would only get worse, Angela, Billy, Renee. Every corporeal person I know will exist no more.
I stood frozen to the spot as the rain continued to lash at my perfect features. Non-existent tears rolled from me, in a wave of emotion. I could see Edward’s face crumpled with borrowed pain. But I couldn’t pull myself together enough to relieve him, I was crippled with agony and I could distantly recognise time passing us by as I tried to pull myself out of my grieving reverie.
And then I was flying, crushed against Edward’s granite back, my finger’s intuitively gripping his shoulders.
It was warm and I could feel the carpet under my shoes but my eyes were too blind with anguish to consciously recognise that we were back in our cottage, Jacob was fretting, I guess I looked worse than I imagined.
I stood numbly as Edward retold the story that Jacob’s father had just told him and then there was a set of fiery arms around me, comforting me. These were the very arms that consoled me the last time my world fell apart and I curled into them, even though the scent now pained me I couldn’t resist the reassuring embrace of my best friend Jacob.
I stood like this, for a short time as Edward through clothes into a suitcase.
“It will get better, Bella.” Jacob whispered in my ear, his lips on my hair. Tickling my face with his sweltering breathe. “It’s okay, we’re here for you Bells” he repeated over and over until Edward returned carrying two black duffle bags.
“Bella, we’re going to Forks, we’ll need to stay inconspicuous but you need to be there.”
And then Edward ran with me on his back again, this was just as he had when I was human, breakable. I felt broken now.
The car door slammed softly behind me and the engine purred to life and then we were away. Back to my home town.
I can’t believe this, Charlie, Charlie! He was like a second dad to me, Billy’s best friend. He’d been there my whole life.
Nessie appeared in front of me and I instantly felt better, like the puncture that had just been formed was now filled a little.
“Are you okay Jake?” Her sweet voice was plagued with worry.
“Sure, sure, I’ll be okay, I just need a minute. I was quite close with your Grandpa Charlie you know.”
“I know how you feel, well not exactly, I haven’t seen much of him recently but when I was little, he was the perfect Grandpa, better than anyone I could imagine” She sighed and seeing her in pain was even worse than my own.
I motioned with my hand for her to come over to me and she happily obliged flipping her beautiful scarlet hair over her shoulder. She sat on my knee and I held her there, I couldn’t bear to see her in any discomfort, let alone the grief that was swallowing her now.
“I know I didn’t really know him that much,” she whispered “but It’s mostly mom that I’m upset for, I’ve never seen her so… fragile, so helpless. She’s always been the strong one, even if she’s struggling she normally puts a brave face on.”
“I’ve seen her worse than this before, and she has your dad here this time. She can get through anything, she’ll be fine love.” I smiled, I felt reassurance in my own words, Bella could conquer the world with Edward. There was a time when that would have driven me crazy with jealousy, that seemed petty now, he was who she was meant to be with, he made her happy. I also had no reason to be jealous, looking into Nessie’s beautiful brown eyes and lilywhite face I was positive about that.
Nessie then lifted her arms around my neck holding me to her. This was already violating the rules that were set by Edward and Bella, no physical contact, absolutely. At that point, as if taking advantage of her parent’s absence she began to lean her dazzling face toward mine. I only had to move the slightest amount to make that connection, to close the distance and kiss her full lips for the first time. My heart pounded in my chest and I could hear her’s matching my rhythm. The indecision was tearing me apart, I wanted to touch my lips to hers so much, I yearned for it and yet I felt nervous, Nessie’s the love of my life and this moment had to be perfect. My thinking time was up and it was no longer possible anyway as my mind became clouded over. She was kissing me, her ever-so-slightly icy mouth moving in synchronicity with mine, but it wasn’t urgent and passionate, it was sweet. I only had one other experience in kissing - I mean real kisses, where the other person reacts - and that had been so full of passion, so imperative that it could hardly compare, they were so different, yet so similar. Nessie twined her hand with mine and my mind was suddenly full of the images in her head, us. Some from when she was young, up to now. Even what she wanted in the future, what she wanted now. I had to pull away, she was too young, Edward would quite literally tear my head off if I let this go any further. I was disinclined to end this moment but I knew it was necessary to my survival, I chuckled slightly as I leaned back. Nessie let out a sigh of complaint and my stomach rumbled loudly ruining the moment. I stood up manoeuvring Nessie to stand at my side and I held her to my waist as I walked to the open kitchen. I searched the cupboards knowing my attempts were futile, there was never any good food around people that drank blood.
“Fancy going out in that?” I asked raising my eyebrow, as if making a challenge and cocking my thumb toward the window where rain battered the pane.
Ness laughed her peeling giggle. “Why not, you need food Jake.”
We bolted through the wind and the rain hit off of my bare chest. I grabbed Nessie’s hand and we ran together, we ran at about the same pace. She was slower than a normal vampire but faster than any possible human.
I threw open the door to my cosy little house and we fell in the frame laughing.
“Phew, that was harsh!” she said ringing her hair and then shaking it on to me.
After I ate we sat and watched a basketball game in the living room until Ness had finally had her fill of mindless sport and went to bed, I took off not long after but as soon as my body relaxed my brain went into over-drive. I couldn’t get Charlie off my mind, poor Charlie, poor Bella. Poor Edward having to look after her, I saw how messed up she was before they left I bet there was hardly a word said yet, a nice journey that would be.
Poor Sue! She had lost her husband Harry to a heart attack just over 8 years ago and now she’d lost Charlie, the nearest thing she’d got to a trusting partner since Harry.
It was about 3 o’clock and I was still awake, why did sleep not just find me already! Then I heard her, Nessie speaking in her sleep. Just like Bella used to. I used to listen to her talking as I ran round her house at night. Nessie sounded happy and I couldn’t resist listening in. I sneaked along the hall and cracked her door open. Her hair hung in ringlets over her face and down off the bed, it was sprawled out above her on her pillow. Then she spoke again.
“My Jacob.” with a slight sigh. I was suddenly filled with such joy that I could hardly hold it. I wanted to burst. I wanted to run over and kiss her, or at least hold her. These were Bella’s exact words that night in the tent, the night before the big fight with the newborn vampires. Although I already knew I never could be her Jacob, it had made me the happiest I had ever felt. I felt pity for the self I was back then, hopelessly in love with someone who could never fully love me back.
But here, stood in the door frame to Nessie’s room, I knew this time I’d found someone who loved me back, just as much as I loved her. I had played the role of best friend, let her tell me all her secrets, all her trivial worries. Now she was old enough and her decision was made, she loved me back, she really and truly loved me back.