Okay, I'm sleepy, but I am updating and I am going to reply to all your reviews (seriously, right now!). You are all so amazing – I love hearing what all of you think of the story so far! I also like hearing where you think the story might go... a few people have given me ideas. Heh.

Tiny bit of a cliffhanger in the last one, I suppose. Not sure if I mentioned the fact that I'd be involving Jacob and all, but he will indeed be appearing in this chapter.

Again, Bella does not know of the werewolves existence, as she never became close with Jacob after her became a werewolf.

So, here it is! Chapter 2!

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Edward

"Edward!" Alice screamed in my mind moments before her latest vision filled my mind.

There was nothing to see, however. All of our futures had suddenly disappeared and Alice's vision had become nothing but a black void. My body stiffened against Bella and moments later I felt the fear rising off of her in waves, even without Jasper cautioning me.

"She's terrified, Edward," Jasper yelled to me in his mind, "I can feel her from here. Calm down, for her sake!"

I tried to relax my body, although the feat was near impossible. I knew why our futures had suddenly gone blank. Although we only experienced it a handful of times, long ago, we knew the affect the Quiluete tribe had on Alice's vision. We could only assume it came from their sporadic futures and their inability to control the change from man to dog. During their change, their did not exist and they truly had no futures at all.

None-the-less, we were always informed when the wolves were coming. The problem, of course, was that we didn't know why they were coming.

This time, though... I knew.

"Edward?" Bella's trembling voice pulled me out of my thoughts.

"All of our futures just disappeared," I mumbled, glancing off to the window as if I would have a chance to see our visitors. I turned my attentions back to Bella and winced. She was obviously terrified and my explanation had done nothing to quell her fears.

I pulled her closer and she shook against me. I regretted my bluntness, by my mind was captive in a flurry of thoughts and questions. The thought of our visitors fueled my anger too much to allow explanation.

They must be here for Bella. They must know we had violated the treaty and bit not only one human, but two. We had tortured Mike, beat him and bitten him before bringing his life to an abrupt end. They must know.

"What does that mean?" her voice still twinkled like bells, even as her voice quivered. I felt waves of calm as Jasper attempted to ease Bella's fears. Her eyes were wide with horror, no doubt running through all the terrible situations that could suddenly steal our futures away.

They weren't far now and a protective growl rumbled low through my chest as I pulled Bella close to me, "Wolves."

The room was silent as Bella absorbed this information, the fear momentarily gone as her brow furrowed in confusion. "Wolves?"

Do you smell any in the woods?

The voice rang through my head, familiar for some reason I could not explain. I had heard that mind before, but I was unfamiliar with the majority of the werewolves that now occupied the areas of Forks.

No, Jacob. They're all inside the house.

Jacob... the boy that was infatuated with Bella on the night of our prom. The boy that had also captivated Bella's heart for a brief time, even if she would never admit it to herself, shattering her a second time and sending her into the arms of Mike.

And Bella?

A territorial growl rumbled in my chest as Bella's face appeared in the dog's mind. What right did he have to think of her? What right did he have to come here and ruin her life now that it had finally begun to heal?

"Edward?" Bella whispered, frightened once again. "What's wrong? What do you mean, wolves?"

"Werewolves," I clarified. She sucked in an unneeded gasp of air.

"Werewolves? You mean... werewolves... they exist?" her eyes were wide with disbelief.

I chuckled, pressing my forehead against hers as I gazed deep into her eyes, "Said the vampire."

I missed her humanity in that moment. The look in her eyes would have surely triggered the beautiful rose colored blush, had she any blood left to warm her cheeks. I brushed a finger across the pale planes of her face, longingly, "Jacob is one of them."

Pain flashed across her features and I instantly regretted mentioning his name. However, she was going to find out in a matter of minutes what her old friend truly was... it was better to warn her now before she stood shocked in front of a pack of dogs. "J-Jacob? He's a... a..."

"Yes," I whispered, pulling her close in one swift motion so that her head was cradled between my chest and my hand, my other arm secure about her waist. "He wasn't back before..." I could bring up such awful memories, "I didn't know he was a werewolf until now."

"How did you..."

"They're close," I explained, "I can hear their minds from this distance. It won't be very long now."

"What are they here for?" her tone was colored in curiosity.

"We've violated the treaty we created with them long ago. We agreed never to bite or harm a human..." My hands trailed along the marks that had begun her change into the life of a vampire, "You are proof that we have not followed that agreement."

"But what does it mean?" the fear was returning to her sweet voice.

"They're here to start a war," terror shot through her eyes and I raced in my explanation to calm here, "I think, Bella. I do not know."

A loud knock sounded from the door downstairs and I slipped my hand into Bella's hair, pulling her lips to mine. Her kiss was urgent, speaking fully of the fear that it could possibly be the last kiss we ever shared. I reveled in her scent, losing myself in her lips, dragging my hands slowly along the length of her back.

The second knock broke us apart and I shot a glare toward the stairs, "Are you ready?"

"I don't think I have a choice."

I sighed, unwilling to acknowledge that fact, as true as it might be. I took hold of her hand with my own and we raced downstairs to join the rest of our family in front of the door. Carlilse shot me an anxious look. It was unnerving to see someone that was normally so calm, like Carlisle, suddenly so worried.

We're going to need you to interpret for us.

I nodded and Emmett opened the door, revealing five men. I narrowed my eyes, hiding my confusion as swiftly as it had come. They had chosen to come to our home in their human forms? Were they really that trusting?

"Bella," Jacob whispered, staring past me and to Bella. I growled in warning. "Bella, what did they do to you?"

Bella watched him with horror struck eyes, her body trembling almost as violently as the five boys trying to contain themselves. This wasn't good. She had finally started to recover from all the pain that my disappearance had caused her. She had finally begun to act and speak like herself once again, and now this dog had to appear on our doorstep and bring her world crashing down yet again. I moved protectively in front of her, blocking Bella from his view.

"J-Jake?"

I grimaced at the pain in her voice and worry filled my heart. Did she still have feelings for this dog? Did she love him more than even she had realized at the time? Did he still love her? I glared at Jacob, my mind searching through his for some answer to my many questions.

And there it was.

Bethany.

A simple name, and a simple girl. She had all the qualities of the Quiluete tribe, with long black hair and russet colored skin. He loved her deeply, in such a way that I wouldn't have been able to understand had I not known Bella. So this was the strength of imprinting. I had to admit, it seemed to be an unstoppable bond.

"Bella, what did they do?" Jacob repeated, a strong spasm rippling through his body. I took a step back, one arm spread out in front of Bella and urging her back, away from the unstable mutt.

"We helped her, dog," Emmett, of course, was the first to react. I never had a reason to read his mind, because he always said exactly what was on his mind. This time he spoke all of our thoughts for us, albeit at the wrong time.

"Helped her?" Jacob scoffed, gesturing with a shaking hand at Bella, who was still kept behind me. I would not let him get anywhere near her. "You call this... this thing... this is helping her? You turned her into a monster! You made her one of you!"

"It was what I wanted!" Bella shouted, moving to step forward towards the pack of trembling dogs. My undead heart skipped a beat as a violent tremor shook through Jacob. I turned and grabbed her shoulders, holding her in place. Her angry eyes connected with mine.

"I can't live without you," I whispered to her. Her eyes softened somewhat, but the anger was still evident in their depths, "I can't lose you."

Although she had never seen Jacob in his wolf form, the look in my eyes must have conveyed the danger that his trembling body presented. I would not lose Bella because I allowed her to get too close to an unstable dog.

"But you can kill her?" Sam spoke for the first time, his voice dark. I gripped Bella's shoulders reassuringly before releasing her and turning back to face the dogs. I kept one hand steady on her waist, keeping her safely behind my back. I looked to Sam, my eyes narrowing.

You ruined her, Cullen. She had a family. She had a daughter. She had a life. Now all she has is death.

"She had a husband who beat her, not a family," I whispered. I felt Bella stiffen beside me and winced inwardly. Yes, Bella knew that Mike had caused some damage to her, the most obvious damage being the murder of her only daughter, but she was still unaware of how much damage he had really inflicted on her life. I wanted to keep it that way. She was happier now, lost as she was when it came to him.

"She had a daughter who was killed at the hands of that same husband," I growled, the memory physically twisting my face into a mask of pain. "You call that a life?"

"Better than this," Sam countered, speaking now rather than hiding in his thoughts, "Better than becoming a leech. Anything is better than what you've done to her."

"Try being married to someone who beats you everyday, someone who murders those you love," Bella was trembling behind me, her words pulling out in tearless sobs, "Experience what I did every day for years, and tell me that this," she gestured to herself, "is not better."

"I'm sorry for your loss," Sam's voice and face were filled with sympathy for a fleeting moment before hardening, "But that does not change a thing."

"You violated the treaty!" Jacob yelled, taking a trembling step forward. I stepped backward, pushing Bella along with me. "You bit a human!"

You bit her... you damn leech! You took her life away!

"You murdered another!" Sam continued, his eyes dark. They were advancing closer now and my family knitted tightly together around us, Bella at our center. Even as a newborn now, even with all the strength she had, she was still the one we circled to protect. "You took a life!"

"So did he!" Emmett growled from my side. "He killed a little girl. Tell me he didn't deserve to die!"

"Not by your means."

"So where does this leave us?" Carlisle spoke out from amongst the growls and snarls emitting from both parties. He stared at Sam who stared back with a cold expression, "What do we do from here?"

"You violated the treaty, bloodsucker," Jacob growled in response. His eyes turned to me and the thoughts in his mind turned deadly, "There is only one thing for you to do."

"What's that?" Carlisle asked, unnecessarily. We all knew what was coming next.

"DIE!" Jacob shouted, lunging forward in one final violent tremor before he erupted into his wolf form. Shredded fabric flew into the air and flew to the ground and the rest of the dogs followed suit.

"E-Edward..." Bella's voice shook from behind me. My dead heart, were it able, would be beating out of my chest. The wolves we could handle, but were they to get to close to Bella... newborn, inexperienced as she was... they could, and most likely would, kill her.

I wheeled around, my hand sliding from her waist to grip her shoulder, my free hand setting on the opposite one. I stared into her wide eyes, pleading with her, "Just turn around and get in the house. Do not come out for any reason." She opened her mouth to protest. I twisted one hand into her hair, pulling her lips desperately to mine, silencing her.

I heard a shriek behind me, growling erupting all around us, but I ignored it. I pulled away, staring deeply into her dazed expression, "I will come for you. Go hide. When this is over, I'll come for you."

I used my force to push her back towards the house, she fell back against the wooden door and I stared, waiting. The fight was beginning around me, but I refused to look anywhere until I knew she was safe. Her hand grabbed for the handle, twisted, and she was gone.

I turned to face the wolves. They were pacing, watching us, waiting for the first attack. Their thoughts were screaming at me.

Only two have to die today, leech.

You bit her. You and the one who killed Newton must die. The rest can leave forever. Only two have to die.

My eyes turned swiftly to Rosalie. She was the other one they were talking about.

"How do you know I didn't bite Newton?" I spat the name, turning back to face them.

We don't. Did you bite Newton as well? That would make it easier for us, bloodsucker.

"Yes," I spoke. There was no need to give out any names to these dogs. I had full confidence that my family and I would be able to handle the mutts that surrounded us now. However, were any of them to get past us, it would cause trouble for Bella. If it would keep her safe, I was willing to shoulder their blame. "I bit Newton."

The words that rang through my head was from a collection of their voices, all thinking the same thought.

Then you will die today.

I flashed a smirk to my family, prepared for the battle that had already begun in their minds. I heard the soil and grass rip up from the ground as one of the wolves lunged, my eyes turning quickly. Jacob.

Okay, fake attack from the left, then twist to the...

Would the fool always forget that I could read his every thought?

"EDWARD!"

A hard body collided with me from the side and I was overthrown by the shock and power of it. My body hit the ground three feet away, skidding to a stop. I wheeled around on the ground and turned to see Bella's long chestnut hair blowing in the breeze generated by her sudden burst of speed. Had my heart been beating, it would have stopped now. There was no time left. My body was frozen and now all I could do was watch as Jacob descended on the place I had been a mere second ago.

A place Bella now stood.

--

Yep, a cliffhanger. Oh, like you didn't see that coming! It's me. You lasted through 'Healing Her Wounds' with about 28 chapters of cliffhangers... did you think I'd stop now? Nope, not happening. Cliffhangers rule! Well, for my stories at least. I don't enjoy reading them too much... Hypocritical, ne?

So, obviously, Bella is really inexperienced... a newborn that has the strength and power to fight Jacob, but the skill?

Also, a note. I will not be updating for two weeks. I'm going away on vacation. However, I hope to update when I get back. I will try to keep it regular, although getting the next few chapters written has been rather hard. I have so many ideas of what to do next – so, hopefully I'll surprise you!

Stay tuned, and once again...

COOKIE TIME!