AN: It's sad that summer break will be over soon. I like sleeping in. Anyways, thank you to everyone who reviewed. Also, that new Reader's Traffic thing is pretty cool. I like seeing from where all my readers come from.

As for Breaking Dawn… I hated it. It was absolute trash. After only one hundred pages I was tempted to toss this book into the garbage and never look upon it again, but no, I kept going until the very end and I'm sorry that I did. All the rules based around the vampires went down the tubes. Twilight was cute. New Moon was irritating. Eclipse made me GLAD that Breaking Dawn was going to be the last. Breaking Dawn made me so angry I couldn't sleep after reading it. Yes, it made me that angry. I wish I'd bought Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz instead of twenty-two dollar bad fanfiction.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Don't tell me to read it again. No matter how many times you read a horrible book it will remain just that: a horrible book. Meyer's purple prose was as bad as ever. Damn. She should've just stuck with Twilight and never written anything else ever again. Breaking Dawn was a monstrosity. It was sick and wrong on so many levels, obviously unedited, out of character, which is something that is beyond sad considering it was Stephenie Meyer herself who wrote this shit. I urge anyone who hasn't read this poor excuse for a novel to run away from it as far as they can. The themes Meyer presents are downright degrading. She glorifies teenage pregnancy and proves how immature Bella really is. Real babies are a lot of work! Real babies demand responsibility and maturity! Bella is not responsible and definitely not mature. She is not ready to have a child. Most eighteen year olds aren't, but Meyer has to shove her Mormon beliefs down our throats. Guess what girls! You don't need an education or a job! All you need is a man to protect you and 'love' you and get you pregnant! After all, babies are the one thing all women need! I admit that I do want children—five or six in fact—but I don't plan on doing it when I'm fresh out of high school. The fact that Meyer makes every woman weak and in need of a child and a man makes me sad. It's called feminism, Mrs. Meyer, and you're doing it wrong.

How this crap got past the editors escapes me. It's poorly written, lacks plot, romanticizes things that shouldn't be (pedophilia anyone?), and contains some of the worst characters I have ever encountered. I hate to say this people, but Edward is an abusive asshole. Everything about Edward and Bella's relationship screams abuse in this last installment. He was already possessive and controlling from the start, but really Edward, pimping out your wife? How low can one man go? Whatever. Enjoy banging your hormonal wife, Edward. After all, sex is the only thing she wants from you now and of course she gets everything she wants. WHERE'S THE FUCKING SACRIFICE?!

Sorry. I really needed to vent there. Everything about Breaking Dawn was wrong. Stephenie Meyer, get the fuck down off your high horse. You are not the next J.K. Rowling. Twilight is not the next Harry Potter. If it was the next Harry Potter then it wouldn't even be called that. Even Robert Pattinson, the actor who'll be playing Edward in the upcoming movie, thinks the series makes little sense (I watched an interview with him that proves this). After reading Breaking Dawn I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't. I really want to know what the hell Stephenie was smoking when she wrote this stuff. Seriously. Go take some writing classes, Stephenie. You need them.

I'll stop there. I could go on for pages really. This book is that awful. Of course you all are probably wondering why the hell I'm still writing fanfiction. Well, Twilight—the first book—has always been my guilty pleasure. It still has a special place in my heart even though I think the author's a pompous moron and the rest of the series kind of sucks. Plus I'm too much of a die-hard Jacob/Edward fan to let this fandom be taken over by rabid canon shippers. I need to stay here and protect my cause. I have a mission!

As for my copy of Breaking Dawn, I immediately returned it to the store and got a full refund :)

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Thank God.





It's been seventy-two-thousand-three-hundred-forty-eight hours since I imprinted on Edward, Jacob thought as he stared up at his bedroom's off-white ceiling, That's eight years, three months, three days, and twelve hours. Chewing on his lip, Jacob couldn't help but think that eight years, three months, three days, and twelve hours was an incredibly long time.

The digital clock on his bedside table beeped once, the red numbers glowing faintly in the dim bedroom. It was noon, but not a single ray of sunlight shone into the room's dark depths. The faded curtains were tightly drawn, plunging the space into a depressing gloom. Faint glitters of rare sunlight danced behind the curtains, continuously denied access. Should a stranger have gazed upon this melancholy scene, they would have never thought that Jacob Black had once loved the sunlight, basked in its warmth and marveled at how the warm light swept fluidly over his dark skin, sending powerful surges of happiness coursing through him.

But those eight years had changed him. He had become one of the wealthiest men in the country before his twenty-fourth birthday. To the outside world Jacob Black had everything: a diploma from MIT, a luxurious penthouse apartment in Manhattan, a vast estate near Seattle, multiple vacation homes, a closet filled with designer clothes, a garage filled to the brim with sleek sports cars— most of them his own creations—and hundreds of eligible bachelorettes who would kill for the chance to date the Jacob Black. Most people would have been ecstatic with such a glamorous lifestyle and most assumed that Jacob was indeed happy. However, it was far from the truth. Jacob Black was miserable.

He spent his days hidden away from the world, safe in his secure and impenetrable residences that were more like prisons. Jacob had become a recluse, shying away from society as if he were too ashamed to let anyone else look upon him—the pack in particular. They'd accepted him more out of pity than tolerance and even now Jacob couldn't look most of them in the eye. Seth was the only exception.

A sad smile graced the man's lips as he thought about Seth, who even now, was still just a kid in his mind. He found it hard to believe that someone as pure and innocent as Seth could still exist in this bleak, cruel world they all lived in, but he was grateful for it. Had Seth not helped him through those hard years of adolescence Jacob didn't know what he'd have done. In fact, Seth had saved him in a way with his company. He really owed the kid a lot.

Chuckling softly, Jacob let his hands come to rest on his stomach. Now that he was back in La Push he probably should drop by and visit the werewolf. Then he thought about Leah, Seth's older sister, and grimaced. Before the news of his imprinting had gotten out, Jacob and Leah had been barely civil towards one another, but now just putting the two of them in the same area was asking for a fight. Jacob finally decided that it would be for the best if he didn't have any run ins with her. He'd visit later in the week—towards the end of his short vacation—when Leah was sure to be away visiting a friend in Seattle.

"Jacob?" Billy Black called hoarsely from downstairs before lapsing into a particularly violent coughing fit. Okay, this wasn't exactly a vacation. Billy had managed to catch a particularly nasty case of bronchitis after forgetting to close the windows before he went to sleep one night. The chill had gotten the best of the elderly man, but the doctors had assured Jacob that with a little bit of love and care his father would fit as a fiddle in no time at all.

"You need something, Dad?" Jacob asked as he walked into the living room. Billy was sitting in his favorite armchair, shivering beneath the thick cocoon of blankets his son had created for him.

"Could you turn the thermostat up? It's cold in here."

"Sure, Dad. Anything else?"

"Could you get me a glass of water too?"

"Of course. Is that it?"

Billy's face crinkled as his mouth curled up into a gentle smile. "Would you mind keeping your old man company for a little bit? I've missed you."

Jacob forced a small smile. "Yeah, sure," he murmured before slipping into the kitchen. He grabbed a glass out of the wooden cabinet and filled it with water from the tap. The last time Billy had made him sit down for a little chat it had ended with Jacob screaming at his father to shut up before storming out of the house. That was the day Jacob had told his father about Edward.

"Thank you," Billy whispered hoarsely as he took the glass from Jacob's hand. He took a large gulp, sighing as the cool liquid soothed his dry, itchy throat. "Sit."

The younger of the two hesitantly took a seat on the old couch after turning the thermostat up, ignoring the little bit of stuffing that came out of the cushion. This particular couch had been well loved and Billy continuously refused to part with it no matter how many times Jacob tried to convince him to do so. Although the cushions were soft and gave way to the man's weight easily, Jacob sat rigid as a board, muscles tense, jaw tight.

Noticing his son's clear unease, Billy urged him to relax. "Jacob, relax. Spending some time with your father isn't going to kill you." The elder Black let out a soft chuckle, which turned into yet another coughing fit.

"Are you okay?" Jacob asked, voice laced with concern as he watched his father take yet another large gulp of water. Sometimes he wondered if the doctor's were right. That cough sounded horrible and his father's appearance was nearly just as bad. Of course, Jacob really wasn't one to talk. He didn't look all that great himself either. Ever since he'd arrived in La Push he hadn't been able to sleep a wink. Sleeping poorly wasn't all that unusual for him, but normally he got at least a few hours. Here he got none.

"I'm fine," Billy rasped as he set the half empty glass on the end table beside him. "It's a little dark in here isn't it?"

"I guess," Jacob said with a shrug. It wasn't as dark as his room, but still considerably dim. "Do you want me to turn on the light or open the curtains?"

"Just turn on the light, please. It's way too bright outside. You don't mind do you?"

"It's no big deal, Dad. The light switch is just over there."

"But you just sat down."

"Getting up and walking three paces isn't going to kill me." The werewolf then stood up and walked over to the switch, which he flicked up. The lights sprang to life, illuminating the room with a soothing ochre glow. Like the color of his eyes, Jacob noted silently as he sat back down.

"You've grown up," Billy remarked ruefully. It was as if he had finally noticed that his bouncing baby boy had grown up into a successful young man.

"I'll be twenty-five in the spring, Dad."

Billy let out a sigh. "Time goes by too fast. It seems like just yesterday I was changing your diapers and waiting for you to say your first word."

"What was my first word?"

"Dah-dah or something like that."

"No, Dad. My first real word. You know, besides mah-mah and dah-dah?"

Billy lapsed into a thoughtful silence, sifting through old, happy memories. "Oh!" he exclaimed, eyes lighting up as he finally remembered. "Chocolate, though you couldn't make the 'ch' sound so you said 'kokolate' instead."

"Kokolate?" Jacob repeated, eyebrows raised.

"Yeah. Whenever we went out for ice cream you'd scream it as loud as you could," Billy said with a grin. "It really doesn't feel like more than twenty years have passed since then."

"Sometimes I can hardly believe I'm in my twenties either, Dad," Jacob replied, smiling. His father let out a raspy laugh.

"Do you know how weird it is to be the father of one of the richest men in the country, Jake? It's surreal." Billy then downed the rest of his water. "And now that we're on the subject… How about sending me off on a nice vacation to the Caribbean?"

Jacob laughed as his father waggled his eyebrows at him. "Sure, Dad. I'll get on that once you're healthy again." Smiling, Jacob relaxed, leaning back into the sofa's soft pillows. Talking with his dad like this was soothing. For once he didn't feel the pressure of work and the fact that he'd imprinted on a vampire didn't seem to matter for the time being. Actually, the werewolf had almost even forgotten about Edward. This was the closest he'd gotten to forgetting the dying boy so far.

"So, Jacob," Billy began after a moment of silence. "How are you holding up?"

Jacob's brow furrowed with confusion. "I'm fine. Why?" he replied, tensing up once more. He didn't like where this conversation was headed.

"I imagined life would be tough for you considering…"

"I won't let myself be governed by that damn leech!" Jacob snapped, springing up off the couch; his lips curled back into a feral snarl. His muscles contracted involuntarily as he tried to fight back the change that so desperately wanted to claim him. Primal instinct goaded him on, sending surges of adrenaline through his system, willing him to give into the beast howling within his chest. He could feel the wolf beating its paws against his rib cage, trying to bend him to its will, but Jacob was stronger than that. No longer would he let himself be governed by his rage and pain. Jacob Black was their master now.

Billy was unperturbed by his son's violent reaction. He had expected it. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. Anyone in your position would feel the same heartache that you feel. An imprint isn't something that can be ignored, Jacob. We've been over this before."

"I'm not gay!" Jacob snarled, temper rising. "I feel nothing for that god damn bloodsucker! I wouldn't even bat an eyelash if he died this very instant! It's about time that he did anyways!" The words kept pouring out of his mouth. The hateful insults, the angry shouts spilled out in gushing torrents. Jacob couldn't make himself stop. His verbal rampage went on and on, each word leaving another crack in the mangled, discombobulated heap of emotion he'd stitched back together with lies he'd forced himself to believe over the years that was his heart. His soul screamed at him to stop as it twisted and burned within him, but Jacob did not stop. He kept going and going and going until he found himself panting and gasping for air, lungs shriveled up and dry from the deluge.

Billy's face held no trace of emotion as he stared blankly at his trembling son. He watched the hot, salty tears roll down Jacob's cheeks in silence. The man did not make any movement as the angry and confused boy that stood before him reached up and touched his wet face, which had relaxed in shock. Only when the man that had suddenly become a boy again finally gave into all that hurt he'd kept bottled up for so long did Billy open his arms.

"Come here, Son," he murmured softly.

Not bothering to stifle his loud sobs, Jacob stumbled over to his father and let himself fall into that man's open arms. For the first time in many years, he buried his face into the elderly man's chest and let himself cry, feeling more free than he ever had. He cried until he no longer had tears to shed, comforted by Billy's soothing murmurs and warm arms.

Jacob hiccupped and pulled away to wipe his eyes, which had become red and puffy. Sniffling, he whispered, "I love him, Dad." There was only one thing on the werewolf's face as he admitted the one thing he'd promised to never believe: defeat.

"It's okay, Son," Billy murmured as he stroked the top of Jacob's head, smoothing out the short, tangled strands. "There's nothing to be ashamed of." He pressed a gentle, loving kiss to the young man's forehead. "I promised myself that I'd always love you and your sisters from the moment you all came into this world onwards no matter what. I'll always love you, Jacob. Please believe me now. I would never lie to you."

Sniffling, Jacob nodded. "I believe you."

Then there was quiet. No one spoke. Neither one needed to. Their silence brought across their feelings and thoughts just as effectively as their words could. Brown eyes stared into brown eyes and suddenly there was no more confusion.

"I've been so lonely," Jacob whispered. He swallowed the lump in his throat before adding, "Without him." Slipping down to the floor, he kneeled there, no longer able to meet his father's eyes. "Everywhere I go I see blank, colorless faces. I don't see people anymore." His face screwed up in disgust. "I just see walking corpses. Mannequins…" He shuddered, his disgust shaking his frame. "And I feel so empty all the time! I feel like I'm walking around without anything inside me! No heart! No lungs! Nothing!" Cradling his head in his trembling hands, Jacob felt his breath leaving him; the emptiness he'd ignored for so long was swallowing him whole. "I feel like a walking corpse! I've spent eight years trying to make myself feel alive without him, Dad! But I need him!" He let out a shuddering breath. "I need him… And I hate myself for it…"

Billy couldn't deny that he understood his son's self-loathing. After all, vampires were filthy, disgusting creatures. Anger flared up within the elderly man whenever he thought about them. How dare they ensnare his son like this, wrench him from the safety of the pack with vile temptation. He hated the way they had tantalized Jacob, tormented him until he was on the brink of insanity. They were cruel, devilish creatures, serpents in sheep's clothing. This was a loveless imprint. Billy knew that this would never end in a happily ever after. There would only be pain and suffering. Edward Cullen was a rose that had no petals, only thorns.

"You didn't choose this, Jacob. It's not your fault."

Jacob sighed. "Do you need anything else, Dad?" Billy understood that the subject was closed now.

"Would you mind refilling my glass for me?"


"Thank you," Billy murmured as the filled glass was handed back to him.

"You're welcome. Will you be alright on your own for a bit?" Jacob asked.

"I'm not completely incapable of taking care of myself just yet. I'll be fine."

"Are you sure?"


"Alright. I'm going out for a bit then. I'll be back by dinner time."

"Going to see Bella?"

"Maybe," Jacob said with a shrug.

"It's not Tuesday."

"And? Just because I see Bella for coffee every Tuesday doesn't mean I'm not allowed to drop by on any other day of the week." Although Jacob felt like he had betrayed her by imprinting on Edward, he couldn't bear the thought of severing ties with the girl he still considered to be his best friend. This had led to the ritual of meeting with Bella every Tuesday—if work permitted it—and chatting over a nice hot cup of joe about things.

"Drive safely," Billy said with a smile, knowing full well that his son wouldn't respect any of the speed limits. He never did.

"I always do," Jacob replied with a grin as he slipped on his jacket. He paused momentarily in front of the mirror by the door to fix his hair, but nothing but copious amounts of hairspray and a heavy-duty brush would have a chance of taming the shaggy mop that was Jacob's hair. It only took a few seconds before Jacob realized how futile his attempts were. He called out one last good-bye before slipping outside, locking the door swiftly behind him.

The drive to Seattle went smoothly. There had been one close call with a police man, but Jacob had managed to narrowly avoid being ticketed for speeding. Of course, this didn't deter him in the least. If anything, he drove faster. It was his way of gloating.

As for Bella, she had been completely shocked to see Jacob at her door. He hadn't bothered to call ahead, which was something that was so very Jacob and something that Bella had grown accustomed to. Although she was a little miffed—she always was at first—that her best friend hadn't bothered to warn her of his arrival, she quickly ushered him inside. Most of her days were incredibly lonely nowadays. Sure Alice dropped by a lot—unlike Jacob she actually told Bella—and there were Jacob's frequent visits too, but nothing could fill the hole that Edward's absence had left. She missed having him by her side as she went to sleep. She missed his voice, his face, his smell, his eyes, the way he smiled. She missed being able to tell him everything and anything. Oh who was she kidding? She missed everything about him! The past eight years had been the most difficult years of her life.

Although she was only twenty-seven years old, Bella felt incredibly old, ancient really. As much as she appreciated Alice's visits, seeing her—or any of the Cullens for that matter—made Bella want to cry. She was supposed to still be eighteen, frozen in an image of perfection, but she wasn't. Instead she was living the life Edward had wanted her to live in the first place: the human one. She hated it.

Bella longed for the taste of immortality. It taunted her, dangling above her head like the forbidden fruit, but she wouldn't give in just yet. She wouldn't throw away her only escape should Edward… Bella couldn't bring herself to finish that sentence. She'd tried her best to remain optimistic no matter how hopeless it seemed. One day she was going to wake up and find him sitting at her bedside, waiting for her just like before. Then he'd take her hand, kiss it, and tell her how much he loved her and how much he'd missed seeing her face. They'd get married. She'd become a vampire and they'd live happily ever after for eternity just like their storybook romance was supposed to end.

"Jacob! What did you do to your hair?!" Bella gasped as she stared at the monstrosity that sat atop Jacob's hair. It was so bad that it had pulled her out of her reverie.

"You like?" Jacob asked with a grin. "I think it makes me look pretty damn sexy. It's a I-just-battled-hoards-of-evil-monsters-and-survived look, right?"

"More like I-just-got-my-ass-whooped-by-a-family-of-rabid-squirrels," she replied, eying Jacob's scalp with obvious disapproval. She sighed and began to straighten it out with her fingers, standing up on her tiptoes to reach the top of Jacob's head. "You boys are all the same," she muttered, "Always too busy running around to stop and take care of yourselves."

Jacob pouted. "This is the thanks I get for driving all the way out here to see you?"

Bella ignored him. "Jesus, Jake! I'm going to have to get the heavy artillery out on this thing! Be right back." She disappeared into her bedroom, coming out moments later with her arms full of hair care supplies.

"Bella," Jacob whined.

"No whining. That thing on your head needs to be taken care of."

"Oh please. It's not that bad!"

"Jacob, it looks like something crawled onto your head and died there. Maybe a porcupine. Now sit."

"Yes, Mom," Jacob grumbled as he took a seat in the cushioned wooden chair Bella had pulled out from under the kitchen table.

Isabella Swan lived in a modest three room apartment. There was her bedroom, a small bathroom that had barely enough room for the toilet, sink, and shower that had been crammed into it, and a living area that was also the kitchen. The floors in the apartment were, for the most part, hardwood. The bathroom and the kitchen were the only exceptions. The former had plain white tile that Bella made sure to keep spotless and the latter had the traditional black and white checkered linoleum. Although the apartment was small it was stylish. Bella may have persuaded Esme to let her pay her own rent, but the woman would not be deterred from her mission to transform this place into a home. As much as she hated being doted on like that, Bella was glad that Esme had decorated the apartment. Thanks to her it really did feel like home.

The kitchen was simple. The beige counters were set up in an L-shape, fitting right up along the contours of the walls, which had been painted a soothing pale yellow. Their tops were made of granite and reminded Bella of Edward whenever she touched their cool surfaces. Windowed beige cabinets lined one wall, each one filled with an assortment of plates, bowls, glasses, and food. In the mornings the sunlight—if there was any—would hit the glasses just right, making them sparkle like diamonds, like Edward's skin. There was a simple wooden square table underneath the window that was on the farthest wall. Three chairs like the one Jacob was sitting on were pushed in under it. A shelf had been mounted on the wall to the table's right and it was filled to the brim with a multitude of cookbooks. Bella often promised herself that she'd cook something out of one someday, but she never really got around to doing it. Work often left her too tired to cook anything besides plain old spaghetti. There was of course an oven, a stove, and a microwave along with a dishwasher and a trashcan.

The living room was also simple. It wasn't separated from the kitchen. The only thing that set the two apart was the flooring. A pale green couch sat right in front of a television, which was currently playing a movie. Jacob had classified it as a chick-flick after a few minutes of watching the screen. There was also a glass coffee table and two armchairs that belonged to the same set as the couch. A soft white rug covered the floor in the small rectangle the sofa and the two armchairs had created. A few photos hung in dark brown frames on the wall. Most of these photos were of Edward and Bella. Bella couldn't help but feel a tinge of sadness every time she looked at them. There were a few of Jacob of course, but most of them were of Edward.

"So what's that you're watching?" Jacob asked as Bella got to work on his hair.

"Oh. Twenty-Seven Dresses."

"I was right. It is a chick-flick."

"And? It's an adorable movie. This is the second time I've seen it."

"I'm more into the movies with explosions and car chases."

"Like most men," Bella replied with a sigh. "Do you have any idea how lonely I feel whenever I have to watch a movie on my own?"

Jacob let out a groan. He couldn't believe Bella had finally guilt-tripped him enough for this. "Ugh. Fine. I'll let you drag me off to see one of your chick-flicks."

Bella gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Jacob. You're a real sweetie," she said with a smile. "I don't know what I do without you."

"Go see a movie alone?" Jacob offered with a wry smile. This got a laugh out of Bella.

"Yeah. You're right. Seriously though, you're an awesome best friend. I'm really glad you've been around to support me while Edward's been… you know…"

"Yeah…" Jacob felt his heart clench rather painfully as Bella mentioned him. He had no right to destroy her happiness once Edward got better. The werewolf also sincerely doubted that she would be okay with sharing the vampire. Bella's too damn obsessed with him for that, Jacob thought bitterly, anger flaring within him.

That was when Jacob froze. He couldn't believe himself! Thinking about his best friend like that over a leech! He shuddered with disgust. This imprinting thing ran too deep. He had to find a cure. There had to be one. There was no way he was going to spend his entire life panting after a blood-sucker, dreaming of him whenever he closed his eyes, and whimpering pitifully at night as he touched himself while imagining it was the parasite's hand loving him instead of his own shameful one. Jacob felt his cheeks grow warm as the memory flitted through his brain.

"Jake? You okay?" Bella asked, worried by her friend's sudden silence.

"Huh? Oh yeah. I'm fine," Jacob said lamely.


"It's nothing, Bella. Don't worry about it. I'm just worried about work. I mean, we launch the new model next week and I'm a little nervous about it."

"Nervous? Why? Your cars are a hit! I mean the mileage those things get? You've blown all those other companies out of the water, Jake!"

Jacob couldn't help but smile. "Oh really? Then why don't you have a car made by yours truly?" he asked with false innocence.

"You know I'm all about public transportation. My paycheck isn't big enough for one of your luxury cars. So unless I'm getting one on the house…?"

"Dream on!"

"But I'm your best friend!"

"I thought you hated expensive gifts?"

"Well, gifts in general, but that's not the point."

"Bella, if I knew you'd say yes I would've offered."

Bella grinned. "Sorry, Jake. I've already bonded with the bus. We've become real close over the past years."

"Right. Of course."

"But Alice wouldn't mind getting one of those new Lupines. In fact, she's been drooling over those promotional photos you released earlier this month."

"Oh really now?"

"The only complaint she has is that they don't come in yellow."

"She's certainly welcome to place a custom order. I'll happily take care of that money burning in her pockets," Jacob said with a wolfish grin.

Bella laughed and punched him playfully in the arm. "Don't become a greedy old miser," she warned.

"I won't! I was just joking!" Jacob exclaimed, raising his hands in mock defense. "Don't hurt me, oh mighty Bella!"

Bella let out a grunt as she yanked the brush through a particularly large knot, Jacob yelping as she did so. "If I'm mighty then that hair of yours is all-powerful, Jake," she said, shaking her head in disbelief. "I give up!"

"Praise the Lord! Isabella Swan finally sees reason!"

"Whatever, wolf-boy. Want to finish this movie with me?"

"Hey! That's wolf-man to you, Missy!"

Bella rolled her eyes and sat down on the couch. Jacob pouted.

"I'm twenty-four! I demand some respect," he grumbled.

"Too bad. Now sit down on the couch with me. It's freezing in here," Bella said as she patted the adjacent cushion.

"Really? I didn't notice," Jacob replied, grinning once again. He sat down and put his arm around Bella, who ended up snuggling closer, attracted by the heat that radiated off Jacob's dark skin.

"I told them that something was wrong with that damn heater…"

"Want me to take a look at it?"

"Do you mind? I know you're on vacation and all right now, so it's probably a lot to ask."

"Vacation? Nah. I'm just looking after my dad. The old man forgot to close the windows before he went to sleep in a sudden fit of senility."

"Is he okay?" Bella asked. The last thing she needed was someone else landing in the hospital.

"Yeah. He's fine. It's just bronchitis. The doctor's say he'll be a-okay in no time."

"Isn't bronchitis extremely contagious?"

"Well, yeah, but you forget who you're dealing with here, Bella." Had Jacob's grin grown larger he'd have split his face in half. "I'm a werewolf remember?"

"That doesn't mean you're indestructible, Jake. No one is," she replied, frowning. Her gaze fell to her toes as sadness weighed down upon her shoulders. Edward's delicate condition really wasn't good for her health.

Jacob gave her a reassuring squeeze. "I can't get sick. I'm not really sure why. I think my body temperature just fucks with diseases or something." He shrugged. "But I'm not complaining. Being sick sucks."

"Yeah. It does."

The two friends then lapsed into silence, merely watching the movie play out on the screen, both trying to drift away from reality for an hour or two. The matter of the broken heater was completely forgotten.

Jacob left after the movie ended and Bella was sad to see him go. She really did enjoy his company, but Billy needed to be cared for. Plus it was already late. Jacob had promised he'd be home by dinnertime and the darkness was already creeping in. Bella knew she'd see him again on Tuesday, which was only a four days away. She always did. It was their little established ritual. Jacob wouldn't dare ditch it unless he had a good reason.

"You'll be there on Tuesday, right?" Bella asked.

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"Just making sure."

"Bella, it'll take a lot to stop me from seeing my best friend for coffee, okay?" He kissed her cheek. "I love you, Bella. Don't ever doubt that for a second."

Bella couldn't help but smile back at him. Jacob really knew how to make her feel special and loved. Their love was a special kind. It was the love that grew between the best of friends. It had taken the two of them a while to figure out what they felt for one another, but it was clear that they were never meant to be romantically involved. That sort of love was something only she and Edward shared.

"Do you understand?"

"Yes. I do and I love you too, Jacob. Thank you for being here for me. You don't know how glad I was that I had so many friends to turn to." She then pulled him into a tight hug. "Thank you so much."

"I only wanted to see you happy again."

"And I am happy because of you. See?"

"Ah! That's the smile I've been wanting to see."

Bella giggled, cheeks flushing pink. "You're embarrassing me," she murmured.

"Damn. My bad. I didn't mean to. How about I make it up to you and treat you to that white mocha you love so much. It's all you ever seem to want when we go to Starbucks."

"Because it's amazing."

"I'll buy you a big one then."

"Are you trying to get me fat, Jacob Black?" Bella asked with mock anger.

Grinning, the werewolf replied, "Of course not, Miss Swan. Whatever gave you that idea?"

"Hmm. I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that you're adamant about serving me an obscene amount of calories?"

"Calories?" Jacob asked, expression one of shock. "What is this nonsense? Heresy I say!"

The two of them looked at each other for a moment before they burst out laughing.

"Wow," Bella breathed once she regained control over herself. "Your expression was just priceless."

"I'm glad you found it hilarious. Now I really need to get going. Billy's probably getting hungry as we speak."

"Alright. I'll see you Tuesday then."

"Definitely. See ya, Bella."

"Bye, Jake."

Then just as he was about to turn around and walk out the door, Jacob stopped. His brow furrowed as he debated with himself. Should he tell her? He didn't know. He felt terrible keeping secrets from Bella, but at the same time he didn't want to lose her friendship. Was that selfish of him?

"Hey, Bella?"


"About Edward…"

"What about him?" Bella asked, eyeing Jacob warily. She didn't quite like the way Jacob was saying all this. It put her on edge.

"Never mind. It's not important. See you Tuesday!"

Jacob dashed out of the house before Bella could begin to question him further. He couldn't tell her now! She was already suffering enough as it was. There was no reason for him to add to her pain. Plus Edward would never even consider giving up Bella for him, so it was pointless to agonize over this issue. Jacob wasn't going to let himself be governed by 'fate'. Bella would remain in the dark forever. He'd make sure of it.

The drive back to La Push took a little longer than Jacob had anticipated due to a car crash that had wound up blocking up a big chunk of the highway. It also didn't help that everyone who drove by moved as slowly as possible in order to survey the scene. Jacob couldn't help but think that humans were far too curious for their own good. By the time he'd parked his car into the driveway it was nearly nine o'clock at night. So much for being home for dinner.

"Dad?" Jacob called out as he stepped into the sweltering house—someone must've kicked the thermostat up a few notches while he was out. He frowned when he saw that Billy was no longer in his armchair. Where could his dad have gone? It wasn't like he could get up and just walk away. "Dad?" he said again, louder this time.

"Shhh. He's sleeping."

Jacob whipped his head round at a breakneck speed, startled by the sudden voice behind him. However, he immediately relaxed when he saw who it was.

"Jesus Christ, Seth. You nearly gave me a fucking heart attack!" Jacob said.

"Sorry, man. I didn't mean to." Seth's huge grin made his apology seem a lot less sincere than it really was.

"It's okay. Don't worry about it. I just wasn't expecting you to be here." A pause. "What are you doing here anyways?"

"Oh. My mom made Billy a get well cake… thing… I don't even know what it is since it kind of got… squished before I could peek under the aluminum foil."

"Squished by what?"

Seth's eyes darted anxiously from side to side. "Promise you won't tell him?"

"It can't be that bad…"

"… I sat on it."

"How the fuck did you manage that, Seth?" Jacob asked in disbelief. How could Seth have not noticed the cake before sitting down?

"I put it down on my seat for a second while I went to lock the front door since I forgot to lock it on my way out," Seth began, cheeks flushed. "And I kind of forgot about it on my way back to my car."

"You forgot?"

"Um. Yeah. Pretty much. Can we please move onto something else now?"

"How's my dad doing?" Jacob asked, changing the topic much to Seth's relief.

"Oh. He's fine. I decided to hang around after dropping the cake off. Your dad just looked so lonely sitting there in his chair. Plus I'd feel insanely guilty if something happened to him if I left."

Jacob couldn't help but smile. Seth was still as kind as always. "You're a good guy, Seth. Thanks a lot. I owe you."

"So does this mean I get one of those awesome Lupine F5s?"

"How about a miniature model instead? They're supposed to appear in the next Hot Wheels playset."

"Damn it, Jacob! You just crushed my dreams! How am I going to impress the ladies with my minivan? It screams "Soccer Mom"! A man like me shouldn't be driving something like that!"

"Hey. Think of it this way, that car makes you look like a stable, responsible guy. Girls who want to settle down and get married look for a guy like that. You're the nest-provider or something."

"Where the heck did you hear that crap?"

"Radio. Some relationship guru was talking about what women look for in men."

"What else did he say?"

"Well, let me put it this way, Seth. You may be the nest-provider, but you sure won't be the sperm-provider."

"Wait. What?" Seth stared at Jacob as if the man had just turned purple and grown sparkly, pink fairy wings.

"According to this guy women go after the mysterious bad boys for their genes and they go after nice guys like you for your money."

"But I'm broke!" Seth exclaimed. "My paycheck's so small you need a microscope to see it!"

"Ooh. Too bad for you then. You'll never get laid." Upon seeing Seth's heartbroken expression, Jacob immediately felt guilty for saying that. It was hard to not feel guilty about something if Seth's feelings were involved. The poor boy was so sensitive. "I'm joking! You'll find someone eventually. You just need to be patient."




"Can you promise me something?"

"Um. Sure, Jacob. What is it?"

"Promise me you'll make your own choices in life. Don't let yourself be governed by anything or anyone but yourself." Jacob was nearly pleading as he said this. Seth didn't deserve to end up like him, a slave to tradition. "Don't believe that you never have a choice. You always do." He felt his heart twist painfully as he said this. Why did he feel like such a liar? Maybe because he'd already fallen prey to imprinting. He'd let it consume him. Anger flared up within him. Why hadn't he fought back?

"Jake? Are you okay?" Seth asked, growing worried as Jacob's expression continued to darken.

"I'm just angry with myself," the man muttered. "Do you want to sit down?"

"Um. Sure. If that makes you more comfortable."


Jacob settled down into his father's armchair while Seth hesitantly took a seat on the couch.

"Jake, you don't look so good…"

"I'm just tired. I don't get a lot of sleep."

"You're distressed…"

"I'm tired."

"Yeah, but…"

"I said I was tired," Jacob growled. He didn't like the way Seth was pushing this issue.

"S-sorry!" Seth squeaked, startled by the man's sudden aggression. Shrinking under the other's menacing glare, Seth offered a quick suggestion. "Maybe you'd like to, um, take a walk? The fresh air might, uh, make you perk up? I'll stay here and keep an eye on Billy for you."

"I think I'll do that. It's been a long time since I've stretched my legs. I think I miss it more than I let myself believe." Jacob grinned, foul mood suddenly gone. "You understand what I mean don't you, Seth?"

"Yeah! Of course! Just don't stay out too late. I need to get home at some point. I've got work in the morning, y'know."

"I would never abuse your kindness."

"I hope so…"

"I'll be back in thirty minutes. I promise."

"You owe me a large soda if you're out a second longer!"

Jacob laughed as he slipped outside, feeling the cold winter air wash over him. Although it was pitch black, he slipped around to the back of the house where he let his clothes slip off his body and onto the ground. They hadn't been expensive in the least, but it would be downright wasteful to provoke their swift destruction. Jacob then let the wolf that had been yowling inside him all day bubble to the surface. His skin rippled as he morphed from man to wolf, feeling the delicious surge of adrenaline that came with this amazing freedom race through his veins.

Tuning out the thoughts of the wolves that were patrolling the border, Jacob raced off blindly into the night. He needed to escape this madness.


AN: Wow. Okay. That was long. Maybe a little too long. I'm not sure. God I want a good editor to tell me about these things. I used to have my dad look over my stuff, but I hate having to wait till he gets home. Whatevs. Constructive criticism then, please? I really want to improve my writing skills since I've got a plot for a novel brewing in my head. It's sci-fi/fantasy. I'm still debating the romance bit. As it stands now I'm thinking that it'll be too much and out of place.

Also, here are some of the other stories I'm working on:

- A Mike/Edward story. It's currently titled 'Living the Dead Life', but that's subject to change. I've currently got four chapters of it written and I'm absolutely in love with it. I work on it when I'm not working on Relapse. I'll start posting it when I've got half of the chapters done. Mike's point of view is fucking amazing.

- A Jasper/Jacob story. I've only just got the outline done, but I like what I have so far. It's AU and called 'Lock and Key'. It's set in Albania and deals with the issue of 'blood feuds'. The Herald Tribune recently ran an excellent article about them. I actually cut the article out and saved it.

- Then there's this other story I've got that puts a big twist on the whole 'Bella gets pregnant' scenario. No, it's not Edward's. God no. No Mike/Jacob didn't rape her either. It doesn't contain any romance as it stands now. It's more of a coming of age story that also deals with the hardship and confusion that comes with becoming a parent. It also deals with the issue of father that raised you vs. biological father. Yes. It contains an OC, but I like to think that it's a well thought-out one. I'll let you guys be the judge. I've got a very rough outline for this.

Hey. Am I the only one who thinks that Seth and Edward would make an adorable couple? Just wondering.