This story takes place about seven years after Breaking Dawn.
Banner by Alice Renesmee Bella Cullen. =)
Banner by Sierra Black. =)
Chapter 1 - Stench
Nessie leaped gracefully across the river outside the house. The rest of us followed swiftly, me shifting onto four paws mid-flight. Immediately, the usual voices filled my head.
“Hey Jake!” chirped Seth.
“Greetings, Most High Alpha.” said Leah somberly.
“Ha, ha. Hey guys.” I thought. Leah mentally cleared her throat. She hated it when I forgot to acknowledge her femininity.
“And girl.” I added quickly. I didn’t have time to playfully squabble with Leah right now, the way I normally might have. We were on a hunting trip.
“Got to make sure those lovely leeches get all their nutrition.” teased Leah. There was no more of the bitterness that had once constantly invaded her tone.
“Jake! Stop talking to the voices in your head and hurry up! Otherwise there won’t be any good ones left.” yelled Bella from up ahead. I had fallen behind during my silent (well, silent to everyone besides Edward.) conversation. I picked up the pace, quickly flashing past everyone until I reached my intended target, Nessie. Her bronze curls were blowing in the breeze from her run, and her porcelain complexion was slightly flushed. I could hear her heart thrumming, three times as fast as my own, and her even breathing. She reached back, without looking, to touch her hand to my muzzle. It was a greeting for the other wolves. They chorused “hellos” back to her, though she couldn’t hear them.
We came into a clearing, and caught the scent of elk in the air, about a mile south. I followed Nessie, and we arrived in front of the herd a few seconds later. She lunged efficiently at the largest one. I looked away. Even after all this time, six years, to be exact, it still grossed me out to watch them feed. Bella especially, because I remembered her as a human, and still thought of her as one.
Ah, Bella. How different things are for us now. We’re finally the way we were always supposed to be, just best friends, and nothing more.
Nessie bounded over to me and touched my shoulder, showing me a picture of my wolf-self leaping at an elk, colored with a question of why I wasn’t doing it. I looked down at her and rolled my eyes, then stalked towards a medium-size male elk. I took him down quickly, and sat down on my haunches to eat. I wasn’t really hungry. I was just going hunting to please Esme. Lately, she’d taken to organizing family hunting trips. What with me running around as a giant wolf half the time, and other members of the family involved in various pursuits, like remodeling an old crumbling house on Demarest St. (Alice), and getting their medical degree for the third time (Edward), she felt that we weren’t spending enough time together. And of course, the perfect way to get some quality time in is to kill a whole herd of elk together. What happened to good old-fashioned movie night?
“Mmm, movie night. You all could watch Interview With a Vampire.” Leah commented. “And then Dracula to top it off.” I heard Edward snort from twenty feet away. Bella shot him a confused look. He shook his head at her and waved his hand dismissively.
“Edward finds you amusing.” I told Leah.
“Good to know. So, anyway, are you done hunting yet?” she asked.
“Yeah, almost. Why?” I asked.
“Because I need to talk to you, stupid.” she said.
“Believe it or not, that’s what we’re doing right now, Leah.” I shot back.
“I mean, I need to talk to you when we don’t have a mental audience.” I caught a jumble of images from her, the most prominent coming with a scent. It was the vampire burn that I’d grown so used to. But this wasn’t from a familiar vamp. It was totally new to me. Definitely a cause for some worry.
“Ok, I’ll be right there.” I told her. Through her eyes, I could see that she was pacing back and forth right in front of her house.
“Hurry up.” I felt her mental presence fade out.
Thankfully, everyone else was ready to go home. I didn’t want to alarm them if I didn’t have to. Of course, Edward might have heard me and Leah’s whole conversation anyway, but he didn’t look worried, so maybe he hadn’t been paying attention.
I sprinted back toward home. Nessie took my sudden haste as a challenge, and started to race me. I purposely let her get ahead, just so I could admire her hair bouncing down her back as she ran. Not to mention, her legs didn’t look so bad either…. Edward loudly cleared his throat behind me. Sure, now he decides to listen.
Nessie doesn’t know anything about the way I feel about her. I mean, she knows that I love her, but she thinks it’s more of a big-brother type love. And, don’t get me wrong, it was, until this last year. Then it started changing to a different kind of love. And now that she’s fully mature, I know that I need to tell her everything, but I’m not sure how. You see, the thing is, Ness knows nothing about our imprint. That was one of the biggest arguments I ever had with Bella, since she became a vampire. She thought that I should have told Nessie about it when she was little, so that she could have had time to get used to the idea, instead of springing it on her when she got older. But I thought I should wait, so that Ness wouldn’t feel weird or uncomfortable. I also didn’t want her to feel obligated to be with me. I want her to be free to pick who she wants to be with. Not that it won’t tear my soul into little, snack-size pieces if she doesn’t pick me. But I want her to be happy. That’s the most important thing to me. There isn’t one thing that I wouldn’t do to make her happy. Anyway, now I’m kind of wishing I would have taken Bells’ advice. Cause really, what am I going to say to her? “Guess what Nessie? I’m your soul mate! Surprise!” Um, no.
“You’ll find a way Jake. I know you will. And then you two will be as happy as Sam and Emily, or Jared and Kim.” Seth interjected into my monologue. I hadn’t realized that he was listening.
“No problem. I’m gonna take off. I’m getting hungry, and I smell that Mom’s making bacon. You really better hurry, you know. Leah’s just about wetting herself with impatience over here.” said Seth.
“Will do. Make sure to get some of that bacon before Charlie eats it all.”
“No kidding. I don’t know how Bella used to cook for him all by herself. See ya later.” Seth’s presence faded out too. Ah, sweet silence.
By now we were at the big white house on the river. Home. I ducked into some large bushes, and phased back to my human self. I quickly pulled on my shorts, and climbed out. Everyone else was inside already. I walked in the house and found Bella.
“Hey Bells, I’m going down to Sue’s for a while.” I said.
“Okay. Tell Charlie I say hi.” It was common knowledge that Charlie spent almost all his time at Sue’s now.
I flew out the door, and ran like hell out to the garage, where I kept my bike. I kicked it on, and raced down the road to La Push. I could have run faster than the bike would go, but that might have freaked out some innocent passersby.
I arrived at Sue’s to find Leah, still pacing, but in her human form now.
“Okay Leah, where exactly did you find that foreign bloodsucker’s stench?” I demanded.
“Right along the treaty line, and I went over to Charlie’s with Mom yesterday, and it was pretty strong there too.” she reported.
“At Charlie’s?” I choked out in alarm.
“Hey, I didn’t say it made sense.”
“Was the scent outside or inside?’
“Well, that’s a little better, I guess. At least it wasn’t inside with Charlie. But why would it be there in the first place?” I wondered.
“Your guess is a good as mine. Were your tame vamps expecting any visitors in the last few days?”
“No, but Alice has been getting these strange flashes about the Volturi. They seem to be trying to make a decision about something, but she can’t tell what. I ‘spose it could have been one of them, but I don’t see what they would want outside Charlie’s house.”
“Those Italian leeches? Ugh. Have you said anything about this to the Cullens?” Leah asked.
“I didn’t want to get them all worked up for nothing, so I don’t think they know, unless Edward picked it out of my head earlier. But it didn’t seem like he did.”
“Well, you better tell them. They could probably shed some light on the subject. Maybe one of their friends did drop by, and was going to have Charlie for a snack, but then decided they weren’t really in the mood for middle-aged police chiefs that day.”
“I’ll mention it to them.” I said, giving her a half-amused, half-exasperated look.
I turned and headed inside the house.
“Where are you going? I thought you were going to talk to your bloodsuckers.” Leah said.
“In a minute. I’m supposed to tell Charlie ‘hi’ from Bella.”
I opened the front door and walked into Sue’s tiny living room. Sue and Charlie were sitting on the couch together, watching a football game. Luckily, Charlie had found a woman who had just as much passion for sports as he did.
“Hi guys. How’s the game?”
“Oh, just fine.” Sue said, as Charlie screamed his head off at the TV. Something about a “wussy quarterback”. “Come and watch it with us.”
“Oh, no thanks. I have to be going anyway. I’m just supposed to tell Charlie ‘hi’ from Bella.” I had absolutely no desire to watch any type of sporting event with Charlie ever again. The last time I did, his face had turned so purple from excitement, I was afraid I was going to have to call an ambulance. Even now it was nearing an unhealthy shade of magenta.
“Thanks Jake. And tell her and Ness to come see me once in a while. I’m going to forget what they look like soon.” said Charlie, momentarily extracting himself from the game.
“Okay. Bye, guys.”
I left the house and threw myself back on my bike. I put it in gear, and roared off to the Cullens’.
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