But why am I Jessica? @lalaland972
Chapter 6

But Why am I Jessica?

Chapter 6

"Jessica." Charlie stood blocking the entranceway into the house. His voice was chillier than the weather outside. As I began to shiver, I wondered which of the two did it stem from.

"Chief Swan," I replied politely with a tight smile. I wasn't sure where he was steering the conversation or why he wasn't letting me inside.

Am I in trouble?

"I am going to step outside for a bit and we are going to have a chat." Charlie's serious tone was adding to the anxiety I was already feeling upon arriving at the house.

Charlie stared until I finally took the hint to take a few steps back to allow him to exit the house and close the front door. My blood pressure was rising at an astronomic rate.

I am way too young to be dealing with such stress!

It crossed my mind that Edward, in a similar position after New Moon, must have felt ten times worse actually being able to hear Charlie's disdain for him. At least he knew why. I was completely in the dark for how I wronged Charlie or Bella. I was really starting to look forward to the Stanley vacation I was going to begin tomorrow. A vacation from the Twilight life was very welcomed and well needed.

Finally, Charlie broke the silence. "Look, Jessica, this is hard for me to admit since I am a father and all...but I failed Bella after Edward left. I thought given time she would be okay. When I noticed Bella brightening up again, I assumed time was the healer. Then there was Jacob. I didn't realize...you were the root factor for her recovery." Charlie mumbled his words at the ground. He would not meet my face.

"It was hard to watch Bella endure all that suffering. I felt helpless aside rousing her from her nightmares."

Geez Charlie is oversharing too much personal information.

I already knew that from the books, but still. "Thank you for helping my daughter. She means the world to me." Charlie finally picked his head up and met my eyes. My heart strings began to tug. Tears were pooling in his eyes. He didn't allow them to fall, but I could tell he was struggling not to. I selfishly wondered in that moment if my dad would have felt the same for me in reverse situations. I hardly knew my father since he died when I was so young. I never would have that experience to draw off of.

I mentally shook off all my emotions in that moment. "You care a lot about Bella. I hope she knows how lucky she is to have a caring father. I am happy I could be there to support her." I let the corners of my lips curl up into a smile despite the sadness they should have embodied.

"Well, that's enough of that." Charlie wiped his index fingers under his eyes in one swift movement. I blinked. Then in front of me was the Chief Swan persona and not a father tearing up with concern over his daughter.

"Bella and Jacob are in the living room. Jacob's going to spend the night as well. Billy isn't feeling well. Would that bother your parents? He will be sleeping in a separate room then you girls, of course."

Wow. I never experienced a boy-girl sleepover in high school. That was taboo. Charlie must really have a soft spot for Jacob to allow this as a father. Bella did not mention this over the phone though...

The knot in my stomach flared up again to remind me it was still present and not on board with my reckless decision to be at the Swan house.

"They wouldn't mind," I lied without any hesitation. I didn't know that for sure. I figured since I was already here, I should just get the information request ordeal over with or this knot could be accompanying me over the Christmas vacation.

Charlie finally led me into the house. "Great. There are plenty of snacks in the kitchen and uh, enjoy yourself."

"I will. Is the living room this way?" I asked him as I was stuck between choosing to proceed into one of two rooms.

He pointed to the path I wasn't leaning towards. I nodded my head in thanks and proceeded to lug my sleepover gear to the lion's den.

I walked into an awkward scene of Jacob tickling Bella. They knew I was on my way over soon. I rolled my eyes and cleared my throat with a loud empahsis to interrupt them. When Jacob removed himself off of Bella's body he had pinned to the ground, his bodily transformation could not be ignored.

He doubled in size. His once lean, tall and tan frame finally supported the muscles it was destined to hold. It was a drool worthy transformation not given enough credit in the books. I was not going to allow myself to fawn over him...outwardly.

"Wow, Jacob; lay off the protein shakes. I think you doubled in size since we last met," I joked with him after an exaggerated head bobbing of checking out his body. I had to acknowledge the transformation given our last human encounter. It would have been weird to ignore it.

Jacob's eyebrows raised in amusement. He cocked his head to the side as a daring smile spread across his face. "I told you I would bulk up," he replied smugly. I was winding up to douse out the self-assured twinkle in his eyes.

"I guess some girls prefer that look," I retorted with a playful humor to my tone. Bella looked between us both with an unreadable expression.

Oops. I shouldn't let myself get caught up in banter with Jacob... It's rude to Bella and that is not what I am here for.

"Anyways, I am glad to see you guys are hanging out again. Bella was really concerned about you, Jacob." Bella's brown eyes narrowed as they locked with mine. I think they were warning me not to say so much about that time.

Double oops.

"Oh, was she now?" Cocky Jake made a reappearance as he probed Bella in the ribs with his elbow. His confidence with her was unparalleled with the continued absence of Edward. I was rooting for him.

"Okay, love birds." Another dark look from Bella was shot in my direction. This one was communicating I was almost crossing a line. "Just kidding. So, what did you summon me for Bella?"

"Well... we never really got to talk about what happened last Saturday. I am sorry I didn't check in with you sooner. I also wanted to explain about Laurent." I resisted the urge to release a heavy sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose with my fingers.

If I give her what she really wants, I bet I can excuse myself from this sleep over.

"Don't worry, I figured it out all for myself," I informed Jacob and Bella calmly while spreading my attention between the two.

I am not a fan of what I planned on the way over here, but I have to try it.

"You did?" Bella asked bewildered and turned to look at Jacob. Jacob's tan complexion paled a little bit. If that was even possible. It didn't make sense as to why he would be nervous to me though.

"Yeah. I assume Laurent is someone you encountered from one of your crazy adrenaline seeking stunts and you planned never to see him again. He stalked us and confronted us in the meadow. His psycho ass must have been high. Especially when he was trying to bite your neck. What a creep, Bella! I hope you learned your lesson. We were lucky those pack of wolves scared him off and didn't approach us. I hope your father is hunting for that guy more so than those wolves."

Bella's face slowly shifted from worried to relieved during my well thought out speech. "He is. He gets really upset if someone brings it up. I'll let you know if I hear any news about them capturing Laurent." Bella made the smart choice and played along with my absurd narrative. I doubted she had a better one for me.

"If that's it, why don't I go home? I can let you guys continue to hang out alone."

"No!" They both shouted in unison.

"Oh, is there more?" I was exhausted. My knot was finally untying itself and I just wanted to enjoy the rest of its unwinding in Jessica's bed.

"Yes. Have you been running lately? In the woods?"

Ah. Here it is.

"Today was my first day back since recovering from my injuries."

"Injuries?!" Jacob interjected with dark eyes fading from glowing amusement to a wild fury.

"One usually sustains them when being forcefully shoved into a tree," I replied smartly. I was surprised this was news to Jacob. I assumed Bella would have told him everything that occurred in the meadow.

I noticed the veins in Jacob's neck pulse and his arms start to quiver. He took a deliberate deep breath and all the involuntary movements from his body ceased. I guess he was not angry enough to be unable to control whatever he was feeling. Good for us, but it was weird to me that what I said would rise that reaction from him in the first place.

Jacob kept his voice level as he followed up his previous question. "What happened?" I darted my gaze away from his eyes that phased into a neutral territory. I looked at Bella's wide eyes clouded in guilt and apprehension. Before I could reply, Bella found the nerve to answer Jacob's question.

"Guess I forgot to mention Jessica was shoved out of the way...into a tree...when shielding me from Laurent." Shame was etched in every tick of Bella's expression that was now directed to the ground. "I am sorry Jessica I involved you. Thank you for standing up for me and saving me," Bella whispered her apology before looking up to meet my eyes. I offered her a soft smile that was intertwined with my message of forgiveness.

"Yes, the bat! What a move and quick thinking!" Jacob gushed over my heroics, oblivious to Bella and I's moment. His enthusiasm sounded as if he had a front row seat to the show and did not hear about it from Bella.

"Three summers of softball camp prepared me to fulfill my destiny." I made a mocking Superman pose. I was just missing my cape. "To get back on track though... I'm mostly recovered from the soreness and bruises. I went for my first "run" today. Why?" I could easily predict where this conversation was going.

Jacob took the lead and responded instead of Bella. "The Quileute Tribe is partnering with the Forks Police Department to ramp up security in the area because of the larger wolves. My tribe is requesting that individuals don't venture in there for the time being. It is too unsafe." In other words, Jacob's pack didn't want to waste their resources protecting dum-dums like me wondering in the woods as fresh bait for Victoria.

"I didn't know this. I'll keep my runs to the pavement for the time being until things die down." I was sad I would have to find a new route but knew it was for the best.

The interrogation had finally ceased, and I insisted I go to bed. I gave up on the notion of driving myself back to Jessica's house because I was afraid I would fall asleep at the wheel despite the 10-minute drive time. Bella and Jacob protested at first, but they eventually gave up when they witnessed one too many yawns coming from me while they attempted to engage me in their fluff conversation.

I giddily plopped myself on Bella's bed after I brushed my teeth. Heading straight to Bella's while still in my PJs was the only good decision I made all day. Under the covers and with my head on a soft pillow that smelled like Snuggle fabric softener, I let sleep take over.

My desire to sleep the whole night away in one shot crumbled quickly when Bella showed up to sleep. She did not wake up me when she joined me in her bed. I would have preferred that. Instead my ears were assaulted with her agonizing screams.

I had been dreaming of the first day of work at RTD, the consulting firm I passed through one phone call and two in person interviews to land a job at as Katie Smith. It was not going well. They read the intro bio I thought I deleted and requested "I sing" a song for them. I started singing and one my co-workers started screaming because I was so awful. The screaming soon called me from my own nightmare, and I realized it was actually coming from Bella's mouth. It was a chilling sound and not one a father should have to wake up to nightly to run and comfort his daughter from her nightmares.

I didn't know what to do after my initial reaction to cover my ears. Driven by instinct, I wrapped my hands around her back and cross linked them across her upper chest. I whispered, "you'll be okay" in her left ear that was partially covered by her matted hair. I continued to repeat it softly as her screaming slowly died down and eventually stopped. I don't know how, but she remained asleep the entire time.

I had a weird suspicion we were being watched, so I looked up to Bella's bedroom door. In the door's threshold I found Jacob and Charlie staring at me. I never heard them open the door. Each wore a different expression. Charlie's face, illuminated by the moonlight that shone through the bedroom window, had relieved and thankful written all over it. Jacob's face was initially harder to read since the same light didn't reach his face. I hardly could detect it at first, but when he took another step forward and moonlight bounced off his eyes, a dejected look was on display. The girl who he was in love with was still broken hearted over her previous love. He always knew it but witnessing it on this subconscious level for Jacob, I speculated, shook him to his core.

I mouthed to them both "she is okay now" and they took their leave. Jacob was slower in leaving. As if he was struggling to understand this side of Bella he had yet to witness. When they both were gone and Bella was peacefully asleep, I began to pull back my arms from being wrapped around her. Her hands immediately grabbed around my forearms and prevented me from doing so. I sighed to myself. I was tired enough that I was sure I could still fall asleep in the awkward position. I was right.

I had a weird suspicion we were being watched, so I looked up to Bella's bedroom door. In the door's threshold I found Jacob and Charlie staring at me. I never heard them open the door. Each wore a different expression. Charlie's face, illuminated by the moonlight that shone through the bedroom window, had relieved and thankful written all over it. Jacob's face was initially harder to read since the same light didn't reach his face. I hardly could detect it at first, but when he took another step forward and moonlight bounced off his eyes, a dejected look was on display. The girl who he was in love with was still broken hearted over her previous love. He always knew it but witnessing it on this subconscious level for Jacob, I speculated, shook him to his core.

I mouthed to them both "she is okay now" and they took their leave. Jacob was slower in leaving. As if he was struggling to understand this side of Bella he had yet to witness. When they both were gone and Bella was peacefully asleep, I began to pull back my arms from being wrapped around her. Her hands immediately grabbed around my forearms and prevented me from doing so. I sighed to myself. I was tired enough that I was sure I could still fall asleep in the awkward position. I was right.

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