What if the Cullens had not been in Forks when Bella went to live with her father. What if she had the life she was supposed to have with Jacob on the reservation in La Push. What if after several extremely happy years of marriage the Cullens did return to the area and Bella had to interact with them every day. Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
12. Chapter 12 - Walk in the Woods
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There was no way I could go to sleep tonight. I was so wound up about what Edward had said that I was sure to talk about it. So far I was certain that I had not said anything in my sleep that could harm my marriage. Jacob’s feelings were hurt from hearing Edward’s name but he would get over it. I wasn’t so sure what I might say tonight and I wasn’t taking any chances. My entire life was at stake
I decided to stay up and read A Midsummer’s Nights Dream before I started teaching it. Jacob was accustomed to me staying up late to re-read books for class so he wouldn’t be suspicious. For some reason an all-nighter spent reading didn’t leave me tired the next day. Even if I did fall asleep I was likely to talk about the book rather than my life.
By the end of Act II I realized what a huge mistake I had made. My life was written on the pages of the book. Everyone was ending up with the wrong lover through the interference of a careless and playful puck. If I fell asleep I would likely say the most inappropriate things. It was nearly 2:00 a.m. and I had to do something to stay awake.
I decided to take a walk in the woods behind the house. These woods were my children’s playground. We spent hours exploring each fallen log and walking down to the tide pools. The saltwater tinged scent of the forest was calming for me and I could clear my head.
I wandered slowly, careful to avoid falling, and thought about everything that had happened since August.
The arrival of the Cullens had cost Jacob a lot. From the minute they came to Forks we lost the cottage he had worked so hard to restore for me. Jacob had to put up with his son and then his wife being treated by Dr. Cullen. He was in constant fear that one of them might harm me in school, either by accident or to prevent me from revealing their secret should something go wrong. Finally, to add insult to injury, he had to listen to me speak Edward’s in my sleep. Perhaps the first time it was excusable, he had just saved my life. Last night was unforgivable.
Jacob had been so good to me since the day we met. All he ever did was love me. After he imprinted on me all he did was love me more. I was a traitor to that love for even thinking about someone else. But how could I help it? Unlike Jacob I’m not imprinted. I chose to love Jacob because I loved him anyway and because I knew he would love me forever. I was his soul mate, but was he mine?
Even if Edward were my soul mate, what did it matter. Jacob wasn’t my only tie to this life. I had little Billy and Charlie to think about. My boys were everything to me and I had been a terrible mother to them recently. It wasn’t fair of me to think of anyone but their father. They lived in a wonderful home with a large loving family surrounding them and if things continued the way they were going I would bring sadness to their lives.
What did Edward have anyway? He would be great to talk to but I had enjoyed talking to other people in college. Maybe I just needed more academic friends. I could socialize with the other teachers more, they would be bookish. The way he looked at me made me breathless but I had seen him talk to other people and he had the same effect on them sometimes.
Of course Edward didn’t follow them everywhere to make sure they were safe. Edward didn’t tell them that they were the most trusting and most good people he had ever met. Still, he was beautiful and brilliant, it was ridiculous to think that he found me interesting, I was just a human after all.
I was right when I thought that I should get a job at the reservation school. I belong with my family and I had to get away from the Cullens before I became too involved.
With my mind made up I decided to go home. Once I wasn’t worrying about something I never spoke about it in my sleep. Maybe I could get a couple of hours before I had to get up for school. Looking around I realized that I was hopelessly lost. In my musings I hadn’t realized how far I had gone. The forest didn’t even smell the same anymore.
I started to panic as I tried to figure out which way to go. I knew that if I went west I would ultimately come to the ocean. But how was I going to figure out which way was west in the middle of the night. My heart became a beacon to whoever and whatever was lurking in the dark. I was not usually afraid of the dark but I usually had Jacob with me. Where could I possible be safer than in the arms of my werewolf?
If I had been intelligent I would have found a place to rest until the sun began to rise. When it did I would be able to tell which direction the light was coming from even if the sky was overcast, I might have even recognized where I was. But I was not smart. I wandered blindly through the woods, stumbling and scratching up my hands. I was becoming more and more lost and more and more frightened. I started calling for help.
Suddenly I felt like I was being watched. I froze and looked up, scared beyond all belief. I knew what monsters lurked in these woods. There he was standing perfectly still, his pale skin glowing slightly as it reflected the moonlight. The slight breeze rustled through his hair.
“Bella,” was all that Edward said.
Hearing him say my name thrilled me.
“Edward, what are you doing here?” It was a stupid question. He could run through the woods all night long and never tire. I was the one who wandered so far from home that I wasn’t even in Quileute territory anymore.
“You shouldn’t wander alone in the woods at night,” he said, “monsters travel through these woods.” The last part came out as a whisper.
“I’ve learned that not all monsters are monstrous.”
“Even the devil will get dressed up to lure in the unsuspecting.”
He was trying to scare me. He longed for my blood and here in the middle of the night there was nothing to stop him from taking me. I was like a lamb who walked onto a sacrificial alter by mistake. But I wasn’t afraid. How could I be afraid of someone who worked so hard to keep me alive?
“I could take you now,” he said. “You wouldn’t even have time to be frightened or feel pain.”
“But you don’t want to.”
“Yes. I do.”
I shivered but still couldn’t work up an appropriate amount of fear.
“If you killed me Jacob would know. He would follow my scent and know what happened. It would mean war between our families.”
“I won’t kill you. I would never give in to the demon that I am to harm you.” He said it with so much tenderness and sincerity that I lost my breath momentarily.
“I have to go home. I got lost.”
“The Quileute lands are that way,” he said, pointing. “If you go slightly to the left and keep a strait line you will make it to the road in just over a mile.”
His arm was outstretched. I didn’t realize that I had moved closer to him until he turned his hand and stroked my face. I knew it was cold but his hand felt hot against my skin, like a burn but without the pain. Our eyes locked for a long moment and I saw the burning that he kept from the rest of his face. I realized that I was standing before him with fresh blood on my skin. And then he disappeared, leaving just the rustling of the leaves as proof that he had been there at all.
By the time I arrived home the family was waking and Jacob was frantic.
- Chapter 2 - The Cottage
- Chapter 3 - Dr. Cullen
- Chapter 4 - Council Meeting
- Chapter 5 - Message
- Chapter 6 - First Day of School
- Chapter 7 - Birthday Present
- Chapter 8 - Please Help Me Name This Chapter
- Chapter 9 - Accident
- Chapter 10 - Forbidden
- Chapter 11 - Cold
- Chapter 12 - Walk in the Woods
- Chapter 13 - Consequences
- Chapter 14 - Goodbyes
- Chapter 15 - Stolen Moments
- Chapter 16 - Party
- Chapter 17 - Lost
- Chapter 18 - Stranger
- Chapter 19 - Saved
- Chapter 20 - Decision
- Chapter 21 - Return
- Epilogue - Bella Turns 30
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- 06 Feb 09
- 12 Jun 09
- In Progress