If someone would have told me 6 years ago that I would be in love with someone besides my Edward, I would have laughed in their face and told them to fuck off. Now, well... I can't imagine my life without Cooper.
To understand, I would have to give you the full story, though. So grab a drink, sit down, and settle in... it's a long one.
When Alice, Edward, and I returned from Italy, it took a bit for me to trust that he wouldn't leave me again, but we got there eventually. He proposed to me in our meadow on a beautiful sunny day. Of course, I said yes.
Our life together was perfect... until Victoria and her newborns attacked. She found out where Jake and Edward were hiding me, on the small cliffside in the mountains. It was a brutal fight between her and Edward, while her first newborn fought with Jake. They both made sure that they kept me protected while they fought, but Jake was just ripping off the newborn's head when Victoria got the upper hand on Edward.
It felt like it happened in slow motion, but in reality, it only took seconds. Just as Jake dropped the last of the newborn's pieces into the fire, Victoria suddenly ripped Edward's head from his shoulders with a sickening screech, flipped over Jacob's wolf body, then dropped Edward's head and body into the fire.
A deafening scream tore from my throat, echoing all around us on the mountain. Jacob roared as he attacked her.
Jacob ended up defeating Victoria, but he had broken several bones in the process. He was the lucky one, though, because my Edward was no more. Everyone else reached us seconds too late. They had to restrain me from reaching the still-blazing fire as I screamed and clawed at the ground for my love.
I don't remember much of the next two months, but I do know that the pain was always worse when the Cullens were around. I couldn't go anywhere without being reminded that my Edward was gone forever, but seeing any of them for the briefest moments always ended up with me having to be sedated.
The last time I saw any of them, I hazily remember my father telling Carlisle that he would gladly give them updates until I was ready to see them, but that he felt they should stay away for a while to let me heal. I don't remember anything after Carlisle's sad agreement, because the sedative finally pulled me into the black void of unconsciousness.
I was able to get my work caught up from my two months of missed school -and graduated along with my peers holding a 3.4 GPA- but every second of every day, I ached for my Edward.
The Christmas right after graduation, I flew down to see Renee and Phil, where they surprised me with my Christmas present. “Now, Bella... we know how hard it's been for you, so we spoke to Charlie. We all agree that most likely, you won't want to go to college right now, and would like some time off, so...”
She and Phil handed me what seemed to be a clothing box, causing me to look at them curiously.
See, Phil had gotten picked up in the major leagues not long after I moved to Forks. They'd been lavishing me with gifts ever since, so seeing one clothing box for Christmas had me quite curious. I slowly opened the box, becoming confused when it held a stack of papers, pictures, and a set of keys.
When I picked up the pictures to see a gorgeous island home with wrap-around gazebo porches, I didn't know what to think. I continued to look through the pictures until I came to the paperwork, which turned out to be the deed to the island home's property.
From what I read, the home came furnished, had its own private dock, and also came with a boat, 2 jet skis, and 2 four-wheelers. The island was split relatively down the middle by a forest and a small mountain, the peak of the mountain being the end of the home's property. That meant that half of the island went with the home, which was about 200 acres of lush, tropical paradise.
I smiled when I saw Phil's signature, not taking notice of what was below it, then looked up with a wide grin. “You bought half an island? And you want me to vacation there? It's perfect, you guys. Charlie told you I wanted to get away from the memories, didn't he?”
Renee chuckled, shaking her head as Phil said, “Keep reading, Baby Girl.”
I did as he asked. On the final page, I gasped loudly at what I saw. They didn't just buy half an island. They bought it outright, then signed it over to me. They bought me half a goddamn island for Christmas.
Tears started trickling down my cheeks as I looked up at them. I choked out, “You... you can never know just what this means. To know there's a place with no memories, where I can find myself again without being pressured or reminded... it's... it's the best gift you could have ever given me. Thank you.”
They both beamed at me as they surrounded me in a hug, then Phil said, “We just want you to be happy, Bella, and hoped this might be the start of that. Yes, we sat down with Charlie a while ago... he said that it was the memories that were making it the hardest. Everywhere you went, you were being reminded, so you couldn't escape. He suggested you coming here for a bit, but your mom reminded him of the time you spent here together, then offered that maybe someplace altogether different would be a better idea. That's when we started looking.”
Motioning to the papers, he continued, “We found this place about 2 months ago. We've been back and forth any chance we could get since then, to make sure everything was ready for you. The owner of the island said to email him a few days before you flew out, so he could have the refrigerator and freezer stocked. He also said to let him know if anything was being shipped down, so he could pick it up on the mainland and place it safely in the house for you. The email address is in the paperwork.”
I was stunned, but I also felt like this might be exactly what I needed. I couldn't stop thinking about how I had been wishing for an escape to heal, then all of a sudden, the perfect place to do that landed in my lap.
I told Renee and Phil that I thought I would be flying out there as soon as I figured out what I wanted to take. They offered to go out with me for a few days, to help me get the lay of the mainland and island. I was hesitant to think it, but maybe things would actually get better for me.