Driving Forces Chapter 16
Kate is giving me her trademark raised eyebrow. I know she’s a little disappointed in my disappearance. She said as much when I called to make the appointment, but she also said she was glad to have me back.
“What made you decide to come in?” Kate looks down at her notepad.
I take a deep breath, knowing I need to be honest. “At first, it was Edward. He was anxious about me, especially with Emma living in a room just down from my daughter’s nursery.” I stop and shake my head. “But now, sitting here, I know I need to be here for me.”
Kate nods her head as she writes something down. “What is the biggest thing on your mind right now?”
I bite my bottom lip, a bad habit that I seem to have taken up from Edward, my chest tightening just thinking about my next words. “I’ve been thinking about Jake lately.” I let out a harsh breath. “I’ve been thinking about our daughter…” Shaking my head, all the words pour out. “I wonder if we were too young, if maybe I pushed Jake into the relationship, into marriage. If I just planned out our whole future and never consulted him. I wonder if he’s mourned our daughter as I have. I wonder if he goes to her gravestone…” My chin touches my chest as tears fall down my cheeks thinking about my little girl.
I hear rustling, and then a box of tissues comes into view. I take the box and pull one out to wipes the tears and snot away.
“In the midst of the death of my daughter, I never cared about what Jake was going through. Then, I was so busy with the future that I never stopped and wondered how he felt about anything.” I continue to ramble my thoughts out loud.
“Does it matter what he feels, Bella?” Kate asks me gently.
I take a deep breath and let it out. “Now that I feel…” Tilting my head, I try to think of the right word for it. “Better, I guess. I sometimes wonder if maybe Jake and I never really belonged together. I wonder if…” I close my eyes so tightly I see lines behind my lids.
“It’s okay to say it, Bella.”
I gasp for air as the worst truth comes out of my mouth. “If it wasn’t better that we didn’t have our daughter.” Kate embraces me as more words tumble out. “I feel like I’m dishonoring her by moving on, by allowing Emma to have her future room. I feel stupid for wanting to call Jake and talk to him about our daughter. Wanting him to help me go through her things.” Finally, at the end of my rant, I hiccup.
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting those things, or for thinking about that. You’re trying to wrap your head around what happened and why. There’s nothing wrong with having a moment where you think maybe it was for the best. The way things ended with you and Jake were horrid. He left to tend to his mistress and another baby. You have every right to be angry at that.”
I blow my nose, listening to her.
“But you also have every right to want to go through this process with him. To forgive him and move on. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for you.”
I nod. “I want to have closure. I want to clean up her room, and I want him there with me because he was a good man. He wanted our daughter as much as I did.”
Kate pats my back. “Then I suggest you just call, ask him to lunch, and just talk. And go from there.”
Blowing out some air, I agree with her. “Yeah, I think that’s what I want to do.”
She pats my back one last time and goes over to her seat, writing a few more things down. “I’ll see you next week. And by then, I hope you’ll have gone back to group therapy and maybe start thinking about what you want to say to Jake if you haven’t already called him at that time.”
When I get home, Edward is cooking, smiling at Emma who’s chattering about her school day.
“Hey, babe, how did it go?” Edward’s expression shows his concern, the same concern he had when he first approached me about going back to therapy.
After all this time, I’ve watched Edward become this amazing, loving man, but he still has many insecurities. One of them being his fear of creating conflict with me.
“It went okay. I want to talk to about some things later,” I murmur, kissing the top of Emma’s head. “That smells so good. I’m starving,” I announce, changing the subject. I don’t want Emma to see me cry or hear the pain in my voice as I tell Edward what I want to do.
Edward smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. “It’s chicken alfredo.”
My insides turn to goo just looking at him in his faded jeans and plain tee stirring dinner on the stove. I smirk and wink at him, trying to get that worried look off his face.
His cheeks turn red before he can turn back to the stove.
I walk up behind him, wrapping my arms around his waist and burying my face in his back, taking in his scent. The smell relaxes my whole body into him. I feel the words just at the tip of my tongue; I want so badly to tell him.
His muscles relax underneath me as one of his hands comes up and covers mine. “If you want to sit down, babe, I’ll have this done in a minute.”
I smile and kiss him between the shoulder blades. “That sounds wonderful.”
Edward walks in the bedroom wearing just his pajama bottoms. He spears his fingers roughly through his hair as he walks to the bed. The tips of his ears are red followed by his cheeks as he scoots closer to me. I lay back, letting him consume me. His lips hungrily take mine, and his tongue invades my mouth. My hands move to his shoulders, feeling his skin underneath my palms. His hands began to wander, and I feel his body shake, signaling his limit, but he still tries to push his hand down.
I gently pull my lips away, pressing my forehead to his and gasping for air. “Edward, babe, you can stop. It’s okay.”
When I press my lips to his cheek, I hear his frustrated sigh. “I just want to make you feel good.”
My heart breaks just a little, hearing his statement. “Babe, you always make me feel good. I love kissing you. What’s going on?”
I shift so I can sit up and Edward huffs, running his fingers through his hair and leaning against the headboard. “You said you wanted to talk. I thought… maybe you were tired of me. I wanted to show you that I could do more. That I would do more for you…” His entire body trembles.
I gasp. “Edward, never, ever. We could just kiss for the rest of our lives and I would be okay with that.”
He nods and wraps his arms around my shoulders, pulling me to his chest. “Then what do we have to talk about?”
Taking a deep breath, I reply, “I was talking to Kate about…” I stop, unable to find the words I’m looking for. How do I explain what I want? I feel Edward tense underneath me. I start talking quickly so he doesn’t overthink any further. “I want to talk to Jake. I want to get some closure. I want to have him come help me pack up our daughter’s room.”
He relaxes, and I feel his lips on the top of my head. “Oh.”
I lightly chuckle as I press my lips to his chest, hoping it doesn’t scare him too much. “Yeah, nothing too scary for you, just for me.”
I feel his chest vibrate as he hums. “I’m sure it's going to be scary for him, too.”
I don’t want to comment about what Jake might end up feeling. I’m still battling the feelings I’m having with the decision I just made.
I go to a group meeting before making the call. Edward sits next to me with his knee bouncing. I feel like he’s hiding something from me, but I don’t ask, knowing he’ll tell me when he’s ready.
Later at home, I finally press the send button, only to have it ring over and over with no answer. I leave a quick message for Jake to give me a call.
As I hang up, Edward’s phone rings.
He answers quickly. “Shit, okay, okay. I’m on my way. Just stay calm, okay? I’m bringing Bella with me and we’ll get everything sorted out.”
My brow wrinkles. “Edward, what is going on?’
He nearly yanks his hair out. “We have to go to the hospital.”
I jump to my feet and grab my bag. “Why, what’s happening?” I start questioning him as we head to the car. Edward is texting Alice, who’s keeping Emma at the moment.
Edward growls. “It’s Jake and Leah. Jake will have to explain more when we get there.”
Raising my brow, I say, "Someone will be explaining something when we get there."
It’s utter chaos when we arrive. Leah is screaming that Sarah isn't Jake's and that he’s a filthy liar. Jake is crying and bleeding everywhere. The doctor is trying to get him to lay down on the gurney, but he’s trying to get someone to get Sarah away from Leah.
Edward doesn't hesitate to take Sarah out of Leah’s arms and move toward Jake. "You have to calm down and let them take care of you."
Jake relents and lays down.
There are two police officers, one over by Leah taking her statement, and the other hovering around Jake.
Bewildered, I walk over to Jake and Edward. "What the hell, Jake?"
Jake's eyes well up. "I swear, I didn't touch her. I was taking Sarah over to Seth's house. I called him and everything to let him know I was dropping her off with him. I had a suitcase packed, and I told Leah I was leaving. I can't do it anymore."
I look at Edward, who doesn't seem to be meeting my eyes as he bounces Sarah on his hip, making her giggle.
"Jake, has Leah been..." I’m not able to finish my sentence. I looked at Jake, seeing old bruises surrounding his eyes. He focuses on the ground.
"Edward, call Seth and then my parents, please."
Edward pulls his phone out of his pocket. "Of course."
I pat Jake's hand before walking over to where Leah’s standing.
"Bella." She grabs for me, but I take a step back. I look at my sister. The girl I helped raise, picked out dresses with, got her out of more trouble than I can count, and never told our parents about.
"Leah, did you attack him because he was leaving?"
The officer next to her looks between us. "Mrs. Black, is this true? Was your husband leaving you?"
Her face morphs from innocence to pure hatred. "He doesn't get to leave me, not after all the effort I put into getting him!"
She lunges at me, but the officer catches her and places her under arrest.
I can only stand there in shock.