3rd Person POV
After Edward flung her into the bolder, Victoria raced through the trees her natural gift allowing her to feel that Edward was not in pursuit so she assumed that he was with the wolf. Those Cullens were the strangest vampires she had ever come across, however she had no doubt that he would be hot on her trail soon. When she attacked Jacob, she heard a howl off in the distance and instinctively knew that it was too far east and not near the others. She was already near the water so she decided to take a swim up north around the small peninsula and come back south closer to the lonely howl. Victoria emerged from the water and wrung the extra water from her clothes, normally she didn't care, but she wanted to be able to move easily.
As she moved quickly the terrain began to get more rocky as the elevation grew higher and higher. Her gift was evasion and so she didn't normally pursue danger, but her instincts told her that this was where Bella would be and as she got closer she began to smell her. It was different, with the faint smell of wet dog mixed with multiple different smells that Victoria knew to be the Cullens, especially Alice. Bella baffled Victoria and she couldn't figure out how one human girl could have such an impact on her.
To Victoria humans were stupid and weak, she could murder hundreds in a matter of minutes if she wanted, how Bella remained alive was quite a mystery. She wanted Bella to suffer for being simply a pain in the ass, but even more so Victoria was curious about Bella. How was this girl able to surround herself with things that most humans considered to be monsters?
Victoria felt confident if the Cullens had not gotten involved then her army would have completely decimated the wolves. Once Victoria knew she was heading in the right direction she climbed up into the trees and began to softly float from branch to branch, trying not to jostle or give away her approach. She could feel that Edward was once again after her.
Edward followed her scent to the water and then assumed that she would head south towards either La Push or Forks. So Edward ran along the shore line, but he was running the wrong direction.
Victoria did not know that, but could feel Edward's pursuit which made her nervous and anxious. She saw Seth and Bella, she was awake, sitting at his side, and running her hand down his back. When the battle started, Seth kept flinching, while he watched his sister and brothers fighting and his movements kept Bella from sleeping. Alice and Bella continued to ask Seth yes or no questions, and for the first time he wished that he could speak in wolf form.
When Alice wasn't asking Seth questions she was trying desperately to see her family, especially Jasper. If there was ever a time that she was desperate to see his future it was then. She would get flashes of Jasper tearing apart a vampire, but then one of the wolves would get involved causing her to loose the image. It was extremely frustrating for Alice, and her head was starting to hurt trying to see things that were either fuzzy or just simply not going to appear. Alice probably should have been watching for Victoria's decisions, but she had to choose because she can't see two futures at the same time and Jasper was her priority.
There was a strong wind that helped disguise Victoria's movements and because Alice was worried and distracted trying to see her family, no one noticed Victoria getting closer and closer. Had Alice not been there or Bella not have so much vampire scent on her, Seth probably could have smelt Victoria coming, but with him already sitting with one vampire, smelling another one coming would have been more difficult. Victoria felt that, if she could incapacitate Alice and kill the dog, then she could take her time with Bella, and not have to rush it. She saw Alice leaning against the rock, with her eyes closed, deep in concentration as Victoria leaped from the tree, landing over Alice and immediately tore her tiny head from her body. Then she ripped Alice's arm and threw it at Bella, but Seth's paw smashed it into the ground.
Bella screamed and Seth howled fiercely as he stood over Bella, while she scampered behind him. Seth could feel that Leah and Jacob were on their way, but it didn't help him know how to fight and protect at the same time. He felt so unprepared and he was scared that he was going to let Jake down by not keeping Bella safe.
“You're next, dog!” Victoria hissed, and leaped at Seth who dodged once, but then instantly Victoria pounced again landing on Seth's back. He tried to buck her off, but he also had to try and be aware of where Bella was. The wolves smelled so terrible to Victoria that she really didn't want to bite another one, so instead she used both of her hands to squeeze hard on Seth's shoulder crushing the bones there. Seth whimpered as Victoria continued to move down his back crushing as many bones as she could. The further Victoria went the harder it was for Seth to remain standing and ended up crumbling to the ground.
“No! Please, stop hurting him!” Bella screamed as she scrambled to her feet. “You only have a few seconds before the rest of the pack and Cullens know you are here. Take me instead.” Bella wasn't sure what Victoria had planned for her, but based on the warning the Laurent gave, it was going to be something slow and painful. Bella just hoped that it was slow enough that Jacob could find her before Victoria finally killed her.
“You really are a stupid girl.” Victoria hissed, as she sprung towards Bella. “Climb on and I'll let him live.”
Bella leaped onto her back, praying that she wasn't making the stupidest decision of her life.
I leaped, landing next to Leah and began to search for Bella, but I couldn't see her anywhere. Seth, where is Bella? I asked.
I thought she was here. She was right behind me. Seth answered panicked.
Where is Victoria? Leah asked.
I don't know. Seth began to cry and his body shook, which caused him to howl in pain.
The rest of the pack and the Cullens arrived. Jasper ran to Alice and frantically began to piece her back together, with Esme's and Carlisle's assistance. Leah continued to comfort Seth trying to get him to relax so his body could heal, his crying and shaking was making it worse. I began to sniff around trying to find Victoria's scent but it seems that she must have been up in the trees where her scent is much harder to trace. The harsh winds were making it extremely difficult.
The moment her pieces were back in place, Alice snapped back to life and she began screaming about Victoria.
“Victoria, has Bella!” Alice screamed.
Immediately my snout was in her face, and Jasper looked at me cautiously. Where? Where did she take Bella! I growled, and suddenly I heard Edward's voice interpreting it for me. It's about freaking time you showed up, I mumbled.
“Sorry, I followed her scent to the water and then I thought she would be heading back towards La Push for Bella, so I went that direction. I didn't realize that she figured out that Bella was here. I heard everyone running here, so that is when I changed directions and started running.” Edward explained.
“She is going back to Seattle, but hasn't decided specifically where.” Alice answered.
Let's go! I insisted.
Jake, we can't go chasing her around Seattle as wolves. Embry said, worried that I was going to get mad at him for contradicting me.
We need you, Jake. Leah insisted. Sam deserves to have you here, when we bury him.
I whined, because I knew that they were right. I needed to stay here for my pack.
“Jacob, Bella is alive . . .” Alice stated.
How do you know that? I questioned.
“Because Victoria is still planning different ways to kill her.” Edward answered fiercely.
I couldn't decide if I felt relieved or even more nervous. Of course I was glad that Bella was still alive, but I hated to think of what torture she would endure. Promise me, that you'll bring Bella back to me.I said to Edward.
“I will, Jacob.” Edward promised.
ALIVE! I clarified. And truly alive, not a frozen over corpse that moves.
“I'll do my best.” Edward answered.
I knew that was just going to have to be good enough, because that was the best answer he could give me.
The Cullen family ran together towards Seattle, except for Carlisle who offered to stay behind to treat Seth. Seth wasn't able to phase back yet so everyone, but myself, phased back and carried Seth towards La Push. I ran back to Sam, and I saw his broken and stiff body. I phased back and knelt down by his side, and I couldn't hold it together any longer. I cried for my alpha and wished that he would have been able to train me. I cried for my pack family who lost their leader and was now going to be following me. I cried for Bella and I wanted her here with me and not in the clutches of a sadistic vampire. I was so scared, so alone, and continued to cry until I couldn't cry any more.
Then with shaking arms I lifted Sam's body and carried him home. I knew that my life was never going to be the same, from now on, I was alpha.
Great job of recreating my memories of R&R in Hawaii & Kauai while my husband was in Viet Nam!! We had just that romantic & magical 2 weeks together!! Beautifully written, as always! I hope Jake takes to heart things Kwan has shared with him - sounds like his & Rebecca's marriage has been thru some rough spots! I'd say Jacob & Bella got more than a beautiful honeymoon from this trip!!
Hawaii is an amazing place and it was fun to bring that to life. It is rare for a marriage to not go through some hard times and my understanding is that to struggle with fertility is one of the most stressful things for a couple to go through. It was really fun to give a small spot light to Rebecca and give her more than a simple name and place to live. :D
Song: Remind me by Brad Paisley / Carry Underwood - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCHp32ukVrg
Author's Note: Just to keep track, Jacob is 22 and Bella is 24
Chapter 21 – TROUBLED
I was home. I sighed into the quiet space before me. There wasn't a lot of space, but it was mine and Jacob's and we loved it. Connected to the garage, where Jacob and Quil worked, was the cafe, and the bookstore was on the other side. The cafe had one main entrance and two side entrances, one leading to the garage and the other one to the bookstore. Along the walls were booths with red fabric on the seats and long tables that curved around the parameter of the store. The tables had black legs and white painted wood on the top and on the other side of the tables were chairs, also with matching red fabric on the seats.
The bookstore was simple with rows of books. I tried to have a good mixture of children's books, classics, adult fiction and self help. The book covers naturally provide a lot of color in the room, especially in the children's area. To make finding books easier, the bookshelves were painted a different color for each section. The walls were painted a soft blue and had a red brick linoleum on the floor. I want to feature movies that originated from books with posters of various sizes on the walls, but I haven't gotten very many yet. In the corner there was a large rug with two couches, a coffee table, and two soft cushioned chairs.
It was Saturday morning and I could hear Quil and Jacob laughing in the garage as I prepared the coffee and placed Emily's muffins, banana nut bread, and cinnamon rolls in the oven for serving later. I never considered myself to be a very good baker, but Emily convinced me that it was simple and something that I could do easily.
“Ouch,” I mumbled, as I lifted the hot muffins from the pans, placing them in heated baskets that will keep them warm.
There was a knock on the door, I covered the food, and went to the door.
“Good morning, Billy.” I said as I unlocked the door and opened it wide for him to be able to roll through.
“Morning, Bella. Am I early?” He asked.
I looked back at the clock and it was five after, I was surprised that I had lost track of time so badly. I haven't been sleeping well lately, Jacob has started tossing and turning at night, sometimes his body twitched so much that the whole bed shook. He blamed it on dreams that he said he couldn't remember once he woke up.
“Oh, I'm sorry Billy. No this is my fault, please come in. Would you like some bread or a muffin?” I asked as he rolled in. He requested a blueberry muffin and we ate in comfortable silence.
On Saturday families would come in and the rug and couches were completely filled as Billy either read a story or told one of the many legends that they have. It started with mostly the pack families attending, but has spread rather suddenly and now the place fills up rather quickly. It has been a great opportunity for me to meet more people from the tribe. I was pretty nervous about that in the beginning, but I have been received warmly and have met more classmates of Jacob and friends of Billy's that have known each other all their lives. It is a great opportunity to hear embarrassing childhood stories of Jacob.
After we finished eating, Billy wandered the rows of books to select what he wanted to read. Sometimes it was a classic that he might have read to the girls or Jacob, sometimes it was several short books, or a longer chapter book. He usually read for 30 minutes to an hour and many of the parents would purchase the book that he had read so that they could read them again from home.
“Are you and Jacob doing alright?” Billy asked.
Typically Billy didn't want to pry, but at the same time his curiosity often got the better of him, which was a bad combination with how perceptive he was. It made it that there really wasn't much that Billy didn't know and it was completely useless to try and lie or cover something up.
“I think we are fine, just adjusting I guess.” I shrugged.
“The first year of marriage can be hard.” He admitted.
“Was it hard for you and Sarah?” I asked, there weren't very many opportunities to ask about Jacob's mother so when the opportunity presented itself I decided to take advantage of it.
Billy smiled, his eyes crinkling around the corners, and I could see in his eyes that he was thinking of the times that he shared with Sarah. “It wasn't so bad for us. I didn't realize how easy our marriage was until I saw other marriages around ours crumble. Being married was the best time of my life. If every marriage was like mine, then no one would ever get divorced.” He gave a soft sigh, it was almost a yearning sound and I couldn't help but wish that we lived in a world where love really did last forever.
“That is really great, Billy.”
Emily and Tommy arrived, and Tommy climbed into Billy's lap without even a moment of hesitation, it was so wonderful to see all the love that was poured out on one another. Emily typically helped run the register for a couple hours while Billy read, so that I could maintain the bookstore, helping people find what they wanted or make suggestions of what they might enjoy. Emily and I hugged each other and then went into the kitchen to gather the rest of the items.
The kitchen of the cafe served as our personal kitchen as well. There was a small walk in refrigerator that I kept most of the ingredients for the soups and sandwiches. As well as lots of storage for pans, a five burner stove top, two dishwashers, and a long counter with crockpots that I used to serve the soups. There was a spiral staircase that went upstairs.
Jacob and I spent the first week that we were back painting the rooms. The top part went over the garage as well as bookstore, so it was long. There were two tiny rooms, one we used as a guest room with a full size bed, one dresser and one floor lamp. The other room we used as storage for things that we couldn't decide where to put. There was one bathroom, but it was large and very spacious. I could tell that the guys had Jacob in mind when they built it, especially in the shower with a tall shower head that he wouldn't have to stoop to use and an additional shower head that was shorter for me.
The same could be said of our room, it was much larger and the furniture was amazing. I didn't realize that Billy carved more than figurines, apparently I was wrong. The dresser had three long drawers and three additional drawers next to them and six smaller drawers at the top. Along the sides was a vine design that led down to the feet of the dresser. Across the top was a stream of small nature scenes, a bear catching a fish in a pond, a horse grazing in a field, a tiger stalking an elk and several birds that flew from one scene into the next.
The bed had a solid wood frame made of thick round branches. There was no footboard, probably so that Jacob could dangle his feet off the end without feeling cramped. Carved into the wood of the headboard was a young woman who was laying down in a field with sunflowers all around her, while she did not look exactly like me I could see the similarity in her eyes and smile. Laying next to her was a large wolf, his eyes were closed, his head rested on her stomach, and her arm rested along his back.
For Jacob and myself the first few months of marriage were a heavenly bliss. We were almost attached at the hip, spending every second that we had together. Poor Quil got tired of catching us making out, or worse, and telling us to 'get a room' just made us go upstairs. Unless I was preparing a soup or a sauce for one of the sandwiches then I was able to watch Jacob tinker with whatever vehicle he was working on. Even though this garage wasn't like his old one, the experience consistently took me back to when I would first spend time with Jacob.
After six months of marriage we began to bicker and argue. The issues weren't serious, but I could feel Jacob distancing himself from me. Where we used to be able to yell and fight it out if needed, now he would just completely walk away. Usually I didn't see him again until the following morning or sometimes it was the warm spot on his side of the bed that told me that he had been there. Our sex life was completely gone, even though I knew that he still wanted me. His eyes would burn with desire, but for some reason he wouldn't allow himself to follow through on it, which added to both of our frustrations.
Quil came in to pick up their lunch, and I wished that he would tell me what was going on. I knew that he knew, but he was trying hard to stay out of it.
“Bella, don't look at me like that.” Quil complained.
“I can't help it.” I shook my head. There was a wicker tray that I placed a plate with five roast beef and cheddar sandwiches on and two massive bowls of potato soup. “I don't know what else to do. Jacob won't talk to me.”
“I know.” Quil sighed and leaned against one of the bar stools.
“This is exactly why I didn't want to get married.” I mumbled. “It is like my parents all over again, except I'm not knocked up.”
“Bella, that would break his heart to hear you say that.”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh come on Quil, the walls aren't that thick. I'm sure that he can hear me.”
Quil shrugged and reached out for the tray and I placed my hands over his. “Please, I need to know.”
“You are right, but that's not my place.” Quil let go of the tray and walked around the counter to me and leaned down to hug me. “Just give him time, Bells. I promise that this won't last forever.”
I wrapped my arms around him, enjoying the warmth that I wasn't getting any other time and for a moment just relaxed. “I'm holding you to that promise.” I mumbled into his chest.
“You do that, if needed I'll kick his ass for you.”
“I can do that myself.” I half joked.
Quil leaned back, smiling until he looked back at me and frowned. His hand reached out and caught a tear that slid down my cheek. I hadn't even realized that I was crying until then. “I know you can, just hang in there. You aren't the only one that he's being difficult with.”
A customer came in, he kissed my hair, and walked back around to take his and Jacob's lunch with him.
* * * * *
There was usually a steady lunch crowd that continued into dinner and I was thankful that I had the hustle and bustle of serving others. I really enjoyed this part of the job and loved watching people be satisfied with a meal that I created for them. There was a small chime over the door that let me know when someone entered, so I was able to stay in the kitchen to prepare soups, or walk through the bookstore, putting books back where they went, or restocking new release items that came in.
It was fairly normal to randomly hear a loud drill, the rumble of the air compressor, or the loud laughter of one of the guys when something funny happened. I usually wondered what had happened and sometimes Claire would come in and fill me in on what had happened. I was thankful that she wasn't here today as I cringed, when I heard their voices getting louder and angrier.
“Stop it, JACOB!”
“QUIL, Do NOT start with ME!” Jacob yelled back.
“Get your crap, together.” Quil challenged.
“Dammit! I'm trying to. You don't know. . .”
“Like hell I don't.” Quil interrupted.
“Being in my head is NOT the same thing.” Jacob growled.
A stream of profanity sprung from both of them and I cringed again as I heard these two friends attacking each other, thankful that at least no one else was close by to hear it. I heard the garage door slam, feeling the whole building shake from the force.
“God, I hope that wasn't a mistake.” Quil muttered afterwards.
There was one register for both the cafe and the bookstore, so that I could maintain both of them at the same time. I made it through my first Christmas season with the store and cafe and it was a fantastic success. Seth brought Amber home and she stayed upstairs in the guest room and worked with me through the busy season.
I was doing some general cleaning as I prepared to close for the day when I heard the chime over the door and Amber's voice. “Bella!” She called, excited.
“In the kitchen,” I responded and I heard the flapping of the doors that divided the kitchen from the cafe.
Amber was a few inches taller than myself and had light brown hair with blonde highlights, freckles sprinkled across her nose and cheeks, and blue-gray eyes. She brought life to any room she entered and I don't think she ever knew a stranger. She didn't babble, but loved to talk and somehow you found that you were able to spill your deepest and darkest secrets to her. I'm sure it was good that Seth had already quit phasing when he met her or I don't think he would have been able to keep the secret from her.
“What's up?” I asked as I drained the soapy water from the sink.
“He proposed!!” She screamed and almost knocked me over as she hugged me tightly.
“Awww, that is fantastic.” I plastered a smile on my face and hoped that she couldn't tell the dread that I felt. I wanted to be happy for Seth and Amber, but I couldn't help but feel worried for them. If Jacob and I couldn't seem to make it work happily, then I didn't know how anyone did.
“Thanks Bella, I know that if we can be even half as happy as you and Jacob are then I know everything will be fine.” She beamed and didn't seem to notice my reluctance as she told me every detail of their engagement. Seth had taken her out on a boat and as they watched the sunset he took her hands and asked her to marry him. I was impressed that I was able to nod my head and smile at the appropriate times. Seth came and got her about an hour after she arrived.
“Congrats, Seth,” I gave him a hug, which he returned before taking Amber into his arms.
“Bella, you and Jacob gotta come. We are having a small party at my house.” Seth said excited. They continued to talk and it seemed like they were going to have a short engagement and possibly get married in the next couple of months.
“I'll see, I'm not sure what Jacob is doing.” I answered, when Seth asked again for us to come.
“Please, I know we would both love for you to come.” Amber encouraged.
“Alright, I'll come.” I just wasn't sure how to tell them that I wasn't sure that Jacob would come or that I didn't even know where he was.
To my surprise, Jacob was the happy and wonderful man that I have always known and loved the whole time that we were out. He never let me go as he held my hand, or had his arms wrapped around me. I was in heaven, but terribly confused. I smiled and laughed often, leave it to Quil to be able to lighten any mood. Whatever their problem had been, it seems that they had worked it out as well. However my thoughts kept returning to the contrast of Jacob's behavior. I didn't know what to think. Was Jacob simply putting on a show in front of his friends and family so that no one would know the difficulties that we really faced?
Was this his way of apologizing? That didn't make any sense to me either. Jacob was always one to speak first, think later. So I knew that if he had something on his mind that he would simply say it. So it had to be something that he didn't feel like he could share with me, and that scared me to death.
After the excitement of the party wore off, Jacob and I walked back to our house. Our joined hands swung easily with each step that we took and the stars shown brightly. There was no moon, but by now we were both familiar with the terrain.
“It's been a great evening.” Jacob said, casually.
“Yeah, it really has.”
“Do you think that we were that sappy when we first got engaged?”
“Most likely.” I looked down sadly and I caught Jacob glance at me out of the corner of his eye. He bit his lip, a nervous gesture that I knew he picked up from me.
“I'm sorry, Bella.” He took a deep breath, letting it out slowly.
“I don't understand, Jake.”
“I know, I didn't expect it to be this hard.”
“I didn't either.”
“I'm not giving up.” Jacob promised.
“I don't want you to.” I looked up at him and he wrapped his arms around me, lifting me off the ground as my arms went around his neck. I wanted to tell him that I wasn't going to give up either, that we were worth fighting for. And maybe I did as we made love to each other that night.
* * * * *
Things were much better for a while and then a couple months later Jacob was distant again. I was speechless as it actually got even worse than it was before. The slightest thing would set him off. There were times when I was actually scared of him, and I could tell that he knew.
“Bella...” He said sadly.
I jumped back. “Don't you dare touch me!” I shrieked.
“I would never . . .” He was breathing heavily, his hands balled up into fists on his sides.
“Jacob, I don't understand any of this. So don't start to say what you will or won't do.” I walked to the door of our room. “I'm heading out and if it weren't for the store and cafe, I wouldn't be coming back tonight.”
Jacob leaped towards the door. “No, Bella, please. I just need time.”
“Time for what?” I was beyond furious as I paced back in forth with angry steps.
“It's just. . .” The phone rang, and I knew that he would answer it. We didn't get a lot of phone calls, so they were usually important when they did call. “Dammit,” Jacob mumbled as he picked it up. He nodded his head as he listened and I could tell that something was wrong. “I'll be right on it... No, it is not a problem, this is what I'm here for... I'm glad to help... See you soon.”
I had come back in and sat on the bed with my feet tucked under me. “What's going on?” I started to wonder if he would be able to tell me, or if that was a secret as well.
“A small group of friends went camping, but it seems that one of them got lost, they can't find her. They looked all day for her scared that they would get in trouble, but decided that getting help was more important. So her dad is getting a search party and wanted some help.”
I nodded my head, I didn't know what more to say.
“I'm heading over to her house now, once I have her scent I should be able to track her easily.”
I kept nodding my head at the appropriate times as Jacob continued. He didn't want to howl in case it alerted Paul, Leah, or Jared, so he called Quil, Brady, and Colin and they all agreed to meet him out in the woods for further information.
“I'll be back as soon as I can.” He kissed me quickly, my fingers touching the tingle that his lips left behind as he walked out of the room.
I leaned back on the bed for a long time thinking about what I should do. Slowly, I got ready for bed and looked around at the emptiness of the room, and I couldn't handle it any longer. With a heavy heart and a deep sigh, I walked out.
Author's Note: The next chapter will be Jacob's POV and he will explain himself. Sorry for the cliffy, but it has been smooth sailing for too long, hehe.
headboard (the design is completely different than what I described but wanted to give an example of a carved headboard) - http://www.google.com/imgres?q=hand+carved+animal+headboard&hl=...
Ah... the other shoe is falling!!! Yes, we ARE ready for some drama!! I'm thinking Jacob has imprinted and is fighting it??? Can't wait 'til next Tues!! Going to Breaking Dawn AGAIN today!!
Yep, you kept waiting for things to "drop" well here it comes. I love the theories that my readers have and what they think is happening. :D
Song: Remind me who I am by Jason Gray -
Chapter 22 - GOODBYE
I have never been more frustrated in all my life. This wasn't supposed to be so hard! Not to mention that as soon as I started to feel like things were getting easier then something would happen that would cause the whole cycle to start over again.
Maybe I shouldn't be keeping this a secret from Bella, but I really wanted to surprise her. It also wasn't her issue, it was my own. In my head, it sounded so simple. I would stop phasing and then we could grow old together. I talked to Quil and he would take over as alpha for Colin and Brady. They all knew that they could quit if they wanted to, but both Colin and Brady just really loved being wolves and didn't see any reason to stop. It made sense for Quil to keep phasing to be able to age with Claire. She is now nine years old and they are the best of friends. Quil can't imagine anything different right now, but at the same time knows that there isn't an imprinted pair that hasn't ended up being together.
Things would get better after I would phase, but it made me feel like a drug addict. Like I needed him, in order to be me. I didn't like the dependency that I had. I could go one month pretty easily, the second month was harder, and by the third month it felt like I was going to explode from the inside out. I was scared to death that at any time I would actually do that, and if I happened to be near Bella when that would happen then I would hurt her. I couldn't let that happen so I would stay away from her, which would make her angry and that was an extremely dangerous combination.
After the huge fight with Quil I swore that I wouldn't let it get this bad again, but I didn't know how to keep that promise. I could actually see fear in Bella's eyes when she would look at me and it was the most painful thing I have ever seen.
“Jacob, I don't understand any of this. So don't start to say what you will or won't do.” Bella walked to the door of our room. “I'm heading out and if it weren't for the store and cafe, I wouldn't be coming back tonight.”
My heart almost stopped at the thought of Bella leaving me and I leaped towards the door. How on earth did things get this terrible?
“No, Bella, please. I just need time.”
“Time for what?” Bella was beyond furious as she paced back and forth with angry steps.
“It's just. . .” I was about to tell her everything when the phone rang. I debated about not answering it at all, but it rarely rang unless it was important. “Dammit,” I mumbled as I picked it up.
I was told about a missing teenage camper, then explained it to Bella, and called the guys to meet me in the woods.
“I'll be back as soon as I can.” I kissed her quickly before leaving, praying that it wouldn't be the last kiss I would give her.
Bella looked so surprised by the gesture as her fingers touched her lips for a moment, and I cringed on the inside. Was I trying so hard to keep her safe and keep my distance from her that I didn't even kiss her on a regular basis? I tried to think of when I had kissed her last and I was blank. No wonder Bella didn't want to stick around, I was treating her terribly without any sort of explanation. That was about to change, I would tell her everything as soon as I got back.
I went downstairs and looked at my wedding ring still on my finger and slowly took it off, placing it in the bowl on the bench in the garage. Part of me felt like I shouldn't even be wearing it in case I exploded at some random moment, but I couldn't take it off. It was my constant reminder of why I was quitting in the first place. The money spent to buy me a new ring if it were to shatter into pieces would be well worth being able to keep it on my finger. I hated taking it off, but didn't really have a choice when I knew that I was going to phase.
It didn't take long at Britney's house, I mostly just needed to step inside for a moment so that I could get her scent. I got additional information on where they were camping and then I was able to leave. However it was long enough for the thunderstorm that had been threatening in the distance to make it's grand entrance.
In no time I was on four legs with my shorts attached to my leg.
Where to? Brady asked.
They were just past the falls. They all went rafting, except she didn't want to go. She was supposed to stay at the campsite, they didn't know she was missing until they returned several hours later. I explained. They all got her scent from me and together we raced to the campsite and then continued to follow her scent. It wasn't that difficult to follow until it became clear that she felt lost and walked back and forth in a large circle.
Do you hear that? Quil asked.
The rain was pouring down in large sheets, making it difficult to see and the thunder rumbled loudly all around us. No, I didn't hear anything. I stated.
I thought I heard something as well, Collin added.
Go with what you thought you heard and I'll follow you. I offered to Quil.
The ground was soaked with large puddles here and there as we ran through the area. The lightening was bright and messed with our vision with each burst of light, followed quickly by the clap of thunder. Despite the bad weather, in the distance I could faintly hear the sound of crying.
Good ears, Quil. I encouraged.
It hadn't taken us long to find where she was and a few minutes later I could see her. She was hunched at the base of a thick tree, taking cover under the branches. Her long hair was cloaked around her soaking wet shoulders and her arms were wrapped around her legs that were curled up to her chest. Her whole body was shaking, a combination of being cold and from crying, I could see the goosebumps along her arms.
I'm going to phase out and carry her home. I told them.
Do you want any help? Brady asked.
Not right now, four huge men in the woods would probably scare her. However stay close in case she seems afraid of me or doesn't want to come for some reason.
Alright, I'll run home and call her family so they will know she has been found and that you are bringing her home. Quil offered.
I phased out and put on my shorts. They were covered in mud and completely soaked, but I didn't really care. “Britney!” I yelled her name, so that it wouldn't seem like I sprung out of thin air and so that I didn't scare her.
“HELP!” She yelled back and I saw her scramble to get out from under the tree. Her jeans and t-shirt were covered in thick mud and she wrapped her arms around herself.
I walked to her quickly and a large flash of lightening zigzagged across the sky. “Hi, I'm Jacob Black. Do you know who I am?”
“Y-y-y-y-ye-yes”, she stuttered.
“I have been looking for you.” I walked close enough to touch her, but I didn't. “Are you hurt?”
“No-o-o, I j-j-j-us-s-t got los-s-t-t-t-t.”
I reached out my hand to her. “Well then lets get you home before we both drown.”
She gave me a weak smile and took my hand, hers was so cold that it almost hurt. “I'm sorry my hand is so hot, I was, um really moving fast, looking for you.”
She was quiet for a while, as we continued to walk. “It actually feels really good. I have been so cold for so long.” It was good sign that she had stopped stuttering, but somehow the rain started to come down even harder than it already was.
“Do you mind if I carry you? It would get us both home a lot faster.”
I picked her up with my arm under her knees and my other arm behind her shoulders. I hunched over a little to try and shield her body from the rain and I began to run.
“Have you been searching by yourself?” Britney asked.
“No, I have some friends that were helping and I know that your parents had a search party gathered, but I'm not sure how this weather affected the turnout.”
“Thank you.” She smiled.
It didn't take much longer and I could see her house and held her a little tighter as we approached. Her family members were all gathered on the front porch, and they all ran towards me. It was so fantastic to see a family that was united and it was so clear how much they loved and cared for one another.
“Thank you so much,” her mother cried and hugged me tightly.
“It's my pleasure. I was glad that I could help.” I smiled at them, shook hands with the father and then I excused myself to get home.
I used my key to unlock the cafe and went upstairs to our room. The room was almost exactly the way that I left it. Except, no Bella, sleeping in our bed. No Bella, in the bathroom. I even walked to the guest room and she wasn't there either.
“No, no, no,” I fell to the ground, slumping loudly against the wall in the hallway and began to cry. I haven't cried in such a long time that it felt foreign and completely strange. My heart was breaking and I knew that it was all my fault. How could I possibly have been so stupid to think that I could do this by myself? That I didn't need Bella's support and understanding to help me through this process. A puddle formed on the carpet from my sopping shorts, as I continued to sob and sob.
A small, cold hand grazed my shoulder and immediately my hand reached out towards the contact and my head snapped up. “Bella?” I mumbled, my eyes were swollen and hazy from crying.
Without further thought I yanked her into my lap. I wrapped my arms around her and held her like a child holding a toy doll. My hands were pressed into her back and my face was at her neck as I continued to cry. Bella didn't struggle or push me away, but she didn't really respond in any way. Her arms stayed limp by her side, she seemed to know that this was about me processing my own behavior. She didn't say anything for a long time, I guess she got used to not understanding me lately. That realization hurt more and so I began to mumble out apologies to her.
“Oh Bella. . . I'm so sorry. . . Please forgive me. . . I've been a complete idiot. . .”
That last statement seemed to have caught her attention. “Yes, you have been.” She interrupted. “Care to tell me why?”
“Yes, I'll tell you everything.”
Sitting in our hallway I explained to her that I was trying to stop phasing and that was why I was so extremely moody. I explained the cycle of how I felt great right after I had phased, and then how the intensity would build and build inside of me. Bella would nod her head and at first it seemed that she understood, then it seemed the more she thought about it, the angrier she became.
“Jacob, that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!”
“I know, I know.”
“Did you not think that maybe I liked your wolf?”
“What? No. I thought you wanted me to age.”
“I do, but I have been with your wolf too and not just you. I ride him, pet him, and I love him too.”
“You make him sound like a pet.”
“Well. . .” Bella shrugged.
And suddenly I was laughing so hard that I almost dumped Bella out of my lap. I held her tightly to keep that from happening and Bella scowled, slapping me in the chest with her hand. “Stop laughing at me!”
“As you wish,” I pretended to get a key and lock my lips tight, but I couldn't keep my shoulders from shaking from laughter or my lips from smiling.
“Ohh,” Bella groaned, got up out of my lap, and stood in the hallway, shaking her head. “What am I going to do with you?”
“Apparently you are going to ride me,” I smirked.
“Hey, I thought those lips were sealed.”
“Oops, I forgot.”
Bella wiped her backside that had been sitting in my lap. “Jeez, Jake, do you think you could have at least dried off some before you freaked out?” Bella tried to hide a smirk, but failed.
“Excuse me for losing it when I thought you had left me. Where were you?”
“In the bookstore, I couldn't stand to be in our room alone anymore.” Bella took a deep breath and it was a reminder of how serious things really were between us.
“Bells...” I shook my head. “I'm so sorry.”
“I can't handle it, when you don't tell me what is going on. Do not keep me in the dark again. We are supposed to be a team.”
“You are right. I don't know how, but we can do this together.” I got up off the floor, walked over to her and rested my hands on her shoulders. “Please give me the chance to do this the right way.”
“Alright, and I don't know how I can help, but I'll try. It will be a huge relief just knowing the reason behind your mood swings, and I can give you space rather than you leaving me.”
“I'll never leave you, Bells.”
“I know, but that is what it felt like. That you didn't want to be near me, you wouldn't even touch me.”
I explained my fear of exploding and that I didn't want to be near her if or when that happened. Bella told me that she understood and we hugged each other tightly. I scooped her up in my arms and apologized to her for getting her all wet, by taking all her clothes off and we washed each other in the warm shower and kissed, rubbed our bodies together, and groped like teenagers.
I woke up the next morning completely naked with a huge smile on my face. Bella was awake, leaving tiny kisses across my chest and neck before landing on my lips. It was Sunday and neither of us worked so we had the whole day to ourselves. We kissed passionately and made love to each other before going downstairs to have breakfast.
“So what do you want to do today?” I asked, as I loaded our dishes into the dishwasher.
“I think that you owe me a ride.” Bella smiled, wrapping her arms around my waist.
“Didn't I already give you one.” I smirked, and winked at her.
Bella blushed and chuckled. “Yes, but I was talking about the other more furry you.”
“Already?” I asked surprised.
“Well you are quitting and I assume that you were a wolf when searching for the lost girl.” Bella bit the edge of her bottom lip. “So, I figure now we go for a last run and then I will do everything I can to help you.”
“Oh, Bells. . .” I wrapped my arms around her and leaned my cheek on the top of her head. “You're absolutely amazing. I love you so much.”
We both held onto each other for a long time and then Bella looked up at me and whispered. “Lets do this.”
It was a cold morning from the storm that had come through the night and Bella went back upstairs to put on jeans, her boots, and grabbed her jacket. Despite my wolf being very warm to ride, she still got cold when I would run fast and with this being the final run I think that we both knew that I would want to run like the wind.
I took several deep breaths and it seemed like the realization of what I was getting ready to do really sunk in deep. Could I really give him up? At the end when I was no longer on four legs, could it really be the last time? I closed my eyes and tried to picture it in my mind, my hands were clinched into fists down on our small kitchen table. It was like thinking about cutting off my arm or leg, sure I could live without it, but I also knew that my life was never going to be the same.
Bella came and wrapped her arms around me, pressing herself into my back and I could feel her kiss between my shoulder blades. Quietly we walked outside, our house was a little more in town than my dad's house, so it was a short walk to get into the cover of trees. We were hand in hand, until we came to a stop and slowly Bella pulled my shirt over my head. I remained still as she undressed me, neither of us said anything for a long time.
“You ready?” I asked, with a sigh.
“Yeah,” Bella answered softly.
I let the heat that I was so familiar with consume me and in an instant I was on four legs. Bella stepped forward and ran her fingers through my fur.
“I love you,” Bella murmured.
My chest rumbled in a low purr and I realized that my wolf loved her just as much as I did. I nuzzled my head against her neck and shoulder, giving a soft whine. I wished that I could speak as a wolf and tell her how much she meant to me. How much my wolf loved to have her touch him, how he loved her trust in that he would never let her fall, and most of all he loved that she loved him.
Slowly, I lowered myself to the ground and silently Bella got on my back. Her legs wrapped around my torso and she laid forward with her arms around my neck. I knew that she had learned to ride well and she could sit up, holding on with her legs or onto my fur, so for her to lean over it was her way of hugging him. With Bella securely in place I began to run. I went to all of our favorite places, to the ponds that we would swim in, the waterfall that I proposed at, and to hundreds of places in between. Bella kept one arm around my neck, unless she sat up to get a better view of where we were, her other hand consistently moved through my fur.
My wolf had become so second nature to me that I didn't really think about the feel of the leaves as my paws crunched them into the ground or the squish of the mud as it was thrown behind me.
After several hours of running I felt Colin and Brady phase in. They were simply going for a quick run because they were bored. I could feel the heaviness of my own heart reflected in them when they both realized that this was my final phase.
Jake, I'm going to miss you. Brady said what they were both thinking.
I couldn't ask for a better mentor, thank you. Colin added.
Thanks guys. I'll still be here for you if you ever need me, just not like this. Quil will be taking over, however either of you can quit anytime. I told them.
Mentioning Quil made me wish that he was here. Brady and Colin both howled, those that had stopped phasing would know it was them and not an emergency that they needed to phase for. However it would alert Quil and a few minutes later he phased in. I could feel him poking around in our heads, trying to figure out what is going on.
So, Bella knows? Quil asked for clarification.
Yeah, she is with me now. I answered
Quil, I'm sorry I didn't tell her from the start. I know that put you in an awkward situation.
Yeah, it did. Quil acknowledged honestly.
I'm not sure that we all really meant to, but we ended up all four meeting together. I think that Bella can tell when the other wolves join in from the way that my running usually changes. It is still smooth and even, but I'm also distracted. Sometimes, looking into their mind instead of paying attention to what is in front of me. So it didn't seem to surprise Bella when we all circled together.
“I need down for a moment.” Bella said, patting my shoulders with her hands.
It gets uncomfortable for her to ride for a long time without a break. I crouched down and she slid off, holding my side until she had her balance.
“Go,” Bella said as she pushed against my shoulder.
I tilted my head at her in confusion.
“Go, run with your pack. I'll be here when you get back.”
My wolf whimpered and I didn't want to leave her.
“I'll be fine.” She reached out and pet around my ear and kissed the tip of my snout.
Jeez, Jake . . . Quil snickered I would make some snide comment, but instead, he paused for a moment and in his mind I saw the different times that Bella has spent with my wolf, talking to him, touching him, it was fantastic. I hope you know how lucky you are. Even the other imprints aren't as comfortable with the wolves as Bella is.
I nodded my big head and licked her cheek. My tongue was huge compared to her head and I licked from her jaw to her ear.
Bella giggled and wiped her face. “That is still gross you know.”
We all four barked out a laugh and Bella looked at us. She backed up and sat down on a fallen tree that was next to a small stream that flowed by. “Go,” she whispered again.
I finally agreed and we began to run extremely fast with Quil on my flank. We were a united front, like a bullet going through the air. There wasn't a specific place that we were going to, so we just all ran as fast as we could and because I was faster sometimes I would get a good distance ahead and then let them catch up. We had been running for awhile and I knew I needed to get back to Bella.
I ran fast again at my full speed creating several yards between myself and the guys, then I started to loop around and weave through the trees even faster.
Wait, Jake. I heard them yell, but continued to go at my full speed.
I doubled back and quickly I was behind Quil on his flank.
Sorry. Quil said and started to slow down.
No, stay where you are. I told him.
It's time, Quil.
I ran the next few minutes behind him and they all knew that I was passing on the reins to him. At first it didn't really feel different, but then I could feel Quil take on the role and some of the authority seemed to shift. Part of me was relieved because I never really wanted to have the responsibility to begin with, however there was another part of me that wanted to fight and keep the control.
Quil led us back to where Bella was and we all came to a stop.
Thank you, Jake.
I brought my head down. You are welcome, my friend.
Colin and Brady both hunched down in front of Quil, submitting to his leadership and it felt right, like my time as alpha was over and I was able to comfortably place that responsibility on Quil.
Bella stepped towards us and her eyes were wide and jaw laxed open in surprise, I think that she knew what had happened. She came and stood between Quil and myself, placing a hand on each of our heads.
“Thank you.” She said looking back and forth between us.
For a long time no one said anything, even our thoughts were rather quiet. Bella took a deep sigh and looked at me. “I . . . I don't want to take you away.”
I shook my big head, and then phased back to human to speak for myself. “You aren't Bella. That is partially why I was keeping it a secret what I was doing. I didn't want you to blame yourself. I'm doing this for us, not just for you.”
“Are you sure?” Bella asked.
“Yes.” I stepped closer to her, taking her in my arms. “You are my everything, I don't need to be a wolf any longer.”
“What about the Volturi?” Bella whispered.
“Edward has promised to let me know when they become an issue, but I'm not going to let them dictate my life. I can phase again if I ever need to.” I answered, with my arms still around her. Her head was on my shoulder and I rested my cheek on the top of her head. “You ready to get home.”
I felt her nod her head and I kissed her hair before I took two long steps backwards and phased back into my wolf.
* * * * * *
It has been three extremely long months and I know that I would not have made it without Bella by my side. I haven't phased again since our last run, but there were so many times that I thought I was going to completely explode. I would close my eyes and hold my head as I could feel my form blurring, sometimes it would help to go for a run and just scream until the shaking subsided. It was a very lonely time in my life with both Bella and Quil giving the space that I needed.
There was an intense night when I had a bad dream the bed was shaking so badly that Bella woke me up actually scared that I was going to phase in my sleep. I wanted to start sleeping in the guest room, but Bella told me that she would be coming with me if I tried to sleep some place else. At times her stubbornness would make me angry and I could feel myself growling.
“Don't you growl at me, Jacob.” Bella cautioned, but remained calm.
“I can't help it.”
“Remember who you are. You are a man, not a beast.”
That became our thing and she would come and whisper to me who I was to her. “You're my husband. . . You are my best friend . . . You are strong . . . You are my everything, I love you. Don't forget, this is for us.”
Her encouragement and love became my source of strength and helped me to remain focused on my goal.
In the last couple weeks I began to feel like a break through was made and I don't know if it was my wolf giving up or me figuring out to override his dominance. It was like a stress induced weight was lifted off of mine and Bella's shoulders and we could both breathe easier. Bella smiled all the time and it was wonderful, I didn't realize how much my uneasiness was affecting her.
Tonight we were celebrating our one year anniversary, and quite a year it has been. I was waiting in the kitchen as Bella finished getting ready. She came down in a beautiful cranberry red dress that had a slight shimmer to it. She must have gotten a new bra or something because she was smokin' hot with the deep neckline of the dress.
“Hey, beautiful.” I gave her a hand down the last step.
Bella blushed and had a beautiful glow to her cheeks. “Thank you.”
We walked out to our Rabbit and I drove us to Port Angeles and ate at the steak and seafood restaurant that we had gone to on our very first date. It was fun to be able to reflect back on our relationship. It was still owned and operated by my cousins, but they left us alone and gave us our privacy.
We were finishing up our desert when we decided it was time to exchange gifts. Bella and I didn't give each other a lot of presents, it just wasn't something that was overly important to either one of us. But after the year that we have had I felt like it was important that we find a way to acknowledge the accomplishment of making it through it.
“Bella, I'm so sorry for the way that I have behaved.”
“Jacob, stop! We've gone over this.” Bella shook her head. “I don't need your apology, it has been said and forgiven.”
“Alright, but you will just have to keep forgiving me, because I can't stop saying how grateful I am.”
Bella smiled and leaned over the table and I met her as our lips caressed each other.
As we kissed, I reached into my pocket to get out her present. I had a small black box that I wrapped in purple paper, I was going to put a bow on it, but then it would have gotten squished in my pocket, so I decided not to. Once our lips left one another, Bella looked down and saw the box on the table.
“Thank you.” She smiled and picked it up off the table.
“You should probably open it before thanking me.”
“Nah, you always give me fantastic presents.”
“Glad you think so.”
Slowly Bella used her nail to open the tape without tearing the paper and then unwrapped the paper from the box. She lifted the lid and surrounded by soft foam was a wooden wolf charm. I had used another small branch from our driftwood tree and used my tools to carve it when I needed time to myself. Two weeks ago I visited with my dad and used some of his stain to make it the same russet-brown color as my wolf.
“Oh, Jake,” Bella bit her lip and immediately her eyes filled with tears. “I can't. . . I can't believe it.” Bella blubbered through her tears.
Over the years I have added several other charms, such as a shell from the beach, a book, a conversation heart that said 'marry me', and a tiny motorcycle. I knew that she would love it and understand the significance of the wolf, as well as her being able to look at it on her wrist on a daily basis. But I didn't expect her to begin to sob.
“Oh Bells,” I got out of my chair and knelt on the floor next to her chair. She wrapped her arms around my neck and I rubbed her back as she cried.
“I'm sorry . . . I didn't mean to . . . it's just . . .” Bella continued to blubber and sob.
“Shhhh,” I cooed. “It's alright.” I continued to hold her until she finally was able to get her emotions under control and took a deep sigh.
Bella used her napkin to wipe her face. “Well, that was unexpected.” She half laughed.
“You're telling me.” I kissed her lips softly and I could feel her smile against my lips. “I'm really glad that you liked it.”
Bella gave her face another wipe and took a deep sigh. “You ready for yours?” She asked.
“Sure, not sure how you're going to top that.” I teased.
“Is that a challenge?” Bella smirked.
It hadn't been, but I took a moment and thought about it. “Alright, you're on.”
Bella reached into her purse and pulled out a small gift bag. It had pale blue and pink stripes with white tissue paper. I pulled out the paper and tipped it over and into my hand fell two small knitted socks. I looked over at Bella confused. “You thought you could challenge my gift with a tiny pair of socks?”
Bella began to laugh. “They aren't socks, they are booties.”
I thought about it for a moment. “Sorry, but that isn't helping. What are booties?” Then the moment the question left my lips I remembered. I gasped, realizing what she was telling me.
I could see Bella's grin slowly spread across her face to match my own. “Congratulations, Jake. We're having a baby!”
Author's Note: I hope that this chapter answered all your questions and that I am fully forgiven for freaking you out. :)
Wow, that was fabulous!!! Yes, you're forgiven [ ha ha! ], and I'm so surprised they are having a baby now, tho they HAVE been together & married long enough to start a family! Tomorrow's my 69th birthday, and this chapter was the perfect gift! I can relax [ somewhat! ] and enjoy going to see Breaking Dawn for the 4th time tomorrow! Happy happy chapter! Blessings!!!
Awww, thank you. I am glad to be forgiven. :D
I can understand being surprised that they are starting a family and sometimes that does happen even without being planned. It would be nice to give them more time as a married couple (especially with the year that they have had) but I didn't really want to do another time jump right now.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope that you had a fantastic day!
What great news. Bella definitely topped Jake's gift.
I honestly had a hard time deciding who had a better gift. :D