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Alone Together

Summary:
Bella is tired of crying. She has just gotten Jacob back, and found out that he is a wolf. She vows that she will not be the same weepy girl that Edward left in the forest. This new Bella finds her place among the pack and flourishes, but not everything is picture perfect. Victoria is still hunting her, and there are two unknown vampires tormenting her, as well.


Notes:
This is my first fan fiction in *years* and my first ever Twilight fan fiction. It starts off close to cannon, and then veers way off into left field. The characters will develop differently than in the books, so your character of choice may not act the same as you would hope. I don't do anything without reason, so just trust that I have the character's and the story's best interests at heart. This is an adult story due to adult language, violence, and future sexual situations. If you have any questions/comments/theories/concerns about this or any future stories, feel free to contact me! I love to talk with my readers!


1. Did You Never Want to Be Alone?

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Alone Together

I will always remember the first time I kissed Jacob Black.

There was that hole the edges quietly seeping into the rest of my being blurring my vision and fogging my thoughts. It never left and it never relented. Unless I was with Jacob.

But tonight, one of the most awkward nights of my existence, not even he could keep the wound from opening inch by inch.

It was dark in the theater and I was seated, arms folded tightly around my middle between Jacob and Mike Newton. I had chosen a badly rated action movie hoping that the mindless violence and gore would distract me, even make me laugh. Unfortunately, the two open hands waiting on either of my arm rests were doing enough to distract me from the poorly timed puns and spurts of red. One hand tanned and calloused, the other white and smooth both taunted me from my peripherals.

I knew both of them were hoping that I would relax an arm and slide a hand gracefully into one of their respective palms. I knew that their hand would close around mine, keeping it there for the rest of the film and that it wouldn't be relinquished without a great deal of effort.

I knew that whomever I chose would grin victoriously, and the one left wanting would be hurt.

I hurt enough for the three of us.

As I gazed unseeingly at the screen I noticed Mikes hand slip from the arm rest. I turned my head slightly and noticed that even in the dim lighting of the theater he looked green. His eyes bulged slowly as his hand covered his mouth. He didn't say a word as he bolted down the isle to the door.

I heard a scoff next to me I looked at Jacob as he shook his head in bemusement. I got up to move after Mike and noticed that Jacob followed instantaneously.

"No, Jake, stay," I whispered trying to ignore the glare of the couple behind us.

"Not a chance, Bells."

I sighed and hurried myself out of the view of the other viewers.

Once we stepped into the hall I scanned for Mike and came up empty. The only movement was the slightly swaying men's room door. I looked to Jacob for help as I usually did. Now it was his turn to sigh as he walked into the men's bathroom.

I paced for a moment and then took a seat on the bench in a little nook in the hallway. My arms found their home around my middle as they so often did since Edward had left. Without Jacob next to me, and with no distraction in the hallway to speak of I was left alone with my thoughts. That was dangerous. I settled for counting the squiggles on the theater floor.

Twenty squiggles in, I heard the door to the men's room open and peeked my head out of the nook. Jacob caught my eye a small grin on his face as he neared.

"You know, if you're looking for dating prospects, this guy should be disqualified. He's such a marshmallow." He sat. "You need a man that laughs at the gore that make boys like him puke."

"Well I'll let you know if I find that someone," I shook my head and looked back to the carpet.

I felt a heavy weight across my hunched shoulders, and the heat of his body as he pressed himself closer to me. I rolled my shoulders back straightening myself and his arm dropped to the seat behind me.

"Jake, don't-"

"Now hold up for a second, Bells," I bristled, waiting for an onslaught and he put his hands up and leaned back a bit waiting for me to relax. I glanced at him and he didn't look upset by my rejection in the slightest. "You don't have to talk if you don't want to. Just let me say what I need to say and then if I'm wrong correct me."

I nodded once looking back to the squiggles on the carpet.

"Bells...you like me."

I nodded again and shut my eyes. I knew where this was going and I wasn't ready to have this conversation. Not here. Not now. Not while the pain was slowly seeping into my chest cavity. I needed him like I needed air. He was the only one that kept the pain away, or to a bearable level. He made me smile, and laugh, and he always had open arms for me after a particularly bad night. My brows furrowed with the fear that if this conversation didn't turn out the way he wanted that Jacob-my Jacob-would leave me, like he did.

"Did you hear what I said?" I blinked and turned to look at him. My eyes must have been glazed because he shook his head and grinned. "Bella, I was saying: You like me. More than that kid in there puking his guts out. More than the other kids at your school."

"How do you know?" I cut in.

"You never talk about them. You spend all your time with me on the rez. You don't even try to see anyone else, Bells—that has to mean I'm your favorite. Well, second favorite...but that doesn't matter. I'm here. I know you might not be ready for anything more, but I want you to know that you're my favorite too, Bells. I will always put you first, and I will never, ever hurt you. I'll always be there for you when you need me. I'm prepared to wait. No matter how long it takes."

My eyes widened. He all but declared his love for me. I quickly looked back to the carpet and let his words sink in. His words swirled in my head almost so quickly it didn't make sense. But I had to be quick, or I would hurt him.

He wasn't wrong. He was my favorite person that was still in my life. His smiles and his bear hugs made the pain go away and he made it so easy to breathe again. I was rarely doubled over on myself when in his presence.

It would be so easy with Jacob.

Still, I couldn't hide from the fact that I was barely keeping it together. I was nowhere near ready for a serious relationship even if it was with Jake. If I jumped headlong into a relationship it wouldn't be fair. It would be one sided, and I would hurt him. That was something I never want to do. I would keep my pain to myself.

But, a voice creeped into the back of my head. It wasn't the velvet soft voice that I have been so desperately searching for, for the past few months, but the voice of my mother. The sound was optimistic and lively and made me so desperately miss her. But what if you just tried?

Try? The idea seemed wrong at first. All the 'what if's' of possibly hurting him wound themselves in the squiggles of the carpeting. Everything that could go wrong played before my vacant eyes.

I bit my lip and another thought pushed through: But what if it works?

It had become such a habit of mine the past few months to always think of the negatives that I hadn't considered the alternative. What if it did work? What if I allowed him to slowly stitch me back together? I would be blunt and honest that I could make no promises as to where this would go. I would tell him that we would have to be very slow and careful. I would tell him that I may just well be eternally broken, and that despite his best efforts he may never fix me.

The thought became more enticing as I allowed myself to fantasize about being whole, and happy with Jacob in LaPush. We would walk on First Beach hand in hand, and sit on our driftwood log and watch the stars late into the night. Then he would walk me back to my truck and kiss me through the window and watch me as I drove off back to Charlie's.

I became aware of a warmth under my hand as I thought. I squeezed slightly and it squeezed back. The action took me by surprise and I turned and looked at Jacob who was watching me quietly and ever patient. He gave me a small smile when our eyes met.

I looked at him and took everything in: how his face still had some of its childhood roundness. How his eyes sparkled as he watched me watch him. How his white teeth flashed against his russet skin. How his hair flowed like a curtain of black silk just past his shoulders.

I had told him that he was kind-of beautiful once. I had meant it then but looking at him, even in this dimly lit hallway, he was very beautiful, and he was right. He was my favorite.

The bench squeaked as I turned to face him, drawing one leg up so my foot was hanging off the edge of the bench, and my knee was against the wall. His look was quizzical, and he was about to say something but I shook my head and his mouth closed again.

I squeezed his hand and took a deep breath:

"I can't promise you any of this will work," his face lit up and I squeezed his hand a bit harder how to cut him off. "Just wait, Jake. I can't promise you anything. I am broken, and I don't know if I can be fixed...but if anyone can, it'd be you. I want to try. It would have to be slow, and it would have to be at my pace-"

"Of course," he nodded in agreement with a face splitting grin.

"So...we try?" I already knew his answer.

"Yes."

I nodded and then paused. I needed to know right now if this would work, before trying got too far and everything got too deep. I needed to know if being with him would break me further.

"Don't move," I whispered. He stilled, his eyes curious. I leaned forward and his eyes widened at my unexpected action. "Please just stay still, Jake," I begged. I saw him square his shoulders as if he was about to head off into a lunchroom brawl.

I closed the distance slowly, changing my mind a hundred times in the process. I became aware of everything now. How his scent was that of the woods. That his bottom lip betrayed his anticipation by quivering ever so slightly. The sharp intake of breath as I closed my eyes and the last inch between us.

I pressed my lips lightly to his and waited for the hole in my chest to rip even further.

Nothing.

Not removing my lips from his I pressed a little harder. He pressed back in return, and my bottom lip slipped between his. I was vaguely aware that his hand was squeezing mine.

No pain.

I was joyous in my discovery. In the very least, kissing Jacob didn't widen the hole. I felt a lot more at ease with the arrangement of trying. Something might finally just be working out in my favor.

I pulled back, my cheeks slightly pink at the new intimacy I just thrust into our friendship. I looked down at our hands, still intertwined and smiled shyly. I could feel his gaze on me but I couldn't bring myself to look at him just yet.

"I like trying," he said simply and I could hear the grin in his voice.

I laughed and soon after he laughed with me and for a moment we weren't in the movie theater hallway but in LaPush in his garage like we had been every day for the previous few months. This was normal. I hadn't ruined a thing. Maybe this could work.

We were still laughing when the door to the men's room opened again and Mike appeared, still with a green pallor. I stopped laughing immediately and shifted so I was facing front again. Jake kept a hold on my hand as he spoke.

"I think I need to go home," he looked at me and then at Jacob. Then his eyes dropped to our hands and his hand went to his mouth, but after audibly swallowing he managed to keep it down.

I stood finally freeing my hand from Jacob's and went to help Mike out of the theater.

"Too much for you," I heard Jacob quip from behind us.

"I was feeling sick before the movie started," Mike answered through his hand.

"Just don't puke in my car," Jacob responded. "Hold on," he ran to the concession strand and asked for an empty popcorn bucket. After one look at Mike the girl at the counter thrust it at Jacob and asked for us to leave.

The drive home was quiet and cold. We rolled the windows of Jacob's rabbit down so that the icy air would alleviate Mike's nausea as he clutched desperately to the popcorn bucket.

I shivered in my seat. "Cold?" The question came from my left. I looked at Jacob with a quirked brow.

"You're not?"

He laughed, "Nope I'm fine," I didn't object when he slid an arm around my shoulders.

"You sure you're not getting sick, too?" I reached over and put a hand to his forehead. "Jesus, Jake, you're burning up!"

"I feel fine, Bells." He gave me a sidelong glance.

"Just tell me if you start to feel sick."

"Sure, sure."

Mike groaned and puked into the popcorn bucket. I tried not to heave at the sound. I was finally glad to have the windows open so the smell wouldn't consume me. With Jacob's arm over my shoulders I wasn't so cold anymore. This was acceptable.

When we got to my place, I took Mike's keys and drove him home in his Suburban. Jake followed dutifully behind to take me back once he was dropped off.

The ride back to my place was quiet but comfortable. I gave Jake a glance every now and then just to make sure he wasn't starting to sweat. Even sitting next to me now with space between us I could feel the heat rolling off of him.

He parked on the street in front of my house and I finally turned to him. "You can come in if you want," I offered.

Jacob shook his head, both of his hands still on the wheel. "I'm starting to feel weird. I think I might have what that kid did," he shook his head and then looked at me. "I hope you don't get sick because of..."

I grinned, "don't think it was worth it?"

I didn't expect him to backpedal so hard. He shook his head violently, and finally stammered out: "No-that's not what I meant, I-...it was so worth it."

I laughed and reached out, my hands found the side of his head as I pulled him to his right. I planted my lips softly on his forehead which was hotter than before. I released him and frowned, "You should get home, Jake, before it really hits. Just call me when you get home so I know you didn't have a fit and crash or something."

He nodded and looked back out the windshield and his body quaked for a moment.

"Bye Jake."

"Bye, Bells."

I got out of the car and headed to the porch and grabbed the key from under the mat. I heard the muffled sound of sportscasters on the flat screen, though that didn't tell me if Charlie was actually awake or not.

I got my answer when I opened the door.

"Bella, you're home early. How was your night?"

I walked to stand in the entry to the living room. Charlie was sprawled out across the couch watching baseball, a beer resting on his stomach. He turned to look at me, waiting for my answer.

"Not great. Mike got sick during the movie, and Jacob started getting sick on the ride home. Some stomach thing is going around."

"Shame," Charlie frowned. "You feeling alright?"

"I feel perfectly fine," I shrugged. "I should go get ready for bed. Will you let me know if Jake calls, he's supposed to when he gets home."

"Sure, Bella." With that he turned back to the flat screen.

I went up the stairs and headed straight to the bathroom to shower. It would give me time to think. I just kissed my best friend, in a romantic way. Things were going to be different now, and I had made them that way. I had set us on a course that more likely than not would lead to hurt feelings and possibly an ended friendship.

But he knows it's not for sure, I thought as I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair. Jacob would just be so happy that we were trying that he would forget about everything else. I could always remind him. Yes. I'll make sure he doesn't forget. I'll keep it fair.

I felt intensely calmer as I stepped out of the shower. I headed into my room, and towel dried my hair before changing into some sweats and a tank top and proceeded down the stairs to see if Jacob called.

"Nothing yet," Charlie called over the back of the couch.

I frowned and headed into the kitchen and sure enough—Charlie didn't just zone out and miss it, there was no flashing light alerting me to a missed message. I picked up the phone and dialed. I was convinced I was going to get his voice mail when finally Billy answered.

"Hello?" His voice was strained and I was immediately worried.

"Hey Billy, it's Bella. I was just wondering if Jake made it home okay. He was supposed to call me when he got home." I twirled the phone cord around my fingers as I waited for a response.

"He's...here. He's too sick to call," His tone sounded short—clipped.

"Is he alright? I could come down tomorrow and help out?"

"No-no, that's alright, Bella. Stay there." He sounded irritated.

"Okay," my voice came back through the phone tiny and sad.

"He'll call you when he's better." Click.

I blinked a few times and put the phone back on the cradle. Billy rarely got upset. Jacob must be really sick. I forced myself out of the kitchen before I lost my cool and called again. "Night, Dad," I called out as I went up the stairs.

"Night, kid."

I shut my bedroom door and looked at my bed. I had been hoping that I could go to sleep as confident Bella who had stepped out of the shower not just ten minutes before. Now I was going to bed with a pit in my stomach in addition to the hole in my chest that was slowly beginning to radiate pain as my separation from Jacob seemed finalized at least for the next few days.

I crawled under the covers and turned out the light, and curled into a ball and waited for the pain to spread. I hoped against hope that tonight it wouldn't be so bad. I thought back to the theater and how happy Jacob had been after I kissed him. That helped a bit. So to keep the pain at bay I replayed the scenario picking out every minute detail that I could, over and over becoming increasingly more comfortable with trying every time I did.

And so I drifted off to sleep, no longer filled with fear of pain, but optimistic that somehow trying would work.