Author's Note: This story has character death! The ending is happy/sad depending upon how it's looked at. This story was written by SilverTears22 who does not have an account on this site (can be found at Tricky Raven), Beta'd by unbidden16. It is advisable to listen to the song 'Concrete Angel' by Martina McBride to better understand the story. It is a one-shot ONLY.
Disclaimer: I have no rights to Twilight or to the son 'Concrete Angel' (by Martina McBride).
Eleanor Swift, second-grade assistant teacher at Cypress Glen Elementary School, glanced through the open doorway leading out to the playground where hers' and Mrs. Matthew's class were breaking for recess. Mrs. Matthews, a rotund woman with a soft smile on her wrinkled face, and another assistant attentively watched after the gaggle of seven and eight-year olds climbing on an around the oversized jungle-gym in the middle of a gran sand-pit.
Eleanor chuckled softly, her hand resting lightly upon her swelling stomach, as she listened to the excited chatter of the children. Some screeched merrily as others chased them around the wooden structure in a haphazard fashion while others giggled and cheered as quieter games were played elsewhere on the fenced-in parcel of land. She loved each and every one of these children and so looked forward to the arrival of her own little-one. She would be a mother soon enough and her home would be filled with the same laughter and joy as the school in which she worked.
Glancing about, she frowned minutely. Sitting far away from the other children on a set of swings that had seen better days was an overly petite little girl that Eleanor had come to know fairly well in the past year.
Isabella Swan, a girl with a smile that could break anyone's heart, swung her legs sedately. Her brown hair, quite unkempt and a little greasy looking, hung down in front of her face as she stared at the ground under her dainty feet. The girl was smaller than all of her peers by a good few inches and couldn't have weighed more than a few pounds over forty. Her pale fingers were curled lightly around the plastic-covered chain of her seat as she teetered back and forth, the nails a smidgen dirty. Glancing at the floral, baby-blue dress, Eleanor dismissed the fact that little Bella had worn that very same dress earlier in the week. Cypress Glen was by no mean a school for the well-off, so it wasn't uncommon for some of the children to have little in the way of a wardrobe.
Bella was a wonderfully intelligent little girl, far ahead of her peers when it came to reading. Eleanor often worked with the brunette child on increasing her already expansive vocabulary, though the timid child rarely spoke up or out. She often sat off on her own, too shy to dare to try and make any new friends.
Eleanor's heart clenched at seeing the girl look up and over to the other children, her chocolate-colored eyes glistening and a sorrowful frown on her face as she saw that the others were still playing on without her. The woman knew that she needed to talk to Mrs. Matthews soon, possibly the school's counselor as well, on what to do with the poor child. Bella was a little anti-social and while not all the children were outwardly mean to the girl there were more than a handful that enjoyed rubbing it into her face that she didn't have as much as they did in the way of material possessions.
Maybe I'll talk to her now, she thought to herself, pushing away from the doorway to make her way towards the elder woman. Perhaps we can find another class for her to join? Mrs. Stevens' class has that wonderful little girl Angela in it. I think those two would hit it off marvelously.
Back on the swings, Bella watched as Miss Swift, her favorite teacher, went to go talk with Mrs. Matthews. Her toe, covered by worn white socks and black mary-janes, twirled in the sand as she brought her swing to a standstill. She hoped that she wasn't going to get into any trouble again. Daddy Phil hadn't been happy when Mr. Leveaux, the school principle, had called home and woken up Momma to say that the school had bought her lunch because the sandwich she'd brought had a mold spot on it.
She shifted a little stiffly on her seat when her thigh connected a little too heavily with the black-rubber. Her dress was long-sleeved and the skirt hung down far enough to cover her knees, but it wasn't thick anymore like when her Momma first bought it for her. She could feel the cold wind of Fall and everything else easily through the cotton.
"Hey Bella!" A chipper voice called out to her from nearby. A smile erupted on her face at hearing it. She couldn't help the reaction.
"Hi Jacob!" She cheered back, beaming at the black-haired, dark-skinned boy that plopped himself down onto the swing beside hers. He reached out his right hand, chubby-fingers and all, and flicked her nose like he did every time he saw her. In return she snaked her own hand out and tugged his earlobe with her own smaller, paler fingers. He laughed loudly, his head dropping back onto his shoulders with mirth.
"What'cha doin'?" He asked in his normal, carefree manner. His eyes, darker than hers and looking very much like black licorice, sparkled when they looked at her. His hand had grabbed hers after the flick and continued to squeeze it comfortingly. He was always so warm compared to her…and bigger! Her friend was like a big bear compared to her, but he was in reality a teddy-bear. He liked to give hugs almost as much as she liked to get them!
"Nothin'." She beamed. Giggling, she went back to swinging, her handhold with the boy forcing him along with her. He never stopped her from doing anything she wanted. In fact, there was more than one time that he went out of his way to make sure she could do whatever it was that popped into her 'silly-girl-head'.
"What's Miss Swift doin'? Ya know?" He pointed rudely towards where the woman in question and Mrs. Matthews were talking quietly, ignoring the slapping Bella was doing to his gesturing arm.
"No Jake! Don't do that! Stop pointing." Jacob was smiling when he looked back at her. Bella took her chances and tugged on the jean-jacket sleeve he was wearing to pull his arm back down. He finally let her control him, but only just.
In return he tickled her side causing her to squeal loudly.
"I don't know. I hope I didn't do anything bad." Nibbling on her lip, Bella looked back down at her shoes. They were getting dirty again. She'd have to clean them again before Monday or Momma and Daddy Phil would think she didn't know how to take care of her things. "Daddy Phil was real mad last time."
Jacob was quiet for a long minute, his hand absently squeezing hers. Bella took comfort in it. He openly talked to her and would take her hand in his just for the sake of holding her hand. He was her best friend in the entire world!
"I'm sure it's nothing." He hooted with all the confidence in the world. He abruptly stood from his seat and darted behind her back. She felt his hands, large compared to her own, but not in the least bit intimidating or rough, push against her middle back. Laughing happily, Bella kicked her legs as hard as she could to add to the momentum he gave her in his push.
"Higher Jake!" She cried, her waist-length hair whipping about as she and Jacob worked together to push her higher and higher into the air. She and Jacob shouted and laughed gaily, their voices mixing together in a great wave that never seemed to end.
"You're flying Bella!" Jake exclaimed, nearly tumbling into the sand as he pushed her even higher into the air. His feet stumbled, but he pulled his sneakers back under him quick enough to dodge the girl's rapidly swinging body. "You're flying!"
"I'm flying!" The petite girl felt tears trail down her cheeks as she laughed openly, her heart swelling to be so close to her friend.
She was certain she could never be happier in her life.
Several nights later, Bella rested her forearms on the sill of her window, smiling widely down at her friend. Jacob used to only come over every few nights in a week, but he came to see her every night now.
"Can you come down, Bella?" He asked, his hands buried in the pockets of his jean jacket. He stood at a tall four-feet two-inches. He was so big for their age! Bella liked being able to look up into his smiling face and know that he would never hurt her, knowing that he would always be her friend.
Bella glanced back into her room, noting the closed door with a faded daisy sticker smack dab in the center of the wood. She grimaced faintly, shaking her head even as she turned back to look down at the sidewalk where Jacob stood.
"I can't, Jake. I'm sorry." She chewed her lip in nervousness and sadness to see his head droop in disappointment. He wasn't looking at her anymore, instead kicking the front of his sneaker into the pavement in much the same way as she had the day before on the swings. "Hey!" She called him with sudden cheeriness. His dark eyes lifted to connect with hers. "I heard Momma and Daddy Phil talking at dinner tonight. They're going out to eat tomorrow and watchin' a movie. Wanna go to the park then? We can go to Mackey's and get an ice-cream!"
"Yeah! Definitely!" Jacob pumped his fist once in the air with utter excitement. Mackey's was a in actuality a push-cart at the nearby park, owned by an elderly couple, that served ice-creams and other goodies just past sunset. A lot of older kids, teenagers, bought from there when they had their boyfriends or girlfriends with them at night, but children got goodies, too, when they managed to sneak away from their parents at night.
"Good!" The little girl beamed happily down at her dark-haired friend.
Bella set her head against her shoulder, content to simply grin down at her Jacob as he took to yammering about this or that. He was always the more talkative of the two, but she didn't mind. Just hearing his voice and having him around made her day better.
"Y'know, there's this kid Riley that…"
Jacob was interrupted, however, by Bella's bedroom door opening suddenly, the tarnished handle imbedding itself into the wall with the force of the door's swing. Bella gasped and drew away from the window. Not enough, though, that Jacob couldn't see her head from where he stood.
"What the fuck did you do wrong this time, you little brat?!" He heard her step-father holler from her room. Bella's face, he saw, was plastered with terror. Tears had sprung to her eyes and ran freely down her cheeks as she shrieked when the man grabbed her arms roughly. She was so pale.
"I-I didn't d-do anything D-d-daddy!" She cried piteously. Jake winced, but didn't dare look away when Phil shook his friend harshly.
"Don't give me that!" The man shook her again, Bella's head rocking back and forth on her shoulders with force. Sobs wracked through her as Phil continued to shout at her, his teeth bared in a feral snarl.
Jake looked around helplessly, thinking someone could hear them through the open window. Bella's step-father was never quiet and his friend was crying loud enough that he was sure the sound would carry at least a few houses down. No lights turned on, though. No one came outside to investigate.
No one was going to help.
"Your Momma told me that school called today. They're moving you to another class." Bella was pushed away from the window so Jacob could only see their shadows cast on the wall, but he could still hear them. The man screaming and Bella crying. "What the fuck did you do?! Answer me!"
"Daddy!" She screamed just as Jacob heard the too-clear sound of flesh smacking into flesh. There was a thump and then more smacking. Harder hits. "I'm sorry!" His friend pleaded without end, her sobs wrenching and heart-breaking. Jacob couldn't turn away from the shadows on the wall. He couldn't look away from the dark mass that represented an arm, raising and falling mercilessly upon another shadow too low see.
Jake refused to look away as his friend grew quiet…didn't move from his spot even when Bella's stepfather left the room.
When the police arrived, courtesy of a well-meaning neighbor who'd been out walking her dog, Jacob was still standing on the sidewalk. He frowned continuously as the policewoman rushed out of the house to call for more people before running back inside, her gun drawn on the man inside. Several other cruisers poured into the cul-de-sac, their lights and sirens flashing. An ambulance was the last to arrive, its pace unnervingly slow. He stared as Phil was marched from the house, his hands cuffed behind his back, Bella's mother following after with drooping eyes and a cigarette clutched between her fingers.
He stayed as far into the night as to see the stretcher one of the ambulance drivers steered into the house come back out, a white sheet covering a too tiny body save for a single, pale hand.
Eleanor Swift clenched her hands with no set rhythm over her swollen stomach as she stared tearfully down at the freshly-laid soil before her and the newly carved stone at its head.
Isabella Marie Swan.
Clenching her teeth, Eleanor looked around to the small assemblage of her former student. So small a gathering. There was only she, Mrs. Matthews, the little girl's paternal father, whom had flown out from across the country to bury his only child, and the father's new wife. Them and a little boy she had never seen before, standing to the other side of the now occupied plot.
The boy, who appeared to be Bella's age, crouched down to run his russet-colored fingers over the words carved in the stone before them all. His touch was soft and steady, his face drawn down into a solemn glower. She could see the name 'Jacob' sewn into the tag at the back of his jean jacket as he leaned over to place a kiss to the stone angel perched on the top of the grave marker.
Looking at the others she was surprised to see that they seemed to pay no attention to the grave, lone little boy.
Jacob, if that was the boy's name, stood slowly. He took a final look at the grave before bringing his chin up. His eyes connected with hers for only a moment, but in that moment he smiled widely in gladness. He moved towards her and her arms opened on instinct as if to hug him and console him in the aftermath of his friend's passing.
He didn't walk into her, though. He walked through her.
Eleanor gasped as the boy walked through her, a light shining around him like an unearthly halo, and came out the other side. Where her unborn child grew she felt butterflies. Gaping, she turned around to follow the dark-haired boy with her eyes. Tears stung her eyes to see him…but he was not alone.
Bella, sweet little Isabella, was giggling openly. Her smaller hand held his as she ran up the hill further into the cemetery. Jacob laughed with her, easily keeping up with her much shorter gait. Their merriment rang in her ears like a bell and the tears feel unerringly from her eyes.
The two ran further and further from the girl's grave, other children around the same age meeting them along the way. Eleanor set a hand over her mouth as she choked on a hiccupped-sob. The children, as happy as any on the playground, turned back to the unseeing adults and waved cheerfully before running down and over the hill.
"Excuse me?" A masculine voice drew her gaze away from the retreating children so that she faced Bella's birth father. His eyes were red and swollen. He held his wife's hand tightly, taking comfort in her presence. "Are you all right?"
"N-no," she whispered to the man, her hand dropping back down to caress her stomach. Childrens' laughter echoed over the hill, tempting a smile back onto her lips. "No, I'm not all right."
Gazing back over her shoulder, she sent a prayer up to God for all those children and a prayer for her own, before looking back to the haggard looking father. She offered him a hopeful grin, her heart aching.
"But I will be."
In the distance, carrying on the wind like a whisper, was the hearty laughter of a young boy and the giggle of a little girl. Her voice rose above his in an exultant cry of delight.
"I'm flying, Jacob! I'm flying!"
Eleanor looked up into the sky and smiled.