A/N: Yes. That's right. I have finally, FINALLY decided to update!
Alright, I am SO sorry it has taken me so long to update. The truth is that I have been kind of slacking off at your expense. I mean, I've been studying and all, too, but I've still had a lot of free time.
Maybe all this math is cutting off my creativity circulation or whatever.
But I hadn't been completely useless. I had about half of this chapter all written out on my old computer (I still hadn't started using my laptop to write) but that piece of junk is so useless it wouldn't let me upload it OR transfer it to my laptop.
So, I just had to start afresh. On my laptop. Which would be okay, I guess, if it didn't mean that I would ALSO lose everything that I had written for later (including parts of the very last chapter). So that part I DID mind. Very much.
But anyway, I am REALLY sorry to say that updates might STILL be a little irregular, since I still have two papers to go (can you believe that I have to take an exam on my birthday? How unfair is that?) and then I'm going to be vacationing in Goa. Soooo... yeah. But I'm taking my laptop with me, so who knows? I might even get some writing done.
And to EVERYONE who reviewed, I cannot thank you enough! You guys make me feel so loved! Even if I don't reply to your review personally, please know that I really, REALLY appreciate you bothering.
under-a-vampire's-spell –yes, I worry about him too. And about the abrupt thing, I totally know what you mean! I once read something where Charlie dies, and at his funeral Bella keeps thinking of how Edward promised they'd have sex later. I mean REALLY!
1girl2 –well, thank you! I never saw myself as particularly funny, but I'm glad you think so.
TwilightLover –my Jacob is entirely based on the Jacob from the books, so that makes sense. He's one person who is SO misunderstood in this fandom that it is actually quite ridiculous. I'm glad I made you like him... I've gotten quite good at being all mother-hen about him... lol.
reallyinnocent2007 –aww, I'm so relieved you like Summer. I worry about people not accepting her. And I bet your story's great. Send me a link when you post it.
emm –um, did you not notice how she kissed him? And I'm glad you found it funny. I had a blast writing it... I was giggling to myself the entire time!
Shadowed Reflection –I'm sorry if you found it offensive. It's just that swearing has never been a big deal for me so I almost don't notice it. Besides, my rating is okay, isn't it? I WILL try to cut back, though. But sometimes the story just demands it. But thank you for taking the time out to tell me that. It's appreciated!
J Plash –I must have gone over that entire part at least a dozen times while writing, trying to make sure that Summer's reaction was believable. But while all that happens, you can't hear what she's thinking. I went into a little detail with that in this chapter. Tell me if it's alright now!
Tara's Folly –You'll get your dose of Edward in this chapter, no worries! And get writing! I want to read the end of Bon Voyage!!
Inudoggieearlover –I hate people who do that too!! I promise I'm not one of those people! I fully intend to finish this story... I love it! I'm just a wee bit busy with real life at the moment, lol. Be a bit patient with me, please?
Irish Froggy –he's afraid that if he does, she'll break up with him and go running back to Edward, which, as far as Jacob is concerned, is the same as suicide. And even if he's crazy about Summer, he consciously chose to love Bella. She will always mean a lot to him, no matter what. So her safety is still his top priority.
Chinmayee –I think you already said that before in another chapter... lol. I'm from Delhi. And come on! It doesn't have to be one or the other. You can like Edward and Jacob without feeling guilty. I know I do. Have an open mind and LIKE JACOB BLACK!!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I would, however, like to dedicate this chapter to my friend Surbhi who has FINALLY finished Eclipse. Took you long enough, woman! I'm so proud!! (and she finally admitted that Edward is better than Jesse de Silva... that must have been so hard for her... sobs)
Okay, then. On with the chappie (at LAST!!)
Conversation and Hangovers
"Bell, are you even listening to me?"
My head snapped up suddenly. Charlie was scowling at me in annoyance.
Of course I hadn't been listening. I had been wondering if Edward would notice that I had purposely donned the light blue t shirt of just the colour he always loved to see on me. But I wasn't telling Charlie that.
"Of course I am," I lied. "What happened then?"
He wasn't impressed. "Never mind that. What's got you so nervous?"
"Nothing," I said quickly.
His eyes narrowed suspiciously, but he changed the subject. That was the good thing about Charlie. He was never nosy. "So... how are things with Jacob?"
"They're fine," I said absently. "Why?"
He ignored the question. "So you two didn't, uh... fight, or anything?"
Now it was my turn to be suspicious. I mentally took back the comment about him not being nosy. "What's going on, dad?"
I sharpened my voice. "Dad?"
"I was at the hospital yesterday," he said finally. "To look at some records for this accident."
I waited for him to explain, but he didn't. "And?" I prompted.
"I ran into... Carlisle Cullen."
Realisation dawned on me.
I sighed. "Jake and I aren't fighting, dad," I told him truthfully. Well, almost truthfully, anyway. "Just because Edward's back in town doesn't mean that the last two years will just disappear. We're doing great."
He seemed surprised. "You are?"
"Yeah. Why?" I asked. "Should we be fighting?"
"No, no of course not," he said uncomfortably. "Forget I said anything."
I fixed him with a look. "Spit it out, father."
He sighed. "I'm worried, Bella. I... I happened to speak to Billy last night. After you went to bed."
"Really?" I asked in mild amusement. "And what did he say?"
"He, uh... mentioned Jacob's... guest." He looked up at me beseechingly. "Just please don't hold it against him, okay, Bell? He did a good thing."
He looked so anxious that I was starting to feel bad for him.
"Don't worry, dad," I assured him, bringing the bowl to my lips and taking a large gulp of yummy Cheerio-free milk. "Jake and I have it all worked out. We're not going to break up just because he decided to help someone. In fact, I'm even taking Summer out later today."
As I stood up and began to collect our dishes to put them in the sink, I caught a glance at Charlie's face.
"You don't need to look so surprised," I said in a wounded voice. "I'm a very understanding person."
He didn't need to know just how ununderstanding I had been towards Summer yesterday. Not that I regretted the way I had behaved. I thought I had every right to dislike her.
Don't get me wrong, I felt for her, I really did. But she could do her 'help me I'm gorgeous, injured and alone' thing anyplace other than my boyfriend's house.
This town was only big enough for one damsel in distress. Me.
(A/N: I know Bella would never say –or think- that, but I thought it was funny.)
I parked the Volvo around the corner from Bella's house and waited until Charlie drove off. I could hear his mental rambling about Jacob having brought home some girl. He was afraid that that, coupled with my family's return, might harm Bella's relationship with Jacob.
I had listened to his conversation with Bella, too, and watched her face through his mind. She had seemed truthful enough when she said that she understood Jacob's predicament.
Yet, a selfish part of me leapt with joy at the possibilities this presented. A new girl in Jacob's life. There may not be anything going on, but it couldn't be too hard to make Bella believe there was. However much she trusted the dog, surely, she felt at least a little threatened at the moment. She must be hurt, and vulnerable, and I had always been extremely persuasive...
No, no, NO.
I groaned out loud and tore myself away from those thoughts. No, I repeated to myself firmly. She had made her wishes very clear. She wanted to stay with him, and I needed to respect that. My only priority was Bella's wellbeing. I had returned to only see her again, beg for her forgiveness, hoping that perhaps she would take me back.
I had tried, and I had failed.
Now I would take what I got, and let her be happy. If I didn't, then how could I claim to love her?
But the fact remained that she hadn't asked me to leave.
At least not because she was repulsed by me. She wanted to keep me from getting into a fight.
She wanted to protect me. That had to mean something.
But what if it wasn't my safety that she was worried for? What if it was concern for him that had caused her to ask me to leave?
That isn't true, I argued with myself, pulling up outside her house. She still wanted to be friends. She really and truly did.
I was lucky for that, and I had no right to complain.
How could I live with myself if I tried to manipulate her decision?
The door opened and out stepped Bella, looking beautiful as always. She had on a simple blue t shirt that looked amazing in contrast with her pale skin. I wondered for a moment if maybe she had worn it for me, but quickly reminded myself not to flatter myself.
I leaned across and opened her door for her. And then her scent had filled the air as she climbed into the seat next to mine, a nervous smile tugging on her lips.
"Hi," she said.
"Hey," I replied, starting to back out of the driveway. "You look good."
She blushed. "Thanks," she mumbled, looking the other way.
I cringed. What happened to not pushing the boundaries? My mind demanded. But nevertheless, I wasn't going to feel sorry. She did look amazing. 'Good' didn't even begin to cover it.
We drove in silence for a minute. I turned off the radio so that I could hear the steady beat of her heart better. Every now and then it would skip a beat suddenly, and I wondered what thought might have caused the reaction.
"Ah, nostalgia," she said suddenly, smiling sardonically. "It's hitting me from all sides now."
I glanced at her. "I sense sarcasm."
"You don't sense the traffic violations?"
I rolled my eyes. "I wasn't expecting the commentary so soon," I said. "I figured you'd give it at least five minutes before starting to pick on my driving."
"Knowing you, this drive won't even last five minutes."
"I'll give you that."
She glared at me.
"Relax, Bella," I said with a chuckle. "I still haven't gotten a ticket."
"That's because no cop can ever catch you!"
"Good point," I said, slowing down... a little. "Happy?"
"Not particularly, no," she said, but she was smiling. "I'm a policeman's daughter. What would my dad think?"
"I can only guess."
"Enough talk about my inferior driving skills," I said.
"So what do you want to talk about?" she asked.
"I don't know," I said, although I did know. "How's Jacob?"
She raised an eyebrow. "You heard Charlie, didn't you?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry," I said, embarrassed at being caught. "He's just... a loud thinker."
"Nah, it's alright," she said. "It's not exactly a secret."
"So, you two really didn't fight?" I held my breath, hoping she didn't misinterpret my question.
She heaved a sigh. "We did."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"Don't be," she said. "We talked it out. We always do. I told him I'd be okay with her as long as he was okay with... us."
I turned to her in shock. "Us as in you and me, us?"
She nodded, grinning widely.
"And he agreed?"
"It wasn't without effort," she admitted. "But I didn't really leave him with a choice. He seems to really want her around."
"You don't like her, do you?" I asked, a little amused.
"Not really," she agreed. "I suppose she'd be okay if I met her under different circumstances."
"What has she ever done, though?" I asked curiously. "Why are you so against her?"
"She... seems to..."
She sighed. "I don't know. But it sort of seems like she likes him. And she's... well, perfect."
"I don't know how that's possible, but I'll take your word for it."
"No, she really is!" she protested. "She's got this long red hair, and she's so tall. She's like... I don't know. Not Rosalie, but definitely her human equivalent."
I shrugged. "I prefer brunettes."
She blushed. "Edward."
"But that's not even the problem," she said, steering the conversation back on track, not nearly finished. "It's just that, how can she be so blatant about it, while I'm sitting right there? I don't blame her for liking him, believe me. But she didn't need to be so obvious about it."
"And Jacob?" I pressed. "Have you spoken to him of your concerns at all?"
She shrugged. "I did. But he sort of... sidestepped the question."
Her tone had become more reluctant now, and I sensed that she didn't want to discuss this with me any further.
I nodded half heartedly, but I found that I could relate to this new girl more than I would have thought. After all, wasn't I, too, wasting away my time hoping to obtain the love of someone I had no claim on?
As I pulled into the school parking lot, I pushed those thoughts aside. Time wasn't a problem for me. So was it really so terrible of me to want to spend whatever of it I could with the girl who had changed my entire existence?
It wasn't, I concluded. I wouldn't think of the future, of what would happen when she married him, of what would happen when she died.
I only thought of here and now. And right now, Bella was right beside me. And everything was alright.
The day passed quickly and uneventfully. Once again, I sat by Edward during lunch and we talked some more.
I happened to run into Angela in the ladies room after lunch. She didn't say much, of course, but it seemed obvious to me that she had noticed my sudden brightness and had rightly attributed it to Edward's return.
But unlike Jessica and Lauren, she actually seemed happy for me.
Speaking of Jessica and Lauren, those two seemed to have changed their tactic. It was during Calculus that Jessica cornered me.
"Bella!" she gushed. "Hi. Look, about the other day, I'm really sorry. I don't know what came over me. It's just that, it was really shocking to see Edward back here and all. And speaking of Edward, I see you two are getting... friendly. What's the deal? Are you two back together? Because if you are, I'm so happy for you! We all know how much you like him. How did it happen, though? Tell me everything! Did you tell him you still had feelings for him? Did he play hard to get? How did Jacob react?"
I sighed and turned to face her. "No, we are not back together. I'm still with Jacob and that's how it's going to remain. And now that you've got your first hand story you can drop the act. We're not friends anymore, and you know it."
When the bell rang Edward was waiting for me outside the classroom, looking beyond amused.
"How was class?" he asked.
"Like you don't know."
"Good for you."
All too soon, Edward was driving me home.
"So, uh, thanks," I said, once we were back in my driveway.
"Would you like a ride again tomorrow?" he asked.
I thought about it. There wasn't anything romantic about this. It couldn't hurt. I smiled. "Absolutely."
I sat there for a moment longer, thinking of some way to prolong the conversation. When I found nothing, I reluctantly muttered a 'bye' and got out of the car.
I spent a little while cleaning my room –it had faced a lot of neglect in all the excitement of the past few weeks. Then I went in for a shower. I had spent all day in the company of vampires –not the brightest idea when going to meet your werewolf fiancée. I threw on a different shirt, grabbed my purse and went downstairs. After a scribbling a brief note to Charlie telling him I might be late, I was getting into my truck, and was on my way to La Push.
I had woken up late that morning, disoriented and extremely hung over.
It took me a moment to remember what had happened last night. And then it all came rushing back.
After Jacob's disastrous revelation, I'd had a lot to drink. I remembered still having doubts about his honesty, but his face had looked so sincere, and completely devoid of any ulterior motive.
And what ulterior motive could he possibly have, anyway? Claiming to be a werewolf isn't exactly the best way to pick up girls. And in spite of that, I'd practically thrown myself at him.
And he'd pushed me away. Why would he do that?
Besides, he was so warm. And large. There was no way that someone his age could get that big naturally. Not to mention the others. Even Leah looked kind of bulky for a girl.
And so as the night went on I became more and more convinced that he was telling the truth –no matter how bizarre it may be.
And then Jacob was telling me that I'd had enough, and that he was taking me home.
I didn't remember actually coming home, or getting into bed, which is where I found myself when I finally awoke from my comatose state, but I did remember what a fool I'd made of myself in front of Jacob.
And on cue, a light knock sounded on the door.
I groaned and rolled over. "Go away," I muttered under my breath.
The door opened. I looked up, annoyed
Jacob stood in the doorway, looking not the slightest bit hung over. And I knew how much he'd had to drink. Stupid extra body mass.
"How do you feel?" he asked, looking amused.
"Like I just found out that the closest thing I have to a friend is a stupid werewolf," I said grumpily, sitting up. "How do you think I feel?"
I wrapped my arms around myself and, as I did, I realised for the first time that I wasn't wearing Bella's clothes anymore. I was now wearing another one of Jacob's oversized shirts and I had no recollection of changing into it.
My embarrassment disappeared. I narrowed my eyes at him. "How did I get into this shirt, Black?"
He raised his hands defensively. "Wasn't me," he said. "Leah changed you. She didn't want you to sleep in your only set of clothes."
I winced and held up my hand. "Don't talk so fast, it hurts my head."
"And that was really nice of her."
He rolled his eyes. "I'll let her know you think so."
I sighed sleepily.
"So, look," he began slowly. "About last night. I... needed to confirm something."
I frowned, partly out of concern and partly because my head hurt. So. Much. "What is it, Jake?"
"Um... about the whole werewolf thing... are you sure you're still okay with it?"
"Okay with... oh," I said, my mind working slower than usual. "Yeah. Of course, Jake," I mumbled. "I am."
"And you're not, like, weirded out at all?"
I fought to keep my eyelids open and forced myself to consider his question seriously. Did it matter to me? Would it change anything?
"No," I finally decided. Whatever werewolf stuff he was talking about didn't concern me. Because the Jacob I knew wasn't a big wolf. He was just an incredibly kind, funny, gorgeous boy I happened to have a crush on, who occasionally morphed into a wolf.
I could live with that.
He smiled in relief. "Hey, can you wait here for just one minute?"
It was a stupid question. I obviously wasn't going anywhere. But nevertheless, I replied. "Sure. Whatever."
He disappeared down the hall, leaving the door ajar. I slumped back against the covers, closing my eyes, fighting the growing nausea. It would not help to throw up all over Jacob's bed. He was back in half a minute, holding a glass of water and a small white pill.
"It's for hangovers," he grinned. "Take it."
"Thanks, Jake," I muttered, taking the pill and handing the glass back to Jacob.
"You'll probably want to sleep a while more," he told me as he started to retreat. "I'll be right here when you wake up. Okay?"
"Okay," I mumbled, already rolling over to my side.
"Oh, and Summer?"
He hesitated. "Never mind."
"No, what is it?" I tried to say, but my voice was just a muffled groan.
He chuckled. "Sleep it off. I'll tell you later."
I wanted to argue but I just didn't have the will to do so. I don't know how long I slept after that, just that when I awoke I felt much better. I still felt groggy, but the pounding in my head was gone, and I didn't feel nauseous anymore.
And I actually made it out of bed this time.
After brushing my teeth and tying my hair up in a messy ponytail, I set out to find Jacob. He was in his garage with Quil and Embry. Really, it seemed like these guys lived here or something.
"Hey," Jacob said. "Feeling better now, sleepyhead?"
"Well, you'd better get to it, then," Quil said, standing. "Bella's going to be here at... four?" he turned to Jacob questioningly.
"Four," Jacob confirmed.
"Right," I said. "Where are you guys going?" I asked as they all started towards the door.
"Sam wants us," Embry explained.
"Right now?" I tried not to sound too disappointed. "Can't you stay a little longer?" I asked, mainly to Jacob. "I kind of wanted to... talk."
Quil snorted. "If we stay any longer then Sam's going to fire us. Wait, can he even do that?"
"What are you talking about?" I asked, confused.
"Jake wanted to be here when you woke up," Embry provided.
I turned to Jacob. "Really?"
He shrugged. "Yeah, well. You'll be okay, though, right?"
I refrained from rolling my eyes. "Of course. Go on. I don't want you to get fired because of me."
He grinned. "That may not be so bad, actually. That way I wouldn't have to leave."
My stomach did a pleasant little flip. I didn't let it show. "Yeah, whatever. But for now you do, so get going! Have fun doing... whatever it is that you guys do."
"And you have fun shopping," he said. "And remember. Make an effort. Please."
He kept talking the entire way to the front of the house. "I'll definitely be back by the time you and Bella get done. Billy said he'd give you his credit card. Don't hesitate to go overboard, but don't tell Billy I said that. And about tonight, did you want to rent a movie or something?"
"Okay, then. I'll pick something up. Unless you want to choose?"
"No, anything goes."
"Tell you what. We'll drive down together tonight, okay?"
"Oh and Summer?"
"I need a favour."
"Me?" I repeated with a laugh. "What can I possibly do for you?"
His expression turned serious. "Don't tell Bella about what I told you. About imprinting."
"Jacob," Embry warned disapprovingly.
I stared. "Why not?"
He frowned, searching for the words. "She'll... she'll misunderstand."
"Misunderstand what? There's nothing going on." Much to my chagrin.
He opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it. "Just don't. I'll explain everything soon. Just her you saw us phase or something."
"You're asking me to lie," I stated.
He looked torn. "Only this once, I promise. Trust me. It's better this way."
"He doesn't seem to think so," I said, nodding at Embry.
"This doesn't concern him."
I looked from Embry to Jacob. Quil just stood there impatiently.
"Fine," I said finally. "I won't tell her."
His face relaxed. "Thanks, Summer!" he said, giving my hand an affectionate squeeze.
I said goodbye to them and went back inside. I found my clothes from yesterday folded in a neat pile on Jacob's chair. I took a shower, got dressed, and by the time four o'clock arrived, I was in the kitchen chatting with Billy. Now that I knew all about their mystic werewolf protector thing, I found that he had some amazing stories to share. Turns out, he was a werewolf once too.
He started right from the start, telling me about spirit warriors and how 'werewolves' eventually came into existence. The whole thing was so surreal. I believed Jacob and I knew that these stories were true, but for some reason, that part refused to register in my head. For me, that's all that they were: stories.
But nevertheless, I found myself getting drawn into the lives of the people long gone. There was something almost hypnotic about the way Billy spoke. It was as if I was there, watching Taha Aki fight the Cold Woman, rejoicing in his victory and mourning his loss.
When he got to the part about the 'yellow eyed vampires' I had goose bumps all over my arms. It wasn't fear of the vampires that was creeping me out. It was the thought that they existed. I mean, if vampires and werewolves were real, then what else was? How many other characters out of horror movies did we interact with on a daily basis and not realise it? These were creatures out of nightmares, dropped right in the middle of our reality.
I was scared, and I wasn't afraid to admit it.
It was here that Bella found us, still deep in conversation.
"Bella!" Billy greeted. "How are you?"
"I'm fine, Billy. Thanks. Hi, Summer."
She glanced around. "Where's Jacob?"
"He's not home," I spoke up. "He's out with the pack."
She nodded, and then did a double take. "The pack?" she turned, wide eyed, to Billy. "Did she just -did she say pack?"
"I did," I confirmed smugly. "I know everything."
"I..." I was speechless. How could she know? "How..." was all I could say out loud.
"I saw them," I said, while wondering why Jacob was making me do this. "In the woods. As... wolves."
"Did you?" she mused quietly, clearly sceptical. "So you just happened to stumble across a group of huge dogs and immediately assumed that they were the adolescent boys you've known for, what, two days?"
I met her gaze evenly. "No. I saw them change into human form. It was terrifying."
"You don't look terrified."
"Because I'm not anymore."
I could see the wheels turning in her head. A few seconds passed. Then her eyes narrowed.
"Right," she said stiffly. "Let's go. I want that skirt back tonight," she added gesturing to the white skirt I wore.
I shrugged, mentally heaving a sigh of relief. She didn't look suspicious. Just angry. "Sure. Let's go!"
I could deal with angry.
Alright, that's all I have for now. Once again, I apologize for being so slow. I just don't like posting things in a hurry and then finding like, a bazillion mistakes in it later.
I'm mentally contemplating adding a new twist to the story that I wasn't planning on earlier, but that may or may not fit with the entire plot. So, we'll see about that, and you guys review!!
P.S. Oh. My. God. Have you guys seen the Twilight filming clips on youtube?? If you haven't, then GET TO IT. Trust me, they are AMAZING. Rob jumping off the van and kind of sauntering away is so... hot. Well, everything about him is hot.
Not the point. The point is, that if you haven't seen it, then do it now. They might have to take them down soon due to copyright problems or something, so hurry.