But why am I Jessica? @lalaland972
Chapter 7

But Why am I Jessica?

Chapter 7

When I woke up in the morning, I narrowly escaped leaving the Swan household without encountering Jacob or Bella to bid farewell to. I had to gently remove my arms from Bella's death grip without waking her up. I could not have done it quick enough. My neck was sore from sleeping on my side without a sturdy pillow under my head and I was tired of having to hear Bella murmur Edward's name in the short time span of me being awake.

"Good morning, Jessica." He looked up from his coffee and offered me a warm smile. His mustache was sporting flecks of coffee creamer. I giggled before I could return his greeting. I pointed to my upper lip and he quickly got the hint.

"Good morning, Chief Swan."

"Not staying for breakfast? I don't cook, but I was going to offer to take you kids to the diner when everyone was up." Charlie was sweet and well intentioned. I was furthermore thankful he didn't speak more on Bella's nightmare last night.

"Thank you for the offer, but I really should be getting home. We are driving to my grandparents today to spend Christmas with them." Charlie nodded at me. "I didn't have the heart to wake Bella or Jacob…" For good reasons! "Please tell them I said goodbye and enjoyed my time with them."

"Sure." Charlie was simple and I enjoyed that. He didn't need follow up or more explained. Just as he was depicted in the series. It was such a relief one male character in the Twilight series was staying true to his nature.

I turned around only to find I was wrong about my assessment of Charlie.

"Jessica?" I redirected my body to face Charlie. I tried not to show I was peeved that people couldn't just let things go.

I do it all the time in this storyline!

"How did you do it?" I had no idea what he was talking about. My confused expression aided in his understanding he needed to be more specific in what he was asking.

"I have only gotten Bella to stop screaming if I woke her up. But you…you just held her, and she was able to calm down and still stay asleep." I couldn't be annoyed anymore. Charlie was only concerned and asked a really good question. Even though I didn't have an answer for him. Or so I thought. What left my lips next surprised both Charlie and myself.

"I think a shattered soul knows another shattered soul on a sub-conscious level. Maybe that's why she found me comforting?" That was not a Jessica Stanley answer. Charlie didn't know how to respond, rightly so. I felt guilty I unburdened that part of myself on him, so I attempted to quickly recover from it. "You know us teenage girls, one heart break with a first love and the world is ending. We will both be okay with more time." I pasted a smile on my face. It took all my will power to make it look natural and not forced in any way.

He said "right, right" wanting to change the uncomfortable topic as soon as possible.

Likewise, Charlie, likewise.

"Thanks again for your hospitality Chief Swan and Merry Christmas."

I saw the silhouette of a figure emerging in the kitchen door and quickly darted out the front door before Charlie could finish returning the holiday wishes. I was panting from the sprint as I unlocked my Camry and threw my overnight bag inside. I turned the engine and watched Jacob appear in the front doorway. I waved casually and floored it out of the Swan's driveway.

Crisis averted.

My time over Christmas break did not pass as slowly as I thought it would. I enjoyed the vacation time I spent with Jessica's family. They were really nice people. Her grandma showed me how to make the 'secret' recipe for the Stanley pinwheel cookie. Lard in lieu of butter and LOTS of it. Some secret. Her grandpa attempted to show me how to work the five different remotes for his tv and sound system, but I was able to convince him to play many games of Scrabble with me instead. I read to Daniel daily, and we were almost finished with the 'Goblet of Fire'. Jessica's mom would walk while I ran outside. Jessica's dad started to mentally prepare me for college- yes, I indulged him. I dare say, I had envy for Jessica's life. Wholesome family. No true tragedies had befallen her yet. She was a lucky girl. But I was not her.

After Christmas passed and we returned to Forks, I was able to avoid my school friends by taking double shifts at the movie theatre. They were easy to pick up when other employees had vacation to go on and the need of personnel with the busy holiday season. At first Angela called a lot to plan group hangouts, but eventually she got the hint my free time was non-existent until school started again. She bought the excuse I was saving up money for college. It was a nice way to reject her plans without making her feel like I was rejecting her as a person. I promised to make it up when school started back up.

Every time Bella called, I was "busy" or at work. I soon realized I couldn't keep avoiding her because she was my excuse for my trip to Helena. I had to play hardball with her too about my free time. She bought my excuse as easily as Angela. However, she did demand I talk with her on the phone more often at least. I had to oblige, and she would keep me in the loop about things with Jacob. Our conversations revealed to me she was content and was not heading down the path of seeking Edward on a trip over the cliff anytime soon. I knew it was coming eventually though. Jacob would spend less time with her at some point or something in general would trigger in her the desire to 'hear' from Edward again.

What a dummy.

It was finally here. For months I had been waiting for this opportunity to be in front of me. I couldn't deny to myself that I was afraid to seize it, but I knew my ignorance on my situation would continue to do me no good. I needed a final decision.

Am I still Katie, or am I to be Jessica?

Bella was on top of it for covering for me during my weekend spent in Helena. She wished me luck with the "boy" I was meeting up with in our last conversation before my trip. She was weary about my decision to go on my own, but offered me her full support. I didn't tell anyone a real goodbye. Jessica's parents thought I deserved a 'fun' girl's weekend at Bella's before school started given how hard I worked over my break. Daniel was bummed I would be missing two nights of reading to him. I made sure not to promise to make it up to him in case I wasn't returning.

Traveling to Helena was more stressful than I had originally anticipated. I was traveling in a time that didn't have ubers for transportation or my credit card stored on my iPhone for paying convenience. But I made do in figuring it out since I was a 24-year old adult after all.

After I checked in my hotel after 9 pm, I decided to wait until Saturday morning to take a taxi to the gravesite.

Thank god for all those shifts I picked up. I think most of my saved-up money is going to go to my damn cab fare while out here! I miss uber rides!

Attempting to fall asleep that evening was almost pointless. My nerves would not allow my mind to calmly drift into sleep mode. I watched Friends reruns on the tv in my hotel room until my eyes persisted they could sleep despite the light, and my ears agreed that they could make do with the background noise.

When I woke up in the morning, the finality of the journey hit me like a ton of bricks. I had always been aware of the mission and potential conclusions of this visit, but being present in the moment made it feel more real than it had ever been before.

Am I sure I want to know?

I knew the answer was yes, but still doubt plagued my heart and mind.

Black clothes. Winter jacket. Yellow taxi cab. Nice driver. $16.34 cab ride. Gray sky. Dewy grass. Flag poles. My thoughts were incoherent and jumbled. They weren't buried here. My eyes beheld the empty plots in front of me in disbelief.

Park in the Lot A. 50 paces north of the flag poles and 121 paces east of the very large oak tree.

I knew I wasn't misremembering the directions I made and memorized when we first buried them. They were etched on my heart. Their significance made them unforgettable. There was only one conclusion.

My family does not exist here in this world.

My hands began to tremble as they patted the air where the headstone should have been. I inhaled a shallow breath, only to struggle with the next one. I had become aware of every breath in this body that was not mine. Time slowed down as the final realization of my inescapable reality had finally sunk in.

This was it.

This was my new life.

I wouldn't be able to grieve for my parents and grandparents openly.

I would always be left wondering what happened to Jenna in my previous life.

At last, all the pent-up tears stifled for months were ready to break the dam. My knees fell to the soft grass and I crossed my arms around my torso and finally allowed myself to cry.

I was not the only person in that part of the cemetery for long though.

"Jessica?" A greeting and question came from an unknown figure who was sporting men's black dress shoes. I barely heard them call my name through my sobbing.

I looked up. "Edward?" My brain was about to crash thanks to his sudden appearance. It was processing too many emotions. Grief. Confusion. Edward. Twilight. Jessica. He knelt down next to me and asked what was wrong.

I knew I should have asked him what he was doing here, but the only thing that escaped my mouth were the continuous heart wrenching sobs. My feelings were too powerful to collect myself in front of him. I could only submit to being Katie as the long denied emotions poured out of me. He didn't follow up to his question. Instead, he just moved forward and put his arms around me. His movement had been cautious, like he expected me to push him away. And I should have refused him, but it felt so nice to be comforted in that moment that I did not listen to reason. I gave in and allowed him to move closer. Because for too long in this world I had denied myself a moment to process what I had lost by becoming Jessica Stanley.

...

Time was immeasurable. The sun was still hidden behind the clouds in the gray sky, but I wasn't sure how much time had passed while Edward held me in his arms. It could have been seconds, maybe minutes or even possibly hours. His embrace should have been cold to the touch, but my heart was warmed by the comforting feeling that I would not have even been able to tell even if I was getting freezer burn from his touch.

Eventually, my sobs calmed to a faint whimper. When I was more composed and collected, I exited his embrace and pushed his body away from mine. I said thank you to him and began to walk away.

He kept calling after me while I picked up my pace. Ignoring him was becoming more difficult and then impossible when he cut off my path. He was forcing my hand for both of us to reveal why we were here.

"Should you go first, or should I?" Edward asked me. His voice was smooth and laced with concern.

"I prefer that you do." I wanted an explanation for his unexpected appearance and needed to buy time to find a plausible excuse of why Jessica Stanley was in a cemetery 761 miles away from Forks.

"Family vacation. We just got back from visiting Glacier National Park. We are going to fly out of here tomorrow." Edward's fabricated lie was good. Almost believable, if I didn't know better. "I saw the cemetery across the street when I was walking around the down town area. I was intrigued by the architectural design of the building and variety of headstones, so I wondered over. I didn't recognize you at first, but I was curious to what kind of person would cry at the foot of empty grave plots..." Edward trailed off.

On some level I cared for the real reason, but I was too deep in my own shit to worry about speculating on why he was really here.

Did he follow me? I hope not. That sounds creepy and would be totally uncalled for after he left Bella. Did Alice have a vision and he came to check on me? This is the version I hope is the correct answer. But why would Alice have a vision about me? Maybe it's in part of the friendship I have been developing with Bella?

Edward studied my face. He was looking for a hint of what I was hiding. I kept a poker face and was prepared to lie as smoothly as he just did though when it was my turn to share.

"It doesn't matter anymore. What's done is done."

But I did not. I was tired of the facade. I was running on empty of the farce I was living and shoving down my feelings every time sadness rose up thinking about my life as Katie. Edward's reaction was appropriate. It was perplexed mixed with something else. He was probably frustrated he couldn't read my mind and know everything. If he had, maybe my existence here could have been a little easier from the beginning. With just one person knowing my secret.

...

I stared deeply into Jessica's cerulean blue eyes when I looked into the mirror in the entry hallway of my hotel room. I was searching for something. I missed the reflection of my mother's eyes staring back into me as Katie. I missed the full lip smile I inherited from my father. I missed the right dimple in my cheek the mirrored the one Jenna had. I studiously assessed Jessica's face trying to comprehend this was my face now. I was looking for my purpose in this world. My desire to live in it.

I watched my right-hand hover over my heart in my reflection. Yes, my reflection now. My broken heart was still beating. Despite the fact I felt it shatter today from pieces into small bits that seemed inconceivable to put back together. There seemed to be no healing in fully recognizing my pain- everything I had ignored when I first work up in this Twilight-verse. If I gave up, their memories would be gone. They didn't exist here, but they existed in me. I had to find someway to endure the unbearable truth of who I was now.

I watched my right-hand hover over my heart in my reflection. Yes, my reflection now. My broken heart was still beating. Despite the fact I felt it shatter today from pieces into small bits that seemed inconceivable to put back together. There seemed to be no healing in fully recognizing my pain- everything I had ignored when I first work up in this Twilight-verse. If I gave up, their memories would be gone. They didn't exist here, but they existed in me. I had to find someway to endure the unbearable truth of who I was now.

I thought of all this as Edward continued to stare at my back. I tried to ignore him in the top right corner reflection of the mirror. I allowed him to order me a cab, walk me to my hotel room and even enter it. We remained in silence the entire time. I struggled formulating any more words to him as I battled with my own internal turmoil. He just stayed present. I don't know why, but for some reason it was welcomed. I hadn't cried in front of anyone yet or bared this part of my soul out in the open. Having him witness it didn't bother me anymore. We could both have secrets we couldn't reveal to one another and suffer in silence.

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