Note from the author: I have been reeled back into the world of writing fanfiction! OK, this story is a little weird. It's a choppy view of Bella's life with Jacob. The time span is just a couple of years and the events may not seem that relevant, but they have an underlying meaning. I hope you enjoy it. Yay, nay? I'd love to hear your feeback. Happy reading!

Disclaimer: Not mine.

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She'd never pictured it like this, her future. Truly, it wasn't even close.

Only a year ago, her future consisted of, well, death. But it was eternity. Eternity with a boy so perfect, she constantly felt meek and unworthy to stand in his shadow.

And even before that, the only romance in her life was the sweet cliches found in the dog-eared and worn out pages of her storybooks.

No, she'd never imagined her future would be warm sodas, rusty car parts and temperatures of one hundred and nine degrees.

-

Jacob had proclaimed his love for Bella one night when they were walking on the beach. She had been getting better about Edward's absence, partly because Jacob wouldn't let her get depressed, partly because school had kept her so busy, and partly because she didn't want to mope around for the rest of her life.

He'd grabbed her hand, but that wasn't unusual, as Jacob had always been pretty physical in showing his emotions.

He'd cautiously declared in many unneeded words that he loved Bella and he'd always be there. He wanted for her to move on from the bloodsucker and be happy with him.

Bella had already known all of this, but Jacob's little speech had taken her by surprise so that she didn't know what to say and went home early.

The next day, after she'd had time to sleep on it, she called him on the phone. He'd answered midway through the first ring.

-

Bella had decided to take a break after graduation. She'd always been indecisive, and the thought of a spontaneous future was a little frightening to her (though she was getting better), so she wanted to sort things about before diving headfirst into college.

Meanwhile, she could spend more time with Charlie to progressively ween him off of her home-cooked meals and possibly help him master a few recipes of his own. She didn't like the idea of him having to rely on himself for food, cold turkey (which is undeniably what he would be living off once she left).

In ironic retrospect, she couldn't bear to leave everyone (Charlie, Billy, Angela, Jake), especially while they still needed her.

-

She took up her job at Newton's again after some hopeful suggestions from Mike and when her lack of money made itself more apparent.

Mike was attending school relatively close to Forks and he came down every weekend to lend a surprisingly much needed helping hand.

Apparently, everyone was starting to realize life was too short to decline things like trail hiking and mountain climbing, so business was booming.

Her extended weekend hours took a toll on her time spent with Jacob. However, being easy and adpatable, he was perfectly content coming in at night to help her stock shelves full of boots, ponchos and bungee cords.

She was always left to lock everything up, and Jake would pull up momentarily after the Newton's Suburban had disappeared out of sight.

The first time, she'd accidently set off the burgular alarm trying to let him in. Luckily, it was Chief Swan who arrived on the scene and dismissed the mishap as another one of his clumsy daughter's mistakes.

With time, she grew more skillfull as to leave the door unlocked until he got there to avoid any unwanted attention that would get in the way of her work.

Shenanigans ensued, what with price sticker guns, heavy duty rope and athletic swimwear, so that having Jacob there only further prolonged what needed to be done.

It didn't matter though, they were together and being alone in that secluded store gave them a sense of freedom they couldn't resist.

-

Claire's fourth birthday party was held at a local roller rink and Quil begged Jacob to come along which resulted in Jacob begging Bella to come along. It was no secret that she was so horrifyingly uncoordinated to the point where she could hardly walk on solid ground, she knew that putting herself at the mercy of eight wheels was just a recipe for disaster.

But Jacob was highly persuasive by any means, and she ended up going along. She has to scars to prove it, too.

She shared cake with Jacob until they both nearly threw up, and he held her hand as they sped across the floor (Jacob doing the speeding, Bella more or less dragging behind), but he sometimes let her fall on her butt and tried to hide his grin by asking Sam about the weather.

-

Jacob, having never had a pertinent girlfriend before Bella, was minimally experienced when it came to the physical relationship that was soon to follow.

To his surprise, Bella's knowledge was almost identical to his. And when their first time came, they stumbled through it like two blind sailors during a thunderstorm.

It happened on a cool night in October on top of Charlie's old quilts in the bed of her rusty old Chevrolet.

His hands shook nervously as his hesitant fingers hovered over her naked body.

"Are you scared?" Bella whispered as she cradled his face between her hands.

He nodded once. Bella had never thought of Jacob as proud, and his willingness to let his vulnerability show was quite endearing to her. In fact, for some strange reason, it gave her a burst of confidence.

"Me too."

With that, she pressed his large palms to her breast and touched her bruised lips to his.

-

Embry was never too accepting of the physical relationship between Jacob and Bella.

More often than not, during times when Jake would burst through the door to Quil's basement and share the intimate details with his two best friends, Embry would shift uncomfortably and stutter things like fornication and pregnancy.

Quil, on the other hand, was always on the edge of his seat, eyes wide, probing for more specifics. He had always been the most worldy of the three, and he wasn't going to be getting any for at least another 15 years.

-

Emily was seven months pregnant the summer before Jacob's senior year.

She gave birth to a 9 pound baby boy on the first day of school, so as soon as the bell had rung, Jacob, Quil, Embry, Seth, Collin and Brady were all piled into Bella's pickup on the way to the hospital.

It was very clausterphobic and borderline uncomfortable having ten large, sweltering bodies squished into such a small room, so the affair was soon taken out into the waiting area.

The pack romped around with Sam with tackles and shouts of congratulations and it truly was a celebration of life. (How had I ever been willing to give this up? she thought.)

Jacob and Bella stayed long after most of the guests had cleared out. Partly because they hadn't gotten to talk to the new parents with all of the commotion, and partly because Bella had grown so fond of the baby during the 3 hours she had known him.

Normally, Bella kept her distance from children. She was always afraid she'd drop them or make them cry or something awful like that. But when Emily passed her the little bundle, it was all she could do not to cry. He was so beautiful, with copper skin, a dusting of fine black hair and big, brown eyes.

"Oh, Jake," she sighed as she held the baby close, "isn't he perfect?"

Jacob grinned and Sam gave him a stern look that resulted in an awkward conversation and a friendly reminder of his (young) age.

-

Angela married Ben during winter of the same year. Bella was a bridesmaid, dressed in a modest blue, and she cried embarassingly after the ceremony.

The wedding was extravagant, Angela was an only child.

The reception took place at her grandparents' fancy home. The main room was white, from floor to ceiling, from the chandelier to the marble staircase. The grand piano supplied a heartbreaking, original tune and it was all Bella could do not to collapse under the weight of the memories that came flooding back of an unearthly wedding with an unearthly, beautiful boy.

Over time, she'd grown to hardly ever doubt her decision to move on with Jacob, but once you love something so strongly, it takes a great amount of effort to live without it.

Luckily, she had Jacob to take her home and they spent the night in his makeshift garage and fell asleep in the backseat of the Rabbit to the sound of a lost melody playing softly on the radio.

-

Sometimes, Charlie and Billy would chuckle in the kitchen while Bella helped Jacob with his homework. They always spoke in hushed voices, under the impression no one could hear, but weren't fooling anyone. Bella and Jacob caught every giddy mention of family reunions and family vacations and inlaws and scoffed at their fathers' immature behavior.

Charlie loved Jacob and had always made a show of bragging about him to Bella, especially when Edward was in the picture. There was no one in the world he would rather take care of his daughter than Billy's son, and it was very hard for him to contain himself when they started spending more and more time together.

-

In mid June Bella accompanied the gang to graduation. They cheered enthusiastically as Quil, Jacob and Embry recieved their diploma's. They were in alphabetical order- ABC- so the short lived commotion from the large party was only adamant in the beginning.

They celebrated with a BBQ in Sam's backyard following the ceremony. The mood was so light and infectious, the scene was something out of a Nick at Nite sitcom with all the smiles and laughter.

Bella perched on the arm of Jacob's lawn chair (as he scarfed down rib after rib, hotdog after hotdog and burger after burger), discussing her college plans with Sue Clearwater.

Jacob and her were not going to the same school, but that didn't worry her. They'd made it through so many things already, college didn't scare her as much as it used to.

She was staying off campus though, because she still couldn't bear to leave home for too long, she had everything she wanted right here.

-

That evening, Jacob and Bella walked to First Beach and made there way to the bone colored driftwood tree that had become such a landmark for them.

He put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. Despite the season, it was rather chilly out and she was so thankful for his temperature and unfallible ability to warm her soul.

"I love you, so much." He whispered as he pressed his lips to her ear. He'd said it so many times before, but the simple declaration made Bella's nerves tingle.

They'd made it just in time for sunset, and they watched it in silence, just reveling in each other's presence.

Twilight used to depress Bella, and the only reason she could justify it was that it was an ending to another day. Time wasted and no way to get it back.

However, after being with Jacob for so long, she had learned to take each night and charish it. Because, now, she realized, life was inevitable. It was going to happen and there's no reason she should try to stop it. She had so much to live for, and Edward's glow had blinded her from that momentarily, so that she almost gave up everything she had for eternity.

She doesn't like thinking about it, because she doesn't want to remember how close she'd gotten. If she'd taken the other path, not the natural one, she would have missed out on so many things. The very things that brought her such joy. Simplicity, family, the birth of Emily's son, feeling Jacob and being with Jacob...all of these things that she could pinpoint as her reson for existance.

As she watched the sun go down, there in Jacob's strong arms, she felt happiness because the sunset was not the end of a day, but it was the beginning of a beautiful life she had before her.