What if Bella had never jumped off that cliff? What if Alice had never seen her die? What if the Cullens had never had a reason to return to Forks? AU
There are a few passages in this story taken directly from New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. That's because, in order to write this Alternate Universe successfully, I have to be able to take scenes already in the canon and alter them to fit the consequences of the different choices in my own universe. The characters are still the same, so they would still say and think very similar things to what they said and thought in the original story. That being said, obviously the entire Twilight Universe belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I am not that brilliant.
6. Chapter 6
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2528 Review this Chapter
I did dream.
It was yet another new dream. I could only suppose that with the excitement of recent times my mind had found its creativity at last. Two new dreams in one night was an unexpected and decidedly unwelcome bonus. But my fear and despair had to find some sort of outlet and sleep was when they chose to haunt me, worse than any ghost.
I stood in the middle of the road. My truck was not there, the colors of my surroundings muted as though I was watching them through a filter or on an old tape. They fuzzed and crackled at some points like black and white movies sometimes do, and at each twitch I jumped and spun, trying to find the source. It made taking in my surroundings more difficult than I was comfortable: my skin seemed to constantly be crawling and I twitched awkwardly in the motionless air around me. Being on the road as I was, my brain automatically assumed that this was the place Jake and I had pulled over that day. Because of how out of focus everything was, it took several moments of just staring to realize how different things really were. The shock shook me from the inside out.
The woods were gone. A field stretched forever from all sides, lining the road and holding me prisoner. There were two directions to walk in and I knew that both led to nowhere. Staying put would not keep me safe. I had no weapons, and no one was going to protect me. I stood alone, jumpy and half-crazed. I blinked constantly, trying to improve my vision but nothing worked.
Then I saw a shape, far off in the distance. I could not see who it was; a mere shadow of a figure but somehow I knew it was watching me. I could see the eyes in my mind, blood red. I knew I was dead and there was quite literally nowhere to run to. I stood as if carved from ice and watched it begin to walk towards me.
Victoria's red hair was clear to me even as the rest of the colors ran together. She leered, grinning wider with each cat-like motion that took her nearer to me. Her pray. She licked her lips grotesquely and spread her lips apart, so that even from so far away I could see fangs that she did not have in real life.
The nearer she came, the slower things began to move and the grayer it all became. I could not see her clearly very suddenly; she was a distinct body one minute and the next she was a red smudge in a grainy field. The image of her flickered, morphing in front of my eyes until it was a hundred yards away and clearer than ever.
But Victoria had changed.
Edward's blank eyes stared at me even as he wore Victoria's grin, fangs bared and purpose clear.
He ran at me so fast that I was able to stop breathing, but even as he stopped in front of me he didn't touch me. He didn't do anything for a very long time besides grin and stare. I could not even tremble; I could not go anywhere. I stared back, at his teeth rather than at his eyes.
Then he pursed his lip at me in a feminine fashion that did not fit him, and smiled sinisterly.
"I'm not going to bite you," he said, his voice a curious mix of Victoria's high-pitched tones and his own velvet. "I'm not going to bite you ever, ever, ever." He leaned in close, as if he was going to kiss me. The grin never left his face as he whispered it again:
He was gone, and my scream blistered in my throat.
Jake was there again when I woke.
I did not realize that it was him at first. I started shaking and screaming upon first hearing the movement beside me. I could not know if the reaction was from fear of Victoria, or the instinctive hurt of being so reminded of Edward. Regardless the cause, it took several long minutes for Jake to be able to calm me down enough to get near me without me flailing out at him, and longer until he could hold me until the trembling stopped. I nearly fell off of the bed in the insane motion of panic, but he held me safe and whispered into my ear as soothingly as he could. It took me a long time to regain control of myself. Even once I had, though, he did not let go, just rocked me back and forth with the patience his new life had given him. The Jake of before would never have been able to sit still for so long.
I forced myself to open my eyes and to take the day in. I searched my room for normality: the rain against the now-closed window, the old rocking chair, Jacob's warmth. But there was something wrong with his arm. I squinted at it, and realized it was a long, jagged scar. I was suddenly reminded of the night before, of Jake's muddy appearance and this same scar there, the first time I'd ever seen it in all of his shirtless escapades. It should have healed by now, if it was just a scratch from a tree branch or a knife.
I stretched out a hand, carefully because both of my arms were pinned by Jake's strong hold. I extended a single finger to run along the wound, cautiously touching it, and then pulling it back with a gasp both violent and involuntary. I pulled myself out of Jake's arms, struggling to support myself rather than lean on him.
"Why didn't you tell me," I demanded, sounding harsher than I had meant.
My fingers still tingled, and they instinctively reached for the scar on my own arm, the one that would be forever cold. The sensation was not the same—the cold of Jacob's wound was more muted, not a bite but a clawing. The mud all over him last night, the black...how could I have not noticed how much of it was dirt, and how much of it had really been dried blood?
He opened his mouth, inhaling too much air for a one-word response. I could not listen to an explanation. I sucked in my own breath, faster than him.
"How could you," I cried. "Who was it Jake, tell me who it was!"
My mind would not stop moving, spinning through the faces of every vampire I had ever known, and then a million fictional identities that could have been anyone at all. Hot air puffed through my nose and down my throat. Was I angry? Edward's face, blank in the extreme as he watched me doubled over in my truck, the hallucination of him suddenly so real...could it have been? My heart, I could hear my heart beating ever so faintly for the first time as hope gripped me in much the same way fear had so many times before it. It staggered me, its power, the joy and the uncertainty contained within it. Did I want this?
The logical part of me was fighting for control. It threw all of the truths I knew in the way of my one optimistic thought: Edward was far, far away. He didn't want me anymore. He did not love me anymore. It was impossible for him to have left something behind here in Forks, to have forgotten something. He had no other connections to this place; he did not know about the werewolves or Victoria. He did not know about me. There was no reason for him to come back at all. If he knew anything at all, it was unlikely that he would care anyways.
I forced myself to calm down. I forced my eyes to work, my ears to stop buzzing. My mind returned to the now, the present. To Jacob watching me so...was it angrily? Worriedly? I couldn't tell. He was just watching, his hand unnoticed on my thigh. His warm, warm hand, such a contrast to the cold of his scar which refused to disappear...
"Jake," I whispered, and what was once a demand became, hesitantly, a request. "Jake, why didn't you tell me?"
He turned away, his eyes clouded over with something I did not recognize. It could have been tears, or it could have merely been frustration. The thought of Jake there in the woods fighting a vampire, any vampire, suddenly chilled me completely. I shivered at the thought of the danger. Jake, risking his life to protect me. That scar was my fault and here I was, my thoughts wholly consumed by someone who did not even care about me.
I reached out both hands in apology, laying them on Jake's uninjured arm. I squeezed it gently so that he's turn to look back at me. I tried to explain with just my eyes, because I could not think of the words. I licked my lips and the front of my teeth, searching for what to say.
"I'm sorry," came out finally. "Are you okay? Are you hurt?"
Jake smiled, but it was not my smile. It was his werewolf smile, his bitter smile. It was merely a twitching of lips, and did not reach his eyes. The sight increased the cold surrounding me, as if it was icy water rather than a simple motion.
"I'm fine, Bella. And so's your friend."
I missed the words in his dismissive tone. The way his body stretched ever so slightly away from me, how distant and cool he sounded...it brought a desperate stiffness to my throat and my joints. I couldn't lose him again. I could not allow him to leave me. The priorities in my life flipped so suddenly. I sucked in air sharply. I stared at him, trying to force him to understand without vocalizing those words that I just couldn't say. My fingers dug into his arm, holding him here with me as best as I could. It was not as if my nails could really hurt him.
His eyes softened. He watched me, then reached out a tentative hand to set on my shoulder. He leaned in towards me, sliding his eyes closed as I shut mine, and kissed me gently. His lips warmed my insides better than anything else ever could. The pain numbed enough so I could ignore it, and I reached up my one hand to run through his hair. Jake, never able to be patient for long, wrapped his arms around me in a giant bear hug and kissed me with all the more enthusiasm. The combination made it impossible to breathe for more practical reasons than passionate ones and I gripped his hair tightly with my hand, trying to find the air my lungs needed. He pulled away and grinned at me. It was my smile; it reached his eyes and made me grin back even as I gasped the necessary oxygen back into my lungs.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," he whispered to me in a conspiratorial way that made me smile. "I was afraid."
My mind was unable to grasp what it was exactly he was talking about. I lowered my one hand to the back of his neck where it was more comfortable, an intimate gesture I completed clumsily rather than gracefully. My nails scraped his skin and my elbow landed painfully onto his shoulder. He laughed through his nose and I bit my bottom lip in embarrassment.
"I love you Bella," he told me, laughing. He leaned forward to rest his forehead against mine, sliding his own hand to my lower back. I jumped and our foreheads banged together with an audible clunk. We instinctively leapt back from each other, me rubbing my forehead and Jake laughing so hard that it was a good thing that it was late morning, because otherwise he would have woken the now-absent Charlie.
"Not...funny..." I groaned, wincing.
Jake did not answer me. He just kept laughing.
I elbowed him in the ribs, wishing that by some miracle it might actually hurt him, but he only laughed harder, physically falling off my bed with a thud that shook the room.
"Hey!" I yelled, but he just shook his head as tears rolled down his cheeks. I didn't think I had ever seen Jake laugh so hard. It was impossible to be mad at him. I just rolled my eyes and sat cross-legged at the edge of my bed, arms folded sternly across my chest.
It took a long while for him to calm down. It was enough time for me to think back on what he had said, and what he had meant. I frowned slightly, and it worried him enough to stop his laughing.
"What?" he asked, his eyes still grinning at me as he struggled to force his mouth into a more serious position.
I paused, unsure I even wanted to ask the question. Here was Jake, so happy. And me, the pain numbed and my insides warmed enough for me to almost feel comfortable inside myself. Did I really want to know the answers?
"What?" Jake asked again. He sat up straighter and his face turned more somber.
"It's just..." I took a breath. I forced myself to look at him. "Why were you afraid?"
There as a pause. Then Jacob's face turned so blank I was frightened that he was about to distance himself from me all over again. Hadn't I just won this battle? Did I really want the answer to this question?
Was it too late to take it back?
We both sat there so tense that I almost began to tremble again. I wanted to cry out, to kiss him, to stop him from answering so suddenly. I wished I had not asked anything at all. It took so little time for my priorities to reverse themselves, for my wants to change so much. It took so little time for Jake to mean so much more to me than I had ever meant for him to. I did not know what I wanted anymore at all.
I looked back at Jake and his stiffness cracked so obviously it was almost as if it was literally made of plaster. His eyes first, and then his face. All of him pleading with me, imploring me to chose him and to make this mean nothing at all.
"Bella...please," Jake begged. "Please, stay with me."
I did not know how I felt about this. I did not know what I was going to do, or what I was going to choose. I didn't even know if there was even a choice to be made, if I was allowed to have a say in what was happening at all.
But there was one thing that I saw with all-too painful clarity. I literally stopped breathing for so long that Jake actually stood and grasped me harshly by the shoulders. And in my chest, slowly, my heart began to beat distantly as though it was not all too far away anymore.
Edward had returned.
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