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What Could Have Been

Summary:
When Edward left, we know that it had a huge impact on Bella's life. But, it also had a huge impact on Jacob's. If Bella had never come to La Push, Jake would have been able to live a normal life... at least as normal as a werewolf can be. Found a nice girl, imprinted, enjoyed being a 'monster'... all of it. This is another Jacob/Angela. Just so you know. And it's AU, too. I'm trying to keep in the New Moon and Eclipse timeline as much as possible... but there are some parts that I have to make up on my own, as the books were from Bella's PoV.


Notes:
This book would replace New Moon... from Jake's PoV.


2. Chapter 2

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1996   Review this Chapter

“So,” Dad said, cornering me the minute I walked in the door.

I kicked off my shoes with a sigh, and followed him into the living room.

“So?” I questioned, ready for a full on interrogation about Angela.

“So, are you going up to Embry’s tonight?” he asked, disorienting me from the unexpectedness of the question. Dad was not a subtle person; when he wanted to know something, he asked. What was this about?

“I don’t know. He hasn’t been around lately, so I’d like to, but I haven’t heard from him. If I can’t get in touch with him, Quil will probably come over here. Is that cool?”

“Sure, sure. Why don’t you call him now, and find out? I was serious when I said spaghetti tonight, and I have to know how much I’m cooking.” Dad was being just a little too cooperative … something was definitely up with him.

I shrugged to myself and grabbed the phone. It didn’t make any sense to take it back into the bedroom – it was only about three feet away, plus, why would I care if my dad heard the conversation? – so I plopped onto the couch and dialed Embry’s number.

His mother answered, and I sighed inwardly. Embry wasn’t there; he always beat his mother to the phone.

“Hello?” I was taken aback at the waver in Ms. Call’s voice … she was unusually perky most of the time.

“Ms. Call? This is Jacob. Is Embry home?” If I had known what my innocent question would cause …

“No! He hasn’t been here for two days, and I’m so scared that something’s happened! You haven’t seen him, have you, Jacob? Or Quil, maybe?”

Embry was missing? Oh my God. “No, I haven’t, but I’ll ask Quil, and if he hasn’t seen him we’ll go out and look around. He probably got lost on his way to school. Don’t worry.”

Embry’s mother sniffled and mumbled, “Oh, yes. Thank you, Jake.” And hung up the phone.

I sat on the couch, staring at the phone in my hands. Embry was missing. As in, his mother hadn’t heard from him in two days. Nothing happened in La Push … we have the lowest crime rate anywhere. He had to have holed up somewhere; or maybe he had really gotten lost. Embry was brainy, but he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed when it came to finding his way through the woods.

Without even thinking of telling my dad, I dialed the phone again, this time using Quil’s number.

“Yo,” Quil answered, crunching on something.

“Hey, it’s Jake. Listen, have you seen Embry? His mom says he’s missing, and she wants to know if we’ve seen him anywhere.”

“Yeah, I saw him – about a half-hour ago with him.” The emphasis on the last word made me sure about whom Quil was referring to.

Sam Uley.

Sam was our resident cult leader; a couple of guys from school had started hanging out with him and doing annoying goody-two shoes stuff. But they were like, brainwashed or something, because they didn’t act the same at all. Paul, who was the first one to join Sam’s gang, now had an even worse temper than before and started shaking and turning red when someone pissed him off.

Jared was even quieter than before, and more annoying. No one talked to him now, if they could help it.

But Embry wouldn’t – he had made fun of them with Quil and I, for God’s sake! Why would he just start hanging around with the enemy?

“You’re kidding,” I said flatly, knowing that my friend wouldn’t joke about something like that.

“I wish. He wouldn’t even look at me, and he got his hair all cut off and stuff, so he looks just like them.

That was another strange thing about their cult … they all shaved their heads and ran around half naked all the time. It was weird.

“Did he have clothes on?”

Quil snorted. “Well… I didn’t actually see him, just heard his voice. He was all steamed up about something, so Sam rushed him behind the store.”

“We got to go talk to him, man. His mom is really freaked out; she thinks there’s some psycho running around kidnapping kids. He has to go home.” The last thing the rez needed was an alert put out on someone who doesn’t exist.

“Didn’t you hear me, man? He was with Sam Uley and his groupies. I ain’t goin’ anywhere near him.”

I couldn’t convince Quil otherwise, so I hung up the phone angrily, and went to put my shoes on. Looked like I was on my own for mission impossible.

“Hey, where are you going? Dinner’s almost done!” Billy called from the kitchen, wheeling himself over to the sink to drain the pasta.

“I gotta go talk to Embry,” I said shortly, not wanting to get into the whole story with Billy. He worshipped Sam, and would have thought it was great Embry was hanging out with him.

“Well, hurry up,” Billy acquiesced, and I ran out the door before he could say anything else.

The store was a relatively short walk down the road, so I didn’t bother taking the car. The fresh air would help me calm down before I got there and started screaming at all of them.

Embry, Quil and I had been inseparable since grade school. We knew each other inside and out, and always had each other’s backs. When Sam had started recruiting, we had laughed and made fun, always wondering why anyone would follow him around. Now, Embry was one of his back-up singers? It just didn’t add up. There had to be something Quil and I were missing. There had to be.

I found them at the store … at least, two of them. Paul and Jared were on the porch in chairs, gripping Cokes in big, beefy hands.

They nodded at me, obviously expecting me to head on into the store. They looked surprised when I stopped in front of them, but Jared smiled.

“Hey, Jacob. What’s up?” Trying to act friendly. What a bastard!

“Where’s Embry?” I demanded.

Jared exchanged a look with Paul, and then looked back at me. “How should we know?”

I glared at him, my fists tightening convulsively. Hitting this jerk would be so great.

“Quil saw you with him earlier. I need to talk to him, now.”

Paul’s eyes narrowed, and he stood up. I almost laughed when I realized that he didn’t even come up to my chin … I had grown lately, a lot. I was almost 6”6, and he couldn’t have been more than 6’1.

“Dude, just go home,” he ordered, like he had a right to tell me what to do.

“I don’t think so,” I came back, not bothering with the angry comeback I had planned. I was going to talk to Embry, damn it, and this midget was not stopping me.

Jared stood up and got between us, pushing Paul back.

“Look, Jake, how about you tell us whatever you need Embry to know, and we’ll make sure he gets the message?”

“No,” I said, getting a handle on my temper. I didn’t usually get so pissed so easily… I had a relatively long fuse. These were definitely the only guys who could get under my skin like this.

A pained look crossed Jared’s face. “Jacob, he’s off with Sam, and we don’t know when they’ll be back –“

“Right now,” another voice joined the fray, and I turned to see Sam Uley and Embry coming up the path.

“What’s going on here?” Sam demanded from his followers, his eyes coolly surveying the scene.

“Embry, get your ass home before your mother calls the police. By the way, don’t ever talk to me again,” I spat at my former friend, and spun on my heel towards home.

Quil had been right; it was no use trying to talk to him. His eyes were the same as theirs – cool, ridiculously blank. He wasn’t wearing any clothes, either! And with his hair all shorn off like that, it was almost impossible to tell him apart from Sam. He wasn’t my friend any more.

“Jake, wait!” Embry’s voice called, and I heard his footsteps behind me. I turned around slowly, knowing that the expression on my face was not welcoming.

“Look, man, I know how this looks …”

Sam was listening, I could tell. His head was cocked towards us, like a dog hoping to hear the word ‘treat.’ He caught me looking and a pitying expression crossed his face.

What the Hell did he pity me for? And, now that I was thinking about it, why had Jared and Paul talked to me, when they never deigned to answer anyone else, not even the teachers at school. It was like they were expecting me to join them, or something equally wacky. Did they believe in vampires, too? Because it was more likely that they existed than I would ever join Sam Uley’s cult.

“What do you want?” I asked harshly.

“I- I can’t go home, Jake. Can you tell my mom something for me?” he asked hesitantly, knowing damn well what I was going to say.

“No. Tell her yourself.” I kept walking. He grabbed my arm and I whirled around again, this time with my fist raised.

He took a step back, his whole body vibrating like a tuning fork. “Stay. Away. From. Me,” I told him again, making sure he got the message.

Sam was suddenly standing right between us, reminiscent of Jared’s earlier position. “Calm down,” I heard him say softly to Embry, then he turned to me. “Look, Jacob, I know you’re upset, but don’t you think it’s dumb to hurt Embry’s mother?”

“Yes, I do. That’s why I told him to go home,” I hissed, and started walking again.

This time, no one stopped me, and I made it home, my face – I was sure – a thundercloud.

I told Dad what had happened, and he got mad, of course. “You go tell Jenny Call right now! Sam must have a good reason if he asked you to cover for Embry, and you know Embry’s a good kid. It’s just downright wrong not to help them out.”

“Whatever,” I grumbled at him, and picked up the phone.

“Hey, Ms. Call. It’s Jake. I just talked to Embry, and he said to tell you that he’ll be away for a week or so,” after that, I was done making excuses, “and not to worry. He also said that he’s sorry for not calling, but he’s busy.”

“Where is he?” she asked quietly, like she could tell that I was lying.

“Over at Sam Uley’s place. They’re putting a car together,” I told her, lying through my teeth. My stomach was tied into knots with guilt; I never lied to people. It made me feel horrible.

I hung up the phone as soon as I could, and joined my father at the table. Why did he always take their side? He was wrong this time, and I couldn’t wait for him to realize it. The ‘I told you so’ exchanging that would go on in our house would be so much fun …

The thought made me feel better, good enough to eat dinner, anyway. And tomorrow was Friday, and I would see Angela again. I could dwell on our gang issues later; for now, I’d just eat and think about her.