A/N: Okay guys, as promised, here's the beginning of the trilogy. Fair warning ... this story will be full of twists and turns, cliffhangers too, so hold onto your hats. It's gonna be a bit of a bumpy ride, but worth it, I promise ;-)
"I'll never forget this day and all you did for me."
"I love you, Mrs. Black."
I smiled against his chest and peered up at him with his warm words.
"I love you more, Mr. Black. Here's to New Beginnings, right?" I tearfully offered.
Jacob nodded and kissed me softly before whispering his sweet reply.
"Yeah, honey. To New Beginnings that never end."
*Six Years Later*
I harshly raised the hood of the rusted out old Chevy truck and peered down into the mess waiting for me there. My hands were covered in thick grease and oil. The kind that would stain everything I touched. The latest of my junk yard hauls with Gentry had proven to come up nearly as empty as all the rest before had, but this abandoned beauty in the making caught my eye just minutes before we left, and I knew with a lot of work and some TLC, she'd run again in no time.
The should be scrap metal now filled the small remaining space of my newly expanded garage and I was eager to get working on it.
I tore apart the motor, wincing briefly only when the course rust sliced easily through my knuckles. It left a dripping trail of crimson steadily running down to my wrist. Within seconds, the pain was gone and the minor cuts that were left behind began to quickly heal all on their own. I was on the very last bolt when I heard her call for me from the house, her voice tired as she yelled from our front porch.
I sighed and tightened my hold on the wrench, as I turned it again and again, hearing the cracking of the worn out metal in protest against the strain. With a few more forceful turns, it finally gave way and fell to the floor below. I tossed the wrench down in frustration, and reached for a rag when the sound of her approaching footsteps made me pause and peer over my shoulder.
With her long hair piled high into a messy bun on top of her head and wearing her favorite flannel shirt, she stopped just a few feet shy of the garage door and peered expectantly my way.
"Dinner ready?" I assumed.
The routine and numbing question came out so rehearsed that I had to fight the urge to scoff when it rolled so casually off my tongue.
Her answer was simple-too simple- as it usually was these days. One word... two words... -maybe ten even- but a full sentence was pushing it for her.
"Yes, are you almost done in here?"
"No, not yet." I grumbled.
"Dinner is on the table-..." She softly informed.
"I'll be in, in a while."
I finished wiping my hands with the spare rag clutched tightly in my grip, and heard her faint sigh of disappointment as her doe eyes settled on mine.
"I-I didn't mean to interrupt or bother you-"
"You're not. I just really wanna get a head start with the rebuild on this. You need me to help put the twins to bed? It's getting late."
"No, Mason and Madison are already asleep."
"This early?" I countered.
"They crashed about a half hour ago."
"Watching Snow White with Clarissa again?" I guessed, while picking up more of my tools and awaiting her response. When her silence remained, I peered up to see her curiously eyeing the old Chevy. She cautiously ran her fingertips across the side view mirror and hesitantly met my gaze.
"She played that one for them again, huh? What's that- the third time this week?"
"Something like that." She replied, still closely inspecting the heap of new metal now parked in the garage. I braced myself for the criticism I already knew was probably coming. She soon narrowed her gaze further as she peered along the many rust spots, and dented framework that now prominently lined this once classic Chevy.
I felt my skin begin to heat, letting it burn as she shook her head, and shuffled her feet anxiously in the scattered dirt below.
"Go ahead, say it. You know you want to. Might as well." I half sneered, noting the way she wrapped her arms tightly around her middle with a visible flinch away from me at my words.
I bit back on saying anything further, and felt the instant regret loom over me with a heartbreaking weight when she ducked her head in defeat and slowly started for the house.
"I'll save you some dinner." She offered on the way out, and the dejection in her voice made me step forward with a better response, but it was too little too late.
"I found it with Gentry last week. He wants to fix this one up together."
She stilled her steps and nodded once at this, before she simply turned to go back inside without another word.
I inwardly cringed at her deafening silence, and angrily slammed the hood of the broken down Chevy shut, while my heated gaze wandered to the photo tacked up above my work bench.
There it was, in plain black and white color, staring back at me. The tangible proof of a time I myself struggled to even remember these days. A moment in time that now felt a million miles away. I huffed and tossed my tools on the wooden bench, pondering on whether or not I should skip the uncomfortable dinner waiting for me inside altogether, or face another meal filled with hated silence, rehearsed exchanges that were mixed with the sound of scraping silverware when only the two of us were left there at the table.
She'd pack me a plate, before putting it aside in the fridge for when I'd eventually trek out of this garage, and give in to my nagging exhaustion for the evening. Sometimes it was midnight or later before I'd quit. She never waited up for me like she used to. There was a time when she wouldn't even close her eyes without my arms around her. Those days seemed like nothing more than a distant memory.
I leaned against the garage door and peered out toward the dimly lit house where my whole world was, and for the hundredth time, I asked myself the same barely audible question I'd been asking for the past ten months.
"How did we get here, Bells?"
Six years of marriage had brought along with it your normal fair share of happiness, joy, and ups and downs. Despite some of the challenges thrown our way, Bella and I had faced them all together, and we had never lost sight of each other. Even with the grueling new pack schedule I'd been keeping up with for the better part of the past five years. Sam had done just what he warned us about, prepared us for, he'd stepped down from Alpha and I took his place. That role came with the kind of sobering responsibility I had mentally braced myself for, but when it truly took hold, every routine we'd ever known was tossed to the wayside and pack duty took center place.
I tried my best to be there for her, for the kids, for the pack, but managing it all and trying to keep up with the balancing act of home life and leadership, left me thoroughly spent - in every sense of the word. I was short tempered these days, quicker to get annoyed and lose my cool over simple things. After Sam left the pack completely last year, and had his first child, that strain only doubled. Inevitably what was slowly starting to break down between Bella and I before, broke wide open like a damn that had let loose with a force no one could swim against.
Marriages had problems. That wasn't a secret to her or myself. Coming from divorce and loss on both sides, we both knew what it took to keep our heads above water, or at least, we thought we did.
I gazed numbly ahead at the shadow in the kitchen window, silently studying her silhouette there, as the familiar fire whirled uncomfortably in my gut. The woman in that window barely resembled the one that I married six years ago, and I missed my best friend more than I could put words to. I closed my eyes with the same sharp intake of breath that always came whenever I thought back on just why that was. On the single moment in time that changed the two of us forever. This feeling- this raw and yet somehow numbing sense of reality haunted us both. It was the same bone chilling, heart shattering pain that filled me whenever the memories of what event that shook us both down to the core would resurface.
The images were burned into my mind, seared there permanently with a stinging, and painful memory that time itself would never heal.
Guilt rose up as I tried not to think about it, but the longer I stared at her shadow in that window, the harder it was for me to reject the vivid memory of her trembling voice on that bitter cold early December morning. The same one that had shoved us both off the edge of a bottomless cliff without warning, and had since left us trying to flail against the gravity that was pulling us further down into the unwavering darkness.
"Jacob...-" Bella's choked and quavering voice screamed out to me in the dark. "Help me-..."
My mind was still clouded with a heavy sleep, but the sound of her fear jolted me awake, and it gripped every waking part of me in that moment. I got to my feet, stumbling some with disorientation at first, as the terror hurriedly cleared the heavy fog of my dead exhaustion after running three straight patrols with Gentry. All of them back to back in the hours prior.
I reached instinctively for her side of the bed, and found it empty when her tear filled cry called out for me again. My hand had barely grazed the bathroom door just as she pushed it open from her curled up position on the tile floor. Her red rimmed eyes peered helplessly up at me, as my entire focus was drawn to the sticky crimson that stained her white linen shorts.
My entire body went cold as my gaze held hers, and in the next second, she was in my arms and nothing else mattered anymore. Not the meaningless and stupid fights over things that wouldn't even account for anything next week, or next year. Not the petty annoyances we'd both ridiculously been holding onto, and using against each other whenever one of our weekly arguments would inevitably turn into yet another one of our screaming matches. The kind that would end with me leaving in the middle of the night just to blow off some steam miles from the house. No... none of that mattered.
Three months along.
We weren't even trying.
We had talked about it in the past, a few times, but the honest truth was, we had our hands full enough already with Mason, Madison, and Clarissa. We settled on that, agreed on waiting and as more time went on, we became comfortable with the three blessings we had, yet somehow this miracle had shown up right in the middle of us trying to find our way back to each other. Back to just Jake and Bells. Back to what tied us together, more than the imprint, more than the kids, more than the life we shared. It was hard- some days more than others- but we stumbled our way back and things were just starting to turn back around for the better. There was a light at the end of the long tunnel, and like my father had constantly been reminding me as of late, "Marriage isn't always roses, son. Sometimes, it's working your way through the really hard stuff in life that defines you as a couple."
I had taken this advice at face value, and I'd given it my all to rekindle what we'd let get snuffed out by the worlds demands- something I should have recognized a year ago before it got as bad as it did. I realized that regret would get me nowhere and that the time to start over was now, because the woman I'd married and shared vows with six years ago, was still the woman who had my heart and I still loved her more than anything in this world. It was well worth the work. All of it.
That miracle was slipping right through our fingertips and I was powerless to stop it. I felt the numbing ache in my chest, as I called Emily over to watch the kids for us while I drove Bella to the hospital.
We hadn't told anyone else. For fear of something like this.
I waited in the hospital room with her, half listening to the doctor tell us both what we already knew.
"I'm very sorry but it does appear you're miscarrying. It's too early on in your pregnancy for us to intervene. There's no heartbeat."
The words echoed out around us both, as I stared at the stilled image on the screen in front of us.
No movement. Nothing. As if the miracle itself had never been at all.
My stomach churned violently and I struggled to drag air into my burning lungs, as the tears I faught blurred my vision.
That was almost six months ago now.
I rubbed my tired eyes and headed slowly for the house while I tried to push down the memory of that night. I ignored the lump in my throat as I opened the door and met her there.
"You're still up? I thought you'd be asleep?"
Bella shook her head and silently held out a full dinner plate to me.
"I didn't want you to eat alone." She soon whispered.
I stared at her, seeing the longing in her doe eyes and took the rounded plate from her.
"I can get you something to drink if you want?" She questioned, as she started to turn for the fridge in our small kitchen.
I set the plate down and reached for her, the small gesture causing her to still where she stood and look down at our conjoined hands.
The smallest of touches from me she'd shy away from most nights, but not tonight.
She turned to face me and laced her trembling fingertips through mine with a quavering breath, as I opened my mouth and spoke the words my heart couldn't say.
"I miss you, Bells."
A/N: Thanks for reading and please review! New chapter soon!