A/N: Thanks again to my fantastic beta, silly bella, for her outstanding knowledge of the English language and the Twilight universe. :) This was the first piece of fanfiction I ever sent to her, and she was nice enough to help me (even though I was a stranger to her!). I hope you enjoy this story, and any constructive criticism would be great! Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all that entails. I am merely trying to borrow Jacob for awhile (really, I would like to borrow him more often).
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all that entails. I am merely trying to borrow Jacob for awhile (really, I would like to borrow him more often).
"Jacob!" Billy called from inside the house. "Come inside so we can talk."
I looked up from my Volkswagen Rabbit, frustrated by the interruption. Billy had been so moody lately; nearly every recent talk had turned into an argument. I knew I'd rather work on my car than talk to Billy, but I also knew I was at a standstill. I couldn't finish my car until I had a master cylinder. And considering my lack of funds, who knew when I'd be able to buy one.
Sighing with resignation, I left the shed and crossed the yard to the house. Billy was waiting for me inside the kitchen. I took one look at his determined face and immediately felt uneasy.
"Dad, what's up?" I asked warily.
"We need to talk," he repeated. "About Bella."
"Bella?" I struggled to remain impassive. Saying her name was usually enough to put an idiotic grin on my face.
"I want you to go talk to her."
I hadn't expected that. "I've wanted to go see her ever since she got back from Phoenix, but you wouldn't allow me to. Why the change of heart?"
"Because I finally thought of a safe place where you can talk to her."
"Safe? Safe from what?"
"You know what."
As the realization sunk in, I closed my eyes and groaned. Superstitious old man. "Not this again."
"One day you'll understand why I'm doing this, and then you'll agree that I'm right."
My eyes snapped open. He was glaring at me, and I glared back. "What the heck are you talking about?"
Billy ignored my question, as usual. He was the king of cryptic comments. "I want you to go talk to Bella at her prom. She needs to be warned."
I shook my head, mortified. "Bella's been through enough lately without having to deal with this, too. I'm not going to ruin her prom by worrying her with your crazy warnings."
Billy's knuckles were white from gripping the arms of his wheelchair. "I'll make it worth your while," he said through clenched teeth.
"What do you mean?" I asked, narrowing my eyes suspiciously.
"I'll give you twenty bucks to buy the prom ticket. And—I'll pay for the Rabbit's master cylinder."
My mouth dropped open in shock. "You're joking," I finally managed to spit out.
"I'm dead serious."
I stared at him incredulously, debating the issue in my mind. I'd finally be able to finish the car! Yet it wasn't worth hurting Bella. Nothing in the world was worth that. But would it really hurt her? She was used to Billy's strange behavior, so maybe she would overlook this as well. Maybe I could keep her from getting mad.
Plus I'd get to go to her prom. I briefly entertained a mental image of Bella, gorgeous in a long dress, her arms around me as we danced…
And that was the deciding factor. Not the parts for the car, but a chance to dance with Bella. "Fine," I muttered. "I'll do it."
Billy tried unsuccessfully to hide his smile. "Okay, I'm going to tell you exactly what to tell Bella. And you have to deliver the entire message, or else the deal is off."
Uh-oh. I didn't like the sound of this.
Billy took my silence to mean acquiescence, so he continued. "First of all, she needs to break up with Edward Cullen."
"Wow, you don't beat around the bush, do you?"
"Tell her I said please."
I snorted. "I'm sure that will make all the difference, Dad."
"This isn't a joke, Jacob. After what happened in Phoenix, you should be taking Bella's safety a lot more seriously."
"She fell down the stairs—"
"Like hell, she did!"
I gaped at Billy, shocked by his outburst. His reactions to anything involving the Cullens never ceased to amaze me. I watched as he struggled to regain his composure.
"Then for the second part of the message, tell her—we'll be watching."
"But what does that even mean?"
"She'll know what it means."
The old man is losing his mind, I thought, shaking my head in disgust "Dad, this is ridiculous. Who Bella chooses as a boyfriend is none of your business."
"Do we have a deal or not?"
I hesitated a moment before mumbling, "Deal."
"All right, you better get ready then."
"The prom starts in a couple hours."
I rolled my eyes, ready to spit out a sarcastic comment, but Billy was already maneuvering his wheelchair out of the room. Part of me was annoyed by the short notice, but the other part was excited. In a couple hours I'd get to see Bella.
I stood in the gymnasium of Forks High School, wearing the nicest clothes my closet had to offer. I felt a little embarrassed next to the guys in tuxedos, but I was too busy thinking about Bella to really care about anything else. While waiting for her to arrive, I passed the time with pleasant daydreams. Once Billy bought me the master cylinder, I'd be able to finish my car. In a few months I'd be sixteen, and then I could drive to Forks to see Bella whenever I wanted. Not even Billy would be able to stop me.
Still no sign of Bella, I thought, scanning the gym for the hundredth time. What if she wasn't coming? How come the rest of the Cullens were already here? It was impossible not to notice them as they waltzed in the middle of the dance floor; they didn't exactly blend in. The two girls were by far the prettiest girls in the school.
And then I saw Bella enter the gym. Every girl I'd ever seen paled in comparison to her. I'd always thought she was beautiful, but tonight she was—indescribable. Her hair, her face, her dress…everything about her made my heart beat faster.
Bella had me so enraptured that I didn't even notice Edward at first. But now I realized he had a tight hold on her, helping her to hobble along in her cast.
I was surprised by the rush of emotions I felt upon seeing that cast. Hearing she'd been hurt in Phoenix was one thing; seeing the result was entirely different. Bella didn't deserve to be in pain. I wanted to protect her so she'd never be hurt again. I wanted to be the one helping her, holding her tight and never letting go.
Edward led Bella out to the middle of the dance floor. If I was being honest with myself, I knew that I detested Edward Cullen. It wasn't just that I was jealous of him, although that was certainly part of it. Everything about him hinted at something—unusual. Abnormal, even. How could a teenage boy be so smooth, so charming? He certainly knew all the right things to do and say to Bella. The guy was even a great dancer. It just wasn't fair. I felt nothing but awkward most of the time.
What if Billy was right? What if there was something different about the Cullens? I quickly dismissed the idea. I was simply feeling the side effects from constantly listening to Billy's superstitions.
I was disgusted by my thoughts and even more disgusted by what I was supposed to tell Bella. I need to get this chat over with. I crossed the floor, keeping my eyes on Bella, but I couldn't ignore the angry glare on Cullen's face. I also noticed that my recent growth spurt had made me as tall as him. My brief feeling of smugness disappeared when I noticed the horrid stench that grew stronger as I approached them. I had smelled Bella's perfume twice before, so I wasn't surprised this time. But the expectation of it didn't lessen my revulsion. How could such a scent be marketed, let alone purchased? The perfume was too sweet, too floral. It was like walking into a closed room full of dying roses; I felt suffocated. To add insult to injury, Cullen seemed to be covered with Bella's perfume. I could easily imagine how this had occurred, and my insides writhed in jealousy. It took all my strength of composure to remain civil towards him, and I stifled a sigh of relief when he let go of Bella and walked away.
I chose to ignore Bella's nasty perfume. My mind was too preoccupied with the shameful message I had to deliver to her. The whole thing felt very uncomfortable and embarrassing. I almost changed my mind about telling her, but she coaxed it out of me. At first she seemed mad, but the second part of the message actually made her laugh. I was so relieved, I couldn't stop grinning. I was finally able to relax and enjoy my dance with Bella. We were hardly moving because of her cast, but I didn't mind. Her small fingers were tickling my neck and giving me pleasant goosebumps. I was especially aware of my hands on her dress and how soft and slender her waist was. It was wonderful to be so close to her, to have a reason to touch her. No doubt about it—I was in heaven.
When the song ended, Cullen appeared out of nowhere, startling me. How did he do that? So much for another dance with Bella. I told her goodbye and apologized again for Billy's paranoia. Then I walked away, trying not to show how sad I really was.
Before I left the gym, I saw Edward and Bella dance their way outside. My jealousy slowly started to fade. As much as I wanted to be Bella's boyfriend, more than anything I just wanted her to be happy. The way she looked at Cullen, it was obvious he made her happy. And I was okay with that, because Bella and I were kindred spirits. Deep down I knew I was probably in love with her, too. But she was in love with Cullen. As long as he was around, Bella would never see me as anything more than a friend. And he'd be around. Surely Cullen wasn't stupid enough to ever leave someone as wonderful as Bella Swan.