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Tempting Fate

It's been six long months now since Edward was killed by James. The rest of the Cullens have long since moved away. I feel more and more like this hole in my heart will be the death of me. They say everything happens for a reason, but I don't believe that anymore. Rated Adult for later chapters. This is not going to be one of those Bella's in love with Jacob by the fifth chapter, things are going to get bad before they get better. :D

This story takes place as if James killed Edward and the rest of the Cullens killed James. Bella's safely back in Forks, and she's starting to emerge from her loneliness, venturing outside the safety of her own thoughts.

1. Breaking Out

Rating 4/5   Word Count 1540   Review this Chapter

Here it is, a Friday night. I'm staying home - again - much to Charlie's dismay. He's been trying to convince me I should leave the house from time to time. You know, go out with friends. Something. That's what he's always telling me. Since Edward's death, I don't have much of a social life. I go to school, work when I have to, then I'm home in time to fix dinner for Charlie. After dinner, and artfully avoiding as much conversation as I can, I stay up after Charlie goes to bed to clean the kitchen, washing the dishes and sweeping, or wiping the tabletop down. Tonight would be no different. Charlie devoured the lasagna I cooked, and I stayed awake to clean everything up. After I finished cleaning, I stalked up the stairs to my room. I changed into my old sweats and crawled into bed. I tossed and turned for what seemed like an eternity, finally drifting off into a very fitful sleep.

Saturday was one of the few sunny days we have in Forks. Charlie left long before dawn to fishing with Harry Clearwater. I didn't mind a bit. In fact, I'd encouraged it. Charlie being gone meant less interrogation. I'd still have to endure dinner, but I had a sneaking suspicion that I could survive that much at least.

After I woke up and found the note Charlie left for me, I ate a bowl of cereal, took a shower and got dressed. I decided I'd go down to La Push today. I wore a pair of jeans, my old sneakers, a fitted brown tank top and a button down shirt I'd found in Charlie's closet. Once I'd brushed my hair, I was out the door, on my way to the beach. I drove the twelve miles slowly, so it took me about twenty minutes to get to First Beach. I'd taken my time so I could enjoy the cloudless sky, the warmth of the sun beating down on my bare arm, which I'd hung out the open window of my truck.

Once I got to La Push, I parked my truck and walked down to the water's edge. I left my shoes in the truck, enjoying the feel of the sand beneath my feet, sifting between my toes as I walked. The wind slowly picked up just a little as I meandered down to the very edge of the water. I wrapped my arms around myself to block out some of the wind. I stopped walking just before the water could lap at my feet, gazing out across the vast surface. The serenity of the image before me was enough that I smiled. For the first time in months, I couldn't fight it. I turned my face skyward and closed my eyes, soaking up the moment. Finally, I shrugged out of the button down shirt and spread it out on the ground, slowly and carefully sitting on top of it. Knowing me, this could be my fatal move. I might fall into the water. I laughed quietly at the thought, drawing my knees to my chest, hugging my legs. I kept watching the water intently, almost as thought I expected something to emerge from its murky depths.

After close to an hour of sitting there by the water, I heard someone humming, the sound growing closer. I started to get up, but the humming stopped.

"Bella?" the familiar voice asked. My eyes darted up to find Jacob Black standing about ten feet away from where I sat. At first I wasn't sure it was Jacob. The voice was deeper, his hair wasn't in its usually ponytail and the figure loomed over me, casting a long shadow.

"Jacob?" I said in disbelief. Now I did stand up, smoothing my jeans as I slowly closed the distance between us. I realized that it was in fact Jacob, and smiled, stopping before I crashed into his impossibly tall frame. It'd been so long since I'd seen Jacob. I looked up into his face as I stood there in front of him, and he laughed a little as he looked me over, appraising me. I gazed up at him, studying his face, noting the changes. Now, he was all smooth planes and angles, not the boy I remembered. I looked over the long black hair, the russet skin, his dark eyes and smiled again, in spite of the hurt that still nagged me. Jacob was still smiling, his eyes sparkling like onyx.

"It's so good to see you, Bella," Jacob began softly. "I've been worried. I heard about the car accident in Phoenix. I'm sorry, for what it's worth." The words were sincere enough. I was sure he wasn't sorry about Edward, but I could see the concern for me in the dark depths of his eyes. I just nodded a little, the smile on my face slipping a little.

"It's alright, ancient history," I mumbled, turning to walk back to the shirt I'd left on the ground. Jacob walked next to me, his hand shoved in the pockets of his jeans. I sat down on the shirt again and scooted around so that there was space for Jacob to sit to my right. I watched him intently as he sat down, then I blushed when he turned his gaze to me.

"What brings you out today?" he asked almost critically. I must have looked offended because his face softened apologetically. I looked back out at the water and sighed.

"The weather is nice for once. I guess I wanted to take advantage of the day," I said, watching the water shimmering under the sunlight. I saw Jacob nod from the corner of my eye, feeling his gaze as it swept over my face again.

"You look...bad, Bella. Are you doing alright?" Jacob's voice came softly, sympathetically. I turned and looked at him now, willing the tears that threatened to fall to go away.

"All things considered, I'm fine. I've just needed time... to think. My whole life was turned upside down. It's just taken some time to adjust," I replied, watching Jacob's face as he took in what I said. He nodded and looked out at the water.

"You should come out to La Push more often," he said slowly. I stole a glance at him from the corner of my eye. He was staring out across the water, twirling one of his fingers in the sand. A very thoughtful look was painted across his face.

"I guess I should," I muttered. Jacob looked at me and some expression I couldn't place flickered across his handsome features.

"Bella. You know I'm here for you if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, or a hug." Jacob's words were friendly and endearing, his tone was soft and careful. I smiled and nodded as Jacob lifted his left arm, plopping it across my shoulders.

"Besides. I get so tired of looking at the guys. It's nice to see you, y'know." Jacob winked at me and laughed, hugging me to his side. I smiled and leaned into his warm side, and we sat like that for several minutes in comfortable silence.

Finally, Jacob pulled his arm off my shoulders, moving to stand up. He extended one of his big, strong hands to me to help me up. I slid my hand into his and stood up, leaning over to pick Charlie's shirt up off the ground. I shook the sand off of it and looked up at Jacob. He smiled as he gestured to where my truck was parked.

"Would you like to come to my house for lunch?" he asked as we started walking down the beach toward my truck. I started to decline but thought better of it.

"Sure. Why not," I replied with a smile. We finished the walk to my truck in silence and piled in once we got there.

I drove us to Jacob's house, and once we arrived, a sense of home washed over me. The feeling of belonging. Billy, Jacob's dad, stuck his head out the door as we got out of the truck and smiled broadly.

"Bella! It's so good to see you!" he called before he turned and wheeled himself back into the house. I smiled and waved right before he turned away. Jacob and I walked to the house quietly, the silence broken once we got to the door. Jacob tugged it open and gestured inside.

"After you," he said, grinning as I stepped inside. I blushed as I walked ahead of Jacob to the kitchen, sitting down at the table. Jacob started scuttling around the kitchen, fixing each of us a sandwich. I asked for a peanut butter and jelly, and Jacob fixed himself an over sized ham and turkey sandwich. We sat together at the table, eating our sandwiches as we caught up, sharing the details of what had happened over the past several months.