Growing up, I had few friends. My parents didn’t approve of most of them, and wouldn’t let me have or go on sleepovers or outings. I hated it, it made me the outsider. As I got older I learned ways around their disapproval, and made a few friends, but no one really close. Even within my family, my cousins were not allowed to get too close.

 

So when I got to La Push, it was like a curtain had been drawn back and sunshine was finally allowed in. One of the first people to embrace me as a friend was Aunt Molly. She was the one who helped me get settled, to get through the pregnancy with Embry.  When I left after Embry was born, I felt that not only had that curtain closed, but the shutters as well, locking out the warmth of friendship I had found. I was cold and lonely, and even though I tried to work things out, I felt the pull back to La Push and the people there.

 

I met Sarah Black at the daycare center. It was the first day leaving Embry alone. My schedule no longer allowed me to have him with me and I needed to work to support us. As I walked with him and he asked a million questions, I saw a lovely young woman with a son the same age. She knelt down and brushed back his hair, kissed his cheek and sent him into the room. Embry tugged at my hand anxious to go see the other children. I let him go and watched him run away from me. I reached out then pulled my hand back covering my mouth, realizing how difficult this day was going to be.

 

The young mother came over and slid an arm around my shoulder.

 

“It’s one of the hardest days, the first day you let them go off on their own.”

 

I couldn’t answer her over the lump in my throat. I simply nodded and watched as he met up with her son. We stood watching them for a few minutes, seeing that they seemed to get along right away.

 

“My name is Sarah. That is my son Jacob.”

 

“He’s a beautiful boy. My boy is Embry.”

 

“He has gorgeous eyes. Come on, let me buy you a cup of coffee if you have time.”

 

Since I had some time before my shift started, I agreed. We walked to the diner down the street.

 

That was the beginning of the first real friendship I knew. We helped each other through all of the trials of having a son. The cuts and scrapes and fights and pranks. She asked me once about Embry’s father and I told her the truth. I didn’t give Joshua’s name, at the time I didn’t know his last name. Bless her heart, she did try to set me up on dates a few times, but I told her my world was Embry and that if the right man was out there, he would find me, eventually.

 

I never mentioned how jealous I felt of her, for having Billy. He was so good with the kids and I could tell he adored and cherished her, and she him. If ever two people were fated for each other it was those two. He was hands on with her, helping and being there as a father. He extended that to me when I needed help with Embry, and he often came to do little chores that might need done, although he never let me know. I know Sarah would send him to mow the lawn or fix something. That is until he began to need the use of the wheel chair. Even then, he was never bitter. Nor was she. She accepted the new challenge, knowing that the vows of their wedding were not just words.

 

Then, she was gone. When I got the call that my best friend had died, not only did the curtain close and the shutters lock, the roof caved in and I was suffocating. I didn’t let on, I kept my loss and grief hidden. I stepped up and took care of Billy and the kids for a while, until things settled and he didn’t seem to want me around. Perhaps I was a raw reminder of Sarah. I am not sure. I checked in on them occasionally, usually it was Rachel at home. When the girls graduated and left La Push, Billy had settled into a somewhat faded version of the man he was with Sarah, much like I was. I could see the light in his eyes was not as bright. His wife was gone and his girls were gone. He loved Jacob and tried to hold on to him. But he was getting older and drawing away. After his change, for a while, it was hard on Billy, not being the one to lead and teach him. Jacob kept secrets, but then something in Jacob changed and I saw the closeness return.

 

I became closer with Sue Clearwater after Sarah died. We all had been a tight group. I didn’t let Sue in as closely as I had Sarah. It took a while for the ache of missing her to dull and for there to be room to allow the new closeness with Sue develop. I kept most everyone at a length. Losing Sarah was the first real death I felt and it ripped me apart. I waded through the sorrow and pain, finding my way back to allowing myself to care. Another lesson my parents never let me learn, how to grieve.

 

I miss Sarah every day still. I understand now why she loved Billy so much. There are times I feel a guilt though, because I wanted what she had with Billy. Now I have him. Was my wish a part of fates design? Was my wish to have someone like him granted by her death? I can’t help but feel that sometimes, and the guilt is raw. My logical mind says no. That is not what happened. There was no plan in place for that. Life is not that organized. But still…when I hear Billy tossing, crying softly in his sleep for her, I feel like if I had not coveted what they had, it might be different. I didn’t want Billy, per se, at the time, just someone like him. Now that I have him, these demons come up and make me question my envy.

 

Does Billy know? No. How on earth could I start to explain something that to the sane mind would seem so irrational? I know it is irrational. And yet, I know if I could give him one gift, it would be to give him Sarah back.

 

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