Back to the Beginning
Disclaimer; all characters and copyright belong to SM.
Set in Eclipse initially. AU of course!
She was mad. Looking into Victoria’s fiery red eyes cemented this for Bella. Her curly red hair blew wildly around her face, her feline features, distorted with rage, sent Bella’s heart careering wildly in her chest. In the distance she could see Edward and Seth fighting Victoria’s companion. Poor Riley, duped by his red headed lover into fighting for a cause that he wasn’t invested in, had learned the truth. He had been used. But it was too late. Even with this sickening knowledge he tried to fight for his very existence. He lashed out wildly at Seth, winding the young shifter and sending him spiralling to the ground. Bella felt tears prick at her eyes as Victoria crouched low like a cat coiled to spring. She laughed cruelly, her eyes flicking to Edward, who was still trying to finish Riley. Bella was alone, unprotected, left to the mercy of her redheaded tormentor. Edward had failed, miserably.
Bella closed her eyes. She would rather not see her slayer’s satisfaction as she ripped her to shreds in front of Edward’s eyes. She couldn’t bear to see the agony on his face as he watched her die right in front of him. Bella dug her nails into her palms, drawing blood. She raised her chin defiantly, waiting. Then there was a sibilant hiss like a snake close to her ear. Bella kept her eyes squeezed shut. There was a whimper from Seth’s wolf. There was a rush of air, cold fingers gripping her upper arms, then pain, so acute, seared through her head. Bella cried out, her eyes unintentionally flaring open as she lay broken against the rock. Blackness consumed her vision. All she could see was the vibrant red of Victoria’s hair as the vampire bent down and whispered something in her ear. “Go back.”
“Bella, did you hear what I said.” The blackness dissipated. Bella found herself standing in her own driveway, next to her old truck. The iron monster felt cold under her touch as she rested her hand on the hood. Edward was beside her, his expression inscrutable. Bella stared at him, confused, disorientated. Was she dead? “Bella, come for a walk with me.” Edward took her hand, his fingers lightly holding hers. He was acting as if her touch burned. It was like the early days of their relationship all over again. Him afraid to touch her in case he couldn’t control his urges.
“Why?” Bella asked. She shook her head, gazing at him. Her eyes finally wandering from his beautiful face, examining the clothes he was wearing. Edward never wore the same clothes twice, but these, these she had seen once before. They were burned in her memory. It was the same light grey shirt, unbuttoned to reveal a white t-shirt underneath, teamed with dark blue jeans that he had worn the day he had left her alone in the woods, citing that he didn’t love her anymore, and that he, along with his whole family, were leaving Forks forever.
“Just come.” Edward tugged lightly on her hand, motioning for her to follow.
“NO.” The refusal came out louder than she intended. There was no way she was going to relive this moment again. She saw a flicker of bemusement cross Edward’s Adonis like features. Bella never denied him what he wanted, ever. This was new. “Whatever you need to say, say it here, right here.” She continued through gritted teeth. This was hell. She was dead and this was her punishment, to relive the most painful moment of her human life.
Edward recovered his poise quickly. “Bella, we won’t go far.”
“Really?” Bella spat. She rarely spoke to Edward in this tone. The old anger at his abandonment of her was resurfacing. She couldn’t stifle it. “I think you are intending to go very far away.”
“What?” There was the uncertainty in his voice again. Edward, so self-assured, so cocky and a little arrogant when he was reading other people’s minds, couldn’t read hers. Bella felt a little satisfaction at this, but it didn’t stop the hurt. “Bella, I don’t…”
“You’re going away. You’re leaving.” Bella snapped at him. She saw his eyes widen in surprise. “You’re a coward, Edward.” She had never spoken these words before; she had thought them, many times. Upon his return she had wanted to scream and rage at him, but she never had, always so afraid to lose him again. But this, this was different. It wasn’t real. This was going on in her damaged head somehow. She could say what she wanted now. “Instead of staying and facing the consequences, you’re running away.” Angry tears pricked at her eyes. “But worst of all you’re going to leave me alone to face the aftermath. You’re gonna walk me to those woods, cut me off, and then leave me to shrivel and die.”
“Bella, I….” Edward’s face was full of torment. He stared at her, golden eyes unwavering, mouth agape.
“Go then.” The tears were spilling down her cheeks now. She wanted this scene over with. Bella spun on her heel and ran clumsily toward her house.
Edward did not follow.
Bella stayed with her back pressed to the front door and knees drawn up to her chest until her limbs grew stiff. Her eyes were sore from crying so much. She was waiting to wake up, anything, but she was still here. She had to move eventually. There was no choice. With her spirit crushed, her heart aching abominably, she opened the front door and stumbled outside. Edward was nowhere to be seen. Bella panicked, the old gaping wound in her chest reopened. She couldn’t breathe. She staggered down the porch steps, breathing rapidly. But the air wouldn’t fill her lungs. Her chest was tight. Maybe she was dying now. Bella reached her truck, her bleary eyes searching for Victoria. But the vengeful vampire wasn’t there. Bella felt so confused. She didn’t know what was real and what was not. She wrenched open the door of her truck and climbed inside. The old red Chevy was suddenly the only dependable, solid thing in her world. She started the truck, heart hammering as the loud engine rumbled to life. Whenever she couldn’t breathe there was only one person who could push air back into her body.
Bella backed out of the drive and headed straight for La Push.
Jacob Black was shocked to say the least as he opened his front door to find a sobbing Bella on his doorstep. He stared at her for a moment, drinking her in. He hadn’t seen her for weeks. Her rich boyfriend took all of her attention. He pushed his long hair away from his face, peering at her curiously. “Are you okay?” He asked in concern. He reached out a hand to steer a trembling Bella inside, but wasn’t prepared when she ran into his arms, tucking her head under his chin. He didn’t know what to do. He stood, his arms apart, uncertain whether to wrap them around her or not.
“He’s gone, Jake.” Bella mumbled against his chest. She gripped his shirt with shaking fingers. “I had to go through it again. Victoria, she was attacking. You were gone. I don’t understand what’s going on.”
“That kinda makes two of us, Bells.” Jacob said, confused. He had finally regained his composure. It was not every day that your dream girl jumped into your arms. He guided her toward the old couch. “You stay right there and I’ll get you some water, okay.” He patted her on the shoulder awkwardly before he walked slowly toward the kitchen. He kept glancing behind him. Bella had drawn her knees up to her chest. From what he could decipher from her confusing babble, it seemed the rich dude had broken things off. Now that wasn’t a bad thing. It was sad that she was upset but the Cullen guy was a tool. Bella deserved better. “Here you go.” He said cheerily upon his return. He shoved a cold glass of water toward her.
Bella took it from him gratefully and chugged it down. She choked on it, coughing. Jacob quickly grabbed the glass from her before she spilled the water all over herself. “Woah there, missy.” Jacob smiled, rubbing Bella’s back until her coughing fit eased. “Drink it slowly.”
“Sorry.” Bella took the glass again and listened to his advice. When it was drained she passed it back to him and rested her head on the back of the couch, eyes closed. “I can breathe now. You always know how to make me feel better.”
“I do?” Jacob scratched the back of his neck, confused again.
“My head feels like its spinning.” Bella kept her eyes closed as she began to ramble again, trying to make sense of her tangled thoughts. “It must have been when my head hit the rock. None of this is real. I know that.”
“You hit your head.” Jacob was alarmed. He rushed to her side and sat down, feeling her forehead with gentle fingers. She did feel clammy. “Let me take you to the hospital or something. I can’t believe you drove here. You could have concussion or something.” He was panicking now. That would explain her odd behaviour. He couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed that the reason for her seeking him out was due to a bump on the head. He was enjoying having her talk about him like some kind of hero.
“It was Victoria.” Bella continued as if he hadn’t spoken. Tears began to spill out of her closed lids again. “She’s killed me, Jake.”
“Huh?” Jacob felt bemused. Who was Victoria? “Is that the reason you broke up with your boyfriend, because he went off with this Victoria person?” He asked.
“What?” Bella opened her eyes and sat up straighter. She gazed at him, perplexed.
“Bells.” Jacob said worriedly as he pressed his fingers back to her forehead.
It was like a punch to the gut. The thought hadn’t occurred to her. This was pre-phase Jacob. Her eyes travelled around his beloved face. His features were so open and innocent. He had no idea what was awaiting him in his future. She had been an idiot. If she was reliving the day Edward left that meant that she and Jacob hadn’t actually reconnected yet. He must think she was insane. “I’m so sorry, Jacob.” She whispered brokenly. She tried to slip off the couch but he stopped her. “I shouldn’t have come here.”
“Why?” Jacob questioned. “We’re like….um…we’re cool. I mean um…we’re friends. Yeah?” He smiled encouragingly at her, before ducking his head, cheeks reddening under his tan skin the longer she gazed back at him. “I mean we can be, if you want. No pressure.”
“We were always friends.” Bella took his hand and he raised his head again, smiling. “We made mud pies together, right?”
“Sure, sure.” Jacob’s smile became wistful at the memory.
Bella swallowed thickly, eyes glistening. He was so sweet and kind. She really shouldn’t have come, but she hadn’t been able to help herself. When her world imploded he was always the one she ran to seeking comfort. He was looking shy now. So much the teenage boy she remembered before his wolf surfaced and forced him to mature too quickly. She clasped his right hand between hers and stared him straight in the eyes. “I never told you this often enough but you are amazing, absolutely amazing.”
“Huh?” Jacob was overwhelmed. There she was again, acting oddly. He felt his skin heat up from her compliments. The brief times they had spent together when he accompanied his father on a rare visit to Charlie’s house, she had never said anything like this. She was always nice to him, laughing at his lame jokes, but she remained distant. This was more like the time they had crossed paths on First beach, then she had seemed to flirt with him, and listened raptly to his dumb stories. But since she had been with Cullen, she had been more reserved. Perhaps now she had broken up with her uptight boyfriend she was becoming more like her old self. Jacob’s spirits lifted at this thought. He knew Charlie would be pleased, and his dad. Both of them disliked Edward Cullen intensely. In fact his dad had paid him to attend Bella’s prom. That had been mortifying, but the promise of an expensive part for his classic VW had persuaded him otherwise. It was the first time he had witnessed Bella’s cloying relationship with Cullen with his own eyes, and he had finally seen his father’s point of view. The dude was a controlling ass. He had glared at Jacob angrily, boring holes into him with his laser like stare. Bella, looking so pretty and bright, had wilted under Edward’s fierce glare, forcing herself to brush Jacob off in case it upset her boyfriend.
Bella was unaware of Jacob’s thoughts. She was getting ready to leave again. She was full of confusion. What was happening? Perhaps she was in a coma or something? She put her hand to her temple. “I better go. Thanks for the water.” She mustered up a smile as she tried to rise. Her vision swam and everything went black.
“Stay still.” Bella moaned softly as she opened her eyes again. She found Billy Black peering down at her in concern. Behind him stood Jacob, his dark eyes clouded with worry and confusion. When he saw that she had come around a beautiful sunny smile lit up his face. “Do you know where you are, Bella?” Billy asked, interrupting her reverie.
“La Push.” Bella mumbled. Her throat was dry.
“Yes.” Billy nodded, smiling. The smile eased the worry lines in his face. He looked more like his son then. He sat back in his wheelchair to give Bella room to sit up. “Son, go get Bella some water.”
Jacob didn’t move. He seemed in a daze. Billy huffed under his breath and rolled his chair into the kitchen to get the water himself. Jacob took his father’s spot beside Bella. “You gave me a scare.” He mock scolded her. He took her hand, fumbling with her fingers.
“I’m sorry.” Bella sniffled. She let Jacob help her rise into a sitting position. “I don’t know what happened.”
“You fainted.” Jacob filled in the blanks for her.
“Oh, I’m so…”
“If you say sorry again I’ll….” Jacob laughed, rolling his eyes as he couldn’t think of anything threatening to say. He was rewarded with an answering smile from Bella and he glowed with happiness. “It was probably that knock on the head.”
“Yes.” Bella was still confused. Nothing was making sense. It was hard to distinguish what was real and what was not. Billy had returned with the water. She thanked him, chugging the cold liquid down quickly.
“I’ve called Charlie.” Billy revealed.
Bella paled. “Oh.” She wasn’t sure what she was supposed to say to her dad.
Billy ordered Jacob to go and fetch a blanket for Bella. Jacob reluctantly obliged. When they were alone Billy gazed at Bella, brow furrowed. “Jake told me about your break up. Is this true?”
He knew. Billy knew it all. Bella wasn’t used to discussing the Cullen’s with anyone. Especially with someone who knew what they were. The atmosphere became tense. “Edward’s gone.” It was painful uttering his name. Bella inhaled sharply. “They’re all gone.”
Billy couldn’t contain his surprise, nor did he bother hiding his relief at this unexpected news. “I see. It’s for the best.”
“At least Sam Uley didn’t need to waste his time looking for me.” Bella was dazed. She didn’t hear Billy’s gasp. She felt so drained. She wondered when she was going to wake up to the reality of Victoria slitting her throat. Tears pricked at her eyes again.
“Why would you mention Sam?” Billy demanded.
Bella rubbed her aching temples. “He was the one to find me.” She rambled on again, forgetting that it hadn’t actually happened in this dream.
“Find you?” Billy prompted her.
“With his wolf senses he could track me easily. I owe….”
Billy’s face was leached of all colour. He glanced behind him to make sure his son was still out of the room. Then he leaned forward, whispering. “Did the Cullen’s tell you about Sam?” He questioned sharply.
Bella rubbed her face and gazed at Billy tiredly. “No, Jacob did.” She was lost in past memories again, reliving Jacob’s agony as he tried to communicate to her what he had become, fearful of rejection because he saw himself as a monster. “You can’t keep this from him. It isn’t fair.” Her mind suddenly came into focus. Billy’s dark eyes were full of fear. “He was so hurt that you kept him in the dark. They all suffered needlessly because of it.” She gulped, trying to hold back the ever present tears. “So much suffering could have been avoided.” She paused, gasping for breath again as she suddenly grabbed hold of Billy’s shirt, fingers shaking with trepidation. “Harry….he died. Leah changed… he had a heart attack because of it. You need to st…”
“Harry died….” Jacob was back, the blanket he had gone to fetch hung loosely in his grip. He stared at his father and Bella, eyes round with horror.
“No.” Billy took a second to recover. He swallowed, turning away from Bella and trying to compose his features. “Bella is still confused. Aren’t you?” He glanced at her, pleading.
“Yes.” Bella eventually agreed. She sank back and put her head in her hands.
“We can’t wait for Charlie. We need to drive Bella over to the Clearwater’s. Sue can check her over.” Billy continued hurriedly.
“Shouldn’t we take her to the hospital instead?” Jacob asked, confused.
“Sue will do. Get the keys to the truck. You can drive.” Billy cut off anymore attempts at conversation.
Jacob frowned, obviously not happy. Billy watched his son slope off toward the kitchen to grab the keys. “Now Bella, you have to promise me to keep quiet. Jake cannot hear any of this, okay.”
“More secrets.” Bella whispered sadly.
“I don’t pretend to know how you know so much, or why you are saying those things about Harry, but until we can talk some more then you have to stay quiet.” Billy said desperately.
“It was staying quiet that killed me.” Bella replied hopelessly. She gazed at Billy in anguish. “Help me.”
A/N-thanks for reading!