Woman's Best Friend
Everyone deserves love. No matter their flaws, no matter their problems or their crimes. Love is what lets us call ourselves human. Even if we aren't.
Spoilers: New Moon. Major OC. Jacob-focused.
4. Chapter Three
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Yes! we have a hit, Sam Uley thought triumphantly as he followed a human’s scent to the highway.
Once apart from First Beach he could better distinguish the plethora of smells that reached his nose—Jacob’s, for example. Down by the ocean the werewolf’s was just one of a thousand, but further away the scents were scarcer, the fresh ones more easily distinguishable from the old, and it became obvious that he had been with a human the day before.
At this point Sam had already reached the highway, and so he sat down by the side of the road to think.
He wasn’t sure of what to do next. It was hard to decide on a course of action when he didn’t even know what was going on presently, much less attempt to predict future events.
Jacob was...depressed. That much was obvious. But he wasn’t "depressed" in the unhappy, dark sense of the word—as he had been when Bella first left. Not even close. Rather, he was...thoughtfully depressed. Lost in his own mind, wandering, thinking. Lacking in exuberance. Waiting, perhaps. Or...mourning.
Sam tried to put himself in Jacob’s shoes, to no avail. As wolves and pack-mates they were closer than brothers, but Sam already had his one true love, and he had never suffered for his happiness—not in this way, not because it was being denied him. That’s what all of this was about, even if it wasn’t obvious to the other person involved yet, or even to Jacob. Jacob couldn’t have Bella, he couldn’t even be her friend anymore, and in that way he was isolated from the rest of them—from the rest of all of them, for no matter their suffering, they had never suffered like this. Isolated from Sam for Sam has Emily, and from the others because they had not reached that level of "maturity" yet, so to speak. Not to mention the humans who don’t deal with the same things they do, the older men who have more wisdom and maturity under their belts, and the women living in an entirely separate universe from the rest.
The entire dilemma was giving Sam a headache just thinking about it, and despite his desire to keep the others out of the mess he could sense them approaching and he knew his hopes were futile. Paul reached him first, followed closely by Embry and Jared and then Quil, their newest addition.
"Hey, Sam," Paul greeted him. On the surface everything seemed fine and normal, but they all felt tense, knowing that something was bothering their pack-leader—not that they needed an excuse to be "tense". "What’s up?"
Sam turned to his pack-mates and smiled slightly, still worried. "Nothing, really. Just thinking. How’s Jacob?"
Embry spoke up. "Something is definitely wrong with him. Quil and I have never seen him act like this—not even when Bella left."
The wolves shifted uncomfortably; her name was a taboo, something never to be said aloud where Jacob could possibly overhear. Quil was even more uncomfortable than the others because he still wasn’t used to them being connected so closely—Embry and him hadn’t exactly visited Jacob and "seen" what Embry said they had. Nevertheless, he was the one to open his mouth in question after that was let out. "What happened?" he asked softly.
Sam shook his head slowly from side-to-side. "I don’t know," he answered truthfully.
"Was it Bella?" Paul asked, a half-sneer on his lips. "Or the bloodsuckers?"
"No," Sam immediately vetoed those trains of thoughts. "I don’t know much. All I know is that last night he met a human girl on the beach and when he came home he didn’t sleep, didn’t eat, didn’t talk."
"What does this mean?" Jared asked, the first to voice the deep confusion they were all feeling.
Sam stood up slowly. "This means we need to go into town, find this girl, and figure some things out."
As Bella drove Lyn and herself to Port Angeles—an hour-and-a-half long drive, thanks to her dinosaur of a truck—she discovered even more about Lyn and how compatible they were. She never knew it was this possible for her to identify with another person that was actually human and her age. And even while those things helped, it went far beyond that, because she could never hold half of the connection she had with Lyn with Jessica, or even Angela, back in town. Rather, the fact that they were both too mature for their ages, and too out of place in their surroundings (though with over a year of practice Bella was much better at pretending to blend), made them see eye-to-eye in a way Bella couldn’t even achieve with Edward...or, way back when, Jacob.
Thanks to her thoughts trailing off painfully—oh, how things had reversed—she missed the next thing that Lyn said.
"Wh-What?" Bella inquired, dazed.
Lyn looked at her oddly. "I just said that it’s cold in here, how do you roll up these windows?"
Bella turned on the heat and helped her with the open windows, and she shivered, finally realizing how chilly it was inside of the truck. Lyn laughed at her.
Though Lyn didn’t share her warm upbringing, she was just as fond of the sun as Bella, perhaps even more so. She had grown up always on the move, all over North American, where every warm and sunny day was a precious commodity to be loved and treasured. She wanted nothing more than to break away from her family and move to someplace warm, like Hawaii.
That reminded Bella of her own old college dream, and then her promise to Edward. "What’s your family like?" she asked.
Though the question wasn’t really out of place, Lyn frowned, shot Bella an odd look, and fell suddenly quiet. After a long moment, before Bella could act of her confusion at Lyn’s reaction, she answered the question with another question, "What do you want to know?"
Bella shivered; Lyn’s voice was uncharacteristically soft as she spoke, her brow furrowed. Bella couldn’t help but feel a sharp twinge of intuition—in encouragement, perhaps, or warning. She ignored it—for Edward—though she did not seek out Lyn’s gaze, in cowardice it seemed. "Oh, you know," Bella tried to play it off, her nonchalance too shaky and her voice too desperately high to be convincing. "The basics. Names, who you live with..."
Lyn chuckled and immediately Bella relaxed, though the clouded darkness remained. "I live with my aunt, uncle, male cousins, and their supposed wives."
Bella’s brow furrowed. "Supposed?" she questions.
"Unofficial, to put it kindly."
Looking more uncomfortable than before, Lyn continued, "My aunt’s name is Farrah, my uncle is Damian, my cousins are Gregory and Remy, and their whores are Zoey and Svetlana." It felt good for her to speak freely, at least.
First for Edward: Odd reaction when asked about current family—is there something wrong beneath the surface?
Bella blushed and quickly moved onward. "What happened to your parents?" she blurted out without thinking. Instantly she regretted it.
Lyn didn’t seem to care about the change any. "They’re still alive. Divorced. My mother remarried but my father hasn’t changed since she left." Her brow knit together. "I don’t know them well; only what I’ve heard."
Bella looked horrified. "Your parents are alive and they don’t want you?"
Lyn shook her head fiercely with the same recklessness that a toddler might portray. The action made Bella feel a bit dizzy. "They have another daughter."
Bella had to agree with Edward then. Lyn’s words were normal enough, and could be passed off as nothing, but they were disjointed, full of foreshadowing and secrecy and things that shouldn’t be there, but were. "I don’t understand," she said in a whisper.
Lyn was twisting her hands nervously, avoiding Bella’s gaze and even looking out the windows instead of confronting her optically. "I’d rather not talk about my parents. They aren’t a part of my life at all."
Second for Edward: Didn’t want to talk about real parents—situation too odd to make realistic with more detail?
Bella frowned. "I’m sorry."
Lyn shrugged it off. "It’s no big deal. What about you, Miss Bella? What’s up with your life?"
Bella laughed. "What part of my life do you want to know about?"
Lyn made a face. "Let’s start with your boyfriend," she teased.
That made Bella blush for some odd reason; Lyn laughed. "What about him?"
Lyn rolled her eyes. "You don’t seem like the type to date. What’s so special about him?"
Bella tried to play it cool, but her efforts didn’t work very well. "He’s just another teenage boy." A wonderful, amazing, unique, godly, vampiric, hundred-year-old teenage boy. She nearly choked on the failed lie.
Lyn laughed again. "That’s not even a little bit convincing, Bella." Even if Lyn didn’t know about vampires and how to identify them, his good looks and obvious hold on the entire school would give the truth away. Duh. "He didn’t talk much at lunch."
Bella shrugged, carefully keeping her eyes on the road. "There’s nothing to tell."
Lyn made a face, and an odd dose of recognition hit Bella. "Yeah right. You two are so in love it hurts to look at you."
Bella’s initial reaction was to blush...but then a frown dominated her features. "What do you mean?"
Lyn rolled her eyes. "You two are in love. It’s obvi—"
"No," Bella interrupted. "What did you mean by the second part?"
Lyn started to speak, but then paled and looked away. "It’s nothing," she mumbled.
Bella stuck her chin out stubbornly, but seemed to let it go.
Third for Edward: It hurts to look at love—how deprived do you have to be?—or how lost in want and fantasy?
"On a lighter note, how do you like it here in Forks?"
Lyn relaxed. "I like it just fine. The school is boring and the people are what I had come to expect, but it could be worse. If I want to get any real photography done I’ll have to invest in regular trips to Seattle—but, I suppose, since everything else is so easy, that will give me something to do, if nothing else."
"You’re into photography?"
Lyn nodded, brightening at the thought. "Definitely. Oh, you should see some of the pictures I’ve taken! I’m more fond of my simple collage pieces—you know, when you take a base image, not necessarily one of your own, and putting text on or around it to convey a meaning; conceptual art—but the simple landscapes! And the portraits!" She sighed happily, half-hiccuping as she forced back a small squeak of joy at the thought.
Bella smiled. "I’d like to see some of them sometime," she said kindly, truly meaning it. Lyn seemed so excited about the mere thought of her work.
But Bella’s words had the opposite affect from what she had thought they would. Lyn’s face fell and she slumped down in her seat, turning away even as a glimmer of tears became evident in her eyes.
Bella was shocked. "Lyn, I’m so—"
Lyn interrupted her hoarsely. "It’s not your fault."
Bella bit her lip, but after a bit of a long silence she had to ask, "What happened to them?"
Lyn’s mouth twisted, but she stared straight ahead and spoke clearly. "They were destroyed during our last move. There was...an accident. A fire." The set of her lip became just as stubborn as Bella’s had been.
Fourth for Edward: Fire destroyed all evidence of her passion—what’s really going on there?
Port Angeles came into sight about then, and all conversation ceased. There wasn’t much more to say, really. Bella didn’t need to slow as she reached the early evening traffic—if anything it would have helped her to speed up—and soon they had found a parking space and were exiting the old Chevy. Lyn had started telling Bella a story about her male suitors from two moves ago.
"They were all absolutely fighting over who would get to take me to Prom. It hadn’t been likely that I would stay as long as I had, so they were all over-excited, obviously. Then, all of their suits muddy and their faces red, cut, and bruising, I stepped out of the house. Everything froze—it was like some bad movie. I stepped out into the porch light...and they all experienced the shock of their lives. I was a full-blown gothic vampire queen!"
Bella was laughing with Lyn, though the word "vampire" made her laugh a bit harder, more ironically. "That’s amazingly cruel," she commented incredulously.
Lyn made a face and Bella couldn’t help but laugh. They had unconsciously hooked their arms together as they headed for the movie theater. "Yeah, well, it was my job to be stunning. I always live in the most boring small towns."
"Why is that?" Bella asked, turned to face Lyn as she led the way. "Since your aunt and uncle are businesspeople and all."
Lyn bit her lip. Of course, the real reason was that they needed to remain secluded. But as far as their cover story went it didn’t make much sense. Lyn already didn’t like lying to Bella; this bothered her more than it should. "Oh, well, my aunt hates big cities, and it doesn’t really matter where we live. As long as we are somewhat close to big cities, or at least an airport." She stumbled through the lie, blushing lightly.
Courteously, Bella let it slide, although she figured she would report that to Edward as well; he could make something of anything.
Fifth for Edward: Lied about why she always lives in small towns—and badly. Wasn’t expecting it—but why?
"How are you liking Forks so far?" Bella asked as they entered the cinema and hopped into line for two tickets to see The Brothers Grimm. Lyn had a thing for Heath Ledger and Matt Damon, and although Bella wasn’t much attracted to other men, and had a terrible bias in a very non-human direction, she had to admit they were among the more good-looking men in Hollywood. This concession bothered her. Since when did she ever think thoughts like that—no matter how mild? Lyn’s affecting me already?—or is the proper word "tainting"?
Lyn shrugged as she dragged Bella into another line for popcorn, soda, and candy—all over-priced, of course. "It’s okay, I guess. Nothing much different from anyplace else I’ve ever been." She turned to Bella and smiled broadly. "Although, of course, I’ve never met someone as interesting as you before here and now."
Bella laughed. The sentiment sounded awfully familiar. "I’m not that great," she said laughingly, although after "the incident" she had a better, more positive view of herself. "What about the other natives?" she nudged.
Lyn flushed, which surprised both Bella and herself. Bella prodded her about it, but Lyn insisted it was nothing. Which it obviously wasn’t.
"Tell me!" Bella hissed as they made their way to the appropriate theater. She couldn’t help but giggle, as if high on something. What was with her today?
Lyn elbowed her in the ribs, causing her to let out a whoosh of air. They sat down as the lights dimmed, and Lyn hissed for her to be quiet. Childishly, Bella gave in, not before promising—with a stick-out of her tongue—that she wouldn’t let it go.
They watched the movie in relative silence. It amused them, although more often than not Bella caught Lyn sighing or squeaking at the main characters. Something was off about her, though, as far as Bella could tell; she couldn’t be sure, of course, because she didn’t know Lyn personally, but she did seem less...enthusiastic than her personality dictated she perhaps would. One more reason to keep pressing the matter after the movie, as if Bella needed further incentive.
Five-and-a-half for Edward: Lyn seemed less enthused than she should have during the movie...
They both cried out in outrage at the kicked kitty-spinning fan bit of the movie, and if it hadn’t been for an interest in the plot and constant reminders that it wasn’t real they would have stormed out of the theater, monetary investment or no.
At the end of the movie they left the theater many pounds heavier, or so it felt, all the popcorn and three boxes of candy having mysteriously disappeared during their viewing pleasure. This did nothing for their moods. They both felt—and acted—intoxicated. The popcorn expanding within empty stomachs coupled with the massive amounts of sugar fueled the natural high they both got off of having the other around—something neither of them understood or was willing to ponder upon.
Not yet in the mood to leave—and hardly feeling willing to risk their lives in the Chevy—the dynamic duo headed off to get some salt and grease in their systems at the local McDonalds; perhaps that would balance things out.
The trip there inspired a ton of deja-vu in Bella, although the street was deserted, the pain was gone, and she was quite happy. Since, her spine tingled all the way to the restaurant, and she wondered what would happen as the night progressed.
McDonalds was mostly empty, and the employees still trapped there all but ignored the two giggling teenage girls in the back as they ate fries and sipped lemonades. Bella refrained from bringing up more serious topics when Lyn was like this, but after about half-an-hour they had both calmed down enough—more due to the exertion it took to stay so high as opposed to actually regaining some sort of rationality—and she decided it was the perfect time to try again.
"Tell me, what do you think of the other locals?"
Bella’s questioned appeared out of thin air, basically, and so Lyn just looked at her blankly for several second before groaning and looking away, the blush returning. Bella chuckled deviously and prodded her new friend with the toe of her boot.
"I won’t let it go," she singsonged, her voice growing more demanding, "Tell me!"
Lyn made a face and flicked lemonade at Bella’s face. She remained unphased; she didn’t even wipe the liquid off. Her brown eyes remained unwavering, frozen on Lyn’s face. In the end Lyn looked away and sighed, obviously defeated. Bella smiled in triumph, although her voice was soft, gentle. "It’s no big deal. You can tell me."
Truly, Lyn felt that her words were true—very true. Far too true, even. Dangerously so. And that frightened her more than letting Bella in—although that would be almost just as bad. Depending on how deep—
"Well...alright. There is this one—" Lyn didn’t finish her sentence, but she didn’t have to. It was obvious where her thoughts were straying. To a girl, at least. Or, perhaps, if one was to be present, a mind-reader.
"When did you meet him?" Bella coaxed, her posture and gaze nonchalant even as her tone was just the opposite. It came off as girlish curiosity, but in truth was something deeper than that. Just as Lyn’s reluctance came off as something it was not.
"Well...it was only yesterday, actually. My first day here. I was at the beach, near sunset, having explored the forests all day. Well...I was about to start heading home when...someone showed up."
Gently Bella nudged her onward. "Yeah...go on."
Lyn ducked her head, her smile wide, obviously pleased. "It’s silly for me to feel like this, really. We hardly talked about anything! But there was just something about him...it was phenomenal." She sighed.
Bella’s intuition flared. "Warm?" she guessed.
Lyn giggled nervously. "Blazing."
Bella frowned. She wasn’t quite grasping things as she should, of that she was certain, but it didn’t matter. She could figure the details out later, once she was back with Edward. "Why don’t you go see him again?"
Lyn rolled her eyes and snorted, and Bella got the feeling that she wasn’t really talking to her, but rather herself, only projected to another, something she never got to do. She understood. "My family isn’t exactly forgiving."
Bella shrugged it off, as if she was some sort of rebel. "Do they monitor you closely, then?"
Lyn shook her head slowly, sensing how much extra Bella knew.
"Then what do they matter?" Bella was surprising her own self with her words and her suggestions. How unlike her!
Lyn didn’t have an answer for that. Of course, the first reason to pop into her head was the fact that Jacob was a werewolf, and her vampire "family" would get pissed off at that. But, truthfully, she knew that all her supernatural reasoning were just excuses. She could quite easily go down to First Beach and meet up with him often without Farrah and the others knowing. Plus, there was no way he was all alone, and if anyone was in danger it was her pesky, blood-sucking family.
Lyn sighed. "They don’t," she mumbled. For some reason the thought of seeing Jacob again scared her—and not because he was a werewolf.
Sixth for Edward: She met someone..."warm"...at first Beach...and claims she doesn’t want to return for familial reasons—but that’s obviously not true.
Bella stood up then, feeling it was time to progress homewards. "C’mon, let’s go."
Lyn followed Bella out of the empty McDonald’s. The sky was dark, the moon’s light visible, vaguely, through the opaque clouds, the stars dull and sparse across the dark gray expanse of nighttime. The road was much more menacing than it had been before, and Bella swallowed heavily as deja-vu struck her again, harder this time. Only now she wasn’t remembering her night out with Jessica—she was remembering the Port Angeles incident predating that fateful night.
This illusion wasn’t helped along by the fact that every shadow, every breeze seemed to birth a monster. Which was silly. Bella had known and faced down monsters aplenty in her life. The most dangerous of which she had left without a scratch. The more deadly of which she had faced of her own free will. But this, a darkened street on the way back to her truck, she could hardly take. Why repeat these mistakes when you were so afraid of the horrors of humanity? It was truly saying something about the beast within to fear it more than vicious vampires and weak-willed werewolves.
Lyn seemed unphased by the darkness. And why shouldn’t she be? She knew nothing of the darkest side of the world, Bella reasoned. But that felt like a contradiction. Shouldn’t you be more afraid if you don’t know how bad things can truly get?
Seventh for Edward: Lyn was unafraid of the darkness as we returned to my truck...while even I was more than uneasy.
Then Bella saw something out of the corner of her eye. She gasped in surprise and Lyn and her turned to see a tall, dark figure walking towards them. He didn’t sway like a drunk, but his eyes were dark and cruel like one. He stopped in front of the two girls, leering down at them. Bella felt suddenly ill. Where was a good vampire when you really needed him? (Or a werewolf, for that matter!)
However, it was truly Lyn’s reaction that frightened Bella, in the end. Instead of displaying fear, or even courage, she displayed confidence. As if he couldn’t touch her, as if he would be foolish to try, as if he was weak compared to her. "Yes?" she inquired, her voice laced with scorn and attitude.
This threw the stranger off. Then he examined her attire, and his expression grew confused. "How’re you ladies doin’ tonight?" he purred, though the sound made a sick mockery of seduction.
Lyn snorted, hardly even trying to be a proper lady. "Get lost."
The man sneered again, and Bella flinched back. He smirked, feeling accomplished. Lyn’s look was scornful and disbelieving.
"Is that all? Do I look intimidated to you?" she growled, baring her teeth. He stepped back, thinking she was a crazy woman. "I didn’t think so."
Muttering profanities he left, and Lyn grabbed Bella by the elbow to start them back on their way. All the way back to the Chevy Bella stared at Lyn in shock and disbelief. Once they reached her truck Lyn helped Bella into the passenger’s side and hopped into the driver’s seat herself. No words were spoken until they were safely out of the "safe" "city".
"I think I’ll go search him out tomorrow," Lyn whispered in a small voice.
Bella swallowed heavily, trying to keep her cool. Her stomach churned, but she knew she was stronger than that. She was the wolf girl that ran with vampires, afterall. "We should hang out again sometime."
All the way home Lyn fought to calm herself and Bella fought to keep her nausea at bay.
Eighth for Edward: Lyn was fearless in the face of danger...frighteningly so. What’s wrong with her?