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*New Life*

Bella didn't jump off the cliff. She kept her sanity and waited for Jacob. Edward's voice would sound so perfect in my head as I fell. He'd sound furious, velvet, and perfect...


1. Storms, Hunts, and Tragedy

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2428   Review this Chapter

I woke up early that morning and snuck a change of clothes out to my Chevy pickup truck. I was very excited about my agenda today, but I had a feeling that if I told Charlie, he’d make me stay home. He wouldn’t approve of this, just like he wouldn’t approve of my episode with the motorcycle.

I was going cliff diving with Jacob. A date with Jacob, and Edward too, if you thought about it… I laughed to myself. This actually might be good for me… Jacob had no idea what he was saying when he said we were a messed-up pair… I was the one who was messed up. I listened to voices in my head. I did reckless things just to hear the voice. I made Jacob, the werewolf, look completely and utterly normal.

When I got to Jacob’s, he didn’t meet me outside like I had expected. He usually met me outside when my noisy truck pulled up in the driveway, announcing my arrival. I thought he might still be sleeping. I could wait- he needed the rest, and I wanted it to get warm before we went cliff diving. Jacob was right about the weather; it had changed during the night. There was a thick layer of clouds pressing down, it was warm under the clouds. I left my sweater in the truck.

I knocked on the door, quietly because I didn’t want to wake up Jacob.

“Come in, Bella,” Billy said.

He was sitting at the kitchen table with a bowl of cold cereal.

“Jake sleeping?” I asked.

“Er, no.” He set his spoon down, a look of frustration and anxiety on his face.

“What happened?” I demanded. Clearly, considering his expression, something had happened.

“Embry, Jared, and Paul crossed a fresh trail early this morning. Sam and Jake took off to help. Sam was hopeful-- she’s hedged herself in beside the mountains. He thinks they have a good chance to finish this.”

Victoria could destroy them… Jacob was in trouble. “Oh, no, Billy,” I whispered, a note of panic in my voice. “Oh no.”

He chuckled. “Do you really like La Push so well that you want to extend your sentence here?”

“Don’t make jokes, Billy,” I hissed. “This is too scary for that.”

“You’re right,” he agreed. His ancient eyes were impossible to read. “This one’s tricky.”

I bit my lip.

“It’s not as dangerous for them as you think it is. Sam knows what he’s doing. You’re the one that you should worry about. The vampire doesn’t want to fight them. She’s just trying to find a way around them… to you.”

“How does Sam know what he’s doing?” I demanded, brushing aside his concern for me. “They’ve only killed the one vampire-- that could have been luck.”

“We take what we do very seriously, Bella. Nothing’s been forgotten. Everything they need to know has been passed down from father to son for generations.”

That didn’t comfort me the way he probably intended it to. My memory of Victoria, wild, catlike, lethal, was too strong in my head. If she couldn’t get around the wolves, she would eventually try to go through them.

Billy went back to eating his cold cereal; I sat down and randomly flipped through the TV channels. That didn’t last long. I felt closed in by the small room, upset by the fact I couldn’t see out the windows because of the curtains. I was getting claustrophobic.

“I’ll be at the beach,” I told Billy, and hurried out the door. Being outside didn’t help as much as I’d hoped. The clouds seemed to push me down with an invisible weight that seemed to keep the claustrophobia from easing. The forest seemed strangely empty as I walked toward the beach. I didn’t see any birds, squirrels-- I didn’t see any animals at all, actually. Not even ants. There was a strange silence, no birds, no wind. I felt scared.

I knew it was because of the weather, but even so, it still made me edgy. The heavy, warm, atmosphere was really hinting at a coming storm. I looked at the sky. The clouds were churning sluggishly even though there was no breeze on the ground. The low clouds were a smoky, dark grey. There were cracks in the clouds, though, and I could see another layer above it, that one a nasty purple color. The skies had a gruesome plan for today. The animals were probably hiding.

As soon as I’d reached the beach, I wished I really hadn’t came--I’d already had enough of this place. I’d come here almost every day, wandering alone. Was it any different than my nightmares? But where else could I go? I walked down to the driftwood tree and sat down at the end so I could lean on the roots. I stared at the angry sky, waiting for the first drops to fall and break the terrible stillness.

I tried not to think about the horrible danger Jacob and his friends were in. Because nothing could happen to Jacob. The thought of Jacob gone was unendurable. I’d lost too much already-- would fate take the rest? That seemed unfair, out of balance. What if I’d crossed some unknown line, one that had cursed me. Maybe it was wrong to be so… involved with myths and legends, turning my back on my human life. I shouldn’t have left Phoenix. Maybe…

No. Nothing would happen to Jacob. I had to hold on to that or I wouldn’t be able to handle life.

“Argh!” I groaned, and jumped off the log. I couldn’t sit still; it was worse than pacing.

I’d really been counting on hearing Edward’s voice today. It seemed like that was the only thing that could get me through this day without going insane. The hole had been bothering me lately. It must have been getting revenge for the times Jacob’s presence had tamed it. The edges burned.

The waves picked up as I paced, beginning to crash against the rocks. There was still no wind. I felt pinned down by the pressure of the storm. The air was full of static; I could feel it in my hair.

Farther out, the waves were angrier than they were along the shore. I could see them battering against the line of the cliffs, spraying clouds of white sea foam into the sky. There was still no movement in the air, though the clouds roiled more quickly now. It was scary-- like the clouds were alive. I shuddered, even though I knew the pressure was doing it.

The cliffs were a black knife against the sky. Staring at them, I remembered the day Jacob had told me about Sam and his “gang.” I remembered watching the boys--well, werewolves--throwing themselves into empty air. The image of the falling, spiraling figures was branded into my memory. Edward’s voice would sound so perfect in my head as I fell. He’d sound furious, velvet, and perfect… The burning in my chest flared.

There had to be some way to stop this. The pain was growing more and more unbearable by the second. I glared at the cliffs and the crashing waves.

I had to wait for Jake. He’d be fine… I had to stick to that. Soon, he was going to pop out of the woods with Sam, Embry, Jared and Paul. I knew it would happen.

Maybe it would be better if I waited with Billy. I had to convince myself that everything was going to be all right. The thought of me, standing with Jacob, celebrating Victoria’s death sent me jogging back to Jacob’s house.

I knocked on the door. There was no answer. I opened the door. Billy’s bowl of cereal was still on the table, and it was still half full. I decided I’d go out to the cliffs and wait for Jacob. The claustrophobia began to close in again, so I rushed out the door.

The wind finally began to touch me, and the clouds pressed down. This time, it really did feel like a blanket. I walked toward the cliffs. I knew the way to the cliffs, Jacob and I had walked there many times.

Jacob… The hole in my chest burned. No. Jacob would be safe. I sat down at the top of the cliff. I took my shoes off and let my legs hang off the edge. The storm was moving in faster. I wanted to jump, but I had to resist it. It would be the most reckless thing yet, and right now, I needed to stay calm.

Out in the black, churning water there was a strange orange flame dancing around. Suddenly, I could hear voices. “We‘ll…you…bloodsucker!” I could only hear bits of sentences, and the sound of the wind howling.

“Look!” one voice called. “At…cliffs…Jake…Bella!” The voices must have been Sam, Jake, and the other wolves. I then realized they’d spotted me. “Bella!” I recognized the voice as Jacob. I stood up, the wind blowing me around. “Jake!” I yelled back, a wave of warmth rushing through me. I waved in the direction of the voices.

I knew he would make it through this. I just knew it. Sam and Jacob’s figures appeared out of the forest. “Bella!” Jake said, alarmed. “Why are you here?”

“To wait for you.”

“Bella, you weren’t going to jump off the cliff without me, were you?” I shook my head. “Of course not, Jake.” I smiled and hugged him. “Did you find… Victoria?” I flinched as I said her name. Sam shook his head. “She escaped into the water,” he explained. I nodded. Jacob turned back to Sam. “Sam, you get back to the hospital.” Sam nodded and left. The hospital? What would he be doing there? Jake’s voice interrupted my thoughts.

“Bella, I’m glad you’re safe.”

“Sam was with you… is everyone else home, too?” I didn’t want them to still be out there, searching for her. We started walking back toward the house.

“Sort of.”

I tried to read his expression through the heavy, hammering rain. His eyes were tight with worry and pain. It, of course, wasn’t about me.

The words he had said a minute ago to Sam suddenly made sense. “You said… hospital. Before, to Sam. Is someone hurt? Did she fight you?” My voice rose an octave from panic.

“No, no. When we got back, Em was waiting with the news. It’s Harry Clearwater.”

I jumped. “What happened?” I demanded. He looked at the ground. “Harry had a heart attack this morning.”

I shook my head, trying to absorb the things he was saying. “Oh, no! Does Charlie know?” Poor Charlie, he and Harry had been such great friends.

“Yeah. He’s over there, too, with my dad.” That must have been where Billy had gone.

“Is Harry going to be okay?”

Jacob took a deep breath. “It doesn’t look so great right now.”

I suddenly felt good that I hadn’t jumped off the cliff. It would have been the worst time to be reckless. Suddenly, the rain stopped. We were at Jacob’s house. We walked through the door, the storm pounding on the roof. You can stay here, if you want to.” I grinned. “Okay, Jake.” He hugged me and went into the kitchen. I sat down on the couch and flipped through the channels. Food Network. Seemed good enough. I fell asleep quickly.

Images flooded my mind. The first was the strange orange flame. I remembered it clearly, dancing across the water. It couldn’t have really been fire, could it? I recognized it from somewhere. I remembered the purple clouds and the heavy rain… Jacob’s warm hug…

There was one last one that I didn’t really expect, but wasn’t really out of place: Harry Clearwater. I hoped he’d pull through-- for Charlie, Billy, Sue, Seth, Leah… and everyone else who knew him. I hoped…

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. I could hear Billy, so I stood up and looked out. It was dark now. Sam was pushing Billy onto the porch. I opened the door.

“Ah, Bella,” Sam said. Billy grunted. “Did we wake you?” I shook my head.

I studied his face carefully, but as I did, my eyes filled with tears. “Oh no!” I moaned. Billy nodded, his expression hard with grief.

Jake came in the room. “Oh, no,” he said as he observed the three of us. “Oh, no.” Billy nodded again.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered, a hard lump in my throat.

“It’s gonna be hard all around,” Billy replied.

“Where’s Charlie?”

“At the hospital, with Sue.”

Sam grunted. “They’re making… arrangements, if you know what I mean.”

I did.

“I should get back there…” Sam said and ran out the door. I ran over to Jacob and hugged him, tears spilling over. “Oh, Jake,” I said. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Jacob said. “It’s not your fault.” It was true. For once, something terrible had happened and it wasn’t my fault. Sadly, the other things happening weren’t. My mind flashed back to Victoria.

“You should go home,” he said. “We’ll go cliff diving in a few days. When things get better.” I smiled. “Bye, Jake,” I said. I hopped in the truck and drove down to my house.

As soon as I got inside, I went in the kitchen and grabbed a box of spaghetti noodles from the cabinet. I filled a pot up with water and ran to my phone. I dialed Jake. “Hello?” he answered.

“Jake! It’s Bella.”

“Oh, hey, Bells. What’s up?”

“I just wanted to check on you.”

“Oh. I’m fine. Bye, Bella.” Click. I sighed. I sat down and picked up Wuthering Heights while I waited for the water to boil. I heard Charlie pull up in the driveway. He opened the door and walked in. “I’m sorry about Harry,” I said as Charlie walked into the living room. He didn’t say anything.

I fixed dinner in silence. I could hear the TV in the living room. I looked at the burner as I took the pot over to the sink. It was orange from the heat. I remembered the orange flame on the water earlier…

Victoria! I froze. It was Victoria. The orange flame was Victoria’s wild orange hair. I nearly threw up. Victoria… right there in the harbor. Then I stopped. I had to. For Charlie’s sake.

I mixed in the pasta sauce and put the spaghetti in bowls. “Dinner’s ready,” I yelled. Charlie trudged in. “Thanks, Bells,” he said. “Sorry I’ve been so… depressed today.”

“I understand, Dad. He was your best friend.”

“So, what’d you do today?” Charlie asked, changing the subject. I was glad. I shrugged. “Hung out at Jake’s. We watched Food Network.” He smiled. “I’m glad you kids had fun.”

“We had a lot of fun,” I lied. I must have lied pretty well that time, because he didn’t notice it.