Chasing You: Chapter 1
'Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
Which I find myself constantly walking around in daytime,
And falling into at night. I miss you like hell.'
--Edna St. Vincent Millay
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters or anything pertaining to the world of Twilight. Stephenie Meyer does.
x x x
All you can do is watch her now. It's as close as you can get — and that hurts. It hurts more than you want to let on because you keep your mask in place. The one she used to hate so much because it was all bitterness and arrogance. That's how you're dealing with the pain right now. You're angry, and while you feel guilty for being angry because it upsets her, you feel justified all the same. He came back — the filthy little bloodsucker that (metaphorically) left her for dead. You hate him because he's made you what you are — he's the reason you have to exist, but it's nothing compared to what he did to her. And you're absolutely furious with her because he got away with it. No, he didn't just get away with it; it was as if both he and those stupid Cullens had done nothing wrong in the first place…like they were angels to her.
You're also confused. Confused because one minute, everything was great with her and then he comes back and suddenly, you don't exist. You can't be apart of her life anymore. You watch her from the shadows of the forest near her house and of course she's with him. Her laughter is exuberant and melodious, with a sharp edge — a jagged barb that aims itself directly at your heart. You could never make her laugh like that. You can't keep your promise of friendship, but you can at least watch over her…even if it hurts. You catch a glimpse of her face and for a second, you see that familiar expression of pure adoration splashed over her features — the one you haven't seen in months. It crushes you. She never looked at you like that. The heats building and building and so you have to run away and transform before the tears start again. You wondered desperately before your body explodes if you've crossed her mind at all over these past few weeks. Probably not.
Paul and Embry won't stop fussing over you and of course, you don't fool them. They can hear your thoughts, after all. It's frustrating. You've been on high alert ever since you received that horrible news from her — watching the Cullens from a distance on your tiny reservation. They're next to you jabbering away and Sam's in your head telling you to focus…that she's not for you anyway. Like he can talk; he's the one with a fiancée. You want to scream at them to shut up, but they still don't leave you alone.
Billy's watching you, too. He doesn't talk to you, but you listen to his conversations with Charlie. For once, he actually agrees with your father — Edward,(and it's hard to even think the name) in Charlie's opinion, really is a bad influence on his daughter. He tells Billy that he's worried that Bella…ouch…will get hurt again, and your father enthusiastically agrees. But apparently, even though Charlie hates to admit it, she is herself again. He tells Billy that she's happy and so there is nothing he can do. Charlie's still angry at her, and after the motorcycle incident, her house arrest has been extended by several weeks. You stop listening when the conversation turns to sport. You couldn't care less about it. You feel like you can't care about anything anymore.
On the bright side, the end of another school year is just around the corner. Thank God, really — you won't have those stupid teachers on your back about your declining grades. You're failing nearly everything. Not that it matters. You'll be a werewolf your whole life and what's lousy, boring school compared to running at lightening speeds and chasing scary vampires? That's when a sudden and painful thought crosses your mind. You're mortal. You may be a bloodsucker-killing-machine, but you don't live forever…not like them…and eventually, not like her.
A shudder racks your entire body and for the first time since your Phase you feel cold. You don't understand why on earth she would want that. They stink — like a sickly sweet musk that burns your nose. And to your sharp eyes, they don't even look human — they're all pale, jagged, shiny glass. You can't even picture Bella like that. Everything that was once her will die, only to leave a hollow, stony shell. And you swear to yourself that if he ever does that to her, you'll rip him to shreds.
Weeks pass without incident, and you feel yourself becoming more and more depressed. Time apparently doesn't heal all wounds and you wish the idiot who said that was still around so you could ask if he'd actually had any personal experience — obviously not — before smashing the loser into the ground...anything to make you feel better. Billy is still concerned about Bella, and Sam is still worried about the redhead. You haven't heard anything of her since the Cullens came back, but your Brothers know she hasn't given up and it suddenly worries you when you think about what she may be planning…
But then you remember it's not your job to protect Bella anymore.
You were sitting up in your room thinking about her again (how could you not?) when you heard the phone ring downstairs. Nobody had called for weeks save Embry, Jared or Sam and you groan as you get to your feet. You don't feel like talking to anyone at the moment, (Not that that obstacle stops those three from talking in your head, but still…) and the last thing you want to do is go out on patrol again. You know yourself too well — you'll wind up at Bella's place again and make yourself miserable because you realize you haven't seen her in what seems like an eternity.
Then your sensitive hearing picks up on Charlie's familiar voice over the speaker and you listen especially carefully to his report. Bella is doing great and he sounds proud of her — her grades will apparently ensure that she'll graduate in top form. She still has a month left of school, after which, she'll be traveling to Jacksonville with Edward to see her mother before the two start at Peninsula Community College upon their return.
So, she'd be leaving Forks…you'd suspected as much, but you didn't actually believe that Charlie would let her go. Especially with him! You found yourself once again angry with Bella's decision; didn't she care about Charlie at all? But then Billy asks if they're going by themselves and not to your relief, both Carlisle and Alice Cullen will be joining them. Your father isn't relieved either, but Charlie was confident that nothing bad could happen to Bella with the wonderful Carlisle and his dear Alice there. You growled. It was easy to imagine how elated that Bella would be about the trip, and it sickens you. How she could still have so much affection for a family that broke her without any intention of ever fixing her, you would never understand.
After your dad hangs up the phone, you duck out the window to your closet bedroom and "call" your pack over for a meeting to share the news. Within fifteen minutes they're all in your backyard. Sam was especially troubled by what you had to share. In his opinion — one that you share with him — Bella would be in a lot of danger; or rather, her humanity would be. Sam saw that there was no reason for another two Cullens to tag along under the guise of "parental supervision" when Bella's mother would be there, anyway. Embry also had something to report — he had been doing his daily rounds when he picked up on the scent of smoke coming from the Cullen property. They were having a huge bonfire by the looks of it but, even with a werewolf's improved vision he couldn't make out what they were doing without stepping over the lines.
And so you're up all night now, unable to sleep because you're having bloody nightmares about that vile bloodsucker biting her…but that's not the worst part. You see her just standing there, watching him approach with that hungry look in his eyes and she won't budge. You pull and yank at her with all of your strength but she doesn't move. She then eventually shakes your arm off easily and gives you the coldest stare — as icy as a vampire's skin — before saying that she's always wanted this and that you have absolutely no right to interfere. You watch helplessly as he approaches, coming up behind her and sinking his sharp teeth into her warm flesh and her blood-curling scream forces you awake, drenched in a cold sweat. Her screeching still echoes painfully in your head as you shoot out of bed.
You need to see her, you decide one day after a week of almost no sleep. You have to at least try and talk to her…even though she's chosen the vampires over you and you know that there's probably no chance that anything you say to her will get through. As much as you hate to admit it, you've accepted it now —she's not leaving him. She is happy and that's what you want for her but still…you thought she was happy with you, too. It's almost certain in your mind that if you see her again, it will definitely be the final time. The final goodbye.
Your whole body jerks at the thought, almost as if you're having a seizure and so you force it from your mind right now. You'll deal with the pain later when you know that it is indeed certain. You can't just show up, though. You know that you'll have to get her alone — you'll have to wait for a sunny day when her beloved Edward won't be there to "protect" her from your temper. As if you'd hurt her. A game plan is needed as well because she's sure to be quite hostile towards what you have to say. You need to be careful; no doubt her answers to your questions will not be what you want to hear. You can't afford to lose control. Questions need to be planned carefully. Sunny days in Forks don't last long and you know that Edward will be back the instant the sun disappears under the sheets of usual grey cloud.
Despite knowing that this is a rather grim mission…despite knowing that this could all turn out for nothing — you're excited. Bella will be talking to you and you haven't seen her in months. Hopefully, you'll both have some nice things to say too. You don't want to be mad at her, but you know that you will. Last time you went to see her, you didn't think your plan through well enough. That mistake won't be made again. You'll appeal to her emotions and while you know that's kinda hitting below the belt, you'll do anything to save her from turning into a monster. She has to have been brainwashed by them — why else would she think that living off blood would be an appealing life?
Abruptly, Sam's powerful voice is ringing vividly in your head. He says that it's only a matter of days before Quil joins your pack. He's already got the burning fever. He'll be staying at Quil's for awhile to help with the transformation…and then Sam's gone. You're surprised — you were sure he'd lecture you about approaching Bella. He definitely would have heard your thoughts. Embry and Jared aren't protesting, either. You can hear that they're happy about Quil (Embry especially—he's crowing at you that it'll be just like old times again; you, Quil and him.) Maybe they see it as necessary. Why else would they let you go?
You're shocked that the sun takes no more than a week to make its brief appearance…even better, it's a Saturday. You've been kinda nervous since you woke up — trilling your plan over and over again in your head as reassurance, trying to stay confident because you always get butterflies around her. Best to leave now…you can't rely on this weather to last. Just as you jump from your window, Sam's in your head: "Be very careful, Jacob. Do what you have to and then leave…" You nod in response before taking off.
You transform to get there faster and sure enough, within a few minutes, you're in exactly the same place as you've been for months — in the thick forest outside her house. For once, you notice that she's not in her room…maybe she's sitting with Charlie watching television? Breathing deeply, you approach the front door. You have to keep calm…no matter what she says.
You knock; your heart racing in your chest. You hear someone quietly approaching the door. At the last minute, you remember to put on your professional face. The door opens, and Bella has a small smile painted on her lips…then it disappears the millisecond after she looks up at you and you're suddenly wildly angry about her response, your skin prickling with the familiar heat. If you were that bloody vampire she'd be all smiles.
"Bella," you mumble flatly. You have to stay calm…don't be angry with her, it's not her fault. Her smell is the first thing you notice — the whole house absolutely reeks of vampire — so does she. Much to your relief, though… she seems much happier — her cheeks are rosy, possibly a little more than normal and you don't want to even think about why. Her eyes are bright and even though she was always pale, she's far from the bleached, exhausted and broken girl that showed up on your front porch almost a year ago. She was beautiful.
She averts her gaze immediately and you can see that she's angry, too. "What do you want, Jacob?"
"To talk," you say simply, struggling to keep that bitter edge out of your voice. Her reaction has hurt you more than you're letting on. Your excitement at seeing her has crashed and burned in wake of her obviously foul mood.
"It's a little late for that, don't you think?" she whispers vehemently and behind the anger, you can see that she's all twisted in pain. It hurts you to see it, but then you remember that she has chosen her side and so the fact that she was feeling bad wasn't your fault.
"It's important. Are you allowed to talk for a moment?"
She shrugs. "Charlie's gone out for a minute. Ask him when he gets back," she says confidently.
"Are you alone?" You ask, irritated that she's doing everything she can to avoid you. That stupid vampire must have told her to stay away. You start shaking in rage. No. Stop that. You can't afford to lose it.
She rolls her eyes at you. "What do you think? I should've known that you'd be here on the first sunny day possible."
"Can I come in, or will you step out?" You challenge politely, already getting your anger under control. You step aside to gesture towards the path down the street. She looks at you strangely for a moment before hesitantly mimicking your actions, holding the door open for you to enter. You smile in victory and she takes a few paces back as you walk in, your nose burning with that disgusting perfume.
She slams the door behind you and purposefully turns on her feet to glower at you. "Hurry up. Charlie will be back soon."
You smile at her again. You tell yourself that you're smiling because it's just so good to see her again, even if she's angry and probably doesn't want to see you. "I don't think that Charlie would mind my speaking with you," you remind her. "Unless of course, we're speaking of other house guests…?" You trail off. Let her make of that what she could.
She rolls her eyes at you again, pacing furiously about the room. "No, Edward isn't here. A fact of which, I'm sure you're already well aware seeing as you're the one who came to visit."
You change the subject. "So I hear you're going to Jacksonville after graduation," you mention in a rather light tone. "I bet you're excited — especially seeing as you have three Cullens tagging along."
"That's none of your business, Jake," she says darkly, her eyes radiating disapproval.
You grin with effort. "I'd thought you'd say that. By the way, this trip to see your mother wouldn't happen to include any vampire-becoming would it?" Now it was your turn to disapprove of her plans, and you use your height to stare her down, trying to keep the real curiosity and apprehension from showing in your expression. She glares back just as strongly, her will not bending in the slightest. She doesn't say anything, and you internally begin to panic. Seeing her mother was just a cover? You couldn't believe that Bella was capable of that.
Your alarm bubbles to the surface despite your attempts to stifle it and your mask disappears. Somehow you knew that was her answer all along. "What about Charlie and Renée?" you demand desperately, and she's standing there shocked at your sudden change of tone. "Do have any idea on what this would do to them?"
Her surprised expression disappeared and she smiled. "Of course I do," she says, voice unnaturally calm. "I wish that there was some way that I could be the only one to suffer, but I know that it's not possible. Listen…you have to understand, Jake — it's too dangerous for me to stay human now. Charlie is in constant danger because of my proximity and I can't even see my own mother because I know my problems will follow me! Victoria's still on the loose and I hate putting you through this because you're my best friend and I hate hurting you. I'm a danger magnet and I've accepted that, but I'm tired of feeling so helpless…like I always have to depend on you and Edward to protect me and my family—"
Her voice broke then, and tears welled up in her eyes. You stay frozen, trying to will your body to move. You hate seeing her cry and you want nothing more than to comfort her…but you're still angry — angry because she honestly believes that that's enough justification for her choice.
"That's not good enough!" you snap, struggling to keep yourself under control. "I…I like protecting you. I don't know why you think you're so helpless…and I don't know what that stupid bloodsucker has said to you to make you think otherwise…but I like…I liked protecting you. It made me happy…I'll be damned though if I have to stand by and watch you die…" you drift off then because you were distracted by her expression — she looks guilty and hesitant as she bites her lip. Then you realize with a stab of fear that she's not telling you the whole story. This would be the part you didn't want to hear.
"What is it, Bella?"
She smiles wistfully at you. "I would have thought it was obvious to you, Jacob."
"I don't get it."
"Of course that's not the only reason — far from it," she explains as she stares at you anxiously.
You wait, not sure if you should block your ears or not. She sighs in defeat.
"I'm not living without him…or without any of the Cullens for that matter. They're my family, too." She takes in a shaky breath as she looks at your expression. You don't know why she looks away — you don't know what your face looks like…you're too shocked by her news. You want to scream and shake her, tell her to forget it all! She's going to die in so much pain and to her it's all a fairytale, like some noble sacrifice that ensures she'll live happily ever after. You imagine her all angular and alien and glassy and you can barely keep yourself under control you're so pissed off!
And then you hear Charlie's cruiser in the driveway, and you bolt out through the kitchen window before Bella can even blink. The fine weather has spent itself already and you're running faster and faster to get as far away as you can because you know that Edward is the quickest. The trees flash past you in a tainted emerald blur, but you don't notice. Your body explodes and you're a wolf again, but not before the salty tears make your fur all damp…or is it the rain?
It's both — the rain's falling and you're mourning, howling and howling because you can't cry as a wolf. You're can't cry for Bella anyway…only howl because mentally, she's gone. She's already a vampire. And so you change back into your sixteen year-old-self and cry and cry for her humanity…just like a human should because you know she won't.