I knew I fucked up. What do I tell Charlie? 'Sorry, I just said Fuckward's name and caused your daughter to have some sort of weird PTSD flashback?' No. How about, 'Sorry, I tried to kill your daughter on her birthday which caused the string of events that led to her being this way.' No. I shook my head trying to clear it of the image of Bella upstairs hollow looking, chanting 'he's gone'. Fuckward pulled a number on her and now he's not even here to clean it up!
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!"
"Charlie, I'm sorry. I will never say his name again! It was accident earlier. I know you said she couldn't handle it. I'm sorry. I was just trying to explain to her that we didn't know what he did to her." I sighed heavily as Charlie emanated sadness and anger. This seems to be his constant at least when I'm around. I knew I needed to make this right, for Bella.
Bella did not deserve to be the shell of a human she had become. Knowing she'd been that way for four months was gut wrenching. They couldn't even call us; Fuckward made sure we all changed our numbers. Alice really never looked for Bella. If she had, she would have seen this. We could have helped.
I couldn't believe what I had done. This was entirely my fault. I looked up at Charlie. He continued to stare at the floor, silent tears running down his face. He was almost as bad as she was. The only true difference was he was verbal and responsive. They both needed sleep and they both needed to eat.
Bella especially needed both.
I can help. I will help. I have to help.
"Charlie, I know you are mad for what I have caused today and I don't blame you. I…I just made a mistake but I would like to try to help. I would like to come back in the morning. Since it's Saturday and there is no school, I would like to try to spend the day with Bella. Even if all I can do is sit in the room with her and talk at her." I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.
I knew I was going to have to call Carlisle tonight and let him know where I was and what was going on. They may not be happy about it but I needed some advice on how to help Bella. I sighed heavily and rubbed my knees as though my palms were sweaty. I looked up to Charlie, his emotions had shifted to curiosity and longing. The sadness was still there and so was the anger but I could tell he was debating it.
He finally nodded, seemingly more to himself than me. "Son, this isn't your fault. You're a young man related to the bastard that broke my daughter. You don't owe us anything. All that I ask is that you make sure that he does not ever come around here again. I maybe the Chief of Police but I don't guarantee his safety in this town." His anger returned and the fire in his eyes showed that he meant business.
Of course I'm not going to tell Charlie that he couldn't hurt my ex-brother. But right about now I wish he could.
I nodded, I knew he wasn't going to want my help but I have to help. "Sir, this is my asshole brother's fault, I can see that. We didn' know he left her in the woods. We didn' know she was like this. But I do know that I wanna help her. She was a part of my family for almost a year. We all cared about her and her well-bein' not just him. Please let me come by tomorrow? If things get worse again or there is no change by the end of the day, I won' bother none of y'all anymore. But please, lemme try?" I put as much Southern accent as I could into that request and sent him a bit of my sincerity so he could feel that there was no question how much I really wanted to do this.
He continued to stare at the floor but this time he nodded and spoke quickly, "I can see this means a lot to you, and frankly I don't know what else to do. I try not to get in her way. I try to get her to eat something at least once a day. I try to get her to talk to me at least once a day." The tears began to come more freely and his voice strained to finish. "I'm watching my daughter starve to death, silently. I suppose if you can help at all, then I will allow you come over tomorrow but if I tell you to leave you will do so without argument. I can't have her getting any worse."
How can she get worse? He's seen her worse. That first week she didn't get out of bed.
I nodded and stood. I had to get out of this house. I needed to think. I needed to call Carlisle. "Sir, I will be here at 9 a.m. and plan to stay the whole day. If I can get her to go out with me, is that acceptable?" I waited; I felt fear overtake the sadness briefly. It subsided before he spoke. Did he think I would hurt her? Leave her in the forest like he did? Why was he afraid?
"9 a.m. is fine. You can take her out if she is willing to go. But don't get your hopes up. She only leaves the house to go to school. And whatever you do, do not take her into the woods! I'm sure you can understand why. The others aren't coming back are they?" he asked, his last question with a hint of fear.
So that's what he was afraid of. If they all come back, would he and would their presence hurt her more.
"No sir, no one is comin' back at this time, although I would like to call my Dad and tell him what has happened here. If he decides to come for a visit would that be okay with you? I can guarantee they won't be bringing him with them if they do come. He is in Europe at school." I honestly have no idea where Fuckward was but I knew Charlie needed a reason why he wouldn't come back with the rest of the family.
"Well it must be nice that he can just travel around the world while my baby wastes away!" he sneered.
I can't even blame him. Who knows what he was doing or where he was. I doubt he was having the time of his life though. At this point, I hoped he was more miserable than Bella. But I doubted it. She was literally dying. He couldn't die again. But I sure as hell could kill him!
I didn't know what to say to his last statement so I went with, "I'm sorry, sir. I'll see you both tomorrow. I promise to do everything I can to make this better."
With that I headed for the door, I took one last note of the two people in this house. One filled with anger and sorrow, and other I couldn't feel but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was broken.
Bella had quieted down but I could hear the slight creak of the bed as she continued to rock herself. I sighed to myself. I had to fix this. It was my fault after all.
Charlie followed me silently and shut the door behind me. I got in my truck, a brand new black Toyota Tundra, because Toyota makes the most reliable stuff nowadays. I sat there for a couple of minutes listening to the house. Charlie went back up to talk to Bella but she ignored him. With a heavy heart I backed out of the driveway and headed for the Cullen home.
I spoke with Carlisle; he was just as stunned as I was. He promised not to tell Fuckward and I can tell that he did not appreciate me calling him that. But he really had no idea what had happened to this precious soul. I told him she wasn't eating, sleeping, or even responding to people for the most part. He suggested I ask her if she wanted to work on homework. This might be an in, since it was the only thing she did. The other option was helping her clean.
I asked Carlisle if he thought I could bring her somewhere but we weren't sure what would be good for her. I finally decided on a bookstore. Hopefully, she'd let me buy her something that would make her happy. Alice always liked it when I bought her stuff, but I knew Bella didn't care for gifts. I'll just have to see what tomorrow brings. I felt so helpless. It's not a feeling I'm accustomed to and not one I particularly cared for.
In the meantime, while I spoke with Carlisle I had made a decision. One I didn't tell him about. I was going back tonight. I was going to help Bella sleep. Maybe that alone could begin the healing for her. A good night's sleep. I don't know why I didn't want to tell Carlisle. He'd probably agree it was almost necessary, but I somehow couldn't help but feel it was a little weird. I was planning on sneaking into her room in the middle of the night, like Fuckward used to. Only I had a real purpose and it wasn't stalking Bella; it was helping her.
I continued to think about how to talk to her in the morning as I made my way through the forest back to her house. The house was quiet, the lights were off, and it was almost midnight. I figured they should both be asleep. I guess I should help Charlie sleep too. He looked like he could use it almost as much as Bella.
I climbed the tree outside her window to check on her. It was dark in the room but I could see that her back was to me, her breathing was heavy and her heart was slow and steady. I figured she must be asleep. Then I felt it, her emotions. I could feel her when she was asleep? And Oh God! Did I not want to! Despair, sadness, fear, it was strong; so strong I had to tighten my grip on the tree, while I tried to gain control of myself in an effort to help her.
Before I could make another move, while I sat in the tree emotionally stunned, the feelings became more intense. Dear God! How can one person feel all of this and live!? A part of my brain answered that question for me. 'They can't, she's not living, she's barely existing.'
Her heart rate picked up and breathing began to increase. A nightmare. Charlie said they were bad. I still didn't have control. I couldn't help her. I wanted to help her. But I couldn't bring my own emotions together, all I could feel was her, and it was crippling. I've fought in wars and never felt emotions like this coming off groups of people, let alone an individual!
"Fuck," I muttered. I just couldn't believe this!
Then it started to get worse. Worse? SHIT!
"NNNNOOOOOO! PPLLEAASSSEEE NOOOOO!" Bella screamed and sat straight up in bed and began crying, bawling, and I couldn't feel her anymore. The relief was instantaneous when she controlled her emotions. I don't know if she even knew she was doing it. She surely didn't know I was here.
Charlie was awake now too but he didn't come to check on her. He rolled over in his bed and sighed. He mumbled something but I couldn't make it out. His heart was racing from being startled awake but it was slowing quickly. He never got out of bed. He didn't check on her?
No wonder he looks like he needs sleep this is a nightly occurrence. I knew he said it was but there's nothing like seeing it and certainly nothing like feeling it. Bella laid there crying and I got as close as I could to the window. I sent her as much calmness and lethargy as I could muster. I knocked her out.
When I was sure she was out and that I was in control being able to suppress her overwhelming emotions, I moved to open the window. It squeaked but I wasn't worried. I opened her bedroom door and sent Charlie the same thing. I sat on the floor between the two rooms. Making sure they were both relaxed and sleeping for the rest of the night. I was glad I could give them something. Bella was so unconscious she never had another nightmare that night and Charlie slept evenly through the night as well. I learned great control at keeping Bella's emotions at bay; if I couldn't tame them I couldn't help her.
I didn't know if Charlie had to work he didn't mention it when I asked if I could come over today, so when dawn began to break over the horizon I unwillingly left the Swan residence. I made sure they were both still asleep and exited right out the front door. No need to jump out windows when I knew everyone was asleep and had no chance to wake up and find me.
I went home, changed, and waited a few hours. I hoped that Bella didn't have any nightmares after I left. I tried to keep her as sedated as possible. I sat there for hours wondering what I could have done differently. It was my fault. I attacked Bella and because of that Fuckward felt the need to leave her. He said he didn't blame me that it could have been any of us. I know they always worried about my control though.
It wasn't my control that was the problem. The problem was dealing with the thirst emitted by six other vampires in the room at the same time.
I looked at my cell phone and it was ten minutes till 9:00 a.m. I needed to go. I made my way to my truck and over to Bella's.
I hoped that when I got there everyone would be fine and things would be normal. Of course, I knew that was not going to be the case and I was honestly scared. I was scared I was going to make her worse. I was scared I was going to upset Charlie again. I was scared I wasn't going to be able to fix this. Maybe I should have called Alice. She could look and see what would work and what wouldn't. As I was standing outside the front door debating this, it opened.
I hadn't knocked but I guessed that Charlie heard my truck as I pulled in. Only it wasn't Charlie that answered the door. It was Bella. She stood there staring through me again. I knew she saw me but she barely acknowledged me. The circles under her eyes weren't as deep so I knew the sleep helped her. But she still looked vacant. She didn't say anything but backed away from the door to let me in.
I stepped around her noticing that I was again unable to feel any of her emotions. She really was dead inside when she was awake and the pain took her over in her sleep. Charlie was in the kitchen frying up some eggs and hollered, "Good Morning!" from the kitchen. He almost sounded chipper. I attributed it to his good night's sleep.
I sighed to myself at least that seemed to have helped. Bella looked at me for a second, well through me, while she closed the front door. She walked back to the living room and grabbed a rag where she began to wipe the spotless mantel down including the knick-knacks and pictures that adorned it.
I hollered, "Good Morning!" back at Charlie and followed Bella into the living room.
She didn't even act like I was there. Well 'here goes nothing', I thought wryly to myself.
"Morning Bella, how'd did you sleep?"
She paused after I finished my question. She seemed to think about the answer but never turned to face me.
"Better," she whispered.
I was so excited I got a response I almost did a dance in the middle the Swan's living room. Her voice was crackly due to lack of use, even in her whisper I could hear the effort it took for her to speak. But she answered. She acknowledged me and she answered!
"Breakfast!" Charlie hollered, from the kitchen. "Come on Bella, Jasper."
Bella continued to clean for a few more seconds before she sighed heavily and put the rag down. She went to the kitchen and sat in a chair across from Charlie. She didn't look at anyone and she didn't say anything. Charlie turned to me as I followed her in the room.
"Breakfast, Jasper?" he asked.
I knew I had two choices. One, I ate at home and no thank you, or two, sit and eat the repulsive food. I knew as soon as I thought about it what I was going to say.
"Are you sure you have enough, Charlie? I ate some toast at home but those eggs sure smell good."
It worked. Bella glanced over at me. I was going to eat for her. I was going to eat to get her to acknowledge me. And I was going to hate every second of it! But it would be worth it, because that glance was at me, not through me.
"Sure we have enough. I wasn't sure if you had food at the house so I made extra," Charlie stated, proud of himself. Some of the anger and sadness that he was projecting last night was gone. It was replaced by a little bit of hope.
Charlie served Bella a very small portion. I'm sure humans are supposed to eat more than that at a meal. It was just eggs and toast after all. He then served me a portion 3x the size of Bella's. Finally, he served himself a portion just slightly smaller than mine and he still had another serving left over. I glanced at Bella. She sighed and grabbed her fork.
She studied her food and I watched her for a moment. She was so skinny. How could I get her to eat? An idea came to mind but I don't know if it'll work. I obviously had the food in front of me and I was going to eat it but I didn't want to if I could help it.
"Bella, is there something wrong with the food I should know about?" I asked in a joking tone.
Charlie glanced at me but began to eat his own food without a word. Bella quit picking at her food and looked up at me. Score! Another direct look. She eyed me and my plate for a second. I held the fork in my hand and hesitated above the eggs. I raised my eyebrow in question at her and looked back at my plate.
There was a spark in her eyes. If I hadn't been a vampire I surely would have missed it, it was so brief. She still gave off no emotions and had no expression on her face but she answered only slightly louder than her answer earlier.
"They're good, try them."
I looked at her with amusement. She was daring me. Two can play at that game.
"Darlin', how do you know they're good? You haven' tried them yourself. I dunno if I trust your judgment." I made sure to up my southern accent and amusement. I gave her a challenge. I was only going to eat if she was. I could tell she wanted to see me eat.
She looked back down at her plate expressionless but scooped up a hunk of egg and brought it to her mouth. I watched her wrap her pale pink lips around the fork and slide it out. I doubt that was supposed to be erotic but I couldn't help feeling a bit lustful watching it. I immediately felt bad for thinking anything like that about Bella, especially in her current condition, but I mirrored her action.
I scooped up the egg and ate it just a second after she returned her fork to her plate. Now she was watching me. It was eerie to have those dead eyes stare at me but at least they were no longer looking through me. She scooped up another bite silently and I followed. We watched each other bite after bite.
Charlie may as well not have been in the same room. He never said a word. I could feel his curiosity and even happiness as Bella and I ate, bite for bite, together. It was a silent dare and I gladly accepted it.
When the eggs on her plate were finished and I still had almost a full plate I never took my eyes off of her as I brought my plate over and scooped half of it into her plate. She saw me do it out of her peripheral vision but she didn't say anything. She returned to eating. Charlie was confused, happy, angry, and sad. He was a veritable buffet of emotion. I was glad they weren't all negative.
Bella did not finish her plate of eggs and I stopped when she did. Charlie never said a word. When we were done Bella stood up and took her plate to the sink and ran her eggs down the disposal. I walked up behind her with my plate and she turned and took it from me without saying anything or even looking at me. Charlie watched us and then brought his own plate over. She did the same for him. He was surprised when she grabbed his plate. So I assume this was a new action for her.
I looked over at Charlie and he smiled a genuine smile at me and nodded his head in approval. He left the room silently and went upstairs. Bella rinsed the dishes and left them in the sink. She turned around and looked at me. Her haunted eyes bore deep into my soul and I felt almost naked under their glare. She was looking for something, but I didn't know what.
"Bella, would ya like me to help ya with them dishes?" I drawled out, looking to the sink.
She continued to just stare at me. As if I hadn't spoken. So trying to guess what was going on in her head, I tried answering the unasked question. Not sure if it was what she was thinking or not.
"Yes…the eggs were disgustin'. They'll be even worse when I bring 'em back up later." I still made sure my accent was heavy and my voice laced with humor.
Another flash in her eyes, this one more pronounced. This one anyone would have seen. She was coming to life, slowly but surely. There was something else in her eyes. I saw it, I think. A longing? Maybe but I couldn't be sure. She was still so lifeless. All I wanted to do was hug her and make it all go away. I stepped towards her our chests almost touching. She pulled her head back to look at my face but still had no emotion, no expression.
Slowly, I reached my right hand out to her arm. I really didn't want to upset her again. She pulled away from Charlie last night. I couldn't handle it if she pulled away from me too. I already felt so bad she was in this situation. I touched her arm softly and she made no move to get away so I mirrored the action with my left arm. I gently rubbed her arms up and down a couple of times and she continued to just stare at me.
I figured I better ask her before I did anything else. I didn't want her to pull away. I wanted to help her. I needed her to know I was there for her. "Bella, darlin' can I give you a hug?" I waited with bated breath for an answer. She just stared at me.
About a minute passed and I continued to rub her arms gently she finally walked towards me and put her arms around my waist her head on my chest. I sighed and enveloped her in my steel arms. She began to cry. I didn't know if this was a good thing or not. She wasn't bawling like she did last night but she was crying.
I shushed her while whispering, "I'm here. You're okay. Everything's going to be okay, darlin'." I whispered it over and over, while I waited for her to get herself together. I was going to calm her but thought maybe she needed this. If it went on too long, then I would calm her down. For now, I was willing to let her work through it.
She held on to me for dear life. If I was a life preserver, she was damn sure going to be saved by me. And I would willingly save her. As I held her, my thoughts circled around the fact that in less than 24 hours I've helped her get a good night's sleep and eat a decent meal.
I knew I was going to save Bella.