Disclaimer: In no way shape or form does anything recognisable belong to me… If it did, all of this would be canon to the Twilight Universe and I would be spending my millions and time on a private island somewhere.
P.S. I'm rearranging the Twilight timeline slightly. Twilight and New Moon happen the way they are supposed to but instead of only being 4 months in numbness it's more or less all the way up to graduation. No bikes, no cliff-diving, no Edward hallucinations, no Laurent, no Volturi, no Eclipse and no Breaking Dawn. The movie night with Mike and Jacob doesn't happen until Fri 2nd June instead of February. Jacob does get 'sick' after that, Bella spends Finals week (5th-9th) every day after school trying to contact Jacob. On Sat 10th Bella goes to see Jacob, she finds out about the wolves like in the film. Graduation is Friday 30th June. Bella and Jacob spend all June just hanging out until Victoria's first sighting (Mon 3rd July) after that Bella spends either all her time on the res with whichever Wolf was not on patrol or at Emily's until the wolves finally catch Victoria (Late Fri 1st/Early Saturday 2nd September) – 10am Saturday 2nd September is where we begin.
Enjoy… See you at the bottom
Saturday 2nd September 2006 – 10am
It was a nice day for Forks in September – Not a cloud in sight; the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the birds were singing. Charlie had gone fishing with Billy again; although on a day like today which are few and far between, nobody in the little town could bear to be inside. I, as was a part of my routine the past two months, was strolling down La Push's First Beach. Jake and the rest of the pack were either out patrolling the woods or at home catching up on some much needed sleep. Although today's Pack protection detail was Paul and Leah, neither of which particularly liked me much, so I relished the peacefulness of being on my own for the next few minutes. Armed with a book and a blanket, I was a woman on a mission; a nice place to sit and enjoy the day. I finally decided on mine and Jacob's favourite place to sit along the beach – the fallen tree trunk by the edge of the sand.
Saturday 2nd September 2006 – 1pm
I'd been sitting here for roughly three or four hours, Paul and Leah were a ways down the beach (close enough if I needed them but far away enough that they weren't technically with me ) and I was just packing up to go to Emily's, which was another part of my routine, when Leah, and Paul slightly behind her, started sprinting up the beach towards me clueing me in to the rustling and commotion that seemed to be coming from the trees that lined the edge of the beach. At first fear gripped my heart, and adrenaline surged through my veins, thinking that Victoria had given up her games (every week up until the middle of August the forest rangers would report to Charlie that another Hiker's body had been found; completely drained of blood; of course there was no evidence, so it was left to fall under the category of animal attack), had finally gotten around the Wolves and was here to kill me, until I realised that it was just Jacob, he burst from the trees and was now making his way toward me. But there was something in his eyes, something I couldn't put my finger on; all I knew was that it caused my stomach to tighten in dread.
"Jacob! What's going on? What's happened?"
"Oh Bella! I'm so sorry. We caught her scent just past the border and chased it all the way.. I'm so sorry, but we were too late."
"Jacob? Jake? What's happened?" Deep down I knew, I just didn't want to believe.
"Oh, Bella, it's Charlie." "No stop right there, Charlie went fishing. With your Dad."
"Bells, sweetheart, I know but they must have come home earlier than expected. And Victoria was waiting; he was gone before we got there. I'm so sorry."
"What about Victoria?" My throat tightened. Tears threatened to spill. My knees were shaking.
"After we realised what she'd done, we tore after her scent. She hadn't gotten far. Sam got the jump on her and we weren't far behind. She's gone Bells. It's over."
That was when I lost the battle with gravity. Falling to the floor, the flood gates opened, tears poured down my face and hysterical sobs and screams tore from my throat.
"NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOO! ITS ALL MY FAULT! NOO, DADDY. PLEASE."
"Shhh, Bells, Shh. It's gonna be OK. Shh honey, Shh." Jacob kept repeating the same over and over, cradling my form in his strong arms. I could feel Leah stroking my hair and Paul slip his warm hand into my own; both offering their silent comfort and support. A torrent of emotions ran through me; relief it was over, anger and sadness that Charlie had been taken, guilt that I'd bought Victoria to our doorstep; in the end I just couldn't handle it. I let the darkness creeping at the edges of my vision have me.
Saturday 2nd September 2006 – 3pm
When I came to I could hear voices; not what they were saying just that someone was saying something. I could smell something cooking. I could smell fresh flowers, and the undeniable smell that was just simply Jacob. I could feel Jake's warm arms encircling my waist and his soft voice whispering something to me. I tried to open my eyes but the sharp piercing pain of the light entering them had me snapping them shut again. Squeezing my eyes closed and then opening them slowly allowed me to adapt to the light. I didn't know how long I'd been out, but it must have been a while as the sun looked to be in a slightly lower position than it was before I fainted.
Trying to get up, I realised that nobody had noticed that I'd returned to the land of the living.
So I croaked "Water, please." Everything came to a standstill; you could hear a pin drop. Then the chaos started. Emily rushed to get me the water; Jacob let me go then turned my body so I was facing him. Seth, Quil and Embry rushed over to see how I was, I told them I was fine, looking over their huge shoulders I spied Leah and Paul holding hands; Leah gave me a soft sad smile, she knew what it was like to lose a father (Harry had had a heart attack and passed away only a couple months back), Paul quirked a side of his mouth up in what I supposed to be a sympathetic smile and Sam stood back and mouthed "Are you ok?" I nodded. Emily returned with the water, I took it, grateful.
Looking back to Jacob, I noticed he hadn't said a word since I'd woken. A frown marred his beautiful features and something; guilt; swam in his usually warm and friendly brow eyes.
"Jacob." I said softly, reaching across to make him look at me. "It wasn't your fault. I don't blame you, any of you for that matter. I'm so grateful to everyone in the room; you all virtually put your lives on hold, searching for Victoria. If anyone is to blame, it's me." Jacob's eyes became fiery at this but he didn't say anything; nobody else had an argument to what I'd said either – we all knew it was true.
Instead Sam bought up the subject of what was to happen now; Emily insisted that I couldn't go home, not now. So Jake offered for me to stay at his. Leah offered to help with funeral plans; Emily offered her help as well. I accepted, knowing I wouldn't be able to handle it by myself.
The next three days passed in a blur. I stayed at Jacob's at night, both of us sleeping in his too small bed but despite this it was still probably the best sleep I'd had in a long time – I still had nightmares; even though it had been a year, his leaving still hurt, I still relived his leaving me, and despite the threat of Victoria no longer existing, those Edward dreams often morphed into Victoria waiting in the house for me and finding Charlie coming home instead; but I no longer woke up screaming. I put that down to Jacob's warmth in the bed next to me; reminding me that I was safe and that it wasn't real. The days found me at with Emily's or the Clearwater's' with Emily and Leah and sometimes Sue, Leah and Seth's mum, making funeral plans.
Wednesday 6th September 2006 – 10am
The day of the funeral arrived far too fast. I'd been up since 8am that morning, pottering around Billy's kitchen, preparing cold dishes for the wake that was to be held after Charlie's burial, in the hopes that it would distract me enough to remove the dark thoughts running through my mind. It wasn't until an hour later did it occur to me that cooking was only able to occupy my hands for long periods of time, I'd been cooking for long enough that I no longer had to really think about it. So 9am found me outside, it was another beautiful day, washing my truck and weeding the Black's front garden. When that failed to keep my attention, I decided it was time for me to wake Jake and Billy and take a shower, as the funeral had been scheduled for Noon.
Once I'd woken both Billy and Jacob I sent them in the direction of the kitchen, announcing I'd made breakfast. In the shower was when thoughts of the Cullen's decided to make an appearance.
Everyone just leaves. Alice, why did you just leave? Why was there no goodbye? Or from you Emmett? I thought of you all as family. Is that how you treat family?... Why didn't Alice see what happened? Maybe she did. Well why didn't she stop it? Did she know about Victoria? Did Ed…He? I bet He's moved onto someone else by now… it must be what they do to ease the boredom of Eternity. Why didn't Alice see me cut my finger at that fateful birthday party? Or did she? Did she want it to happen? I thought you were my best friend. And why on earth was there a whole stack of glass plates in house where no one eats… were they placed there on purpose? For me to be thrown into? No, surely they wouldn't have done that? Would they?...
A harsh knock and Jacob's voice telling me to get a move on broke me from the thoughts and growing anger at the family I was prepared to leave humanity behind for and call my own. I shoved those thoughts and feelings into a box in the back of my mind, determined that it wouldn't be open again. It'll be as if I never existed. Well, if that's how he wants it, that's how it's going to be. Today was about grieving for my father, not a family who'd thrown me away like yesterday's trash. Leaving the bathroom, I shouted that it was now free and stepped into Jacobs room in just a towel to get ready – I'd chosen a long-sleeved black lace, fitted dress that reached about mid-thigh and simple black flats. I piled my long hair in a bun on top of my head with a few wisps to frame my face and a very light layer of make-up and I'd declared myself ready.
Leaving the room, I bumped into Jacob who was just leaving the bathroom looking handsome in his black suit, white shirt and black tie.
"Oh Bella, you look beautiful. Dad's waiting for us in the living room so if you're ready we can leave for the church?"
"I'm burying my dad today Jake, I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
Wednesday 6th September 2006 – 2pm
The service was beautiful, it seemed that the whole town had turned out to say one last goodbye to their beloved Chief – Charlie would have been proud.
We were now watching as Charlie's coffin was lowered into the ground – everybody had said their goodbyes, now it was my turn; my final goodbye. I stepped forward slowly, a white Lillie in hand, tears streaming down my cheeks. Turning my face toward the sky I breathed in and out slowly then looked back at the coffin.
"Goodbye Daddy. You were the best father a daughter could have asked for. I'm so sorry for what I put you through this past year and I'll forever be grateful that you stuck it out and loved me like you did. I love you daddy. I'll miss you so much." I kissed the Lillie and then threw it on top of the coffin. Behind me I could feel Jake, so I turned and buried myself into his warm and comforting embrace, not caring that I was probably staining his shirt with tears and mascara. He hugged me and rubbed my back.
Slowly I let him go, took his hand into mine and led the way back to the Black house, where the wake was to be held.
Wednesday 6th September 2006 – 4pm
Since it was such a beautiful day – and Billy's house was slightly too small for the amount of people who had turned up – we all ended up outside. From my perch on the Black's porch swing, I could hear people sharing fond stories of the Chief, laughing, crying. Over the course of the two hours we'd already been here, everybody had offered their condolences, hoping I suppose for a little piece of gossip either about me or how dad had died, but I'd only repeated the polite 'thank you' each and every time – I was so tired - when the middle porch step creaked, I just figured it was another well-wishing gossiper and didn't bother to look up, so it shocked me when a hand appeared in my line of vision with a drink and a weight settled beside me on the swing.
I took the drink with a small, grateful smile to one of the last people I'd expected.
"Look I know I haven't been the nicest person to you, like ever but you looked like you needed it. If you want, I can leave you be or I can start getting people to leave. Claim you're too tired to host anymore and would just like to be on your own for a bit? I know how you feel Bella, my dad died only a couple months back. I know how it feels to force that polite smile and 'thank you' to everyone. How tired you feel inside. How sad you must be. Even how guilty you feel. I just wanted you to know that if you ever needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to rant to or just someone to sit with that you can come to me. I know Jake is your best friend and has also lost a parent but he was too young to remember the feelings. So I'm here for you."
My companion went to get up, but my arm shot out before I could even process thinking about moving it.
"No Leah, stay. Please? I'd like it if you would. It means a lot to me that you'd offer that, I'm very grateful, for everything you and the pack have done for me. So thank you." I felt her weight settle down again and then her arm was around my shoulder and pulling me into her and I was going willingly, tears I didn't think I had streaming down my face.
Saturday 9th September 2006 – 12pm
It wasn't until Saturday that I had gathered enough courage to face the inside of my house. The Friday, I'd gone there but couldn't face any more than the front yard. That was also the day I'd had a visit form Charlie's lawyer.
*Flashback* Friday 8th September 2006 – 3pm
I'd been nervous all morning; I knew that Charlie's lawyer was coming today – driving down from Seattle and while this seemed a little unusual I appreciated that I wouldn't need to make the long journey there. For something to do before Mr J Jenks got here I'd decided to try going to my house, start packing up my stuff – I was after all off to NYU in a couple of weeks – but once I got there I just couldn't face going inside. It was too much, too soon. So instead, I'd taken a walk through the woods, then turned around and ran for my truck as soon as the memories of Edward leaving re-surfaced. So here I was, pacing the length of the living room, waiting on the Lawyer – Just J, Miss Bella – Jacob had gone for a run in his wolf form claiming he couldn't take my nervous energy much longer and Billy was up at a council meeting. I considered calling Leah – we'd become good friends over the last couple days, ever since she sat next me on the porch swing at dad's wake, I'd even learnt that she was joining me at NYU to study mechanics (it turns out she was just as good as Rosalie) – but I didn't want to burden her with more of my problems. Although my worry was deemed unnecessary when Leah burst through the front door with her signature scowl – she was actually very beautiful when she smiled – as if to say 'Why the hell have you not called me yet?!'
To that I had no answer, just a sheepish smile. Leah just rolled her eyes. She was quickly becoming another best friend, before I had never realised just how much we had in common and how much fun and how nice she can be. Jacob was the best friend a girl could ask for but the same girl also really craved and needed a girl-friend. I really was grateful to have Leah.
Resuming my pacing, I noticed that Leah had sat down and was now channel-hopping. Without looking up from the screen she forcibly grabbed the back of my shirt, pulled me down to sit next to her and said
"Good God woman, sit down before you wear a hole in the floor and stop worrying!"
"I'm trying Le-Le, but this is hard. Who knows what the hell this Lawyer has to say to me?!"
She sighed "Bellie, he should be here soon and then we can find out. I'll be here the whole time, don't worry."
It was seconds after that there was a knock at the door and Leah was up before I could even get my legs to work.
"Good afternoon. I'm J Jenks and I'm looking for an Isabella Swan, Miss."
"Hi, I'm Leah and Bella is just this way if you'd like to follow me."
"Yes, thank you Miss Leah. Ahh, you must be Miss Bella. I'm J. It's nice to meet you." He offered me his hand. I shook it.
"Hi J. It's nice to meet you too. Can I get you anything? Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable. And if it's OK, I've asked Leah to stay?"
"Yes, a water would be great, thank you. Of course that's fine. But if you're worried I can assure you I don't have any bad news."
I sighed, relieved just as Leah came back with J's water. "Oh, ok. So what's this about?" We all sat down – J in the chair and Leah and I on the sofa.
"I'm just here to inform you of what you have gained from your late father's estate. And to get a few papers signed. First order of business, the house is yours. You can do with it what you like now, just sign this and I can have it transferred to your name." He passed me the paper and a pen. "Second, Charlie had a fair bit of money saved up for your college fund. He had actually called me a few days before he passed to set up a meeting about transferring it to you before you left. But since you're his sole beneficiary, I also need you to sign this before I can release the money."
"Oh, ok I see. Can you tell me just how much he had?"
"Yes, yes, of course." J looked through a few papers. "Oh yes, it was about $100,000. It was all mostly from what he was left in his mother's will a few years ago, of course since then it has gathered interest sitting in the savings account." More papers were handed over.
"Oh wow. Ok, that was unexpected." Leah had gone completely silent, I'm pretty sure if her eyebrows could have gone any higher, she'd have lost them to her hair line by now.
"Yes, well I believe that's it. I just need those papers signed, then I can have them filed Monday morning and everything should be in your name by the end of the week. Unless there was anything else you needed?"
"Err yes, I believe you could help me. I'd like to sell the house. As you know, I'm going to college soon and since dad is no longer here I really have no reason to stay or come back. And anyway, I don't think I'd be able to live in that house any longer – not after what happened."
"Of course, Miss Bella. Would you like me to handle everything?"
"Thank you J. Erm, yes please. I shall be going back there on Saturday to get all the things I want but then would you mind setting up someone to come and clear out the rest of the furniture and things, please?"
"Of course, anything for you. I'll get on that Monday morning as well. I'd also like to offer to stay on as your lawyer, should you ever need one?"
"Thank you. Yes, I'd like that."
J stood up. "Well I believe we are finished here then Miss Bella, so I shall be on my way. I will call you when everything has been transferred. Goodbye, Miss Bella."
"Thank you for everything J. Goodbye." With that J had left. I turned to Leah, and her scowl was back full force
"When were you going to tell me that you weren't planning on coming back?!"
"Le-Le, calm down. I was going to tell you after J had left. I was also going to ask, since we're both off to NYU, if you wanted to go down with me a few days early and look at an apartment for us both?"
"Oh Bella, of course I would. Have you seen one then?"
"Yeah, I've seen a couple that are still available that I think you would like."
"Brilliant. OMG! I can't wait. Oh and also, I heard you mention going home on Saturday. Want me to come with?"
"I can't wait either! Oh Le-Le, thank you. I'd really like that."
"No worries Bellie. What are friends for? Ok, then if you're ok now, I have a couple errands to run but I shall see you tomorrow about 12?"
"12's good. See you tomorrow."
So here I was standing on the porch as Leah unlocked the door. As soon as it was open, I ran for the stairs, not being able to stomach the living room – it was a good thing there was nothing in there I really wanted – once in my bedroom I pulled my well-worn suitcases from under the bed and started to pack up all my clothes and toiletries. Once that had been completed, Leah had found me some card-board boxes for all my books, CD'S and trinkets that I wanted to keep. The last cardboard box was for things I wanted to keep from dad's room – I packed a few t-shirts and sweatpants, the box of all my photos dating from when I was born all through school and up. And the photos of Renee and Charlie's wedding day. Photos of family. Things he got form Grandma Swan. Sentimental things - I didn't have all that much stuff, so packing only took an hour, everything else was to be removed by the company J set up and dumped, I had no use for any of it.
Once I had made sure I had everything, we packed it all in the truck and made our way to Leah's; she still had things she needed to pack since we'd decided to leave Wednesday to make our Friday Morning appointment with the real estate agent.
Tuesday 12th September 2006 – 6pm
I'd finally told Jacob that I wasn't planning on ever coming back again, not unless I absolutely had to. There were too many bad memories here – they out shadowed the good ones. I told him he would always be my best friend and I was so grateful for him, that I would always keep in contact and he was always able to come and visit, anytime. I needed a clean break. A new start. Saying that Jacob hadn't taken it well would have been an understatement. In fact, he stormed out. I'd stayed at Leah's that night, not sure if I'd be welcome in his bed, not even sure if he'd come home. Monday Morning brought with it grey clouds, rain and a grovelling Jacob on the front step at 9am. Of course, everything had been forgiven as soon as he'd left, I understood, but I'd made my choice. Jacob had also come bearing the news of a bonfire in mine and Leah's name – a way to say goodbye, celebrate my dreaded 19th Birthday without my daddy and of course another little send off for Charlie.
So here we were, Tuesday night, sitting in the designated bonfire place on La Push's first beach. Everyone was there. There was food – and a lot of it, since there were ten wolves in attendance – laughing, joking, teasing, music, dancing, talking. We were like one big family. There were even going away presents for both me and Leah – and birthday presents for me – all of which were accepted politely with very little protest. It was honestly an enjoyable night. I had more fun than I thought I would have – and not a thought of the Cullen's anywhere in sight; in fact I'd thought of them less and less since I'd decided to lock away the memories in Pandora's Box. There were even fewer nightmares that plagued me.
Wednesday 13th September 2006 – 12pm
Wednesday found me and Leah packing our suitcases into her mum's car – Sue had graciously offered to take us and Seth was coming along to keep Sue company on the way home; Sue and Billy had also offered to have whatever was left of our things shipped to us as soon as we found the perfect apartment - and a whole convoy of Wolves come to see us off. Our flight from Seattle Sea-Tac left at 5, and it was a 2-hr drive and we still had to check in. Leah hadn't said much all morning, you could tell she was nervous and sad about leaving. I was too although I had an underlying feeling of relief that I was finally leaving this god forsaken town (and the memories) safely behind. Of course I'd miss the people, but definitely not the town. I was excited about being able to start my new life.
By the time we had finally gotten into the car, my face was tear-stained. Saying good-bye to the people who had been there for me; been my family these past months was hard. Saying good-bye to Jake had been harder. I really was going to miss him.
Thursday 14th September 2006 – 9am
Thursday found us in our hotel room, excited about exploring what was to become our new home for the next four years, at least. We'd flown into JFK at about 9pm last night and had gone straight to the hotel. With the 5 and a half hour flight, a three hour time difference, the late night we had Tuesday and all the tears shed saying goodbye, we were dead-tired. We'd gotten to the hotel at around 10pm, checked in and went straight to our room. As soon as our heads hit the pillow, we were dead to the world.
All Thursday we spent, exploring the streets of New York, we saw all the sights. Times Square, Madison Square Gardens, the Empire State Building. We walked through Central Park. We went shopping. And we also spent some time walking around the NYU campus.
Friday 15th September 2006 – 11am
On Friday we had four appointments to get through.
The first apartment was in a not nice part of town. The building was in disrepair. There was just so much wrong with the apartment itself and was an hour from campus. It was mutual – a definite no.
The second was much better. Also an hour from campus, but a slightly better part of town. Another definite no.
As soon as we stepped into the third apartment, Leah and I simultaneously turned to each other with wide eyes. This was the one. It was only a fifteen minute walk to campus; there was a Starbucks right around the corner. The building itself was clean and inviting. There was a doorman named Henry. The apartment itself was painted in neutral colours with warm, soft carpets. It also came fully furnished. There were two bedrooms of equal size. A shared bathroom. It was an open plan living room and kitchen, and while there was no dining room per say, the living area was big enough to fit a small four seat round table. The kitchen also had a small breakfast nook; the kitchen was personally my favourite; stainless steel appliances, granite worktops, the whole 9 yards. The whole apartment was beautiful. And it was in our price range.
Receiving a confirmation nod from Leah, I turned to the agent and landlord and declared we would take it. So ushering us from the apartment, the landlord steered us into the elevator and took us down to his office. An hour later, with signed papers and a deposit payed, we were the new proud owners of our very own apartment. As soon as we'd left the building, Leah got Sue on the phone – the whole pack turned out to be waiting for our call – and announced our news. Sue wrote down the address and promised she would get our things shipped to us as soon as possible. With that we returned to the hotel, got our suitcases and things we'd bought yesterday, checked out and moved into the apartment, deciding to go shopping for things that would personalise the apartment tomorrow. After all, classes started on Monday.
Friday 15th September 2006 – 11pm
That night as I lay in my new bed in my new room in my new apartment, I knew that Charlie had been looking out for me, that he was proud of me. Of course I'd always miss my father, but I felt secure in the knowledge that I could move on with my life and he'd always be in my heart; he would always be watching over me. I could finally have the new start I needed. The new start I craved. The new start I deserved.
A/N: Just a little something that wouldn't leave. I just had to write it out. Originally this was supposed to make up part of my other one shot 'Change' (which will probably be posted tomorrow, it's like 4am here) but alas it took on a mind of its own and demanded it get its own one-shot. And this is what I was presented with. Florence + the Machine's 'Dog Days Are Over' on repeat helped too.
P.S I know nothing about lawyers, I pretty much made that all up, and this is fanfic after all. But if I got something really wrong, let me know and I shall change it.
Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.