The Underside of Earth - Chapter 2
Bella POV

I feel like I am watching everything from the underside of Earth. I am surrounded by a window of glass, and I can see everything happening above and around me, but I don’t move through that world anymore. I’m not a part of it. I float in my own realm where only I exist, along with my pain.

Time is slow here, like I am moving through viscous water. I try to move faster, but when I do, the memories resurface, so it is best to just go slow. I let the water set my pace. So what if I’m slow? Nothing really matters; I can’t find my purpose. It is almost as if I am locked under the surface, looking up at what I can’t break through. I’m supposed to emerge and breathe. I don’t know if I can, or if I want to.

God, I feel as though I am suffocating; the world that I can’t touch and be a part of crushes me. Every day, I feel myself floundering just a little bit more; unable to take the next step forward, only backward. Always backward.

Like these scars that I have, my daily reminders of what I have lost, and that the loss is my fault. Everyday the pull me back one step further.

Along the outside of my right arm is a long, white scar that travels from just below my elbow and up to the ball of my shoulder. This one is from the broken glass of my passenger window that sliced right into me; I had thrown my arm up to protect my head and the glass had shattered from the force of the collision. The one large piece went right into my arm and caused quite a bit of damage. For a while they worried that I would never be able to work again. Then there are a few on my legs, but those are mainly scars from fragments of glass, they look like little white scratches that never go away.

The scar on my stomach was probably the ugliest, and the hardest to deal with. There is a crescent moon scar about six inches long that rests along the left side of my belly button. The skin there is relatively smooth for there being a scar, but the scar itself is puckered in a few places from the quick stitching they had to do on it. Sometimes, in my nightmares, the scar opens up and beetles fly out of it.


I jump, startled out of my head at the calling of my name.

“I’m in the kitchen, Em.” I shout to my big brother.

Emmett walks in with his wife, Rosalie. He gives me a hug and steps back, not saying anything.

Rose kisses me on the cheek. "Hi Sweetie." She says quietly, soothing.

I swallow thickly. She calls me sweetie all the time, but today, the endearment is too much.

"You guys can go make yourselves comfortable. I'll be there in a second." I say, and they quickly shuffle out of the kitchen; I can tell that it is going to be a tense visit.

Emmett is my big brother, and by big, I mean big as in older and huge. He was a linebacker in college for ASU and was quite a star. He played all four years, got his degree and now runs his own successful business. He is six years older than me, but has never acted like it, until he met Rose. But even after they were married, it still wasn’t enough to take the child out of him. Last year’s events did sober him up a little bit, though.

Rose is the sister I never had. When Em first introduced us, I had to mentally roll my eyes. She was such the stereotypical girl Emmett always dated, but she was the first he bothered introducing to me. Rose is beautiful, a bodacious blond. All the women that Emmett had dated in the past that he actually told me about were the same kind of women. They all turned out to be superficial Barbies, so of course, I automatically thought the same about Rose. I am not a judgmental person, but I knew Emmett's type so I thought I had her pegged. I was so wrong about Rose; she is vibrant and feisty and just my kind of friend and sister. We got along after a few awkward moments of smelling each other out. I adore her, and she is the sweet to my brother’s stink…so to speak.

“Jeez Bells, I knocked forever and even yelled your name a few times before finally using my key. Everything alright, kiddo?" Emmett yelled from the living room just as I walked in and leaned against the doorjamb.

“I’m fine. Dozed off in the chair for a bit,” one of his eyebrows goes up, but I roll my eyes, hoping that he will drop it. To my relief, he does.

“Can I get you guys something to drink?” I ask, wanting to be polite and to also keep my hands busy.

“I’ll take a beer Bells,” Emmett replies. Of course he will, even at eleven in the morning on a Tuesday.

“Iced tea, if you have any made.” Rose says, looking at me, but quickly turns her gaze to the window.

I muster a weak smile, “Don’t I always?”

A sad look comes over Rose's face, but she nods. I have to swallow back my sob. Crying won’t bid well for me right now, especially this early in the day and not with Em and Rose here. If I start now, they won’t leave me alone for the rest of the day, hell, the rest of the week for that matter.

Jake loved iced tea, and if we had an hour or two of sunshine, there would be sun tea for us to enjoy. Jake did that, so I haven’t had sun tea in well over a year.

I can’t help but think about Rose as I head into the kitchen to get their drinks and some tea for myself. Too bad I don’t have a little whiskey to add to it. I'm going to need it today.

I haven’t seen that look on Rose’s face for some time. She was pretty close to Jake too. Jake, rose and Emmett had their love for cars in common, and Emmett did too; I can barely remember how many arguments there were about engines and which older muscle car is better, between them all. I stayed out of them, not knowing much about cars at all, but they made me laugh. They all got so heated and defensive about their favorites.

Other than the first day I saw Rose after the accident, the only other time I saw that look on her face was shortly before she and Em got married. She had been having a tough time, and Emmett couldn’t get her to open up. He asked me for help and so I arranged for Jake to go out with Emmett and for Rose to spend the night with me. It was a bad night and we both ended up crying for a long time.

Before Emmett, Rose had been with some uppity bastard named Royce King. His daddy had money, an oil tycoon, which made Royce believe he owned the world, or close to it. She said that for a while, things were great between them. Royce was a gentleman and bought her things and treated her like royalty. He took her places and enjoyed some of the same things she did. He indulged her passion of fast cars and he was attentive. After a while, things started to change between them. Royce started to get a bit aggressive with her, and his temper would take quick, unexpected turns. After they had been together for eight months, Royce asked Rose to marry him, and she said yes. She thought that he was just having a tough time and things were turning around. She was wrong. He became possessive and would strike her. The final straw was when pushed her down a flight of stairs and she ended up breaking three of her ribs and her wrist. At the bottom of the stairs, he raped her, twice, and then left to go drink with his friends. When she was able to, she ran from the house, but was in so much pain that she passed out two blocks from her apartment. That is where Emmett found her, just outside his auto body shop.

She didn’t tell Emmett what had truly happened to her, even with the wedding coming up. She worried that it would scare him away. That night that he found her unconscious he took her to the emergency room and never left her side. The next day when she woke up, she told him that she fell down the steps of her apartment. Emmett told me about the whole situation long after I had met her and that he hadn’t believed her, but she was a virtual stranger then, so he didn’t say anything. She would tell him someday if they knew each other long enough.

She told me first, but I understood why, and so did Emmett. She told me what happened over nachos and tequila and we cried until our eyes were dry. She said that it was the weakest she had ever been in her life. She had trusted Royce and loved him, and he kicked her around like trash and violated her. A part of her died that night, but a new part was also born. She was afraid of Emmett for a while after that, not just because of his size, but because he was a man. She got over it quickly though; he was always watching out for her and calling her. It was the little things that he did for her that eventually broke her down and made her realize that he was a man of worth and that he wouldn't ever hurt her. She couldn’t understand what he would want with her, but he was in love with her, and what happened to her made him want to take care of her all the more. It didn’t take her long to love him back, and the rest is history. They are perfect. I couldn’t have created a better couple.

I re-enter the living room to see Emmett kneeling in front of Rose; they appear to be deep in conversation. I clear my throat to announce my presence and they immediately stop talking, Rose is pink-cheeked. Emmett moves back over to the recliner and I hand him his beer and turn to Rose, giving her the glass of iced tea.

I don't like the look of her flushed cheeks. Rose isn’t easily embarrassed. She almost looks mortified, or guilty. Why would she feel guilty?

With barely a pause, Rose clears her throat and is back to normal. “Bella, my cousin Jasper is coming into town this weekend and we are going out. We would love it if you could join us?” She finishes the sentence in a question, unsure.

My eyes go wide and I can feel my heart begin to speed up at the implication of her trying to set me up with someone.

“Oh God. No. I don’t mean like that. He’s married, well, engaged. Ugh, I’m stupid. He is bringing his fiance, Alice along with him. I just thought that it would be fun for you to meet them, and to get out. That’s all.” I rarely see Rosalie flustered, but as she explains herself, I calm a little bit.

“It’s okay, Rose, and thank you for clarifying. It’s just that…” I take a deep, cleansing breath and look up from my hands to her face and give a small smile. “Never mind. What do you have planned and for when?”

She looks to Emmett, a little shocked that I am even inquiring as to when they will be going out. I don’t go out anymore. I have no desire to. I don’t want to be social and meet new people. What’s the point? But I also know that if I don’t let Emmett know that I am alright, he is going to want to have a talk with me really soon. I really don’t want to go there.

Am I alright? No. I won’t ever be alright again, but I can’t let my big brother know that. It would crush him.

“OH, umm, this Saturday night. We are going out for supper at Titan and then bowling, for some reason. I guess Alice likes to bowl, which should be interesting. I guess it is a disco bowl and they serve alcohol there too. Some place in Seattle.”

“Seattle, huh? Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get out for once. Meet some new people?” I can’t help the last part coming out as a question, I know that they would want for me to meet new people, but I have no desire to. I do my best to plaster a smile onto my face, “Besides, I’m not really sure I can miss Emmett disco bowling.” Out of the corner of my eye I see Emmett’s bottom jaw drop. Rosalie hisses at him, sounding like a cat, and he shuts his mouth.

“Fantastic. I’m so glad you’ll come. I think you will really like Alice. She’s ahh, energetic.” Rose eyes Emmett again, her eyebrow quirks up.

“Yeah, squirt it’ll be fun. I’m glad you’ll come with us. Do you want to ride with us? Pick you up say….five o’clock?” Emmett asks, beginning to bounce on his heels a little.

“Sure Em. That sounds good. Just call me that morning and let me know the plans a little more. Okay?” Maybe I can get sick and back out at the last minute tomorrow.

“Sounds good.”

They get up from their seats and head to the door.

“Bella, if Dad could be here, you know he would. You know he’s watching over you. So is Jake and..” Emmett says, his voice growing quiet and low.

Rosalie kicks him in the shin and he practically collapses. I feel tears beginning to build.

“You idiot. Shut your mouth.”

“Jeez Rose.” Emmett looks at me sheepishly, “Sorry sweetie.”

I nod at him but keep my eyes to the floor with the traitorous tears brimming high.

“O-kay! We gotta go. Emmett wants to go to the auto show in Port Angeles and you know how he cries when he doesn’t get his way.”

I look up to see Rose smiling at me, trying to get past the intense moment. And I love her for it all the more. They both give me quick, impersonal hugs so I won't cry and I walk them out.

“We’ll call you Saturday morning then, sweetie. Don’t forget, and don’t back out of this. It will be fun!” Rose chuckles and lifts one of her eyebrows at me, she somehow read my earlier thoughts.

“Sure, sure Rose. I’ll go. Talk to you soon.”

They get in their car and leave, and once again…I am alone.

I don’t want to sit at home and listen to my phone ring all day long. I refuse to even answer the phone; I don’t want to listen to all the sympathies that will spew out of the phone receiver. I just can’t do it. It's bad enough that I have to remember all of that pain, but then to hear people speak of it and to hear some of them cry. I can’t do it. If I do, I’ll break down all over again.

I head upstairs and to my bedroom to change out of the pajamas that I've been wearing for the last two days and quickly scrub my face and throw my ratty hair into a sloppy bun. With a fresh pair of jeans and a long sleeve tee on, I am quickly on my way out the door with purse in hand, pausing to turn on the answering machine. I lock the door behind me and drop into my car.


Port Angeles has a good library. The library in Forks isn’t bad, but the one in P.A. has a bigger selection and a few of the rare books I like. The drive takes me about an hour in the rain, but it's a nice, calming drive and I’m not really in a hurry. Once I find an open parking space and step out into the rain, I run inside through the downpour and head back to the classics section, steering clear of any of the romantics. I think today is a good day for Dante, the Inferno, maybe? Maybe I should skip on to the seventh circle to get to the good and gruesome parts. Paradise is still so far off for him at that point. I know how he feels, but at least he has the chance at paradise. I don’t. My paradise died.

I grab the book from the shelf and go to the corner that I like. It is in the back a bit where the older reference books are located; they don’t get much attention aside from a few from the older generation. It is quiet and a perfect place to just enjoy the peace and read. It doesn’t take long for me to get lost in his words.

There hasn’t been a summer day like this for a long time. The blue sky expands above me, with barely a cloud, which is unheard of around Forks. This could almost be more of a Phoenix sky. Looking around me, I see trees and the prairie grass and flowers are almost knee-high. I sit down with my legs crossed. My dress is ivory and flowy, I thought I had gotten rid of this dress, which is ridiculous since I love it. I hear my name being called, so I stand up and look around. There are trees surrounding the field, I feel safe, protected. Charlie would approve. I begin to walk, and the grasses are just tall enough that I am able to brush my palms against the grass, tickling me as I walk. The sun is gloriously warm, it almost feels like Phoenix, not that I remember Phoenix all that well.

I hear my name again. It is closer this time and I look around again. “Bella.”

It’s Jake calling for me. I smile and call to him but he doesn’t answer.

“Jake? Where are you?” I keep walking, this time toward the tree line, but still, I don’t see him. I turn around and head back to the center of the field, the grass still tickling my palms.

“Jake, this isn’t funny. I’m getting annoyed. Where are you?”

“Bella!” This time, Jake sounds worried and his voice is brittle; it frightens me.

“Jake! You’re scaring me. Where are you?”


I jump, waking myself up; forgetting where I am, I look around, confused. My chest is heaving and my face is wet with tears. I look down and see Dante’s Inferno on my lap.

“Miss, are you alright?”

I snap my head to my right to see an elderly lady looking at me, concern written on her face.

And then, I feel like I am just suffocating, trapped and the air has become so thick. I hear the blood pulsing through my ears and I am vaguely aware that I am running. My legs work of their own accord and carry me where they choose. But I run, and I keep running.

I barely notice the cold pricking of the early spring Washington rain splattering down on me. I don’t register its cold bite, or the water that immediately that immediately logged my shoes. I just follow where my legs carry me, in full panic mode.

I don’t notice the thoughts in my head. For the most part, I only notice the silence; I realize my vision had tunneled and there is a tinge of red in the periphery. My throat has opened up a bit more, but that just allows for the bile to come closer to the surface. I hear my breath panting out of me and notice that the rain has begun to come down a little harder. It doesn’t matter to me.

Doesn’t matter to me.

My feet leave the pavement to a much softer surface. It gives away easily and I have to work harder to maintain balance. Just then, my body can’t contain it, and I double over, vomiting the bile that was sitting in my throat. My legs begin to carry me again and after barely anytime at all, I feel the water.

Oh, the soothing water. If I could just be under the water, it would be even more silent. I like silence, like a blanket tightly wound around me.

The water is to my knees now and there is someone behind me, shouting loudly. I can't make out their words, but it makes no difference; my silence is so close. I move a little further into the water and feel the waves begin to lap at my waist, just below my scar. Just a bit further now, and all will be silent.

I really need silence.

I take a few more steps, with the person still shouting somewhere in the background and then I am under. Oh, the silence is so beautiful. Exquisite.

The silence does feel a bit cold, but I will warm up, and it's worth it. I can stay like this. In this silence, I can think of my Jakey and it doesn’t hurt. For once, the pain is gone and it is oh-so soothing, and the silence is that blanket I have been dreaming of.

But the silence is short lived, and I hear the whispering. The sound, a shush shush shush of a little boy’s voice.

Jakey, am I finally home?
The Underside of Earth - Chapter 1

Four years ago I married the love of my life. I married my best friend, who I have known since I was five years old.

I have a lot of memories, but of all of them, my favorites are of us running barefoot through the water, disturbing the fish our fathers were trying to catch. They were successful half the time; we were successful the other half. That was how we spent most of our childhood, thriving in mischief.

There really wasn’t ever a time when Jake and I were apart. After my mother died when I was five, my dad moved us to Forks, Washington where he got a position in their police department. He quickly became the Chief of Police and he loved his job. My half brother, Emmett, went to live with his dad, stating he didn’t want to leave Phoenix. I didn’t believe him, he had never gotten along well with Charlie, but I was not quite six years old so what could I say?

Dad met Billy Black not long after we moved to Forks; one day near the La Push Reservation where they were both fishing (of course) and became fast friends. Jake and I were both along with our fathers that day; Jake was just a little younger than me, and on the first day we met, I hated him. He was obnoxious from the very start; shortly after I sat down on the blanket I had laid out over the damp sand, he stumbled, and scattered my dry macaroni and construction paper. My attempts to create a magnificent piece of artwork for my father were ruined. I was angry, but got over it and finally went to play with him. It seemed we were destined to be at odds. We had just begun to get along and were playing together when he tripped over his own feet and knocked me down. He fell right on top of me, shoving my face into the mud. I don’t think we had even known each other more than an hour, and I already despised him. But, being the feisty girl I was back then, and maybe still am, I waited to get revenge. I calculated my retaliation, and I got it several hours later.

Our fathers came home with a very decent catch that day. We took it all back to Billy’s garage where they de-scaled and gutted about thirty fish. The guts went into a large cooler that sat in the corner of the dingy garage so they could easily dispose of them later without the stench getting too strong. Jake was emptying a large bowl full of fish guts into the cooler for our dads; all it took was one little shove. I caught the poor boy off guard and he went in head first.

My dad was furious. He scolded me and said that nice young ladies did not act like that, which immediately made me burst into tears. Still yelling at me, he had asked what had come over me, and he was right. That wasn’t me; I was a quiet, shy girl. I may have had (okay, still have) a feisty streak, but I rarely acted on it. I simply couldn’t help it though. Jacob brought out the fire in me and I wanted payback. It just so happened that the perfect opportunity to do so presented itself.

Billy simply laughed and told my dad to calm down. Jake deserved it after what he did to me. Jake sulked for a while, and then he got over it. We played for the rest of the day, although I kept my distance from his stinky self, and in no time, we were the best of friends. We were completely inseparable from that day on. His dad said he smelled terrible for at least three days after.

I didn’t have many friends that weren’t from the La Push reservation other than Angela. I’ll never forget my first day of school at Forks Elementary. During recess, I had been approached by two girls, Jessica and Lauren. I was excited that someone finally wanted to talk to me as everyone else had been keeping their distance from me. The girls didn’t talk to me per se, they cornered me behind the playground equipment. While Jessica lifted and pulled at strands of my hair, Lauren taunted me with harsh words and repeatedly spat on me. She told me that nobody liked me and I was ugly and poor. She said that I should go back to where I came from, but they probably didn’t want me there either. They were brutal words coming from the older first grader. Hell, they’d be brutal words coming from an adult. I couldn’t understand why they were being so mean to me but Angela later told me it was simply because I was the new kid.

As I got into junior high school, it was no longer just those two girls who continuously taunted me. They’d recruited a new boy in their class, James. James was cute, and I have to admit, before the hags got him to join their ranks, I may have had a small crush on him. It ended quickly though, as he was worse than the girls.

Looking back on it now, I know that there are things James attempted to do to me, that most eighth grade boys shouldn’t even think about doing. He was never truly able to do anything to me, well, except for the one time. There were a number of times that I was somehow stranded alone with him somewhere, and he tried to touch me. And I don’t mean touch me like Jessica and Lauren did; James tried to touch me in intimate places. The farthest he ever got was reaching up under my shirt, but his hand only grazed my bra before someone walked in.

I eventually told Angela about it, making her promise to keep it a secret. She made the promise, but she didn’t keep it. She told her mom, who told my dad. I was horrified at first, thinking that James would retaliate and really start to torture me, but James got in a heap of trouble, and so did his parents. In the end, I was quite grateful that Angela had told, apparently James had a history of that kind of behavior. He and his parents had been bouncing from state to state, trying to keep the authorities from taking him and putting him in a detention center. It finally caught up with them in Forks; the state took James, and his parents disappeared. I was relieved. He was gone from Forks, and from my life, that was all I could have ever hoped for.

Angela has always been saving me; first with the two evil hags, and then James. She is even saving me now by running my studio. That first day when she caught Lauren and Jessica taunting me, she interrupted them and somehow aimed their focus toward her. The girls didn’t toy with her too much, as her mom was the guidance counselor at school. Angela later told me that they had gotten into a lot of trouble over another student they used to taunt. They had to have a sit-down with their parents, Angela’s mom, and the Principal. After that day, they still toyed with me, but being Angela’s friend and having her on my side helped me greatly. I loved her immediately that first day on the playground; after the fiasco with Lauren and Jessica, I trusted her and she befriended me. Every day we ate lunch together and while at school, we were always together. If we had any classes together, we sat together.

She was pretty much my only friend from Forks, even throughout high school. But I didn’t mind, I actually preferred it that way. I always opted for a small, close-knit group of friends over larger groups. When we were juniors, Angela started dating Ben; he became my friend too, so I guess I had two Forks friends.

La Push was my home away from home. It pleased Charlie, my dad, because it was safe there. Not that Forks was dangerous by any means, but I was watched and well protected at La Push. And being in law enforcement, safety was ingrained in Charlie. I guess I never really minded Charlie’s paranoia with my safety though; I never wanted to be away from La Push…or Jake. When my dad passed away when I was a senior, La Push was where I found my solace.

My brother and his fiancĂ© moved to Forks after dad passed, not wanting me to be alone. Dad had paid the house off, and so I didn’t have to worry about taking care of a mortgage. I was eighteen, and legally an adult, but I couldn’t stand to be alone. I barely ever slept there except when totally necessary, and my brother chose to have his own place, never feeling quite comfortable in Charlie’s home. It annoyed me that he would choose to pay rent instead of living there for free, but I understood.

My weekends were spent with Jake and everyone else around camp fires or hanging out at Sam and Emily’s place. Sam is Jake’s older second cousin, and Emily, his wife. Our whole group was always there, leaving next to no room for movement in their small house, but that was my life and I was happy.

There were only a few of us girls in the La Push group. Besides Emily and me, the only others were Kim & Leah, and Leah never did like me much. That was okay by me though, the feeling was completely mutual. That girl had some kind of a complex. I just assumed it was about me being an outsider. I had overheard her having a discussion with Embry several years back about me not belonging. God love him, Embry stood up for me, calling me his long lost sister. It pissed Leah off, which made me happy, but at the same time, it made me sad that Leah felt that way about me. She retained her bitchiness toward me, and I got over my guilt.

Then there were the boys, and a lot of them too. I swore they were putting something in the food or water on the rez. All of the La Push boys, even the ones younger than me, were just huge; they towered over me. They could eat too; I had never seen four dozen worth of scrambled eggs disappear so quickly! They would have eaten Sam and Emily out of house and home if Emily had not created and enforced the “bring an item” rule. She said that if they expected her to cook for them every weekend, they had to supply some of the ingredients, and so they did. They all decided what ingredients they would bring and Emily cooked it all. I liked to make pancakes, so that was my job…and my ingredient. Emily argued with me for a while, telling me I didn’t have to bring an ingredient because I barely ate anything, but I wanted to contribute. It felt nice to be able to provide something in that way.

They were my family, but now, I can’t bear to think about them.

We had such good times. Jake, Paul, and Embry taught me so many things. I went from bumbling adolescent to a sleek-almost adult because of them. Jake was younger than me, but he was agile and athletic. I actually have grace in my footing and poise in my back because of them. They taught me how to surf and rock climb, rappel too. Jake even rebuilt a set of motorcycles for us. They were vintage Indians. I still have them, but they have been covered up in the garage for the last year and a half. I haven’t even looked at them in the last year.


Our official seven year anniversary, or four year wedding anniversary, is today. But I hate this day. It is going to be a long and tiresome day, with many phone calls and visitors I won’t be able to turn away. What is it about death that makes people want to reminisce? Dredge up all the happy memories that leave sadness in their wake? Why can’t people just leave me alone? I just want the solitude, it’s comforting. I really want to go back to bed.

I know Billy is going to call, and I just don’t know if I can deal with that call today. I know that he is hurting too, but it will honestly kill me to talk to him today. I won’t make it past saying hello to simply answer the phone, thanks to the genius who invented caller I.D.

The sleep I so greatly need has been eluding me. It mocks me. Well, the dreams mock me; taunt me with what is no longer here. I’m so tired; I just want to sleep, but so afraid to sleep because of the dreams. There won’t be any relief for me even if I do sleep, the nightmares will wake me and I will stay awake for hours. That has been the cycle for the last eleven months.

Today isn’t just the date of our wedding anniversary. Today is also the anniversary date of that fateful accident. Today is the day that Jake died, one year ago. One year ago today I lost the love of my life because I wanted ice cream and he couldn’t say no to me.

So he took me to get ice cream.

One year ago today, I lost everything. More than just my husband and more than just myself. The life I cherished…ended.

My life stopped one year ago today.

I. Just. Stopped.