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.
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