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A Matter Of Time

Summary:
A TLYDF Recommendation, Nominated for Immortal Cookie Award, Won Best Imprint in the Silent Tear Awards Two weeks and the whole world can change. Caius and Jane led an insurrection against Aro and are making a mad power grab. Renegades from the wolf pack, unhappy with the treaty with the Cullens, are attacking vampires at every opportunity. Jacob and Renesmee are struggling with the paradox of imprinting. Edward, Bella and all the Cullens must come together to protect the world they've come to love. A tale of action, deceit, intrigue and sexual awakening.


Notes:
Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight. My thanks to all the wonderful people at PTB who helped with this story.


18. Chapter 18 Roc's Cave

Rating 4/5   Word Count 4423   Review this Chapter

Renesmee

The next day dawned clear and bright, all traces of the night’s rain gone. It was another beautiful day on Isle Esme. I strolled by Rosalie sitting in the living room, reading. I gave her a quick good morning kiss and headed for the kitchen.

Her face was almost completely healed now, but her hair was still just a hint of stubble. She had taken to wearing brightly colored scarves to cover her head. Her other injuries were healing slowly.

I poured myself some juice and leaned in the doorway, sipping. “Where’s Emmett?” These days, he usually wasn’t more than three paces away from Rosalie at any given time.

“He is bringing Carmen and Eleazar back to the mainland. He’ll be back a bit later.”

That was unusual. They left without even saying goodbye. “Is everything okay?”

She smiled at me. “Don’t worry, Nessie. Everything’s fine. I just had some errands I wanted Emmett to run for me early today so they went with him.”

“Can I get you anything?”

“No, I’m all set. Thanks, chica.”

I turned back to the kitchen and began throwing a bowl of cereal together. Jacob came in, yawning and stretching, his knuckles brushing the ceiling.

I started snickering immediately.

“What?” he asked, bewildered.

“Nice shorts,” I said, around a mouthful of cereal.

He looked down at himself. He was wearing board shorts, vividly decorated with flowers in pink, orange and green. Before this week, I’d never seen him outside of jeans, sweatpants and cut-offs.

“My other ones were wet.” He gave one more stretch and headed for the fridge. “You can thank Esme for these fine shorts.”

“’Thank’ may be the wrong word here.”

He opened the carton of orange juice and started gulping directly from it.

“Hey,” I complained, “other people may want to drink that.”

He continued drinking, tilting his head back. His adam’s apple bobbed with his swallowing, until the carton was empty. “Not any more,” Jacob grinned at me, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.

He tossed the carton in the trash. “So what’s the plan for today?”

“It’ll be low tide in an hour or so, should we go visit the caves?” There were natural caves on the other side of the island that could be explored during low tide. Caves where we would be safe from prying eyes.

“Alright, spelunking it is. I’ve got to eat something first,” he said, rooting through the refrigerator again. I watched as he pulled out the large bowl of cold spaghetti that was leftover from last night’s dinner. He grabbed a fork and started eating right from the bowl.

“You eat more than anybody I’ve ever seen,” I said, awed.

“This is nothing,” he mumbled through a mouthful of spaghetti. “I once watched Paul scarf down twenty-two hot dogs in one sitting.”

“Ugh.” That could turn my stomach just thinking about it.

“We have these great bonfires on the beach at La Push on Labor Day. Everybody comes. The tables are piled high with food. We do volleyball, surfing, of course, hotdogs and marshmallows. The drumming is really great. You’ll have to come with me this year.”

“Sure, sounds great.” Then my face fell. “That is if we’re home by Labor Day.” It was not that far away. I’d lost track of which day it was, but I knew it was soon.

“Of course we’ll be home. They can’t strand us on this island forever. I’m going to need to get back soon.”

If Jacob wasn’t here, this island would hold no charm for me at all. In fact, being separated from Jacob now would be, well, painful. Something seismic had changed in me. I was only beginning to appreciate how deep that change had been.

We headed for the lee side of the island soon afterwards. Rosalie ordered us to be back by lunchtime.

Roc’s Cave was accessible only during low tide. Named after a famous Brazilian pirate, Roche Braziliano, one had to wade a long tunnel of waist high water before emerging into a large underground cavern, which had a gently sloping beach and tortured passageways leading from it. The legends had it that he stashed his booty in these caves. As we sloshed through the water, I told Jacob of Roc’s history, and his terrible acts of piracy and debauchery. “He’d kill you if you wouldn’t drink with him, and then he’d get drunk and run through the streets, waving his sword at anything that moved.”

“Sounds like a barrel of laughs.”

I walked up the cave’s interior beach and using a rock as a stepping stone, pulled myself up to sit on a natural rock ledge. This put me at the same head height as Jacob. “He once got upset that some farmers wouldn’t give him their pigs, so he roasted the farmers alive.”

“Well, I like a guy that appreciates a bonfire.” He smiled at me, his hands on his hips. God, he was so beautiful. The water was sending refractions of light through the cave and they danced across his face and bare chest. Two more steps and he’d be close enough.

There was nothing in the world I wanted more than to kiss Jacob again. Even the blood that tempted me last night paled in comparison. “They caught him once and put him on a ship back to Spain, but he got away and was worse than before.”

“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” He shook his head and took a step closer to where I sat on the cold rock.

I reached out and grabbed his hand to pull him to me, spreading my knees.

“Alright, Nessie,” he whispered, “you’ve got me. What are you going to do with me?” His eyes twinkled with mischief.

Had he seen through me all along? He could have made this a little easier. “This,” I whispered back and threw my arms around his neck.

He placed his hands on my sides. The warmth radiating from them was delicious. I hugged his lean, hard body with my knees.

“And this includes?” He raised one eyebrow.

“Oh, Jacob, just kiss me.” I pulled his head to mine. His lips were hot and soft, like living satin. Oh yes. Yes. He pulled me tightly to his chest and the contact between our bodies electrified my skin. The way he was moving his lips against mine was causing a cascade of sensations in me. Shivers ran inside of me in the most delightful way. I hooked my feet behind him to bring him closer.

We broke for a quick breath before his lips covered mine again. His lips parted and his tongue flicked very gently along my bottom lip. Oh, that was nice. I tightened my grip and shifted closer to the edge of the rock ledge I was sitting on. Another moment and I was off the rock ledge completely, held against him by the strength of our embrace. His warm arm held me securely while his other hand slipped under my ass to hold me up.

His naked chest against my body, his hot hands on me and the soft sublime feelings of his lips on mine was like nothing I’d ever felt. One part of me was reveling in the overwhelming wash of sensations but another part of me was urging me on. There’s more, so much more. A burning in my belly had started and was sending out rivers of fire along my nerves. I wanted to feel his weight on me, and as if he could read my mind, without breaking our kiss, he slowly sank to his knees and laid me on my back in the sand, his body above and against mine. A wave of pleasure washed through me. I gasped with the ecstasy of it. We stared at each other, both of us panting, our hearts beating furiously together. He started to say something, but I didn’t want to hear it. I wasn’t going to let him stop this time. I grabbed his hair and pressed my lips against his.

After a moment’s hesitation, his kiss became deeper and more insistent. I ran my hands up and down his hot smooth back. I arched my back to press my breasts against his hard chest, suddenly annoyed by the bathing suits that prevented more contact. His hands started to move on me, kneading my sides and my hips. The fire in me was growing stronger.

He broke from my mouth to trail kisses down my neck. I shifted my weight slightly and felt the proof of his growing excitement against my hip. I rocked slightly against it and he groaned with the friction. The sound of that groan made me want to whimper with desire.

Suddenly he rolled off me and fell on his back beside me. The absence of the heat of his skin made the sudden exposure to the air feel like I’d been dowsed with a bucket of cold water. His chest heaved with his gasping breaths and his black hair lay against the sand. He looked at me and smiled. “You’re going to kill me, Nessie.”

“That’s not what I had in mind.” I rolled closer to him, and threw my arm and leg over him. He grabbed my forearm with his hand, to prevent my hand from wandering around his chest.

“Nessie,” he said as his head fell back against the sand, “this is hard enough without you being quite so willing.”

“Hard enough, yes,” I smirked. “Come on, Jacob, isn’t this what you’ve been waiting for?”

That stopped him. He looked at me, his face serious, searching my face. Oops, maybe that was the wrong thing to say.

He sat up and put his arms around his knees. “But is it what you want?” he said, his eyes on the far side of the cave.

I put my hand on his back. “Yes, of course. I’m here, aren’t I?”

He looked over his shoulder at me. “Do you even know what you want? How can you? You’re still so goddamn young, Nessie.” He twisted to face me. “How can you know your own mind? At your age, Nessie, I was still wetting my bed.”

I sprang to my feet. His sudden rejection stung badly and I was angry. “I didn’t ask for this crazy way of growing up, Jacob Black. Look at me.” I held my hands out. I knew I filled out this bathing suit well enough. “I’ve been given all the right equipment. How long before I get to use it?”

He stared at me, stunned by my vehemence. His silence fueled my anger.

“I’ve been stuck in-between too long, you hear me?” I shouted at him. “Not vampire, not human-where the hell do I belong? I thought it was here with you. And you want to tell me I don’t know what I want?”

“Nessie,” he said soothingly, “I just meant that maybe—“

“That you knew what was best for me! Well, you know what? Fuck the calendar! I am ready to make my own decisions and I am old enough to know my own mind and you just better learn to deal. Don’t you give me that shit about being too young.” My voice started to shake with anger and the tears I was holding back. I whirled and ran down the beach, to splash my way to the cave’s exit.

I heard Jacob shout above the noise I was making as I ran through the water, “Nessie! Nessie, come back!”

Not a chance. I was done with the whole lot of them, vampires and werewolves alike. I was tired of being yanked around and having people tell me they knew what was best for me. I splashed through the cave and back up on the beach. I had begun running along the sand covered paths that led back to the house when I heard footsteps behind me. I was fast, really fast, but so was Jacob, and his stride outmatched mine by a factor of two. Still, we were just outside the house when he finally caught up with me and yanked me by my arm to spin me around.

“Nessie,” he said low and urgently. “Don’t. You know I wouldn’t--”

“Let go of my arm, Jacob.” I glared at his hand on my arm.

His face got hard, but he dropped his hand and sighed in frustration. I spun on my heels and walked into the house.

Two hours later, I sat on my bed, combing through my wet hair. A shower had barely helped my mood. I heard Emmett’s voice and another voice I didn’t recognize out in the living room. Emmett was back and he’d brought company? I padded out there in curiosity.

The stranger had his back to me. Dressed in khakis and a pressed white button down shirt, he was standing over Rosalie, shaking her good hand.

His voice was low and musical, with a slight Brazilian accent. “Thank you for inviting me. It is a pleasure to see you again.”

“Well, it’s our pleasure to have you. I was just sorry to hear that Zafrina and Senna couldn’t make it.” Zafrina was a coven mate to Nahuel’s aunt.

“I’m sure they would have loved to be here. A family emergency, Zafrina told me.”

Rosalie gestured to me to come closer. “Renesmee, do you remember Nahuel?”

The stranger turned to me. He was of medium build, with olive skin. His thick black hair was tied neatly in a braid down his back. His dark, thickly-lashed eyes traversed me up and down. “This is Renesmee?” he asked Rosalie. Without waiting for an answer, he stepped up to me and held out his hand.

“Hi,” I answered slightly bewildered, holding out my own hand, which he immediately clasped in both of his.

“You have grown into such a beauty,” he said, both of his hands around mine.

“Um, thank you.” I flushed with embarrassment. His eyes held my face like I had an answer to some burning question of his.

His head cocked to one side. “Do you remember me? Of course, you were so small at the time.”

I studied his face. His brown eyes and warm skin told me he wasn’t a vampire, but his smell wasn’t completely human, either. A field, cloaks, an overwhelming sense of danger flashed through my mind. “You were there,” I remembered. “When the Volturi came to Forks.”

He turned to Rosalie, still holding my hand. “She does remember me,” he said, the pleasure in his voice evident.

“You’re like me.” I whispered. Nahuel was one of a handful of the half-human, half-vampire hybrids in the world.

He stepped closer to me. “That’s right. There are so very few of us.” His smile spread across his face. “We half-bloods must stick together, yes?”

“Sure,” I said, but I took my hand back and took a step backwards.

His eyes assessed me again. “I have a gift for you,” he said, pulling a box from his pocket.

Rosalie spoke up from her seat on the couch. “Nahuel, how thoughtful of you.”

I looked at the box in his hand. I shook my head. “No, I couldn’t. Really,”

“Come on,” he urged. “You haven’t even seen it yet.”

I looked at Rosalie, who nodded at me. Emmett stood by her, his hands on his hips. “Go on,” he encouraged me.

Reluctantly, I took the long narrow box from his hand and opened the lid. It was a shimmering gold necklace, made of thin strips of hammered metal. It had a center stone in it that was the striking in its color intensity. I’d never seen a gemstone this intense color of neon blue. It glowed from within, as if there was a light underneath it.

“Why, it’s beautiful,” I murmured, taken aback. I fingered the smooth gold. “What is the stone?”

“It is paraiba tourmaline, mined only here in Brazil,” Nahuel explained. “It is as rare and unique as you.”

I looked at the necklace and shook my head. “No, I couldn’t. Thank you, Nahuel, but it’s too much.”

His face fell. “Please, perhaps wear it just for today, while I am here? It would give me so much pleasure.”

Rosalie and Emmett were watching me. Rosalie looked at me with her eyebrows raised, as if I were making some gaffe by refusing him.

“Alright,” I conceded.

“Excellent! Let me help you.” Nahuel took the box from my hand and held up the necklace. I turned around, moving my hair out of his way.

That’s when I saw Jacob leaning in the doorway. He was there only long enough for me to register the pain in his eyes and then he turned away and left as soundlessly as he had come.

Guilt stabbed me in the belly. Nice going, Renesmee. I warred with myself as Nahuel fumbled with the clasp. Guilt at taking this silly opportunity to make Jacob jealous battled with my anger at Jacob’s rejection.

“Is lunch ready?” Rosalie asked Emmett.

“On the terrace,” Emmett affirmed.

“Well then, let’s go.” Rosalie said. “We have a nice lunch laid out for you on the terrace overlooking the garden.”

Emmett picked up Rosalie bridal style and she gestured to us as he walked with her. “Nahuel, Nessie, come on.”

I was surprised to see a table on the terrace done up with a tablecloth and place settings. “Excuse me,” I said as we reached the doorway leading outside. “I’ll go see if Jacob wants to join us.”

“Oh, I don’t think that’s necessary,” Rosalie called but I had already turned. I searched the reminder of the house, his bedroom, the media room, but he wasn’t inside. I returned to the terrace, subdued.

Nahuel was very attentive to me over lunch. He actually was quite charming, but I was finding it hard to concentrate as my mind kept wondering where and how Jacob was. I picked at the lunch of cold chicken, bread and fruit.

After lunch, Rosalie suggested I walk with Nahuel down to the point to see if the dolphins were there. Rosalie’s obvious machinations were beginning to annoy me, but I agreed out of politeness. We walked along the beautiful beach, while Nahuel regaled me with stories about his sisters and the jungles.

Lost in my own thoughts, I didn’t realize some time had passed since Nahuel had spoken. “I’m sorry,” I apologized, “you were saying?”

Nahuel looked at me with understanding eyes. “You haven’t been paying attention for some time now, have you?”

“Nahuel, I’m sorry. I’m just worried, well I...”

He stopped walking and slowly traced a finger down my arm. “It’s the wolf, correct? He has already captured your heart.”

“Yes.” I whispered.

“Ah,” he nodded. “Why don’t you go back to the house to see if you can find him?” His face was kind and his eyes shone with compassion. “I think I will take advantage of this beautiful beach a few moments longer.”

“You don’t mind?” I was really being a jerk to everybody today.

He shook his head. “Go,” he insisted. “You can tell him I think he is a lucky dog.” He threw his head back to laugh.

“Thank you.” I gave his hand a squeeze and spun around to run back to the house.

I trotted on to the patio, and through the open French doors, I could hear Rosalie and Jacob going at it again.

“I think we should head back to Forks now,” Jacob said.

“Why, does Nahuel have you worried?” Rosalie asked acerbically.

“No, of course, not—“

“Well, he should. He’s a lot closer to her kind than you’ll ever be.” Rosalie was at her bitchiest. “He’ll be able to actually provide for her. She won’t be stuck living above some gas station in some godforsaken backwater.”

I knew a shot like that was going to hit home with him. I stepped through the doors. “Don’t listen to her, Jacob. You know that means nothing to me.”

His eyes lit up at my arrival.

Rosalie wasn’t done yet. “Nessie, you don’t know all our family history with Jacob. Did he tell you he’d been in love before?”

“Yes, he did.” Why was she telling me this?

“Did he tell you it was with your mother?” Rosalie asked smugly.

“Bella?” I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Rosalie was lying, right? I looked at Jacob, his eyebrows drawn together, his large hands open at his sides. “Jacob? Is that true?”

The pain crossing his face was almost unbearable to watch. He took a step towards me. “It was a long time ago.”

I suddenly had to gasp for a breath. I turned away to look at the beach I’d just left. He’d been in love with my mother?

Rosalie kept going. “That whole pack of yours is vicious and untrustworthy. Who do you think was helping Jane in Alaska?”

Now Jacob was getting angry. “Just what the hell are you talking about?”

“Tell him, Nessie. Tell him who forced you down the mountain into Jane’s hands. Tell him who was waiting for you –“

Emmett stepped into the room. “Rosalie!” he barked. “That’s enough!”

“Nessie?” Jacob was looking to me for some kind of truth. “What is she talking about?”

I swallowed hard. “In Alaska,” I whispered. “There were Quileutes.”

He was still while he worked that out. You could see when he made the connection. “Oh, Jesus,” he muttered and tilted his head back in exasperation. His black eyes flashed when he looked back at me. “And when were you going to tell me about this?”

“I don’t know,” I said bitterly. “Maybe when you told me about you and Bella?”

“I think that’s a little bit different.” His voice rose. “No, I think that’s a whole lot different.”

“To you, Jacob. Maybe to you.” I whirled and ran into my room before they could see the tears starting.

I slammed the door and threw myself on the bed, clutching at the pillows so my sobs weren’t too loud. I don’t know why I even bothered, they’d hear if I picked my nose in here. I was so tired of having absolutely no privacy. Speaking of privacy, what would my father think when he read these events in my mind. Oh, great, that started the sobs up again.

I finally stopped long enough to listen to the rest of the house. I heard nothing. Nothing at all. I got up and padded into the living room. I saw Rosalie out on the patio alone. She called to me but I ignored her. I walked through the rest of the house, but no one else was around. I peeked into Jacob’s room. His drawers were open and empty.

My heart fell into my feet. No, no. He wouldn’t go, he couldn’t.

I ran out to the patio. “Where’s Jacob?” I demanded of Rosalie.

“Nessie,” she began,” don’t you think—“

“Where’s Jacob?!” I screamed at her.

Taken aback, she stared at me. “Emmett’s taking him and Nahuel back to the mainland,” she answered in a small voice.

“No!” I cried. I whirled and ran through the house to the front door that would take me to the path that led to the boat dock. I was crying while I ran as fast as I could down the sandy path, tripping twice over roots I could barely see because of my tears. Please, please let me catch them. He can’t go. I’ll die if he leaves me like this. No, no.

I broke through the foliage to the beach where the dock was. My heart fell as I saw the dock was empty. I saw the boat with the three men in it, pulling out of the lagoon, some thirty yards away.

“Jacob!” I yelled desperately, as I splashed into the water. They couldn’t hear me above the noise of the boat’s motor. I ran further into the surf, screaming Jacob’s name louder. I could see his back and his black hair being tossed by the wind. “Jacob! No! Don’t go!” I yelled, sobbing, pushing into the darker water. “Don’t go!”

“Jacob!” I screamed as loud as I could, still pushing deeper. I lost my footing and fell completely into the water. I twisted in the water, but the steep angle of the beach had caught up with me and there was no sand beneath my feet. I writhed fiercely trying to get some purchase with my feet, but around me all I could see was the murky stirred up water. I flailed violently and got my head halfway above the surface of the water to take a half-liquid breath, but I fell below the surface of the water again, choking.

It occurred to me that I could die here. Irrationally, the thought calmed me down. Life wouldn’t be worthwhile without Jacob, anyway. Did it really matter? Coughing underwater, I watched the fine particulates drift past me. It was really rather peaceful down here, there was no sound. The burning in my lungs was uncomfortable, but there were probably worse ways to go. I stopped moving and let the peacefulness surround me.

Suddenly, a strong arm wrapped around my chest and brought my head above water. My body automatically started to spasm and I started choking in earnest. Seawater bubbled out of my mouth and coughing wracked my body while powerful arms held me from behind in a vice-like grip as I was pulled through the water. I was waist high in the water when I could finally take a breath. I twisted in the arms that held me and almost climbed up Jacob’s body trying to reach his face.

I was coughing and calling his name as I threw my arms around him. He grabbed my face between his hands and started peppering my face with kisses. I was crying with relief that he’d come back. I tried to apologize, but his lips kept crossing mine, interrupting my tearful attempts. He was still for a moment, long enough for me to see the tears that had collected in the corners of his eyes. “Crazy girl,” he whispered. “Don’t you know vampires sink?”

I was laughing or crying, then, I couldn’t tell which. He gathered me in his strong arms, bending me backwards like a bow while I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him with every fiber in my body.