Heaven is on Its Way
Bella sat with her back against her wall. Her room, so much a place of comfort, was also a place where the memories came flooding back in waves. Edward, his back turned while she was getting dressed. Edward, sitting on the bed, brushing her long, brown hair away from her face. Those memories, ones that brought slight pangs of hurt, split open to darker memories. Edward, telling her he didn't love her. Edward, telling her she bored him. Edward, walking away. Those were the waves that felt like she was being swept out to sea.
Tears fell down her face. She knew to make Charlie happy she would have to “come back from the dead”. Those were the words he said to her last week. How funny those choice of words were. It was just after the New Year, and she had been attending school. She had been pouring all of her energy into her studies, now that she had nothing else to do. Or rather, nothing else she wanted to do. It still wasn't enough for Charlie, who felt she needed to “act like a teenager, and not a widow.” Didn't he understand how much of her had died when Edward left?
“Bella! I need you downstairs,” yelled her father. “We are having company in an hour.”
Sighing, she jumped up and went into the bathroom to splash her face with some cold water. She went downstairs, to see what would need to be done.
Charlie was standing by the door, hanging up his jacket. “The Blacks are coming over for dinner tonight. I was hoping you could help me get something going.” He didn't look directly at her as he talked. She looked like an empty shell of herself, a doll that would answer questions, and mechanically go about her routine. It pained him to see this, it even reminded him slightly of how he felt when Renee left so many years ago.
“Sure, Dad. I think I have enough things in the house to make a sauce. We can do pasta, and a salad, if that's ok?” She really was not in the mood for entertaining, but she knew she had to put on a sociable face if she wanted to stay in Forks. “Will it be just Billy?”
“No, I am sure Jacob will be joining us, too. Billy mentioned he wanted to come out to see you.” Charlie was hoping Jacob would be able to put some life back into her. From what Billy says, Jacob is spirited enough for two, maybe even three people.
Bella began taking ingredients out for the sauce. When she had placed everything in the large pot, and started the water for the pasta, she heard the knock on the door. Charlie moved towards the front door, and soon Bella heard Billy and Charlie greeting each other. She took a deep breath, preparing herself to “play” hostess.
“Hey!” she heard a deep voice behind her say. She turned around, with a fake smile already plastered on her face. She saw a taller than remembered boy, almost striking. She drew an intake of breath.
“Hi, Jacob,” she said. It really was all that she could say when she looked into his dark eyes. She wanted to run, escape from this room, and go back to her bedroom. Her place where she could feel her pain, and get away from this boy whose eyes seem to go right into her soul. He was staring at her, and she started to feel self-conscious. She started to pull her hair back into a ponytail when he reached out and touched her arm.
“You should leave it down. It looks nice.” His touch was warm. She could only remember cold.
“Ummm, thanks.” Luckily she heard the noises of the pans behind her, so she quickly turned to tend to the boiling water. “Dinner should be ready soon.”
Jacob pulled a chair out to sit down. He had heard Billy talking on the phone to Charlie, and knew of her downward spiral. He had always liked Bella, and when he saw her when she came from Phoenix. He knew it could develop into something more. Then she fell in with those Cullen people, and he didn't really see her again. He couldn't help but hope now that they were out of the picture that maybe he would finally get his chance to get to know her better. He was slightly shocked when he saw her. She looked like a deer caught in headlights. When he reached out and touched her, he felt her body tense as if she was waiting for a blow. In that moment, he hated Edward Cullen fully.
“So, how is school?” she asked softly. She wanted to fill in the empty silence. She felt so on edge, wanting to bolt, but knew that would win her a one way ticket to Florida.
Jacob's voice filled the room as he started to talk about school, and the reservation. She started to feel her fear leave her, listening to his voice. Jacob was telling her a story about his friends, and their beach antics, and suddenly Bella laughed. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Charlie's head look into the room, smile and walk out again.
They fell into easy conversation, and dinner was done. Dinner was not the uncomfortable meal it usually was, with Charlie and Bella just going through the motions. It was lively, with the Blacks holding most of the conversation. Dinner ended what seemed like too quickly, and then they were getting ready to leave. Bella realized she really didn't want Jacob to leave. It was nice to have someone to talk to, even if it was just superficial conversation. She was clearing the table when she heard Billy's goodbye. “Bye, Billy!” she yelled back.
She turned around to head back to the table when Jacob walked in. “Bye, Bells. I hope you'll come visit me sometime.”
She smiled at him, which felt foreign but good. “I just may take you up on that offer.” He saw her coming toward her, and some of the earlier panic returned. She started to take a step back, but his longer legs seemed to catch up to her quicker then she could back up.
He brushed a strand of hair away from her face, and looked at her. “Remember to keep the hair down.” He seemed like he wanted to say something more, but thought better of it. He raised one hand in the air. “Later.”
Bella didn't quite know what to make of Jacob. On one level, she found herself wanting to talk to him, wanting to be close to him. On another level, her panic set in, and it took everything in her power not to run away.
Charlie came into the kitchen while Bella was putting the last of the dishes in the dishwasher. “That was nice.” he said simply. He was waiting for Bella to say something, talking was not one of his strong points.
“Yeah. I think I am going to head to bed, Dad. I will see you tomorrow.” When she walked by him, he couldn't help but smile. She wasn't back to being the Bella he once knew, but he saw marked improvement tonight.
Bella entered her room, and slipped into some night clothes. Sleep came easier tonight, and it was the first in a long while that her pillow was dry when she drifted off to sleep.