The Twilight Saga

Author:  EMHW_Bear

Pairing: Jacob/Bella

Genre: AH, Romance, Angst, Tragedy, and Comfort

Rating: PG13

Beta by: Project Team Beta

Work In Progress

Featuring: Bella & Jacob, along with Seth, Leah, Jasper, Emmett, Edward, Alice, Rosalie & several of the cast  from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga.

When first love goes from wonderful to tragic, embodying every other emotion in between, it becomes nearly impossible to get over. Bella discovers just how difficult a love eternal can be. 

Jacob Black, an Olympic boxing hopeful, dreams to be great. Bella Swan, a lifetime romantic, dreams to be his.  After an unexpected tragedy occurs, everyone close to them is left pondering the outcome.  Starts at the awkward ages of preteens & follows through to young adulthood.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the  property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

                        This lovely Banner was created by Cat (Rhodes11) 

A/N First and foremost, I would like to give a special the staff of Project Team Beta for their help and fine tuning. This particular story was inspired by a friend of mine very much like my Jacob character. The situations are intended to be relatively relatable, true to life so to speak. The story is told mainly from Bella and Jacob's POV's, but other characters will share their POV's to shed light on the situations. Thank you for taking the time to read. Enjoy!                      

Tags: Bella, Boxing, Jacob, Seth, Tragedy

Views: 863

Replies to This Discussion

Yep :)

Glad Bella and Jake could sort out their feelings for each other. However, now they have to deal with a few other complications, like the reactions of the people around them to this news, and more immediately, the whole situation with Leah.  Can't wait to read more!

Hi S du Toit,

Emmett has never been blind and in his own little way he has been trying to hint that he wouldn't mind, which is why he was teasing them in the kitchen that day and why he had teased them at the Pizza Palace. But while he doesn't necessarily mind, he's not going to come right out offer his sister up to his best friend. If he had told told them it was okay, then Jacob would know that the only person's reaction he has worry about is Seth's. Thanks for the review!

Emmet's attitude towards them as a couple has changed, and his reaction might surprize them, but I wonder how her dad will react?  They better hope he doesn't find out about the bonfire incident!

Poor Seth will just be heartbroken, unless he finds some one else!  At least he won't have false hopes any more.

Chapter 9                                                                                                                    

Leah

A person can't love somebody one day then not love them the next. It's just not possible. If it were possible, it couldn't have been genuine love in the first place. And I believed Sam loved medeeply and truly loved me. The immersed glow I'd observed on the occasions he'd confessed those wonderfully special words to me made it impossible for him to deny.

I got that I had made a mistake, and he was angry with me, but it wasn't as bad as he made it out to be. He just needed some time ... a couple of days to realize that it was just a stupid incident. And the sharp, throbbing spasm of pain I felt in my head that came with the slightest movement of my body was sure to keep me from ever repeating it.

I was even breaking out in cold sweats, trying to keep from gagging on nothing.

I spread the thick, cotton washcloth out over my palm, turned on the cold water, and held my hand underneath it for a little while before slapping the icy, soaked rag on top of my head as I slowly lay back in the bathtub, letting the cold wetness drain down my scalp, neck, and face. My head hurt too badly to worry about Sam's assertion for the moment.

I sighed and moaned. Relief was nowhere to be found.

Barely mustering enough energy to slosh myself out of the tub, I weakly crawled over to the toilet, dripping water all over the red brick-patterned linoleum floor and dry heaved as quietly as I could, until some disgusting, yellow fluid from my dehydrated, nauseous stomach finally made its way out of my mouth. I felt like I was dying.

When I finally managed to towel off, wipe up the floor, get dressed, and haul myself out of the bathroom, I met Jacob in the hallway.

"Good. You took a shower!" he snipped, his voice loaded with confrontational sarcasm.

I pushed my way past him, holding on to my aching head.

As if I wasn't feeling tortured enough as it was, he followed me into my bedroom, refusing to realize my ignoring him meant I wanted to be left alone.

He wasn't going to go away easily, nor did I really deserve for him to in the first place. I knew the sooner I got the tirade over with, the better. "I'm sorry, Jake," I murmured, finding my way to the bed, sadness and regret already threatening tears from my eyes.

"Leah, what the hell were you thinking?" He glared, disappointment and anger evident all over his scowl. "What the hell would you have done if Bella and I weren't there?"

Slumping wearily, I frowned, without a single ounce of fight in me. There was no excuse for my idiocyno acceptable defense. I attempted to explain why I took the drink, anyhow. "I wouldn't have done it if you weren't there, Jacob. Honest. I felt safe enough to try it because you and Bella were there."

Regardless of how ridiculous my reasoning sounded coming from my lips, after the fact, my claim was essentially the truth.

"Pfft ..." He huffed, with a roll of his eyes. "Don't give me that crap, Leah. Do you realize how much trouble you could have got us all into?"

I closed my eyes and hung my head shamefully, wondering how I could have been so thoughtless, especially after I had promised Jacob I wouldn't do anything stupid.

Everyone seemed as if they were having so much fun, though. I didn't think a few forced down gulps of the nasty tasting mix Emily gave me would hurt me, and they didn't, at first. I kept waiting to feel some sort of a difference, and I kept taking more gulps when the difference didn't come soon enough for me. All at once, the next thing I knew, I was sloppily hanging all over Sam, barely able to hold myself up ... if even that.

"All because you're too mentally weak to just say no," Jake heatedly rambled on, sounding every bit the parent as Harry and Sue.

He was right. I was too weak to say no. I let the condescending eyes ogling mefor not drinking, due to my agepressure me. I guess I really just wanted to fit in, to be part of the crowd. Oh. I became part of the crowd, all right, the worst part of the crowd. I was the entertainment and the joke of the night.

Why didn't I just leave?

Each remark Jacob made lifted the guilt inside of me a little higher up my throat.

"I've been out there a few times. You didn't see me getting drunk, stumbling all over the place, and puking my guts out!"

I squeezed my eyelids closed and quietly uttered, "I know, Jake," as my shame sent tears dripping down my cheeks.

I buried my head in the palms of my hands to let him finish his rant, supposing his anger was justified.

He quieted once I sniffled.

"Leah."

His tone was gentler.

I lifted my head, wiping my eyes.

"You better not ever do that again," he ordered, giving me a hard stare. "Sam better not ever take you out there again. He got lucky this time!"

"Don't worry. He won't," I quietly assured, unable to control the breaking of my voice as I stretched out on my stomach, flat against the bed. I couldn't hold back the sorrow any longer, and I burst out crying. "He dumped me, Jake. He doesn't want to see me anymore. He said he didn't want the 'baby-sitting' responsibility."

Jacob blinked, and his scolding facial wrinkles eased completely away.

"And whatever you're thinking of saying, Jake, don't. I don't want to hear it!" I sobbed, glaring. I was unfairly projecting some of the blame over my hurting out to him, but I didn't care. "I'd rather you just leave."

I doubted he had any words of comfort for me, anyway. He never liked the idea of me going out with Sam in the first place. No one did. The thought that everyone would be happy to hear the news of our break-up stung, a lot.

Jacob dropped his gaze to the carpet. "Sorry, Leah, but you're right. I don't have anything good to say." He lifted his head. Despite his words, I could see he wasn't totally void of compassion as he went on to offer me his uninvited opinion. "Sam's almost eighteen. He really is too old for you."

The silent tears fell harder. Burying my head in my arms while I listened for the door to close behind him, I let them fall free.

After a few more moments had passed, it occurred to me the sounds of his presence continued. I peeped back up.

Jake was leaning against my dresser with the oddest smirk curled on his lips. "Besides, according to you, you love someone else."

Jasper with his arm around me flashed in my mind. I stiffened with recollection and gasped. "Oh, my freakin' ... I remember!" I wailed.

Flipping over onto my back, I had the intention to sit-up, until the sharp pang of my hangover stabbed me in the brain, forcing me to hold still and relax on the bed. I reached for the pillow sitting beside me and smothered the visible humiliation burning in my face, feeling absolutely horrified.

Jake's subtle chuckles increased to full blown laughter, bringing more bits of the night, pouring into the broad daylight of my consciousness. "Oh, no! What am I going to do now?" I questioned myself out loud, hating my senselessness even more and trying to find a comforting thought to help me to save face the next time I saw Jasper. "He has to know I wasn't in my right mind."

"As the wise, once well-versed-on-the-subject-matter, Billy Black has spoken on several occasions, 'drunken words are sober thoughts,'" Jake recited, speaking in the voice of his dad. Then he guffawed without remorse.

I embarrassedly followed with my own laughter. If anything, it took my mind off Sam. "Okay. Give me a break now, Jacob," I pleaded, giving him a smile as I stewed in my embarrassment.

He literally did give me a break when he told me not to worry about it. Jasper understood I was mindlessly intoxicated, and he reminded me that Jasper, also, never had the fortune, or misfortune, depending on how you might look at it, of hearing Billy's wonderful words of wisdom.

"Did you talk to Bella this morning?" he asked, on a more serious note.

"Yes ... She tore into me, too!" I glumly revealed.

"Did she tell you anything else?"

I answered, "Just a little," sure of the conversation that was about to follow.

"Did she tell you I kissed her?"

Live excitement sparked from him. I rolled my eyes. He was worse than Bella.

But even though I wasn't in a joyous mood, I quickly decided the least I could doafter letting him down and virtually getting us grounded for lifewas to rise above my self-pity for his sake.

I was also tempted to tease him a little and make him sweat.

They were supposed to be keeping it a secret from everyone, and here they were both chomping at the bit to spread the word, after less than only twenty-four hours. I narrowed my eyes. "No. She never said anything about you kissing her."

He flinched, getting a puzzled maybe-Bella-didn't-want-Leah-to-know straightness to his face.

I held my own face expressionless, slowly finishing with: "What she did say was ... that she and you made out!"

He flaunted a huge grin, and I was actually glad to see him with so much happinessJacob and Bella both. However, I quickly remembered and imagined the appearance of Seth's inevitable devastation hovering over the horizon.

"Are you gonna tell Seth?" I asked, hearing noticeable sorrow in my question.

He nodded and sighed, frowning worriedly. "Not until after the boxing match next weekend. I'm supposed to be helping him train, and that's not going to happen if he's mad at me. I don't want to mess with his head like that before a match, especially not this one."

I fully agreed with Jake's intentions because every La Push boxer was passionate about the hometown win. They gave their utmost all during the yearly, local match. It was one of the few times they could showcase their skills in front of all the people they knew. The boxing gym had existed in La Push forever, and most of the dads and grandfathers boxed at one time or another themselves. Boxing was huge around La Push; the entire community, as well as a large Forks crowd, showed up to support them, and the guys always made it well worth anyone's time to attend.

"That's a good idea." I moaned, rubbing my temples in pain again, physical head-hurting pain for myself and emotional heart-hurting pain for me and my brother.

I gave my word to Jacob though, and I planned on abiding by it. Bella and Jacob had waited long enough for this relationship and deserved it. Once I had experienced first-hand how it felt for people to interfere with my love life, I decided no person had the right to stand in the way of two people who wanted to be together, two people whom I knew were in lovenot even my own brother.

I pushed away, or attempted to push away, the new feelings of misery arching up inside of me that I didn't want Jacob to see, which I'm sure he didn't want to see either.

As Jacob was about to leave the room, he turned to me and said, "It hurts, doesn't it? Uh ... you and Sam," in a way that led me to believe he could see the gloom I was trying to hideclearlyversus the idea that he may have been speaking from his own experience.

I shook my head up and down, even though half of the pain he was witnessing on me was coming from thoughts of Seth's soon-to-be-damaged heart and pride. I hoped he assumed it was my own heartache written all over my face.

"Sorry," he said, then closed the door behind him.

I lay on my bed after he left, thinking about the conversation I'd had with Seth about Bella just weeks before Jacob came home.

"Why don't you just tell her how you feel already? Kiss her, and tell her how you feel now."

"I will when the time's right. What? You think I'm worried about her going out with that douche, Mike Newton? I could see she doesn't really want to. I just don't understand why she is. But I bet you know, don't know?"

"Who knows why she does the things she does," I countered, mentally kicking myself for opening the conversation up to the very line of questioning I had tried so hard to avoid.

"Whatever," he snapped, then added a softer, "I really think she likes me though."

He looked into my eyes with questions, and I answered honestly and with a smile. "I think she likes you, too." I silently added the words, but she loves Jake in my mind and frowned deep inside of me as I spoke them.

Whether Bella realized it or not, she did have an attraction to Seth. It was just buried deep beneath a thick layer of intense Jacob-love. I had observed enough close interactions between those two to know this to be true. Seth had been spending more time as of late with her than even I had been. And they treated each other with such caring closeness, plus always being chipper and laughing when in the other's company.

Seth had a sense of it, as well; it's the reason he couldn't give up. I had been hoping he'd buck up and call her on it before it was too late, but her behavior could be somewhat baffling at times. It was no wonder why he didn't. Her actions didn't always match her words, and her words didn't always match her feelings. Not that she was dishonest; she just wasn't always in touch with her inner Bella.

She kept many a guy at bay with her ever changing diffidence and body language. I think it was part of some type of defense mechanism she had.

I came to believe Jacob could also see this trace of attraction between her and Seth when I sometimes caught him staring at the two of them with jealous eyes, which I surmised was the reason he backed off for as long as he did.

That was all over now.

Being twins, Seth and I shared pages of firsts together, and if Sam didn't make up with me soon, we were about to share another one. The simple realization brought a new flow of tears from my eyes.

Sam has to forgive me.

It was the only way I could be there for Seth one-hundred percent. I brushed my tears away, reminding myself that Sam loved me, then closed my eyes and floated off to a nap.

Poor Leah :( I feel so bad for her. Guess she really did learn her lesson the hard way and at the expensive of love aswell. I wonder what will happen now with her, Sam and Jasper and Emily who seemed to be behind Leah's mistake. Mhh I wonder

I am also worried for Jake, Bella and Seth...I wonder if Seth will find out the truth before the actual match...god I can just imagine the fury and betrayal and hurt.

Hi Infinite Love,

Emily is not a good girl in this story, lol! But for Leah, its all part of growing up. Poor Seth is right!

Thanks for the comment!

Poor Leah!  She was definitely surprized by Sam's reaction, and now she feels bad for her brother too!  I hope things get better somehow for both of them!

Hi Seugnet Du toit,

No, Leah didn't expect Sam to break up with her. She is young and in love for the first time, believing in happy ever after. But as many of us know. First loves rarely last. Thanks for the comment.

Chapter 10

Seth

I finished warming my muscles by hitting the punching mitts Jacob held up in front of me. Then, sipping some water, I got ready to watch Jasper's bout. His fight was up next. There was a short intermission after his fight, another fight, and then it was my turn. Jacob was on the schedule to box right after me. The main eventhe was the last fight of the night.

The boxing match had a decent turnout. About ten local teams had shown for the event, along with a couple of Canadian teams.

The Center was packed; just about everybody I knew was in attendance, even some of my Fork's teachers.

The air smelled of popcorn and sweat. Not a good combination, I know.

But it was the energy coming from the local hometown crowd that always got to me. That level of excitement was contagious, and it was powerful. They loved us, and we loved them. It always reminded me of how proud I was to be a Quileute from La Push, even though, technically, I was from Forks.

Our team was doing extremely well. More than three-quarters of our guys had already won, which added to the pressure to continue on with the trend. You didn't want to be one of the guys who lost in your hometown when everyone you were acquainted with was there to cheer you on.

Jasper exited the locker room and was standing near the ring, shadow boxing, while he waited. If he was anything like me, I knew he wished Emmett was there. I was sure Emmett was Jasper's main wingman during a match.

Jacob was mine. When I boxed, the only person's voice I listened for was Jake's. It was strange because even with all the yelling and cheering, his voice was all I could ever hear. I automatically tuned everyone out and listened for him to give me instructions or give me approval.

Naturally, the coach told you what to do between rounds, but it's not always easy to absorb while you're dead tired and trying to catch your breath.

I'd listen for Jake to tell me if I was doing all right. If I wasn't, I'd listen for him to tell me what I needed to do to win. He'd say things like: straight jabs, keep your guard up, one-two, he's putting his head down-uppercut. I made it through some tough bouts that way.

Now that Jacob wasn't around most of the year, I listened for Emmett's and Jasper's voices. I didn't feel as confident during those bouts, though. Since Emmett was gone, I wondered whose voice Jazz would be listening forprobably Jake's.

Jake was helping our coach in the corner. As a corner man, he wasn't allowed to say anything to us when he was standing beside us. All he could do was hand us water, the spit bucket, and use the towel to wipe away our sweat ... or blood, if it came down to it.

But Jacob would listen to the coaching, and if Old Ben left a key point out, Jacob would step a ways away from the ringthat was the only way he could cheerand he'd let us know what the coach missed. This time, because Jacob's fight was so close to mine, he wasn't going to be able to be in my corner. It didn't matter. He was present.

I wanted to show him that I really had been working hard all year. Judging by the sound of his voice over the telephone a few months back, he had been disappointed when I got eliminated at the state tournament. I may have lost, but it wasn't because I'd been slacking off, and that's what I wanted him to see.

My opponent's name was Riley. I knew him well. We had fought each other before, several times, actually. He had been like my nemesis in the ring when I was younger. Boy, did we have some battles. He'd win one time. I'd win the next time. It went back and forth like that all year long until he had a growth spurt and moved out of my weight class. I caught up to him now, and we were about to face each other in the ring once more.

Bella and Leah were sitting in the front row. Renee and Sue didn't come. Neither of them liked to watch us box. They always became upset, even if we were winning. Harry had to work, but Charlie was standing in his sheriff's uniform, near the back of the room, fidgeting impatiently.

Nearing my fight, a small amount of nervous fear began to bubble inside of me. I wasn't afraid to box, just afraid to lose. I always got that way before a fight. I didn't care what anyone said. Everyone got nervous about losing, to some degree, before a fight. If they said they didn't, they were lying. Boxing wasn't a team sport. It was just two guys. There was one winner, one loser. Should you be the loser, you had to take the loss all by yourself. Nerves and fear were helpful feelings, according to Old Ben. They pushed you to fight harder, to pull every ounce of energy from your worn-out body in order to win. They gave a boxer what we called heart, and a person with heart never gave up.

I took a seat beside Bella when Jasper climbed into the ring. She smiled. Something about her smile always calmed me. She had faith in me; it made me feel good, and I always welcomed the opportunity to impress her.

"Are you nervous for Jasper?" I asked her.

"I have a few butterflies. Nowhere near what I have when Emmett's about to fight, though."

That made a lot of sense. Emmett was a big guya heavy guy. His fights were tough because his competition was huge. When he climbed into the ring, you knew it could go either way. When Jasper climbed in the ring, nine times out of ten, he was going to win. Jake was like that, too. Me, I won about seven out of ten. I could be honest about that. Seven out of ten was a very good boxer.

Jasper and his opponent met in the center of the ring. The bell chimed. They touched gloves, and it was on. We were silver gloves, so the rounds were only two minutes long. But it was a long two minutes when you were boxing.

I could tell right away Jasper was way better than his opponent, Diego, a participant from Riley's club. He was decent but not quite the same boxing caliber as Jasper. It was a sure win for Jazz.

As I watched on, I recalled when Jasper first started boxing.

He had been real anxious to have his first match.

We had already hit about four boxing matches, but Old Ben continued to refuse to let Jasper fight. All the guys Jasper's weight had too many fights on Jazz, too much experience. They were like me. They had been boxing since they were eight years old. Jasper was eleven and had never fought before.

Coach didn't want to throw him in with a guy that was too skilled. A bad loss on your first couple matches could determine whether or not you ever wanted to box again.

By the fifth match, Jasper was dying to get into the ring. He begged Old Ben to let him fight. He told Coach he didn't care how much experience the guy had, and that he knew he could handle it.

Finally, Ben decided to match Jasper up in an exhibition bout with me during our annual boxing match.

I was one weight class above Jasper, but we were best friends and teammates. Coach felt like he'd have some control over the bout. He told me to take it easy on Jasper and to consider the fight to be more like a sparring session. We'd sparred before; it was no big deal.

We stepped into the ring together, and the bell dinged. And we ended up fighting our tails off!

I started by throwing some mild jabs at him, snapping his head back a few times. Then he connected me with a hard, straight right that dazed me. I had to step up my efforts. I started to hit him harder. He started firing back just as hard. And he was fast. Man, was he fast.

I couldn't let him beat me. It was his first fight, and he was lighter than me. How would that have looked? I had to turn it all the way up.

The crowd was going bananas at what a good show we were putting on. The only people in the entire Center that weren't cheering were our families.

Harry and Charlie were sitting right next to each other. I'm sure that was awkward. I listened for Jake's voice, but I couldn't hear anything coming from him, either. In the end, I got the win, but I was exhausted.

Jasper didn't care that he'd lost. He was overjoyed just having had the opportunity to step into the ring.

Charlie was as proud as a peacock.

Jasper was beaming when they took off his headgear and was still beaming after they announced me as the winner. We hugged each other. I said, "Dude, I was planning on taking it easy on you, but you were hitting me way too damn hard. You made me work for that win."

"Thanks," he said, grinning. "Next time."

We never had a next time. Harry was upset that we fought each other in the first place. He told Ben he never wanted to see us in the ring together again.

I remembered Harry's exact words. "Those two kids are friends. They don't need to be pounding each other up like that."

"And the winner is ... In the red corner, Jasper Swan," the commentator announced.

I stood up and followed Jasper into the locker room to tell him good job. When I came back out, it was just about my turn.

"Good luck," Leah said, as I walked past her and Bella to climb into the ring.

"He doesn't need luck when he's got all that skill," Bella said, smiling. "You're going to win, too, Seth. I know it."

The bell rang, and Riley and I got busy. He didn't hit as hard as I remembered him hitting. He was still fast, and he had good moves, though. He was making some decent connections.

Jake always told me to use the first couple exchanges to really see my opponent. Therefore, I made a point to always tell my brain, look at him. Now what do you see?

My brain answered, He's dropping his left. I saw it again. Every time he threw his right, his left glove went down a little, exposing his chin. Right hook, Seth! Right hook! I hit him with a couple hard right hooks, and after that, I had his number.

The first round finished. Back in the corner, Ben said I was doing fine, but that I wasn't keeping my own guards up well enough.

The buzzer sounded for the second round. We went back at it. Riley had his left up high this time, so I threw a flurry of body shots. He dropped it again. I gave him two jabs, followed by a clean straight right. He backed up and started to swing wildly, exposing himself even more.

I had him easy.

I heard the bell ring for the end of round two, and the referee yelled, "Break!"

The next thing I knew, Bella was sinking into my eyes. There was a feathery, white border hovering around her. She was an angel.

Wow, what a dream.

Hearing her whisper, "Seth," I cupped the nape of her neck and drew her to me. Delicious flavored coconut pleasantly seeped into my taste buds as our lips locked.

The feeling of two hard punches ramming into my chest woke me. "Seth, what are you doing?" Bella shrieked.

"Huh?" I didn't know what was going on. Bella was lingering above me, wearing an outraged, crimson scowl.

The door flung open behind her. Jacob, Quil, Embry, and Jasper straggled in. Bella whisked around and bolted straight for the hallway.

I sat up, swinging my legs off the side of the table I was lying on and shook myself, trying to focus and clear up my fuzzy mind.

"What happened?" Jake asked, examining me probingly. I noted rippled worry lines surfacing on his features. "Seth? You okay, brother?"

A sick-feeling knot grew in the pit of stomach, causing me to ache in disappointment mixed with disbelief as I steadily began to comprehend what had happened.

It was the first time in my life I had ever been knocked out!


Jacob

Jasper took his fight as easy as always. I got gloved and ready for mine. Once I finished warming up, I stood, lightly throwing air punches, waiting for Seth's upcoming match.

The sensation of someone's sight tapped me. I knew who it was. I smiled, pivoting in her direction to see her better. The way she grinned at me made me feel like I should go over and kiss her before my fight, but we were still keeping it on the "down low" which proved to be pleasurable in its own right. There was a certain amount of excitement that came with sneaking around, stealing little make-out sessions every chance we found.

Seth was up. I moved a folding chair close to his corner and relaxed. I had watched him and Jasper spar each other, and I knew Seth was in good shape. I wasn't worried.

He started off kind of slow, but he was doing all right.

Almost immediately, I recognized the guy was open for a right hook. I always waited before I called any help out to anyone, to give them a chance to figure out their opponents on their own.

I grinned there you gocheering him on as he saw Riley's weakness, found his rhythm, and started hammering on him.

I was positive he took round one. When Seth returned to the corner, I stood up by the ropes and heard Ben tell him to keep his hands up better. Seth went back out and finished with round two in the bag.

The bell sounded, ending the round.

But just as the referee was yelling "break," Seth dropped both arms to turn. During the very same instant, I caught sight of a late punch from Riley, already swinging through the air about to connect.

Protect yourself at all times.

The punch landed, and Seth went down.

I leapt to my feet, stunned, as Seth struck the canvas. He hit, sitting straight up in the shape of an L. For a second, I thought he was only knocked down.

He turned to look at me, in slow motion it seemed like, then his eyes rolled behind his head, and he fell straight backward. The rest of his body smacked flat against the canvas. My heart started pounding. The referee began counting him out. I lifted my hands to cup my mouth, realizing I was gloved.

I hollered, "Get up, Seth! Get up!" over and over again.

Jasper was at my side, bellowing, "It was after the break! He got hit after the break!"

By count number four, Seth sat up. By count number seven, Seth was standing. By count number ten, Seth had both of his fists up high enough for the ref to let him continue on. He walked with an ever-so-slight visible wobble back to the corner for a one minute rest and unsteadily plopped down on the stool.

Ben asked him if he was okay. Seth nodded. Jasper gave him some water, and he drank and spit. Ben looked deep into his eyes to make sure Seth was alert.

I swallowed edgily. "You good, Seth?"

He nodded again. He seemed all right. The sixty-second break ended, and the bell sounded for round three. They touched gloves. Seth launched into an awkward swinging.

The way he was moving didn't look normal to me. He began to back up, and he wasn't landing any punches. Leah and Bella were sitting in the front row with a perfect view. I sat down in the open chair beside Bella, worriedly concentrating on what I was observing in the ring.

Seth almost looked as if he was stumbling in there. "His feet aren't moving right," I murmured to myself as I popped back up, out of my seat.

Seth's head was snapping back. He didn't appear to know what was going on. Something's wrong with him ... He's messed up!

Ben must have noticed what I had been noticing, because as soon I stepped beside him to say watch how he's moving, Ben pulled the white towel from his back pocket and tossed it into the ring. The fight was over. Riley won by corner retirement.

Jasper and Quil swiftly unlaced Seth's headgear, lifting it off him. Ben asked him how he was doing again. He nodded, mumbling something, sounding like, "I'm all right."

The doctor came over and shined the flashlight in his eyes, asking him how many fingers he was holding up. Seth answered correctly. The doctor cleared him to get out of the ring.

I spotted Leah, and she was crying. Bella was on the verge of tears, also. They came over to where we were standing. I wanted to walk with Seth into the locker room, but my fight was up next. Jasper couldn't do it because he was helping Ben in the corner.

"Go with him to the locker room, Leah," I instructed.

I heard her say, "Come with me, Bella."

Bella widened her eyes as if she was asking for my permission. That was a little strange. I smiled and nodded at her.

"I'll be right back, Jacob," she said.

I felt restive because of Seth, doing my best to stay composed. Consequently, my focus was on finishing my fight as soon as possible just to go check on him. I planned on ending it the moment I stepped into the ring.

My guy was new, from one of the Seattle teams. Roule. He was shorter but beefier than me. I knew he was inexperienced from watching him hit the pads. You could always tell how good someone was by the way they hit the pads.

They called my name. I shuffled for the introduction and met the ref in the center. I heard the bell, we touched gloves, and I moved toward him, pawing at his gloves a couple times and waited for him to come in on me in return.

We engaged, throwing our first exchange of punches.

He lifted both hands up high in front of his face with his elbows a little too far out. His whole body was exposed. He was less experienced than I'd first thought. Cake. I threw a quick couple jabs to his head. He lifted his guards some more. I switched to the body and knocked three fast thrusts in to his ribs, hearing the gruff sound of a painful wheeze jutting from his lungs as his mouthpiece popped out from between his teeth and fell to the canvas.

He went down on one knee, gasping for air and couldn't get back up. Twenty seconds was all it took. It took longer for me to get free of all my gear.

Quil, Jasper, and Embry met me as soon as I climbed out of the ring.

Everyone was pissed about what happened to Seth, chattering about how the punch happened after the break. Meaning, they thought Seth should have been given five minutes to completely recover. I wasn't exactly sure if it happened after or during the break.

As we headed into the locker room, we passed Riley in the hallway.

"Hey, dude! You got lucky with that after the break shot," Quil mouthed off, stepping in front of him. "Seth kicked your ass all over the ring."

A smile twitched Riley's lips, followed by a deep chuckle. "Yeah? Well. Maybe he should learn to keep his hands up till the ref completely breaks."

Quil poked his chest toward Riley. I stepped in front of Quil, and Riley backed up with fear in his eyes.

"Good fight, man," I said, extending my hand out to him.

He squinted hesitantly, but he reached out and shook it. "Thanks." He smiled.

I stepped back, out of his way, keeping myself between Quil and him, and let him walk by. It was disrespectful not to give a guy his props when he won. Quil shoved me from behind ... He didn't understand that.

As soon as I pushed the locker room door open, I was hit with a weird sensation ofI don't know whatI just walked into. Bella was blushing. I tried making eye contact, but she lowered her eyes from me and hurried out the door.

"What happened?" I asked, initially referring to Bella.

When I witnessed the glossed sheen in Seth's eyes, my concern immediately changed. The blank expression that quickly turned to emotionally upset-ness cut my heart. "Seth? Are you okay, brother?"

Seth's eyes welled. I remembered the feeling aired on his face, all too well. It hurts bad enough, just to lose. To get knocked out, and in front of all your friends and family, has got to be a million times worse.

"I don't know, man," Seth uttered slow and lumpy throated, fighting to hold in his tears. "I've never been hit that hard in my life. I was rocked out of my mind."

Seth's watery eyes and hurting voice brought moisture to my own. "You had him, brother." I hugged him, instantly becoming lumpy throated myself, trying to sound unaffected while saying, "You were winning. If it wasn't for that late punch..." But not quite getting it to come out as un-shaky as I would have liked.

"Is that what happened? I got knocked out with a late punch?"

"Nah. Ben threw in the towel," Jasper answered. "You didn't get knocked out. Personally, I think Ben jumped the gun. It looked to me like you were coming back."

"Sh- I don't remember any of it." He hung his head. "All I remember is hearing the bell, hearing the referee yell ‘break', and that's it."

I gave Seth my version of the events. Of course, none of us was in agreement of what we actually saw.

We were all amazed when he revealed he didn't remember fighting part of the last round, Ben throwing in the towel, the doctor checking him over, or even walking into the locker room after it was done. "All I remember is coming to, and I was..." He quit talking.

I remembered Bella. "And you were...?"

"I wa- I... was nothin'," he stuttered softly with a weird expression. "It's all a blur."

Leah called Harry and let him know what happened. He got off work and came to pick her and Seth up. "Doc said it was more shock than anything," Harry explained to me before he left. "You staying at the house tonight? I'll make sure Sue leaves the door open for you."

"Okay. I'll be home as soon as we're done here," I told him.

Apparently, Jasper had been infatuated with this Maria girl ever since she had asked him to dance one time. After his fight, she was so impressed, she asked him out. He didn't think twice about jumping in with her for the ride back to Forks. The rest of us stayed and helped Old Ben clean up the Center.

There were so many fights. It was already 10:30 p.m. by the time the match ended and 11:00 p.m. by the time I got Bella home.

I parked across the street. I wanted to spend some time with her before she had to go inside. I leaned over and found her lips with mine.

Then, blinding headlights beamed through my front window. Maria pulled into Bella's driveway, and Jasper got out. I briefly wondered where they came from. They left way before we did. He went straight inside, not appearing to have noticed my car. We hadn't told him about us yet, but I had my suspicion that he may have known, just not by word of mouth.

"Leah seemed upset about something," I mentioned to Bella, thinking maybe it was because Jasper left with Maria.

"I know. When she went to call Harry, she ran in to Sam and guess who?"

"Emily."

Bella nodded, substantiating my thoughts about Emily trying to be with Sam. It made me furious to think she was the true reason he broke up with Leah. Gross. She had already been out with half the team. Sam was an idiot and didn't deserve my little cousin anyway.

"I'm sorry I missed your fight, Jake."

That reminded me. "By the way, what was up in the locker room? You looked strange. "

Bella fidgeted and silently faced the window. I didn't like it when she acted uncomfortable; it made me feel uncomfortable, as well. I wondered what the deal was.

When she redirected herself back toward me, even though it was dark, I saw her rosy hue begin to emerge. Her eyes fell sheepishly. "Nothing... I was upset I missed your fight, that's all. I shouldn't have been in the locker room with Seth in the first place."

"That's okay. Seth needed help. He told us he couldn't remember anything that happened within about a ten minute timeframe after the knockdown."

"Really?" Her surprise and distress was to be expected, but there was something deeper bothering her, something more than just concern.

I didn't know what it was, but I didn't like it. "What's up?"

"Nothing. It's just ... weird. Dangerous."

"It is pretty weird. The doctor said it was more shock than anything, though. He'll be fine."

"I wonder what time it is." She tied her arms around my neck to kiss me, continuing to exude an odd, troubled vibe that I intended on asking about again but ... not at the moment. A couple seconds later and I forgot all about it.

Every time I felt her trying to let go of my lips, I started a new kiss that she would eagerly fall back into. She was already a little past curfew. I knew it wouldn't do us any good to get her into trouble, but I didn't want her to leave.

I didn't have a curfew, at least not one from Billy at my house, but I did my best to please my aunt and uncle whenever I stayed with them, so I eventually had to let go of her for real.

"I better go inside before they start searching for me. Are you coming over tomorrow?" she asked. A question I heard a few other times already. One I felt to be specifically related to me and last year's stupidity, which brought on a ton of guilt because I knew she thought about me avoiding her, and she worried that it would happen again.

"Yep," I answered, caressing the outline of her jaw with my thumb and immersing myself in her rich, dark eyes. I planned on spending as much time with her as I could before it was time for me to go back to school. "I'll be here so much, you'll be hiding from me by the end of the summer."

"Never. I might be hiding with you, but I'll never be hiding from you," she cutely replied. She gave me a fast kiss, opened the door, and climbed out. "I'll miss you till tomorrow then."

I waited for her to get all the way inside her house before I drove back to Harry's place. Seth was already asleep. Sue was up, and I was sure she would be up for the next couple hours, or possibly even all night, to wake Seth up periodically.

As I climbed into bed, I thought about how great the rest of the summer was going to be. Once we got over the two hurdles known as Emmett and Seth, that is. I was worn out and instantly dozed off to sleep, blissful and otherwise carefree.

Everything changed overnight.

I was awakened by Sue telling me my mom was in the hospital. She was really sick, and they were running tests. My plane ticket had already been paid for, and I had one hour to get packed. My flight was scheduled to leave from Seattle in the next few hours.

I anxiously put my clothes on and went back to La Push to collect my things. My mind was a million places. I needed to get to California to be with my mom - fast. I was worried and scared for her. I needed to see Bella. I needed to talk to Seth.

Billy and I were in such a rush; I barely convinced him to let me stop at Bella's to say goodbye. Bella would understand. The only problem was, I wasn't sure when I'd be coming back home again.

Consumed with impatience, I exasperatedly huffed as Billy leisurely drove the maximum speed allowed the entire way to Forkscreeping up the road as if going a meager five miles above the legal limit was a crime punishable by death. I leaned over to make a flagrant glance at the speedometer.

"Calm down, Jake," Billy responded. "We're fine."

I ignored him. I didn't see myself as being able to calm down and take a comfortable breath until I was in the plane, up in the air, and on my way to see my mom.

At last, we turned down Bella's block.

In the distance, I made her out, standing on the side of the porch, probably looking at the flowers or brushing her hair. Who knew? Good. I had a little bit of breathing room. It wouldn't be necessary to go inside to explain my situation to everyone else before I could say goodbye to her.

"Dammit," I grumbledno such luckwhen I spotted Seth coming from behind her house. Oh well, so much for a private goodbye.

Billy cast a nosy glimpse at me, but the aggravated grimace plastered on my face most likely deterred the question.

Bartering on whether or not to stop, I watched Seth stealing up behind her, and I did not have even a single minute to deal with him.

I felt Billy easing up on the gas right about the time Seth scooped his arms around her from behind.

Then, to my disbelief, she wiggled herself around and ... Were they actually in some kind of a hug?

Bella's expression in the locker room entered my mind. Instantly, I thought about what might have occurred. Did Seth confess his undying love to her or what?

Whatever happened, neither of them gave me a straight answer when I'd asked about it.

"Just go." I angrily looked out the opposite window. The truck jerked forward when Billy reacted startled to my cranky outburst. "We don't have time," I added.

I had more pressing concerns to worry about at the momentmy sick mom.

Oh dear...and here I thought Bella and Jake were doing well :( I guess not.

I wonder what will happen now...

Things have always been difficult for these two. If it isn't one thing its another and their feeling for each other will be tested. =) thanks for the comment. I should really slow down my posting to get further ahead in my story. But I'm always so anxious to hear what people think.

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