What if Alice never saw Bella jump? Will Bella ever be able to let go of Edward?
Bella continues life in Forks with out Edward. Jacob has picked up the pieces, will she finally realize he is there for her? Will she ever be able to let go of Edward?
10. Chapter 10
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Jacob’s Point of View
I stayed on the beach that night, but I hadn’t managed to sleep more than a few minutes without being reminded of her. The sun woke me up early as it streamed down onto my bare back. I knew I would have to go home soon but I didn’t want to face the inevitable. I decided to check in with Sam first and I headed into the forest to phase.
Sam. Is everything ok? I waited for his answer but I could already feel my body changing back to its human form.
No sightings of the red head, but there’s something else Jake. The Cullen’s are back, not just Edward, and they’ve brought someone with them. We know nothing about the new vampire, but we need information. This could be violating the treaty. Sam’s thoughts were careful and planned out; as if he had been think about how to break the news to me all night. He probably was; didn’t want to add insult to injury. I was grateful for the effort anyway.
What can I do? How can I help?
Just let us know if Bella mentions anything about the new member. I don’t want to start a war over nothing.
Over nothing; as if a coven of vampires moving back into our territory wasn’t enough. Of course Sam. I’ll tell you as soon as I know anything. I phased back quickly and headed home.
Billy was sitting at the table reading the paper when I walked in. He looked up at me quickly and then when back to reading; I guess he was just assessing the damage. Sam said he was meeting with the Elders last night, so Billy must know by now. I trudged off toward my room and shut the door behind me before flopping down on my too-small bed. A million thoughts zipped around my head, hitting the inside of my skull and bouncing into one another. How could he be back? Bella was finally mine and he had to waltz back in and sweep her off her feet. As mad as I was I couldn’t ignore the fact that I wanted Bella to be happy. And if it took a filthy bloodsucker to make her happy then I would deal with it; somehow I would survive.
Had Sam really been right about me imprinting on Bella before I had ever phased? I knew I was a strong wolf, nearly as strong as Sam, but I just couldn’t believe that it was possible that I imprinted on her before I even knew what I was going to become. But it made sense as well. Bella had truly become my everything over the past few months and I knew she had come to love me too. Now that I thought about it, the feelings I had for Bella seemed very similar to those Sam felt for Emily. Emily had literally become the center of Sam’s universe. She was the reason he existed; he existed to protect and love her. I had saved Bella; I had saved her from the monster she was still in love with. But I had saved her, nothing could change that. I loved her, and she loved me too. But it was my job to see to her happiness. If the leach made her happy I would let her go. I wouldn’t whine or complain because I could never let her know how much it hurt me to see her with him; if she knew she would never do what she really wanted.
The tears were pooled in my eyes, and I had to blink hard to get rid of them. I could hear Billy struggling in the kitchen so I decided to help him out. I drug myself off of my bed and walked silently to the kitchen. Billy was fighting to reach some cereal off the top shelf; I caught the box just before it hit the floor. “Thanks, Jake. Still don’t know what I’m going to do when you leave. Maybe I should have you install some hydraulics before you go.” He said patting the sides of his wheel chair.
“No problem Dad.” I tried to smile. “I’ll get right on that.” I grabbed two bowls from the cupboard and poured some cereal into each.
“Uh, Jake, can I talk to you?” I was at the fridge now and I decided to hide there a little longer so I wouldn’t have to face him.
“Sure Dad, what’s up” My voice was flat.
“Sam talked to us last night,” He sounded like he was trying hard not to strike a nerve with me. “We’ve decided to have a bonfire tonight. I think you should bring Bella. There’s some stuff she needs to hear.” I could feel his eyes boring into my back; I turned around slowly, milk in hand, to face him. “Jake, it’s ok. Calm down.” The milk was shaking violently in my hand. “We aren’t going to speak directly to her. We are going to tell the legend of the imprint. I think it would be beneficial if she knew just what was going to happen to you when she left.” He was speaking slowly and deliberately now. Obviously Sam had told everyone about his little theory. So much for privacy.
“She doesn’t. Need. To know.” I said through clenched teeth, emphasizing every word. Billy sat up straighter in his chair.
“She needs to hear this. Bring her.” Anger flooded through my body and I poured the milk quickly into his bowl and threw it back in the fridge. I grabbed the phone off the wall and stretched the cord around the corner. I knew Billy could still hear me, but the wall gave me a little sense of privacy.
“Hello?” She sounded startled. Her voice made my heart twist painfully in my chest.
“Bella,” I could barely whisper her name. I shook my head and tried to gather my thoughts. “Are you busy tonight? We’re having a big bon fire at Emily and Sam’s.”
“Ok Jake. I’ll meet you there. What time?” She had already made her decision. I could hear it in her voice.
“Around eight o’clock. Some of the Elders are coming; they were going to tell some old legends or something. I thought you might like it.” Wow. That was a lie. I knew she wouldn’t like it.
“That sounds great, Jake. Really. I’ll see you at eight.” She hung up before I could answer. I couldn’t be sure but it sounded like she was crying.
The moon was just rising in the night sky as I waited on the porch for Bella. Tonight would be my last night with her; I just hoped she wouldn’t catch on to the stories. I don’t think I could handle seeing her heart break…
I heard her car approaching long before I saw it. I still had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to act. She knew I was aware of the Cullen’s return, she must, but I didn’t want that to get in the way tonight; tonight was going to be special. I wish I had thought to get her something to remember me by. Her Jacob, her best friend; her protector. It went against every fiber of my being to let her go back to him, after all he was the reason I existed. I shuttered at the thought. But I couldn’t make her unhappy; everything I did was for her, to please her, to protect her. It was a twisted, rusty, double-edged sword, and it would end up decimating my heart either way.
Her truck pulled up and as she got out I could see the light leave her eyes. She was ghostly pale in the faint moon light; my heart ached to console her but I couldn’t move. I stood there, arms folded across my chest and waited for her to venture up the porch steps.
“Hey, Jake.” She croaked. My arms instinctively wrapped around her and my heart fluttered at her touch. I knew I was going to lose her yet my body still acted like it was the first time I had ever touched her. She pulled her arms roughly around my neck and crushed herself to my body, her hips knocking lightly against mine. I hugged her back; I tried to be gentle but I couldn’t keep myself from constricting around her. I buried my face in her hair and breathed in deep. I could feel her lungs expand raggedly between our bodies and she took a deep, drawn out breath. My arms unwillingly slipped from around her and I took her hand to lead her to the backyard. This was going to be interesting.
I sat down across from Billy, pulling Bella down with me. The fire blazed in front of us, but I could feel Bella shiver next to me so I pulled her close to me, my arms circling her waist. Billy began his story and I could only pray that Bella wouldn’t be paying him much attention tonight. I could feel her eyes roaming my body as she pressed herself even closer to me.
The night seemed to inch on, slowly and painfully with every word that slipped from my father’s daring lips. I knew Bella wasn’t paying attention; she was tracing circle around my palm. This was it; this would be the last few hours I would spend with Bella as my girl, my love. I tried not to listen as my father detailed every heart wrenching emotion those who are rejected by their imprint feel and I desperately hoped Bella had not suddenly chosen to pay attention because she had stopped circling my palm with her ice cold fingers. Her eyes burned into my face, but I couldn’t bring myself to meet her gaze.
Thankfully, but still all too soon, my dad finished his story. Bella’s breathing was slow and deep, she must have fallen asleep so I allowed her to stay tucked into my chest for a few more moments. Sam caught my eye as he and Emily walked back to the small house. His face was full of concern; I gave him a reassuring nod as he turned and followed Emily. I took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of charred wood mingled with the aroma of Bella’s fruity shampoo. I memorized the smell and everything about that moment. Her chest rising softly against mine, her hair falling delicately around her face; the way her skin glimmered in the fading fire light, and the way her eye lashes gently brushed the tops of her cheeks. She shifted slowly in her sleep, “…Jacob…” She whispered. My pulse quickened at the sound; my heart soared with happiness to know she was dreaming of me, but my mind was wrought with pain knowing it would likely be the last time I would hear her utter my name in unconsciousness.
I was being pulled in different directions. I longed to stay here with Bella, and never leave this moment, but my pack called to me. My ancestry, rooted deep in my substance, pulled and strained against my heart. Bella would always be number one, but my heritage would never give up the fight for first place. It was time to let her go and as painful as I knew it would be, I was willing to do it. Her happiness was monumentally more important than my own, and I knew Edward could make her happy. My heart thudded in my chest, recognition flooding my body. Bella would never have to know I had imprinted on her. She could live her life, mortal or otherwise, without the knowledge of what effect her choice would have on me. I lifted my eyes skyward, “Thank you,” I whispered. Whatever, whoever, had granted me this shred of solace deserved much more than a thank you, but it was all I could to do keep the emotions engulfing me from pulling me under completely. At least Bella would never know, she would never have to feel guilty; that thought alone calmed my mind enough to continue with what had to be done.
I rubbed my hand against her arm, gently shaking her awake. Her breathing quickened as her mind made its way back to the conscious world, and her body seemed to stiffen as she awoke. Her eyelashes fluttered open sending long shadows dancing across her face in the dwindling fire light; her sides expanded as she took in a deep lungful of air. “I better get you back to your truck, it’s getting late.” My voice seemed out of place and much too loud for our surroundings. I quickly pulled myself to my feet, dragging Bella with me. She swayed back on her heels, and then forward. My arms were immediately around her, stabilizing her.
My walk was brisk as I took Bella back to her truck. She seemed to be having trouble keeping up with my foot falls and I had to remind myself that one, her legs were about half the length of mine, and two, she probably couldn’t see anything. She stumbled more than a few times, each time clinging to me more desperately than the last. We reached her truck in record time; I pulled her against my chest before she had a chance to see the tears that threatened to spill over. She nuzzled herself tightly against me, her hot breath washed over my neck, constricting my airways making the uncomfortable lump in my throat that much more painful.
We stood in silence, encircled in each other’s arms, hearts beating in unison for a short eternity. If not for the circumstances I would have been extremely impressed with the night sky. Millions of little stars twinkled against the inky backdrop; just a sliver of moon remained, setting the off against the night sky in sharp contrast. I could feel Bella’s feather light touch, but I couldn’t tell what she was doing, my eyes were blurred by tears. I stared straight forward, but I could feel Bella’s eyes searching my face. I hadn’t realized tears were slipping down my face until I felt the tips of her fingers mechanically brush them from my cheeks. Her forehead pressed lightly to mine as I felt her arms surround my neck. That did it. The reality of the situation came crashing down around me, strangling me in its grasp. My body was shaking; sobs emanated from my heaving chest. Bella pressed her lips to mine apprehensively, and I automatically crushed her body closer to me. Her lips parted and allowed me entrance into my own personal haven. I couldn’t get enough of her; I couldn’t get close enough to her. Everything Bella filled my senses; her scent, her heat, her body. I broke free of our kiss to pepper her neck in kisses, finally resting my lips above her collar bone. I could feel her heart beating wildly beneath my mouth. I rested my chin down on her chest, tears dripping off my cheeks to slide down between the valley of her chest. My lips followed the gleaming trial down the uncharted territory as I kissed my tears off her smooth and supple skin. Soon her skin was covered in small goose bumps. I kissed my way back up her neck and over her jaw bone to her lips.
My heart was sputtering in my chest, and I knew I only had I few minutes before I lost it completely. I ran my hands from their resting place on the small of her back, up her sides, barley brushing the sides of her perfectly rounded chest with the base of my palms, over her shoulders, up her thin arms and finally to her hands that were locked into my hair at the base of my neck. I braided my fingers between hers, and slowly brought our hands to rest on her chest just over her heart. My lips hesitantly broke free from hers and my lungs filled with cool night air. Our eyes locked and I could see straight into her soul. I tried to hide the fear and pain that was reflected in her eyes from my own, but I could no longer pretend. “Bella, you always have a choice.” My voice was stern but I knew she could hear that my words were laced with pleading. I found her lips once more and allowed my pain to slide through. I kissed her with ever y last ounce of strength I had in my body. My heart was twisting and constricting violently in my chest. Every shred of my being was telling me to be with her but I knew I couldn’t. “Good bye, Bella.” My stomach lurched as I dropped her hand and took a step backward.
Her face fell as I saw her eyes fill with tears that overflowed her eyelids and spilled down her cheeks. She was shaking, her hand outstretched slightly; her chest was rising and falling much too quickly. “I love you, Jake. I always will.” The words seemed to catch in her throat.
“I love you too, Bella. Always have.” It was over. I took one last look at the girl who held my heart. As I turned to leave I saw her arm catch on the car door in her feeble attempt to keep herself upright; I could hear her breathing hitch as she began gasping for air. My heart was shredding in my chest; ripping and tearing itself into a million pieces. I began running as soon as I rounded the corner of the house; my body was one step ahead of me, already changing into my primitive form.
A howl pierced the cool night air. My mind was so detached from my body that it took me more than a few seconds to realize it was my own. My pack was with me; Embry, Paul, Jared, and Sam’s thoughts surrounded me. I could see the distress in their thoughts and it only pushed me farther to the edge. Slowly their minds left my consciousness until only Sam remained. He knew by experience every pain that now plagued my soul.
Come home when you’re ready. We’ll watch over her.
I was alone then; just the sound of my feet hitting the ground and the air whipping past my face to comfort me. I was thankful for the silence though. My pack shouldn’t have to experience this with me. My feet spurred me forward faster and faster through the dense forest as the agony consumed me, spreading through my entire existence like poison. This was the end.
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