"Show me what it looks like;
Come on grow old with me and surely you will see."
- Thriving Ivory
Jacob watched the man move, mesmerized by the way the sparse light radiated off of his pale skin, the way it created a halo around his dark hair. Jacob could sense Edward moving in the woods but moved forward ahead of Edward. Jacob made sure to snap a few dry branches under his feet to draw the man's attention. The man looked surprised, frightened, and then relieved when he saw Jacob. Finally, he sighed. Jacob could feel Edward's presence behind him, hovering in the darkness just out of the man's ability to sense him. Jacob placed himself between Edward and the strange man. The man took a step towards Jacob, completely unaware of the danger, even meeting a strange man in the woods at night. Jacob smiled mischievously.
"Thank goodness," the man said, "I thought I was going to be lost forever."
"What are you doing here?" Jacob asked. The question came out gruffer than he originally intended and he smiled pleasantly trying to take some of the sting out. "This is pretty far from the main road."
"I was hiking," the man said, "and I got lost."
"Your GPS?" Jacob asked. "Cell, pack, locator chip? Was everything eaten by a bear?"
The man chuckled, took a step towards Jacob, and said: "I've never been a fan of the locator chip, and I wanted a weekend away without technology." The man laughed again, a wide, pleasant smile gracing his delicate face. "Do you think you could... maybe... help me?"
Jacob smiled. "I think we might be able to help you. My car is just a little ways back; I could give you a lift."
"Great," the man said. He approached Jacob and held out his hand in greeting. "I'm CJ, by the way."
"It's nice to meet you," Jacob said. He moved to grasp CJ's hand but Edward's will took hold of Jacob like a vice grip and wouldn't allow him to reach out. Jacob had never had Edward consciously use his will against him, actually demand that Jacob not interact with something or someone, it felt like having someone root around in his brain. He could feel Edward actively working against him trying to keep Jacob from shaking CJ's hand. Jacob had to focus all of his energy to even complete the greeting. "I'm Jacob." Jacob grasped CJ's hand firmly then quickly released it.
"It's lucky you came along," CJ said.
Jacob smiled, though he doubted that it had had anything to do with luck, and nodded in the direction he had come for CJ to follow. Edward was already gone, had left the darkened woods as soon as Jacob had taken CJ's hand. He left Jacob to accompany CJ alone, in the dark, back to the car. Jacob had so many questions for him, but he knew that CJ wouldn't understand the questions and Jacob would only scare him. CJ wouldn't understand anything about imprinting, wouldn't know how to handle someone as devoted to him as Jacob and Edward had been for the last thirty years.
The walk back to the truck seemed longer with CJ walking silently at his side. Jacob felt like he was carrying his own axe to the headsman as he walked beside CJ. As Jacob came up to the car and unlocked it he could feel Edward's worried emotions inside of himself as if they were his own. Jacob could feel the confusion welling up in Edward, even from their distance they were still as connected as if they were right beside one another. Jacob would miss that, he would miss Edward, but he knew that this was what was supposed to happen. Jacob knew that he had always been meant to find CJ, and no amount of wishing was going to change that.
Jacob drove CJ back to his car; CJ was able to give him direct instructions on how to get there, even though he claimed to have been lost in the woods. Jacob just assumed that, once on the road, CJ could more easily navigate his way back. At the car, CJ thanked Jacob, smiled kindly, and offered to buy him dinner for his trouble.
"I'll be in town for a few more days," CJ said sheepishly. "I'd really like to see you again."
Jacob smiled, CJ was just too easy to get along with to be angry at, he was too sweet and kind to hate. "Sure," Jacob agreed, "I'd like that."
Jacob gave a quick wave, waited until CJ was safely in his car and pulled away before he began to drive back towards the spacious Denali estate. Before he could get any closer to their house, however, his phone began to vibrate and Jacob slid it open, Alice's frantic voice greeted him before he could say hello.
"Why is Edward leaving?" Alice asked angrily. "He's at your house, right now, packing his bags and getting ready to leave... why is he doing that? What happened?"
Jacob's heart sank, he couldn't tell her, he didn't want to admit it himself, how could he tell Alice that Edward and his life together had ended? Jacob muttered a response; let her know that he was on his way home, and that he would speak with Edward. He didn't say that he would fix it; he knew that he couldn't, but he knew that all he could do was go to Edward and plead. Jacob hung up the phone and drove home slowly, playing out in his head what he would say to Edward, trying to come up with something to say. He tried to come up with the right words to let Edward know that it was okay, that everything would be okay. To let him know that just because their lives would change, the way Jacob felt about him never would. It was a lie, everything would change, the way Jacob and the way Edward felt was changing, and nothing would ever be the same. Jacob felt anger rise up in him and he had to pull off to the side of the road so he could calm down, breathe deeply, clench and unclench his hands on the steering wheel. Why did he have to meet that man, why had he run off into the woods, why hadn't he just gone back to the house with Edward? But that opportunity had passed and he had to move on.
Jacob pulled up in front of the house and got out. Once he there, looking at the house, their house, he couldn't bear the thought of losing it. He couldn't go through with it, couldn't walk into the house and promise that everything would be okay when he knew it wouldn't. He couldn't stand that he wouldn't have Edward, he wouldn't wake up to find Edward snuggled against him, revealing in their closeness. Jacob leapt up the stairs two by two and raced into the house. Edward stood in the foyer, a few suit cases at his feet, and Jacob's breath hitched in his throat. Edward was stoic, his eyes ice cold, it was a look that Jacob hadn't seen Edward use in quite some time. Edward watched Jacob closely as he came in.
"You're back," Edward said. "Where's CJ?"
Jacob shrugged and slipped off his coat. He tossed it casually into the front room then said shortly, "You're the mind reader, you tell me."
"I couldn't read his mind," Edward seethed, "only yours."
Edward adjusted the strap on one of his bags. Jacob's eyes took in the scene but his mind was slow to believe it. Edward was leaving, Edward had packed, and Alice had already seen him leave. Edward scoffed loudly, forcing Jacob's eyes to meet his own.
"Stop," Edward said, "just stop. Just stop pretending that you didn't know this was coming. Don't act like you didn't expect this from the moment you laid eyes on him."
Edward stooped to grab one of the bags and Jacob rushed forward to stop him. Jacob grabbed the handle, pulled it out of Edward's grasp, and pulled Edward to him roughly with one arm around his waist. Jacob pressed Edward to him and held him there with bone crunching force. All of Jacob's careful planning was forgotten, all of his "clean break" preparations, all his desire to let Edward know that they could still be friends, all of it was gone from his mind in an instant. All Jacob could think of was how he would lose Edward, how he was about to lose the one person he had ever truly loved, and how he couldn't let him go without a fight.
"How can you fight this, Jacob?" Edward asked against him.
"Don't do this," Jacob pleaded. "Don't just throw this away, don't throw us away."
"What us?" Edward shot back. Edward pulled himself free of Jacob's grasp and folded his arms tightly against his chest. "There is no 'us' anymore Jacob."
"Don't... Edward please... please don't do this," Jacob pleaded. "Don't just walk out on me-"
"What do you want me to do?" Edward hissed. "You want me to just sit here and watch you mope while CJ is down the road waiting for-"
"Forget it," Jacob yelled angrily, "just forget it. You can go, I release you from your obligation to me, I hope you're very happy."
Edward glared at Jacob, his topaz eyes like daggers on Jacob's skin. "You hope that I'm happy?" Edward seethed. "How dare you?"
"You're the one leaving me," Jacob yelled. He knew his voice was rising to the level that the neighbors would be able to hear him, but he didn't care. Edward was leaving him, leaving their house and their future and their life, all because of CJ.
"I'm leaving for you, you and CJ," Edward said in exasperation. Edward blew out a long sigh, looking more defeated than Jacob ever wanted to see him, even when they'd been enemies. In an instant Edward crossed the distance between them and took Jacob's face in his cool hands. Edward's sharp eyes looked into Jacob's for a long moment and slowly he brought their lips together in a soft, slow kiss. Jacob clenched his eyes shut, relishing in the feel of Edward's lips against his own, wishing that this wouldn't be the last time they would be together. He hoped without hope that they could get through this, or that he could make Edward understand. He would give up without Edward. He couldn't live without him again or ever.
As the kiss came to a slow end, Jacob rested his forehead against Edward's, his eyes still closed tightly. "Please don't do this," Jacob pleaded again. "I love you so much... I don't want to lose you."
"It's going to be okay," Edward soothed. His voice choked up and Jacob opened his eyes to look into Edward's. Edward nodded and smiled ruefully, he looked so accepting that it made Jacob's heart wretch. "You don't have to worry," Edward continued, "I'll be okay."
Jacob laughed mirthlessly. "That's really sweet of you," Jacob said flatly, "but I'm not really worried about you being okay. How am I supposed to go on?"
Edward looked at him quizzically, pulling back so he could look at Jacob fully. "Happy and in love?"
"I'm in love with you," Jacob said. "I love you, I imprinted on you, how am I supposed to go on knowing that you are somewhere else. How am I supposed to go on knowing that you're in love with someone else, that you're happy with someone else?"
"What?" Edward asked.
"CJ," Jacob said.
"Right," Edward agreed, "you and CJ."
"No, you and CJ," Jacob countered.
"What?" Edward hissed then shook his head in confusion. "But in the woods, when you saw him, you 'knew you were meant for him'."
"I was meant to find him," Jacob said rolling his eyes. "I wasn't meant to be with him... I thought that was you, I thought that was why you're leaving-"
"I thought you changed your mind... or your imprint... when I heard what you were thinking-
"And this is why I keep telling you not to take things out of my head," Jacob sighed.
"Fine," Edward sighed. "But what the hell is going on right now? Are you in love with that guy?"
"No," Jacob balked. "Are you?"
"No," Edward answered quickly. "So... there's no problem?"
Jacob pushed Edward, making him stumble backwards a few paces. "You jackass," Jacob growled.
"How am I a jackass?"
"You drive me crazy," Jacob said. He gestured to the luggage around them. "I thought I was losing you."
"That's what I thought about you," Edward said with a chuckle.
"This isn't funny," Jacob said but already levity was creeping back into voice. "I was worried."
Jacob reached out for Edward unsurely and Edward rushed to him. Jacob embraced Edward, clasping his long arms around him, and Edward nuzzled himself closer. Jacob breathed in the scent at Edward's neck. Jacob couldn't stand it, couldn't stand how close he had come to losing Edward over a misunderstanding. He couldn't let this sort of thing happen again, he couldn't live without Edward. There was no light in his life without Edward at his side; Jacob wouldn't have been able to go on living, knowing that Edward was out there and that he couldn't be with him. Jacob swept Edward up, into his arms and carried him into the front room. Jacob laid Edward on the couch and lowered himself gently down on top of him. Jacob kissed Edward's soft, thin lips, then up along Edward's striking jaw, then he pressed soft kisses to Edward's ear. Jacob kept the kisses chaste, teasing Edward until he pulled Jacob's face to his and kissed him passionately. Jacob smiled against Edward's prying lips. He loved Edward, loved Edward more than he loved anyone, including himself. Jacob could never want anyone as much as he wanted Edward, forever, it seemed silly that either of them should question it.
"I love you Jacob," Edward whispered"
"Of course you do," Jacob chuckled, "why wouldn't you?"
Jacob awoke the next morning to the sound of the doorbell. He sat up on the couch, naked as a jay bird, with his clothes in tatters around the room. Jacob rubbed his bleary eyes. Edward wasn't around; if he had been he would have already answered the door, probably before the bell even rang. Jacob pulled a throw off of the couch, wrapped it around his waist, went to the door and pulled it open. CJ was just turning to start down the stairs when Jacob opened the door. CJ's cheeks flushed a deep crimson as he looked at Jacob and he averted his eyes to the sidewalk.
"Sorry," CJ said sheepishly, "I thought... it's just... I didn't mean to disturb you."
"And you didn't," Jacob said, "what can I do for you?" CJ cleared his throat, shuffled his feet, and continued to look anywhere but at Jacob. "How about you come in and I'll go get dressed."
CJ nodded his agreement and Jacob lead him inside, steered him towards the foyer, away from the shredded clothing strewn living room, and then jogged upstairs to dress quickly. As quickly as he moved Jacob still didn't beat Edward's arrival. He could hear the surprise in Edward's voice when he came in and ran into CJ. Jacob dressed as quickly as he could and raced down the stairs into the foyer. Edward turned his golden eyes on Jacob, silently demanding an explanation. Jacob went to his side and kissed his lips gently.
"You're home," Jacob said.
"I went out to get you bagels," Edward said raising a brown paper bag to eye level. "I know how much you like bagels in the morning."
"CJ," Jacob said with a smirk, "have you met my husband, Edward? Edward, this is the nice man I ran into last night, CJ."
"It's nice to meet you," CJ said and extended a hand to Edward.
"And you brought him here last night?" Edward asked raising one eyebrow skeptically.
"Oh," CJ said, "no. I just asked around in town and I was told you lived here so..."
Jacob smiled but wondered what, exactly, CJ had asked people to make them tell him where they lived. Worse than that was that everyone in town seemed to know exactly where they lived and were willing to give out that information to any random stranger who asked. Edward squeezed Jacob around the waist. CJ lowered his extended hand slowly and shoved it into his pocket.
"They didn't say that you were married though," CJ continued.
"We just got back from our honeymoon," Edward said, "last night, actually. We're supposed visit my parents now—"
"I was just hoping that Jacob would be able to help me," CJ said focusing his gaze on Jacob. "I think I lost my mother's necklace in the woods last night. I was hoping that you could help me find my way back there."
Edward's hand dug into Jacob's side, Jacob could all but feel the animosity coming off of Edward in waves. Edward didn't like CJ, didn't trust him, and he didn't like that CJ wanted to take Jacob out into the forest, alone, on what he was sure would turn out to be a wild goose chase. Jacob patted Edward's shoulder affectionately all the while smiling at CJ. What could this boy have to gain by leading Jacob out into the woods for no reason? Even if he were up to no good, he was no match for Jacob. Edward turned and glared at Jacob. Jacob smirked, his eyes never leaving CJ's face.
"Sure sure," Jacob said easily. "I remember where you were."
"Why don't I come with you," Edward said.
"Why don't you," Jacob said. He turned, with a wide smile on face, towards Edward and locked eyes with him. "You should, it is such a beautiful day outside. The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, not a cloud in sky."
Edward glared at Jacob and clenched his jaw. "I just remembered that I have to see my parents today." Jacob chuckled at the obviously false sentiment in Edward's tone but Edward's face was serious. "Be careful," Edward told him somberly.
Jacob turned, took Edward's face gently in his hands, and held Edward's gaze. Jacob leaned down slowly, never breaking eye contact, and pressed his lips softly to Edward's. Jacob sighed, broke the kiss, and smiled warmly at Edward. "I love you," Jacob told him. "I'll meet you at Esme's in an hour."
Edward nodded stiffly; his eyes flickered in CJ's direction momentarily. Jacob knew that Edward wanted to go with them, wanted to be there, wanted to be with Jacob more than anything in the world, and Jacob loved him even more for that. Jacob's eyes stayed fixed on Edward and he thought, fleetingly, of telling CJ that he was busy. He thought of telling CJ that he needed to be with Edward, and pushing him out of the house so he could be alone with Edward. But something inside of Jacob wouldn't let him. Somehow, Jacob knew that he needed to be with CJ. Jacob needed to go to the woods with CJ; there was something that drew them both... even if CJ might not feel it.
"I'll just... I'll wait for you outside," CJ said meekly. He squeezed past Edward and Jacob and slipped out of the door into the relative safety of the street.
Edward sighed at Jacob. "How am I supposed to not take that out of context?" Edward asked. "You need to be with him?"
"I need to take him out to the woods, er, we need to be alone. I mean, I need to be alone with him in the woods..."
"I can't imagine why that would raise any red flags for me," Edward said.
"It's not like that," Jacob said. Edward moved his hands and tried to pull away but Jacob wrapped his arms around Edward's waist and pulled him until they were flush against one another. "I can't really explain it yet... I just know that I need to be with him in those woods, like I needed to find him there last night, it's just important."
Edward sighed. "This is weird."
"This is weird?" Jacob balked. "This isn't even out of the ordinary compared to our most normal day."
Edward laughed and Jacob kissed him again, brushed his nose against Edward's softly.
"I really want you to be careful," Edward said seriously. "I can't hear his thoughts; I don't know what he's thinking, what he's planning, and I don't trust him."
"Yes dear," Jacob said lightly. "I'll be on my guard."
Edward touched Jacob's shirt lightly, his fingers tracing the soft fabric, and he smiled as he examined it. "Is this the shirt that I bought you in France?"
Jacob smiled and leaned down to press one final lingering kiss on Edward's lips before he slipped out of the door. CJ leaned against Jacob's truck, waiting for him, and smiled as Jacob emerged. Jacob smoothed his shirt, a gift from Edward. Edward didn't buy clothes often, but he said he'd been walking and he thought Jacob would like it. Now, whenever Jacob wore it, he mostly spent the day thinking of Edward. He'd think of how much Edward loved him and how much he loved Edward right back. It was a simple gesture, but it meant more to Jacob than all the flashy presents in the world. CJ gestured for Jacob to open the doors and Jacob did so with the push of a button, CJ jumped in. The ride back to the forest didn't take long; they arrived before the awkward silence truly set in. Jacob jumped out of the car and lead CJ back to the spot they'd first met. Jacob stopped and turned to face CJ.
"Here we are," Jacob said.
Jacob clapped his hands in front of himself, looked around the forest, and smiled uncomfortably at CJ. Suddenly he felt exposed, he felt like now that they were alone he'd be expected to do something but he didn't know what. Jacob watched as CJ poked around in the trees. Jacob took him the way he could smell that CJ had come. After almost ten minutes CJ's face brightened and he reached into the bushes to retrieve a small silver locket on a broken chain. CJ slipped the necklace into his pocket and turned to face Jacob with a large smile on his face. Jacob had heard Leah approaching long before she actually arrived and hoped that she was fully dressed, and definitely not in wolf form, when she arrived, but didn't like he should warn either of them about it. When she came through the clearing, Jacob was happy to see, she was dressed, though not wearing shoes, and looking particularly lovely. Jacob smiled at her over CJ's shoulder and CJ turned to see what he was looking at. Leah froze in place, her entire body rigid, as her eyes locked on CJ.
"CJ Swan?" Edward repeated in amazement. "As in Charlie?"
"Charlie Junior," CJ agreed with a nod, "CJ... why?"
Emmett barked with laughter, tossing his head back, while Rosalie folded her arms tightly over her chest. She glared at CJ angrily, still distrustful of this new stranger... even after months. Jacob stared at him, completely flabbergasted, speechless, frozen arm in arm with Edward.
"He's Bella's son!" Emmett roared with laughter.
"How do you know my mother's name?" CJ asked.
"Don't freak out," Leah said to Jacob and Edward.
"You knew?" Edward asked.
"No," Leah said quickly, "this is news to me too. I just want you to be calm."
Leah moved herself closer to CJ, partially covering him with her body. Jacob would have laughed if he weren't freaking out. It amused him when Leah protected CJ, when she protected the man she imprinted on. Although, he was having trouble finding humor in their situation.
"Why did we not know this before now?" Jacob asked.
Jacob looked over to Esme, whose hand was still hovering over the invitation she was just about to begin to transcribe for Leah and CJ's upcoming wedding, she shrugged at him. How had they never asked a question as basic as CJ's last name? Why hadn't they pushed harder to meet CJ's family? How could they have been so utterly unprepared for this situation? A blob of ink dripped from Esme's quill to the paper but Leah, with quick reflexes, swooped over and caught it in the palm of her hand.
"Come on," Leah said. She wiped the wet ink on a napkin and moved back to stand beside CJ. "This isn't such a big deal."
"It's kind of a huge deal," Emmett said. "He's Bella's son."
"And it's been a long time," Leah said.
"How do you know my mother?" CJ asked.
"I can't believe you're still falling for his innocent act," Rosalie said angrily. Jacob rolled his eyes as he and Edward sunk to the couch in unison. It was the start of another one of Rosalie's over protective rants regarding CJ, 'the dangerous stranger who had appeared in their lives out of the blue'. Jacob had, originally, been happy when Leah and Rosalie became friends but that time had long past. Rosalie's overbearing big sister routine was getting old and only Leah still seemed touched by her concern. "He's Bella's son? Bella! She tried to kill Jacob!"
CJ's head whipped to Jacob so fast that Jacob thought it should have snapped off. He looked at Jacob and Jacob could finally place those pale hazel eyes of his. They were the same hazel eyes he had seen when CJ was a baby in Bella's arms. It was as if he had blinked and that baby became a man. He'd been so engrossed with his life with Edward that he didn't completely realize time continued to pass. Edward put a hand on Jacob's knee, he did something like that anytime the subject of Jacob's death came up, as if he was just making sure that Jacob was still there. Jacob touched his hand and grasped it firmly in his own.
"My mother tried to kill you?" CJ asked. "I thought you were, you know, immortal... kinda... like Leelee."
Jacob chuckled. CJ didn't quite know everything about their odd little family but he knew enough. He knew that Leah was different from the rest of the Cullens... and that Jacob was too... he just didn't know that he was surrounded by all manner of the supernatural. Jacob wasn't even sure if Leah had told CJ that she was a werewolf exactly.
"Shapeshifter," Edward countered quietly and Jacob gave him a quick glare.
"Bella was more devious than we gave her credit for," Rosalie said icily, "and we won't make that mistake again."
"Rosalie," Leah sighed, "I'm sure he wouldn't—"
"But you don't know!" Rosalie yelled. "You don't know, not even Edward knows because he can't read him."
"What does that mean?" CJ asked.
"Rosalie," Edward said warningly.
"Read me?" CJ continued. "What does that mean?"
Leah took his hand and held it close to her heart and Jacob could see the understanding in CJ, some things he just wasn't meant to know, yet. CJ shrugged, as if letting the question roll off of his shoulders. He brought Leah's hand up and kissed it gently. He knew that some things he wasn't meant to know, not because Leah didn't trust him or love him, but because they weren't her secrets to tell. CJ knew that, with only a touch Leah had been able to convey that to him, Jacob was reminded of his relationship with Edward. It was a deeper connection than anyone thought possible, the feelings ran straight into their core until it was who you were and not just how you felt. Jacob squeezed Edward's hand softly and Edward returned it in kind.
Leah turned to Rosalie impassionedly. "Please," Leah pleaded, "please, Rose, just be happy for me."
Rosalie's stern face softened and she tsked then said; "I'm just worried. I don't want anyone to hurt you."
Leah went to Rosalie and pulled her into a hug. "Thank you," Leah whispered, "thank you for that." Leah let go of Rosalie and Rosalie sighed.
"Are we actually going to talk to Bella?" Rosalie asked. "Are we going to let her into our home after what she did?"
"Are you sure that we're talking about the same Bella Swan?" CJ asked. "I don't think that my mother could do something like that."
Jacob shook his head as the memories started coming back. The time he'd spent with Bella, he had thought he was in love with her, but he didn't want to remember. Those memories were tainted after all she had done. Jacob wanted to forgive her and love her unconditionally, as a family should, but Jacob found that his heart had become cold towards Bella. He couldn't think of her and not think of how she deliberately hurt him, how she deliberately hurt Edward. Bella had been a friend once, like family. For a time, there had been a vacancy in their lives without her, but it filled with the misdeeds she'd done. Time to time, Jacob imagined what his life would have been like if he had ended up with Bella. He thought about what their children would look like, would they have her eyes. Would they have his hair, her pale skin, his grace? Jacob tried to do this thinking when Edward was hunting; he knew that it hurt him to know that Jacob thought of a life without him in it.
CJ called his mother, called their Bella, and told her that he'd met someone, that he was in love, and they were getting married. Bella had been wary, worried that her son was making a huge mistake, and told him that both she and Mike would be on the first flight to Alaska. Jacob waited with CJ at the small airfield near Anchorage. Jacob had agreed to come with CJ to prepare Bella and Mike for the shock of a lifetime. She probably never expected to see any of them again, as much as they never expected to see her. Edward had been against it, completely, and had even, at one point, demanded that they pack up and move and leave Leah to deal with Bella. It was a heated moment, directly following the idea that Jacob should meet Bella, and Edward's passions had been running a little high. Still, it had made the most sense to send Jacob; at least it had at the time. Now though, he was wondering what had been said to make him think that. The plane touched down, the ramp brought out, and soon two lone passengers came ambling down the ramp. Jacob felt his stomach tighten into knots, Bella wore a large, ostentatious hat that obscured her face but he could smell her from where she stood, unmistakable Bella.
When she reached the bottom of the ramp she looked up, saw her son, and they ran towards one another and embraced. Jacob waited anxiously near the car, and felt an overwhelming surge of dread as Bella's head lifted and her brown eyes found him. Jacob's heart hammered in his chest, Bella's eyes narrowed to slits. Slowly, Bella pulled CJ so he was safely tucked behind her, though CJ didn't seem to notice. CJ moved on, hugged his father fondly, while Bella continued to glare. Jacob was mesmerized by her, by how she had aged... by the fact that she had aged. It wasn't as though she had become ugly, she was still quite breathtaking, but there were crow's feet at the corners of her eyes. Her face had gained subtle creases, her stern mouth had begun to pucker, and her once warm brown eyes were now cold. Jacob felt the freeze of those eyes upon him and he couldn't look away.
"What are you doing here?" Bella whispered so only he could hear.
Jacob gathered his reserve, straightened to his full, towering height, and walked casually over to them. Bella looked like she wanted to grab her son and run away, get back on the plane and get as far from Jacob as she could. She knew that if Jacob were there then Edward wouldn't be far. If it weren't for Leah, Jacob might have let her, even helped her. Jacob came to a halt a few meters away from them, just far enough to imply their safety, and smiled congenially at them.
"Bella," Jacob said by way of greeting.
Mike glanced over at Jacob, didn't recognize him, and asked CJ how he was doing and why he hadn't gone back to school yet.
"Jacob," Bella said coldly, "what are you doing here?"
"I'm with CJ," Jacob said easily.
Bella's face blanched, and then flushed crimson, her lips hardened into a thin line, and she lunged at Jacob. Jacob easily caught her by the wrists and held her at bay. Bella shrieked, causing a small scene, and both Mike and CJ came to pull her away from Jacob. Bella's hat had been flung to the ground, her graying brown hair had started to slip out of the intricate curls she had pinned it up into, and she fumed at Jacob.
"Not my son!" Bella yelled at him. "Not my son! Edward and- not my son!
It took Jacob a moment to work out what Bella meant. When he finally understood he couldn't do anything but sigh. "No Bella," Jacob stated. "Not your son, there will never be anyone but Edward for me. That's not why I'm here."
"Then why are you here?" Bella asked venomously.
"I'm here for CJ… CJ and Leah," Jacob said. Jacob waited, watching Bella's face, waiting for her to work out what he was telling her. Bella wasn't a stupid woman, she had never been, and Jacob knew he wouldn't need to say anymore for her to figure it out. In seconds, she had worked it out and realization darkened her features.
"Leah is-" CJ began but Bella cut him off with a sharp wave of her thin hand.
"Leah imprinted on my son?" Bella asked. "That... dried up, shriveled, shrew imprinted on my son?"
"Mother," CJ said warningly.
Bella spun quickly and grasped CJ's chin between her bony fingers. "Just because she has... because she has these feelings for you, it doesn't mean you have to have them too. We can get on this plane; we'll never see them ever again."
"Mom," CJ sighed. "I love her, and not just because she loves me. I love her. I have loved her since the moment I saw her."
Bella sighed, a disgusted sound issuing from her pursed lips. She let her hand fall away from CJ's face. She glared at Jacob over one shoulder. Mike just stared at Jacob, his face a mixture of recognition and disbelief. He pointed at Jacob, his arm moving in slow motion, and then looked over at Bella questioningly. Jacob wasn't happy to see Mike again, could have gone the rest of his life without ever seeing Mike Newton again. The idea that he now had to tell Mike about them, to let Mike Newton, of all people, know the Quileute secret, the Cullen's secret, was a miserable one. He would sooner have taken Mike to bed than tell him their secret. But Leah thought that the only way she could have a long and happy life with CJ was if they were completely honest and, in her mind, that included CJ's family. Jacob forced a smile and waved at Mike, knowing that he looked the same as he had the last time he'd run into Mike, before leaving Forks, down to the same short hair cut. Meanwhile, Mike had aged twenty years. Mike's hair was gray, his skin wrinkled, and his stomach slightly pouched. He wasn't an unattractive man; he had just aged, as people did... everyone but the people in Jacob's small corner of the world.
"You..." Mike started and faltered. He looked between Jacob and Bella several times before he tried again. "You must be... you look so familiar."
"Mike," Bella said with a weary sigh, "you remember Jacob Black."
"Yes I do," Mike said. He continued to stare at Jacob until his face lit with recognition and he smiled broadly at Jacob. "Of course, you look just like him. You are the spitting image of your father."
Mike reached out for Jacob's hand and Jacob couldn't keep the laughter that bubbled up in him from bursting free. Jacob grasped Mike's hand and shook it with more force than necessary. He caught Mike's eyes and smiled. If he were going to do this, if he were going to tell his biggest secret to a complete stranger, then he would at least have some fun with it.
"I am Jacob," Jacob said. Mike chuckled and glanced at Bella, but her expression was somber, and turned back to Jacob.
"That's impossible," Mike said. "Jacob would be... jeez... forty years old."
"Forty-eight," Jacob corrected.
Mike laughed incredulously. "You cannot be Jacob Black. You don't look a day over twenty-five."
Jacob chuckled and let go of Mike's hand. Mike let his hand hang in the air as he stared after Jacob. Jacob smiled at him teasingly and turned back to face Bella. Her face hadn't softened at all but Jacob ignored her sour disposition and instead grabbed her luggage, easily hefting all three of her large trunks. Jacob arranged the luggage in his truck and got in the driver's seat. CJ moved to get into the front seat but Bella caught him by the wrist and forced him into the back seat beside her. Mike climbed into the passenger seat and stared at Jacob. The entire trip back to the Cullen's, Mike's eyes never left him. Bella talked with CJ in fervent whispers, though Jacob could still hear them. When they finally reached the house Jacob hopped out of the truck almost before he'd finished turning it off. Jacob moved around to the back of the truck, away from Mike's prying eyes and flipped up the hatch.
He heard Mike gasp, a startled strangled sound, and stuck his head around the truck to see him watching Alice as she came down the front steps. For a moment, Jacob allowed himself to feel bad for Mike. Jacob could remember how difficult it was to learn the truth, to realize that everything you had thought you knew about the world was untrue, and he was sorry that Mike couldn't go on believing the lie for the rest of his life. Alice smiled at Mike, completely unconcerned with his fragile state, and moved to Bella. Not for the first time, Jacob wondered how they did it. How did the Cullens abstain from drinking human blood, how did they resist the temptation when it was always so close? Even Jasper had gotten so much better at it over the years. Still, Jacob wondered.
"Practice, practice, practice." Edward said breathily into Jacob's ear.
Jacob turned to him with a smile and stooped to wrap his arms around Edward's waist. Jacob pressed Edward against the truck, pinned him with his body, and kissed Edward's lips with zeal. Only Bella's loud scoff reminded him that they were in mixed company, but even that didn't spoil the moment. Jacob loved these moments, loved the moments when they were reunited, loved wrapping his arms around Edward and kissing him as if they had been apart for decades instead of hours. Even Bella's misery couldn't ruin it for him. Edward smiled up at Jacob, his firm hands rubbing circles on Jacob's back, and kissed Jacob chastely before he slipped out of his grasp and moved closer to where Alice stood. Edward slipped a hand around his pseudo-sister's waist and brought her up close to him. She was angry; Jacob could see that now, angry and staring right at Bella. He knew that they'd been friends and that Alice had known about Bella's betrayal, that she'd kept Bella's secret. Over the years Jacob had seen how much that decision had tormented Alice, how she felt that she had betrayed Jacob and sided with Bella.
"Bella," Alice said shortly.
Bella's eyes locked on Alice, mesmerized, and Edward trapped Alice at his side with one arm around her waist. If Bella noticed the anger in Alice's eyes she didn't let on. She didn't seem aware of anything accept that Alice was near her again. Bella moved towards Alice but Rosalie appeared at Alice's side and Bella stopped in her tracks.
"Bella," Rosalie sighed, "you look… old."
Bella glared at her. "You look… frigged, as always."
Jacob chuckled scooped up the bags from the trunk and took them into the house. There were enough people there with abilities to handle any problem that might arise. Esme stood just inside the door, wringing her hands, and watching the scene worriedly. Jacob dropped the luggage and went to her side, slipping an arm around her small waist; he kissed the top of her head softly.
"It's okay to have missed Bella," Jacob assured her. "I understand."
Esme looked at him like she wanted to slap his face. "Missed Bella? After what she did to you? I never missed her a day." Esme turned to face the unfolding scene again. "I just don't want her here; I want to go out there and pick her up and toss her as far as I can. I know that she'll expect me to be motherly but I can't… I just can't look at her after what she did to you."
Jacob rubbed Esme's back softly, he didn't want to cause her trouble or heartache, and he definitely didn't want there to be a problem because of him. Edward swept into the room and stopped at the doorway, he stared at Jacob and Esme.
"The problem isn't you," Edward said. "The problem is her. The problem has always been Bella."
The next few weeks Jacob tried to keep his presence to a minimum, though he stayed at the main house to be nearer to Esme. While Bella, Mike, Esme, Leah and CJ planned the wedding slowly, reluctantly on Bella's part, Jacob and Edward kept themselves busy on the estate. It didn't require much upkeep but they found miniscule flaws that could occupy their attention. They cleared brush, planted flowers, mended tiny flaws in fences, created a flowering utopia according to Carmen's intricate plans and still, in two weeks time, they had run out of reasons to be away. As Jacob descended the back stairs of the Denali/Cullen estate he could hear Mike in the foyer talking loudly to Jasper. Mike had mistaken Jasper's quiet nature and unwillingness to carry on a conversation as a problem with his hearing. Now, when Mike addressed Jasper he did so at the loudest possible volume. On occasion Jasper had taken to pumping Mike full of euphoric emotions and walking away, ignoring the conversation all together. This time, however, Jacob imagined he would let Mike talk.
"I mean," Mike continued loudly, "I haven't seen Bella this upset in years… hell! Decades."
"Perhaps—" Jasper started but Mike ignored him.
"I thought she was over this," Mike said. "I thought that she had gotten over the whole Edward, Jacob thing. I thought that, once we moved to California, she had forgotten all about this whole thing but here we are… her son is marrying Jacob's cousin, or whatever, and she is back to being the same desperate woman I'd known twenty odd years ago."
"I think that—"Jasper tried again.
"Have you seen the way she watches the door?" Mike asked. "She's always waiting for Edward to come in. Whenever the door opens she turns towards it hopefully. I think she's still in love with him. I think… I think she's still hoping that he's going to come back to her."
Jacob rolled his eyes. It seemed like something Bella would do, hold onto hope that Edward would realize that he was actually in love with her and he would leave Jacob forever. Jacob crossed the room silently and opened the refrigerator but before he could reach inside the door was slammed shut on him. Edward glared at him as he leaned against the fridge.
"What's up?" Jacob whispered. "I was going to have something for breakfast before heading out. Did you see that hole in the fence?"
"No," Edward said flatly, "because there is no hole. I have something else planned for us today. Don't worry about…"
Edward trailed off and Jacob could see that he was listening to the inner workings of someone's mind. Like Alice and her visions, Edward too had a distinct look that came across his face when he purposely used his gift. He eyes were on Jacob but his thoughts were elsewhere, in someone else's head, and whatever he heard didn't seem to be improving his mood at all. Jacob touched Edward's shoulder lightly, hoping to bring his focus back, but Edward remained fixated.
"I am quickly beginning to lose my patience with Mike and Bella," Edward grumbled.
"Don't listen," Jacob said.
"I can't just not listen," Edward said in exasperation, "it's like they're broadcasting it. I can hear it when we're out in the field sometimes. I just want them to shut up."
"You can hear Bella?" Jacob asked.
"I can hear her talking," Edward amended, "I hear Mike's thoughts. If I have to hear him thinking that I should just be a man and speak to Bella one more time…"
Jacob chuckled, moved forward, and wrapped his arms around Edward's waist. "Perhaps you should speak with her. Her son is marrying into our family; it might make the whole process a little… easier."
"Easier for whom?" Edward asked. Jacob frowned at him and Edward sighed, reached his arms up and wrapped them around Jacob's neck. "Forget about that, I have a surprise planned for you."
Jacob smiled. "A surprise? What kind of surprise?"
"You," Edward said and leaned up to kiss Jacob's lips, "just go upstairs and get dressed. I will handle everything else."
Jacob rolled his eyes but smiled and, after a slow kiss, headed back upstairs. Halfway to his room Bella came out of her room into his path. Bella looked at him bitterly, purposefully, as though she meant to speak with him. Jacob tried to keep his thoughts placid and serene and not give away to Edward that she was there; he knew that Edward would be at his side instantly. Bella crossed her arms, pulling the edges of her black and gray flowered robe tightly closed as she did, and stared at Jacob.
"Bella," Jacob said as quietly as he could.
"You betrayed me," Bella whispered. "You and Edward… you… you loved each other and you kept it a secret."
"We kept it a secret from each other too," Jacob said.
Bella held up a hand to stop him from continuing. Bella took a deep breath before continuing: "You hurt me, and I know that you didn't do it on purpose but… back then… it felt that way."
Jacob tried to keep his thoughts contained, tried not to get angry at this infuriating topic, but found it hard not to think about what she was saying when what she was saying was so confusing. Why was she bringing this up again? Why was she trying to make him feel bad for falling in love? Did she think that she could convince him to leave Edward? Did she think that, after all of these years, she could make Jacob feel guilty enough to leave? Did she think that, if he did, Edward would come back to her?
"What is the point of this, Bella?" Jacob asked.
"I just…" Bella took a long and exaggerated sighing breath. "I wanted to… apologize to you."
Jacob's face went slack. Of all of the things he thought Bella might have said that had been nowhere on the list. "You want to apologize?" Jacob said skeptically. "Sure sure. Then pigs will fly, hell will freeze over and the Cubs will win a world series. What are you up to?"
"Damn it, Jacob," Bella snapped. "It's been twenty-six years! We're not children anymore."
"Meaning?" Edward called from behind Jacob. He came to stand beside him and casually laid his arm around Jacob's waist.
"Meaning," Bella said with a sigh, "that I have had to come to some… hard realizations over the years."
"What realizations?" Edward asked skeptically.
"I had wanted to do this for you both separately," Bella said, "but, I suppose, since you never do anything separately anymore—"
"Or ever again," Edward added.
"Jacob," Bella began turning her attention to him, "I realize that you didn't steal Edward from me, that you couldn't have controlled the way you felt about him anymore than I could. I realize that I was completely out of line and I am… I am, honestly, so regretful for what I did to you."
Bella's voice quavered and she turned her head sharply to conceal a tear that leaked from her eye. She brushed it away swiftly with her hand and, after taking a deep breath, turned back towards them. Jacob gaped at her and, though he couldn't tear his eyes away to look at Edward, he imagined he was much the same. The last time Jacob had seen Bella she had been wishing he were dead, or that he'd never been born in the first place, and now here she was apologizing to him.
What a difference a few decades make, Jacob thought.
"I can't tell you how many times I wished that I could have changed my past," Bella continued. "How many times I wished that I had been a stronger person, a better friend. I wish I could have been there for you two; instead, my suffering was all I could think of. I have had twenty- six years to think about myself, to think about how I treated you… both of you… and to try and reconcile the monster I had become with the person I wanted to be.
"I wanted to find you in Forks, but the only time I saw you, you were at Billy's funeral and I couldn't approach you there." Bella took a deep, shuddering breath. "I realized too late the truth of my selfish actions. I wish I could have made it up to you… I wish there were a way that I ever could… but I just want you to know that I have truly grown up. I wanted to let you know that I realize that I was completely out of order, and I wanted to apologize to you both. I am so sorry. God, Jacob, I am so sorry."
Bella turned away and rushed into the bathroom. Jacob turned slowly towards Edward and whispered; "Did that really just happen?"
"Yeah," Edward said slowly, "I think it did."
"I tried to tell Mike," Jasper said from the other end of the hallway, "but he doesn't like to listen. I never got that she was waiting for Edward… she wanted to speak with Jacob. She really is sorry, unbelievable as that may seem."
Jacob nodded slowly then asked; "Where is Mike?"
"Mike is taking a little nap on the couch," Jasper said. He smiled then quickly went into the room he shared with Alice.
Edward kissed Jacob's cheek then told him to get dressed and pushed him towards their bedroom. Jacob dressed quickly and, walking through the front room where Mike wasn't so much sleeping as sitting on the couch staring off into space dazedly, joined Edward on the front porch. Edward lifted a large wicker picnic basket and smiled at Jacob excitedly.
"What's that?" Jacob asked.
"We're going to have a picnic," Edward answered.
"Why?" Jacob asked.
"It's romantic," Edward sighed.
"You don't eat," Jacob said, "you want to go into the woods and watch me eat? That's not romantic… that's creepy."
Edward let the basket drop back onto the patio couch with a heavy thud. "Maybe I'll get something to eat too."
"Wow," Jacob deadpanned. "So, first you'll watch me eat, then I get to watch you slaughter a wild animal? Who said romance was dead?"
"I was trying to be sweet and loving and spontaneous," Edward said.
"All of which you accomplished," Jacob said. He stepped forward, swept Edward into his long arms and held Edward against him softly. "Maybe we could have a picnic without the basket. I'd love to just spend the day with you."
"It won't be special," Edward said.
"As long as I'm with you, it's special."
"Blech!" Emmett called from behind them. "You're so sappy it's disgusting."
"What do you want, Emmett?" Jacob asked tersely.
Edward sighed; "Esme would like us to help with the set up today, no picnic."
Jacob crinkled his nose as he looked down at Edward. Why would they need to help set up? It would only take one of them a few minutes… half an hour, tops.
"Mike has hired a wedding planner," Edward explained.
"Why do I even bother to deliver messages to you two?" Emmett wondered as he wandered away.
"We're supposed to stay here and pretend to heft stuff all because Mike wants a party planner?" Jacob scoffed. "Won't the others want to, I don't know, plan something? Esme and Leah already took care of all the party planning, didn't they?"
Edward smiled and kissed Jacob before slipping out of his arms and walking back into the house. Jacob sighed, resigned himself to spending his free time pretending to be human, and grabbed the picnic basket. He turned to see Alice standing in the doorway; she had a faraway look in her eyes. She looked towards Jacob without actually seeing him and stood with one hand braced on the doorframe. Jacob reached out to her instinctively, resting his large hand on her tiny shoulder, and she focused her caramel eyes on him.
"She tried that with me too," Alice said. "She came to me and told me she was sorry, that she had learned her lesson. Does she think we can forgive her?"
"I think," Jacob said, "that she thinks that her son is marrying our Leah and that she should make peace before she loses him."
Alice scoffed. "Like Leah will want to stay here once she marries CJ. She won't want to remain here where she will never age but he'll grow ever older."
Jacob draped his arm around Alice's slight shoulders and squeezed her affectionately. He knew that Alice had been avoiding Bella, hadn't spent any time with her since the few moments when Bella had arrived, only long enough to let Bella know that they wouldn't be having a happy reunion. Alice had decided to sequester herself in her room. Jacob didn't exactly know what she was doing up there but he imagined she was keeping her vision on Bella's actions. Alice often kept to her room, the highest point in the house without standing on the roof, when she was trying to use her visions. She wanted to do right by Jacob, Edward had told him, and she did not want to 'let him down again'. Even though Jacob firmly told her that she had never let him down, she had hoped Bella would make the right choice, as Jacob had refused to believe that Bella might be responsible. Alice wasn't responsible for Bella's actions, or for thinking that Bella would change her mind. The only one who was at fault was Bella, and now she seemed to want to reconcile. Jacob wondered how he could reconcile with her. Could he forgive her for trying to kill him? Could he forgive her for letting him die, for hurting Edward? She had broken Edward when she let Jacob die; even now, Edward still had moments where he wasn't quite all there. Moments when he would come rushing into the room Jacob was in to make sure he was still there.
Jacob's thoughts broke around Leah crashing into the house and calling for Carlisle. The bitter tang of blood filled the air. Jacob moved to turn but Alice gripped him and her hidden strength kept him rooted to her side. Alice still didn't look at him, kept her vague eyes looking out over the vast expanse of the front lawn.
"Alice," Jacob said, a pinch of terror tinting his voice, "that was Leah… something's wrong." Jacob tried to tug free of Alice's grasp but she held him easily.
"Jacob," Alice said ominously, "I'm afraid I've seen something."
"You always see things," Jacob said anxiously.
"It's about Leah and CJ," Alice said.
"What do you mean?" Jacob asked. "Is CJ having second thoughts? Is he thinking about walking out on Leah?"
"No," Alice said somberly, "but I don't… I think we'll have to delay the wedding."
"Delay the wedding for what?" Jacob bellowed.
"For CJ," Alice said finally locking eyes with Jacob. "I'm afraid he's been in an accident."
"What?" Jacob asked. "He's going to be in an accident? When? Where? We'll search for him… we can find him before—"
"No," Alice said softly. "I'm sure that it's already happened. Now, we'll just have to wait."
"WAIT FOR WHAT?" Jacob yelled. He didn't care who heard him, he was getting annoyed with all of Alice's double-talk and her non-answers. Where was CJ and why, if he were in an accident, would they just wait?
"Leah's already gotten him," Edward answered from behind them. Jacob turned to look at his husband but Edward's eyes were on Alice's stricken face. "She felt it; she already went to him and brought him here… to us."
Of course she would, if CJ were hurt, even if he were dying, Leah would bring him home, to Carlisle, to their family. If CJ were dying, Leah would bring him to be changed but Jacob wasn't sure Leah was considering all of the ramifications of her actions. One look at Edward's face and Jacob knew that he felt the same way, CJ could have no life with them, and he would be forever changed. Any plans he had had for his mortal life would be gone, would Leah be able to live with making that decision for him? And would their bond be able to last after his death? Or would it sever the moment he stopped being human?
"I didn't stop loving you when you died," Edward said.
"But I didn't die," Jacob said, "not really. This… this will be totally different."
Alice sighed and moved past them and into the house. Edward put his hands on Jacob's shoulders and rubbed softly. Leah, Jacob knew, would be devastated no matter what happened. Any outcome would change Leah and CJ's relationship and she might end up losing him. But she would do whatever needed to be done to save him, Jacob knew, because he would do the same for Edward.
"And I for you," Edward whispered. He pressed his cold lips to Jacob's neck and kissed softly.
"We were lucky," Jacob sighed. "You were just as imprinted on me as I was on you. When I lost you, you still had me. They won't have that. What if they lose the love they share? What if he doesn't love her anymore?"
Edward sighed. "We just have to be there for her, for him, and trust that everything will work out as it is supposed to."
Jacob placed his hand on Leah's shoulder as she waited beside CJ's bed. She didn't look towards Jacob, didn't even acknowledge his presence. It was going on the end of the third day of waiting, waiting for some sign of life from CJ, waiting for CJ to wake up, waiting. When Leah brought CJ home he'd been hardly recognizable, the car accident nearly killed him. Carlisle had been the one to turn him, Leah had sobbed and begged but Carlisle would have done it for her without urging. Three days and CJ's wounds had finally healed, his broken body regained its form, and Leah remained at his side the entire time. Jacob wished there were an approximation of when CJ would wake that up someone could give Leah; he wished that someone could tell her that CJ would wake up. Most of all, Jacob wished someone could tell Leah that when CJ woke up he would still love her. Even Bella, who had sent Mike away days ago, seemed to have sympathy for Leah. Bella often brought Leah food or water, never asking her to leave CJ's side, never trying to start an argument with her; she seemed to have a genuinely motherly concern for Leah.
Jacob watched Carlisle for a moment as Carlisle examined CJ, then Jacob turned and left the room. Down the hall, he joined Edward in their room; they hadn't had a moment to themselves since their honeymoon. Jacob snuck in and slid his arms around Edward's waist. Jacob leaned his head on Edward's shoulder and kissed the pale skin of Edward's neck. Jacob felt for Leah, felt a pity she wouldn't be pleased to know he harbored. She waited and hoped for CJ's recovery while Jacob held Edward in his arms. Jacob knew that Edward would never die, never turn from him; Edward would be his forever, as he would be Edward's. Leah didn't know if CJ would feel the same towards her.
"Everything will be fine," Edward said softly. "When CJ wakes up—"
"He'll look into her eyes and realize that there is no one else for him in the world and we can continue to be one big happy family," Jacob finished.
Edward frowned at him, twirled in Jacob's thick arms and wrapped his arms around Jacob's neck. "And money will rain from the sky and peace will spread over the earth and we won't need to hide anymore… you forgot that part, I always add that part." Edward teased.
"I'm just worried," Jacob said.
"We all are." Edward said. "But sometimes, in life, you just have to hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and be there for each other."
Jacob nodded; he knew they would be there for Leah, no matter what. They would be there for CJ, for Bella and even Mike. They were a family, tied together in a way that would allow for nothing less. They may not always get along, they may not always see eye to eye or always agree but they would always have each other. Jacob kissed Edward's lips softly, pulled Edward's body firmly to him. They would always be together, always, they were soul mates, born to be together, and not even time had been able to separate them. Fate brought them together. Edward, born too early, became a vampire, immortal, and extended his life so that he could reach Jacob. And Jacob was born into a family where the only thing that could extend his life to match Edward's was vampires. They were destiny.
Edward stiffened in Jacob's arms and whispered, "He's waking up."
Jacob turned back to the room where the others were already stirring; gathering at CJ's side, and Bella was being ushered out for her own safety. Edward took Jacob's hand and began towards the room. Jacob watched as Leah stood, leaned over CJ and CJ's eyes opened. His blood red eyes scanned the room quickly, taking in the Cullens, the Quileute, before finally settling on Leah's face. Jacob took a deep breath and exhaled. Everything would be as it was meant to be, he knew, and no matter what they would have each other. Jacob smiled and squeezed Edward's hand.
A/N: Well, that didn't take long. *ducks rotten fruit* Thanks everyone for reading, thanks everyone for your reviews, thanks for your encouragement, your enthusiasm, your assistance, and even your pessimism. Thanks for taking this bizarre trip with me. Temperance