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 10: Present Day
My mind dedicated the entire plane ride to thinking about how this very second was going to feel. How he was going to look, what he was going to say, how I was going to react. It doesn’t happen like in fairy tales, where the not-so-average girl is swept away by her prince so easily, real life almost seems unfair. The anticipation had constructed a framework of ideas in my mind, but all of those preconceptions shattered as soon as he opened the door.
Edward’s perfect face remained just as beautiful as I remember it, except the expression of sadness from the last fours years had etched itself onto his features; it seemed as if he would have to try twice as hard to smile. He didn’t say anything; he had no need to – his expression read everything he tried to say. I only said his name out loud in a whisper, and unconscious human reaction to having no time to prepare for this moment – I thought I would get at least a couple of seconds at the door, not that he would be the one to open it to me. His eyes were a bright golden topaz, even more stunning than I remember them, which meant he had just returned from hunting – also a sign he wouldn’t leave me anytime soon. His hair was somewhat shorter, but still in the same tousled bronze look that characterized him.
As I analyzed him, I still couldn’t believe I was here. Even though I could not break my stare away from Edward, I did notice his family – who were once almost my family as well – standing near just behind him.
“Welcome Bella, it’s good to see you,”
“You look more beautiful than ever, dear,” she said. I chuckled and gave her a small smile. I saw Jasper standing at the foot of the stairs – he gave me a small smirk. Jasper and I developed a silent language long ago, one charged with eye contact, smiles, frowns, and small gestures - meaning we spoke rarely. I smiled back at him in greeting. He seemed to be pleased to see me.
“Emmett!” I said excitedly, as I saw him next in the receiving line.
“Still blushing, as always, I see. Get over here,” Emmett took me into a tight bear hug. When I broke away, I saw Rosalie standing not too far off. A quick glance at her and I noticed her lips seemed to be curled up slightly – a smile?
“Hi, Rose,” I spoke timidly. She leaned in as if she was going to kiss my cheek, but instead she said to my ear, just loud enough for the others to hear.
“I had a feeling you would listen,” she said. She stepped away from me then and all that was left was an awkward silence, as if none of us knew what should happen next. They all seemed thrilled to see me here; as if they honestly thought I wouldn’t come. I knew I couldn’t have given it a second thought.
Esme reached for my hand. “Are you hungry? I’m sure I can come up with something to prepare for you,” she said eagerly. Her heart-shaped face smiled and I could not say no. I nodded my head and followed her lead into the kitchen.
“We’ll have to give you’re a tour of the flat after you have lunch,”
“Deal.” Despite how I was feeling, I tried to reply cheerfully to
All throughout this, I could not ignore Edward’s presence behind me – it felt like an electric current that shifted directions just as I did. I caught a glance of him as often as I could and I felt embarrassed that all I wanted to do was stare at his ideal but rundown features, but it was harder than I wanted to admit to face him.
“Rose and I are heading out. We should be back before nightfall, we’re only going out a couple of miles out on the moor,” Emmett announced. I assumed they had plans to hunt from before I arrived. “Don’t go anywhere until we come back, Bella,” he said to me with a smile. “You and I need to catch up.”
Although Jasper was the one with the ability to manipulate emotions, Emmett always had a way of making tense situations better just by being himself. I gave him a smile and nodded in his direction.
“I apologize for leaving just as you are arriving, Bella, but I do have to complete rounds at the hospital this afternoon,”
“I hope you like it. I still remember how to put certain things together,” Esme said as she handed me a small plate with a very appetizing sandwich. She smiled in
Just like that, and just as planned, the entire family had managed to leave Edward and I alone.
For the first time ever, the silence between us felt awkward. Very awkward, as if neither of us knew what to do, or what to say. This is not at all how I had imagined this encounter to unfold. Yet, what else could I possibly expect? I spent countless nights dreaming of Edward, a dream that soon turned into nightmares when my subconscious reminded me of my selfish mistake – I would always remain as the one who left him. After four years of wanting and waiting, I should not deserve to have even the chance to see him, let alone have a conversation.
I would always be the one of the two who walked away. He would have never done the same to me, not if I had wanted him to stay; he asked me not to go, and I did anyway.
As we both glanced at each other, I wished I could kiss every pain, every frown, every bad memory away; and somehow I knew that if I could, it would never be enough.
“This is odd.”
The first words directed to me by Edward ironically captured the essence of the moment. I tried not to make it obvious that I thought this was just as unusual.
“What?” I asked. He took a long pause before he spoke again, and I could see a smirk of shyness pry onto his lip.
“I exhausted a myriad of days and nights thinking of exactly the right words to say if...if I ever saw you again; but you’ve left me at a loss,” Edward said. He looked straight into my eyes, and as he did, I felt like he could read my mind – as if he saw in them all of the accumulated regret of the past years.
“You’re not the only one,” I replied. I raised an eyebrow and bit my lip, as if wishing I could admit to more than this. The conversation seemed to have hope as he continued.
“I want to apologize,”
“For?” If there is apologizing involved, I should be the first to start.
“Rosalie,” he answered. “I asked my family never to seek you out, and if she has intruded in any way--”
“Don’t. Apologize, I mean. I’m glad she came to see me. I’m glad she gave me a chance to…,”
I couldn’t continue. I trailed off and looked down into my lap. My hands were pale white, and it was then I realized how nervous I felt. I had been in worse situations than this but somehow, this seemed impossible.
“I don’t know if I am overstepping my boundaries, by saying this but…” Edward started.
Overstepped boundaries – another one of my faults. What can Edward possibly think of me, a woman about to be married, visiting the one that could make her forget that fact in a heartbeat?
“You’re absolutely radiant. Time hasn’t changed you at all,” he said, the tone in his voice almost in awe. It was the same melody in his voice that I used to remember. “It’s almost as if—”
“I was immortal?” I cut him off mid-sentence and immediately after felt like I shouldn’t have, until I realized he had taken my slip as a joke. He was smiling as my eyes locked with his for the second time.
The minute was interrupted by my ringing cell phone. I reached for my only luggage bag into the small pocket on the side to grab the phone.
The caller ID read ‘Jacob’. I would not be able to avoid his calls for very long. The flight to
“I should take this,” I said to Edward, as I moved toward an exit, hoping to speak in private. He motioned me toward the living room and stepped away as I turned to pick up the call.
“Hello?” I answered, trying to fake as normal a voice as possible.
“Hi Bella, it me,” a serious Jacob replied. I felt myself reacting to his tone but tried to maintain my composure. Jake always seemed in a better mood to talk to me.
I tried again to keep it light. “Hey Jake, what’s going on?”
“Nothing much. Calling to check up on you, see how you are. I haven’t been able to get a hold of you – was your phone off?” He spoke again, a little more aggressive than before.
“Yeah, I had to shut it off on the way to
“How is work going?” he asked succinctly.
Not a problem - I would stick to my story: manuscripts, editing, reading.
“Um, good. It’s just…a lot of reading, the manuscript is huge and it needs a lot of work—”
“Stop,” Jacob uttered, cutting me short.
“Just stop, Bella. I know…I know you’re not in
I felt a nervous drop in the pit of my stomach. “What are you talking about?”
“Bella, when I couldn’t get a hold of you, I called your office. Sophie,” – he made it a point to enunciate Sophie’s name, making sure I remembered how I involved her in my lie before he continued – “told me you haven’t set foot in the building. She hasn’t even spoken to you since your last day over a week ago,”
The line fell silent after he finished. There was nothing I could say to possibly fix this. I tried either way.
“Jake…” I whispered into the phone. There was so much going on; being here had my emotions overwhelmed on end. I couldn’t endure this, too.
“Where are you, Bella?” Jacob asked, officially furious. My silence had confirmed his story. “Tell me where you are right now.”
He knew I wasn’t in
"Jacob, I can't do this right now, I–" I felt the tears building in my eyes, ready to rim over the edge – tears of sadness, of frustration from getting caught red handed.
"I'm surprised you're even saying my name. Is he there?"
His question took me by surprise. Without thinking I turned and I found Edward by the framed entrance leading into the living room. Even though I had him a few feet away, I instinctively asked, "Who are you talking about?"
"Bella, please!” Jake yelled through the phone. “I know you're with him. If you‘ve ever cared about me, about us, please stop lying."
"I'm not...lying. Jake, if you would just let me explain–" I pleaded with him. I couldn’t bear letting Jacob go like this; after everything we’ve been through, it was hardly even fair that it should end like this.
"Don’t. I think I knew all along this would happen,” he said, as if resigned to a fact he had just hadn’t been willing to accept. “Just let me know beforehand so I don't even bother showing up."
Jacob hung up. I called his name once into the receiver, only he was already gone. I closed the phone, wishing I could just tell him I would be back in time; that he had no need to worry because this visit didn’t mean anything to me. Except, once I had arrived here today, I was not sure any of those intentions were true anymore.
"Is everything alright?" Edward spoke up, breaking my frantic train of thought. I realized my face was covered in tears and I raised my hands to wipe them away. He was by my side in the blink of an eye and raised his icy hand to catch one tear just escaping my right lash. Even though I had Edward so close, I couldn’t help but think of the anguish I had just left Jacob to deal with.
"I shouldn't have come here. I knew...I—" I couldn’t find the words. The wrong ones made their way out, instead. “This was a mistake,"
"Why did you come?" Edward asked.
"If this is such a mistake, why did you come?"
That was the problem. At that moment, I realized I never learned from my previous mistakes. I had forgotten that I had the ability to feel two completely different ways, except that I hadn’t had the need to feel like this in a very long time. Jacob’s Bella never wanted to hurt him and only wanted to make him happy at all costs, it didn’t matter how high. Jacob did not deserve anything less; this Bella, Edward’s Bella, was the one that was here, the one that occupied my body right now. This Bella was the one that was in
"I don't know,” I muttered through tears. “I don't know anything anymore."
Edward took me in his arms – a moment I had been wanting for so long, yet now it felt tainted, making it hard to enjoy.
"I have a theory..." he said and kissed the top of my head, "...as to why you came."
I pulled away slightly while remaining in his still grip and looked at him incredulously.
"Edward, this isn't time for games," I warned him. He smiled, tucking a loose curl behind my ear, always indicative of what came next.
"This isn't a game, Bella. I have never been more serious."
Now more than ever, I had to start remembering how to breathe. I remember learning, but I wasn’t sure if I could recall the strategy. He was millimeters away from me, and held his position there, just breathing or making sure I was, I couldn’t be sure. Edward’s breath was as intoxicating as ever. His cold marble lips pressed against mine. At that very instant it felt as if we’d never been apart – as if all of this was just some strange fantasy gone awry that kept us apart for a while, and we were finally together again. His lips molded perfectly around mine, and this kiss wasn’t as safe as I remembered them. Edward brought his body closer to mine as he firmly held the small of my back against his hand, while the other ran up and down from my shoulder to my wrist, and when he got there, he brought my hand up to cradle around his neck. The last of the moisture in my eyes spilled over onto my cheeks as I closed my eyes in an attempt to concentrate. We both never wanted this to end – this moment, this kiss, was the culmination of so much; it also marked either the beginning or the death of so much more. Edward pulled away slowly, and then kissed my lips one, two, three more times.
When I opened my eyes, he was already looking for a response in my expression. He didn’t hesitate in making his point.
"That's why you came,” he whispered, leaning his forehead against mine. He was reeling from the kiss just as much as I was. After so many years away from me, away from my scent, this must have taken as much resistance as the first time he saw me.
"Maybe it is...” I started, “but that doesn't mean I should have," I did not expect his sudden reaction. He crossed the room, away from me, and I could tell he was upset at what I had said.
"Does it mean you should marry Jacob, then? Does this mean that you're here just to leave again, even when your heart is telling you otherwise?" Edward asked. I felt my heart ache inside my chest – for Jacob, for Edward – could I not go through the day without hurting everyone around me?
"Edward, please..." I begged him, much as I had pleaded with Jacob just minutes ago. I started to cross the room to get to where he was until he turned to face me again.
"Bella, I could bear losing you again - I could bear losing you a thousand times over - if you just tell me one thing - tell me that you have not had a single thought of you and I in the last four years,”
I couldn’t stand to hear him say this. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that the only thing I have had on my mind since that afternoon was us; that when Jacob kissed me, I tried to imagine it was him; that when I was being fitted for my wedding gown, I imagined what he would think if I were to have walked toward him down the aisle, not Jake.
“Tell me you came here out of sympathy,” Edward continued. I closed my eyes, but it made no difference. The pain was just the same. “Lie to me, and you're free to go.”
He stood directly in front of me, awaiting my response.