Author's Note: Endless thanks to my talented betas: Marcy, Midnight Walking, and last but not least my lovely twin Butterscotch. Enormous gratitude and praise to the genius that is Stephenie Meyer for creating Jacob Black and the amazing Twilight Universe and then sharing with us all the delicious extras, namely: Being Jacob Black which is the only reason this little story exists today as she gives us a wonderful description of what happened to Jake the day he became a wolf! (The extra can be found on her site). And thank you to the gracious Be My Escape who so humbly suggested that both of us could write about this particular moment in Jacob's life.
Disclaimer: All the characters appearing in this work are copyright Stephenie Meyer and are not used with permission. No infringement of these copyrights is intended, and all original characters are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No financial gain is being made by this work.
Explode Wolf Boy
I leaned across the front seat of the Rabbit and grabbed the round knob of the manual window crank. It had always been stiff, but surprisingly it now moved easily under my hand. I pushed the sleeve of my t-shirt up to my rounded shoulder and examined the bluish veins that snaked from my wrist to the crook of my elbow and disappeared into the muscle of my bicep. Had they always been so big and bulging? I wondered. I flexed my arm a couple of times, examining the large muscle of my bicep. As I looked back up at the road, I caught my reflection in the rearview mirror and flicked a few hairs to the side of my face. Maybe Bella was right — maybe I was a good-looking guy.
I turned up the radio and tapped my fingers on the steering wheel to the rhythm, whistling and singing along with the chorus of the song. I felt strong and confident; nothing could ruin my good mood tonight. Bella was, in a way, giving me a chance. All I needed to do was be patient with her, and eventually I would have everything I longed for.
I drove through the quiet streets, speeding up a little as I felt my stomach somersault unexpectedly. When I noticed that I was the only car on the road, I held my head out the window, letting the wind blow in my face and cool some of the heat I had started to feel. When we had pulled up to Bella's house, she had placed her soft hand against my forehead. Her exaggerated concern had warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face. Now I wasn't so sure if it was an exaggeration, because I felt warmer then usual and a strange unsettling in the pit of my stomach. I hoped I hadn't caught anything from Mike the dufus.
Despite the disconcerting symptoms, at that very moment I was on top of the world. Things were finally beginning to look up, and I was full of hope. Maybe the airy-fairy guidance counselor was right after all — persistence and determination does pay off. Maybe good guys don't always finish last, I thought as I pulled up to my house.
I walked to the front door with a swagger in my step, recalling the highlights of the evening.
I could still feel Bella's delicate hand in mine; my fingers still tingled from where our skin had met. Her deep brown eyes had captured my complete attention, and when she'd told me that I shouldn't waste my time on her, they were equally sincere and sad. I understood the words she couldn't say – she missed him and didn't know if she would ever stop missing him. But I couldn't imagine anything I'd rather do then be by her side and love her with every part of my being, whether she could return that love or not. I would wait — I would wait for her as long as it took — and when I'd said as much, I could swear that her chocolate eyes had reflected back the hope in my own. I could have sat in that theater holding her hand forever — there was no reason to move since she was everything I ever needed — but then the moment was shattered when powder puff came out of the bathroom.
"Mike, that loser," I mumbled under my breath, and scowled at the thought of him trying to hold Bella's hand in the theater. Besides, the arm on the armrest palm up was my move. How dare he think he had a chance with Bella? I wouldn't let him move in on my Bella, not when I was so close, I thought viciously. A bolt of anger suddenly shot through me, causing my skin to prickle with a thousand hot needles. I staggered slightly at the sudden impact of my irrational fury and grabbed the withered wood doorframe for support. The cracking paint flaked off into my large hands as the wood squeaked from where I had squeezed it. I looked up at where my hands had puckered the door jam and tried to understand what had come over me. I turned to the iron railing and grasped it with both hands, while I leaned into it and let it support my weight. I bowed my head and took deep, cleansing breaths. "Come on Jake, get a grip," I cautioned myself. "She told you she doesn't like him." I nosily blew out the angry breath I was holding and stood a little straighter. The railing whined in protest as if I had enough strength to push it away from its original position.
"Is this entire house falling apart?" I grumbled. I examined the tendons and veins in my pulsating arms, and while admiring my developing muscles I forgot my petty concerns about upchuck Mike. Just as quickly as the rage had come, it dissipated, and while still flabbergasted at the way the doorframe had given way under my hands, I shook my head in disbelief and opened the door. What was it they said? "Love gives you superhuman strength," I mused out loud — no, somehow that didn't seem quite right.
I headed straight for the kitchen, in desperate need for some cool relief. I couldn't tell if my skin was burning from Bella's touch or if the heat was radiating from within my own body. In either case, I was hot. My body felt disjointed, as if it was on autopilot. Although I couldn't put my finger on it, but there was something about the way I felt that was not quite right. I'd never been in love before so I just assumed that the strange feelings within my body were the swelling sensations of love. My earlier anger long forgotten, I headed for the fridge, swung open the flimsy door, and ducked my head to look for the orange juice.
I turned to call for Dad but found him only a meter away in his chair, eyeing me cautiously.
"Geez, Dad…do you have to sneak up on me like that?" I bellowed, the hot rage shooting through my body again.
"How could I sneak up on you? I squeak all the way in this old chair!" Dad looked at me quizzically, moving closer yet.
"Could you not stand – I mean sit – so close to me? You're suffocating me!" I felt the anger boil my blood, igniting it in the same intense heat I had felt earlier. The room closed in on me — hot and stifling — as my rage intensified.
"Jacob, you don't look so good. Your face is flushed." Dad continued to study me with his hawk-eyed look, and I wanted nothing more than to escape his intense scrutiny. But before my legs could help me flee, my mouth took over. "I'm perfectly fine. Actually, I felt great, until you decided to observe me like a science experiment! Do you wanna hold my hand while I go to the bathroom, too?" I roared.
My tongue and mind were not in sync; I wondered what had gotten into me. But before I could slow the runaway train that was my mind, Dad said, "Jacob, you must listen to me. You have to understand what I've been try–"
And that was all it took. The concerned look on his face, combined with the repeated threat of those old legends I refused to believe, pushed me over the edge.
My eyesight blurred while a prickling burning seared the skin over my arms and down my legs from the inside out. I tightly closed my eyes with the hope that when I opened them, Dad would not be breathing down my neck and the room wouldn't be a big fuzzy blur. I opened them cautiously and blinked rapidly — my surroundings resembled a colorful blob of melted wax crayons from a child's art project, the shapes all fused together in an undistinguishable mass. Completely disoriented, I staggered backwards, grabbing the open refrigerator door for support. I reached for the first available container, ripped open the carton of juice, tilted it up, and spilled the cold sticky liquid down the front of my shirt, over the burning flesh of my ever-expanding chest, and onto the floor at my feet.
I could vaguely hear Dad trying to tell me to calm down, his voice the faintest whisper against the ferocious bass thumping of my heart. The thud of each chamber of my heart was distinct and clear in my ears; the sound drowned out all other noise and coherent thoughts. I turned to the small cabinet by the sink where we kept medications — moving mainly by touch — and swiped madly at the bottles, not knowing what I was looking for but desperate for anything to relieve the pressure in my head.
There was a sudden relief from the searing needles that had spread throughout my body, only to be replaced by a mounting internal pressure that made my skin itch for release. I wildly scraped at my arms and struggled with the multiple sensations coursing through me. I spotted a small bottle of medicine on the ground and grabbed it with my thick fingers. I brought the bottle to my face, squinting to make sure I had Tylenol and not Dad's pills. My fingers, now numb, didn't seem to possess the dexterity to remove the cap, and I fumbled with the tiny bottle.
"Dad! Help me!" I shouted, my voice hoarse as I slammed the tiny bottle on the edge of the counter repeatedly, hoping to get to the white pills inside.
I growled in desperation, finally looking up to see Dad wheeling his way towards me, one hand held up in protest. I could see his lips moving, but I couldn't understand the words he spoke, which only fueled the irrational fury. I wasn't sure why I was so angry, but I had no control over it — it was a beast of its own.
"My head! It hurts so much! Dad!!" The childproof bottle fell to the ground unopened as I grasped my head between my hands, doing everything in my power to keep myself in one piece.
The pressure continued to build in my head, and I screamed in agony as I dropped to my knee and grasped the counter in a death grip. The counter yielded, and a large chunk of wood and laminate came away in my hands. I struggled to pull myself up to my feet while clinging to the counter like a life raft and looking desperately for an escape.
"Dad! Earthquake! Arrggg!" I tried to warn my dad between the surges of blinding pain. "Dad — get — out!" My body shook violently as if I was the epicenter of the earthquake. And, oddly enough, I still had the presence of mind to marvel at the insanity of the moment — my body seemed as if it was going through a seismic shift of its own. This couldn't just be puberty, I thought.
My teeth clattered together. I clamped my mouth shut, trying to keep myself together, as if it was my will alone that kept this nightmare from spinning out of control and dropping me in some Evil Wonderland. I looked again for Dad through my fuzzy sight and found his concerned eyes. He appeared to be calmly explaining why my body felt as though it was breaking apart, which only exaggerated the shaking further. Dad didn't even move to shield himself from falling debris, like we were taught to do in the case of an earthquake. He knew the drill, so why was he still here talking to me like we weren't on the brink of a major disaster? Then it finally occurred to me — I was the earthquake.
"Help me!" I whimpered, now thoroughly terrified that I was going to die in a million little pieces. How could this possibly end well? I felt my skin painfully beginning to stretch over my bones, and a very odd tickling sensation was spreading over every square inch of my skin, as if the tiny needles that seared me before were now bursting through. In these moments of terror, my mind raced over every Discovery Channel documentary I had ever seen, but I couldn't recall anyone ever living to talk about his or her experience of exploding. I was going to blow — not like Mike, but more like Mt. St. Helens— and all I could think about was never getting the chance to see Bella again. My determination not to die was beginning to wane; I was losing the battle against my trembling body, as it no longer obeyed my will. Suddenly, every bone in my body began to vibrate.
I tried to scream at my father to make it stop, wondering why he was sitting there so calmly while I writhed in agony. My mind struggled for a foothold on the reality that was slowly slipping away. But my body, oblivious to the laws of logic and reason, continued to convulse as the pressure inside of me built to a sharp excruciating pain. With a final human cry of agony, my moment of death seemed to last an eternity.
Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, my spine arched back, twisted, and cracked, eliciting a string of unintelligible profanities and cries of unspeakable suffering from my parched lips. One after the other, every joint in my body popped in painful succession, a gruesome sort of domino effect. The muscle and tissue tore from bone, and then the muscles themselves unraveled like a coiled rope. And like a jack in the box— poof — a rough, bristling covering replaced my once smooth brown skin. Amidst the pain I could feel the air around me with a thousand individual fingers, every one of them being aroused simply by the air that moved about me. Every move of my body created a sensation that felt new, as if I had never before experienced touch against this skin.
The delicate bones in my face popped and crunched, but the scream of pain remained trapped in my throat — my voice was strangled by the musical snapping of my broken body. My head felt strange on top of my shoulders; the center of balance off somehow. The pain was only rivaled by the pleasure of the release. As strange as I felt, at least I was no longer hurting, and I was still miraculously alive and in one piece. I turned my oddly shaped head in the direction where Dad sat, his mouth agape in what I assumed was admiration. He seemed impressed and worried at the same time, and I struggled to put the pieces together. I pointed at him, ready to accuse him of somehow being involved in what had happened — not to mention standing by idly while I had almost died. But I stopped instantly when I saw a large and furry-clawed paw pointing at my father.
The horrific realization smashed into me like a ton of bricks: reality had slipped through my fingers, Kansas was long gone, and that paw was mine.