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Lost & Found

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Isabella Swan stood alone in the forest. She’d just been left there by one Edward Cullen, although that begged the question of the approval of the rest of the family.

She’d managed to make quite a mess of things. She would never have wanted to force them all to move so soon after settling down. She felt guilty for it, gnawing at her heart but -- what was she supposed to have done? She was trying her best. So maybe it wasn’t good enough for him. Them. Or. . . maybe she never really stood a chance. Edward didn’t want her to become a vampire, that he made abundantly clear. So would they have ever been together? She’d thought so, but left to herself in a forest she was having second thoughts, and she didn’t think it was human fickleness.

She shivered. It was cold out here, and she needed to get home. Couldn’t they have had this argument inside, perhaps, where Charlie could at least manage to turn on the coffee pot for her? She took a few deep breaths. She had better start walking before she got stranded out here when night fell. There might be vampires out. She let out a strangled laugh that might sound a little insane to anyone listening. She wondered if there was a Cullen watching from the branches. She sure as hell hoped not, she felt a little fuzzy around the edges and she honestly didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of passing out.

She was mad. Furious, even. For people that despised those Italian vampires so much they sure made decisions that would affect a lot of lives without asking first. In the back of her mind she understood, there was a lot more to their decision than just her. Their safety was at stake too. Still. Leaving her alone in a forest for her safety felt like an oxymoron.

She made it back to her bedroom and closed the blinds before collapsing onto her bed in a pathetic heap of tears and muddiness. She was Edward’s singer, right? La tua cantante. She had thought -- no. She had wanted that to mean they would be mates one day, like Rosalie had Emmett and Alice had Jasper. Wishful thinking, it seemed. Edward must have known, or he wouldn’t have protested turning her, right? It would be automatic, to want to change her, like how Carlisle had explained Rosalie felt for Emmett, despite pretty much hating other humans. So why didn’t he just tell her? He’d led her on like some high school loser instead of a relatively ancient vampire. Why hadn’t any of the family told her? Weren’t they friends?

The more she thought about the more she realized she had hardly known the family at all. They had told her their pasts, in part, and she had sort of dropped it in favor of Edward. It hadn’t seemed strange at the time, but now, with distance from Edward, she began to wonder. Perhaps the singer thing went both ways? Because there was actual snot on her face and she couldn’t muster up the energy to be grossed out by it. She couldn’t muster up the energy for much, actually. She had never been prone to depression before. Shy, sure, but quietly happy. So what the hell?

She tried to hold onto the anger because it gave her enough energy to drive home and make it into the bathroom and take a really long shower. Edward had liked her strawberry-scented hair products. She threw them away and used the generic minis she had brought with her from Arizona and let herself enjoy the petty spite at smelling like aloe vera instead.

When she emerged in the fuzziest pair of pajamas she owned, Charlie was standing sheepishly over her bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a plate of spaghetti. “I uh, know girls like chocolate when they’re sad but you should eat, too.” The thoughtfulness of it made her burst into tears and the thought of eating those two things together made her laugh and then start crying again. “Bells?”
“It’s just. . .boy drama. Edward broke up with me because the Cullens had to move. Family emergency. I don’t even know why I’m like this,” she managed between hiccups.

“Hey now,” he said comfortingly, which was about all she could expect of him as far as comfort went, and she took a seat on her bed. She was grateful for the awkwardness, though, it was better than the histrionics she would probably go through later.
“Thanks, dad. This is great. Really, just what I needed. Tell me how fishing went?”

She let him talk about nothing in particular and she realized she should go see Jacob. The tribe would want to know the Cullens were gone, and she wanted to see her best friend. She only hoped he wouldn’t hold a grudge for basically ignoring him for months.

He held a grudge for her ignoring him for months. Which, honestly, fair. “I’m sorry, Jake, I can’t say it any more than I have!”
“I just want to know why, Bella! You can’t tell me it wasn’t sketchy as hell!”
“Yes, it was! I don’t know why, Jake. It wasn’t just you, or the tribe even. It was kind of everyone, even the other Cullens. I think. . .” she trailed off as she realized she hadn’t ever told him about being Edward’s singer. “So there is something called la tua cantante.”
“This better be good.”
“Not a chance. It means singer or something. It means a human whose blood is in some way uniquely suited to a specific vampire, making them almost impossible to resist killing. Probably impossible, even, unless you were already trained not to drink human blood.”
“Edward,” Jacob spat out like a curse.
“Mm-hmm. I sort of thought --” she flushed scarlet. “That it meant we would be mates,” she finished quickly.
“You what?”
“I know! I know! Believe me, I know. Moving on! Anyway, he was drawn to me all the time, right? I think. . .though no one ever said, because most singers, um,”
“Get eaten.”
“. . .get eaten, I think that the singer connection goes both ways. Like a predator-prey thing, so singers become an easier target.”

 

Jacob stared at her a long moment, then let out a huge huff of breath and threw himself onto the ground into a sitting position. The ground was dirty, but she shrugged to herself and sat down next to him. She didn’t think Edward would have approved. “Only you, Bella, only you,” he said finally.
“Yeah. So. . .yeah. I’m sorry. Maybe I’m wrong, it just seems weird looking back, you know. And I’m still--” she cut herself off with a frustrated noise.
“Bella? What’s up?”
“I still miss him. Like, I miss the whole family because I want to get to know them better, in retrospect. But I miss Edward a really weird amount.”
“You’re sure you’re not just sad he broke up with you? Just because your life got all vampire and werewolf doesn’t mean you’re not still a high school girl.”
She snorted at his bluntness. She’d missed it a lot. “You’re a high school boy, dumbass.”

Jacob burst into laughter. “Yeah. Point. So you’re missing him like a good lamb for slaughter. You don’t think he misses you the other way around, right? Because we will protect you, Bells -- don’t interrupt. I know you’re fine on your own and they won’t hurt you or whatever, but if that’s true then be smart about it. If you could turn into a giant wolf at will then I’d let you deal with it.”

She sighed. “It’s fine. But you’re right. I’ll keep you posted, Jake.” A lull. “You know what the worst part is?”
“You’re a huge danger magnet?”
“Nope. That I had a chance to learn all about this huge secret culture and I was too busy swooning to do it, damnit. Humans can technically get in a ton of trouble for knowing, and I had the perfect in, and I wasted it. I want to know all about it.”
“Of course you do. You couldn’t have an interest in stamp collecting or Pokemon cards like other nerds?”
“And who has the stash of Magic the Gathering cards? Hmm?”
“Shut up, it's interesting. And not going to get me killed.”
“Right. I dunno, Jake. I’m sick of it all for now anyway. I’m really sick of feeling like a. . .blobfish,” Jacob snorted loudly at that, “Want to go see if that old zipline is still good?”
“That’s my Bella.”
She laughed as they took off running.