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Storms

Summary:
storms banner We're far away from Forks, now. And what a lovely city Knives is- the perfect place to start afresh, don't you think? Edward is long gone and Jacob loves his wife-to-be. Bella is not happy- but then again, she hasn't been for four years. She's used to it. But mistakes have been made, and a destructive chain of events has been set in motion. Nothing can stop it. The storm is fast approaching- it's too late to get out now. Much too late. The Cullens are back.Char made my banner. She's an awesome person who has good things waiting for her in the afterlife.


Notes:
I'm alone, And more alone with every passing day; The danger is increasing every second that I stay. But the storms are fast approaching, And I cannot get away.


1. Jacob Screws Up

Rating 5/5   Word Count 5064   Review this Chapter

“I can’t believe this, Jake! You got arrested?”

Jacob smashed his fist against the table, causing cracks to blossom around the point of impact. “I already got told off at the station, so don’t waste your breath doing it again.”

He glared at the broken wood; his hand still clenched tight, his knuckles pushing out against his skin. His brows were clenched and his lips thin and set. I ran my hands through my hair and stared at him. I waited for him to continue, perhaps explain how and why and what the hell, but he did not expand on his tale. How could he have got himself arrested? Jacob wasn’t the brightest lightbulb in the box, but he wasn't stupid - he knew what would get him in trouble, he knew how tight the cops were in areas like this. I stared down at his bowed head, trying to fathom out what could possibly have gone wrong. He didn't look up at me; he just carried on glaring at the table. I felt almost like a mom dealing with a disobedient child.

I hated it when he got all defensive like this. My Jacob, the Jacob I had grown to love, disappeared in an instant. I was left with a hostile person who I didn’t particularly revel in the company of. He simply could not honestly expect me to leave him alone. You can’t just walk into your home two entire hours late, with the news that you’ve been detained by the police, and then not expect your girlfriend to be annoyed. Especially when your girlfriend had recently become your fiancée. I had every right to be mad. I didn’t fancy marrying a convict. Besides, I was the daughter of a Police Chief- I had grown up with the law as my Bible.

He still didn't say anything. He was in danger of staring a hole into the table.

“You can’t just waltz in here with this kind of news and expect me to drop it.” There was no response. “What did you do? What were you thinking?”

Jacob didn’t look up at me. He just went right on glaring at the table, his face unchanging. “Bella, I’ve had this conversation with so many cops already, it gets old.”

I raised my eyebrows, scraping the chair opposite him out across the lino and throwing myself into it, staring at the hair on the top of his head. I loved him, of course I did, but it was when he behaved like this that I began to wonder whether I could put up with him for my whole life. He could be such an arrogant git.

“What did you do?” I demanded. When he didn’t reply, I reached across the table and forced his face upwards with my hand. His skin was rough and stubbly under my fingers. He met my gaze defiantly; his dark eyes rebellious, lips thin. “Jacob, come on, what happened? How am I supposed to even begin to understand this if you won’t explain it to me?”

Jacob turned his head away, staring out of the small kitchen window into the evening light. I opened my mouth to question him again, but he cut me off before I could say a word.

“I lost my temper, okay?” he said, his voice low, quick and sharp, his eyes fixed on some dark shape outside. “There was… this… this…” he paused, and glanced at me.

“What?” I asked, waiting for him to continue. He grimaced before he spoke again. And when he did, his voice was quieter, more hesitant, more careful. “…guy, and he said… stuff…” Jacob blinked, facing the table again, and when his eyes opened again they had lost their aggressive look. He raised his head and I saw they were wide, pleading with me to understand. This was the sensitive Jacob I knew and loved, and I breathed an inward sigh of relief that the conversation was turning rational. “I dunno, Bells, I guess I was just wound up. I haven’t been getting much sleep, and this guy…he pissed me off. I punched him, he hit back... then the cops turned up.”

I groaned. “Jake…”

He bit his lip, looking for all his life like a puppy that had just done something naughty on the carpet. “I’m sorry, Bella.”

I reached out a hand and laid it across his clenched fist, trying to be of comfort. I looked over his face, trying to read it. He shot me a small smile, looking apologetic, and coughed. Then he abruptly broke the gaze, shifting in his chair. He scratched his arm, gazing back out of the window.

My eyes narrowed- broken gazes were the body traits of liars, I’d read enough novels to know that. There was something he wasn’t telling me. “Jake, what else?” Silence. Jacob was still looking away, almost completely still, unresponsive. “Jacob, can you please stop ignoring me, I-“

I stopped, as I spotted a tear trickling slowly down his nose. I blinked. “Jacob?” I leaned over the table, brow creased, alarmed. “Why are you crying?” I tightened both my hands around his large one, squeezing tight. “Come on, Jake, talk to me, please.”

He ripped his hand from under mine, pulling away from the table and standing up to his full, enormous height. He pushed his fingers fiercely through his hair, and his expression was inexplicably furious, tears building in his eyes.

A loud crack resounded around the silent kitchen, as his chair, which he had sent flying when he stood, hit the floor.

I watched him, mouth open, unsure how to respond. He was taking me completely by surprise. Jacob had been so contented, so happy lately. An almost constant euphoria had ruled his emotions for the past half-year, ever since he’d asked I’d said ‘Yes’. He had convinced himself that I was finally moving on, and I hadn’t ruined his delusion- not as far as I knew, anyway. So I didn’t have any idea what had made him this upset. Surely getting arrested wouldn’t affect him this much; it wasn’t like he’d never been in trouble before.

The silence in the kitchen was suddenly slashed as he ripped open his mouth and began yelling furiously. I jumped.

“I was so sure I’d got over it! I was sure that it wasn’t ever going to happen again, that I’d gotten in control,” his voice was bitter. “But it turns out that I’m still the same, that nothing’s changed at all! It’s just such crap!” His voice broke on the last word, and he looked so distressed that I felt the need to physically console him.

I stood up, walking over and putting both my hands on his shoulders. It wasn’t often I had to comfort Jacob- it was usually the other way around, seeing as I was the one who had the most issues, the one who was the most messed up.

But it would be so much easier to help him if I had a clue as to what was the problem.

“Jacob, I don’t understand.” I fought hard to keep the frustration out of my voice, but didn’t fully succeed. I searched his face, having to strain my neck to see him properly.

He clenched his hands into fists in his hair. “Bella, that… guy,” he spat the word, “He got me so mad, and then I couldn’t stop worrying that you’d be… angry with me, because I acted like a complete…well, idiot, that maybe you might… that maybe I’d screwed up so badly that you might- I mean, I got arrested, and you've seen all those wives on T.V....I just... I thought that you might- might call off the wedding, and I…” He broke off. I was about to violently negate everything he just said, but he carried on before I could start. “I got out of the police station before anyone saw, but…but… I did the werewolf thing again, Bella.”

There was a slight pause while I absorbed this. And then I stepped forward, wrapping my arms around his neck. “Oh, Jake…”

I held him tight, and his hands fell limply to his side. Now that I knew, I noticed that his skin was hot again- he had been getting steadily colder ever since he had given up being half- wolf, but now he was as scorching as he had been as a teenager.

“I’m so sorry, Bella, so, so sorry, and I’d completely understand if you wanted to… wanted to call it all off-“

“Call what off?”

He sniffed violently, and ran his fingers through my hair. “The wedding.”

I pulled away from him, meeting his wet eyes and giving him a weak smile. “Jacob, why would I want to do that?”

He stared at me hopelessly. “Because I promised you that I’d give it up! Move past the wolf thing for you, for the wedding. The fact that I wasn’t aging pissed you off, and even though I look old, I’m really still a teenager, and you’re, what, twenty-two?” I winced- I did not like to be reminded of my age. “The whole reason we moved away from Forks was to get away from all the supernatural crap. And I don’t want you in love with another monster. Loads of reasons.”

I tried not to react to the mention of Edward. Even though Jacob knew instinctively not to say his name anymore, he still let slip these little mentions, and it was so, so hard to concentrate on Jacob’s inner turmoil when a huge hole in my chest was panging away like a medieval gong. I closed my eyes, putting the familiar pain under control, and then focused on reassuring him.

“Jacob, I have spent too many sleepless nights planning this whole ceremony to call it off for anything short of our deaths, understood? Besides,” I stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “You aren’t a monster, and even if you were I wouldn’t care. I love you. I wouldn’t want to stop this marriage even if we were just going to Vegas.”

It made me feel awful when I lied to him, but I had decided long before now that this marriage was not for me. I had lost my chance at true happiness long ago. The least I could do was to keep Jacob in high spirits. That was the reason I insisted on the white dress and church; not because I wanted them, because God knows I did not. But they made Jacob happy, and that was the whole point.

He put a hand behind my head and guided my lips to his mouth. I closed my eyes while he kissed me, trying to enjoy it as I should. And trying to stop comparing this to other kisses I had had. Because that wasn’t fair.

I pulled away after a moment, resting my hands around his face. Our faces were close; Jacob was bending down and I was looking up, and I saw his eyelashes flutter as my breath fell on them. “Giving up being a werewolf was never going to be easy, Jacob.” I whispered. “You’ll get there eventually, but the whole wolf thing is part of who you are. It isn’t going to go away after just a couple of years, you know that.”

Jacob looked into my eyes for a second more, bit his lip, and then slowly nodded. I lifted my hand and wiped away his tears, and he smiled weakly. “Sorry,” he mumbled, placing his hands on my hips and pressing me against his chest. He spoke over my shoulder. “I overreacted. Sorry. I just get so worried about loosing you.”

I frowned at the kitchen door, unable to see his face because he had me clasped to his body. “Why would you loose me?” The position was uncomfortable and I hoped he would let go.

He shrugged. “Same reason as always.” There was a pause. He seemed to expect me to already know the answer.

“What reason?” I asked. He sighed.

“I’m not good enough for you.”

I struggled and pulled away, incredulous. I stared up into his eyes- Jacob, my rock, my lifejacket in the sea of hopelessness in which I had floated for so long, and the one constant in my varying and changing life. The sweet, caring boy who had turned into the strong, kind man I loved so much. The thought that a vessel of wonderful compassion like Jacob would think himself unworthy of me… Me, the girl who spent almost all of her time wishing she could have her old boyfriend back, the girl who still had a hole in her chest that she refused to let Jacob fill, no matter how hard he worked at their relationship. His thinking that he didn’t deserve me was like Jesus thinking himself undeserving of a lap-dancer. Utterly ridiculous.

“Jacob…” I said, without knowing how to finish the sentence. “I…”

He shook his head. “I know what you’re going to say, and we’ll never agree on it- can we just go to bed? I have a court hearing tomorrow.”

“Court?” I asked, surprised. “Why are you going to court?”

Jacob’s fists clenched, but his face remained a visage of calm. “Y’know, charges were pressed. And the cops never like to miss a chance to tell me what a bad boy I am.”

I pulled a sympathetic face. “It’ll be over soon. Tomorrow, that’s really soon!”

Jacob scowled. “What can I say, that guy must have had influence.” He looked angry again, and I was about to tell him that under no circumstances could he spit inside the house, when he sighed. “I suppose it’s for the best. I’ll just get the thing over with and hope the fine isn’t too big. God knows we can’t afford it.” He put his hand around my waist and we walked out of the kitchen. “I guess I should just be glad we aren’t in Forks. Your Dad would not have been impressed.”

*****

It was only the next morning, the sky gloomy and overcast as ever, that I began to question Jacob’s excuses.

I always woke up first. Sleeping hadn’t been a particular talent of mine for four years, and even though being with Jacob seemed to have stopped the incessant nightmares, I never slept comfortably. But that was okay- make-up hid the dark circles under my eyes, and Jacob always needed a big breakfast.

As I boiled eggs and toasted toast, I thought about his justification for the whole getting-arrested-then-exploding-into-supernatural-being exploit last night. It suddenly seemed so improbable, that some random stranger had got to Jake so badly, that he had lost control and transformed for the first time in about two years. Sure, Jacob wasn’t the calmest person, but he wasn’t the no-fuse fist-fight jailbird that yesterday seemed to have made of him. Of course, when he was younger he’d got into fights with his friends- but only when they were all huge wolves and couldn’t do each other any harm. This was different. This was aggression that he was going to court for, and the “I haven’t been getting much sleep” defence did not seem as credible in the bare light of day. There was more to this. There had to be.

“Morning, Bells.”

I rearranged my expression from that of uneasy confusion to one of relaxed happiness, and turned to hug a yawning Jacob. He smiled, crushing me against his incredibly hot body, and kissed my forehead. “May I say that your ring looks especially wonderful today?” he joked. I forced a laugh. He smiled against my skin, and sniffed the air. “Eggs?” He asked hopefully. I nodded, glancing over at the clock.

“They need a couple more minutes.”

Jacob went and sat down at our small table. Everything about our house was small. It was a little bungalow, on the far outskirts of the city, with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. That was it, but that was all we really needed. And we couldn’t afford anything else, anyway. I was taking a correspondence college course and balancing a receptionist job at the local hospital, and Jacob was working full time in a nearby garage. What with the house and the course and the imminent wedding, we were deeper in debt than I liked to think about. The lack of room wasn’t top of my list of complaints.

“You know, I almost forgot about the court thing…I’ll have to ring work.” Jacob groaned, leaning back in his chair. “Tell them I’m ill or something. I’ll probably have to work this weekend to make up for it.” He ran his hands through his hair- it wasn’t as long as it used to be, but it still reached his chin- and scowled. “Which means I’ll miss the suit fitting or the stupid flower woman-“

“Hey,” I interrupted, “don’t worry. I can handle it. If you make up on Saturday, and I make up on Sunday, then you can do the fitting-“

“What are you making up for?” He asked, looking confused. “You haven’t skipped work or been ill since you started there.”

“Well, I won’t be working today because I’m coming to your hearing,” I reminded him, bringing the eggs off the boil and pouring the water down the sink.

You are not!!” He suddenly yelled with startling force. I jumped about a foot in the air, dropping the pan on my foot and yelping. The eggs rolled out onto the floor, and the remaining water landed on my bare feet and splashed out everywhere. It scalded my skin and I yelped again, jumping out of the way.

“Jake, what the-“ spinning around, I saw Jacob on his feet, eyes wide and already shouting. I had missed the first part of his tirade when my foot was being battered and burned by the pan and its contents, but caught the rest quite clearly.

“…can’t go, I don’t want you there, I didn’t even think you thought you were coming-“

“Well of course I’m coming!” I shouted back, my teeth gritted against the pain from my foot. I lifted my leg and rubbed it but it didn’t appease the burning. “What, did you think I was going to let you go to court on your own-“

“I don’t need a babysitter!” He bellowed at me.

I backed away slightly, intimidated by his sudden, unprovoked anger. “Jake, why are you getting so worked up? It’s not like I’m asking to come with you to some sort of embarrassing doctors examination, I’m just trying to be supportive-“

“I don’t want you there, Bella! I don’t need the support, and I don’t want you to come, okay?!”

“But why?”

“I just don’t want you there!”

I stared at him, as his chest heaved and he glowered at me. His dark-skinned face had gone completely pale, and I realised with shock that he was actually scared. This was the second time in the space of about ten hours that he had hugely overreacted to something. What was going on? What was it about this whole business that irked him, scared him, so much? Why was some stupid tiff with an absolute stranger causing him to so utterly change character?

I quietly made my decision. I was going to find out. I was going to that courtroom today, and if that meant I had to ride my bike instead of going in his Rabbit, then so be it.

“Alright,” I said, quietly, raising my hands. “Alright, Jacob. Just calm down.”

There was a silence. His gaze drifted down to my feet, which were turning bright red, and he pulled in his lips and looked guilty. His face lost the paleness and grew red as he flushed, ashamed.

“Are you okay?” he asked, his tone timid now.

“Fine,” I answered, and my voice was curter than I intended. “Just… sit down.” I bent over, and picked up the pan, and the four remaining intact eggs. Laying them in the sink, I picked up the mess of shell and egg white that was all over the floor. The silence in the kitchen grew steadily louder and more uncomfortable. I heard the scrape as Jacob pulled his chair in, and sat.

The toast was burnt, so I threw it away and put more bread in the toaster. We didn’t have egg cups, so I just laid the eggs on plates. I could hear Jacob moving uncomfortably behind me, but my irritation that he was hiding something from me prevented me from telling him he was forgiven.

“What do you want to drink?” I asked him, walking over to the tiny fridge, and trying not to limp.

“No, Bella…” there was another scrape, and he was abruptly by my side. “Sit down. I’ll do this.”

“Jacob-“

I looked up into his face to argue, but his dark eyes were so full of shame and remorse I didn’t have the heart, so I nodded, and did as he asked. I watched his huge form as he grabbed the juice cartons and glasses, and carried on getting breakfast ready.

I was really worried now. Of course, we had both been getting more and more tense over the past couple of months- organising a wedding was far more trouble than I imagined. Late nights and ceremonial arrangements and meetings with flower people and dress people and cake people, coupled with work and our constant money worries, were not adding to the lengths of our patience. But still, Jacob had been irrationally and inexplicably weird over this whole thing. Since he had decided to give up werewolf-dom and settle down with me, he had been becoming steadily cooler and calmer. He had fallen into the routine of regular, none-paranormal life so well he had even made me feel more at home. He had made this whole marriage thing feel less like a betrayal.

Well, it had made me feel like I was betraying Jacob less. I still saw the perfect, pale face in my head, and still felt like I was breaking a very important tenth commandment. I had to remind myself constantly that I did not belong to Edward Cullen anymore. That bond had been severed long, long ago, and although it still hurt to think about him, it was time to at least pretend to move on. For Charlie, for Renée, and for Jacob.

But Jacob’s absurd behaviour unsettled me. I needed to be at this trial. I needed to try and work out what was wrong, because he didn’t seem to want to talk about it, and it was causing a rift between us.

“There you go,” he said, bringing me out of my reverie and laying orange juice, buttered toast and two eggs on the table in front of me. He sat opposite, putting down his own identical meal, and started to eat. I smiled weakly at him, and handed over my extra egg. I had only cooked one for me.

“You sure?” He asked.

“Sure,” I said. “I'm not hungry.”

He smiled back at me, and we continued a disjointed and uncomfortable conversation, avoiding the topic which most needed discussing. He seemed to be trying to make up for the argument, judging by the ridiculous amount of compliments he threw into the dialogue- but still he did not invite me along to the trial.

The ordeal was finally ended when he went off to call his work. I washed up quickly, so I could shower and get dressed. I doused the plates in cold water (it might make me shiver and perhaps not get rid of as many bacteria, but it cost less, and I didn’t really care about Jacobs germs; it wasn’t like he didn’t stick his tongue into my mouth on a regular basis) and put the dishes away still wet. I left the kitchen quickly, shutting the door behind me.

I walked past the bedroom on my way to the bathroom, and almost chuckled as I heard Jacob fake-coughing into the phone. It was definitely wiser for him to lie. He might get fired if the garage-owner found out he had been fighting in public, and I seriously doubted I could go long without food if we stopped being able to afford it.

The bathroom was the smallest room in our small home- barely two foot square, and the shower door only partially opened as it was blocked by the sink. I breathed in as I slid inside, not wanting to scratch myself again.

I turned the shower on lukewarm, but then gave up and turned the heat on full blast. I was too stressed to be economical right now. I relaxed under the hot stream, lathering up shampoo in my hair, and letting my head hang back so the water fell onto my face. The heat felt so good- my body loosened up as the drops pattered onto my skin. The soapy water from my hair streamed down across my chest, along my arms, and I felt so, so tranquil, completely at ease. I realised I had been unconsciously frowning, and the sudden release when I untensed my forehead was brilliant.

But I knew I couldn’t stay in the steamy cubicle for very long. After a few minutes, I sighed, and turned the shower off. The outside air was so cold in contrast to the water, and I squeezed out of the shower quickly, wrapping my towel around my body and shivering.

The mirror above the sink had fogged over, and I wiped the condensation off with my arm. Catching my reflection, I stared at my face, and the serene expression I wore vanished as I peered at my countenance.

I looked older. Not old, not wrinkly or anything, but older. Not a teenager anymore. None of that immature roundness was left in my features. My face was longer, thinner, the cheekbones more prominent. The dark circles under my eyes didn’t make it any better, either, and they were more visible against my pale skin than they were on most other people. My hair was cut shorter than I had had it as a teenager, not quite reaching my shoulders, and curling at the ends. My appearance had changed a lot, and it did not make me happy. I wasn’t the same person I had been with Edward, and I liked this Bella less. She was tired, old, and stressed. I missed carefreeness. I had almost forgotten what it felt like not to be exhausted.

I sighed, turning away from the mirror, and stared at my tiny bathroom. Back then, four years ago, it had felt like I had so much ahead of me, so much to look forward to, so many opportunities. Now I was stuck in a receptionist job, heading into a marriage that I did not want, and owing so much money to so many people it made me dizzy to think of it. I had lost so much, and I almost felt cheated. I deserved to do so much better than this. I was a smart person, I had always worked hard.

And it almost felt good to blame Edward Cullen for my failure. He had screwed everything up. And though it wasn’t really his fault, it was still comforting to me to lay all the guilt on his shoulders.

“Bella!” Jacob’s rough voice called to me.

I took a deep breath, let it out, and fixed a wide smile onto my face. “Yes?” I replied, taking the one stride necessary to reach the door, and walking out into the hallway. Jacob was stood there, waiting. He glanced down at my towel, and grinned in a way that made me wish I was wearing more. Then he gestured to his faded grey suit and the off-white shirt underneath.

“How do I look?” he asked, trying to be jokey.

“Very professional,” I told him.

He looked down at his clothes, and shoved his suit sleeves up to his elbows, baring his dark, muscled forearms. I winced inwardly at the thought of all the creases that would cause. Oh well. He had beaten someone up- I’m sure the judge wasn’t expecting some Ivy League graduate who dressed entirely in Prada. They weren’t expecting Jake to be Edward Cullen.

“Well… bye,” he said, pushing up one side of his mouth in a grin-and-bear-it sort of way. “Wish me luck.”

“Good luck,” I said, standing on tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “Who knows, maybe they’ll let you off.” Fat chance.

Jacob grimaced. “Not likely. I started it. And the other guy…. he has… y’know, money, power.” He shrugged. “It’s done now. I’m just sorry to cause you more worry.”

I was so glad I never let him know just how worried about everything I really was. It would break his heart. “Don’t worry about me.” I told him, taking his hand and squeezing it. “You better go; you don’t want to be late.”

He sighed. “No, guess not.” He bent down and kissed my lips. I tried to respond enthusiastically, and pulled it off reasonably well. Jacob pulled away after a while. “I’m sorry about this whole thing,” he apologized again. “And thanks,” he added.

“For what?”

“For just… being so understanding about it all. I screwed up, and you handled it much better than I deserve. I really, really am so, so-“

“Jacob, you’ll be late,” I interrupted, “You don’t need to apologize to me- save it for the judge, we could really do with the fine being lowered.” He smiled, nodded, said “bye” one last time, and then he was gone. I stood by the door, and listened for the sound of the Rabbit starting and leaving. There was the bang of Jacob forcing shut the ill-fitting door, the revving of the engine, and then the scrape as the car pulled out onto the road. I rushed into the bedroom.

I rang the hospital quickly, and putting on a weak voice and violent cough. They bought it, and I thanked heaven when they asked me to work Sunday- Jacob could do his suit fitting. Then I threw on the only jeans I owned, a shirt, sweater, and flung my trainers in a drawstring bag which I swung onto my back. I stepped into my biker boots, tied them up and ran out of the house, locking the door behind me.

My bike was leaning against the back of the bungalow, the helmet and jacket lying across the top. I threw on the jacket and jammed the helmet onto my head, where it flattened my wet hair against my scalp, and switched on the engine. I threw my leg over the seat, twisted the handle into gear, and sped out of the gate and along the road as fast as was possible. I was going to get to the bottom of this, and Jacob wasn’t going to stop me.