Living Free - Chapter 3: One Phone Call
Chapter 3 – One Phone Call

Bella's POV ~

When I finally returned home, I was on time, but I was still crying.  Before I dared go in the house, I stowed the picnic basket in the barn and hid the phone under the many layers of my dress.  Mother was nervous and flitting all over me when I finally entered the house, wondering what was wrong.  I told her that I had twisted my ankle on my way home and that I was going to bed.  I trudged up the stairs, pretending to baby a twisted ankle.  Once in my room, I burst into tears all over again, and Mary-Alice ran to my side.

"Isabella, what's wrong?" she asked me.  I looked up at her face and saw the concern, which made me cry all the harder from the guilt of the lies and the things I had been doing.  I decided I needed to pray.

I fell to my knees, bowed my head, and silently spoke to God.  Mary-Alice knelt with me for a while, but soon left to give me some privacy.  I prayed to Him for help, for answers, but most of all, I prayed to him for the strength to make the most important decision of my life.  If I never used that phone, never turned it on, I would live my life the way I was intended to, for the rest of my life.  I would fulfill the needs of my family and of my community, and I would do my best to live my life as God wanted me too.  I would end up marrying James or Jacob, preferably Jacob, and we would begin a family of our own. 

For a while my thoughts wandered to James.  He had always been kind to my mother and father, and had always made a good impression on our leaders, but I had always felt that something about him was off.  I often caught him staring at me inappropriately and I knew he liked to cause a little bit of trouble for the other boys.  I once overheard Emmett speaking to my father regarding an altercation James had caused with another boy at a bible study.  My father, being the good man he was, defended James to Emmett, saying it was most likely a misunderstanding, and that James was a respectable man.  I felt sorry for Emmett, he was confiding in my father, trusting in him, and my father stuck up for James.  James expected to marry me, and he reminded me of it all too often.  Little did he know, I had been talking to my father about Jacob.

It was no secret that Jacob was one of my closest friends.  His mother had passed away when he was little and I would never forget the look on his face the day she was laid to rest.  He’d looked like a lost puppy dog, and in reality, that's what he was.  I’d felt sorry for him and had sat by him.  He had cried on my shoulder and snotted on my dress and from then on, we had been very close.  He knew nothing of Edward; I had barely spoken to him since I’d met Edward.  I felt bad about that, but at the same time, maybe it was for the best?

What should I do?  I wasn't sure God had an answer for me.  What would He say to someone who was contemplating abandoning their family and their community?  

After my knees began to throb, I mechanically went through the motions of getting ready for bed.  It was still relatively early, but the sun was down and I was exhausted.  I pulled myself into my bed and once again, said a quick, silent prayer to God.  Please, help me, I requested of Him. 

Sleep did not come easily to me.  I tossed and turned, tormented by my thoughts about the future if I went and if I stayed.  Mostly, I thought about Edward, and the look on his face when I’d turned away from him.  It had been a look of total loss, of agony, of helplessness.  That was how I felt through and through.  At some point I drifted off, only to wake up from a horrifying dream.  In my dream, I screamed for Edward and he screamed for me, but my Aunt Esme pulled him toward her and away from me, while James pulled me from Edward.  I woke up screaming, which startled both of my sisters awake.  They ran to my bed but I quickly ordered them back to bed so they could get a full night of sleep.

Long before my mother woke up, I got out of bed, knowing I wouldn't be getting any sleep.  I quickly dressed and went out to the barn.  Most of the animals were still asleep, but Bridget gave me a whinny and a snort.  I pulled the brush from the shelf beside her stall and began to pull it along her brown torso.  It was quiet in the barn except for the occasional noise from one of the animals, and suddenly, it felt too quiet, so I began to speak.  I began to talk to Bridget and tell her all about Edward, everything I knew about him.  I talked until my throat hurt and I had brushed and wiped down most of the animals in the barn.  The sun was up by then.

That was when I knew I had made my decision.  I knew that I had to try to go through with the plan that I’d thought up.  I was going to have to talk to my father. 

I finished the rest of my chores in the barn, there weren't many, and took a walk to see Jacob.  His sister Rebecca said that he was helping one of the elders and that he was expected back around lunch time.  I asked Rebecca for a piece of paper and wrote Jacob a note.  In it, I wrote:


You have always been my true friend, the best that I could have.  I know that we talked about your intentions, but I don't think you could ever love me like that.  And don't argue with me when you know I am right.  I will miss you, but please know that I am alright and that I am being taken care of.  And don't look for me. 


I folded the note over and handed it to his sister.  "Please don't give this to Jacob until it is time," I requested of her.

"Time?  How will I know when it is time?" she asked me.

I shrugged and told her, "You just will."

I headed back to my house and went directly to the field to find my father.  I found him sitting on the ground, attempting to repair a wheel on the wagon the horse was pulling.  Emmett stood at the back of the wagon, looking determined, but irritated.  Jasper stood up by the horse's head, keeping it calm.  I knew now would not be a good time to speak to my father, so I simply brought them some water from the well and returned to the house to help my mother.  I would speak to him tonight, after supper. 

“Where have you been today?  Rosalie was looking for you earlier,” my mother said.

“I visited with Rebecca Black for a short period and then I took water out to Father, Emmett and Jasper.  The wheel broke on the wagon and Father was having some trouble with it.  I fetched their water and left them alone.”

At first she had looked as though she was cross with me, but her look softened after I told her I had gotten refreshments for my father and the boys.

Supper was livelier than usual and I couldn't help but laugh as Emmett retold the story about my father trying to fix the wheel from earlier in the day.  My father grumbled a few times, but I saw him smirk as well; he was in a happy disposition.

When the table was cleared and all of the dishes cleaned and put away, I made sure my mother no longer needed my help and excused myself from the kitchen.  My father sat on the front porch, rocking and reading his bible.  He looked up at me when I came out onto the porch.

"Care to read a few passages with me, Isabella?" he offered.  It was more of a demand than a request, but I obliged.

He read a few of his favorites and I read a few of mine, but then he cut to the chase.  "Something bothering you, Isabella?"

I sighed and nodded my head yes.  "Yes, father.  I've made a decision," I told him.

"Well, go on, before your mother comes out here.  I assume that is why you raced around to complete your chores after supper?"  He inquired.

"Yes, Father.  I...I," I stumbled over my words, looking for the right ones.  They wouldn't come.  "I think that I need to do something, before I take my baptism vows.  Things have been changing in me the last couple of weeks.  I have a curiosity growing, and I feel that if I don't fulfill it, I will get baptized, but for the rest of my life, I will wonder what that big world outside of all of this, our community, is like," I told my father very quickly.  He didn't respond for a while and I worried that he didn't understand anything I had just said, or that he was angry with me.

"Please don't be angry with me," I pleaded with him, but he held his hand up, silencing me.

"Actually, Isabella, I think that may be a good idea.  I thought you would partake in Rumspringa at a younger age, but you surprised both your mother and I, and never did.  Rosalie went, and Mary-Alice went, but you never did.  You are a bit on the old side for it, but I think this is just the right time for you." He paused before he continued, "Your mother won't take this lightly, you should know.  I will talk to her and make her aware."

I sat there, knowing he wasn't finished yet.  I heard my mother making light noises inside the house and knew that she was close to completing her duties.  I opened my mouth to tell my father of this, but he spoke first.

"Be careful, Isabella, and be smart.  Don't be gone long," he requested.  I nodded my head at him and stood, just as my mother came out onto the porch.

"I'm turning in for the night; I didn't sleep well last night."  I kissed my mother on the cheek and went up to my room.

I slept much better knowing that I would be making a phone call to Edward some time the next day.


I ran as fast as I could, which was probably faster then I had when I ran to Edward on our last day.  By the time I was to our spot and standing close to the area where Edward had been working, I was panting hard and doubled over with a stitch in my side.  I pulled the small black telephone from a pocket in my dress and glanced around, making sure there was no one around to watch me.  I was alone, except for God. 

I pushed the power button on the phone and it chimed to life.  I pressed the phone to my chest to muffle the sound of it.  Several moments later and after it quieted, I pulled it away from my body and looked at the blue display.  Like Edward advised me, I pushed the send button with the little green telephone on it and saw several numbers appear on the screen.  I put the phone up to my ear and listened to the loud tone ring on the other side.  

It rang one, two, three times, and I felt my stomach tighten in nervousness.  When I thought he wouldn't pick up, he did.

"Bella!  You called!  Oh, thank God, you called.  How are you?  Are you okay?" Edward quickly asked me through the telephone.

The little gadget was amazing and I was surprised at the clarity of his voice and how it truly sounded like him.  "I'm well.  I, I spoke to my father, and he isn't angry.  I'm so relieved.  Can you plan to come and get me tomorrow?" I asked him.

"Tomorrow?  Yes, of course.  Shall I get you at our usual spot?"

"Yes, that would be fine.  When will you arrive?" I asked him as I thought about my night and morning.

"Would after lunch be okay?  I have to work in morning, but after that I can come and get you.  Would that be a good time for you to, uh, get away?" he asked the last part quietly, understanding that this was incredibly hard for me.

"Yes, that is perfect.  I will get here as soon as I can."

"Okay.  I miss you, Bella.  I will see you tomorrow, alright?"

I felt the butterflies begin to flutter around in my stomach.  "Alright.  I will see you tomorrow, Edward.  Goodbye."

"Goodbye, Bella."

I quickly pushed the end button with the red telephone and pushed it again to turn the phone off.  I returned it to my pocket and ran back home.  I would have liked to go slower, spending more time taking in the last few looks of the farm before I would leave it for an undetermined time, but I had much to do.  Most important, I had to write letters to my sisters and to my mother.

I kept the letters to my sisters short.  I wasn't sure of what Rosalie would say to me if she had the chance, but I knew Mary-Alice would tell me to go with what I felt was in my heart.  She had always been a little bit more emotional than Rosalie.  I knew that they would take care of each other in my absence.  I asked them to forgive me for leaving, but I had to find out what the world held for me, if anything.  I told them I loved them, over and over again.

The letter to my mother was much harder.  I didn't really know what to say to her.  I told her I loved her several times, and that I couldn't explain it, but something inside of me was telling me to do this.  It was only a partial lie, but I didn't think she would be ready for the full truth.  I was afraid that she would be horribly disappointed in me if she found out that I wasn't sure I wanted to marry an Amish boy and live an Amish lifestyle, so I let her simply think that I just needed to be crazy for a little while.  Most importantly, I told her not to worry about me.  I planned to be away for a little while, but I was not sure of the timeline for the Amish community to decide whether I had left them for good.  I would have to talk to my aunt about that.

When I crawled into bed I knew that I would have another restless night.  I couldn't seem to shut my brain off and all of a sudden, I was worried about Bridget.  She was used to me and I knew that it would throw her off to have someone else caring for her.  I got myself into a panic over it and briefly thought about calling the whole thing off, but then Edward's face flashed into my mind, and I knew I had to do it.  Somehow after a while, I finally fell asleep. 

I woke up the next morning shortly after my mother had risen.  I went down into the kitchen where my mother was cutting up a piece of pork on the counter-top and wrapped my arms around her waist from behind her.  "I love you, Mother."  I held my breath, trying to hold back my tears.

I felt a bit of resistance as she pulled away from me to turn around and face me.  "I love you too, Isabella.  Is everything alright?" my mother asked, as she pulled my chin up so she could see my eyes.

I nodded and replied, "Yes, I just had unpleasant dreams and I just wanted you to know."

"Oh, Isabella.  Don't let your imagination run wild.  Everything is just fine," she reassured me as she tucked a stray piece of hair up into my bonnet.  "Now go do your chores."

I complied and left the house.  In the barn, all was quiet and I went straight to work.  Shortly before my father came to get Bridget, I begged her forgiveness for leaving and told her I loved her.

The morning moved by very quickly.  Lunch came and went, and it was time for me to go.  I went up to my room and retrieved the small knapsack I had packed as well as the three letters.  I slipped my sisters letters under their pillows and my mothers under hers.  They had all left just after lunch to visit another woman, a friend of my mother's, and quilt.  It was the perfect time.  I looked in my bedroom from the doorway one more time, a wave of nostalgia passing over me, but I berated myself.  It wasn't like I wouldn't be back.  Wouldn't I?

I ran from the house and all the way to our meeting spot without stopping once.  By the time I got there I had a horrible stitch in my side, but when I came through the corn, Edward was standing there, waiting for me.  He wore a glorious smile on his face.  Quickly, he helped me over the fence, took my bag, and helped me into the front seat of the truck; sitting in the front made me nervous.
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