Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Osa Bella - Chapter 23 "Encounter with a Wolf" [Twilight FanFiction]


Update: Okay - better late than never, right? Here's the .pdf!
...
Wow, I've missed you guys! It's really quite weird waiting an entire week between updates. The original story was written all in one go, of course with the exception of this middle section which is being gutted and rewritten, so I have to wonder what it's like to read this with all the time in between. But I had a great time with Mama Myg this weekend, which was the reason I had to take a little more time. And by the way, Mama Myg - God help me - now wants to read Osa Bella. I kind of told her about it, but not about some of the lemony goodness that happens here and there, so now I'm all, fuck, what am I going to do? Avoidance right now is the plan. But she'd love you guys, really.


Anyway, when we last left it, Bella was a wee bit manic, or a lot bit manic, had gone to work, called Jake and accused him of being a wolf, quit her job, was worried about bears in the woods behind school, was planning on hooking up with Edward at her house after work, and then leaving with him for Port Angeles for a few days until this whole bear business got sorted out. She spoke to Charlie but didn't tell him much other than there was a new "guy" in her life. It was all going sort of okay until she pulled down K Street and spotted the muscular dude and the motorcycle at her place. Jake. Fuck. This can't be a good thing, I think.


And that's where we pick up today.

I will get your .pdf up later - sorry but I've got some photocopying to do before I head home to Mr. Myg and the baby cubs.  And right now, it's looking like chapter 24 will come out next Wednesday. Sorry! But I do believe that once that chapter is done, we'll be back to the twice weekly updates. I'll keep you in the loop.


Muchos besos,
Myg




Chapter 23

Encounter with a Wolf

I kept driving, right on past my house, without another glance at Jake. I felt his eyes follow me. Within thirty seconds he and his Harley appeared in my rearview mirror. Good. He wouldn't be at my house when Edward arrived. That felt like the priority right then, that Edward and Jacob not have some big confrontation in my front yard. Maybe inciting Jacob to chase me wasn't the best plan, but it was the only one I could think of in the moment so it would have to do. I hit the gas and prayed Charlie was busy on the other side of Forks, because I most definitely was going to be breaking the law.

As I zipped around the edge of town with Jake tailing me, I almost wished I'd taken Edward's car to work that day. Though, it had been difficult enough fending off the "where's your cast?" questions from coworkers and students. "Where'd you get the two hundred fifty thousand dollar car?" might have been a bit trickier to manage. My Mini was cute and quick, but it was no Vanquish, didn't really handle all that much better than a Civic. Now I regretted I passing on a 325i I'd looked at, because I could really use a car that cornered right about now.

I'll head straight to Port Angeles, I thought. Edward can meet me there. Jake wouldn't follow me for that long before getting the hint, right?

On the main road I cruised up to 70, then 75, then 80, then 90—fast even for me. I felt invincible, like my car could actually handle the curves and the bumps at high speed. Although the rough ride convinced me that my next car would have to be a sportscar. Without question. I called Edward.

"Babe?" I said when he answered. "Can you pack me a bag?"

"Hey, where are you? I'm at your place."

"There's been a little complication," I said. "I'll meet you in Port Angeles."

"What's going on?"

"Jacob was waiting for me at my house and I sort of accused him of being a wolf earlier on the phone, so I think he wants to have a conversation I really don't want to have right now. So I'm sort of, well, driving. And he's following me on his motorcycle."

"Where the hell are you, Bella?"

"Rte 101, maybe a mile south of 110."

"Pull over. I'll be right there."

"I don't think so," I said. "He's pretty pissed off and I don't think it'd be a good idea for the two of you to meet under these circumstances. He doesn't like you."

"Bella, are you in the middle of a god damned car chase?"

"Sort of. I guess you can call it that. I should go—I don't have a headset."

"Pull over before you get yourself killed."

"I'll call you back in a few minutes. I'm going to try to lose him."

"Bella… " He sounded stressed out as I dropped the phone on the passenger seat. I'd deal with him later.

The accelerator felt a little soft as I tried to nudge up towards triple digits on the speedometer. There wasn't much headroom left and I was hardly match for Jake in terms of handling, so he caught me going into a curve, zipped in front of me and forced me to slow down. I tried to go around him, but an oncoming car caused me to swerve back and put a wheel into the ditch. I miraculously managed to hang onto the steering and pop it back out without flipping the car, but I had to pull over because I'd blown two tires.

I sat there, not nearly as shaken as I should have been, and tried to decide whether it would be very stupid of me to run. I had no good reason to run from him, but I could feel every individual hair on the back of my neck rising and that told me a confrontation with Jacob was going to be a serious problem. In any case, I was in the ballet flats Alice had picked out for me and not any shoes suitable for a foot chase, so I stayed where I was. Jake ran over to the car and wrenched the door open.

"Jesus Christ Bella, are you okay?" he asked. "Why the hell are you running from me?"

"Hey," I said. "I had some errands to run."

"Bullshit," he said giving me his hand to help me out of the car. I paused, debating last minute what I should do.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," I said, grabbing my phone off the front seat.  I took his hand and got out and tried to act casual. "What's up?"

His eyes seared me in one hot glance. "So your ankle is all better now, huh?" His voice was strange, untrustworthy. I took a few steps back from him and looked off into the woods, wondering what direction I might run in if it came down to that.

"Yeah," I said. "Turned out to not to be as bad as I thought."

"How about that," he said, taking a step towards me. His suspicious glare made me uncomfortable, like he was looking for evidence of some serious transgression, and I felt oddly guilty. As his eyes landed on my neck, I quickly adjusted the scarf, hoping it was still covering my bite mark. Then without warning he pushed me up against the side of the car, stuck his nose in my neck and took a deep, dramatic breath. "You smell different."

"What the hell are you doing?" I tried to move out from under him, but he pinned me to the side of the and pulled my scarf off so he could see my neck. Then he ran his hot fingers over the scar, burning me. I flinched in pain and his eyes grew menacing.

"Who did this to you, Bella?” he said in a freaky calm voice, gripping me by the shoulders.

“Let go of me," I hissed at him.

“Tell me who did this to you,” he said, angrier. “I know it was a Cullen. Tell me right now which one.”

“Let go, asshole. You’re hurting me.”

“Tell me!” He bellowed.

“Fuck you,” I yelled back.

“Fine. I’ll kill them all, then,” he said. “And really, I don’t care. The world will be better off without them.”

“You’re not going to kill anyone, you dick. You have a treaty."

“What do you know about that?” he demanded, his eyes narrowing in anger.

“I know you’re a wolf, Jacob. I know everything.”

“You don’t know a fucking thing.”

"Let go of me, god damn it," I said. "Edward is on his way."

“I knew it. I saw how he looked at you yesterday morning.” Jacob let go of me and paced like he was trying to keep himself from blowing up. He came back and got in my face. “Are you fucking that parasite?”

“Fuck you,” I said. “How dare you talk to me like that?”

“Are you?” he yelled, his anger causing the veins to bulge on his neck, his face to turn dark.

“Yes, I’m fucking a fucking vampire, okay?” I yelled back. “But I really don’t see how it’s any worse than fucking a werewolf. I guess I’ll have to fuck a mummy next to complete the set. Or maybe a unicorn.”

The screeching of tires interrupted our argument and my stomach twisted and churned as Edward leaped from the Vanquish and stormed over to us. Jake grabbed me by the arm and maneuvered himself in front of me.

"Let her go," Edward said.

"You violated the treaty," Jacob said. "I have every right to kill you now."

"No!" I cried.

"He's not going to kill me," Edward said. "You're upsetting Bella."

"You bit her, you fucking freak," Jacob said. "Why isn't she one of you?"

"Let her go," Edward said.

"You can't have her," Jacob said, tightening his grip on me. "She's protected. She has family."

"You don't own me, Jacob."

"Shut the fuck up, Bella, you have no idea what you're talking about," Jacob said.

"Fuck you," I said, wrenching my arm from his grasp and pushing my way past him, surprising us both. He turned and grabbed me again by the arm and pulled me back, too hard and I cried out in pain. Edward lunged at Jake and wrapped his hand around his neck and squeezed.

"Edward, stop!" I screamed. "Don't hurt him!"

Edward looked over at me and I could see his eyes had turned an even deeper red, the intensity of his anger making them flash dangerously. He drew in a sharp breath, exhaled loudly and then turned back to Jacob and let him go. "Stand back," Edward said.

The moment he was released, Jacob burst out of his clothes, and then his own skin, and then bristled with reddish brown fur everywhere, transforming before my eyes into a demonic looking wolf, larger than a human, more ferocious looking than any creature I'd ever seen. He bared his enormous glistening teeth and growled menacingly.

"Holy shit," I said. "So it really is true."

"Get in the car, Bella," Edward said.

Jacob growled as I backed towards the Vanquish. Edward crouched in an aggressive stance and I felt terror rip through me.

"Look, it's her decision," Edward said. "I'm not forcing her into anything. I didn't trick her." Edward glanced back at me, and looked over to Jacob who gave a low growl. "Bella, you need to get in the car. He's calling the pack."

"He's what?"

"Please get in the car," he said, his tone more stressed.

I ran to the Vanquish and jumped in, Edward right behind me, and Jake right behind him. Edward knocked Jake back towards the woods with a blow to the shoulder and then climbed into the driver's seat and we took off.

In the rearview mirror, I saw four other wolves galloping out of the woods to flank Jake. Edward slammed into gear and we tore down the road, the wolves following.

"Holy shit! What are they doing?"

"They're trying to save you," he said.

"I don't need to be saved," I said, confused. "Why is Jake trying to save me?"

"Because he believes I've seduced you into being with me, and that I'm going to turn you into a vampire. He's worried you'll lose your soul."

"What a crock of bullshit," I said.

"You don't know that," he said.

We accelerated into a curve, the car like a magnet to the road's surface, my body glued to the seat. "Do you believe that?" I asked him.

"I don't know," he said. "But I can't guarantee he's wrong."

"I don't need a guarantee—I officially no longer believe in guarantees."

"Fine," Edward said. "But you should be aware that there's a chance I have no soul."

"If any of us have souls, you definitely have one. Maybe your soul is stronger because of what you've had to overcome to be who you are today. Ever think of that?"

His eyes turned soft, though still pointed straight ahead at the road. I clasped my hand around his and leaned in to kiss him on the ear as he checked the rearview mirror again. I turned around and looked at the road behind us, but I could no longer see the wolves.

"They're in the woods," he said. "They won't run on the road for long because they don't want to be seen, but they're close by. We'll be fine once we hit Port Angeles. They won't come out in the city."

Edward got on the phone with Carlisle and told him about the confrontation with Jacob and the fact that we were now being trailed by five werewolves. Carlisle said the Cullens would meet us at Reckoner where it would be safe until he could speak to Billy Black to see if some sort of truce could be arranged. Edward didn't look hopeful about that.

"I should call Jake," I said. "If I explain this all to him, he'll back off."

"I doubt he'll pick up," Edward said.

"I'll leave him a message," I said, trying to interpret the consternation that crossed Edward's face. Was he angry or just stressed out? I got into Jake's voicemail and started rambling. "Listen, the only reason Edward bit me was because he found me…" I stopped talking because the horror of the previous night's events suddenly broke through my strange adrenaline-fueled focus. I continued, my voice wavering with emotion. "I was dying, Jake. He bit me to keep me from dying and then he sucked all the venom out, so I'm not a vampire, okay? It's just a big misunderstanding. Call me when you're not freaking out. I don't want to fight. Oh, and could you please not tell Charlie? I'll tell him myself. Eventually." Then I sent him a text message, "We need to talk. Listen to vm and call me."

"You should call your father," Edward said when I hung up. "He's going to worry when your car is found."

He was right, of course, though I dreaded talking to Charlie more than I dreaded anything about this situation. More than I dreaded the wolf pack or the bears, I dreaded hurting Charlie in some way. Oh please, Charlie, please don't ask me a lot of questions. I really hate lying to you, I silently begged.

"Dad?"

"Are you okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine. But I put my car in a ditch and popped two tires. Can you have it towed to the garage? I'm on my way to see Illeana for a few days."

There was a long silence. I was certain he was about to ask me what had happened and who I was with and what could I say? I'm thirty years old, I can say whatever I want, I reminded myself. I took a breath.

"I'll take care of it," he finally said. "When are you coming home?"

"I'll be home for graduation." Edward scowled at me and shook his head in disagreement. "I promised the kids."

"Do you need anything?"

"No, Dad," I said, straining to keep my voice neutral, biting my lip. Manic energy began to surge through me again, but not in any good way, carrying all of my guilt and anxiety to new highs. "I'm sorry."

"Bella, what's wrong?" he asked. "Do you want me to come get you?"

"No," I said. "I'm okay, I swear."

"Well, I'm glad you're going to see Illeana," he said.

"Yeah it's been too long. I have to go now—I love you."

"I love you too, Bells. Call me if you need anything."

I hung up and began to cry. Edward reached for my hand and held it gently. I felt disoriented, anxious, like I had no idea where the line between my imagination and reality existed. I was in love with a vampire. My oldest friend was a werewolf. My ex-fiance had been mauled by a shape shifted bear. What part of my world would crumble next?

"I don't know what's real," I said, my voice shaking. "I can't trust anything I think I know. It's all fucked up."

"This is a very disorienting period for you," he said. "I wish I'd found a way to make this transition easier. I never wanted to upend your life."

I looked over at him and his eyes were still deep red, but now full of sadness. "You saved my life," I said. "I'd have no life to upend if it wasn't for you."

"You give me far too much credit."

"No, I don't."

"I want you to consider something for me," he said, pulling into Port Angeles city limits. "I know there won't be enough time for you to think it over, so please think it through carefully before answering."

"What?"

"I want you to leave Forks with me."

"Okay," I said.

"What? Are you saying yes?"

"Yes," I said. "When do we leave?"

"No, I want you to think about it for longer than that."

"I don't need to."

"Yes, you do," he said. "Just last night you told me you couldn't marry me because you thought this was a dream, and you were right to put me off."

"Marriage is a different matter," I said. 

"Well I don't want you making a rash decision about this, either. You don't know the first thing about the life of a vampire. If you're going to come with me we have to talk about that and you need to think through all the repercussions. You've got family, a life, a reputation to consider. Everyone in Forks thinks I'm seventeen—how are you going to handle that?"

"I'm coming with you and I don't care how it looks."

"That's the mania talking."

"You're starting to piss me off, Edward. And that's another thing—of all the stories to come up as cover, why the hell did you have to pretend to be a high school student? Couldn't you have pretended to be a spy?"

"Oh shit," he said. "I know and I'm sorry, Bella. It was an experiment. It was probably the dumbest thing we ever did."

"Why did you do it?"

"It was for Alice. She never got to go to high school, and she was very sentimental for her lost humanity. She wanted to go back and have the experience of being a normal teenager. We thought if we all went with her to school we could help her get through the year and we could re-establish ourselves in Forks at a young age, which would allow us to integrate with the human population and stay for awhile. When we spend too much time out of human population we lose our empathy for humans, which makes it more likely we'll hunt them."

"Wow."

"I know. The whole year was a disaster except for one thing."

"What?"

"I found you." His mood lightened then, a crooked smile spread across his lips. I raised my eyebrows at him.

"I'm coming with you," I said.

"I know."

#

Downtown was a little crowded but Edward pulled into a parking spot on the street in front of Illeana's office building.

"Hey—I wasn't serious about seeing Illeana," I said.

"Well, actually, you have an appointment," he said, looking a little sheepish.

"What are you talking about?" I started to feel my face get hot.

"I called her this morning after you left for work. She cleared her schedule to see you this afternoon."

"Oh my God—did you tell her about us?"

"She sort of already knew about that."

"How could she know anything about that? I never told her anything."

"Bella—Illeana is my psychiatrist."

He could have told me he was Carl Jung and I would have been less shocked. "So wait—you're not a vampire?" My heart began to pound as reality shifted hazily around me again. "You're schizophrenic? BiPolar?"

"No, no," he said. "It started out as reconnaissance, actually. I was stalking you, so I was using Illeana to get close to you." He paused, a guilty look crossing his face. "So I booked a session with her under the guise of needing a psychiatric evaluation."

"When?"

"Last winter, after I met her at Mercy's show. Anyway, I found her very easy to talk to, so I told her the truth about my obsessive tendencies toward you, which I did find unhealthy and troubling. I didn't want to stalk you, Bella. But when it comes down to it, I'm a vampire, and vampires are stalkers. And I was fixated on you."

"Holy shit—Derek was right?"

"I told you as much."

"How did he know?"

"He's open to the more fantastic things of this world, so he picks up on them. So does Mike Newton."

"But Derek was wrong about your intentions—you'd never hurt me."

"Of course not," he said. "And I'm not possessed by a demon, either. But I've had to do a lot of work to give you space. You have no idea how difficult it was just to let you go to work today and not follow you. And given how it turned out I shouldn't have."

"I wouldn't go that far."

"Bella, you got into a car chase with Jacob Black. You could have been killed."

"You're over reacting a little, I think."

He shook his head at me, looked at me with some exasperation.

"Wait… does Illeana know that you're a vampire?" I asked.

"Yes."

"No. No, she doesn't."

"She's a very good psychiatrist. Very open minded."

"No way. This can't be happening." Now my best friend was in on vampires, and she never told me? "What did you specifically tell her about me?"

"I told her you OD'd last night and that I'd bitten you and extracted the venom and nearly killed you. And that you're manic."

"Oh shit, Edward. Are you trying to get me hospitalized?"

"No," he said, looking concerned. "Not unless that's what Illeana thinks you need."

"Oh, fuck. No," I said. "Please, please don't do this. I can't go to a hospital. You have no idea how depressing psychiatric hospitals are."

"Listen, the most important thing on this earth to me is that you are safe. You've had a terrible time lately, and most of it has been my fault. I don't want to hospitalize you—I just want to her to check you out and make sure you're okay."

"I don't believe this," I said, tears stinging my eyes. But when it came down to it, I knew he was absolutely right. My behavior over the past week had been completely self destructive, and my mental state since last night had been unreliable, glittering stars under a halo of hazy realities. I wanted to see Illeana and have her clear out the fog, I just didn't want to be put away.

He gave my hand a gentle squeeze and kissed me on the cheek.

"Are you ready?" he asked. "She's waiting."

"Okay," I said.

#

We sat in Illeana's waiting room, which was thankfully empty of patients, until Illeana waddled out, her beautiful round baby belly reminding me the time to meet Perla Rogers was drawing near. She looked tired and concerned as she gave us each a welcoming hug. She took me by the arm and led me into her office while Edward waited outside.

"It's been way too long," she said. "I really wish you would have told me what you've been going through. You know I would have been there for you."

"What do you know?" I asked.

"What do you know?" she asked.

"Are you trying to entrap me?"

"So you're paranoid now, too?"

"I'm not suicidal and I'm not going in-patient. I don't care if I'm floridly psychotic right now—I'm not going. You can medicate me until I can't move but I'm not going in-patient."

"Why are you so angry?"

"Because you didn't tell me about vampires," I said, raising my voice. Then I lowered it again, trying to keep control over my emotions. "And I spent nine months despising myself for being in love with a teenager."

"Is that why you tried to kill yourself?"

"I didn't try to kill myself," I said.

She said nothing, but leveled that look that told me I was full of shit.

"I thought I was going to go to jail," I said, my eyes stinging from the acid of my tears. I didn't want to appear erratic or in any way out of control. "I thought I was going to disgrace my father and I was in a lot of pain and I just wasn't thinking. I don't want to kill myself, Illeana. I really don't."

"Okay, hija," she said. "I believe you. I swear."

"How could you not tell me you were seeing him?" I accused her, my voice bitter. "I'm your best friend."

“I’m a psychiatrist, Bella. You know I can’t break confidentiality. I could be sued.”

“You're not worried about being sued by a vampire,” I said. “Please give me some credit.”

“You have no idea,” she said. “I’m much more afraid of lawyers.”

"So do you believe he's a vampire?"

"Yes, he's definitely a vampire," she said.

"How can you be so sure?"

"Bella, I'm a doctor. I can tell a living person from an undead one."

"Illeana, what the hell am I going to do?"

"You're going to deal with your shit, that's what, so you can stop tormenting yourself. Either that or I really will put you up to keep you from doing something stupid again."

"Fuck, no," I said. "Please don't."

"Are you ready to talk then? I've got all night."

I sighed and leaned back into the couch. Afternoon sun was streaming through the tall windows behind Illeana's desk, a diffuse glow surrounded her, like some kind of aura. Maybe it was. Maybe with my mania I could see auras now.

"Do you believe in auras?" I asked.

"Of course," she said. "Why, can you see mine?"

"Yes," I said. "It's all pink."

"That's Perla," she smiled. "Maybe Edward's venom has opened you up, given you the sight, crees?"

"Who knows?" I said, and let out a big sigh. "I have no idea what's real anymore, Ill. I'm lost."

"You're far from lost, girl," she said. "You're found, if you ask me."

We sat quietly together, her looking at me in that caring, compassionate way of hers. She really would sit there all night, I believed, would order empandas and virgin sangria for delivery and talk auras and vampires until I was ready to talk about the big scary stuff I kept buried deep in my aching heart.

"I've got so much shit to process," I said. "I don't even know where to start."

"Zachary," she said. "You have to start with him."

At the sound of his name, said out loud, I felt the first tears spilling. I turned my head to the side, wiped my eyes with the backs of my hands and tried to just breathe. He could have been sitting on the couch with me, I felt Zack's presence so acutely, like he'd never left.

"I've been the shittiest widow ever," I began but had to stop because I was choking on my guilt. "It's like whenever I remember him it hurts so bad I'm afraid it's going to kill me."

"What's the last thing you remember of him?"

"He promised when he got home from this tour we could start a family," I said, glancing over at Illeana's big belly and feeling pain like an axe through my core.

"You talk like he's still over there."

I closed my eyes and covered my face as more pain hit me. She was right. I hadn't even realized it. "That was our last conversation on the phone—'Baby, I'm gonna knock you up when I get home, so get ready.'" I used my best Zack impression and laughed a little as I remembered him teasing me. "A few days later the officers were at my door with the notice… " My voice trailed off as I felt myself shutting down, the room going grey around me.

"Bella?" Illeana said. "Can you stay here with me?"

"It hurts," I said. "I can't believe how much it still hurts."

"I'm sure," she said. "I can't imagine what kind of pain that must be for you."

"What am I going to do?"

"Can you just let yourself feel it for a minute?"

"I'm afraid."

"I know," she said. "Try this—close your eyes and move them slowly to the left."

I did, and felt my heart begin to beat a little less frantically in my chest, felt my breathing begin to seat itself lower in my lungs.

"Good. Now move your eyes back to the right. Do it slowly."

I did as she asked and felt the tide of pain recede some more.

"Are you still with me?"

"Yes," I said.

"Good. Now do it again—even more slowly."

My eyes still closed, I moved them to the left and held them there for a couple of beats and felt my breath deepening, slowing, my lungs filling comfortably. I exhaled and then moved my eyes to the right slowly and felt as though my brain had centered itself. "What is this doing?"

"It's supporting your corpus callosum to get the left and right hemispheres of your brain talking. The left brain is now taking some of the heat from the emotional right brain and mitigating your overactive amygdala. Do you feel calmer?"

"Totally," I said. "That's freaky."

"Cool, right? It's a combination of hypnosis and modified EMDR."

"Wow," I said.

"You can use that anytime you get overwhelmed. It only takes a few minutes. Can you go back to that memory of Zack now?"

"Okay," I said, tentatively. I closed my eyes again and thought of him in his uniform, thought of the fear I had even then that he wouldn't come back and felt sick. I opened my eyes. "It's like I've just tried to blot him out, Ill. Like I never even had that life."

"Bella, you did what you had to do to survive. Zachary was a soldier—he of all people understood survival."

"What should I do?"

"You're going to have to forgive yourself," she said. "If Zack was here right now, do you think he'd want you to be so angry with yourself?"

"Of course not," I said. "We talked about these things. We were young but we understood the risks. He wanted me to promise him…"

Suddenly I found myself right in the middle of my last night with Zachary. He'd taken me out for crab legs and then home again, where we'd closed all the curtains, cranked up the stereo and had sex in every room of the house. In the small hours of the morning when we were worn and clutching onto those final moments together he'd asked me, "Isabella, if I don't make it home this time, what will you do?"

"Don't talk like that," I'd said. "You have to come home to me."

"Please, honey. I need to know that if something happens to me over there you're going to be okay. I want you to finish your degree, meet someone, have a life. For me."

"Zack, please," I'd said. "You're going to jinx yourself."

"Since when are you so superstitious?"

"I hate talking like this. Especially right now."

"Promise me then."

"Promise what?" Illeana asked, breaking into my thoughts.

"I promised him if he didn't come home I'd finish school and move on with my life."

"Did he say anything about you marrying again?"

"Yes," I said, choking up. "He wanted me to get married again if he died. I told him forget it."

"Why?"

"I didn't want him to die," I said, crying. "I thought if he thought I'd be alone the rest of my life, maybe he would find a way not to get killed and leave me."

"Okay," she said. "I get it."

"You do?"

"Yep. By not moving on in your life, you're punishing Zack for getting killed and leaving you."

My stomach churned and I dug my nails into the palms of my hands as I considered how right she was. It was agony to have that in the forefront of my consciousness. "I am so angry at him for dying, Illeana. I know that makes me a terrible wife."

"Of course you're angry," she said. "I would be too."

"I don't want to be angry anymore," I said. "It's killing me."

"So maybe you have to forgive Zack first," she said. And the guilt I felt at this realization made me cry so hard I gave myself a migraine. Illeana handed me the box of tissues.

"Okay," I said, blowing my nose. "I'll work on that."

"But Bella, you have to realize, once you forgive him for dying, he'll really be dead. He won't be out there in your unconscious, trying to come home to you. Are you ready for that?"

I lowered my head to my knees and buried myself in my arms, gripping my hair to keep my head from slipping off my neck. Illeana rubbed my back and then wrapped her arms around me as I shook with full body sobs. I don't know how long we sat there, but there came a time when my body stopped shaking, the sobs stopped and I finally felt emptied of that agonizing pain. It wasn't gone, but for the time being, it wasn't strangling me from the inside. Like the pain itself had been let out onto the carpet of Illeana's office, and I could be separate from it for once, could see it for what it was, rather than trying to wrestle it out from my guts. And looking at it there like that, I realized I was bigger than it. I was stronger.

"I want to move forward," I said. "I'm ready now."

"Forward is right out there in my waiting room," she said. "He's waiting for you."

I nodded. She was right. But I was still afraid. "This whole vampire thing—I'm still afraid that I'm going to wake from some kind of dream and find out I'm in love with a high school student."

"It's an episode of de-realization, Bella, you know this. Your world assumptions have been shattered. It takes time to adjust."

"So then how do I trust reality?"

"Trust yourself," she said. "You're not really crazy, okay? The world is crazy. Just do the best you can. You will come to believe in yourself and your vision of the world. But give yourself time."

"Okay then, if I trust that he's not really 17, I am still disgusted with myself for how I behaved with him when I thought he was. I'm having tremendous guilt over this."

"I know you are," she said. "So let's try a thought experiment. I want you to pretend that Edward was the one in your shoes. Let's say he had survived some traumatic loss, perhaps even the loss of everyone he ever loved when he was still quite young."

"I know where you're going with this."

"Stay with me. Let's say he coped with it in ways that were self destructive, not pills, necessarily, but let's say the way he handled those losses led him to feel very conflicted internally."

"Right," I said. "I get it."

"Now let's say it's years later and he meets someone who is clearly off-limits to him, but he falls deeply in love with her anyway. He tries to keep himself from crossing the line, from doing things he knows aren't right or socially acceptable, maybe from doing things that he believes might even be harmful to her. But he fails. No matter what he tries, he is still helplessly driven to her. What would you say to him about that?"

"I'd say I totally understand," I said. "We are driven by our feelings, and when we try to act out of line with our feelings, it makes us feel crazy and sick. That's the conflict of humanity—the id versus the superego. Sometimes the id wins."

"Sometimes the id is right, Bella. Your central nervous system, that part of your mind that lives in your tissue, in your cells, but not necessarily in your cognitions, knows some things that you can't register with your consciousness. That's what we call intuition and it's a very real part of you."

"I know," I said. "I suck at listening to my intuition."

"You have to practice, girl. Your body knows what what you need. Your mind, the superego, can be flooded with data from the outside world that can confuse more than clarify things. So the superego isn't always right. And in the case of both you and Edward, it has been very clearly wrong."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean your heart knows he's right for you and your brain has fucked you up. So tell your brain to shut up and listen to your heart."

I started to cry again, but this time it wasn't pain that those tears carried out of my body. It was relief.

"Bring him in," I said. "Please."

"Sure," she said. She pulled away from me and gave me a long, caring look. Then she gave me a gentle kiss on my forehead. "You deserve to be happy, hija."

Edward came into the office, a little tentative. I felt like my soul wanted to levitate off the couch and hover all around him, I was struck with such a profound sense of relief that he was there, with me, in this new reality. My face must have been swollen from all of the heavy, hard crying I'd been doing and he looked worried as he studied me. He crossed the room to take the chair next to the couch where I sat and I shook my head and motioned for him to sit next to me on the couch. I put my arms around him, buried my nose in his shoulder and breathed deeply, happily lost in the scent of him.

"Thanks," I said. He cradled me in his arms and smoothed my hair.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Yeah."

"She's got work to do, but she's on the right trail," Illeana said.

"What about the depression?" he asked.

"She's not depressed. She's grieving, finally, which is good. It's what she needs to do. But she's also manic, so it's a bit of a mess in her head." Illeana took out a prescription pad and began scribbling. "Keep an eye on her and if she gets any higher call me."

"Are you prescribing me medication?"

"Bella, you've got traces of his venom in you—do not take any pills, do you understand me? And absolutely no alcohol. I have no idea what they'll do to you right now."

"I feel really sketchy."

"I'll bet," she said, handing me the prescription pad. On it were a bunch of instructions that she went over with us. "No caffeine or sugar, get an hour at least of aerobic exercise every day and make sure you're getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep."

"I can't sleep if I'm manic."

"You can if you get enough aerobic exercise," she said. "Try swimming. Low impact, good burn. I'm sure you can think of some other activities. Have you had any craving for blood?"

"No, gross."

"Red wine?"

"No."

"Have you figured out what you're going to tell Charlie?"

"No," I said. "I'm really worried about that too."

"Never underestimate Charlie," Illeana said. "He'll find a way to accept this as long as he knows you're safe and happy. That's all he wants."

"I know," I said.

"And how about you, Mr. Cullen?" Illeana asked. "Is all right with the world now?"

"She's coming with me," he said. "I can't ask for more of the world than that."

48 comments:

  1. FIRST! Okay, I do this so I can subscribe to your comments and get them anytime, anywhere, because I LIVE for your comments. No pressure. I swear.

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  2. Sigh. I cried real tears, but now I'm contented knowing they will be together.
    Thank you Myg!

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  3. wonderful chapter, myg. I love love love love your story.
    everytime I think I know how this fanfic will go on... you surprise me!

    thanks myg!

    big hugs from germany :)

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  4. Happy sigh.....selfishly, I must say it is hard to wait a whole week!

    Excellent, excellent Myg

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  5. Still snuffling the tears. Such a touching chapter. Thanks, Mygdala. Look forward to next Wednesday, when I will be on vacation but not from Osa Bella. :) How I love your Edward.

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  6. Same here -- love the story, love this more worldly Edward and grown-up Bella. While it's hard to wait a week, it means the story will last longer. I've enjoyed going back to read the last couple of amazing chapters. Thank you, thank you!!

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  7. Another great chapter. I always think I know where you are taking i and then you change it again. Great job, nobody likes a predictable story. Fanfic is hard to write for that reason, but you've done a great job. I love reading your story.

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  8. I know this chapter ended on some tender notes and that was all great (tear down cheek) but HELLS YEAH, Myg, on the car chase and angry, protective Edward and Jacob and the wolves and, and, and... holy fuckickass crow, dude!

    Your chapters are like fun little roller coasters. Lovin' the ride, Myg, sooo lovin' the ride.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Myg!

    I just discovered Osa Bella during FGB and I quickly got in on Team Osa Bella because once I read all the chapters, I needed more!

    I am enamored with this story, and I love how OOC your Bella is. Her awesome backstory and relationship with Edward has pulled me in, hook line and sinker. Can't wait to see how much more you have in store for them.

    Your story is very daring and adventurous, and I thought I was being daring with my story line.

    Thanks for proving, yet again, that Twilight can inspire a mature, well written story that surpasses everything that the original was and then some.

    Bev
    aka belli486

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  11. I lurked and read and never commented but that chapter made me cry real tears. Thanks Myg. Awesome.

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  12. Last week, Myg, I was sooo sick and while my MIL took my 4 children I sat and re-read Osa Bella straight through. Each chapter burns with it's own emotion, but put together as a whole, it is much easier to see threads tieing together to weave the story. I, too, was going mad waiting for "what's next?" but as always it has been worth the wait. I hope you are proud of yourself...This story goes beyond fan-fic for me. It could easily stand on it's own. I am in awe of your talent, drive, and heart. xox

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  13. big, teary, snotty, tissue-clutching kudos from a few blocks over - just awesome. : )

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  14. Myg that was a great chapter. It had action, heart wrenching emotion... thanks. And yes I've been trying that eye exercise Ileana had Bella do.

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  15. What a rollercoaster ... angry red eyed Edward ... rawr ... and then so sad. I love that it's their first time at high school and I love that Charlie isn't ignorant to the fact that something is up. Just brilliant, as you always are.

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  16. Myg! My bf came home to silent tears rolling down my cheek while sitting on the deck with the puppy at my feet. He thought someone died! But then he said "It's Wednesday...Damn fanfic." :) Love him something terrible.

    This was stunning. I love that we got answers about the wolves (finally), but now we have a few more questions. I love how you do this to us. And I love that you got to rock out with your psychological/neurological cock out. I'm glad Bella can finally start the grieving process and work toward healing.

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  17. WOW, Myg. Very well written chapter. What's your educational background? I'm a licensed counselor & as I was reading the part about Bella moving her eyes side to side, I thought to myself..."that sounds like EMDR". Very interesting.
    Great job.

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  18. *Sniff* Loved this chapter. Love that Edward got Bella the help she needed. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of Jake though. Can't wait for next Wednesday! Thanks Myg!

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  19. I loved this roller coaster chapter. The high from the car chase and angry Edward pushing angry Jacob was awesome then the low of her grieving for her husband was truly emotional. Being the wife of a soldier, I can tell you I sobbed when Bella was talking about Zachary. I've been where she was the night before my husband left and you did a good job of explaining. Thankfully, my hubby came home safely and I didn't have to go through what your Bella has.
    I loved the chapter. Keep them coming, and thank you for treating the whole husband died in combat issue with the respect it deserves.

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  20. Another great chapter Myg!!! Your Edward is so real. I love that he went to therapy and is making sure Bella gets the help she needs to move on so she can truly be happy with him!!

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  21. This chapter was what I needed today. Really, you have no idea. MWAH! Looking forward to next Wednesday. :)

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  22. Hello sisters and lurking brothers/husbands,

    I want to say something to every one of you here, but specifically to @lablab73--I am not a military wife and have been trying to be as true and respectful as I can be to that experience, not having had it. Bella has had a really difficult time with her grief. She's really stuck with it, which is what this chapter dealt with. As I was writing about her last night with Zachary, I'm not kidding, I cried just imagining what this must be like for women like yourself. God bless you and your husband for the sacrifices you make for the rest of us out here. I am incredibly grateful that you think I dealt with the military widow issue in a way that pays respect. That's always been very important to me. So thanks so much for the comment.

    Another thing - the eye movement thing that Illeana does with Bella is a real hybrid hypnosis/EMDR technique that was actually used on me by a very talented hypnotherapist when I was dealing with some serious vicarious trauma. I am a licensed clinical social worker who's done a lot of work in the grief and trauma field, almost exclusively with teens. And the explanation of why it works is a sort of f'cocked explanation of the neurobiology behind it. It's not a perfect explanation, but it's sort of a true one. Because I am a fucking geek, that's why. Hello?

    Normally, if I'd gotten the re-writes in ahead of time, I would have posted a couple of chapters together here. This feels like a strange place to leave you all, since it's sort of a sagging shoulders, big exhale, now what? kind of place to leave it.

    There's a lot of stuff coming up that's a bit more action heavy and suspenseful (though there is a car chase and a wolf/vampire confrontation here, so yeah). Sadly I don't think I can get to 24 until next week! But Imma do what I can.

    Because I seriously love you people. I don't know what I'm going to do when Osa Bella wraps. Curl up in a little ball on my couch for a couple of weeks, for starters.

    Myg

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  23. Sigh... Just what I needed. Thankyou.

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  24. sigh Myg. That was so relieving thank you. I feel like my heart was all twisted in knots until I finished that chapter. You'll give me a good nights sleep :)

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  25. Myg,
    I recall that you love in Nj, right? When Osa Bella wraps, I am coming from Jersey City to buy you a drink (or six). I really love this story!
    And I will also buy your books when you start publishing ones that you can sell!
    xooxoxo

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  26. Myg I have been sobbing with streaming tears rolling down my face. So gut wrenchingly real and raw. I love what you have done here...everything you have done, especially with Edward, has given these characters so much depth.....as always you amaze me.

    I think you should let Mama Myg read this, I am certain she would be as blown away as the rest of us. She could get the PG-13 fade to black version ;-)

    I hope someday I will go to the bookstore and see your novel on display and I can say, "Hey, I know her!" Something tells me that might just happen. Big sloppy kisses.

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  27. Yay for Illeana! I wish I had a BFF/shrink in my life. I think Im manic!

    I'm glad that Bella finally accepted Zach's death. Poor girl. She has a lot of love surrounding her, but her head get's in the way.

    Okay, Myg- I'm going to try that eye trick when I get stressed. I bet everyone is trying it. LOL!

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  28. ass wipe blogger deleted my last post......
    take two
    i feel like this chapter was definitely two parts, jake and illeana
    jake: I have been wondering for a week what the hell bella was going to do.....ack.......i love the way this all played out. bella leading jake away from edward but of course edward comes to the rescue. the intensity of edward and jacob fighting for bella......awesome!

    illeana: wow, she knew? wow! didn't see that one coming! for some reason your story is the first time i have ever thought, "how easily would i believe? what would it take? then what would that realization do to me? to the way i look at life?"
    illeana is so cool, i for real want to be her friend.....don't we all need and deserve an illeana?
    zach and bella's last night together - crushing but i am so glad that she is starting to deal with it. on that note, my ocd would like to thank you for tying up loose ends.....love it, dealing with zach, why newton was on to edward etc.....
    final thought - as a teacher, i know how hard it is to take things that come easily to you and break them down so other people can understand. that's hard enough without the added complications of trying to educate while telling a story. so now you have to make sure your audience is getting it, without interupting the story or insulting their intelligence, so so difficult but you are doing an amazing job. this was a tough chapter....lots of psych, but you pulled it off eloquently so kudos to you myg.
    but.....what i am most proud of you about though is the fact that you took some much needed time off to spend with your family and your mama.....(who may or may not disown you upon reading this story, so good thing you spent the time......kidding)
    mwah
    kelly

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  29. Heya Mygs--I was really surprised to see that Illena knew--good curvie!

    Its good she's beginning to grieve for Zachary, thank goodness--I think we could all see that festering.

    Ooohhh the Jake thing is so not over! Wonder what the wolves will do?

    gah, love this and you, you dirty lovely little fic-chic!

    smoochies in the boochies

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  30. This chapter rocked my world.

    Imma need therapy myself when it's done.

    Love your work, Myg x

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  31. Osa Bella, I have missed you!!

    WOW. My head is spinning - A car chase, an Edward/Jacob confrontation and Bella is finally dealing with her emotional baggage. Which hopefully means that she and Edward can finally move forward.

    That's a big chapter Myg. BRAVO. I love this story!!!!

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  32. That chapter should have come with a disclaimer to have a box of sniffs next to you while reading it! I read it while at work and I had to stop during the Bella/Zach last night together part because I didn't want my coworkers to see me crying big crocodile tears... Great chapter Myg, can't wait for next week! xoxo

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  33. So good.

    I love your Jake -- he's so much better than the canon version. In SM's book, I can't really see his appeal at all, but here? He's definitely got something. Not as much as Edward though. I love your more dangerous, less asexual Edward.

    On tenterhooks for your next chapter! Go, go go!

    :-)

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  34. Myg, again, you own me. I am sitting in a hair salon reading and crying--and I already read this chapter last night.

    BTW, I was a military wife, he's out of the military now, and I think you got it so right, better than right, it felt real.

    When Osa Bella is done, I want to come buy you a drink, too. We'll have an Osa Bella wrap party.

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  35. Wow Myg! I love this story and missed it so much during the week o waiting. It's bringing all my psych classes from college back to me which I guess I missed. I love that u incorporated the EMDR in there as I had success w this method of therapy too for my PTSD symptoms. Of all the twenty some stories I read as updated, this one I drop all the rest for! I'll be happy to see you twice a week again but know that will lead to a faster conclusion and I'm all about delayed gratification. You rock it girl! Also howdy mr. Myg, I know you are stalking the comments but you are one lucky dude!

    Annie b (Belighted)

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  36. jesus christ.
    Myg, I realize you might not be a professional (actually I don't know), but you might have just gotten me through some more of my grief with my best friend's passing without realizing it.
    I love you and this story. ah! TONS of tears

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  37. grrr I dunno why I commented under that account (Catherine). This is Cat from Daily Twimes.
    oh and I'm still weeping.

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  38. @Myg - you write beautifully. You know your stuff - and you speak to your readers in a profound way while still entertaining them. What more could a reader ask for?????

    Thank you for this chapter.

    While I often read for the lemony stuff [ :-o ] I am totes loving Osa Bella for the cerebral side too!

    You are, without any shadow of a doubt, a totally accomplished writer. "We are not worthy!!!"

    *Hugs* xxxx

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  39. Addicted2TwilightJuly 15, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    Gah, I loved loved loved it!!! I'm totally hating Jake (I do in twilight too) And I was tearing up a bit during Bella's session with Illeana. As usual, I want MORE!!! I was missing it, but I am happy you spent time with your mama.

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  40. Myg, I read this chapter early this morning before work, and then again tonight.

    I had tears just rolling down my face this morning - it was exquisite. Everything I wanted to say has already been said, so I won't be redundant, but you know how much I love your story, and how you're able to seamlessly incorporate the steamy and the smart, the emotionally wrenching and the adrenaline pumping. I'm amazed at how you can always keep us guessing - I feel like I need lessons!

    Additionally, I'd like to recommend a seriously compelling documentary called Restrepo. It won the prize at Sundance this year, and I'm immensely proud to say that the company I work for is involved in this project. It follows a platoon deployed in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, where they built an outpost and called it Restrepo, after a fallen friend, a medic. It doesn't take one political side or the other - it's focused solely on the soldiers and their experience. It's on limited release, but can be found in theaters across the United States. You can check it out here: http://www.restrepothemovie.com/

    I've heard from people all over who say that this documentary has helped them understand more about their loved ones coming home from war. Sorry for the blatant promotion, but it really struck a chord with me, especially having just read Osa Bella.

    Myg, you continue to amaze me!

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  41. Myg!! This fic has such a life of its own- you should really consider professional writing if you haven't already! I just love how deep you go and the fact that you aren't afraid to go anywhere! I loved the car chase and the angry vamp/ werewolf scene! But I really love the dynamic between Edward and Bella- I love both individually, but together they are just divine and complex and amazing. As others have said, you do an incredible job of pulling us all over the map. Bella's session with Illeana as just perfect... will they ever get to just head out on Reckoner (and that name just says it all)! Will they ever have sex again (yes, yes,pretty PLEASE!!)AND what is the deal with the bears.... so excited for more- could you make this go on for enough print to fill four large books a' la SM?? MWAH!!

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  42. Mr. Myg breaking in here, @Fooorkspimp--I added Restrepo to my "saved" list at Netflix. (And all you people who have Netflix accounts should do so as well, because when you hit "saved" it signals demand to Netflix and the industry, which, in turn, helps the producers and ultimately helps Fooorkspimp. All with the simple click of an html button.)

    Don't tell me you've met Sebastien Junger. Okay, tell me.

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  43. Myg-
    Just read through the comments and had to respond to your "what will I do once OB is finished?" and what I have to say is EPOV, baby, EPOV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lovin on ya!

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  44. Bella has at least two wonderful friends who will support her through this rough time. Charlie and Red. No- dammit, Jake and Derek. Oops, not them either.

    Seriously, a great therapist AND a perfect lover? Bella is a lucky girl.

    Where do us mere mortals go for help? Yep, Twitarded.


    Perfectly written, MYG. Love every chapter.

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  45. Maybe your soul is stronger because of what you've had to overcome to be who you are today." Excellent point!!!

    "I was in love with a vampire. My oldest friend was a werewolf. My ex-fiance had been mauled by a shape shifted bear." and people have the nerve to say that Bella is weak, I would like to see one of those people deal with all this!!!

    "BiPolar?" Like the bear???? LOL!!!

    "Perla Rogers"?? As in La Perla?

    "You're far from lost, girl," she said. "You're found, if you ask me." I know exactly what she means here!!

    "It's supporting your corpus callosum to get the left and right hemispheres of your brain talking. The left brain is now taking some of the heat from the emotional right brain and mitigating your overactive amygdala. Do you feel calmer?" "Totally," I said. "That's freaky." "Cool, right? It's a combination of hypnosis and modified EMDR." Is that real? I would assume it is as per your real life job. If it is real, how come I have never heard of it??

    I don't understand why more people don't go to therapy. Look at the wonders it can do for someone. I realize this is a fictional character but the outcome in real life would be the same. Ah to release all the ick and be free - I guess people just like to torture themselves. I think I will make a call and start again.

    "So tell your brain to shut up and listen to your heart." I hear you!

    "I felt like my soul wanted to levitate off the couch and hover all around him..." would a gorgeous sentiment. I want to feel that way.

    "She's coming with me," he said. "I can't ask for more of the world than that." It is really that simple.

    Ahhhh what a satisfying chapter - that is the best comment I can give. I feel settled. Thank you

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  46. Mr. Myg! I am sorry to shatter your dreams - Sebastian Junger is not actually a closet Twi-hard who reads fanfic when he's not in war zones and goes by the name of Fooorkspimp. :) And sadly, I haven't actually met him. I'm just a lowly HR assistant at a company that rhymes with Hational Leographic.

    But I'm delighted to hear that you're interested in Restrepo! I don't get to do any of the cool shit, but I freaking love that I work for this organization. You can also "like" the movie on Facebook here to keep up with news: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/restrepothemovie?ref=ts And find out where you can see it in your area. Thanks for the support! And if I get to meet Mr. Junger, I'll be sure to get you an autograph! Now just continue helping your wife with this AWESOME story of hers :-D

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  47. Guys I've been so, so busy last couple of days. Had to pop in to say thanks for the amazing as usual comments, and not only are you "worthy" you make doing this so much more worthwhile for me. Sharing this story, gah, it's meant the world.

    And @Catherine, shit woman, I want to hug your face off. I'm so glad that there's a piece of this story that helped you deal with your grief. The entire story has been about me working through mine, so the fact that you say so makes me just, gah. Grateful. Thanks, in all seriousness, for sharing that and letting Osa Bella reach your heart in that way.

    You guys, what the hell else can I say to you to thank you for taking the time to read this and share your experiences with it? Just, cuddles and stuff.

    xo
    Myg

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  48. Oh man, Myg, you did it again. I swear you are made of win and ninja!! This was sooo good!

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