|If Loving You is Wrong I Don't Want to be Right
Author: ColorsofTwilight PM
Jacob meets a wonderful girl, but with his heritage get in the way of love?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Jacob & Bella - Words: 19,823 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 11 - Published: 04-11-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5887966
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
UNITED COLORS OF TWILIGHT
If Loving You Is Wrong
(I Don't Want to Be Right)
Characters/Pairing: Jacob Black/Bella Swan
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, they belong to SMeyer.
My people say that your life is laid out for you before you are even born. That destiny cannot be changed only embraced and accepted. We each have duties and obligations to fulfill, and the spirits of those before us—our ancestors live on in their expectations of their future generations.
Why am I thinking about this on the first day of summer after graduation? That kind of mumbo jumbo is depressing when I have such a beautiful day to look forward to, I thought as I looked out of the kitchen window, while drinking a glass of milk.
My dad told me he wanted me and my friends up early this morning because he had a job for us to do. We didn't mind being assigned a job on the first day out of school, but if it lasted for very long, then I could see there being a problem. We all wanted to have a little fun before we stepped into the real world with real jobs during the summer and college, for some of us, in the fall.
"Hey, I see you're up and ready to get started this morning," my dad said as he rolled into the kitchen in his wheelchair. "Are the others on their way?"
"Yeah, Quil, Embry, Jared, Seth, and Paul should be here any minute. When are you going to tell us about this super secret job you have lined up for us? Oh and the guys wanted me to ask how much it pays too?"
"All in due time, I'll make the announcement when the others get here," my dad said laughing and giving me the eye.
"Do you want some breakfast?" I asked, pulling a pan of hot biscuits out of the oven.
I took them out of the pan and started making sausage biscuits. I knew my dad and I had better eat a couple first before the others got there, otherwise we'd be left empty handed. We all had raging appetites and it took a lot to keep our stomachs filled. I had told the others to eat before they came, but I knew they'd never turn down a free meal.
"Sure, I'll take a couple before the wolves get here," he said, pulling himself up to the table and pouring himself a glass of milk.
"So why can't you go ahead and tell me what this is all about?" I asked in between bites.
"Because you know how we do things around here. You guys are a team and I want you to all know what your first job assignment is for the summer."
"First? You know we want to hang out some this summer before we get real jobs."
"I know you do and you'll have time for that, but obligations come first."
"Sure, sure," I said, waving my hand at him as I finished my first biscuit.
I heard a knock on the door then the sound of footsteps as the others started filing in.
"Morning boys," my dad called as the first one rounded the corner into the kitchen.
"Morning gents," Jared said, taking a seat at the table.
Quil, Embry, and Seth all pilled into the kitchen and started eating and drinking like they were at their second home.
"Okay Billy, spill the beans. I'm anxious to know what's going on that has us all up and out the first day of the summer vacation. You're lucky my other job played out at the fish market and I'll be able to help keep these morons in line while I'm looking for a new job," Paul said, in his usually cocky tone.
"I'll make you think morons," Seth said, slapping Paul in the back of his head.
"Bring it kid," Paul said, dancing around on his feet like he was Mohamed Ali pretending to throw punches at Seth who just rolled his eyes and started laughing as he went for a biscuit and sat down at the table beside Quil.
"Hey you two knock it off," I said, grinning at their antics. "Yeah, Paul we are so blessed to be stuck with you for the next couple of weeks."
"You know you love me," Paul said, as full of himself as always as he grabbed a biscuit too.
"Okay, you boys know that we are all about making an impression on those closest to the reservation, right?" I heard everyone mumble and agree and saw a few head shakes. "This project is going to do just that. It is going to show the good people of Forks that we have hard working, decent, respectable young men here on the reservation who are proud to do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay."
"This sounds like hard labor. What are you getting us into, dad?" I asked.
"Well, Charlie Swan, the Chief of Police in Forks, needs his two story house painted and I've hired you all out for the job. It shouldn't take more than a week, two at the most, and the weather is supposed to hold out all this week at least. He's supplying everything you'll need. You just have to show up every day, scrape off the old paint, prime the areas that need it, and paint the house. He is paying six hundred dollars which will be split between you all, when the job is completed. I know you will do a good job and you all know that what you do and how you work reflects on the rest of us here on the reservation."
"Okay, that's it?" Jared asked, grabbing a biscuit for himself.
"The pay sounds reasonable," I said.
"Yes, that's it. You boys will do fine, but I have to remind you all of one thing. You know that we don't get involved with people outside of the reservation, outside of our own circle. Right?" my dad asked, looking at each of us for confirmation.
"Yeah, sure. We've heard that line a million times," I said, as I got up and grabbed one more sausage biscuit for the road.
The others were walking ahead of me and had just left the kitchen, when my dad caught me by the arm, "Jake, his daughter Bella has come back to Forks to live with him while she works her way through college, but I want you to remember what I said."
He let my arm go, and I nodded, as I walked outside and joined the others. We all piled into Paul's truck. Those who didn't fit in the front, climbed into the back and we sped off for Forks and the beginning of our summer jobs.
On the way to Forks, I thought back on the summers I had spent at the beach or down at the dock with Charlie's daughter while he and my dad fished together. I lost touch with her when she stopped coming to Forks to see her dad. I wondered if she would even remember me, considering I was younger than her.
When we got into Forks, I told Paul where to turn, and we went to the end of a dead end street. The house sat at the end of the street right next to the woods, which would be convenient, in case one of us had to check in with Sam back on the reservation.
We climbed out of the truck and started walking around the house, assessing the amount of work that needed to be done. After looking the place over, I went up to the front door and knocked, while the others went back to the truck and got out our water jug, a few rags, and some other things we thought we might need.
The door slowly opened and a young woman stood there looking at me through the screen door. Her long chestnut hair hung over her shoulders on either side and her big brown eyes almost the color of warm chocolate were staring back at me. I could see all of her innocence and insecurities, like I was reading from an open book.
"Hello. May I help you?" she asked, her voice was sweet and soft and it pulled me from my reverie.
"Sure, sure, I....I'm Jacob Black, from the Quileute Reservation in La Push, and my friends and I have been hired to paint this house. Um, Chief Swan made arrangements with my dad, Billy Black, to start today," I said, trying to focus on the job I had been hired to perform.
"Jacob? Little Jacob with the big brown eyes that used to play with me when I was here during the summer?" she asked, and I could see the excitement spread across her face.
"Yeah. One in the same," I said, feeling somewhat embarrassed.
Had I actually made that much of an impression, I thought. I remembered her the minute I saw her even though she was much skinnier and wore glasses back then, but I couldn't believe she remembered me.
"It's good to see you again. Would you like to come in while I get my dad? He's getting dressed for work?" she said, holding the screen door open for me to come inside, still smiling like seeing me was one of the best things that had happened to her in a long time.
"Thanks," I said, and I glanced back over my shoulder, but the others were already at the side of the house waiting.
"Have a seat and I'll be right back," she said, disappearing down the hall and I heard footsteps as she went upstairs.
I could hear her whispering to her dad that we were there and he said he would be down in a few minutes, he was still getting dressed. When she came back into the living room, she walked over to the arm chair and sat down across from me.
"He'll be right down. So, I can't believe how much you've grown up. I guess time passes way too quickly these days."
"Yeah. I can't believe we used to play together. You wore glasses then, didn't you?" I asked and I saw her blush at the reminder.
"I guess some things aren't easily forgotten," she said softly.
Chief Swan came in then and I stood as he shook my hand, "So you boys ready to get started on this old monster?" he asked, laughing heartily.
"Yes sir. We'll make it look as good as new. My dad said you had all of the supplies?"
"Yes, the paint, brushes, rollers, paint-thinner, primer, and putty are all on the back porch. You boys just help yourselves to what you need. Oh, and I wanted to paint the trim around the front windows and the shutters with the blue paint. Bella here will keep an eye on things while I'm at work, so just let her know if you need anything," he said, before leaving.
"Yes sir, I will," I said, as he walked out the front door leaving Bella and I alone.
"Come on. I'll show you where your supplies are and unlock the back door so you can come and go as you please," she said, walking down the hall.
I followed her out onto the screened in back porch and looked around at the different products. I checked the label of the paint to see if there were mixing instructions then looked at the primer, reading the directions. Then I picked up six wire brushes and decided that's what we needed to work on first.
"Well, I better get the guys moving. We have a long day ahead of us," I said, as I walked toward the back door.
"I'll check on you in a little while to see if you need anything, but in the meantime just let me know if I can do anything to help," Bella said.
"Okay. I will. Thanks," I said, as I took the wire brushes and some of the other things outside.
The guys were already looking for areas of the house that had old paint that needed to be removed, so when I gave them their brushes they got started.
As I worked, I thought back to those summers when Bella and I hung out together. I remembered how she would have loved to sit and read to me, but I was wanted to go on an adventure. We would look for shells and dig holes in the sand if we were at the beach and if we were at the dock, we would lie on our stomachs and count the barnacles that had attached themselves to the wooden beams of the pier.
Sometimes we would hang our feet off of the pier and lowering our feet into the water hoping we could catch a fish with our big toes. That is until our dads told us that there were whales bigger than a bus living in the water and that slowed us down some.
I was reliving some of those times when I heard the screen door slam on the back porch. It was Bella coming out to check on us. It had only been two hours since we started and I had finally worked my way to the back porch area.
"Hey. How's it going?" she asked, shoving her hands in her jean pockets as she walked to where I was working.
I wiped the sweat from my forehead and lay the steel brush down on the ground.
"I think we're making good time. I've almost worked my way back to where I started and the others are just about finished too. Then we'll start on the primer."
"I guess it was in more need of attention than I thought. It still looked the same when I moved back last week. I guess I just saw it the way it was in my memories," she said, sitting down on the back step.
I took a seat beside her, "Yeah, I was just thinking back on those summers when you and I were together. Do you remember the time we thought we could fly like the sea gulls and we climbed up onto that colossal old driftwood tree down near First Beach? You were afraid but I told you I would protect you if you started falling out of the sky. What I didn't expect was for you to fall off the tree and scrape your knee," I said, laughing softly.
"Oh yeah, I remember that. I started crying and so did you. You said it was your fault that I fell off the stupid old tree and that you would kiss my knee and make it all better," she said, grinning at me and blushing at the reminiscent moment.
I felt the blood rush into my own cheeks, as she reminded me of how upset I was with myself for letting her get hurt. I ran my hands through my hair and propped myself up with my elbows on my knees, trying to hide my embarrassment under my hands that were resting on my forehead as I looked down at the grass by the steps.
"How could I forget that part?" I said, laughing almost nervously.
"If only life could be as simple as it was back then," she said and I caught a hint of melancholy in her tone.
"Yeah. Things are a lot different now, no chasing each other up and down the beach or dangling our feet into the water at the pier. Now its jobs and school and life," I remarked, bringing us both back from our trip down memory lane.
"Well, I better let you get back to work. I'm sure you want the day to pass quickly so you can get back to La Push. I bet you have a date for tonight?" she said, standing up and running her hands over her hips to brush them off.
I watched as her hands carefully moved over her hips and down her slender thighs, my eyes lingering a bit too long on her backside, before meeting her questioning stare. I smiled as I got up and stepped down onto the ground in front of her.
"No. No, I don't have a date, and as for the day passing quickly, well, it will go by just the same whether I'm busy here or there," I replied going over to pick up my brush again.
She laughed quietly, and said, "Yeah, I suppose it does," as she turned and went back inside.
I finally rounded the corner of the house and met up with Seth who was working along the bottom of the house with me. The others were in various positions on ladders or the eaves of the house finishing up their scrapping.
"Looks like we're ready for the primer. I saw a few spots around this side that could use some," Seth said, pointing to the areas around the windows.
I nodded and went to the back porch to get the primer so I could start stirring it. When it was ready, we all got brushes and small buckets of primer so we could go start treating the spots we had seen while scrapping.
We all took off our shirts, not wanting to get the white primer on our clothes and threw them onto the water jug at the edge of the yard.
This part went much faster than the scraping, but it still took about an hour. When we had finished the primer, we were putting things away and washing out our brushes, having decided it would be a good time to go grab a bite of lunch so we would let the primer dry before starting on the paint.
I was standing up on one of the eaves, dabbing the rest of the primer I had on the second story when I heard the screen door open and close. I looked over the edge of the eaves and saw Bella coming out with a small folding table. When she looked around and saw Quil, Embry, and Paul painting their last sections, she dropped the table on her foot.
She grimaced in pain, but never said a word, as she continued staring at the guys. It wasn't until I saw her turn bright red when Jared walked up and caught her that I realized she was checking them all out.
I didn't make a sound, as I went over to the ladder and made my decent back to the ground, going around the house and coming up behind her. It wasn't that I cared one way or the other if she was looking at the obvious eye candy of my fellow coworkers, or so I tried to tell myself, but I wanted see her reaction when I came into view.
The table was still lying on the ground, so I reached down and picked it up.
"Here let me help you with that," I offered, as she spun around and let her eyes slowly, carefully creep from my waistline up my stomach and chest, over each shoulder, and finally up to my face.
I'm sure my muscles were flexing when I opened the table and began folding out the legs before setting it securely on the ground.
"Um, that's nice....I mean....you're a God send....I mean.....you're thanked. Oh...."she was so tongue tied and flabbergasted that she couldn't even talk, which made me feel better.
"I guess that I should say you're welcome?" I questioned and watched her cross her arms over her chest to conceal the peaks that had begun to form on her breasts, which I couldn't help but notice. After all I am of the male species.
I almost felt sorry for her too because she was so red in the face that I thought she might burst into flames any minute or pass out from all that blood rushing so quickly to her head. I smiled at her and it made it even worse, which was amusing.
"I thought...I wanted to help.....I made some sandwiches. I knew that after you were all so hard....at work that you would be hungry. I know you need to keep your strength up," she sighed, looking defeated, and waved her hand toward the house. "Are you guys hungry?"
"I think we could all take a break and eat some of your sandwiches, but you really didn't have to do that. We were going to go into town and grab a bite."
"Oh. I'm sorry. I just thought you might want to stay here longer. You know so you could get more done."
"No. That's great. Really. I'll go tell the guys you've got lunch for us."
"Okay. I'll go get the food then," she said, walking back to the back door.
I laughed to myself as I saw her limping. I'm sure her foot was still throbbing after dropping the table on her foot and from the look of things, other parts of her body had received a jolt too. Not that I minded, but then I had to remember Quileute protocol and hear my dad's words ringing loud and clear in my head, 'we don't get involved with people outside the reservation.' And that made my mood suddenly turn sour.
The others had just joined me in the back yard, when I saw Bella trying to get out the backdoor with the tray of sandwiches and three bags of chips. I jogged over and grabbed the door.
"Here, let me get that," I said, taking the tray from her and grabbing the chips from her other hand.
As I took the chips, our hands touched for a few seconds and we both looked at each other. I saw something in her eyes that caught my attention, regardless of my dad's warning.
"Thanks. I'll go get the, um, lemonade and some glasses," she said, pointing her thumb over her shoulder back toward the kitchen.
"Okay," I said and watched her walk away, then turned and took the food to the small table outside. "And you all better be on your best behavior. She was nice enough to feed this pack of wolves, so don't forget to be polite," I whispered, as I sat the food down.
"She can feed me anytime," Quil popped off, and I swear I wanted to stuff my fist down his throat, even if I didn't know why, yet.
"Here we go. I made this lemonade fresh this morning. I hope you guys like it a bit on the tart, yet sweet side," she said, setting the lemonade down beside the tray, then began pouring the cool yellow liquid into plastic glasses for us.
I heard a few snickers run through the group of mongrels and I almost growled at them, but I think they got the picture by the look on my face. For some reason, I was feeling particularly protective of Bella and her feelings.
"These look great. I'm Quil, by the way," Quil said, offering her his hand as she handed him a glass.
"Oh, nice to meet you and thanks," Bella said, flashing him a bashful smile.
"Yeah, and that is Seth, Paul, Jared, and Embry," I said, pointing out the rest of them, to save on the up close and personal introductions.
When everyone had a glass of lemonade, we all grabbed sandwiches and sat down on the ground in the shade. The sunshine was nice and it was good to be out enjoying it considering it only lasts for a couple of weeks out of the year even in the summer.
Bella joined us and sat close to me, filling in the circle that we had unintentionally formed.
"So, how long do you think it will take to finish the house?" Bella asked as she took a bite of her tuna sandwich.
"We should be finished by the end of the week, or the middle of next week tops," I replied, taking a bite too.
"Oh. Is that all?" she said, and I saw her having trouble swallowing.
"Yeah. With this many hands it won't take long," Jared said and I saw him elbow Paul and wink in my direction.
"What will you all do the rest of the summer?" Bella asked.
"I've got a job to start with my uncle who runs the general store on the rez," Quil said, "then I'm starting some college courses mostly at night in the fall. Jake, Embry, and I will be commuting back and forth to Seattle to the junior college."
"And what about you Seth?" she asked looking at the youngest of our group.
"Oh, I'll be a junior in high school next year, so I'm just hanging around the rez and helping my sister, Leah and her husband, Sam, work on the house they are building.
"So you're only sixteen? I could have sworn you were at least nineteen," she said, looking surprised.
He started laughing and shook his head, and the others chuckled but kept quiet letting him answer.
"Yeah, I get that a lot. We all, um, developed pretty fast down on the rez. It's our clean living that keeps us in such good shape," he said, winking at Bella.
"What about you, Jake? Are you getting a job too?" she asked looking over at me for the first time since she sat down.
"I'm hoping to get on with Daren Shores at Shoreline Automotive here in Forks. I've worked for him on a few jobs and he likes what I can do with my hands, so he's looking at hiring me full time. Then I can go to class at night, like Quil said."
"That's nice. Do you like working with your hands?" she asked innocently, but the gutter brains that I was associating with today, had other thoughts on their minds entirely, so there were a few choked coughs and someone spit lemonade all over me.
"Hey!" I shouted and looked over at Paul who was wiping the dripping liquid from his chin.
"Sorry man," he said, defensively, "I just hit a sweet and sour spot in my lemonade, like Bella was talking about."
I gave him a 'go to hell' look and he smirked and took another sandwich, stuffing his mouth so he wouldn't say something that might get him killed.
I tried to wipe at the sticky lemonade off, but it was no use. It was all over my chest and stomach.
"Here let me help you with that," Bella offered, getting up and grabbing a paper napkin off the table, and dropping to her knees in front of me.
She started wiping at my chest, I'm sure without even thinking of how it looked, but stopped when there were a few stifled noises behind her. I took the napkin from her hand and tried in vein too, at removing the sugary substance, but it was no use. The paper napkin was tearing off and sticking in spots to my skin.
"I'm sorry. I guess there was too much sugar in it," she said, looking abashed.
"It's okay. I'll just wash it off."
I got up and went around the side of the house to the water hose and she got up and ran inside, coming back out with a towel. I bent forward and sprayed the water along my chest. As I stood up it ran down my stomach and I saw Bella's eyes sparkle as she watched the beads of water run down my skin.
She reached out and started dabbing at my chest with the towel, but looked up at me when I took her hand in mine. That's when I first realized that we had a connection. Our eyes met and I pressed her hand closer to my chest as I held it with the towel still in her hand.
I knew that letting myself feel this way, or anyway toward her was going to cause trouble, but I was drawn to her and felt something that I've never felt around other girls. But I woke up and took the towel from her hand, stepping back a few inches, when I saw Embry round the corner of the house.
"Thanks. I've got it washed off now. And thanks for the food and lemonade. It was really good."
"Um, you're welcome. You better get a couple more though. You only had one," she said, quietly.
I shook my head in agreement and we walked back to where the others were still lounging on the ground and smiling at me. But they knew my position. It was the same as theirs. It's what had been mandated to us all and even though I didn't like it, I had to adhere to what was expected of us.
We finished eating and Bella took the food tray, lemonade, and table back inside, after everyone thanked her for her generosity. As we went back to work, I couldn't help but think about her soft skin and those beautiful brown eyes that seemed to be drawn to me too.
I indulged myself with my thoughts the rest of the afternoon, because I knew that when the night came and I had to join minds with the others, I would have to hide what I was thinking.
The day went by fast, and we had one side completely painted by the end of the day. Bella hadn't come out to check on us anymore, and I wondered if she sensed my sudden withdrawal from her attention when she was drying me off. That in itself made me feel disappointed, even if I knew that's the way it had to be.
We were just folding the heavy tarps up and picking up our supplies, when I heard a noise on the back porch. I saw her step out of sight and back into the house. My heart felt like it was being squeezed in a vice right then thinking I had hurt her feelings.
I picked up the paint brushes and buckets taking them inside to leave on the back porch. I wiped my hands on a rag and stuck my head inside of the house.
"Bella," I called.
She quickly came down the hall looking at me like a little girl who had been scolded. The look in her eyes made me feel bad.
"Yes," she said, softly.
"I just wanted to tell you we were finished for the day. We'll be back in the morning about the same time. Oh, and thanks again for lunch today."
"You're welcome. I guess I'll see you tomorrow then," she said, offering a weak smile.
"Sure, sure, we'll be back. Have a good night," I said, as I hesitantly started walking backwards still looking at her, until I ran into the side of the screen door, then I turned around and left.
The others were already in the truck, so I climbed into the back and sat down by Embry. I slumped against the bed of the truck as Paul backed out and headed for home. Embry knew I was having a hard time with the situation. He was the only one of the pack that you could talk to about emotional things.
"I saw the way she was looking at you," he said quietly.
"Yeah, I know."
"I saw the way you were looking at her too."
"It was nothing," I countered.
He let that part drop, but continued, "It sucks sometimes being in a class of people sort of isolated from the rest of the world. Doesn't it?"
"Yeah, it sure as hell does," I replied, gritting my teeth as I thought about how that made me feel.
We rode the remainder of the way home in silence and Paul dropped me off first. I told the others goodbye and that I would see them in the morning then watched them drive away.
It had been a long day and I was ready for dinner, then I wanted to go for a run. I hoped that I might be able to get out early, so I wouldn't have to share the wolf airwaves with anyone else for a while.
"How was your first day?" my dad asked as I came into the house.
"Good. We got a lot accomplished," I said, going to wash my hands so I could help with dinner.
"You don't look too happy about it."
"Yeah, well. It went fine," I said, as I walked past him trying to keep my emotions in check so he wouldn't start asking me questions. "What's for dinner? I'm starving."
"I thought we would go into Forks and have dinner at the diner. I wanted to celebrate your graduation. What do you say?"
"Okay. We haven't eaten at the diner in a long time. I wonder if they still have those homemade onion rings?"
"I don't know, but let's go find out. You bring the car around and I'll meet you out front."
I was glad for the chance to escape for a few minutes, so I could put my happy face on and try to keep my dad off my back. I pulled the car around and helped him inside, then rolled the window down as I turned toward Forks.
He tried to start up a couple of conversations, but I just couldn't bring myself to join in much. When we got to Forks, I pulled up at the diner and helped get my dad out, then pushed him inside. We were looking around for a table that would accommodate my dad's wheelchair, when I heard someone call his name.
We looked over in the corner and saw Charlie and Bella Swan. It looked like they had just gotten there too. Charlie came over and asked us if we would like to join them saying something about him and my dad needing to catch up on things. My dad agreed and as I pushed him toward the table, I saw Bella smile nervously at me.
"Hey Bella. Long time no see," I said, smiling back at her.
"I didn't expect to see you guys here. Hello Mr. Black. How have you been? It's been years since I saw you last," Bella said, offering her hand to my dad in a cordial manner.
"It has been a long time. My, my, my how you have grown. Stand up and let's have a look at you," he said, in that way that older people do to younger people that is so embarrassing.
But she was polite and stood up, turning around as he held her hand. I smiled as I watched her face turn a vibrant shade of crimson before she sat back down and enjoyed getting to look at her myself without feeling guilty.
"So what brings you two to Forks tonight?" Charlie asked, handing us both a menu.
"My dad wanted to celebrate my graduation," I offered.
"We had a get together for all of the boys who graduated last night on the reservation, but I wanted to do something special for him because I'm proud of his accomplishment," my dad said, patting me on the back.
Okay, now it was my turn to feel awkward, so I just looked down at my menu and tried to ignore him. He and Charlie started talking as they looked over the menu and picked out what they wanted. I was still studying mine, when I had the feeling I was being watched. I looked up over the top of my menu and found Bella watching me intently, but when I saw her, she looked away, turning her attention to her own menu.
The waitress came and asked for our orders and we all told her what we wanted. That left us all alone to talk while we waited on dinner. It was hard to talk across the table when my dad and Charlie were having the time of their lives, so Bella and I just sat there sort of looking at each other and playing with sweet and low packets in the center of the table.
When Charlie realized we weren't able to talk much, he offered to trade places with me, so I would lean closer to Bella at the edge of the table. As I sat down, I hit Bella's knee with my own.
"Ouch," she exclaimed, and out of instinct I reached under the table and patted her knee with my hand, but before I realized what I had done and could pull my hand away, she placed her small hand on mine and said, "Its okay."
I looked up at her and felt a chill move over me from my head all the way to my toes. I've dated other girls before, but I've never felt the way Bella makes me feel. So, I didn't pull my hand away. I sat there foolishly letting her touch my hand under the table, knowing this would only make things worse later on, but right then, I don't think I could have let her hand go, even if my dad saw the exchange and told us to stop.
We talked about our former schools and who we knew here in Forks. She told me that she still liked to read and that she was hoping to go into teaching when she graduated. But when she told me that she had always wanted to teach at the school on the reservation, ever since she was a little girl, I almost swallowed my straw.
"Son, are you okay?" my dad asked, and Charlie gave me a swift pat on the back.
"Yes. I'm fine," I choked out, turning my attention back toward Bella.
"So what makes you want to teach there?" I asked out of genuine interest.
"I don't know. I just remembered you saying that your teachers seemed like they didn't care when you were in school and that they were just there to get a paycheck and that always stuck with me. I think I could offer the children at the reservation school more than just my services on a day to day basis. I want to make a difference," she said, looking at me with those eyes and my heart almost melted right there.
How could someone from a completely different culture and ethnic background have so much compassion for my people, I wondered? But I could see it in her eyes. Her sincerity and determination to make things better and the idea that she was willing to offer not only herself but the knowledge she will be learning to others, made me like her even more.
She told me that she had already completed two years of college and wanted to come back here to finish up so she would be close to the reservation and start meeting the people in hopes that when she got her teaching degree, she might have a better chance of being hired.
I was amazed. She had been influenced by me when we were children enough to want to come back here and make a change—a difference in the way things were.
Our food came, so I slowly pulled my hand away from hers and I looked at the small salad Bella had ordered, in comparison to my large steak, mashed potatoes, corn, and pile of onion rings. She just smiled and shook her head.
"What? I worked hard today," I said in my own defense, laughing quietly.
"I know you did. But I guess my sandwiches didn't go very far."
We laughed and both started eating. Our dads asked us both a few questions during the course of the meal and I put a few onion rings on a small plate and offered them to Bella. She smiled and took them, saying she had never had their onion rings before. She liked them, so that meant we had something else in common.
But I tried to tell myself that it didn't matter if we were the most compatible couple in the universe, it still couldn't happen. That's when I got quiet and just ate, not looking back up at her again.
When we had finished eating, I helped my dad move away from the table as he told Charlie and Bella goodbye and that he had enjoyed the visit. I told Bella goodnight and that I would see her tomorrow, but I saw the disappointment in her eyes when I left. She knew that things probably wouldn't be that much different tomorrow.
That night, after we got back to the reservation, I helped my dad inside and ran into the woods near my house and phased hoping I would have some time to be alone while I was running so I could think things over. I got lucky and was able to run for a while without being eavesdropped on.
I sprinted fast through the trees, over logs, and through the underbrush of the forest, until I came to the cliffs that overlook the beach. I stopped and sat down on my haunches, looking out at the moonlight dancing on the waves. I took a deep breath pulling the briny night air deep into my lungs, wishing that life was as easy as breathing. You take something in, it fills you with a life-sustaining element then you let it out giving something back.
That's the way it should be with someone you love. You take the love they have to offer you keeping what you need inside, then give back by offering the love you have to that someone in return.
The air—the oxygen doesn't choose who it goes to, it supplies us all equally no matter who we are, what color our skin is, or where we come from. It's there, free for the taking by the Quileutes and the white people just the same.
So, why do we have to have the differences between us? Bella is a truly caring person. She's everything a man could want. She's beautiful, conservative, funny to watch when she gets all flustered, headstrong, and sweet spirited. And she seems to really like me.
But none of that matters according to the expectations I'm governed by and that made me furious. A person shouldn't be judged by the color of their skin or the location in which they live. They should be measured by their hearts and how much they care for others.
I lowered my head in defeat, as I realized that I was outnumbered on this one. I've always been expected to carry the burden that my ancestors bore by marrying a Quileute woman and having children who would continue our lineage for generations to come.
It was my duty to fulfill this destiny and to one day become the leader of my people here on the reservation. But those are tall orders to fill when you haven't found anyone you even are remotely interested in on the whole reservation.
I turned and started running, aimlessly working my way through the forest and jumping over streams when I was joined by another wolf. It was Sam, and I sure as hell didn't want him knowing what I was thinking. Sometimes I didn't know who was worse about this carrying on traditions crap, him or my dad.
"Hey. I heard you guys made good progress today at the Swan house. You make sure you keep the others in line. We want to give everyone outside the reservation a good impression of the kind of people we are."
"Why? It doesn't matter what kind of people we are if we are all supposed to be restricted here our whole lives."
"Ouch. Are we touchy tonight? What's got you so uptight? Are you worried about college?"
"Yeah, I guess I am," I lied, knowing I had already stuck my paw in my mouth anyway.
"Well, once you get a job and start classes, you and the guys will have each other while you're out there and that will help keep you true to who you are."
"Yeah. Right," I replied as I started running the line around the rez.
Sam and I wound up running a quick patrol together. We still patrolled on a regular basis even though there hadn't been vampires, or blood suckers as we so fondly called them, around here since the Cullen family left a few years ago.
That's something I've had to struggle with too. Because of what a certain group of others are, we were forced to become what we are. It didn't seem fair to have yet another ancestral mandate imposed upon us without us having any say so.
But, I had learned to deal with this part of my life and I loved the power and strength that I found as a wolf. It actually helped keep me balanced when things in the world out there started to get me down. I could always escape here, to a world that almost no one else knows of and just be an animal. There are no cultural or ethnic barriers out here, only survival of the fittest.
When we had finished checking the area, I went home and got ready for bed. I was eager to get back to Forks, even if it was going to be the death of me if I let things go any further than they already had.
The next morning, we all ate breakfast and went back to Forks. The sun was out again today and I was ready to work hard, but most of all I wanted to see Bella again. I knocked on the door, hoping she would answer. Charlie was still here because it was Sunday, so I was afraid he would come to the door.
But, to my relief it was Bella and today she was dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. I looked down at her bare feet and worked my way up her perfect legs and thighs, pausing for a moment to reflect on how soft and perfect her milky like flesh was. I'd never seen a more beautiful pair of legs and the owner was just as beautiful.
"Hey. I just wanted to tell you we were here and getting started. I didn't want you to be startled or anything if you saw someone walking around outside," I said, and thought how lame that all sounded.
"Okay. I'll keep that in mind," she said, laughing.
"Well, I better go get started then," I said, turning to go down the steps.
"Don't work too hard," she called as she closed the door.
I just shot her a smile over my shoulder and went around back to start gathering what we needed off the back porch. It didn't take us long to get the tarps and ladders in place, then we all took our shirts off and I laughed at how we must look to Bella.
Here she was surrounded by six hulking, not too bad to look at, Quileute guys and she probably would be thinking there was something wrong with her by the end of the week, when we hardly paid her any attention. I had a feeling that it was easier for the others than it was for me and that made me feel good and bad at the same time.
We had been working for about an hour when Charlie came out to check our progress. He was looking at the side of the house we had already painted so I walked over to where he was inspecting.
"I think we will need to put another coat on it Mr. Swan," I said, trying to be polite.
"Hey. I've known you since you were a little snotty nosed kid. You better call me Charlie," he said, giving me a slap on the bare shoulder.
"Okay, Charlie. What do you think?" I said, laughing.
"I think you're right. That paint I bought looks a little thin. That means it might take you boys a little longer to finish. I hope that's okay?"
"Yeah, it's fine. Just fine," I assured him and secretly I was jumping for joy because that meant I had an excuse to see Bella a while longer.
It was time for lunch and again we were planning on going to get a hamburger when Bella appeared at the back door. She walked down the steps and over to the grill which she started trying to light, but seemed to be having trouble. I walked over to her and took the grill lighter from her hand.
"Here, let me help with that. You know there's a trick? You have to hold this button down while pulling the trigger. See," I said, demonstrating how you get the flame to come out the end of the lighter.
"I never have much luck with that thing. Thanks. I'm going to grill some hotdogs for your lunch. Is that okay?" she asked, looking at me timidly.
"Bella, you don't have to feed us every day."
"I know, but I want to," she said, leaving the grill lighting to me and going in the house to get the hotdogs.
She came back with six packages and laid them on the ledge of the grill.
"Planning on feeding an army?" I asked, laughing.
"No. I just don't want you all to be starving when you get home," she said, offering me a knowing smile.
"Okay. Okay. I give. I'll tell the others we are eating at Bella's again today."
So, I went around the side of the house and started gathering everyone up so we could wash up at the water hose.
The hotdogs were already smelling up the neighborhood when we got to the back yard and Bella was pulling the first batch off and stuffing them into buns as fast as she could.
"Jake, would you set up the little table we used yesterday so I can put out your drinks and condiments? Please?"
"Sure. Where is it at?"
"It's on the back porch."
I went inside and retrieved the table, brought it out and started putting it together. I had a feeling she was enjoying eyeing me, still without a shirt on, and when I looked over at her she was watching very intently.
When most of the hotdogs were cooked, she moved them to the table and went back inside to get the chips, mustard, ketchup, and canned drinks.
We all started making our hot dogs and sat down in the shade again. Bella sat beside me, but not as close as yesterday. I noticed that Quil was looking her over with way too much scrutiny for my taste, so I started a conversation.
"Where's Charlie? Didn't he want to get one of these great hotdogs?"
"He had to go down to the station. Someone called and reported two missing hikers and he wanted to go check things out."
Those words caught all of our attention. When people went missing around here, we always suspected the worst and knew what could be happening.
I looked at Seth and gave him a silent signal to slip away, which he did by way of the hotdogs and grabbed two more as he disappeared into the woods beside Bella's house. He would go check in with Sam and let him know what we had just learned. It was always better to be safe than sorry.
When we finished eating, I helped Bella get the things back inside, while the others started painting again.
"Thanks for the lunch. I have a feeling that they will all be full until at least six o'clock tonight," I said, laughing.
"I started to say that they must not feed you much in La Push, but I know that's not true. You are all so big," she said, and I thought I caught a hint of regret after she said it.
"It's okay. We are all just healthy and grew up fast," I said, chuckling and trying to make her feel better.
I went back outside and joined the others painting the second side of the house. It took us a little longer today because we had a larger area with fewer windows to cover. That and Seth took his sweet time getting back, so we were minus two hands for a while.
When he got back though, he told us that Sam had run into a trail this morning on his rounds and that we were having a pack meeting as soon as we all got back to La Push. He said Sam would be starting heavy patrols up again and we would be pairing off in twos until further orders.
The rest of the afternoon, I worked with a lot on my mind. I was worried about this new vampire threat and thought the sorry bloodsucker had lousy timing. And I thought about what I was going to do about Bella. I wanted to get to know her better, but at the same time, I knew I couldn't lead her on, knowing I couldn't ever be anything more to her than just a friend.
We were just wrapping up for the day. We gathered all of our supplies and while the others were cleaning the brushes and folding the tarps, I took the supplies in to put them on the back porch. Bella appeared in the doorway.
"Jake, I was just wondering if maybe one evening you might stay over for dinner and I could take you home? That is unless you want to bring your own car. Do you have a car?"
I gritted my teeth and looked down at the rag in my hand, trying to think of an easy way to say what I had to say. I would have loved nothing more than to stay and let her take me home. I'd love for her to take me anywhere, but I couldn't do this to her. I would not hurt her.
"Hah, yeah I have a car. We've just been sharing a ride. I, um, appreciate the invitation. I'll think about it and let you know," I said, thinking that might buy me some time until I figured out how to break it to her that she and I couldn't be together.
"Oh. Okay. Well, the offer is open anytime," she said, and I saw the look of disappointment in her eyes as she turned to go back down the hall.
"Hey. Bella, um, goodbye. I'll see you tomorrow," I said, as I too turned to leave.
That night we had a pack meeting and Sam filled us in on where he had found the trail. I still couldn't believe that one of them was back here after so many years and I wondered what was luring them here.
We were each given days and times we would patrol and Embry and I were scheduled for tonight, so after dinner I meet him just outside of La Push, we phased and started patrol together.
When we got near Forks, I wanted to go see Bella, but I couldn't even think about it for fear that Embry would know my thoughts, so I kept my nose to the ground and kept my mind occupied with the threat of a vampire in the area.
We crossed the trail Sam had told us about and it was now older but we found nothing new, which was a good thing. So Embry and I finished around eleven o'clock, and when I was sure he had phased I ran back to Forks.
I knew it was stupid, but for some reason I just wanted to hear her, or smell her scent one more time tonight, just to make sure she was okay.
The lights were off in her house. All except a small night light in an upstairs window. I could hear her breathing and talking softly with someone, but it was a woman's voice, so I put two and two together and realized it must be her mom on the phone.
"No. Things are going great, so far. I've gotten things organized around here and next week I'm going to check on a couple of jobs that are in the paper."
"Why not check on them this week?" her mom asked and I could hear her voice clearly on the other line.
"Well. I've actually sort of met an old friend. Do you remember Jacob Black? The boy I used to play with sometimes when I came here for the summer?"
"Jacob Black. How could I forget him? He was the little boy with black eyes and hair to match that you had a crush on. I remember how it broke your heart that summer when you had to come back home because you just knew he liked you too. He had kissed your knee when you scrapped it."
"What? It's the truth. A mother doesn't forget her daughter's first heartbreak."
"Well, anyway. He and five of his buddies from the reservation are painting the house this week and I sort of wanted to stick around. I don't see them much though. They are hard workers. I've made them lunch twice this week, so I could spend some time with Jake," Bella said, but her voice was low and full of depression.
"That's sweet of you, making them lunch, but you don't sound pleased at all. What's wrong?"
"I don't think he likes me. I mean, he's so sweet and thoughtful, but I invited him to stay for dinner one night and he....well....I think he turned me down."
"Honey, I'm sure he will come around. Maybe he has loose ends he needs to tie up or something."
"Mom. He is the most beautiful man I've ever seen. His eyes are still as black as the midnight sky and his hair is so black that it's shinny. And, I can't believe I'm telling you this, but he actually works without his shirt on and it's all I can do to keep myself from staring with my mouth open when I am around him. But it's weird. We saw him and his dad the other night at the diner and they sat with us and he let me sort of hold his hand, but now....."
"Well Bella, you just keep being yourself and if it's meant to be things will work out. And if it doesn't, what about the other five guys? Are they as nice looking and sweet as Jake?"
"Mom! Why are you always trying to play matchmaker? Yes, they are all great looking and nice. There is this one that keeps staring at me. His name is Quil, but I think he's sort of a Romeo, so I bet he does that to all the girls. But I'm not really interested in any of them, even if they run around shirtless too and they all have bodies that you wouldn't believe. It's just Jake that I want to get to know, but I don't think he'll give me a chance."
"Well hang in there and I'll talk to you again next weekend. Okay? I love you and don't worry. Things will work out."
"Okay, Mom. I'll try. I love you too," Bella said, and hung up the phone.
I couldn't believe what I had just heard. Bella had actually confessed that she really likes me and what was that about when we were kids? She wants to be with me just as much as I want to be with her and that made my blood boil knowing that I couldn't be with her.
I let out a low, weary how, a lonely signal as to how I was feeling. I saw Bella come to the window and look out into the darkness then she closed the curtain and turned off the light.
I was also mad at myself for coming here and listening in on her private conversation. I felt like I had broken into her diary or something, but if I hadn't of come, I never would have known how she really feels, and now that I know how she feels. I feel even worse.
That night, when I got home, I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned and tried to think of some way around my not being able to get involved with Bella, but I came up with a dead end every time. I racked my brain trying to think of any relatives or relatives of my friends that had ever fallen in love with a person outside of the reservation, but that was a bust too.
The next morning I got up tired and feeling down and out. My dad could tell that I was in a terrible mood, so thank goodness he didn't try to talk to me about it. I'm not sure I would have been able to keep my mouth shut about our rules, regulations, and obligations.
Paul drove us again to Forks and when we got there, I didn't knock on the door. I felt guilty about last night and I felt even worse about not seeing Bella this morning, but all that made me work even harder. I knew that Bella was probably wondering why I hadn't even said good morning.
I had just climbed down off the ladder, paint bucket in hand, when I saw Quil leaned against the side of the house in his cocky, self assured, attitude flirting with Bella. I had been so preoccupied, that I hadn't heard her come outside.
She was laughing at something he had said and it flew all over me. I knew, as well as he did, that he would never go against the rules, but what he was out to get wasn't anything that would last, nor would it cause any trouble, accept for Bella.
"Hey," I said, walking up to both of them and flashing him a look that made him say goodbye and scurry off like a dog with his tail between his legs.
"Hey. I haven't seen you this morning. How's it going so far?"
See, I knew she would be upset. Why did things have to be this way?
"It's good. I didn't want to bother you this morning so we just got started," I said, hoping it would make her feel better.
"Oh. Well, I hope you guys are hungry today? I've made fried chicken, potato salad, and homemade yeast rolls for lunch," she said proudly, tucking her arms behind her back and looking bashful, which made me want to hug her.
"Man, Bella, you're going to spoil these guys. They won't know what to do with themselves when this.....job....is over." I almost couldn't say the last words because they affected me more than they affected her.
"Well, maybe they will remember me....for my cooking. I hope you'll remember it too," she said, smiling but with a hint of sadness underneath.
"Oh, I will. I will. Um, let me go tell the others to get cleaned up," I said, going back around the house.
I helped Bella set up the small table and we all fixed our plates and sat on the ground. The guys dug into the home cooked meal, but I almost couldn't eat knowing how Bella felt and that I couldn't do anything about it.
"Jake. Do you not like your food?" she asked softly, looking concerned.
"No. No, the food is great. I can't imagine not liking anything you cook," I told her, taking a few bites of potato salad then picking up my chicken to try.
She watched me out of the corner of her eye and I could tell she was thinking about her conversation last night with her mom.
After the guys had eaten their fill of lunch, they went back to painting and I started picking things up to help Bella take them back inside. I was surprised when she touched me on the hand but didn't let go.
"It's okay Jake. I can clean it up. I'm sure you'd rather be painting anyway," she said, and I hated the sad look in her eyes.
"I don't mind helping. That's the least I can do after you fed us with such a great meal," I replied, touching her hand with my other hand.
"Thanks then," she said, pulling her hand away slowly, tucking her hair behind her ear nervously and proceeding to the back with the dishes she had brought out, while I folded up the table and brought in the rest of the things left outside.
I set the table on the back porch and walked down the hall to the kitchen. She was leaning over the sink, looking out the window when I walked up behind her.
"Here are the other things you left outside," I said, quietly which made her jump almost out of her skin.
"Oh. I didn't hear you come in. Thanks again, Jake."
"You're welcome. Well I better get back outside and get started. I don't want the guys to accuse me of goofing off," I said, laughing.
I went back outside and climbed back up the ladder to continue painting. I knew I would need to break the news to Bella soon, before she felt anything further for me, but the truth was I didn't want to. I wanted to see where this thing would lead us as much, if not more, than she did.
We finished for the day and I didn't see Bella again. So I decided I might drive back into Forks after dinner, since I didn't have patrol tonight and go ahead and get it over with, or at least try. When I had finished dinner, I told my dad I would be back later and left for Forks.
As luck would have it, Charlie wasn't there yet and I almost wished he was. I went up and knocked on the door and when Bella answered it, she lit up like a softly burning candle. It made the reason I was here even harder.
"Jake. What are you doing here?" she asked in surprise.
"I, um, hoped we could talk for a minute. You want to walk around back with me?"
"Sure, let me get my shoes on," she said, going toward the living room.
She came out and closed the door behind her. I felt better being outside so it wouldn't be so hard to run away when I told her we couldn't be anything more than friends. I had a feeling I would want to run all the way back to La Push.
"I just wanted to say I'm sorry, Bella," I said, as we walked around to the back steps and sat down.
"Sorry? What for?"
"I....um, this isn't easy," I said, rubbing the back of my neck and trying not to look at her.
She reached over and began rubbing the back of my neck. Oh man the touch of her hand on my skin felt good. I was lost for a few minutes, until she moved closer and placed a soft kiss on my check then I jumped up and pulled away.
"I'm sorry I can't," I said. My breathing was ragged and I was tortured.
"I don't understand. What did I do wrong?" she asked looking confused.
"It's, not you it's me, or I should say my people. You're not.....you're not Quileute," I finally said, feeling abashed that I had to even make such a statement.
She jumped to her feet and I saw hurt, anger, disbelief, and resentment pass through her expression, but it was the look in her eyes that tore me apart.
"Oh. Well I'm sorry my skin isn't the right color for you," she said, balling her fist up at her sides.
"It's not me Bella. It's the Quileute Council, my ancestors, and my family. It's not me. I think you're just fine. I think you're more than fine. I'd love nothing more than to have something with you but I'm supposed to fall in love with and marry a Quileute woman," I said, lowering my voice and letting it trail off with the last few words.
"Well that's fine. What makes you think I wanted anything to do with you anyway? I have to go inside now," she said, opening the back door and slamming it behind her throwing the latch as soon as she let go of the handle.
I felt like I had just been kicked in the gut and suddenly, the way I had been raised made no sense whatsoever. I too was full of resentment and wished with all my might that I knew some way around this cultural barrier.
The next day it was hard to go back to Bella's, knowing I had hurt her. I knew she was hurt because it hurt me too.
When lunch time rolled around, I was about to tell the guys we would have to go into town for something to eat, but as I walked around the side of the house I saw the small table set up with plenty of sandwiches, drinks, and chips, just no Bella.
This went on the rest of the week. She would be so gracious as to leave food out for us, but never came out herself. I knew it must be hard for her doing that, but it only showed how big her heart was and how much compassion she had for others. It made me want her even more.
On Friday evening, right before we were to leave for the day, I happened to be up on the eave painting the trim work when I looked through the window into the bedroom I assumed was Bella's. I almost fell off of the roof when I saw her standing there, her back to me in nothing but a towel.
Her shoulders and back were beautiful and I could only imagine how soft her skin was. I wanted to hold her and pull her onto my chest and tell her how much I liked her and how wonderful she was. That is until I saw the sad expression reflected in her mirror as she brushed her hair.
She turned around and started loosening the towel and I stumbled back, almost falling off the roof. I would give her the privacy she deserved, but I've never wanted to look at a woman so badly in all my life.
I went down the ladder and started gathering up our supplies, moving them around to the back porch. It took about twenty minutes to secure everything and I had just come back around front when I noticed a small car sitting in the driveway.
A guy with blonde hair, about average height got out of the car and nodded to us as he walked past. I put two and two together, and figured he was there to pick her up for a date. My heart sank down to my feet and I felt a wave of sickness run through me. I was eaten up with jealousy, for something I've never had, the chance to get to know her and be with her.
We left before the two of them came out of the house and I was glad. I didn't think I could stand seeing her actually standing beside him or watch him put his hands on her as he helped her into the car.
The weekend was finally here, but we worked anyway, wanting to finish the job before it started raining. So by Wednesday, we had everything done except the trim work on the front of the house.
Bella left that morning, dressed up in a dress and flats and I wondered if she was going into town for an interview, or just meeting the guy again. Either way, I was miserable without her tucked away safely in the house.
She left lunch for us in the kitchen and left a note for someone to find with the supplies that we were welcomed to it, just to make sure we brought everything back inside. I only ate one sandwich and actually went into the woods to phase for a while before the others had finished, so I could let off some steam.
That night, I reached a breaking point and I knew I had to at least talk with her again and make sure she didn't hate me, but by the time I reached her house, I knew that night I would give in to my feelings, consequences be damned, and if she still liked me and wanted to be with me, somehow I'd make it work.
I knocked on the door and Charlie opened it. I was disappointed when it wasn't her, but I wasn't turning back now.
"Hey Jake. What brings you around tonight?" he asked, opening the screen door.
"I, um....I wanted to see Bella if she's not busy."
"Well, she's actually out tonight with a friend, but she should be home any minute. She told me she needed to get home early. Something about being called back for a second job interview tomorrow and it's an early one. Why don't you come in and have a seat? You can catch me up on what your dad's been up to," he offered, holding the door open for me.
I went in and sat down and Charlie and I started talking about things in La Push, my dad, my plans for college and my new job I would be starting soon. We talked for almost an hour and I was getting more desperate as time went by.
"Well, Charlie. I guess I better be going. It doesn't look like she's coming in any time soon. Will you tell her I stopped by?"
"Sure, Jake. But it's only ten o'clock, I'm sure she'll be here any minute. She always keeps her word."
"No. I've taken up enough of your time. I'll see her maybe tomorrow when we finish things up. Thanks."
I let myself out and was just about to get into my car when I saw the blonde's car drive up and park across the street because I was in the drive. I leaned against my car, waiting in the shadows. They couldn't see me, but I could see him give her a kiss on the cheek.
I guess I'm too late, I thought, but I was stuck, not wanting them to see me and not wanting to look like an idiot peeling out in my car, so I stood there watching and waiting.
Bella got out and started walking toward the front yard, I could see her face clearly, but she didn't look happy. She looked lost and uncertain. She was eyeing my car when I broke the silence and finally spoke.
"I was just about to leave," I said, in a low husky tone and she jumped when she located me from the sound of my voice.
"Why are you here?" she asked indignantly.
"I actually came to see you and hoped we might make a truce, but it looks like I'm too late."
"Too late? What are you talking about? You told me in no uncertain terms that you wanted nothing to do with me because I'm not like you—not Quileute, or have you forgotten?"
I don't know what came over me. I suppose it was being upset at her choice of words, or knowing she was right about the circumstance, but not necessarily about how I felt, and knowing that she had just been on at least the second date with that guy, but I needed to let her know how I felt once and for all.
I stepped forward and took her by the hand walking quickly to the side of the house. I was surprised when she didn't protest and I could hear her heart pounding because I'm sure she had no idea what I was doing.
When we were out of sight, I moved her against the side of the house and stood over her, leaning in very close with my hand, palm side down on the wall, holding me up away from the house.
"I don't think there's a damn thing wrong with you. I happen to think you're the finest woman I've ever met and I want you to give me a chance. I don't want to think about any of that crap right now. I just want you to know how much I want to be with you," I said, leaning down close to her face and I could feel her warm breath caressing my lips.
"Jake, I can't change who I am for you or anyone else. I'm not Quileute and as much as it hurts, I would never force myself on you. I wouldn't want to be the cause of the consequences it might bring you, even if it's not right."
I fell a little harder for her at that moment and I bridged the distance between us, taking her into my arms, pressing my lips fully against hers, and lifting her off the ground. How could something that felt so right be wrong? How could they mandate who I could love, or should love? And when she kissed me back, I knew this was the right thing.
The kiss became more intimate and I brushed my tongue across her bottom lip. She moaned ever so slightly and parted her sweet, tender lips letting me taste her. The next thing I knew her arms were around my neck and I was lifting her up wrapping her legs around me, pressing her gently against the side of the house.
Her lips slid down my jaw, giving me an opportunity to whisper, "You are all I think about and you have no idea what you do to me. Please tell me there's a chance for us?" I asked, kissing down the side of her neck and back up again, feeling her body react to my touch as her breasts peaked against my chest and her legs tightened around my waist.
"How can we be wrong for each other when I feel such a strong connection?" she whispered.
"Tell me Bella. Tell me what you feel," I said, taking her velvety earlobe between my lips.
"It broke my heart to leave you when we were little and it almost killed me when you told me I wasn't good enough for you. But I can't help the fact that I want to be with you."
I pulled away with what she said and looked at her in the dim light, holding her chin up to look at me so she would see how I felt.
"Bella, I never thought that you weren't good enough for me. I've never met a woman like you. You care about others. You took me and the guys practically inviting us into your home and fed us and took care of us and you want to come teach on the reservation, or at least you did. You're special and I'm not going to let you get away from me," I said, slowly kissing her again.
"I better get inside before my dad sends out a search party," she said, quietly.
"Yeah, well. Where does this leave us? Where do we stand right now?" I asked, fearing the worst that she wouldn't want to have anything to do with me.
"I'm not committing to anything, one way or the other, until I know more of the facts about this barrier between us."
"Okay. Okay, I can understand that. Can I come over tomorrow night and I'll explain everything?"
"Sure. I'd like that. We can just sit down and get it all out on the table," she said, still a little out of breath, as I slid her carefully to the ground.
"I guess its goodnight then. Will I see you tomorrow? Are you going to be around?" I asked.
"Yeah. I'll be here around lunch. I've got the interview early in the morning," she replied.
"I'll be thinking about you tonight."
"Goodnight Jake," she said, walking back toward the front of the house.
I didn't want to let her go. I wanted to hold her and kiss her the rest of the night, but this was a start. At least she was willing to give me another chance, or I thought she was. So I drove home remembering how her body felt pressed to mine and how her lips tasted, perfect and sweet.
I tried to think of how I would explain the way my people felt and hoped she would understand that those views weren't my views and that I wanted to make a change, if not in my people, then a change for myself.
The next day, I was particularly ready to get to Forks, but I couldn't let on like anything was different. I even thought about driving my own car, but I knew that would make the others suspicious, so I just rode with the others in Paul's truck.
When we got there, she was already gone, so I got out supplies and we all went to work. We would be finishing up the front of the house and the trim work then we would have to clean up our mess, put out supplies away, and get things ready for Charlie's final inspection.
By noon, I was starting to think maybe Bella had gotten tied up or worse, maybe that blonde guy had talked her into having lunch with him or something, but my worries were over and I caught myself smiling a bit too noticeably, when she pulled into the drive.
She looked absolutely breathtaking in the light-blue dress she was wearing and I would have given anything for some time alone with her. She smiled as she got out of her truck and walked up to where we were working.
"Things really look good from this angle," she said. I looked at her quickly, and she just winked at me then continued, "Guy's you've done a great job. I think this calls for a celebration lunch. Let me get changed and I'll have something out for you in a few minutes." Then she disappeared into the house.
Hearing the back door slam, I went around back to see if I could help. Bella was trying to start the grill again, so I went over to offer my help. I didn't even think about what I was doing when I wrapped my arms around her from behind, took her hand in mine, and began pushing the button on the lighter.
She leaned against me and I heard her let out a little gasp. It felt good having her in my arms again and I was even more anxious to be with her later.
"There, is that better?" I asked, letting go of the lighter and letting my hand move down her arm to brush across her mid-section before pulling away, just in the nick of time because Embry rounded the corner, just as I moved.
"Um, am I interrupting something here?" he asked, giving me a cocky smile.
"No, I was just helping Bella get her fire started....in the grill," I said, stumbling over my words and giving him a "leave" look.
"Bella, I'm glad you're back. I have to admit, I'm really going to miss your famous lunches," Embry said offering her a fake pout.
"I'm glad you've enjoyed them Embry. Maybe we could all get together again some day for a picnic or something," she said, taking the burgers off the plate and placing them on the grill.
"Yeah, that would be nice....but....I'll go tell the others the burgers are on," Embry said, turning to walk away with a frustrated look on his face. I knew what he felt. I had been living it for the past week, only a hundred times more than he was.
When the burgers were ready, we all sat down outside to eat. I had to admit, I was going to miss these lunches too, but it was more than the great food I would be missing.
The guys seemed happy and pleased with the work we had completed. I saw a few of the neighbors stopping to admire our handy work and we all just waved, portraying the exact image that was expected of us from those on the rez. I'm not saying any of us were bad, not be any means, but we all just had a burden to carry and that part sucked.
After finishing lunch, Bella and I carried things back inside the house. She was bending down putting the ketchup and mustard into the fridge and I couldn't help myself as I watched her and thought of all the things I'd like to do with her.
She caught me staring and the look on my face must have given away some of my thoughts because she was blushing by the time she closed the door.
"I'm going home and get cleaned up then I'll be back. Is that okay? Maybe we could go for a drive or something?" I whispered.
"Why are you being so quiet? They can't hear you?" she said, putting her hands on her hips.
Man she looked adorable in that "scolding Jake sort of stance," and I couldn't help myself as I moved closer and gave her a peck on the lips.
"They hear more than you think, my dear."
"Okay, you can whisper then. I'll see you later and yes the drive would be nice," she said, smiling at me and blushing again.
I went back outside, the guys and I surveyed our work, and I told them that I would come back into town later and see Charlie about getting our pay. They all punched me and gave me a hard time and I could have sworn a couple of them gave me the eye, almost as if they knew I was up to more than just collecting our pay.
When I got home, I started cleaning up, took a shower, and changed clothes. I had just emerged from my room when my dad, rolled up in front of me and asked, "Where are you going this time of day smelling like a drugstore cowboy?"
"I told the guys I would go back and get our pay for the job from Charlie. He wasn't home when we got finished," I said, as I rummage through the change bowl on the fridge, taking the larger coins and putting them into my pocket.
"Jake, is there something you want to tell me? Did anything happen on the job that I should know about?"
"Dad we worked our butts off, cleaned up our mess, put all the supplies away, and even waved at the neighbors when they stopped to look at the fine job we had done. So, everything went fine," I said, grabbing a soda from the fridge.
"Dad I'll be back later tonight. I've also got some business to take care of. I'll see you later. Okay?"
"Okay, but you remember what your responsibilities are son." I just looked at him and turned to leave.
I rolled the window down on my way back to Forks and let the fresh air in trying to clear my head. The decisions that I needed to make, depended all on how Bella felt and even though I knew it would mean things wouldn't be easy for me on the rez, I was willing to deal with that, if she was willing to give me a chance.
When I got to her house I got out and went up to knock on the front door. It opened almost immediately and there stood Bella, dressed in a tight, clingy t-shirt and a form fitting pair of jeans. Her body was perfect in every way and I lingered, slowly looking her up and down, but I settled on her face and her smile, those were the features that made me realized how worth it this would be if we were together.
"Hey. It didn't take you long to get back. I'm sure you're ready to get paid," she said, opening the door and letting me in.
"Oh, actually when I saw you, I forgot all about that," I said, quietly.
"Sure you did. My dad is on his way home. Do you want to come in and sit down while we wait for him?"
"I guess. Thanks," I said following her into the living room.
"So, do you want to fill me in on why I'm not the right kind of person for you?" Bella asked, giving me a dry smile which made me flinch.
"It's kind of involved. Wouldn't you rather wait and let's talk about it when we leave? I thought we might grab a bite or something then drive up the coast a way."
"Okay, but you're not just going to get me all trapped in your car and let me have it are you?"
"There are things I'd like to let you have, but they are not by any means abusive," I sort of mumbled under my breath, rubbing the back of my neck at just the thought of having her alone in my car.
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear all of what you said," she replied, sitting down on the couch at the other end.
"I'll try to explain it the best I can," I said, just as I heard a car door slam.
Charlie came into the house and smiled when he saw us sitting in the living room together.
"Hey Jake. I was just about to walk around and give the house a look. You want to join me?"
I followed him outside and we walked around the house looking at the work the guys and I had completed today. He seemed pleased with the results and pulled a check out of his pocket handing it to me.
"Here you go. I added a little extra to this because you boys did such a good job and didn't even get paint on the shrubs."
"Thanks Charlie. I'm glad we could help you out," I said, just as Bella came out of the house.
"I told you they did an excellent job dad," she said, patting me on the shoulder.
"Um, thanks. Bella, do you want to go with me to cash this check. I know the guys will want their money as soon as I get back home," I said, laughing nervously.
"Sure," she said looking at me with a strange look on her face. "Dad, I left a couple of burgers in the fridge in case we aren't back right away."
"Okay, you two have fun. Thanks again Jake for the great job," Charlie said as he watched me open the door for Bella. He smiled and waved as we pulled out of the driveway.
We drove downtown to the bank and silence filled the car. I was trying to put what I needed to say into words that wouldn't sound as harsh as they seemed. But it was hard to sugar coat the facts as they stood.
I pulled into the drive-in bank, unbuckled, pulled my wallet from my back pocket, and stuck the check and my driver's license into the tube, then sent it to the teller. I turned back around and saw Bella was watching me intently.
"I understand that your people are proud of their heritage. They've come a long way and survived many struggles and hardships over the years, but what I don't get is why they think we're not good enough for any of you."
"It's not quite like that. It's not that they think we are better. It's complicated. You see, the older generations believe, as did those before them, that we should keep our blood line pure. I've always been told that it was my duty, my obligation to carry on the traditions of my family and those of the tribe in general by marrying a Quileute woman, living on the reservation, and carrying on the traditions of our people," I said, just as the teller sent back the tube.
"Do they have someone picked out for you to marry?" she asked quietly, and I looked over at her to gage her expression. I could tell she wanted me to say no. It was in her eyes.
I pulled away from the bank before I answered her and turned toward the coast line. There was a nice quiet overlook just before you got to La Push and I thought it would be a nice place for us to continue our conversation.
"No. I'm not betrothed or anything like that. So, I guess things could be worse. It's just always been expected of me. I'm supposed to be appointed to the council in about six months. I'll be the youngest member and the sixth generation to sit on the council. My dad is going to step down early and become my mentor. He's getting older and wanted to be able to advise me while he was still in decent health."
"That sounds like a big responsibility and a great honor. Your family and friends must be proud of you. I'm proud for you," she said, softly.
I nodded and kept driving until we reached the semi secluded area overlooking the jagged cliffs and rough waters of the ocean below. The sun was getting low in the sky and the scenery was beautiful. It made me glad that I lived here, in this area.
After I had parked, I got out and came around the side of the car, opening her door and offering her my hand as I helped her out. I leaned against the side of the car and she hopped upon the hood. I saw her shiver as she felt the heat from the motor underneath her. It was getting cool, so I scooted closer to her, silently offering her my ample body heat.
"I didn't choose what race of people I was born to, but I can choose who I love," I said, turning to look at her.
"Who you love? How can you know if that's what this is?"
"I've been doing a lot of thinking since you came into the picture and we reconnected a week ago. I'll be perfectly honest with you, I'm not sure that's a good thing or not, but here goes. I meant what I said about not being able to get you off my mind. I've never felt this way before about anyone, Bella. I've dated other girls, but you're different," I confessed, and watched her smile and look down at her hands in her lap as she picked at her fingernails nervously.
But when she started speaking, she looked up and our eyes met. I couldn't look away from her.
"Maybe I'm the forbidden fruit and you're just trying to seize something you know you can't have, or according to them, shouldn't have," she said, looking so fragile right then and I wanted to hold her, but I waited.
"You....you feel right to me. I don't know what will happen tomorrow or the day after that but I do know that I'm not going anywhere and being with you feels right."
"And what if I'm just the springboard to launch you into the white man's world?" she asked making air quotes around the last three words. "You're about to start college and it will be a virtual smelting pot of beautiful young women from all ethnic backgrounds. There will be others that catch your eye and tempt you with desire," she remarked, looking a little sad.
"Why would I even look when I've already found you? I think fate brought us together. We already have a past together and now it's brought us back to each other again. Why can't we have a future together?"
"Jake, I would never stand in the way of your destiny, your obligations and duties. I would never want to disgrace you with your people," she said, looking so deep into my eyes that I swear I felt her heart beat with mine.
"I know you wouldn't. That's a decision I have to make on my own and I've made it. If, in six months when I'm supposed to take my position on the council, they don't hear what I have to say and make some changes, I will step down. We are all equal in the eyes of God and it doesn't matter what color our skin is. It matters how we feel inside—in our hearts."
"That's very profound coming from such a young man and profound is very attractive on you, maybe even sexy," she said, blushing nine shades of red.
I couldn't take a complement like that and not be wrapped around her, so I pushed off the car, moved in front of her and pulled her knees apart so I could stand between her legs, leaning into her.
"You're welcomed to keep talking. You're stirring up those feelings I was talking about last night."
"You'll have to excuse my rambling. I'm not sure what I'll say being this close to you."
"Then let me get even closer," I said, pulling her to the edge of the car so that our bodies were flush against each other and I could feel her heat against me. "Does this mean you'll give me a chance?"
She didn't answer me. She just sat up as tall as she could and wrapped her arms around my neck, pulling me down to meet her soft, full lips, as she gave me the most sensual kiss I've ever experienced. She lazily drug her tongue over my top lip and pulled it in between her own lips, sucking it gently and sending waves of tingles and pleasure throughout my body.
My hands were under her long, chestnut hair, moving up and down her back and her hands were now moving slowly through my hair. Having her in my arms sealed my fate and I knew that whatever happened in my future, it was because of her. I only hoped she would still feel the same, if and when she learned of the only secret left that I was hiding from her.
I had just left her lips and was moving down her neck when I heard a sound I did not want to hear.
"Oh, shit!" I let out way too loud and she stiffened in my arms thinking she had done something wrong.
"What? What's wrong, Jake?" she breathed out heavily.
I pulled away from her and pushed her back up onto the hood of the car, standing with my back to her, and kept my hands on her knees, "Sh," I said, squeezing her knees gently.
"Well, well, well. What do we have here, Jakey?" a voice called from the trees, near the cliff.
"What the hell are you doing here?" I called.
"We just came to get our money. We were afraid you'd skipped town with our hard earned pay," Quil said, as he, Embry, and Jared walked out of the woods.
"Jake, who you hiding there?" Embry said, bending sideways pretending to try and see who it was, when I knew they knew who it was. They could smell her a mile away.
Bella didn't move. She realized that we had been caught and she grabbed both of my hands holding them like she was offering me support.
"I'm not hiding anyone. I'm protecting her from the likes of you three," I said, moving to the side so that they could see who it was.
"Hi guys," Bella said in a mousy little voice, much higher in pitch than she normally talked as she waved at them, "we were just, um, talking about college."
"Ah, I see. But isn't it hard to talk with Jake's tongue so far down your throat?" Jared asked, and let out a loud cackle.
"Why can't you all mind your own freaking business?" I practically shouted, growling and making a move for the first one I could get my hands on. They just laughed and pretended to be scared.
What I wasn't expecting, was for Bella to come up behind me and grab my arm, "Jake. Stop!"
Her hands on my arm, her soft touch and heat penetrating my skin, made me stop and remember she was what I was fighting for. I stopped and looked around at her. I saw the fear and concern in her eyes. I tried to calm down, but I was already trembling. I wanted to phase and rip their tails off one by one, but she soothed me.
"None of you know what the hell you're talking about!" I shouted defensively.
"Hey man," Embry said, holding up his hands in a truce like manner walking toward us, "we aren't going to tell anyone what've seen. Have you thought that we might be on your side, Jake?"
"What do you mean?"
They all came closer and Embry even went so far as to put his arm around Bella and gave her a hug.
"About this, Jake. About Bella. About us having a say in who we get to love or choose to be with in our lives."
I was surprised when Bella hugged him back and I didn't like it, but she seemed to have a way with these butt holes too.
"Why don't we all have a freaking group hug here?" I said, laying the sarcasm on thick.
"We could," Jared said, stepping toward Bella too, but I blocked his path, "or we could just talk about this like brothers."
"Jake. Who's to say that we might find someone someday too that isn't from the rez? Who knows who we'll meet in Seattle at college," Quil said, and I was floored that his opinion was very much the same as mine.
"Well, I have one question for all of you," Bella said, "where did you all come from and why are you only wearing shorts? Where are your shoes?"
"That was two questions and we were just taking a walk. We very rarely wear shoes when we're in the woods, Bella," Embry said, shrugging slightly at me as if to say 'what was I supposed to say?'
"Are you and Bella an item now?" Quil asked, wrapping his arm around her other shoulder that wasn't occupied by Embry.
"We were just getting to that part when we were so rudely interrupted," I said, pulling their arms off of her and taking her by the hand.
"Okay, we get the picture," Jared said, "but you better keep our money until later. We might lose it," he said, giving me a cocky grin.
They all started back toward the woods. But I called out to them, "Guys, this is just between us for now. Okay?"
"Yeah, we've got your back, Jake. You know we always do," Embry replied then they disappeared.
"I'm sorry about that," I said, looking down at her, "you may have changed your mind completely after that exchange."
"No. Actually I think it helped me make an important decision. They are behind you Jake and they feel the same. Maybe the younger generation in La Push can make a difference for the future. I like the fact that you have people that are so close to you that'll protect you and watch out for you. I noticed when you were all painting that you have a very strong friendship—a bond or something. I want to get to know you and if that's a part of you then I want to be a part of it too."
"Well, I only have one request then. Don't go letting any of them sweet talk you away from me."
"I don't think you'll have anything to worry about. I happen to like what I see very much," she said, wrapping her arms around my waist.
"Are you hungry? I think I owe you a meal or two," I asked putting my arm around her and turning us toward my car.
We went to the local drive in and sat in my car while we waited for our food. It wasn't much, but it was little more private than going in somewhere. Besides, I was still trying to figure out how we could make this work, when I wasn't even suppose to be seeing Bella.
"What are you thinking?" she asked softly, running her hand along my arm.
"That it's not fair," I said, looking over at her, "I have this incredibly beautiful woman who seems to like me and I can't show her off to the whole world."
"I'm not much for big crowds and mingling anyway. Maybe us being a secret will be a good thing. I can have you to myself a whole lot more."
"I like the sound of that. I like that you're always trying to turn negative things positive too. That's one more reason I think I'm crazy about you," I said, smiling at her.
After eating our burgers, I took Bella home. We got out, and started walking toward the front door, but I pulled her into the shadows at the side of the house.
"What are you doing?" she whispered.
"I just wanted to make sure I knew where we were headed with this. You like me, right?"
"Yes, I like you very much," she said, and I knew her face was turning red.
"And I think you're the best thing that's ever happened to me," I whispered into her ear, taking the fresh scent of her warm hair.
I pulled her against my chest and ran my hand down her back and over her hip where I pulled her against me ever tighter and slid my free hand into her hair, as my lips found hers. Our kiss was soft and tender, but I needed her to know what she meant to me.
I leaned her back against my arm and begged for entrance through her lips. She whimpered and I felt her shudder against me as we began caressing each other's tongues in slow sensual movements.
When we pulled away, she looked up at me and I saw the look in her eyes I was hoping for as I moved her into the light. She was feeling the same way too and I felt my heart soar at the possibility that I had found the woman who would change my life forever.
That was the beginning of Bella and I being inseparable. We spent as much time together we could that summer and what we both felt, just grew stronger.
I got the job at the garage and Bella got a job at an insurance agency in Forks working in the mornings, then she drove to Seattle for afternoon and some night classes.
The guys and I all rode together to Seattle for our evening classes and I would ride home with Bella on nights she had class. I was thankful for the time we spent together on the drive back home. Otherwise, it would have been scarce except on the weekends.
Bella never came to La Push, when we had time off together, I would always go to Forks. She said she didn't mind the arrangement, but I knew deep down she felt like she wasn't good enough to be on the rez.
When the fall rolled around, things were busy on the rez. Things were being readied for the fall council meeting and my induction into the council. I had thought long and hard about how I would handle letting my feelings for Bella be known and she said she wanted to come with me.
She thought that it might make a difference if she was there to support me. I told her she didn't have to and that she might get her feelings hurt, but she insisted and said if she was ever going to be able to help my people by teaching there someday, that she needed to get to know them and let them get to know her.
The night of the council meeting, I drove to Forks and picked Bella up. On the drive back to La Push she asked me what I was going to say.
"I've got a few things in mind, but I'm just going to say what's in my heart," I told her, and she took my hand in hers and smiled at me. I knew that no matter the outcome, this was the right thing to do.
Bella and I arrived early and she took a seat near the back of the room where no one could see her. The others started arriving and I greeted them and they all took their places in the center of the council hall.
I was surprised, but felt very relieved, when the rest of the pack showed up to support me. Sam was there too, but he didn't know what I was planning to do, otherwise he would have tried to stop me. We had all been able to keep our thoughts closed on this subject and I guess it had worked.
Another twenty minutes lapsed and everyone was in place. My dad took the floor and called the meeting to order.
"Greetings everyone and welcome to the fall session of the Quileute Council. We have many changes to discuss tonight and I'm glad that everyone could be here. Before we get started, let me just say how proud, I am of several young Quileutes who are perusing their college education. I know that this is not easy at times. They are having to work and take their classes, but they will be benefitting us all when they bring their knowledge back to the reservation. Quil Ateara, Sr., would you like to offer our blessing?"
"Yes. Shall we stand? We stand united today as one people. We thank you, O Father, for blessing us thus far and request, humbly, that you continue to bless our people. Amen. Thank you. You may be seated."
"Jacob. If you would come forward please, we know you would like to say something tonight before I step down from the council," my dad said, and I knew this was it and my life would be changed forever in the next few minutes.
I felt Bella watching me from the back of the room and I knew I could make this stand, for her, for myself, and for our future together.
"Thank you all for coming. I know that plans have been made for this night for many years and I am grateful for the opportunity to stand before you. I feel honored that I have been asked to carry forth with the tradition of my family, those generations that have led you before me. But tonight I want to talk to you about what our ancestors would want for us today. Many years ago, when the people of this land lived, worked, and raised their families on the reservation, I can understand and see why we were encouraged to mingle and marry among our own people. I can also see why we have never depended upon or in some cases trusted outsiders, those from the white man's world."
"Excuse me Jake, what are you talking about?" my dad asked quietly.
"We have always wanted to be treated equally. That is a truth that goes back for generations. And you have taught us all to set a good example to the rest of the world as to who we are as Quileutes. But how can we do that without being hypocritical? We are all created equally and should treat others as we want to be treated. We also should be allowed to love who we choose and it should not be mandated that we have to marry a Quileute."
"Jacob. What are you saying?" my dad asked, in a concerned tone.
"I am saying that we should be allowed to love a woman, or man, who is white or of any other ethnic background. It should be a matter of the heart, not of the color of someone's skin or where they are from. I have met a wonderful young woman and I love her. She and I have known each other for a long time. And she's a good person who is hard working, intelligent, beautiful, and who has longed to become a teacher so that she can teach the children here on the reservation because of something I said to her when I was a little boy. She wants to help our people, even though she is white," I said, and held out my hand to Bella.
She walked timidly toward me and took my hand. We focused on each other, even though there were gasps and whispers around the room.
"Settle down everyone. Settle down," my dad said, in firm voice.
"I know that this is not going to be something that can be discussed properly and decided immediately, therefore, I am not going to accept the council position yet. And, if you cannot come to terms with my choice for my life, then I will have no other option than to reject the offer for council position. You see, I have to listen to what my heart is telling me and I think Ephraim Black would agree. I think he would tell me to go with my instincts and my heart, rather than stale ideas and beliefs. That's not so say they are all bad. I would never turn my back on my people for any reason, and I don't want to be forced to over this. I hope you will consider what I have said here and hope to hear from you soon. Thank you."
"He's right you know," I heard someone say, and turned to see Embry standing up, followed by Quil, Jared, Seth, and Paul.
"Yeah. We are behind what Jake has said. We don't know if we will find someone whom we can't live without outside of the reservation, but if we do, we know that following our hearts would be the right thing," Quil concluded.
There was a long silence as everyone looked at us all. It was not pleasant standing there in the center of all the attention, but with Bella by my side, I knew I would be able to stand firm for what I believed in and that she and I would be together, no matter what happened.
I've reached my word limit, but you know me. I have much more to say. So, as soon as this contest is over, I will be finishing this story. Please tune back in and find out:Will the council make a ruling that Quileutes can marry outside of their own people? Will Jake be allowed to take his rightful seat on the council? How will Jake and Bella's relationship evolve now, with this difficult situation looming over them? How will Bella react when/if Jake tells her he's a wolf? There was mention of a vampire, but where did it go? Why was it coming to Forks anyway? Will Billy disown Jake or embrace his beliefs and stand behind him?
For the answer to these and many other questions, tune back in a few weeks and see what happens next as I continue this story. Thank you very much for reading and I hope you will all vote for me.