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"Help us to be the always hopeful gardeners of the spirit who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth as without light nothing flowers."
- May Sarton
I ran my fingers through my shaggy blonde hair and stopped to rub the back of my neck.
Throwing my hands up in frustration I yelled, "Fuck! God Charlie, I don't even know what to say!"
I truly didn't. I was heartbroken when Alice and I broke it off but Bella, Bella wasn't just heartbroken; her soul had been ripped away, broken and tortured. She was a zombie.
'Funny the idea of someone described as zombie-like coming from a vampire', I thought to myself, but it didn't change just how true those words were.
She may not have been seeking to eat people's brains like the movie zombies, but Bella, was barely there. She was lifeless, she did everything she was supposed to, but she was on autopilot. She didn't acknowledge people unless they asked her a question directly. Her eyes were vacant, haunting, scary.
How a little human girl could look so scary to me, was really a testament to how bad this situation truly was.
Charlie stared at me. Just stared. Though his face didn't let on what he was thinking, his emotions sure did. When I knocked on the door an hour ago he opened it with a smile. That smile quickly turned to a look of hatred and his feelings matched.
"Is Bella home?" I asked, in as polite of a southern accent as I could manage.
He gaped at me with incredulity. His emotions cycled rapidly from hate, to sadness, to longing, back to sadness, and then back to hate. He wanted to hate me, to be mad at me but he was so sad, it was hard for him to keep the hatred at the front.
I honestly didn't know what was wrong, though. Why would he hate me so much? Did he even know who I was? I could tell Bella was home; I could smell her and hear her heartbeat, though I couldn't feel any emotions coming from her. I quickly convinced myself that the strength of Charlie's emotions was overpowering everything else.
Charlie finally asked, feeling slightly curious and I personally think to verify if his anger was warranted, "You're one of the Cullen kids, right?"
With a nod I drawled, "Yes sir, I'm Jasper."
The anger was back full force and Charlie's face was beginning to turn purple. I decided to intervene sending him some calming feelings. Getting shot and having to explain why it didn't hurt me was not a good idea today.
I noticed that Charlie wasn't wearing his gun belt, but it was within reach, hung on a hook by the door, and he looked at it out of the corner of his eye. There was no doubt he considered it.
Once his face returned to a more normal human color, I asked again, "Is Bella in, sir? I'm in town for a few days and wanted to say 'hi'."
He didn't need to know that I came back to apologize for trying to kill his daughter. I was sure that sentiment was not going to get me in the door.
I knew she said she forgave me. She made sure to tell Alice and Carlisle that she wasn't mad. I doubted that she was angry or even afraid of me, because Bella was just that weird. But, I needed to apologize and talk to her face to face. So much had happened since her birthday four months ago. I needed to talk to her.
Charlie stared for a second longer gathering his response. He was still angry and I continued to help calm him. He was sad, so sad and I couldn't figure out what he was so sad about. Was Bella okay? I knew she was here, so was she sick? Did one of his friends die? Did something else happen? He was terribly sad.
"Yes she is here. But…I don't know if she'll want to see you…or anyone else in your family," he spat the last word out.
Okay, so he was mad at my whole family? Why wouldn't Bella want to see any of us? The confusion on my face must have made Charlie realize that I didn't understand.
He sighed and rubbed his face feeling defeated. "Come in Jasper, I suppose it's not your fault. I'll go see if she wants to come down." With that he closed the door behind me and walked upstairs.
I realized as he walked away that his shoulders were hunched over and he had appeared very tired, with large dark circles under his eyes. He moved slowly, like an old man. He even appeared to have aged a lot, though it had only been a few months since I last saw him.
Granted, I usually only saw him around town or the occasional trip to pick up Alice from Bella's. He did come to our house once, but I still didn't know him that well. Yet my eyes were better than any human and so was my memory. He aged and he had lost quite a bit of weight, something was very wrong.
What did he mean, 'I suppose it's not your fault'?
What's not my fault?
I was trying not to listen to the conversation upstairs or lack of a conversation upstairs but with my hearing that was impossible and I was simply curious about what was going on around here.
As Charlie had made it to the top of the stairs, he hesitated. His heart rate and breathing picked up ever so slightly and he began emitting fear and concern.
That had my attention.
He knocked on her door and waited. His emotions gained just a bit more force and he opened the door after a couple of seconds. It didn't escape my notice that she didn't answer and her breathing and heart rate did not change at the sudden noise, something that usually would startle someone.
I still couldn't feel her emotions. That was weird. Before I had time to think on that problem too much Charlie began speaking, "There's a boy downstairs to see you."
He knew my name but chose not to tell her. Again that seemed weird. Why didn't he tell her my name?
She didn't respond.
"Don't you want to come down and see who it is?" he asked her, trying to peak her curiosity, I guess.
Still no response.
As I waited, I noticed the house was extremely clean. It was almost sterile. I don't think there was a speck of dust on anything. That's not typical for a human household. I've been to Bella's before, although I never really noticed if it was always like this. But it was something else that just seemed odd.
I heard the bed creak in Bella's room and figured Charlie sat down with her. Why wasn't she talking to him? Was she mad at him?
I was just about ready to go up there when he spoke again.
"Bella, you have a visitor. I'm not sending him away, either you come down or I'll bring him up to see you."
Bella's heart rate spiked a little but she didn't answer. Is she sick? I sniffed the air for any signs of illness that might be present, which I could possibly notice. There was nothing but cleaners and the lush fragrance of human.
I knew my bloodlust was not an issue, but damn, I think I smelled a little too deeply, as venom pooled thickly in my mouth and I had to convulsively swallow it down, while the burn intensified.
Charlie started back downstairs. Bella had never said a word and her heart rate went back to normal. If I didn't know better, I'd say she was asleep. But Charlie never acted like he was trying to wake her.
I stared at him in anticipation as he slowly made his way down the stairs. I took note of the forlorn look in his eyes and the way his clothes looked crumpled and fit loosely on his frame. He stared mainly at the stairs while he walked. Was he ill? He didn't smell ill, from what I could tell. But I know I can't smell all kinds of illnesses or medications. Only some.
He looked up at me as he came to stop at the bottom of the stairs.
"Before I let you go up and see her, I need to ask you a few questions, son. Come sit in the living room with me for a few minutes." He was gruff with his request, but his eyes were filled with sadness and his emotions were of utter despair and longing.
What was going on? That was my question, but I held my tongue to see what he wanted to know, though I had a pretty good idea at least what one of his questions would be.
I followed him to the living room and sat in the beige rocking chair while he sat kiddy corner from me on the old brown and orange flowered sofa. I decided not to say anything and just let him ask his questions. So I gazed at him patiently, ready to calm him again if he became angry. I continued to listen for Bella but there was no change.
"Why are you here?" Charlie started, but before I could answer he continued with the questions, "Is he going to be stopping by, too?" he asked with a great deal of anger. "Do you have any idea what we've been through since you and your family left?!" he yelled, but trying to keep his voice down so Bella wouldn't hear.
He was turning purple again and sputtering words through his ire like-…left…no one…help…died…-Okay, now he had my attention. Someone had died? I calmed him again. When he was breathing normally again, I started to answer his questions and add in some of my own.
"Sir, I just came back to take care of a few things at my parent's house and I came alone. No one is with me, so no one else is going to be dropping by," I stated calmly, making sure to emphasize that I was alone. I took a deep breath and asked my questions.
"What is going on, sir? Has something happened? Is Bella okay?" I asked calmly and politely. I really wanted to see her and get some answers.
He again gaped at me. Like I should know what's going on. His anger was beginning to spike and I just kept a steady flow of calm going towards him, since he was determined to be angry at me. But I needed answers. I needed to know that Bella was alright. We left her so she would live a full and happy life, but if there is something wrong then I needed to know.
He finally sighed and rubbed his face hard with the palms of his hands. "Bella," he paused "Bella has," he stopped.
He looked up at me and the anger was returning full force, despite my attempts to calm him. How was he doing that?! I've never not been able to influence someone, Never!
His face turned red and he looked, scary. Of course, I knew he couldn't hurt me but had I just been a regular teenage boy, this man would be scaring the crap out of me right now.
"It's all HIS fault!" he yelled. "He broke her heart! He left her in the woods to die! He didn't bother to write or call! He NEVER LOVED HER!" His yelling became screeching by the end of his tirade.
Then the Chief of Police started to cry. Tears flowed freely and he tried to get more words out. His anger almost completely gone was replaced with despair. "She's…dead…inside…I…can't…help…her," he choked out.
I sat stunned. My family had caused this grief? And what did he mean, 'he left her in the woods to die?' Edward wouldn't leave her in the woods, would he? I knew he didn't have any contact with her. None of us were supposed to contact her. Hell, I wasn't supposed to be here now, but I had to be.
Finally, I know that he did love her. I guess I can see why Charlie would think Edward didn't love her because he never contacted her again, but he said she was 'dead inside'? That can't be good.
That can't be good at all.
"Sir, I don't understand. What happened?" I knew I was risking enraging him and he was still sobbing on the sofa but I wanted more information. His despair was overwhelming. I was hoping maybe that would cease at least a little with my questions.
He looked up with red puffy eyes and sniffled like a little kid. He reached for a handkerchief in his back pocket and blew his nose. His eyes and emotions were haunted with the thoughts of what he was about to tell me. I admit I had become increasingly nervous and anxious to hear the story myself.
Edward never told us about his breakup with Bella. He rejoined the family in New York after we left and stayed only for a couple of weeks. He then decided to "take care of some business", we all thought he was going back to Bella but he stated he would never do that and that none of us were to go after her either. He told Alice not to look into her future or his anymore. He said he wanted to be alone. I for one was happy because he was depressing the whole family; which meant I was the most depressed vampire in the United States at that time, living with a house full of sad vampires.
Charlie composed himself and began to tell me the tale of what happened, all the while staring at the floor. "He left her in the forest, the night you and your family left. He broke up with her in the forest and left her there, lost. It began raining and we had search parties out. Finally, some kids from the reservation came to help and one of them found her. She was in the dark forest alone for 11 hours." He looked up at me. "11 hours most of it in the rain. Did you know that? That he left her in the forest?"
I wasn't sure I was supposed to answer, but after a few seconds I realized he was waiting for answer. I just didn't know what to say. I was flabbergasted.
"No sir. He didn't tell us anything about how he broke up with her. Only that he did." I was so astonished this came out just barely more than a whisper. But it was loud enough for Charlie to hear so he continued.
"She was pretty much catatonic for weeks," he was talking to the floor again, and much more quietly but I could still hear him, of course. "I was scared I was going to have to hospitalize her and I just couldn't do it. I called her mom and asked her to come and get her. I didn't want to lose my baby girl but she was already lost to me as she was." I could smell the salty tears his eyes continued to produce and he made no move to acknowledge them.
"When Renee got here, we told Bella she was going to Florida and she woke up with a vengeance. Bella has never thrown a hissy fit like she did that day. I can't say I'm sorry about it," he said, with a wry smile.
"I was happy to have her do anything, moving, talking, screaming, or yelling. It was different. She said she didn't want to leave, she threw the clothes we had packed for her all over her room and then began to cry." He wiped his tears away and hiccupped ever so slightly.
"I thought she was going to get better. She cried for a week and Renee stayed and took care of her for that week. When she stopped crying, she finally went back to school. Since she was a good student they gave her a chance to catch up. She hadn't been to school in a month by this time." He glanced up at me. I just stared intently waiting for him to continue with the fuckery that was Bella's life.
"She went to school, she quit her job at Newton's, and I didn't push the topic. Maybe I should have. She quit fixing dinner, she barely eats, and she barely sleeps." His haunted eyes fixed on my golden ones as he said his next words, "She has nightmares…daily…she screams…constantly."
Those words were like dead weights being dropped into my cold-dead heart. This was present tense not past. She still had these issues. I understood now.
He broke her.
He doesn't know he did. He thought she'd get over it like a normal teenage girl. But, when has Bella ever been normal? I was so stunned, I didn't know whether to be pissed at Edward for breaking Bella or sad for Bella and her father. I decided I needed to see Bella before I could decide.
Wait a minute.
He left her in the woods?! For 11 hours in the rain?! What the FUCK?! Okay, I'm officially pissed at that arrogant asshole. It's one thing to break up with your girlfriend; it's another to leave her stranded and lost in the woods when you break up with her. He broke up with her right after school. So from around 3pm to 2am Bella was out there.
I needed to see Bella, more so now than ever before. I wondered if Carlisle knew what he had done?
I looked to Charlie to see if he was going to continue. He was wiping the tears away from his eyes with the end of his handkerchief.
"She got caught up in school. She doesn't have any friends anymore. They quit calling, quit trying. Her teachers say that she will answer a question when asked but she doesn't volunteer any information. She always knows the right answer but her teachers would swear she's not even paying attention. They say she stares through them. They've all suggested counseling but I can't get her to go. She only agrees to go to school. She won't go to the grocery store even. When she's not at school she's in her bed staring at the ceiling.
"I don't know what she thinks about; she doesn't talk to me anymore. Renee is planning on coming back next month to see if Bella will go back to Florida with her. Bella doesn't know. Please don't tell her. I think she's waiting for him to return."
I had noticed that he wouldn't say Edward's name or as I have suddenly dubbed him, Fuckward.
Charlie stood, so I followed after a second of hesitation. "I don't know what she'll do when she sees you, I'm not sure it's a good idea. But if seeing you will change something, then I'm going to let it happen. Don't, whatever you do, don't say his name. She can't handle it." He gave me a stern look but didn't explain further.
I started for the stairs without a word. What the hell do you say to something like that? I gave him a nod acknowledging that I understood his warning and started slowly up the stairs.
"First door on the right," he called up as I went.
I have to admit, I was again nervous. I didn't want to make her worse. I knew Charlie was only letting me up here because he couldn't take the way things were. But that didn't mean I should be up here. I didn't know what to expect. I thought I was just coming to apologize. I still needed to do that, but it isn't going to be just for trying to kill her on her birthday anymore. No. It's for us leaving, for Fuckward leaving her in the forest.
Yeah, he's gonna lose some body parts the next time I see him! I still can't believe this. Nothing scares me but I'm scared to go into her room. I never thought Edward could be a heartless bastard but I guess I was wrong. I got to her door. Her breathing and heart rate were slow and steady.
I was half hoping she'd be asleep, so I could leave and not bother her. Maybe come back tomorrow after I've wrapped my head around all of this.
I knocked on the door. No answer. "Just go in," Charlie hollered from downstairs.
I gently grabbed the door knob and turned it. I opened the door a crack and the scent of Bella came wafting from the room. Nothing changed. She didn't acknowledge my presence.
I slowly walked into the room. I noticed this room like the rest of the house was very clean. I'm guessing it is the one other thing Bella did. Clean. Her room seemed bare though not like a normal teenage girl's room. Her walls were bare; she had a bookcase with knick-knacks on it but no books and several empty shelves. She loved to read. Yet the only books I saw in her room were her school books on her desk.
She laid on the bed with her back to me and I noticed she had lost a lot of weight. She had a good figure, before. But as I gazed at her, even her backside looked bony. I wasn't sure if I should walk around to the side she was facing, to see if she was awake or call her name.
I chose the latter. "Bella?" I called softly. I really didn't want to wake her.
There was no response so I decided I would check to see if her eyes were open or closed. I cautiously walked around the foot of the bed to the other side. She was awake. Her flat brown eyes bore right through me. I remembered earlier and realized at that moment that I couldn't feel any emotions from her. I stood silently in her room feeling for them and her eyes locked with mine.
Those eyes told the same story Charlie had. She was broken. Her soul was broken, not just her heart. It was heart breaking to see the lack of shine in her eyes. Her face was sallow with her skin taught over her cheekbones and deep purple circles under her eyes. Her hair was flat and dull just like her eyes; no shine. Her skin looked dry, pale, and even papery. She was too thin. Bones poked out from everywhere.
She looked more dead than alive.
Other than her staring at me, she hadn't acknowledged me. We stared at each other for about a minute before I tried again.
She just continued to stare at me. I got the feeling that maybe she wasn't sure if I was real. I had decided to try talking to her.
"Bella? It's me Jasper. I'm here. I'm here alone." I figured I better let her know she wasn't going to see anyone else. Her heart rate and breathing began to increase. I continued to talk to her, trying to get a response. Charlie said she would answer if asked a question directly. Though she never spoke to him when he told her I was here.
"Bella? How are you doin', darlin'? I'm in town for a few days and wondered if you wanted to hang out?" I let my southern accent take over. Usually the ladies enjoyed it.
She was almost panting, her heart was racing, and she just stared at me silently. I wasn't sure if I should try to calm her down before she started hyperventilating or not. I decided to wait a minute. I wasn't sure it would work anyway since I couldn't feel anything from her. That was unnerving to say the least.
"Bella, your dad told me what happened. I'm so sorry, darlin'! We had no idea. Edward asked us-"
"AHHHHHHHHHHH!" she screamed bloody murder and wrapped her arms around her chest. She shuffled back towards the headboard hastily and began rocking herself. She stared straight ahead seeing nothing. Charlie raced into the room to check on her.
"He's gone, he's gone, he's gone, he's gone, he's gone…" she whispered repeatedly.
"What happened? What happened?" he asked frantic and enraged. He glared at me and I was sure at that moment if looks could kill a vampire, I'd be six feet under. He sat on the bed and wrapped his arms around Bella. She pulled away from him and began rocking faster, while continuing her mantra.
I looked on stunned with wide eyes as the once beautiful creature had been reduced to a shell of a human being.
"What happened?" Charlie growled at me.
"I was trying to talk to her. To get her to acknowledge me. I told her that you told me what happened. I tried to explain that E-" Charlie narrowed his eyes at me, I stopped, and at that moment I realized what I had done. I said his name. OH SHIT! Charlie had said she couldn't handle it. How could I be so stupid!?
"Oh," was all I could say quietly with realization.
"Please wait for me downstairs?" Charlie asked, through gritted teeth.
I nodded and made my way downstairs. Oh My God! What happened here? I am going to kill Fuckward! He better hope Alice checks his future, because he isn't going to have one for much longer. This was not breaking up with someone, this was breaking someone. What did he do? This isn't normal! Alice and I broke up after nearly a half a century together. We had thought we were soul mates and neither of us went through this heartbreak!
Sure we were both hurt but we realized it just wasn't working between us. It was mutual and she cried, I stayed strong and held her while she dry sobbed for a day. But Bella, she was catatonic for a month and cried for a week! She looks more dead than alive. She doesn't talk, eat, or sleep. She's barely human.
I made my way back to the chair in the living room where Charlie and I last talked. I listened while he was upstairs trying to sooth her and she continued to repeat 'he's gone'. I felt so guilty that I caused her more pain. I shouldn't have come. I shouldn't have said anything. I should have just left when she didn't answer after I called her name. But I didn't. I made things worse. And despite the fear and sadness in her eyes when I said his name, I still felt nothing from her.
I was able to feel her emotions before. What did that mean? Was she truly dead on the inside? Was she blocking me? If so, how? Was this related to the same reason Fuckward couldn't read her mind? I thought about calling Carlisle to ask. They knew I was on a vacation. They don't know where I was going, though. But they also didn't know about Bella. And I thought they needed to know.
Charlie came down about five minutes later. I listened and Bella was still chanting 'he's gone' but her heart rate and breathing had slowed. Charlie came into the living room glaring at me. His anger wasn't as bad as when I got here, but it was definitely directed at me this time, and not just because I was a Cullen. I fucked up, bad.
"Well?" Charlie growled.