A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar
Your eyes meet, and everything narrows down to you and her, you and her, her, her, her. Jacob imprints on Angela. Suddenly, she is his entire world. Jacob/Angela
Written for anythingbutgrey over at LiveJournal. Title taken from the title of a Dashboard Confessional CD.
1. A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 4118 Review this Chapter
The irony of it all is? The first time you see her is at Bella's wedding.
You're standing on the edge of the crowd, waiting for your chance to "congratulate" the bride and groom, standing on the outside of a group of onlookers (on the outside, looking in - appropriate, you think, as you watch the love of your life and the love of hers twirl about the makeshift dance floor in the Cullens' front yard.)
Embry and Quil are with you, standing next to you and a little behind. They wouldn't let you come alone, and while at first you were angry, now you're grateful. Your heart aches and your throat constricts as Bella smiles, her arms wound tightly about Edward's neck. She hasn't even realized that you are there yet.
You want to laugh when you look down and notice that her feet are on top of Edward's as they glide across the dance floor (you wonder if she'll still be clumsy as a vampire, or if she'll acquire that haunting, disquieting grace; the thought makes you shiver.)
They shift an inch, just an inch, to the left, but that inch is enough to change your life forever.
Your eyes light upon a girl across the meadow. She has brown hair, friendly brown eyes. She is laughing, and her smile is absolutely infectious, because for some strange reason, you find yourself smiling too.
She glances across the room at you (or at Bella and Edward, but they are constantly spinning, weaving in intricate patterns around and around, and so she misses and her eyes land on you instead.) Your eyes meet, and everything narrows down to you and her, you and her, her, her, her. Suddenly, she is your entire world.
You don't see Embry and Quil exchange a glance and then grin. You barely notice the boy trying to get her attention.
You don't realize that the music has stopped, and Bella has finally noticed you are there, and is staring back and forth between you and her friend, a look of bittersweet resignation falling instantly across her face.
"Her name is Angela."
They're the first words Bella says to you, the first words you have consciously heard and comprehended in the past hour and a half (and counting) since you'd finally broken from your trance and been dragged off to the edge of the woods by Quil and Embry. Words like "imprint" and "soulmate" stick out in your mind as the fog lifts. Until then, you'd been able to see her, hear her, only her.
"Angela," you say, and she nods. (Edward is watching the two of you closely over Bella's shoulder, but you don't mind as much as you would have before. In fact, you barely even notice.)
"Bella, have you seen...Ben...?" The words die on her lips when she sees you, brought over, it seems, by the force of your thoughts alone. She is even more beautiful up close, tall, slender. Yours.
"Angela, this is Jacob," Bella says, going through the motions. "Jacob Black, Angela Weber."
"Hi," you say, and you can't take your eyes off of her.
"Hello," she murmurs, reaching out her hand to shake yours. Your fingers touch and already, you have the sense that this is right.
You glance at Bella, but she is already walking away, back towards her husband, her right hand gently closing over her left wrist.
2. A Mission
The next time you see her, she is standing in front of Newton's Outfitters arguing with her boyfriend.
It has been a week since Bella's wedding, and you haven't been able to get Angela out of your head, not for a minute, not for a second. You're driving Quil and Embry, never mind the rest of the pack, absolutely crazy, but you know that they're happy for you (you pretend not to hear the whispers in the back of their minds that you aren't supposed to hear but do anyway - At least it isn't Bella Swan *grimace* Cullen.)
You aren't looking for her, not really, but when some unknown force compels you to get on your bike and ride into town, you should have known that something was her. Every cell in your body needs, aches to see her again.
She is still at a distance when your eyes fall upon her, but you can immediately see, feel, and hear her distress. You push your bike forward a little faster, then pull to a stop in the parking lot of Newton's Outfitters.
"Ben," she's saying, and you thrill at the sound of her voice - you hadn't had time to talk much at the wedding before Ben had caught up with her, glanced at you, the jealousy apparent in his gaze (you didn't have to be able to read minds, because you were sure that your eyes were saying the same thing - mine) and whisked her away, twirling her about the dance floor. You'd had to clench your fists to keep from running after him and wrenching Angela from his arms.
"Ben, you promised me."
"Angie," he says, and his voice is almost condescending. You glare in his direction, your hands clenching. "It's just a camping trip. I'll be back in a week." He picks up a duffel bag from the ground and slings it across his shoulder.
"We were supposed to spend this week with my mom in Seattle," she says. Her voice is angry, but still quiet. She tries to give him the benefit of the doubt. "Did you forget, or-"
"No, Angela, I didn't forget," he says blithely, and Angela's eyes widen, just slightly. You are angry enough for the two of you. "When you asked me, I told you that Mike had already planned this trip for the same week. We've been planning to go for months."
You notice a group of boys sitting in a van off to the side, averting their eyes from the scene. You'd been so focused on Angela that you hadn't even realized they were there.
"You told me you were going to cancel!" she yells, and her voice sounds strange - you can tell right away that she usually doesn't allow herself to get this angry. "We leave for college in two weeks, and-"
"Exactly!" Ben yells, finally giving into his frustration. "We leave in two weeks! We! I need some time alone, Angela, I need-"
Angela's eyes are wide, shocked. She doesn't know what to say.
Ben sighs loudly, and the anger leaks out of him. "Look, we'll talk when I get back, alright?"
She nods mutely. He leans forward to kiss her cheek, but she turns her head away. Ben is surprised - at first. Then, he narrows his eyes, throws open the door to Mike's van, and jumps in, slamming the door behind him. "Let's go," he mutters angrily. You notice that wisely, none of his friends comment, and the van quickly pulls out of the lot, leaving Angela standing alone.
Angela doesn't watch the van driving off into the distance. Instead, she rubs furiously at her eyes and squares her shoulders. She doesn't want to be alone. She needs a friend, someone who she can talk to.
You want to be that someone (you want to be more, but she doesn't need that now, she needs a friend, someone to keep her mind off of what, of who, is hurting her. This is beginning to sound vaguely familiar.)
You jump off of your bike and Angela seems startled as you approach her, as if she wasn't expecting anyone else to be there, least of all you.
"Jacob," she says, and you can't help but smile at the sound of your name on her lips. "What are you doing here?"
You shrug. "Was passing through the area, and saw you here. Thought I'd come over and say hello." It's not a lie, not really. The details don't matter.
"You look upset," you blurt out, and you cringe internally. Damnit. You hadn't meant to say that out loud, not yet at least, not when she still seems so surprised that of all the places you could be on a Saturday afternoon, you're standing in the parking lot of a camping supply store talking to a girl that you barely know simply because you were passing through and noticed that she was there (you'd noticed her from a distance of a hundred feet, but you don't tell her that.)
She doesn't react the way you expected. Angela sighs, shakes her head, and stares down at her shoes. "It's nothing. Just a fight with Ben - my boyfriend," she clarifies, then mumbles, "We never fight," under her breath, as if that's important.
You want to take her in her arms, comfort her, never let her go. You settle on asking, "Want to talk about it?"
She shifts her gaze to your face, and you stare back at her, trying to keep your eyes from showing the intensity of everything you're feeling and just focus on showing her that you're sincere. The need to reach out and touch her is almost blinding in its strength, but you're able to rein it in, hold it back.
Whatever she does see must comfort her, because she nods. "Yeah. Yeah, I think I do."
You can't help but grin. You grab her hand, and she startles (because you took her hand or because of the heat of your skin, you're not sure) but her fingers tentatively slide between yours, and she smiles. You lead her over to your bike, then sling your leg over the side.
You hold out your hand to her. "Hop on."
She glances at the bike warily from the corner of her eye.
"It's perfectly safe," you say, but still she doesn't move.
You sigh and hop down, staring her straight in the eye. "I won't let anything happen to you." (It would kill me if anything happened to you.) "I promise." You hold out your hand to her again.
Angela Weber has never done anything reckless in her life (you can tell - she just doesn't seem the type).
She swallows nervously, but reaches out and takes your hand.
You spend the afternoon on the beach, taking in the sun that bursts sporadically through the clouds. Angela tells you that she thinks Ben is getting tired of her.
"Maybe we've been together for too long," she says with a shrug, pretending that the thought doesn't bother her. "Maybe he needs his space."
You can't help but frown. How anyone could get tired of her, want to be away from her, is a mystery.
You would never get tired of her.
"Have you ever been in love, Jacob?"
The question comes out of the blue, and you stare at her, trying to figure out what she is thinking. Your mind flashes to warm kisses before a battle, a voice saying Kiss me and come back, two hearts breaking as someone walks out of a room, out of your life, for what could have been forever.
Then, you think of a glance across the room at a wedding, eyes meeting and the world narrowing to you and her, and your voice catches in your throat. You find you can't answer right away.
Angela flushes. "I'm sorry. That was pretty forward. I shouldn't have asked such a personal question." She turns her face back to the setting sun.
"Yes," you answer slowly, keeping your voice steady. "I have." You stare at her for a long moment, but before she can see the look in your eye (you love her, you want her, you need her), you turn your face away.
"Did she break your heart, too?" Angela murmurs, her gaze now cast down at her feet. She is toeing the tip of her shoe through the sand.
"The first time, she did," you find yourself saying, and you glance at her out of the corner of your eye. "The second time... well, that's yet to be decided."
You can feel her eyes on you, wanting (begging) you to explain, but you know she won't ask (she doesn't pry - she's not like that), and you don't say anything more.
3. A Brand
Her eyes are sparkling with two parts mischief, one part laughter (ten parts disbelief, but you choose to ignore that, for now.)
She is sitting on the beach, on a driftwood log bleached white by the tide. You are standing, your feet bare, and you dip your toe in the water.
She shivers. "Aren't you cold?"
You shake your head. Part of you wants to sit on the log next to her, but a larger, more selfish part of you wants to wipe the disbelief from her eyes. It has been a week since you first brought her to La Push, and every day has been harder than the last to keep this secret from her. You know that Ben comes home tonight. You are almost out of time.
You pull away from her, walking backwards slowly, one, two, three steps. "Do you want me to show you?"
She nods. You can tell that she still thinks you are pulling her leg, playing a game.
Her eyes widen as you pull your shirt over your head and toss it to the ground. She's staring. You grin and her skin changes to a fetching shade of pink.
"Close your eyes," you say and she acquiesces without a word. Her eyelids flutter closed and you have the sudden urge to press your mouth to hers, wonder what her lips would feel like, wonder if she would welcome the kiss or push you away (or punch you and break her knuckles against your cheekbones. Next time, use a crowbar. You smile at the memory.)
Instead, you slip out of your pants and let the familiar feeling of the transformation to wolf take over you, until you are standing in front of her, four legs instead of two, covered in fur.
Slowly, you lope over to her side, bending to nudge her knee with your nose. She doesn't open her eyes. You let out a low growl. Well, now what?
A wry smile quirks at her lips. "Jacob Black, did you just growl?"
You can't answer her, can you? So, you give in to the earlier temptation, albeit in a more subtle manner - you gently nuzzle her cheek with your snout.
Angela's eyes pop open and you take a step backwards, not sure how she is going to react. You hope, pray that she isn't going to run screaming. You don't know what you'll do if she does.
You bend your head so you are eye-level with her and her brown eyes widen. "Jacob?" she breathes, and you nod your head.
Neither of you move. She isn't even breathing, and you're beginning to think that maybe this wasn't such a good idea, when suddenly, she lets out a breath, and says, "Oh. My. God."
You can't help it - your lips pull back over your teeth, your version of a smile, even though you know it probably looks more than a little menacing to -
"Okay, stop doing that," she says, and you close your mouth.
You blink. She blinks. Then, she slowly reaches her hand out towards you. You move your head towards her slowly, ever-so-slowly, and she hesitates, her hand directly above you, before gently running her fingers through your fur. Her touch is feather-light, almost if she's afraid but doesn't want you to know.
"Oh," she says, and her fingers travel a little further down your neck. You can't help the humming sound that comes from the back of your throat. You press your head against her hand.
"Well," she says, and she sounds somewhere between shocked and slightly amused. "That will teach me to stop believing in mythical creatures. Next thing I know, you’ll be telling me that vampires are real, too."
A loud bark of laughter escapes your throat (oh, if she only knew.) Her hand stills, then she laughs too, her hand trailing up to scratch between your ears. You close your eyes and sit back on your haunches, the humming sound growing louder. Then you slowly, slowly, lay your head in her lap.
You lie there silently for the rest of the afternoon, her hand running through your fur, and you feel perfectly content.
"Why did you tell me?"
Her voice is curious and full of something else, something you can’t quite put your finger on (or maybe you’re just reading too much into this, but no, that can’t be the case.) For everything you know about her, there is still a secret she hasn’t told, a part of her she still keeps bottled up, hidden away.
You’d do anything to be the one to break through her protective shell.
“Tell her,” the voice in your head says, a voice that sounds suspiciously like Sam, which would makes sense, since he’s been your staunchest supporter, the only one to whom this has all really made sense.
"I mean not that it isn't- not that I don't-" She stumbles over her words, flustered and a bit irritated, and all she wants is an explanation, so why can’t you just give that to her? (Because the last time you gave that to someone, everything fell apart, and you’re terrified that will happen again. But you won’t admit that, not even to yourself.)
But suddenly, the words are flowing like water, and you’re telling her everything. You’re telling her about the pack, its myths and legends, the ones that you thought were fake but turned out to be truer than you ever could have imagined. You tell her about the Quileutes, how you came to be. You tell her about the Cold Ones (you don’t tell her about the Cullens, though, about Bella - not yet. One dropped bomb at a time.)
Then, you tell her about imprinting. Her eyes are wide the entire time you speak, getting wider as words like “love at first sight” and “gravity moves” register in her mind. She doesn’t speak, but she is absorbing every word you say until you blurt out, “Angela, at Bella’s wedding… I imprinted on someone. Angela… I imprinted on you.”
The silence is deafening as your words sink in.
You can tell that Angela doesn't know what to say. She’s staring at you, disbelief etched on her face, her brow furrowed in confusion. She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. "I think...I think I should go home now."
You almost crumble under the weight of those words, but you’re able to hold yourself together as you nod and say, “Okay. I’ll drive you.”
The ride to her house is silent, achingly so, and she stares out the window, lost in thought. You ache to hear the sound of her voice, wish you knew what she was thinking, what she was feeling, hope that telling her all of this wasn’t the worst thing you could have ever done.
When you reach her house, you say goodbye, but she only reaches for the door and silently steps out into the night. You watch her back as she walks into the house, and you fight against the memory of someone else walking out of your room, out of your life (you can't think of that right now, because she isn't leaving, and you keep telling yourself that until you're almost convinced that it's the truth.)
4. A Scar
You can't get her out of your head.
It's been a week since you saw her last (your entire relationship with her has been measured in weeks, and you wish like hell that they were measured in days, hours, minutes. You wish she were with you now.) You're slowly driving yourself crazy with the need to see her, to be near her, to just talk to her. You know she is supposed to leave for college in less than twelve - you glance at the clock - make that eleven hours.
You can't help but think that you might never see her again, and the thought makes you shake your head. You need to focus. You need to think about something, anything else.
You go outside, shift into a wolf, and start running. There is no set destination in mind, but the wind against your fur and the ground against your feet help clear your mind. She'll come back, you tell yourself, ignoring the thoughts of your pack brothers as they pass through your mind, she has to.
She doesn’t come back.
She left for college yesterday. The thought that she left without saying goodbye, without acknowledging anything that has happened between you, friendship, imprint, or otherwise, makes you bury your head in your hands. You’re right back where you started, alone while the girl you love is in the arms of her beloved, and the thought makes you cringe, holding back a howl of anguish. You’re running before you realize you’ve made your way to your front door, stripping your clothes off along the forest floor, and exploding into a wolf. Maybe this time, if you run far enough, you won’t have to think about her or remember her, won’t have to think about how far you’ve fallen this time.
You stop short, your legs almost crumbling out from under you. She could be a mirage – she’s too far away for you to tell, but no, she’s approaching you now, slowly but with purpose until finally, Angela is standing directly in front you. You stare up at her warily, not sure why she has come back. You’re sure she has come to say goodbye (and you’ve had enough love-struck goodbyes to last you a lifetime.)
"Ben and I broke up," she says without preamble.
"Jacob!" She yells as you lope for the trees, but you're only gone for a minute - when you return, you're back to being a human, and she blinks, trying, you think, to put the two pieces of you together in her mind.
You step towards her, your eyes never leaving hers. Her brow furrows. She is obviously confused.
"Did you not just hear what I just said?" she asks, the irritation obvious in her tone.
There is barely an inch of space between you now, and she stares at you, wondering, you're sure, what the hell you're doing.
"Yeah," you say, "I heard you." Then, you press your lips to hers.
Angela gasps, shocked, and her body stills – for all of a second. Then, her arms are tentatively sliding around your shoulders and she’s pressing herself closer to you, and God, she feels perfect in your arms. This feels perfect. You gently tangle one of your hands in her hair, the other against her back pulling her closer still.
She is the first to pull away. She buries her face in your neck. “I was scared,” she says quietly, her lips moving against your neck. You shiver. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you, and about what you said. Then, Ben came over, and we got into another argument, and I just…” She lifts her head and stares into your eyes. “I’m still going to need some time, Jacob. Some time to adjust. Some time to get used to this. Is that okay?”
She’s biting her lip, and her hand is shaking against your shoulder, and you realize with a start that she is worried that you’ll push her away (this sudden role reversal is staggering, enough to send your mind reeling.)
Instead of answering, you step away from her, and for a moment, there is real fear in her eyes, but that fades when you hold out your hand.
“Come on,” you tell her with a grin. “There’s some people I want you to meet.”
“Oh, fantastic,” she says with a roll of her eyes, but she’s smiling wryly. A thrill runs through you as your fingers touch. “More werewolves.”
You’re sure that your responding laughter can be heard across First Beach.
Finally, finally, you feel complete.