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.
22. Epilogue - Bella Turns 30
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September 2017 - Bella's 30th Birthday
The trees passed us at such a speed that even I could make out the individual branches. We were in no hurry tonight. It was officially our last run together and we wanted to enjoy the evening. I had no idea where we were going. Jacob had been hinting about some special event in Canada but I knew better. At this speed we would never get there in time. Besides, all I wanted was to spend my birthday with my husband.
I lay my head between his shoulder blades and ran my fingers through his fur. In anticipation of giving up phasing into a wolf he was growing his hair long again. Jacob's long black hair was the second thing I loved about him. His warm sunny smile was the first. I heard a contented rumble come from deep within his chest as I played in his fur. I was so perfectly happy in that moment that I didn't notice when we stopped.
"Oh!" I gasped when I finally looked up. I wasn't expecting what I saw. There was my cottage. The garden had been tended even though this would be the last time we would ever come out here. I hadn't been here since my birthday two years ago.
"I was hoping we could start over, Bella."
Jacob's voice was forlorn and tentative. I didn't have to ask what he meant by that. Everything started going wrong the day after our first night here. The Cullens had been gone for over a year now but things never really returned to normal. I threw myself into my work with abandon, travelling to conferences, recruiting students from throughout the peninsula for the IB program. I kept myself busy so that I wouldn't have time to remember. But all that was about to end. I had attracted so many students that the school hired a full time administrator. This year I was back to my old teaching schedule.
"Do I get to be 28 again?" I asked.
"Only if I get another two years as a wolf."
"Deal. That means I get to keep the cottage for two more years."
We entered it holding hands and smiling in a carefree way we hadn't done in over two years. On the mantle above the fireplace, as though it had been there all along, was the carving of me and my wolfy family. I had kept it hidden under the corner of our bed since I took time off from work.
"How did you know?"
"Silly Bella, you can't keep secrets from me unless you plan to never sleep again."
Jacob's tone was light and teasing and his smile easy but his eyes betrayed the pain he felt. Whether it was because Alice had been able to give me something that he could not or because I had tried to hide it from him all this time I would never know. And then a horrible thought occurred to me.
"What else am I keeping from you, Jacob?"
"Don't you know?"
I shook my head miserably. I never told him that I stayed in touch with Alice but that wasn't what I was worried about. He knew that we were friends. I had kept myself so busy this past year that I didn't have time to think about Edward. That didn't mean he never entered my subconscious. Was I dreaming about him all this time without knowing it?
"I know you worry that you aren't taking good care of the family because of work."
I stuck my tongue out at him. I had been feeling guilty but home life was returning to normal.
"I may know as much about your spunky little leech friend as you do."
"Are you mad?"
"I wish you had told me. We never used to have secrets and it hurts to find out like that."
"No more secrets." I would agree to anything if it made Jacob hurt less. "Is there anything else?"
"I know about the letter he gave you. You never forgot about it."
"Oh. I didn't realize..." What could I say to make it better?
"I never should have said anything about it to you."
"Why?" It seemed odd that he would keep my secrets from me.
"Because as long as you don't know you're thinking about him then I don't have to worry you might leave me. You can only do that when you're awake."
I took the statue off of the mantle and ran my hands along the smooth wood.
"It's so beautiful," I whispered.
"You know, you were amazing that day."
I looked at him, confused.
"The day in the woods. We almost slaughtered each other. If it weren't for you who knows what would have happened."
"It was the least I could do having caused so much trouble."
"No, Bella. If not for you that bloodsucker wouldn't have saved the boys. If not for him you would be dead." He choked on the word. "Carlisle and his coven have never harmed our tribe and this time they saved my family. The new legends will tell of that."
"New legends?" I had no idea what Jacob was talking about. Legends are old. That's what makes them legends.
"Happy birthday," he said, handing me some papers he pulled off of the bedside table.
They were the next chapter of the book I gave him two years before.
The Cold Ones and the Brave Wife
Our legends tell of a coven of cold ones that do not prey upon humans. Their leader, Carlisle, has been to our land long in the past, before other of the pale faces arrived. He returned centuries later with four others. They outnumbered our wolf warriors but he offered a treaty to our chief, Ephraim Black. They would refrain from biting humans, either for their blood or to increase their number, and would stay off of our ancestral lands. Our wolf warriors in return would not hunt them, nor would we tell the pale faces of their true nature.
When they left many years past and no cold ones came to the peninsula. Two generations did not become wolf warriors. Then came the summer of the great rain. Cold ones flocked to the peninsula where the clouds would allow them to walk among us undetected. Many people went missing that year. But our ancestral gift protected the tribe once again and four of our members joined the ranks of the wolf warriors, including the heir to Ephraim Black.
Now it is hoped that the wolf warriors would marry women who were descended from Taka Ahi to ensure future generations would carry the magic in their blood. But the heir of Ephraim Black and chief of the tribe found his true wife among the pale faces. And although she was an outsider she was entrusted with our tribal secrets and knew them to be true. She didn’t breathe a word of our history to the outside world. In time she bore two sons and the magic was evident in the eldest from his earliest childhood.
It was when the sons still had their milk teeth that the coven led by the one called Carlisle returned. Their number had grown and the tribal council was afraid that the treaty had been broken. It was the wife of our chief who volunteered to speak with him and learn of their new members. She had met the leader the day he arrived and was not afraid. One of the warriors went with her for protection as she was beloved to all of us.
She learned that the new members of the coven had joined them over half a century ago and had converted to their lifestyle. Though many of the tribe doubted, the wife and her escort believed his words. Several from the coven were to integrate with the town and attend their school every day. The chief's wife worked at the school and offered to watch over them to ensure the safety of the tribe and the town from which she came.
In time an unexpected thing happened. The members of the coven came to love the chief's wife too because she treated them with kindness even though she knew their true nature. One of them loved her even as her own husband did, following her when she left our land to ensure her safety. He rescued her from what would have been a deadly accident and the council was forced to be grateful to our natural enemy.
At the time of the great potlatch feast to share our bounty with our neighbors the young sons of the chief wandered off into the woods. They had gone quite far and when they were found they were with the coven of the cold ones. A nomad of their kind had come, one who did not share their lifestyle. The coven with the golden eyes crossed the treaty line and rescued the boys. They did it out of love for the brave wife.
The chief was grateful for the rescue of his boys but was overcome with jealousy at their love for his wife. Both wolf warrior and cold ones prepared for a great battle that was sure to decimate their numbers. The brave wife had true love and affection for both sides and threw herself between them, unable to watch the bloodshed.
In the end their love for her was greater than their hatred for each other and the war was prevented. The cold ones left the peninsula with the agreement that they would not return while the chief, his wife and his children still lived.
"The council didn't want to include our names to the story because it would give away too many secrets," Jacob said when I looked up.
"It's beautiful," I said. "I wouldn't change a thing about it."
The story was beautiful. But there was one thing I would have changed if I were Jacob. He should have told me that he arranged for the Cullens to leave. I would have liked to say good-bye.
- 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