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What Could Have Been

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.

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

4. Chapter 4

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1859   Review this Chapter

“Jacob? Are you all right?” I felt Angela tug on my shirtsleeve, but I couldn’t tear my gaze away from the center of the room where they sat.

“Jacob!” Her voice was broadcasting fear now, so I managed to snap out of it and turn to her, forcing a smile.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I just kinda zoned out for a minute there …”

“Who are all of these people?” she demanded, her face looking a little pale. She really was afraid to be around too many people that she didn’t know.

“These are just some friends,” Billy said reassuringly, wheeling himself up to us. “Why don’t you both go help Sam and his friends with the fire, so we can move this outside, instead of our little cottage?”

I wanted to hit him, or cry. I wasn’t sure which, but I knew my nerves weren’t up for another cult confrontation.

“Dad, I don’t –”

“Sure, of course. Come on, Jacob,” Angela broke in, grabbing my arm again and pulling me towards the door.

Billy gestured at Sam, and he and his followers rose to come with us. Emily came with us as well, an arm wrapped around Sam’s waist, and her maimed face cold and hard to look at.

“Oh, thank the Lord. There were way too many people in that house,” Angela looked expectantly at me, obviously figuring that I would agree with her.

I nodded miserably, and began gathering firewood mechanically.

“Hey, Jake,” Embry said, waving. I ignored him and kept working, breaking the branches with a little more force than necessary.

“Here. Let me help you with that,” Sam’s voice came, and a large, callused pair of hands came into my field of vision, positioning a branch that I had been having trouble with.

Then, smaller, softer hands grabbed mine, pulling me around to face Angela’s confused expression.

“Are you ok?” she asked quietly, shooting glances at them through the corners of her eyes.

I nodded tersely. “I just don’t like them, is all. Sorry you’re caught in the middle.

She shrugged. “They’re … frightening. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think I mind that we’re staying away from them.”

I nearly smiled. She was planning on staying with me all night! Well, until this ill-fated party was over, I amended to myself.

“Here, grab that end, and push it into the circle standing up,” I told her, and together we maneuvered a giant log so we had somewhere to sit.

“Ok, I’ve got a lighter,” Paul said, reaching into the pocket of his cut-offs and pulling a red lighter out of it.

He lit the stack of wood that our groups had assembled, Jared fanned it with a piece of cardboard that Billy and I kept for just this purpose, and within minutes there was a huge blaze lighting the yard.

“Well, looks like we can get cooking, ladies,” Sue Clearwater announced, coming out of the house and looking at the bonfire appreciatively. “Emily, are you coming? Angela?”

Angela looked up at me, a look of sheer trepidation on her face.

“Um, Sue, I don’t think Angela’s up for cooking tonight,” I put in hastily, secretly enjoying the look of relief and thanks on Angela’s face.

Sue looked puzzled, but nodded anyway. “All right, of course. Emily?”

“Why don’t we all roast our own?” Sam put in, putting a brawny arm protectively over Emily’s shoulder.

Sue threw her hands up in the air exasperatedly. “Fine!” And went back in the house to announce it.

“First dibs?” I asked her playfully, and ran inside to grab some hot dogs and mountain pizza ingredients.

Of course, this was easier said than done when you’re being followed.

“That your girl?” Sam asked, a pitying expression on his face for some unknown reason.

I ignored him for the second time that evening, and managed to snag what I had come in for.

“Jake, come on. This is getting ridiculous! I just asked you a question – did I kill your cat or something? Because if not, there’s not anything that I can think of that I did that would make you treat me this way!” Sam’s usually expressionless face now carried a fearsome expression of anger and small traces of hurt. What? Hurt?

“Stay away from me!” I shouted, everyone in the house turning and staring at me. I noticed Billy sitting by Harry and Charlie, looking at me disapprovingly, and Quil grinning from ear to ear. Emily looked stricken, and immediately ran to Sam’s side, murmuring in his ear.

I took the opportunity to get the Hell out of Dodge, and found Angela sitting by the fire all alone, staring intently at the dancing flames.

“So, I just screamed at Sam in front of everyone. How have your last five minutes been?” I asked caustically, knowing that she would somehow understand.

“Fine. I’ve been getting some strange looks from that group, though,” she replied uneasily, glancing at them suspiciously.

“Ignore them,” I ordered, handing her a pointed stick and a hot dog.

Angela nodded and accepted the items, forcing the food onto the skewer and holding it over the fire.

“Why do you hate them so much?” she asked randomly, her eyes not leaving her cooking endeavor.

I considered it a minute, and then replied emotionally, “Because they think they’re better than everyone else, and for some reason, thought I would understand. They’re always looking at me when we’re in the same place, with all this pity on their faces, and I don’t know why! They treat me differently than everyone else, and I don’t like it. It’s like they’re expecting me to join their little cult … And I won’t!”

She regarded me quietly for a minute, and hugged me impulsively. Surprised, I hugged her back, taking the opportunity to stroke her hair softly. It was so soft and shiny …

“Jacob, could I talk to you for a minute?” A voice I wasn’t familiar with interrupted our moment, and Angela pulled away quickly, leaving me feeling bereft.

Emily was standing over us, her already unattractive face pulled into a scowl.

“What?” I asked, holding Angela’s eyes with my own as a signal not to leave.

Emily was clearly not happy with this change in plans, but she sat down on the log with us, her eyes cold and angry.

“Why are you being such a jackass to Sam?” she asked bluntly, not bothering to beat around the bush.

“That’s none of your business,” I replied, still staring at Angela.

“The Hell it’s not! He likes you, and it hurts him when you act like that,” she said angrily, her eyes moving shiftily around the circle to make sure that no one heard her admission.

“Then, it becomes my problem,” she finished, and I realized that I had zoned out through part of her argument.

“You know what? He knows exactly why I treat him this way, and if he doesn’t like it, then he doesn’t have to come near me. All of you -- just leave me alone!” I told her, remembering to keep my voice down so I didn’t create another spectacle.

“One day, you won’t be so quick to judge, Jacob Black,” Emily said in closing, and left to find Sam, her hips swaying in a way reminiscent of the beautiful girl she had once been.

I wondered what had happened to maim her that way -- had it been an animal attack? The scars certainly looked like claw marks –then turned back to Angela, who had overheard the entire conversation.

As the night progressed, I started to feel really – weird. My head felt heavy, and my whole body seemed to be tingling. It wasn’t necessarily a bad feeling, but I didn’t like it. It was … strange.

It started to get late, and eventually Angela looked at me and told me she had to get going. I took her to the garage where her car waited. It had been pretty simple to fix; it had been the fuse that needed replacing, and I had finished it a few days ago while brooding over the Embry situation.

She started it up and whooped when the engine turned over. “It works!” she exclaimed, as if she were surprised.

I pretended to be insulted. “Of course it works! I fixed it, remember?”

Angela immediately looked contrite and began to apologize, but I laughed right in the middle of it, unable to keep up with the joke.

“I was just kidding, Ang. Chill out,” I choked, holding my sides.

She glared at me a minute, and smacked my arm playfully. “Jerk! I wasn’t surprised it worked, just happy. It’s kinda sucky when you have to rely on your parents to get you places and ride the bus home from school.”

“Yeah, I know. So, did you have a good time tonight?”

A grin spread over her face. “Definitely. The highlight of the evening was definitely your Dad and Bella’s dad getting drunk and dancing,”

I groaned. Dad was confined to the wheelchair, but he still managed to pull some embarrassing dance moves, and Charlie … well, let’s just hope Bella never heard about that.

Her face grew more serious, but she still looked happy. “And don’t worry about them, Jake. It’ll all be ok,”

I nodded. “Yeah, I know. I’m not going to dwell on it.”

“Good.” She was amazingly close … so close that her I could feel her breath hot on my face. She was even prettier this close, her eyes seemed deeper, her features more defined … she was perfect.

I couldn’t help myself; I had to kiss her. My lips brushed hers, and when the thought of what I was doing registered it was too late to stop. Her arms had twined around my neck, fingers knotted in my hair, and mine were around her back, tracing spiral patterns over her spine.

An electrical current seemed to pass through us, and for a moment, the peculiar feeling I had been experiencing all night went away. I was just Jacob again … no worries, no strange feelings … just me. And Angela.

We broke apart when I needed to breathe, panting. Angela just stared at me, and an adorable blush stained her cheeks when our actions caught up with her.

“So, maybe we should go out again? This time, without any drunk dads or gangs of scary people, though?” I suggested, my own face turning hot.

“Sounds good,” she said, her voice kind of shaky.

We stood there awkwardly, and then she finally climbed into the driver’s seat of her car and drove away. She looked back twice, and I waved happily – nothing could bring me down now. Everything was too perfect.