Wow, first time I've written a fic in a long time… and I'm not even that huge of a Twilight fan. I just can't stop getting angry about some of the things that are happening in the story about 2/3s through New Moon. Not a big Edward fan here, heh. I do however like the way Meyer has injected some newness into the vampire/werewolf genre. Even if I don't like the whole sparkling thing. And werewolves, always a plus.
Anyways, this is my attempt to give Bella a more sane reaction to what Edward has been doing to her. I'm sorry, but if some guy takes the engine out of my car, it's not cool. I don't care how much he glitters. Team Jacob supporters are probably going to be enjoy this more *wink*.
This starts in the middle of chapter 6 of Eclipse. I'm changing the day to the weekend for convenience. The first section in italics is a quote. Rated T for language, subtle BxJ, for now.
Standard disclaimer is standard, and thus I do not own ^_^.
All Bella POV.
A second later, comprehension came and I gasped in horror. "It's for every time he's gone, isn't it?"
I slammed the door and stomped toward the house. She danced along next to me, still unrepentant.
"Alice, don't you think this is just a little bit controlling? Just a tiny bit psychotic, maybe?"
"Not really." She sniffed. "You don't seem to grasp how dangerous a young werewolf can be. Especially when I can't see them. Edward has no way to know if you're safe. You shouldn't be so reckless."
I turned to face her, my mouth agape. I'm sure I resembled some sort of fish from the look on Alice's face, but at that moment I didn't care. It was unbelievable. My voice went hard.
"Alice…. How can you say that with a straight face?"
She stopped her dancing and looked back at me. "I'm serious Bella. They could really hurt you."
My stomach dropped to my feet. It was a funny feeling, getting sick from anger. I started to understand a little of what Jacob had to deal with. I almost wished I was him in that moment. Not to hurt Alice, I wouldn't dream of it. It was the thought of bursting out of my skin that was so appealing. The ability to cast everything off and just run, run until my joints ached and I couldn't feel anything but tired sounded like the best idea in the world at that point.
I wanted to run because my mind shifted back to my last birthday, and the look in Jasper's eyes. I was just about tired of being reminded how dangerous werewolves were when I've had my share of close calls with vampires, including the ones in this family. I almost wanted to throw that party in Alice's face, in that moment of anger. But I didn't think it was fair to take out my emotions on her, when they, for the most part, weren't her fault. At least, I didn't think they were. And, as angry as her comment made me, I wasn't going to make her feel bad over an incident that I had already forgiven Jasper for. So instead I scrunched up my face, turned and began walking down the drive.
"Bella what are you–"
"I have to go home."
"Bella, you just got here."
"I still have to go home."
"Come on Bella, I have the whole night planned, I–"
"I still have to go home." The flipping in my gut started to go faster. I didn't even know why I was so angry at this point, but I never should have agreed to this. Then I wouldn't have to deal with whatever reason it was that I was becoming infuriated to the point of almost seriously hurting one of my closest friends. I was fast on the way to becoming an emotional wreck and I didn't quite know why. The werewolf comment made me angry, but I didn't think it should be having this effect on me. I shouldn't be raging inside. What I did know that spending the night with Alice wasn't going to help anything, and I just wanted to go home and try to put my finger on whatever the hell about this situation was setting me off like this.
"Bella, you know Edward won't like this."
Edward. I grimaced. No Edward wouldn't like this, but I was liking it far less. I disliked this entire event that Edward apparently had planned almost enough to make that comment I was trying to hard to suppress.
That was it wasn't it? I was mad at Edward. How dare he set his sister up with a Porsche in return for babysitting me? I'm not a baby. I can make my own choices. How could he claim to love me when he didn't trust me enough to let me live my life the way I want to? How could he…
I didn't think I could deal with that line of thinking without crying, which I wasn't about to do in front of Alice, so I forced myself to forget it for the time being, shook my head, and turned back to her.
"Alice, I have to leave because I'm about to offend you."
Alice giggled. "Bella there is anything you could do to – oh…." She frowned and looked at the ground. I joined her in inspecting the driveway.
"I guess the rest of that comment would have made me say it," I said, feeling the blush creep down my face. Damn vampires and their damned powers. "Look, Alice, I need to go home and… think. I was expecting a spontaneous weekend. Well, dreading one. Instead it's like I've been… lured into house arrest. I know you care about me, but this isn't ok Alice. I don't care if I have to walk, I'm going home. You can even tell Edward I told you he has to let you keep the car, and anything else he gave you to set this whole thing up. I'm just… entirely not up to this tonight."
I turned and began walking down the driveway, intent on making good on my promise. I didn't make it three steps when Alice sighed and opened the car door. "I can see it's what you really want. I guess I'll give you a ride."
I weighed the options. There was a lot of ground to cover between here and Charlie's. A lot of uneven ground. Which meant a lot of opportunities to trip, slip, and fall. Crestfallen, I headed towards the passenger seat and got in.
The silence got awkward as she backed out of the driveway. I attempted to come up with something to say, but after a few minutes, all I said was a feeble "Sorry, Alice."
She looked over at me with her shining eyes. "What for Bella?"
"For, you know, ditching you tonight… and what I said."
She smiled lightly. "You didn't actually say it Bella."
"Yeah, but I was going to– "
She raised one hand off the wheel to stop me. "Don't worry about it Bella. Nobody expects you to keep your emotions in check all the time. Besides, you look like you could use the time. You were starting to tremble back there." She returned her hand to the wheel. "I'll just call you tomorrow and we can hang out if you're up to it."
Her forgiveness made me feel worlds better. "Thanks for understanding."
"Not a problem."
The rest of the ride home was more relaxing. It made me feel better that at least Alice could come to her senses and let me do what I wanted to. Alice chattered on here and there, and I paid due attention, and when silence came, I allowed myself to think.
Why had I gotten so angry? Alice hadn't done anything so horrible to earn my ire, even if she was conspiring with Edward against me. I ran her comment through my head a few more times, letting the hypocrisy of it all affect me again. Jacob dangerous? I didn't think he could be. Not to me. As for Edward, who I had suspected was behind my sudden outburst before, I just didn't know why this would suddenly make me so angry at him. It wasn't the first time he's over reacted, you'd think I'd been used to it by now. But there was something wrong here, something that prevented me from letting go and forgiving Edward, like I had done so many other times before. What it was, however, still eluded me.
Granted I had seen the after affects of werewolf anger. Emily's face may have gotten easier to look at, but what happened still loomed over those scars. I knew Sam was going to be dealing with that for the rest of his life. The same goes for everyone.
That made me think back to Edward. I knew the reason why he was being so overprotective. But it… it just didn't sit right. Wasn't Edward supposed to bring substance back to my life? Weren't things supposed to get better? Instead it was like I went from being a zombie to being in preschool. He even sent Alice to hold my hand so I wouldn't have to be afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.
Somehow the Big Bad Wolf seems far less scary next to a group of humanoid predators. Edward was right about vampires being the perfect predators. At least the Quileute boys looked threatening. The Cullens didn't look threatening. They looked like a Hollywood family. Not only do you want to be near them, you want to be them. I certainly knew that. But the fact remained that if it weren't for Carlisle and his influence, Edward and the rest could move among us unchecked for the great part. The more I thought about it, the more dangerous they seemed over Jacob, in purely theoretical terms at least. Jacob's height and new muscles made him look like he could kill you if he had half a mind. But that had the added benefit of causing the average person to keep them at arm's length, and not want to do anything to piss them off. Heh, that was probably why they were so big, one less reason to test their anger. Edward on the other hand drew you in, made you feel comfortable. What was more dangerous, the threat you saw coming or the threat you were unaware of? I'm beginning to think it's the latter.
I shook my head. It was weird to think of Edward in those terms. I would never think that he would do anything, but keeping me from my best friend using danger as an excuse? Didn't he realise I was used to danger by now? Kisses that could kill me, arms that could crush me… then motor cycles and cliff diving. When it comes down to werewolves, they almost seem like a step towards safety. At the very least, none of them had an underlying desire to kill me. If they hurt me, it would be purely on accident.
Then I thought back to the conversation I had with Edward. Switzerland. Pft, what bullshit that was. I should have known it as it was coming out of my mouth. That definitely made me angry. I put the effort forward to try and settle things between everyone and he pulls this shit? What… what a fucking bastard.
Alice pulled up to Charlie's and wished me a good night. I managed to make it upstairs with only the most cursory of explanations to Charlie. Thank God he wasn't one for words. As I trudged up stairs and put my bag down, it felt like the world was weighing down on me. I took my jacket off and headed for the bathroom. I looked sallow in the mirror, and began chewing my lip as I leaned against the sink.
I hated this. Hated feeling like this. Hated being angry at Edward. We were supposed to get past this. His jealousy was ridiculous. Didn't I come back to him? Didn't I forgive him for breaking me? Not only was I angry, I was miserable. I had forgiven him, and in return I get treated like a captive? Shutting my eyes, I replayed everything. My engine, this stunt, those… months without him. Without them. Without even realising it, tears began sliding down my cheeks.
Was it always going to be like this?
Like… what? What is this like? I don't even know.
You know the answer to that Bella.
Great. Just great. I'm hearing voices again. Well, at least it's not Edward's voice anymore.
Call it an inner monologue.
If a voice could smirk, that one just did. But I suppose I'm so used to my conscience being directed by foreign voices, I assigned it a new one after Edward came back. Male again, hmm. How very Freud of me.
I know the answer to what exactly, conscience-voice?
You know what it's always going to be like.
And what's that?
Sheltered. What is he if not your knight in shining armour?
Aren't knights in shining armour supposed to save girls from captivity, not put them into it?
You never get to see much pass the happily ever after. But what is he supposed to do when he doesn't have to save you anymore? Play chess?
What was our relationship going to be like after he changed me? Would it be the same or would it stagnate? What was Edward to me besides a knight in shining armour? Did I even know him?
It had been so hard, moving to a new place, especially since I didn't want to be here. Then I met Edward, who I dreaded until he became the reason why Forks made me happy. Then he ripped it all away from me with a few short words. I was left with Jake, trying to rebuild only to have Edward come back and bring everything, all that emotional baggage, back with him.
I hit the sink, immediately regretting it as I rubbed my hand. What more did he want from me? Why did he have to take Jake away, didn't he see that my life already revolves around him.
Oh. Oh, God. My life revolves around him.
Ever since he got back, my life, my everything has been about him.
I suddenly felt guilty. I used Jacob to heal the hole in my heart. I used the pack because they were a family to belong to. He welcomed me into his home and family. Emily treated me like a sister. The boys grew on me. Jacob grew on me. It became so much more than a replacement for the Cullens.
And then I left them. And I didn't even do it for benevolent reasons, like Edward did. I did it for selfish reasons. I did it for my own happiness. And now I'm not even happy.
I ran my hand through my hair as it suddenly felt like I was choking.
How could I do that to Jake? To Sam and Emily and the rest? How could I be so fucking selfish? And to top it all off, when Jake told me how worried Sam was about me when if found me, I got mad at him for showing Edward.
I was sick with myself. I couldn't let it get this way anymore. "He doesn't have the right to tell me who I can and cannot see," I said aloud.
He saved your life Bella, said the nagging voice in my head. Yes, he saved my life. He protected me from James, and from Jasper. But those things happened to me because I knew him. It was a harsh thing to think, but it was true. It wasn't his fault, it wasn't anyone's fault, but the observation still stood.
But he took responsibility for that. He's always taken responsibility. "It's why I want him to change me, so he can stop worrying," I murmured. So he didn't have to save me anymore.
You sure that's what he wants?
I'm not sure of anything right now.
Don't forget, Jake saved you too, the voice countered back. And that he did. He saved me from things he never caused. Things he tried to fix. He saved me from Laurent. And he saved me from myself.
My stupid self. I was the one who caused this whole damned thing to happen. Jumping off from that stupid cliff and making Edward go haywire.
No silly. You aren't responsible for his actions when he isn't there.
Wasn't I? Or was he? After all me made me feel so empty, which caused the voice. But my fragility made him leave. It was hard to see where the circle began.
I began to pace around my room. If nothing else, I was finally working through this mess, rather than letting it stagnate. Finally I would be able to parse out exactly how I felt and work from there. It wasn't fair to anyone involved if I couldn't do at least that. If I can't be honest to myself, who can I be honest to?
That was the problem. I wasn't being honest to myself. I didn't just want Edward to change me so that he could stop worrying. I wanted what everyone else wanted, to be like him. Except I knew what he was, which made that lie even worse. I now knew why Edward didn't want to change me. Not only was it my soul he was messing with, but the feelings of so many people. I just left my mom, changing would mean I would have to leave my dad. Eventually, I wouldn't be able to see them anymore from being perpetually young. And then they would die.
But I would already be long dead. No family. No nieces like Alice, not that she can see them. I would have to give up everything to be with Edward.
Is he worth it Bella? Is he worth giving your life away? Is he worth breaking Renee's heart? Charlie's heart? Any of your friends?
I stopped dead in the middle of my floor when the realisation suddenly hit me.
He wasn't worth it. Not if it meant giving up my parents. Not if it meant giving up my friends. And especially not if it meant he was going to have his fucking siblings babysit me while he was away.
I wasn't in love with Edward anymore. I was in love with the idea of him, the memory of him. I was too busy missing my old relationship with him and being so glad that he was back that I didn't even notice that things weren't the same. That he wasn't the same. He was always protective, but never in a way that bothered me. And he never stopped me from seeing my friends.
Whatever he was now, whatever came back from Italy, I didn't want it.
And I didn't want to be a vampire anymore either.
And you were wondering why it all made you so angry. You can only have your first love once Bella. Anymore and it spoils the mirage.
I sat down on the windowsill, nodding in agreement, and cried bitterly. Even if I didn't want it, it was too late. The Volturi… they'd come eventually. I was sure of it. And if I wasn't a vampire, I would be dead.
What a stupid, stupid girl I was.
Come morning I was still crying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, holding a pillow as if it were my life line and I was about to lose it. Looking at the clock, I realised that Alice would be calling soon, and I didn't know what I would tell her. I didn't want to go back. But I didn't want to die anymore either. The things we cry for once their already gone.
I would have to go back there. I couldn't stop the Volturi. Nothing short of divine intervention could, and I don't think God was so inclined at the moment. I put the pillow down and went to have a shower. Turning the handle, I set the water to as hot as I could handle it and just stood in it, wishing the water would blast my problems off. The heat radiated off the bathroom walls, cocooning me. It was sorely missed comfort, being always cold, always surrounded by hard smooth skin.
I stayed there until the water went warm, and then turned the handle up more, until I couldn't even remember what cold felt like. I stared at the drain, watching the water go down through the haze of steam. As good as it felt, it wasn't washing away my problems. Drowning anything, from yourself to your sorrows is very hard to do in a shower. I wasn't about to try drowning myself anyways. If I didn't want the Volturi to kill me, why on earth would I do it myself?
For the first time in a long time, I wanted to live. Truly, humanly live. And it just wasn't fair.
I thought we were past lying. And we were having such a breakthrough, said the no-longer-Edward voice in my head, sighing.
Shut up, I told it. I wasn't lying, I didn't want to die anymore.
Then what? What the hell else could I be lying about? The voice may not have been Edward anymore, but it was starting to occur to me that whoever the voice was, it was strikingly familiar. I felt stupid not knowing it.
Two things, actually. First it hasn't been that long since you wanted to live, Bella honey. Second, there is a way to stop the Volturi without throwing your life away.
I think it's when you don't understand the voice in your own head when you know for sure that you're truly delusional beyond help.
Come on Bella, you don't need the bloodsuckers for this!
Bloodsuckers? Since when do I refer to vampires as bloodsuckers in my internal monologue? Or to myself as Bella honey? Come to think of it, it almost sounds like Jacob. My eyes widened through the water.
Should I be offended that you didn't realise it at once?
There was a time I was never cold. And that was with Jacob. He was my personal sun, and personal heater. He made me smile through my darkest days, and I did want to live again, even though I never allowed myself to properly think so. This was so unfair. Just as I'm about to lose him, Jake becomes the voice in my head. I may have to take hot showers for eternity just to hear it. What the fuck?
The voice chuckled Jacobs throaty laugh. The water's gonna get cold eventually Bella. Besides, you haven't explored Option C.
Option C. There was no Option C.
Option A: Become a vampire.
Option B: Die.
That's all there was to it. No third way to stop the Volturi.
"Yes really. Geez, at least Edward never patronised me," I muttered into the tile.
The chuckle came again. Maybe patronising is what you need, at least until your memory returns. What stops vampires, Bella-dear?
Tearing them apart, Jacob-conscience.
Now who do you know that can do that?
With that I slipped against the wall I was leaning on and planted solidly on my ass. It stung, but not as much as what just occurred to me.
Werewolves can do that. They did it with Laurent. They were trying to do it to Victoria too.
I got up carefully, rubbing the back of my thigh. But these were Volturi. They weren't random travelling vampires. They were the cream of the crop.
Seriously underestimating us again Bella.
No I'm not. I don't want any of you getting hurt because of me. I left you for vampires, with barely so much as a 'thanks for not letting me kill myself.' I don't deserve your help, why should you give it?
We protect our own Bella.
I'm not a part of that anymore.
You probably won't even help me. Not after what I've done. You don't need more vampires here, more boys phasing, more trouble than I'm worth.
It can't hurt to ask.
I turned the water off. No. It can't hurt to ask. Well, it might hurt to ask Paul, I thought smirking. I towelled off and dressed quickly.
"I'll ask. The worse Sam'll do is turn me down. But it's an option. And it's a lot better than A and B."
That's the spirit honey.
I smiled to myself and ran downstairs to see if I could catch Charlie. He was finishing his coffee in the kitchen.
"Hey, Bella. You can go over to Alice's if you like, I've got to get going in a minute. There's been another animal sighting just outside La Push."
I grinned internally. I bet there was. "Actually Dad, can I come with you? I wanted to go see Jacob today."
Charlie smiled at the prospect. "That sounds like a great idea Bella, so long as you're ready to go in a minute."
"I'm ready now," I said, grabbing a banana.
He took the last swig of his coffee and folded up the newspaper. "Well let's go then."
Yes. Let's go. I have to ask the scariest, most important question of my life. And I had to do it before I chickened out.
I started freaking out as soon as Charlie got on to the road. I really and truly am not made for stress. I managed to keep myself moderately under control, though I'm sure Charlie noticed me wringing my hands and tapping my feet. I turned the radio on to try and give me something else to focus on. It didn't work. I kept trying to run through what I was going to say to Jake and to the rest of the guys, but through my nerves everything I thought of just sounded dumb.
You'll do fine.
Not helping. I twisted my fingers for what seemed to be the millionth time when Charlie pulled up to Jacob's house. I don't know it's possible for one length of time to pass in both seconds and eternity, but that car ride did it. Charlie didn't give me a curfew to be home by as he wished me goodbye.
That's because he likes me.
You're voice smirking again. Not. Helping.
As I walked up to the door my mouth went instantly dry. They were going to refuse me. I knew it. There was no way in hell they would agree to this. I had cost them too much already, and I threw their hospitality back in their faces by running back to Edward. I was crazy to think this would work. Downright insane. I should just turn around.
Bella, Charlie already left. I turned around. He was right. Guess I'm walking. Billy's seen you. I looked back at the house. There he was staring out the window.
Fuck you Jacob-conscience.
The voice snickered. Remember what Edward told you? About Alice's visions? She's probably already looking for you. You said you weren't going anywhere, remember?
Dammit! I had completely forgotten. Alice probably was looking for me. And if she found me, it would definitely try to stop what I was about to do. I guess it was now or never.
That's my girl. Walk up to that house.
If nothing else, Jacob's voice was at least encouraging.
Somehow, I managed to put one foot in front of the other. Somehow, I walked up the few stairs without tripping, which is a feat for me even when every bone in my body isn't screaming run. Somehow, I pulled the door open, walked in, and said "Hey Billy, is Jake here?" Before I could bolt.
He turned his chair toward me and said, smiling, "Sorry Bella, he's out for a run. But he's due back in about an hour. I thought you weren't supposed to be here until tomorrow."
I gave him what I'm sure was a very tight smile. "Plans change. I'll just watch TV or something until he gets back."
"Be my guest. I'll be in the kitchen." He wheeled away from me.
It was at that point I realised I hadn't been breathing, and let my breath out and took a long deep one in, feeling more than a little light headed.
Alright, I did it. I got in the house. Too bad that was the easy part.
I had thought that the car ride was the worst agony that I've ever experienced. Unfortunately, that was nothing compared to sitting on Jacob's couch, waiting for him to come home. I tried flipping through the TV, but the shows swam before my eyes. I picked through the sparse collection of magazines they had, but they were all car or fishing related and could barely hold my attention on the best of days. My waiting activities returned to excessive foot tapping and finger twisting.
Why was this so hard? I had always been at ease with Jake before, but now it felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I made the decision, didn't I? Why wasn't it making me feel better like it usually did?
It's alright Bella-dear. You're just terrified that we're going to say no, and what that means. Sure, making the decision is usually what calms you down, but this is the most important decision of your life, and, unfortunately, it's not all up to you.
He was right, even though that annoyed me. I couldn't feel at ease with this decision because I wasn't the only one who got to make it. I wanted to be here, to give them a fair chance, and to give myself a chance to live, but unless they said yes, I was stuck back at square one. What if I became a zombie again? I thought my life was over the first time, but for this time my life ending is a definite in two out of three options. What would facing that turn me into?
I stopped twisting my fingers after I was sure that I broke one for a few minutes, and took to pacing. Again I tried to figure out what it is exactly that I was going to say, but again and again the words died in my throat. I was walking around in a small circle, staring at the ceiling and tapping my bottom lip with my index finger when I heard the door open.
My gaze shifted down towards him as my arm dropped to my side. My heart stopped beating up in my throat. In fact, it down right stopped beating.
He would have to be shirtless.
"Bella, are you ok?"
I shook my head lightly. I had originally meant the action to clear my thoughts, but it turned into my answer.
He came over a put his hands on my shoulders. "Bella, what's wrong? Was it the leech? Did he do something to you."
"N-no… well, yes, but… not really." This was agony. This. Was. Agony. Last night was bad but this is the most agonising thing I've been went through. Why can't I just spit the words out?
Jacob's hands shook violently on my shoulders and his eyes darkened. "What did he do you to Bella?" He said each word carefully, like he could break them.
Way to go. Come here to tell him you need his help and the first thing you do is almost cause him to phase. Was I going to have to go through this with the rest of the pack too?
The rest of them… Oh God, I can't do this twice! It's hard enough the first time.
"I –I need to talk to the entire pack Jake. Can you, um, get them for me? All of them?"
That took a little of the tension of my chest and I looked up at him hopefully. He removed his hands from my shoulders and ran one through his hair, his brow still furrowed. "I'll get them. Just don't go anywhere, they'll be here." He ran out the door, almost unhinging it. I was left to wait… again.
Several dozen eternities later, Jacob's living room was crowded with 6 giant Quileute… well I guess you had to call them men, and me in the middle. Sam looked at me with worried, soulful eyes. I gulped. This wasn't going to be easy.
You can do it. Just start talking. You decided on the talking, remember?
I straightened my shoulders. I did decide on the talking. That's all I could decide on. Well, here it goes.
"You had something to tell us Bella?" Sam started. I silently thanked him.
"Um, yeah. Yeah I did, er, do." I gave a great sigh. "I don't know how to put this, so I'm just going to say that, and I need to you to try and keep your… tempers." My eyes wandered over to Paul, but Sam had guessed my meaning and put an arm around him.
"We'll be fine Bella. You just say what you need to."
I nodded. "Edward… he's… I mean…" I bit my lip in exasperation.
"The Cullens are going to break the treaty." After a beat, I swear you could hear the couch vibrate ever so slightly. Sam's eyebrows shot up.
"Because… because they're going to change me." I squelched my eyes shut and waited for the room to explode before my eyes. I only got some low growling. I opened my eyes to see Sam's hand on Jake's chest, trying to stop him from levitating from anger.
"They can't! They know the terms," he barked from between clenched teeth. Sam patted him.
"Jake, get a grip, you're making Paul look good." Sam took his hand off Jake's chest and rubbed his eyebrows. "He's right Bella, they know the terms. They can't bite you, or they're no longer welcome here."
I nodded. "I know… Originally I wanted it. I didn't really think it through, it just… sounded so good. Not having to grow up or die. But I don't want it anymore."
Sam's face turned into a mask of resolve. "Then we won't let them. You have our word. Even if we have to double patrols."
The room erupted in agreement. Even Paul added a "We won't let the leeches touch you Bella!"
I shook my head. "It's not them you have to worry about. I don't think Carlisle would allow any of them to change me if I didn't want it."
"Are there more leeches after you besides the redhead, Bella?" Sam's face darkened.
Jake snorted. "Kind of?"
I nodded. "You know when I left to get Edward?" He nodded, pain in his eyes. I had hurt him when I did that.
"Yeah, I remember that parasite overreacting to his own stupidity."
"And you remember the Volturi?" They all nodded. Heh, I had almost forgotten about the mind reading thing. Crap, I wouldn't have had to do this twice. Too late now…
"Well, I kind of left one part out…."
"What part is that Bella?" He was speaking as if the words were made of glass again.
"The part where they were going to kill me unless Edward promised to turn me." I screwed my face up again, and this time was rewarded with a thunderous "WHAT?"
"Cool it Jake," I could hear Embry say.
"Not here Jacob." Sam had his hands on him again, and turned towards me. "Go on Bella, we need to hear it all."
"The Volturi don't want humans to know about vampires. They only let their human guards know, and they either change them or kill them when they… don't have any use for them anymore. They didn't like me knowing, so they gave me two choices. Either I had to be killed, or had to become a vampire." I cleared my throat. "At first, I was excited. Edward wouldn't change me before, and now he had to, but since then…. Since then I realised I don't want either of those things. I don't want to be a vampire."
"We've already said we won't let them," said Sam.
"No, you don't get it. The Volturi said they were coming to check, and if I wasn't a vampire, they'd… rectify the situation."
"Then we'll deal with them!" Jake growled.
"Jake, these are the rulers of the vampire world! They aren't your average vampires. I already know you'd help me, but I can let you without knowing what you're getting into! There's five of them, plus their human and vampire guards. That's a lot of people you don't need causing you trouble."
Jake had calmed down slightly. "It doesn't matter Bella, if you don't want it, we won't stand for it, right Sam?"
I looked at Sam expectantly. I waited, waited for him to shake his head, waited for him to say no and crush my last hope. He was due to turn me any second now, and I couldn't blame him. He didn't need me putting his pack in danger. Neither did any of the guys, nor did Emily need any extra worry on her shoulders. Another dozen eternities passed before Sam opened his mouth, and I prepared for the words that would seal my fate.
"We protect our own Bella."
I nodded. "I know… I'm sorry I asked. I don't deserve your help, not after I abandoned you guys for something it turned out I didn't even want. I promise, I'll make sure you aren't bothered about this." I could feel the tears hot in my eyes as I turned for the door, prepared to bolt.
But before I could run, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned back to see Sam's black eyes staring back at me.
"Bella, you're included in that. We aren't going to let anything happen to you. It hurt when you stopped seeing us because the parasite came back, but if you truly don't want to be one of them, I'm not going to let them do that to you, especially not on my land. You helped us with your information on the red head, and you know about these Volturi too. And you mean a lot to us. All of us. We won't stand for this Bella, you can count on us."
The tears ran down my cheeks as the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. "Thank you Sam. You have no idea how much this means to me." I reached up to be accepted into his huge bear hug. Surprisingly, unlike Jacob, he had the ability to not crunch your spine up in his hugs.
I got hugs of various strengths from each of them until it came down to Jake, who picked me up and twirled me in the air. "I knew you'd come to your senses Bells!" I found myself laughing with him, giddy with the fact that I was going to live. I was really going to live.
After the guys all cleared out, and Paul and Quil returned to their patrols, and Sam went to tell Emily and make plans, I went for a walk with Jake. It was around noon, and a surprisingly sunny day for Forks, though you could barely see the blue sky through the many masses of clouds. We headed down to the beach, not really saying anything. I was so glad that was over and I could be comfortable again. It was easy to be that way with Jake, he just radiated it. I was still unsure about all of this, but the knowledge that I wouldn't have to constantly feel inferior was a great release to me.
Jake finally looked up at me. "Bella, your truck wasn't there."
"I got a ride with Charlie. I–" Well, there was no sense in not telling him, or protecting them. "I was afraid that Alice would come an stop me."
Jake wrinkled his nose. "Why would she stop you?"
"Edward was having her babysit me while he was gone hunting so that I couldn't come see you."
He clenched his fists. "What the fuck?"
I rolled my eyes. "He thinks it's too dangerous for me to be around werewolves."
"Did he forget his family are leeches?"
"Vampires," I corrected automatically. "And yeah, I know."
"That fucking bastard!"
"My words exactly."
"How could you stand that?"
"I couldn't, that's why I'm here now."
He kicked at the sand. "For what it's worth, I'd let you see whoever you wanted. Even the leeches. Well, not the him, and not any of them now really, now that I know what they want to do to you, but, you know, before."
I looked up at him shocked. "Really?"
"It's not like I could stop you anyways. You snuck out to see me, you'd sneak out to see them. I figure you'd be less mad at me if I let you go in the first place. I'm not going to lie, I don't like them, and don't want you to see them, but I'm not sicking my sister on you to ensure that you don't. That's just pathetic."
"I bet you wouldn't mess up my engine either."
His eyes looked murderous for a second before he said, "I'll take a look at it for you."
We continued walking, the silence being comfortable, not awkward. That was my Jacob. My personal sun, heater, and pillow. I knew how much less my life would be without him in it. He didn't fill the hole Edward left, but he applied gauze and stitched it up. He put his arm around me and laid a kiss on my head. It felt… good, I'll admit. But I couldn't. Not now.
"Jake, you know this doesn't mean I'm chosing you, right?
He tensed up a bit, and I sighed. "I'm not ready yet. It took me months to realise that I didn't really want Edward. I'm not saying never, I'm just saying I need time."
His eyes fixed on his shoes. "Yeah, I know. Still broken."
"No Jake. I'm positively fixed." I smiled up at him. "You helped with that, you know. But I want some time alone to test the repairs before I go barrelling down the highway."
He laughed. "A car joke, really?"
"I guess. Does this mean we can still be friends? Even if, you know, that doesn't work out for us?"
He smiled back. "That's good enough for me I guess."
We walked down the beach hand in hand. I began to forget the last two days I had and just focus on the sun peaking through the clouds and the wind coming up off the water.
I guess it was enough for me too.
A/N: I'm still thinking on whether to make this a one shot or to continue. So drop me a review and tell me what you think!