Characters/Pairing: Bella/Jacob, at first (don’t kill me) then, B/E. And some A/J & R/Em
Rating: M (eventually)
Category: AU, Romance
Spoilers: You have to have read through Eclipse…
Summary: [Set a couple of years out into the future, but stems from Bella & Edward's engagement in Eclipse.]
Bella breaks off her engagement to Edward, and she chooses a life with Jacob instead. Years later, Bella is engaged again - to Jacob. A member of the Cullen family returns to Forks to see Bella, and her life starts to take unexpected turns.
Comments: Hey everyone - I know I usually deliver quick chapters (and you guys love it), so I want to formally apologize for Halloween getting in the way ;) I also have a lot of things going on this week, so I hope to update as often as possible, but apologize in advance if I fall a little behind...the good news is I have the story in my head about five chapters out, so there is still a lot of juiciness for you to follow!
Thank you infinitely for the reviews and comments :) It only inspires me to do more with the story for you! And for all of us E/B shippers, I am glad to inform that the J/B-ness is coming to an end (if you didn't already notice, she ditched the poor guy for London - :D) Thanks again, guys - I hope you like this chapter! - Liz
Read from the beginning @ http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4615792/1/Surrender
Chapter 9: Present Day
As soon as I stepped off the terminal at London Heathrow Airport, my phone was already ringing. I expected Alice to have told everyone about where I was and what I was doing by now – it wasn’t like she could help keeping herself quiet. I also expected my brother to be absurdly mad, which is one approach he shouldn’t take, since I just wasted my sparse collection of good deeds of the decade on him. Countless others will miss out just because I did Edward a favor. Whether Bella decides to show or not, he should be grateful I even tried.
The phone buzzed again in my hand. I looked at the caller ID screen – Emmett. The one person I was eager to see above anything else as I weaved my way out of the crowded airport. I flipped the phone open to answer his call.
“Hey you,” I said sweetly.
“Finally, you pick up – Rose, I’ve been calling you all night,” he said somewhat on edge. I knew where this was coming from – I usually don’t go places without him. I’ve never really done anything like this, just leave out of nowhere without his knowledge. I guess I deserve this much for trying to be secretive.
“I know, Em, I just got off the airplane. Darling, I’m sorry I just took off,” I apologized. All I’ve wanted to do is get home to see him – I’ve missed him so much and it certainly has not been more than a day since I left.
“Where are you? Are you back in London?” he asked.
“Yes, I just arrived,” I said as I flagged down a cab. I opened the door and slipped in, handing the driver more than enough pounds to get me home quickly. “I’m heading home as we speak.”
“Babe, you should have told me, I could have picked you up. What’s up with leaving and coming and not telling me?” His question caught me off guard. He would surely know what I’ve been up to because Alice would have spoken up by now.
“You didn’t find out where I was going from Alice?”
“No, she told us she couldn’t see it. Besides, her and Jazz took Edward hunting late last night and they haven’t come back yet,” he explained. It seemed strange that she wouldn’t say anything.
I told Em I would explain everything when I arrived home; he made me promise to let him occupy my attention the rest of the day, and tomorrow, and the day after, making jokes about how I had abandoned him and now he needed to recuperate for lost time. He was so charming and silly - part of the millions of reasons why I loved him.
When the cab pulled up to the flat, he was waiting out by the steps. Every time I laid eyes on him was a repetition of the first time I saw him – everything in sight literally becomes brighter, more vibrant. Every time we kiss, it’s like our first kiss – nothing compares to the feeling of his lips. Even though I find ways in which to hate this eternal existence I have been damned to, especially for everything that has been taken from me because of it, with Emmett the world makes sense again. He’s the best part of everything I have.
“Carlisle wants to talk. He’s concerned about where you went, why you left without telling us,” Emmett warned me, and for some reason I was not surprised. Carlisle knew I had a way with impulse, sometimes taking things a little too far. Last time I had left on a whim, I went on a little bit of a spree that included eradicating Royce King and his little group of friends, which were the reason my world was doomed.
You could say his concerns were valid, I did fancy revenge a little much more than he would hope. Except I didn’t leave seeking revenge; I went seeking just the opposite - a way to bring my family together again.
I followed Em quietly upstairs to Carlisle’s study. He was sitting behind his desk reading when we knocked and walked in, while Esme was standing by the grand window behind him looking out at the view.
“Rose, welcome home,” Carlisle said as he came around his bureau to embrace me. Esme smiled and kissed my cheek. I could tell she was concerned - she and Carlisle had become the closest thing to a father and mother in the decades we had been together, so this conversation very much carried an air of parental concern.
I smiled and greeted them back. “Thank you.”
As I retracted from them and took a seat, I noticed Em, Carlisle, and Esme looking at me – which meant I should begin talking because I had tedious explaining to do.
“I thought you would have known from Alice by now where I headed off to,” I started. Carlisle shook his head lightly and leaned against the front of his desk.
“Alice didn’t say a word. But we are curious…” he mused. We were silent for a moment until I spoke up.
“I went to Forks. To see Bella Swan.”
They looked at me incredulously – I could not make out if they were angry with me for intruding or if they didn’t believe a word I was saying.
“You went to see Bella?” Esme said, her tone unusually serious, especially since she was the optimistic pillar of the group. I didn’t like the reaction I was receiving – shouldn’t they be happy I stepped in?
“Esme, this situation with Edward is spinning out of control. It has been four years since the incident and he only becomes more and more introverted as time goes on.”
“Rosalie, I understand your motivations,” Carlisle started, “but Edward asked us not to intrude in Bella’s life—”
“Carlisle, have any of us stopped to think what this is doing to us? Edward is not the only one in this family that has to endure the consequences of the situation. This is affecting all of us!” I did not want to raise my voice but I somehow could not control its tone, either. “We all know this family revolves around Edward, and if he’s not happy, then no one is.”
No one ever thought that our family was polarized in any way; no one ever mentioned it at all, but in my mind it was and, without a doubt, life gravitated around Edward. Once the words were out, however true I knew they were, I regretted them. Em gave me a disapproving look, the same one he gives me whenever he thinks I have taken things too far. Carlisle’s expression changed as well and I saw that I had hurt Esme’s feelings.
“I’m sorry I said that,” I said falsely. I was not the least bit sorry, after all – this reaction just proved my feelings more true, but it helped to soften the tension between us.
"Rosalie, I see your reasoning behind your visit to Bella, believe me I do; but what is this going to do to her? She has a life, a future planned already. She's engaged to Jacob and ready to marry him in just a couple of days," Carlisle said.
I chuckled sarcastically, as if any of that could possibly matter. "That did not stop her before. She had a future planned with Edward and she walked away."
They couldn't deny this. Bella had been taken in by Esme and Carlisle, practically became a member of this family because of what she meant to Edward. We implicated our family, and placed our own sake at risk for the difference she made in his life. Even after she was gone, our entire family continued to be involved because of the secret she knows.
"What happens now? You must have talked to her about Edward - how he hasn't been the same since," Em asked.
"I did. What I saw is that she obviously still loves him - Bella couldn't hold back tears as I told her how miserable Edward had become. I left her a flight voucher and our address here in London, in hopes she makes a decision," I explained. I saw Esme smile slightly – she would like that. Bella was always like another one of her daughters.
Being here now, with Emmett, I was able to look beyond my selfish motives and see just how much I would hurt if Em and I were ever forced apart; I would feel just as empty as Edward without Bella. I would be just as miserable, maybe even want to find a way to die.
"Well, we will just have to wait and see what happens,” Esme said, as hopeful as the rest of us that something good would come out of this.
“I am sure whatever Bella decides, no matter what the choice, will be for the best," followed Carlisle.
Unnaturally enough for me, I actually feel invested in this charade of mine to reunite Edward with Bella. Even though I'd still think her a fool if she did give up her mortality to be with him, I couldn’t deny that they needed each other. At least my family would have a reason to smile again, seeing Edward happy, and that was all that truly mattered.
For years, I appreciated the time spent running through the forest as the chance to clear my thoughts, take a mental breath. Even in the past years, I found comfort in just speeding by the trees – the only time I could try to concentrate on something other than this eternal damnation.
Today however, as Alice, Jasper, and I ran back home from last night’s hunt, the run became distinctly different.
Alice paused on her trail as a flash vision invaded her mind. Jasper stopped to aide her, to ask her what she saw - I had no such need. I had a private screening of my own as I saw the images just as she was receiving them. The vision was fast but distinct – long brown curls, deep set chocolate eyes, and a combined expression of anticipation, excitement, and worry. She had one singular bag in hand and a boarding pass. Alice’s mind ran wild, ecstatic with the vision; yet once she returned to consciousness, our eyes locked and didn’t shift for a long while.
She tried to be humorous to break the paralyzed silence in our minds; yet before she could think, I had already began putting the puzzle together in my head.
Surprise, she thought. She confirmed in her mind where Rosalie had gone and made sense of her vision.
I could not believe this – for a moment, I even imagined this was some sickly manipulative joke. Was this real? Could this truly be happening?
Bella. Bella. Bella, Bella, Bella, Bella. It was all I could repeat, all I could think about, not that it was not always. She was coming here. Bella, my Bella was on her way to London. The overtly exalted mood I should be wearing on my sleeve was being muted by Jasper – as always, he made an attempt to control our surrounding emotions until he knew exactly what to expect.
“Alice, what did you see? Edward, did you catch her vision?” Jasper asked.
Did I ever. Alice broke away from my stare. Before she could speak, I began putting the puzzle together in my mind.
“Jazz, Bella is coming to London! Rosalie went to Forks and convinced her to come see Edward,” she explained. As Alice said the words out loud, my mind reeled and I realized why even though part of me felt ecstatic, another part knew this was an invasion in her life, a trespass into the world I had left to make her life simpler. I felt Jasper’s influence still over me, which explained why the trees surrounding me were still firmly rooted.
The fury was hidden behind the façade but I felt it seeping through my words.
“Rosalie is out of line. How could she do this, when I asked that…Bella be left alone? She doesn’t deserve this,” I spoke calmly. It pained to say Bella’s name out loud.
“I thought it wouldn’t make a difference. Rose told me what she planned on and I didn’t think…” Alice trailed off. She’d been hiding it from me since Rosalie left because she knew that I would not take this lightly. “I’m so happy! Edward, I can’t believe she is coming,”
“This doesn’t change things, Alice. I am sure she’s confused, she may be having second thoughts, but her life is where she left it. This is nothing to be hopeful over,” I attempted to dissuade any thought that Bella’s perspectives may have changed over the past years – I have no strength left to bear high expectations only to have them defeated again.
“When should we be expecting her?” Jasper asked. He seemed to be creating his own high expectations – he thought about how incredibly happy this was making Alice, and this was enough to make him happy as well.
“A couple of hours at most,” she said, and I caught my breath at the thought. Bella would be with me in just a couple of hours. I couldn’t help but relish in that feeling, that I would see her and touch her and speak to her again. At that moment, it didn’t matter anymore if she reappeared just to leave me again, lonelier than I was before. All that I care about is that she would be here and I would sweetly enjoy whatever amount of time she privileged me with; it didn’t matter how short lived.
We began to head home to tell the others the news. As we ran, I fell behind to converse with Alice while Jasper led the way.
Don’t be angry with Rose, Alice pleaded. No matter what her reasons…we owe her whatever happens.
I could not find a reason to be anything but thankful to Rosalie.
“I should be, but I’m not,” I told Alice. “I can’t. Rose is granting me the chance of a lifetime. I never thought I would see her again.”
We soon arrived back home. Once Alice spread the news that Bella’s arrival was only hours away, the entire house was buzzing with anticipation. To my disapproval, Esme, Alice and Rose were preparing as if Bella had already decided to stay. I wished they did not get their hopes too far beyond – the hope they held could very well be false.
My focus was riddled. I couldn’t think of anything other than her arrival – what would I say? There have been so many things I wished I could have said to Bella when she was still mine, when our time seemed indefinite. For now, I could not get a single thought in order to decide what my first words to her would be like. I distantly dreamed of a moment like this without ever imagining it would happen. The surreal feeling of knowing Bella was turning up soon became almost like an illusion, until the sound of the door chime resonated through the flat and brought all of us to a stop.
I made my way to the door, with Carlisle, Esme, and my siblings following behind, as unbelieving that this moment would ever come as I ever was.
I opened the door to what felt like the single most breathtaking sight of my existence. In this instant, I seemed to feel as if life re-entered my stationary body and willed away any thought I ever had where death offered a better alternative than existing without her next to me. The realization came that I had been living in mere hopes that this encounter would occur.
“Edward…” Bella spoke softly, a sound I only but imagined for so long, and now had the chance to experience again. As she whispered my name, I knew the moment made every second, every minute, every day of wait worthwhile.