A/N: I found another one! At least, the first three chapters of it. I know there's more somewhere, I just need to find them. Hopefully you'll enjoy it a little, and it will make up for the way I left you all at least a little bit.
"Uh...Bells, what are you doing?" Jacob Black asked his longtime friend, looking more than a little concerned for her.
"Don't you have eyes, Jake? I'm working out," Bella huffed as she landed another two hit combo to the punching bag...and caused even more stuffing to fall out in the process.
"You're not working out, Bella. You're beating my poor old punching bag to a pulp." Eyeing her warily, he took a step forward to try and save the thing, only to jump back just in time as Bella delivered a spin kick so hard, it broke the metal hook of the punching bag. The punching bag went flying into the wall before slumping into the floor, spilling out guts and thoroughly defeated.
"No, Pablo!" Jake exclaimed in horror, rushing over to his fallen comrade.
As Bella took a deep breath and centered herself, she was now the one to look at Jacob with concern. "You named your punching bag?"
"Of course I did, he was an ally! We worked so hard together…" Jacob put his hand on the punching bag, remembering all of the times he had used Pablo to work out. "We had so many memories. Until you MURDERED him!" Jacob whirled at Bella, launching himself at the slightly taller girl, ready to avenge Pablo by any means necessary—only for Bella to dodge, grab his arm, and throw him right back to Pablo. It was Jake's turn to hit the wall, sliding down next to the dead punching bag head first. He stayed upside down for a minute, just staring at Bella as he worked to get his breath back.
Bella crouched in front of him with a grin. "You good there, Jakey?"
"Yeah, just been awhile. I'm not used to your abuse anymore." Bella stuck his tongue out at Jacob, making him laugh. "Oh yeah, almost forgot. What are you doing in my house?"
"Your back door was unlocked," Bella said with a shrug.
Still upside down, Jacob frowned, pointing an accusatory finger at Bella. "It was not!"
"It was after I picked it."
"...Bella, that's a crime." Did Jacob really have to go over what was illegal and what wasn't with Bella again?
"Eh, not like your dad will care." Another shrug from Bella, and then she grabbed Jake by his leg and pulled him away from the wall. Unbalanced, Jacob fell forward, right on his face, with a grunt of pain. Bella laughed hard, harder than she usually did, as Jacob scrambled to a sitting position.
"So why are you here?" Jake asked after a minute, when it was clear that Bella wasn't going to stop laughing.
"I just told you—"
"No, I mean, why are you here in Forks? You live in Phoenix, remember?" It had been a complete surprise, Charlie always told Jacob when Bella was coming down to visit, and he hadn't heard a word from him.
"Oh yeah, that." Bella became serious for a moment, and her eyes seemed to darken as she remembered the whole reason she was blowing off steam in the first place. "Reneé got remarried to some guy, and I decided it was best to get away from that. So I moved here."
"Damn Bella, that's huge news!" Jake exclaimed excitedly, tackling his friend hard in a hug. Of course, Bella didn't even rock a little from the impact, staying firmly in her crouch. "I can't believe you're actually…" Wait, this news was a little too big, actually. Too big for Charlie to have hid it from Jake even if Charlie had tried. He pulled back from the hug, gazing at his longtime best friend warily. "Bells, does Charlie know that you're moving in with him?" The suspicious silence as Bella purposely didn't look at him was all the confirmation Jake needed, and he punched Bella hard in the shoulder. "Bella, what the hell? Did you even tell Charlie you were coming down?" More silence. "Damn it Bella, tell me you at least told your mom you were moving out."
"I left her a note!" Bella finally spoke, trying to retain at least a little pride.
"A note? You left her a note? How did you even get down here in the first place? Oh my god, Bella, what the hell." Jake was panicking now, sure that he was somehow going to get in trouble for this, but all it took was a sigh from Bella, and he shut up. There was so much heaviness from the sigh that it concerned him, and he realized that Bella really wasn't okay. He pulled back even further to watch his friend worriedly. "Bella, you didn't leave just because of a remarriage did you?"
Bella scowled, not sure exactly how to explain the craziness of the last few months of her life, and just what happened to lead her to end up here in Forks of all places. She couldn't figure out how to tell anyone...even her best friend. It was why she had done everything the way she did.
The worry in Jacob's voice tugged at Bella's heartstrings, and without thinking too much about it, she raked both hands through her hair and looked up at the ceiling. It was a habit of hers ever since she was a kid and frustrated, but unable to put her feelings into words.
That's when Jacob saw it; a large, pretty fresh cut right along her hairline, from above her left temple and trailing downwards in a wavy line to behind Bella's ear, then to her jaw. If she hadn't moved her hair, it wouldn't have been visible, but now that Jacob saw it, it was all he could think about, all he could stare at, even when it was no longer in sight. He knew Bella would tell him about it when and if she wanted to, that it was easier to pull teeth from a child with no anesthetic than it was to pull information out of Bella when she didn't want to give it. But this was still his best friend, and seeing that cut, seemingly made purposely, gave him a heart attack. He couldn't keep himself silent.
"Bella, what the hell…your face…" Jacob reached out to touch the cut, unable to help himself. It was only when Bella looked at him, her eyes a lighter brown than he ever remembered, more intense than Jacob ever remembered, that Jacob dropped his hand and looked away with a shiver. That look...that wasn't a look that belonged on his friend's face. "Sorry," he muttered after a minute, because Bella wouldn't speak, wouldn't break the silence.
Eventually Bella sighed, managing to pull herself out of her memories. "I'm sorry too, Jake. I didn't think about where to go when I left; I just came here. I didn't even think about what this would do to you."
"Can you tell me what happened? Was it your mom's new…?" Jacob couldn't stop, he had to know who had done it, partly out of concern, and partly out of a need to hammer his fists through the face of whoever did that to his best friend.
"No, it wasn't him." Bella finally sat down normally and leaned back on her hands, biting her lower lip as she thought about what she could tell him. Even now, despite being physically okay, her palms continued to burn. Would that pain ever go away? "It's not that I don't want to tell you, Jake. I just don't know how. Don't know what to say and what you'll believe."
"You know I'll always believe you, Bells," Jacob rushed to assure his friend. And he did. No matter what happened, no matter what Bella did or said, he would always believe Bella. A bit blindly, admittedly, as it was that unwavering faith in Bella that led to him getting into all kinds of situations as a kid, both with Bella and because he had been tricked or pranked by her.
Despite this, his faith, his loyalty, was unwavering. Bella had shown him so much, things he never even knew existed...had been there through him for the toughest times of his life whether she had been allowed to come to him or not. When he had gotten into his first serious motorcycle accident, Bella had been on a trip in another country around the world, and somehow had managed to get to La Push in time for Jacob to wake up. To not believe in a friend like that would be insanity.
"I'm serious, Bells. You know I'll always believe you, no matter what."
Bella looked at him hopelessly for a minute, before letting out a humorless laugh. "Even if I don't believe in myself?" Because every after all that she went through, there had just been so much crazy, so many unexplainable things, that Bella really couldn't believe in her own eyes.
Jacob, however, didn't have the same wavering unsurity. "Yeah, even then." He gave Bella a huge grin, one that hadn't changed since they were little kids. Despite herself, Bella felt her spirits getting lifted. "You're the great Isabella Swan for a reason, Bells! After all we've been through together, how could I not believe in you?"
This time when Bella laughed, it was genuine. For the first time in months, Bella felt pure relief. "Well when you say it like that, how can I argue?"
"Right then." Jacob grunted as he got to his feet, holding out his hand to Bella to help her get up too as he said, "Let's call your dad so we can get you settled in at his place, and then we can continue our conversation there."
Bella didn't take his hand, and instead appeared to shrink in on herself a little as she bit her lip nervously. "Yeah, about that...you can't tell Charlie I'm here."