I do not own Twilight or its characters. Stephenie Meyer does.
April and Gabby, thank you for pre-reading, and Fran, thank you for editing. Any mistakes left are my own.
The headlights illuminated the snowflakes as they fell slowly from the sky. They almost appeared to be just hanging ... frozen in the frigid December air.
I gripped the steering wheel so tight that my knuckles had turned white. The road had narrowed, steepened, and twisted as we made our ascent to the cabin deep in the woods. I gave a silent prayer that we didn't meet another driver coming the other way since there was nowhere for my truck to pull off to the side.
"There are no other tracks," I commented.
"Huh?" Jake didn't look up from his phone as he swiped his finger across the screen.
I huffed in irritation at being ignored. "I said, there are no other tracks. I thought at least one of the others would be on the road before us. Maybe we should call them and wait until it's not snowing. We can still turn back before it gets too bad," I suggested.
"We are closer to the cabin than home at this point. I have no service, so I can't call anyone," Jacob mumbled.
"If you have no service then what are you doing?" I asked, glancing at him out of the corner of my eye.
"Playing Angry Birds. Dammit, I just missed that last pig." He finally looked up from the screen. "Do you want me to drive?"
"No, I got it." I rolled my eyes.
I was looking forward to spending time with some old friends this weekend. I had grown up spending my summers with kids from the Quileute tribe when I visited my father. Most of those days were spent fishing, swimming, and sleeping in tents by the campfire. When I went to college, I was unable to make it back since I took classes throughout the summer. My hard work paid off, and I graduated a semester early. When Jacob mentioned a get together, I jumped at the chance.
Five minutes later, we pulled up to the welcoming sight of smoke billowing out of the chimney and lights in the windows of the log cabin. A dark-colored SUV with a light covering of snow on it was parked under a nearby tree, signaling one of our friends had arrived before we had.
I parked close to the door, so we could unload our bags then rolled my shoulders to loosen the tight muscles. Jacob was still absorbed on his phone, so I got out of the truck and took a better look at the cabin. I could hear the motor of the generator running in the still of the night. Unless it expanded further back than I could see in the dark, it would be very close quarters for the ten of us. I reached for my duffle in the back, but Jacob beat me too it.
"I got it, leave the other bags, I'll come back for them," he told me.
I blinked twice because it was unusual for him to be so thoughtful. "Okay, thanks. Let's get inside, it's freezing."
I trudged up the stairs in front of him and banged my feet on the landing to get rid of the extra snow. The door was unlocked, so I entered with Jacob right behind me.
"Surprise!" Jacob shouted, startling me.
There was a gasp, and a baby started to wail. I saw a flash of a blonde-haired woman in a pink sweater as she ran out the back door.
"Who the hell was that?" Jacob yelled, dropping the bags at our feet.
"I don't know, but go after her. We must have scared her." I gave him a shove towards the direction in which she ran.
He grumbled something about an inconvenience and took off after the woman. I scanned the room and spotted tiny legs kicking in the air as a car seat moved from the motion. I went over, knelt down beside the carrier, and started to rock it gently.
I assumed it was a boy since he was dressed head to toe in blue. He had dark, curly hair and adorable chubby cheeks. He couldn't have been very old—a few months at the most.
"Shhhh. It's okay, sweetie. Your mommy will be right back," I said soothingly.
The screams quieted to whimpers, and the baby's lower lip trembled. His eyes opened to look at me pleadingly, and I couldn't resist the urge to unbuckle him and lift him from his seat. He relaxed even more as he buried his head into my neck.
I glanced up guiltily when I heard someone rush into the room. Jacob was back, but the woman wasn't with him. He pulled at his hair in frustration then glared at the baby.
"What the fuck are we supposed to do with that?" he bellowed, causing the baby to again scream.
"Lower your voice and don't curse. Where is his mother?" I asked.
"She's fucking history." He looked behind him at the dark doorway.
"Jacob Ephraim…" I scolded.
He turned back and scoffed. "Did you just middle name me? He's a baby, it's not like he understands a word I am saying."
"His mother…didn't you catch her in time?" I asked impatiently.
"No, she rounded the house, jumped into her car and sped off. I can't believe she forgot her baby." Jacob closed the door.
"Me neither. Can you call one of the others, maybe they can catch her," I suggested.
"I have no service and about that ..." Jacob looked sheepish.
"About what?" I wasn't in the mood for games and reached to check my own phone.
He didn't answer and headed to close the back door. I stood and started to pace around the room with the baby in my arms. I realized instantly something was off. I stopped short and spun in a small circle. There was a small kitchen table with a diaper bag on top and two chairs. A couch, an ugly bear skin rug, a fireplace and one queen size bed.
"Why does the cabin have only one bed? Where is everyone going to sleep?" I asked.
"Surprise," Jacob said uncertainly.
"Surprise…wait…that is the second time you've said that." I narrowed my eyes.
"I thought it was time to move our relationship to the next level." He gave me a cheesy smile.
I closed my eyes and shook my head. "Jacob, that's not going to happen."
"Well…I kinda figured since that rugrat's gonna put a damper on things," he complained.
"Don't call him a rugrat. And even if he weren't here, it still wouldn't be happening. I have told you before I only want to be friends," I said apologetically.
Inside I was reeling. He was always pushing for more. In the past, I tried to put more space in between us, but it still ended up with me being guilt tripped. He would insist being friends was enough and then my father would lobby in his corner. I would give in. only for a repeat performance to happen at least once a summer if not more.
I thought while I was away at college he would've found someone else. However, it didn't seem like the case. Now as much as I would hate losing a friend I was going to have to put my foot down and not relent.
"Why do you fight against us so hard? Things between us could be so easy. We can live in Forks or La Push, your choice, and have a ton of children so you wouldn't even have to open up a daycare." He looked at me longingly.
"I don't want easy. I want a love that sweeps you off your feet and gives you that rush. One that challenges you to be a better person. You should want that for yourself, too. We've been through this time after time. I'm sorry, I hate hurting you, but I refuse to lead you on when I know it won't work out in the end," I explained.
He looked at me stone-faced, and I wondered if anything I even said registered. The baby started to whimper, and I bounced him in my arms.
"We should think about getting back into town and finding my dad," I said, hoping we could move on if I changed the subject.
"The snow is turning to rain, so everything is going to ice over. We would be safer staying here for the night." Jacob kicked off his boots and shed his jacket.
"Could you get the food out of the truck, please?" I asked.
"You get it if you want it." Jacob stretched out on the bed and started playing on his phone.
"Fine. Here…take the baby then." I walked over to him.
"I am not touching that thing." Jake looked at the baby in disgust.
"Don't take your anger with me out on the baby. If I put him down, he'll probably start crying."
"Not my problem." He shrugged his shoulders.
"Real mature, Jacob." I huffed.
I shifted the baby in my arms and decided to check out the kitchen. I noticed a pot of water boiling on the stove. Next to it was a bottle with a can of formula.
"Well, at least we don't have to worry about what to feed you, sweetie."
I removed the pot from the burner and placed the baby bottle in it. While I waited, I opened the fridge to check out the contents. There were a couple of jugs of water, vegetables, fruit, and bottle of a fancy looking champagne, the label written in French. I grabbed an apple, figuring it wouldn't be missed.
The baby started to fuss, so I tested the bottle and then removed it from the pot. I found a clean cloth and took a seat on the couch and offered the nipple to the baby. He sucked greedily on it and his eyes half-closed. I relaxed and slumped against the back of the chair.
"You're really hungry, huh?" I said softly.
"I'm starved," Jacob responded. "Can you fix something?"
I cursed him out in my head; he had some nerve expecting me to serve him. "You're on your own. There's stuff in the fridge, or you can go bring in the food from the truck. I made a casserole you can toss in the oven at three-fifty for twenty-five minutes."
He grumbled and made a big production of getting to his feet. He stomped his way to the fridge and opened it roughly then slammed it shut.
"There's nothing but rabbit food in here. What's in the casserole?" he asked, glancing towards the car skeptically.
"Pasta, marina, mozzarella, and ricotta, sort of a mock lasagna." I shifted the baby, so I could burp him.
"Screw it, not worth it. I'm going to bed." He flopped on the bed and rolled over, facing the wall.
I shook my head and rolled my eyes. I glanced at the baby, and he gave me grin that lit up his whole face. He had the most adorable dimples.
"You're a cutie. And he's acting more like a baby than you are," I said to him.
He squealed happily, and I rocked him gently. He quieted and watched me with a pensive expression. His eyelids grew heavy, but he was fighting sleep.
"Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are." I sang to him.
After a few verses, he fell asleep in my arms, as I watched him, mesmerized. I loved babies and toddlers, which is why I went to school with dreams of either having my own daycare or working in a preschool. However, having a huge brood like Jacob suggested wasn't what I wanted. But perhaps it was Jacob and not necessarily the babies. I didn't want to stay in Forks. I wanted to be in a more developed area for better job opportunities.
The only sounds in the room were fire crackling and soft snores from Jacob, giving me time to think. Something about this whole situation didn't sit right with me. A woman alone in the woods with a small baby seemed odd. The cabin belonged to Jacob's uncle. Did he know she was here? Why was she here? Why did she flee without taking her baby with her?
This little angel had been abandoned. The morning couldn't come soon enough for us to get out of here so I could contact my father. He was the Chief of Police in our town so he would know what to do.
As I kissed his forehead, I made him a promise.
"Don't worry, little one, I'll make sure that we find your family."
I'm not going to say too much. I don't want to give away the story too soon. I will say this, it is an ExB story. Jacob has a very little role in it and he has and will never be more than a friend to Bella. Bella thought they were going to a get together with a few friends that weekend and Jacob surprised her.
Thank you for joining me along the ride for this story. I hope you enjoy it.