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Burn Beautiful

Summary:
Spoiler warning. Continuation of New Moon. Being a vampire comes with it's own problems: newfound bloodlust, untried strength, neverending fights between natural vampire will and human conscience. Edward and Bella's relationship takes a completely new turn as challenges fly their way. Namely, a pack of furious werewolves and a certain vampire named Victoria, who's still set on vengeance and, this time, gains some powerful followers determined to end Bella, vampire or not, and do as much damage to Forks as possible.


Notes:
I just finished New Moon and I know I SHOULD wait until Eclipse comes out, but I had to do something to pass the time! Especially since I had about a million ideas running through my head, mainly around how much could happen once Bella IS a vampire. What happens with Victoria, werewolves, Volturi? What's her special ability, if she has one at all? How does she go about realizing her ability? How does she deal with vampire instincts? What about her parents? AHH, idea overflow! I've outlined this entire story and it's turning up to be pretty much novel long, which is exciting. I'm not new to writing, I've just never done this particular "fandom" before and I hope I do it justice.


15. Chapter 15

Rating 3.4/5   Word Count 3004   Review this Chapter

Ch. 15: Unrequited

I didn't take one of the cars lined next to the garage. All the roads led to houses which I wanted to avoid if at all possible, so I set off to the edge of the woods on foot.

There was nobody around, just miles and miles of lush, green woods. I could detect the faint scent of different animals scurrying within the forest and ignored the slight tingly reaction in my stomach. It wasn't very difficult since I fed less than a few hours ago.

Overhead, the sky was gray and in the distance, the sun was hiding behind a cloud, scattering light sporadically across the land. At first, I was careful. I didn't want to go faster than a human at a run because the ground wasn't smooth and I kept anticipating something that would jut out and trip me.

When nothing did, I dared to go faster. At one point, I wasn't even aware of speeding up until I saw the trees rush past me in a blur. It surprised me so much that I almost caught my foot in a root that popped out of the ground but at the last second, I leapt over it, landing gracefully several yards away and kept running.

I'll never get used to this, I grumbled to myself, slowing down slightly. My head spun and I took a deep breath, waiting for the motions sickness to take over, but it never did.

Before I knew it, I could hear the quiet sounds of water splashing against rock. The cliff was still at least a mile or so off, but the smells of the ocean breeze clung to my nose. At least I knew I was going in the right direction.

My nostrils flared and I paused, throwing my head back. A storm was coming - the sudden anticipation in the air was testament of that. I found a familiar trail and followed it, letting it take me to the very top of the cliff.

Before I could quite make it, a tree branch snapped and I whirled around.

Nothing. But whatever it was left it's thick, musty scent hanging in the suddenly torrid air.

An abrupt movement to the right sent me spinning again. My eyes narrowed when they fell on nothing but trees. My knees bent instinctively as I crouched down, every single sense on full alert.

There was a low snarl and when I realized it wasn't coming from me, I twisted my head to the side. There, blocking my only path away from the cliff, was a giant bear.

"Wonderful," I grumbled to myself, assessing my surroundings. I wasn't in any shape to take on a bear all by myself; at least, not just yet. There was nowhere to run except… over the edge of the cliff and into the angry waves below. I wasn't eager to experience that again. My eyes drew back to the bear. It was on all fours, pinning me with its dark, brown eyes.

At first, its gaze was curious. It took a step closer to me and I instantly stepped back. I didn't have it in me to be friendly to a bear. My sudden movement alarmed it and a ferocious roar filled the forest as its movements became less cautious and more predatory. It rose up on two hind legs, towering over me.

"Crap," I tensed, eyeing its gleaming, white teeth. "Where's Emmett when you need him?"

It's answer was to swipe at me with one of its clawed paws.

Okay, so no conversing with the bear, I sighed. As it advanced, the edge of the cliff was looking more and more appealing. And that was saying something because cliff-diving was something I didn't want to experience ever again.

It's jaws snapped angrily. Panicked, I did the first thing that came to my mind: try and placate it.

"Nice bear," I pleaded uselessly. "You don't want to hurt me, do you?" It growled, furious.

Not the best idea. My eyes flickered to the side. It was cornering me, making me back away. The only other choice was to lunge at it and attempt to fight, but - that idea terrified me.

The giant grizzly - I wasn't sure - salivated, roaring again at my indecision.

Go away, go away, I repeated blindly in my head. My hands clenched at my side. Suddenly, an image of myself standing slightly crouched, edging towards the cliff's brim flashed through my mind. The bear stopped advancing and looked at me, uncertain. I blinked and shook my head, trying to get rid of the dizzying feeling.

Go away, I begged silently, looking straight into the bear's piercing eyes.

The enraged snarling abated and he tripped over the next step, falling down on all four paws. I squinted, confused. What was happening? I narrowed my eyes and impulsively decided to try something completely ridiculous.

Turn around. I directed the thought at the bear as hard as I could, concentrating my gaze.

It looked over its shoulders as if something were calling to it. I kept urging it on in my head. Go back. Leave. Turn around.

To my utter amazement, the bear took a step back and sniffed. It's lips lifted above its teeth and before it could snarl again, I chanted, Turn around, Turn around, Go away, Go away, loudly in my head.

After a moment's deliberation, it turned around and ambled back into the woods.

Yes!

My chest inflated, triumphant. Then, I realized what had just happened. I stared at the bear as it disappeared from sight, trying to dissect everything that took place. What had I done? While I had an idea, the more time passed, the less I was sure. Closing my eyes, I turned around and took a step closer to the edge of the cliff. The entire idea of what had to be impossible pounded in my head, giving me a headache.

Was it my new ability? Exactly what was my ability? That I could … talk to bears? It couldn't be right.

Before I could thoroughly think it through, Jacob arrived.

I sensed his presence more than anything.

His bitter scent drifted to my nose before I heard the rustling in the bushes. It acted as an instant repellant and my first thought was to run away. Part of my mind was still shaken by my confrontation with the bear but another part had completely forgotten it in favor of Jacob. Jacob.

He didn't make his presence known, though I already knew he was there. Without turning around, I could pinpoint the exact bush he was crouched behind, staring at me. I could feel his eyes burning into the back of my head.

My own eyes stayed glued to the angry splashing of the water below me. The sky was darker than usual and the clouds were angrily circling. I wondered how long he would keep up this charade. Then, I wondered how long I hoped he would keep up the charade because as much as I wanted to talk to him, I was at a complete loss for words.

The bush rustled again and I inhaled deeply, trying to let the salt from the ocean spray drift up and overtake my senses; or at least, mask the bitterness of his scent.

His scratchy voice interrupted my thoughts.

"You're looking good, Bella."

I didn't have to turn around to know he'd stood up from his hiding place.

At first, I couldn't answer. My mouth opened but my throat was too dry. I slowly turned to face him. I let my eyes trail over his scraggly form: his hair was longer, a knotty mess clinging to his shoulders, his tanned face was hardened, his clothes a little mangled, draping over a well-toned chest. I missed him so much.

The vampire inside me screamed; how could I feel this way for a werewolf? I squelched it down.

"I missed you," I blurted out. A small smile formed from his lips and his eyes softened.

"I just saw you a few hours ago," his voice was teasing, but his eyes were serious.

"You know what I mean."

"Yeah."

Then there was silence. I couldn't help but think of everything in our way. At one point, he'd been dearer to me than anyone. He'd been the one to save me, help me out of the shell I crawled into last year, been my beam of support.

I wanted to run and throw my arms around him, but propriety held me back. But then, since when did cool politeness ever step in the way of us. When did I start holding myself back around him?

My back straightened and I took a step back, preparing myself. He must've anticipated what I was about to do because he held up a hand.

"Bella," he choked out. I stopped myself. His arm dropped limply back to his side.

"It's not that I don't want you to," he explained, his smile widening a tiny bit. "Because I really do. You just smell really bad."

My eyes widened resentfully.

"You dork," I bit out. A laugh bubbled up my throat and I leapt at him - despite his smell - and landed in his arms. He stumbled back a little, laughing with me.

"You've gotten heavy," he complained then wrinkled his nose. "And you still smell."

"Not as much as you," I retorted, making a show out of holding my nose.

"Better watch it," he warned, "Or I'll toss you over the edge. Show you what cliff-diving is really about."

"You wouldn't."

His eyes gleamed mischievously.

"Oh, I would." He started stalking over to the cliff's edge with me in his arms.

"JACOB BLACK," I squealed as he swung me. My arms clutched his neck. "You put me down right now or I'll kick your - "

He dropped me and I hit the ground with a loud thud. As soon as I made contact, I heard a suspicious cracking sound and squeezed my eyes shut.

Instead of the sore butt I was expecting, I found myself sitting in a slight indent. Wincing, I realized that the impact caused the ground to actually cave in. Jacob was rolling around on the floor, his body shaking with guffaws.

"It's not funny," I grumbled at him and stood up. Shaking my head, I inspected the damage. The hardened dirt on the ground had web-like cracks pinpointing the exact spot where my body hit the ground. How embarrassing.

"I told you. You got heavy!" Jake didn't bother concealing his mirth, pounding into the dirt with his closed fist.

"Better watch it," I mocked, "Or I'll sit on you."

"No!" He rolled to his feet as I stalked over to him. "Have mercy, Bells!"

He picked me up off the ground before I could say anything and heaved me over his shoulder. I squirmed and kicked my feet, catching him in the gut.

"Oomph." He fell, bringing me down with him. We tumbled and sprawled out across the ground. For a second, we stared at each other, a little surprsed, then burst out laughing. Our laughs and pants were too heavy for us to say anything.

"I miss this," he admitted after calming down. "Just relaxing with you. I feel like its been forever."

"It's not so bad now, is it?" I propped myself up on an elbow, taking in his face as he looked up at the grey sky.

"What do you mean?"

"You know," I paused, playing with a small pebble that fell loose from the dirt, "With me being … what I am."

He fell silent.

"Sorry," I muttered.

"No, it's not that," he sighed. After a few moments, he said, "I just forgot about… you know."

"Oh."

"Yeah, Oh," he mumbled. He turned to look at me, "It feels weird. Just a few minutes, I was making fun of the way you smelled and how you felt different… but I couldn't remember that you were a bloodsucker. Does that mean something?"

I knew what he was talking about and smiled. For a while there, I saw him as Jacob, not a werewolf.

"Maybe. Does it have to mean something?"

"No," he shook his head. "But you know, the others - they won't understand. They don't understand. I almost had to sneak out today to meet you."

I opened my mouth, but the look he shot me told me he was nowhere near finished.

"Maybe," he took a deep breath and averted his gaze. "Maybe it's because I love you so much."

My breath caught. "Jake - " I croaked. He held up a hand to silence me.

"I know," he gave me a thin smile. "But - it doesn't matter. It doesn't even have to be that kind of love. It just is, you know? Because it's you and that's enough for me. But I know that you only see me as a friend and … that's okay, too."

He took a deep breath and started again, "The part that scares me is that" - he swallowed - "if you ever gave me one hint, one sign that maybe - I'd still come running. Vampire or not, I'd still come running. That's saying something."

He reached out and pressed his warm palm against my skin. I had no tears and for once, I wished I did. Tears would have been streaming down my face. I covered his large hand with my smaller one and squeezed it gently. His eyes were wide, incredible, staring straight into mine as if he were amazed.

"I asked Sam about it," he said, bitterly, "He told me that I was chasing an empty dream. Even if you wanted me, it could never happen. He told me to forget about you."

My hand tightened over his.

"Why did you need to see me?" Jake changed the subject so abruptly, I almost jumped.

"What?" I wasn't fully comprehending. He tilted his head back up at the sky. I suddenly felt the wetness on my skin - I hadn't even realized that it was drizzling.

"When you called," he said in a tight, controlled voice. "You needed help from the pack about something. What was it?"

"Oh," I murmured. After a moment's contemplation, I told him about Felix. At the mention of Victoria, his head jerked up and he fixed me with an unreadable expression. The expression stayed on his face as I breezed over the details about the Aurelius clan.

"Jesus," he whistled when I was done. "You really aren't any safer now than before, are you?"

I stiffened.

"Sorry," he muttered. "It's just that - I can't stop wondering. Why did you do it? Do you hate me that much?"

"Oh, Jacob," I sighed, closing my eyes and feeling the cool drops of water land on my face. "I could never hate you and you know that. I was weak as a human. I never would've made it."

He raised himself up on his elbows and leaned over, hovering above me slightly.

"I could've protected you!" he cried out, shaking my shoulders. I opened my eyes and looked up into his face. Rainwater dripped down his forehead and off his prominent nose. His face was contorted in what could best be described as absolute pain. I saw heartbreak in his eyes and couldn't stand it.

I reached out and stroked my fingers over his brow. He closed his eyes and leaned into my touch. Sighing, I said, "You can't protect me forever, Jake."

"I would try," he swore vehemently. The rush of emotions was rising high, threatening to break the dam.

"You'd never be happy," I snapped, willing him to understand. He glared at me. Softening, I sat up slowly and leaned my forehead against his heated neck. "I could never give you what you want. I'd always hold you back."

"That wouldn't matter," he wrapped his arms around me until I was cocooned snugly against his chest. "I wouldn't care. You'd be enough for me."

It had never been like this before. This onslaught of emotion that took over as the rain pelted us over and over again. I felt the full weight of his unrequited love and silently wished that one day, he'd open his eyes and find a beautiful girl, waiting and open to love him as I couldn't.

"It wouldn't be enough for me," I whispered. It was cruel, but what else could I say? What was done was done and if I said anything else, he'd just be strung along as he was all last year. I didn't want that for him. I wanted him to be happy, I wanted us to remain close, but I didn't want his pain. He tensed up and I clung to him tighter, praying that he'd understand.

Say you'll be okay, I pleaded in my head over and over again. After what seemed like forever, he pulled back slightly and kissed my forehead.

"I'll be fine," he told me, his voice hoarse. Slowly, he stood, pulling me up with him. His eyes didn't meet mine as he said, "I'll talk to the pack about your problem. I'm sure we can help somehow."

"Jacob - "

"No. I'll be okay. Don't worry about me." He still wasn't meeting my eyes. "Just - take care of yourself. If that bastard ever hurts you, I'll kill him with my bare hands."

He looked up and held my gaze, leaving me with no question who he was talking about. Then he walked off without so much as a "goodbye."

Author's Note: There's a little taste at what Bella's power can do… there'll be a lot more of it in the next chapter, explanations, etc. I hope you liked the Jacob and Bella scene - I know I did. I just … really love Jacob's character. The next chapter'll be coming shortly! Thanks again for all the reviews!