Bella Swan spent the first two years of her life in Forks developing a friendship with Jacob Black that finally turned into something more. As she begins her senior year of high school, a new family moves to town and Bella slowly begins to question the path she thought her life would follow. Sometimes there is a difference between what you think you need and what you never knew you wanted. Takes place during the timeframe of New Moon and Eclipse.
OK, so this is my first ever fanfiction for anything, but I've been kicking this around in my head for awhile. It moves a bit slower than most, and Jacob features more heavily than some would prefer, but ultimately this is an Edward/Bella story. Feel free to be brutally honest (how else will I learn, right?). It's not that original of a plot (i.e., Bella doesn't enter the Miss America pageant and fight off aliens during the swimsuit competition), but I really feel strongly about it and think I can take it to someplace really great. I am being quite literal with an alternate universe where Bella came to Forks as a sophomore and Edward Cullen wasn't there, meaning every decision and difference resulting from those two changes never happened. If anyone is actually reading this, I am beyond flattered.
DISCLAIMER: Things I own: Too many shoes, a self-absorbed cat, and anyone I play at Scrabble. Things I don't: The characters, plot, and setting of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, the line from Bright Eyes' "First Day of My Life" that I wove into the preface, and the title of Appleseed Cast's amazing song "Innocent, Vigilant, Ordinary." My only intent is procrastinating instead of studying for the Illinois Bar Exam, not to commit any copyright infringement.
Chapter Notes (Preface & Sixteen): The Preface and Chapter One are posted together.
"I'm exactly right for you, Bella. It would have been effortless for us — comfortable, easy as breathing. I was the natural path your life would have taken… if the world was the way it was supposed to be, if there were no monsters and no magic." -- Jacob Black, Eclipse, p. 599
In a world without monsters and magic, Jacob Black and I orbit each other; we're a universe consisting of only two. He makes my life simple and protects me from the inexplicable loneliness that shadowed me until the moment I met him. Our love is based on they sort of trust and devotion that most people take a lifetime to find. Someday we'll grow up, bind ourselves to each other for life, and raise a family. Our lives will run their course easily, comfortably. And, just like that, one day we'll pass from this life into the unknown, having never needed anything more.
In a world without monsters and magic, it's best not to dwell on what could have been. After all, why hold out for something else, something that may not even exist, when we can be safe, all our needs met? I would rather be working for a paycheck, being part of something real and uncomplicated, than waiting to win the lottery. Life is meant to breed disappointment; when fate intervenes and gives you security and inner peace, you don't gamble it away for a chance at an ecstasy that will likely never come. We build our lives in reality, knowing that paradise only exists in fairytales.
In a world without monsters and magic, Jacob Black and I are happy. But we're still without magic. We share a happiness rooted in reason. We feel complete because we are ignorant to what we are missing. What we have is enough because we are blind to what magic brings; our hearts have never beat out of our chests in the name of pure passion, and we will never have to question the fate of our souls because in our commonplace lives, we take no risks. Going through life with an ordinary, natural love is all you need... That is, until you find the magic that you never knew existed, that you never knew you wanted. Suddenly, the ordinary is no longer enough; you need the extraordinary.
CHAPTER ONE: Sixteen
Jacob turned sixteen on a Wednesday. As I drove into his driveway, I spotted him sitting on the shabby stoop, smiling that glowing, contagious grin I knew so well. For the past several months, something else lurked beneath the surface of that smile, something motivated, no doubt, by the confidence that came with growing up. That recent, unspoken shift in Jake's behavior told me becoming sixteen gave him expectations. Sixteen means adulthood, at least to Jacob, who spent countless waking hours perfecting the VW Rabbit he found at the local scrap heap. In the three years I'd known him, he'd spoken endlessly of how driving meant freedom. As he approached what he'd wanted for so long, his self-assuredness reached new heights. No longer the insecure eighth grader I'd met when I'd first moved to Forks at age fifteen, Jacob now spent every moment we shared together coming up with excuses to sit closer, to tuck unruly strands of hair behind my ear, to lean in close as he spoke to me. He was just a freshman in high school and still younger than my nearly 18 years, but in his mind, we were finally sharing the same playing field. I just didn't know if I wanted in on the game.
Jacob Black had been my best friend since I move to Forks, Washington, to live with my father the summer before I entered the tenth grade. His father, Billy, and mine, Charlie, had been friends for years. Naturally, Jake and I often found ourselves sharing dinners over the fish they'd caught on their weekly fishing trips; we became friends instantly. Soon, we were spending nearly every second of free time together, with the bulk of our after-school hours spent joking around in Jacob's garage, the site of his many pet projects, including his prized VW.
He wasn't like the kids I went to school with; Jake was interesting, unassuming, and full of life. He made my dull world bearable, except for the pangs of guilt I felt over the poorly concealed crush he had on me. Still, to me, he was a kid. Part of what I adored about him was how he was forever bouncing off the walls with the unbridled enthusiasm of a five-year-old building up a sugar rush on Christmas morning. I, on the other hand, was a middle-aged woman trapped in a teenager's body, conditioned from being the only child of my mother Renee, a teenager trapped inside of a 38-year-old. In that relationship, until she married Phil three years ago, I took care of her, not minding the responsibility because it made me feel needed. With Jake, I enjoyed the similar way he needed me; it just felt right that I took care of him. In turn, he kept at bay the loneliness that followed me my entire life.
Jacob and I were perfect in our current platonic state; anything more could easily disturb the status quo that I held so dear. But he wanted more. Everyday, he awaited my arrival on the stoop of the small house he shared with his father. As the days wore on, his expression grew into a confirmation that he would no longer sit idly by and let me see him as a child.
I brought my truck to a stop and slowly rose from the driver's seat. Despite my worries over the status of our friendship, I felt relaxed now that I was in Jacob's company.
"Bells!" he exclaimed as he encircled me into one of his patented bone-crushing hugs. More and more frequently, few seconds passed where Jake didn't come up with some excuse for physical contact. Thank god he was so skinny and only a few inches taller than me, or else I'd have a hard time explaining to the ER doctors how I'd fractured my ribs.
I handed him the small package I'd wrapped in newsprint. "Happy birthday!" He gaped at me as if he'd actually expected me to arrive empty handed.
"You didn't have to get me anything."
"Yes, I did, liar. Sorry about the wrapping; Charlie never has anything festive lying around the house."
He winked in response, moving closer to my side. "I'll forgive you this time." He wasted no time in beginning his less-than-subtle flirting, shooting me a smile buried in subtext. I looked away, still unsure as to how I should respond.
We sat in silence for a moment, and I could feel his eyes on me. A little too loudly, I urged, "C'mon, open it!" For reasons other than the unspoken tension between Jake and me, I was anxious. I hoped to get a summer job once school let out, but that was still a month away. As it stood, I had limited funds to spend on the gift, so I'd improvised. Now I questioned my choice.
His laugh washed over me immediately. "A rabbit's foot key chain?"
I suddenly felt like a moron, a rare feeling when in Jacob's presence. "You know, because you're restoring a Rabbit…"
Wrapping his arm around me, he replied, "Yeah, I get it. Geez, Bella, you crack me up!"
"You know I am completely broke, or I would've gone all out. I'm sorry. At least it's not pink."
"Stop apologizing! I love it!" I knew he meant it; Jacob was almost as poor a liar as I was. "Seriously, you didn't have to get me a gift. Just you being here is enough." He paused. In a husky voice that was still new to me, he continued, "You know, Bella, I've been think--"
I scrambled to find words of my own before he could continue. "Wait, there's more!" I exclaimed, pulling the card out of my pocket as if performing a magic trick.
He seemed a bit shaken by my interruption but also curious. Ceremoniously, he opened the envelope. "No way!" It was as if I'd given him a check for a million dollars rather than a handmade coupon for a free Bella Swan-cooked lasagna dinner. "I'm going to make copies of this so I can cash this in every week!"
Before my smile could widen any more, he tightened his grip on me and pulled me so close that I was practically in his lap.
"This is so cool, Bella. Thank you." His tone became serious again, and I was suddenly aware that our faces were inches apart, so close I could count his eyelashes. A knot turned in my stomach. I knew exactly what was on his mind. Please don't kiss me, I silently begged as he began to lean his head in even closer to mine. Soon I would be able to feel his eyelashes. I had never kissed anyone, at least not romantically, and I was clueless as to whether I wanted to destroy a friendship to share a first kiss with someone I wasn't even sure I was attracted to.
The words flew out of my mouth before I realized they belonged to me. "Jake, I don't think this is a good idea."
His eyes were half closed as he responded, "We'll see."
Before I could reply, his lips were firmly pressed against mine, his hands spanning my back. At that moment, the words "kid" and "Jacob" stopped belonging in the same sentence. I kissed him back hesitantly, realizing that neither of us had ever done this before. I worried that I would somehow be bad at it, even though Jake's inexperience seemed to have no impact on his confidence or ability. He was unabashedly passionate, moving his hands from my back to my neck and then to my face. His tongue unapologetically crept its way into my mouth, and I had no idea what I should be doing in return. It felt good, great even, but my brain was reeling with what this would mean as soon as our lips parted.
I made every effort to silence my internal nagging; Jake, after all, was amazing. Being with him was the easiest thing I'd ever experienced. For years, he'd been the shoulder I'd cried on when everywhere else in the world seemed cold and dull, and now he kissed as if he was trying to meld his body and mine into one. He loved me. He must.
As the child of parents who divorced before I could remember, I was well-versed in self-reliance. I told myself I needed no one, yet I knew it was a lie, I knew I needed Jacob. He was everything to me. My entire life, I'd told myself that not every love has to fade like my parents' had. Nor does every love have to be all-consuming, passion without reason. As Jacob's lips continued to pour over mine, I realized that what we had could really turn into something. I owed it to myself, and to Jake, to find out exactly what that something could be. I moved my hands to his face and gave him everything I had. He was my best friend, my world. Quite possibly, I was crazy to think I belonged with anyone but him.
Chapter One End Notes:
I realize that Jacob turning 16 should happen later than the end of his freshman year of high school, but I can't get past an almost-18 Bella going out with 15-year-old. Also, I am not the biggest fan of Jacob Black because of the events in Eclipse, so I have tough time writing his and Bella's love story. I hope that's not too painfully obvious. Hope you enjoyed it; things are about to get interesting. Thanks for reading!