(Twilight theme by Stephanie Meyer)
Timeline: After returning from Italy during New Moon.
Summary: Edward's possessive nature pushes Bella closer to Jacob. Each "No" became another excuse to prove her ability to take care of herself. Edward still refuses to change Bella and her nineteenth birthday is ticking ever closer. What will it take to convince Edward? Ultimatum.
"Please fasten your seatbelts and return your seats and tray tables to their upright and locked positions as we begin our decent into JFK international Airport."
"Yes, Jasper we will be arriving in Seattle at 4:10 this afternoon. … I missed you too." I could hear Alice on the phone with Jasper keeping her voice barely below a whisper as the pressure built up in my ears.
When I was a child I would cry each time the plane would land; now the pain was welcome. It was attempting to drag my attention away from the pain in my chest. I refused to let myself drift to sleep for two reasons. One, I had just witnessed some of the most horrifying sights in my life. I would most definitely have nightmares about Italy for years. Not to mention the already realistic nightmares that occupied my evenings. I wonder how many people would be scared when I woke up screaming in the middle of the cabin. I would not take the risk; and two, Edward. He was so beautiful and right here. No hallucination, I could feel his cold skin against mine as he stared lovingly at me. Here in his arms, it was so easy to fantasize that he wanted me. I didn't want to think about his motivations now—about whether he acted this way to keep me calm while we were still in danger, or if he just felt guilty for where we were and relieved that he wasn't responsible for my death. Maybe the time apart had been enough that I didn't bore him for the moment. But it didn't matter. I was so much happier pretending. He continued to kiss my hair, my forehead, my wrists… but never my lips, and that was good. After all, how many ways can one heart be mangled and still be expected to keep beating? I'd lived through a lot that should have finished me in the last few days, but it didn't make me feel strong. Instead, I felt horribly fragile, like one word could shatter me. How long would he stay this time? Who cares at this moment? I just want to stretch this out as long as possible.
We landed and exited the plane in a herd of passengers. Our next flight would not take off for another 3 hours. I could not wait to be home, but I had a lot of things to prepare for. Charlie would no doubt be upset with me for leaving for days without so much as a phone call. Jacob probably thought I was dead. We left on the most horrible terms.
I knew Alice's trip was temporary. Jacob proved to me that he would be there for me no matter what. I finally gave in and embraced my replacement sun. Something in me clicked and I knew that we could be happy together, then less than a minute from my epiphany that phone call came. The panic I felt for Edward caused me to cast Jacob aside and fly across the world to save someone who doesn't even want me.
"Bella, the first class lounge has a shower if you want to use it." Alice said handing me my duffle and a key card. "I bought some toiletries and placed them inside your bag."
"Thank you so much Alice. I really think a hot shower is the best thing right now." Alice walked me to the lounge and said she would be back in twenty minutes. She took Edward with her; I think she knew how uncomfortable it would be for me if I had him waiting outside the shower for me. I didn't want him out of my sight, but I needed to think of what to do when I got home. Once alone I picked up the courtesy phone and gave the operator a number that I knew by heart. She connected me and I waited and counted rings. On the fourth ring as I was about to hang up when I heard his voice, "Hello?"
"Jacob? It's me…"
Alice and I left the lounge area to make some phone calls and get some food for Bella. I ached to be near her, but Alice convinced me to give her some room.
The whole flight I had been waiting for her to go into shock, but it never came. She just stared at me like if she blinked I would disappear. Several times she would part her lips as if to speak, but she never said what it was that was on her mind. I would sweep her hair away from her face or find any way to touch her. I suppose it was my way of making sure she was actually here sitting next to me.
Alice and I split up and she went to find some food for Bella while I called Carlisle to put my family at ease.
"Edward?" Esme's worried voice sailed through the receiver.
"Yes, it's me Esme. We are in New York waiting for our flight to Seattle."
"You had us all so worried." She scolded.
"I am sorry; I promise I will explain more when I get home. I just want to make sure Bella is doing alright before I do."
"We have decided to move back to Forks. Carlisle is there now and I am packing up the house. We will be in Seattle to pick you up later on this afternoon."
"Thank you Esme. I will see you at the airport later on today."
I hung up quickly, I would explain everything to her later. I am not able to have that conversation over the phone while I can hear all the worry in her voice. I was feeling more hopeful knowing we would be staying in Forks. I could be with Bella more often and openly.
I found Alice waiting in a line of tired airline passengers. She had a tray with a sandwich and a coca cola.
"Alice, we need her to sleep. What are you thinking?" I said grabbing the soda from the tray. She just grabbed another and said, "She will just go off and buy it herself. She is not interested in sleep right now."
We arrived at the register and the cashier bagged up the sandwich for Alice. I was fidgeting as I waited for the slow human to make change and complete this unbearably long transaction. Calm down, Edward.
Alice thought as she gave me a pointed look. I took an unnecessary breath and followed Alice back towards the lounge. I could hear the blow dryer still whirring inside the small private room where Bella was. I was immediately calmer as I listened to her steady heart beat as we waited patiently in silence.
I didn't realize how tired I was until I left the warm embrace of the shower. I dried my hair and dressed in record time, but I was going to need some caffeine if I was going to make it to Seattle without passing out. I stepped out into the lounge and Alice handed me a coke.
"Savior!" I exclaimed which made Alice smile. Edward was already by my side taking my bag from me and he remained close by through the rest of our trip. When we arrived in Seattle Alice practically flew through the airport into Jasper's arms. It was the sweetest reunion I have ever seen. She wasn't sure she would see him ever again. I was just glad that we were successful. The rest of the Cullens came into view and they each embraced me. I missed all of them so much, and that mixed with the exhaustion I felt made it feel so surreal. I was brought back to reality quickly though when a growl ripped from Alice's chest. I looked at her and followed her gaze to a familiar face.
"Jake!" I screamed and turned to run to him. Edward grabbed my arm and I was surprisingly successful in yanking myself free. I ran into Jacob's huge arms and began apologizing immediately, "Jacob I am so sorry. I really had no time to call or anything. It was all a blur." He covered my mouth and smiled at me, "Bells, calm down. I can't stay mad at you. I am too happy that you are back home and safe." He held me at arm's length and examined me quickly. "You are alright aren't you?"
"Yeah, I am fine. I told you Alice would take care of me."
"Well, I couldn't be too sure of that." He said stealing a glance towards the Cullens who in my excitement had faded into the background. I turned to face them and it nearly broke what remained of my heart to see Edward's emotionless expression. I held my sides trying desperately to keep myself together. Jacob saw this and demanded my attention. He spun me around and said, "Charlie doesn't know you went after the leech…Edward. Uh, Billy told Charlie that Quill Embry and I took you camping. The phones at your house have been down so you could not call and let him know you were okay."
I gave him a disapproving look at the derogatory term and asked, "Why couldn't I get through to Charlie's phone?"
"Um, well some animal took out a phone pole near your house."
"Was that planned or a happy mistake?" I asked trying to interpret his expression.
"Happy mistake." He looked a bit embarrassed.
"Thanks Jake... How angry is he?"
"You will see when I get you home. Billy has been giving him false updates though so it should be okay."
Edward walked up next to me and placed his arms on my shoulders.
"Bella, what is Jacob Black doing here?"
"She called me." He was quick to respond.
"We would be more than happy to bring you home and explain to Charlie…"
Jacob cut him off. "That is not necessary. We came to pick her up and Charlie is waiting for me to bring her home."
I saw Quill and Embry at the sliding doors leading to the parking lots. I placed my hands on each of their chests and said, "Jacob why don't you go wait with Quill and Embry, I will be there in a sec." He didn't say anything just stared at Edward as he backed off. Edward looked at me with a pained expression on his face. "Edward I need to go with them so I have a chance of seeing the outside of my room again. Charlie is already mad at me for leaving I don't need him to see us together. It will just make it worse, trust me."
"Can I come and see you later?"
"You want to see me later?" I made sure to keep my mouth shut so he wouldn't see my obvious surprise.
"Of course I do…"
"Um, sure . . . I'll leave the window unlatched I guess."
I waved goodbye to the rest of the Cullens and Edward kissed the top of my head before letting me leave with Jacob. He took my bag and my hand as we walked to the parking garage.