A/N: Hey. I got bored a while back and I was like, 'hey...let's try a twilight fic'. I'm actually not a big fan of the series (hides from angry fangirls) but I do kinda like Jacob. And I don't think it's fair that he got shafted by everyone. Sad. So I'm fixing it!
This is actually part 1 of a larger version of Chapter One so it cuts off in a weird place. Part two (now ch. 2) will be up when I get some feedback on whether I should actually continue with this.
Disclaimer: Don't own shit. If I did, Bella wouldn't be so whiny and Edward would be more of a bad ass vampire.
Chapter 1: Arrival
I grinned as I directed the rickety old Volkswagen Bus into a parking spot near a beach. The sun was just setting; perfect timing for pictures. Unfortunately, not the best timing for filming.
I glanced in the back seat. Course it wasn't like my camera man Joe was much up for the job. He was unglamorously sprawled across the middle seat, glasses askew, a tattered book on his chest, and drool threatening to land on the window glass. I smacked his leg unnecessarily hard.
"Oi, Joe! Get a move on!" I yelled, taking the keys out of the ignition. Joe jolted up, sending the book flying across the van. He sniffed and wiped his face.
"Aw, gross," he moaned groggily. "How long was I out?"
"Couple hours. Get a recorder. I wanna see if we can squeeze in an interview or something before everyone around here sits down for dinner."
I jumped out of the van and stretched. Several pops and cracks erupted, causing a groan of pleasure to erupt from inside me. I hated sitting still for very long. I reached back into the cabin of the bus and grabbed the camera bag from the passenger's seat. The sunset over the beach was just was too gorgeous to pass up.
"So who's first?" Joe said through a yawn. I looked up from my camera to see him standing at the rear of the bus. He was absently scratching his puny lanky torso, causing his striped polo to wrinkle further. His brown casual pants were stained from god knew what and hung loosely around his bony waist. Beneath his thin frame glasses peeped hazel brown eyes with dark circles under them.
"You look like hell," I said bluntly.
"You don't look much better yourself," he retorted quickly. And I knew it. My dark hair was by now probably more tangle than curls, my face ashen and my blue eyes bloodshot both from lack of sleep and lack of varied landscape. Nevertheless, I smacked him in his concave little stomach.
"For that, you can start the interview. I think I saw a house back that way," I jerked my thumb down the road. "Little red thing right on the border of the woods. Try there first and see if you can get a feel for life around here."
"What are you gonna do?" he asked, already taking off. I grinned and held up my camera.
"Gonna get the visuals for the feel of life around here," I veritably chirped. And with that, I trotted toward the beach, grinning as I audibly heard Joe mumble a not very kind comment about the situation.
Already I was enjoying this assignment: documenting travel media for the Olympic Peninsula. Joe and I had systematically weaved our way around the peninsula in that old VW Bus, taking pictures, getting interviews with locals, and getting footage of nature and wildlife. It was gorgeous to be outside after years of desk intern work. I didn't even mind the perpetual damp. God, I was loving this internship.
I kept snapping pictures until the sun was nearly below the horizon. I marveled at the oranges of the sun's reflection on the water, the purples and greys of the magnificent cliffs, the lush hunter green of the vegetation, the rich browns and textures of the fallen trees. I worked my way back up to the bus, snapping a picture of the sign as I left: First Beach.
I trekked back up the road toward where I had sent Joe. My camera was still around my neck; though it was getting too dark to film a proper video interview, maybe whoever Joe had found would succumb to a few quick photographs. I roughly ran my fingers through my curls, wincing at the tiny knots that had erupted. Grumbling, I stopped walking and tossed my head forward, shaking my chestnut hair out in front of me. I held it in a ponytail and righted myself, securing the handful of limp curls with a spare ponytail holder. I straightened my hand tie-dyed wife beater and dark wash jeans, twisted my helix piercing for luck and continued up the road.
The little red house I had seen turned out to be a small square thing, more shack than house. But it fit; you couldn't imagine a different looking building in that natural little nook in the woods. I caught a glimpse of Joe's dirty blond curls in front of the open front door. I sped up, eager to show him what I thought to be nearly professional grade photos.
"And your tribe has resided in La Push for...well, basically forever?"
A deep chuckle. "No Quileute from this area can remember living anywhere else nor can they remember anyone who lived anywhere else so forever seems a very fitting description."
Behind Joe was an older man in a wheelchair. His russet face creased in wrinkles was looking upward at Joe in an openly kind and unearthly wise manner. I quickened my pace, already grinning at the fact that our first encounter with the Native American local was a pleasant one. As I got closer, both Joe and the man in the chair turned toward me.
"Hey, Kathleen. Get what you wanted?" Joe called.
"Holy God, did I!" I exclaimed, jogging the last few feet, one hand on the camera to keep it from bouncing. "How's the interview going?"
"Brilliantly, actually," Joe said. pressing pause on the recorder. "Mr. Black, this is Kathleen Harken, the brains of the operation. I am merely her gopher and computer geek."
"He flatters me unnecessarily," I grinned punching him playfully in the arm.
"Call me Billy, please," the old man said, extending a hand. I shook it firmly; the chair and old age made him look frailer than he actually was. "So what brings you out to La Push, Ms. Harken?"
"Kathleen, please, sir. And this is a little job that my internship sent me over to do. Me and Joe are driving this broken down old VW Bus up and down the peninsula getting footage for various travel mediums. Photos, articles, video, audio, visual, and that sort," I grinned. "Speaking of, check the photos I got of the beach!" I slung the camera off my neck.
"VW Bus? Wow, haven't seen one of those on the road in decades," Billy nearly whistled.
"Yeah its an ancient thing. Barely runs. Had to pray going over several hills on the way up here," I laughed as I waited for the camera to turn back on.
"If it's a tune-up you need, my son is quite the mechanic. He could take a look at it for you if you like."
"Oh, please, Mr. Black. We don't want to put him or you out," I looked up from the camera momentarily.
"It's not a trouble at all. Jacob loves this sort of thing. He'll appreciate a break from his schoolwork. Jacob!" Billy called the last word out in a surprisingly commanding voice. I turned my attention back to the camera; after all, what could some little high-schooler do about my decrepit old Bus?
"Yeah, Dad?" a very husky voice sounded from in front of me, making me jump and shiver; I hadn't heard anyone approach.
"Dang, Kathleen, these are actually decent!" Joe exclaimed as I flipped to a particularly breathtaking view of the sunset and wooded shoreline.
"No need to sound so shocked!" I grinned up at him.
"These two were wondering if you wouldn't mind taking a look at their car," I heard Billy tell whoever had appeared.
"If it's not too much trouble," I said quickly. I looked up and smiled warmly. Then it faded to a slight gape. In front of me, towering over me, was a man of at least his mid-twenties. His black hair was cropped, framing a bright and open russet face. His dark eyes twinkled at what I supposed was the thought of a distraction from schoolwork. Then those eyes turned slowly to me. I tried to rearrange my face to its previous smile.
Several things happened in succession. The man's face fell from mirth to shock. He straightened quickly. His black eyes flashed as they locked with mine. His expression cleared. Then it started to twist again, to shock, to confusion, to anger, to determination.
Then I felt my stomach churn. Whether it was from impending hunger or the queer looks that this newcomer was giving me, I didn't know. I could feel the silence bearing down on me. I wanted to look away but his eyes, now steely, had me in a vice grip.
"Andrea's going to love these, Kat." I barely heard Joe's voice beside me. "Kathleen?" The heightened worry in his voice registered dully. I felt his cool fingers touch my elbow concernedly.
But it was the growl that brought me back.
I shook my head slightly. I glanced at the woods quickly; whatever had made that low, guttural, territorial noise was close and I didn't want to impose on a creature that was capable of making such a threatening sound. So much for pleasant first encounters.
"Yeah, I'm fine, Joe," I said off-hand, still looking in the forest. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the mid-twenties man's hand clench on the back of Billy's wheelchair. I looked back at the duo; Billy was looking up at the man beside him, his crinkled black eyes glinting with forbidden knowledge, as if he knew some secret of the man's. And the man was still staring at me and Joe.
I tried to meet his gaze again, but he looked down at the ground quickly. "Um, yeah. Don't feel obligated or anything. W-We don't want to cause any trouble," I stammered, still trying to quell my rumbling stomach.
Billy must have heard it. "Would you two like to stay for dinner? Sam and Emily brought over some beef stew for me that you're welcome to share with us," he asked, looking at me with newfound interest.
"We couldn't, Mr. Black. Joe and I need to head back in town anyway to find a motel or something," I rushed. I was already not feeling comfortable around this gargantuan newcomer.
"Well, at least something for the road or something while Jacob takes a look at your car," Billy insisted.
I glanced over at Joe. He was flashing me a pointed, pleading look. We hadn't had anything resembling home cooked food in weeks. And Joe was nearly looking anorexic as it was. I smiled and patted his arm familiarly. A low grumble sounded again, so deep one could almost mistake it for thunder. I dismissed it.
"Thank you very much, Billy, I think we will take you up on that. One can only stomach fast food for so long," I smiled. With that, Billy turned his chair inward to lead the way in, Joe hot on his tail. I hesitated.
"I'm going to go grab the bus, Joe," I called after.
"You want me to come with?" he called back. Already, I could hear the familial sounds of clinking kitchen utensils.
"I think I can handle it. Go ahead and start without me." I turned on my heel and started the trek back down the street. I let out a long exhale; somewhere in there I had forgotten how to breathe deeply.
"I'll come with you," the husky voice was at my elbow. My breath caught again; I hadn't heard him.
"You don't have to. It's not like it's a confusing town," I joked, still trying to calm my thumping heart.
"Just to be safe," he said, his voice authoritative. I bristled a bit. I wasn't too fond of authority, especially when it came from someone I didn't know.
"So you're Jacob?"
He flashed a brilliant grin, his white teeth glistening in the dying sun. I swore my heart skipped half a beat.
"Billy said you were doing coursework. What are you studying?"
He looked confused. "Just....normal high school stuff. I'm a senior."
I had to catch myself from stopping dead in my tracks. I felt his large hand catch the small of my back. One, there was no way a high school senior was that tall and had that large of hands. Two, those hands were impossibly warm. I shivered at the temperature difference.
"You ok?" he asked, his eyes full of genuine worry and concern. I checked myself.
"Fine. How - How old are you?"
I couldn't help but scoff.
"What?" His look changed from worry to self-apprehension. He looked almost puppy-dogish. It was adorable.
"You can't be eighteen."
He grinned and laughed, more of a bark than actually laughter. "The Quileute men tend to mature faster than normal teenagers." His eyes twinkled mischievously down at me.
We arrived at the makeshift parking lot. I hear Jacob whistle lowly. I glared at him.
"Don't you dare make fun of my baby," I threatened, narrowing my eyes.
"She's...a beast," Jacob suppressed laughter as he walked closer to it. I ran ahead and hugged the body of the Bus fondly.
"She has blinds. And a faded paint job. And old '60's decals. What's this, Jefferson Airplane?" He bent down to read some of the worn-down stickers that decorated the back doors like the pictures on an ice-cream truck. He clucked his tongue. I frowned and tried to bump him off balance with my hip. He didn't budge lest to look up at me funny. Our eyes met and I felt my stomach churn again. I wrenched mine away and walked around to the driver's side, tracing the side with a finger.
"I love her. So shut up."
Jacob laughed again. I looked up and glared. "Sorry," he threw up his hands in mock arrest.
"You can start your amends by seeing what's up with her," I said in my best biting tone, tossing him the keys. He didn't even need to stretch to catch them squarely in his right hand. He unlocked the driver's side door, popped the hood and handed the keys back as he passed to the front and went to work, carefully eyeing the parts.
I jumped into the front seat, rolled down the window, closed the door, and leaned my back against it, letting my head hang out the open window. From here, I could eye him more closely. It was true, he looked nothing like an eighteen year old. I finally looked past his face long enough to notice he was wearing nothing but a white wifebeater, now becoming slightly stained with grease and oil from my Bus, and some tattered old jeans that looked to have been mended several times. He wore no shoes. His muscles rippled under his shirt as he moved. I found myself mesmerized. He wasn't overly muscular but was certainly fit enough to show that he frequented the gym. It was undeniable that this man - boy - no, man, was attractive. Not in the unearthly, unnatural manner, but a boy-next-door, doesn't quite realize his hotness potential, kind of attractive. It was the face, I concluded, the boyish, mischievous countenance that kept him from being model material.
He looked up and grinned; he caught me looking. I felt my ears go hot and I began to twist my helix piercing nervously. He held up his hands, now sullied with grease and oil. "Got a towel?" he asked.
I nodded fuzzily and crawled toward the back of the van. I dodged various pieces of equipment, books, papers, and irrelevant junk before reaching mine and Joe's suitcases. I stuck my hand in one and came out with a ratty old t-shirt. Probably Joe's, I thought. Whatever, looks like it's about to die anyway. I crawled back up and stuck my head out the window.
It hit rock. Warm rock. Then the rock shook and rumbled. I looked up; Jacob had moved and the rock I had hit was his chest. I smiled sheepishly and held up the shirt. He grinned and took it. I propped myself up on my knees and kept leaning out the window. I was now roughly at his chin, my mind buzzing obnoxiously at our proximity. Down, girl, he's three years younger than you, I had to remind myself.
"So what's the prognosis?" I asked, trying to keep my voice from slipping into anything that could be construed at seductive.
"She'll live," he said, looking down at me. "Just needs a little tweaking. If you want, we can take it back to my house, I can do the repairs and have it back to you in two days tops."
"Oh, Jacob, I can just take it to a garage or something," I insisted.
"You will not!" He looked mortally offended. "Those places will take one look at you, see how gorgeous you are, and rip you off and no one's the wiser." He grinned and chucked the t-shirt at my head. "Besides, maybe I want you to stick around a little longer."
Thank God for that t-shirt because I could feel myself start to blush.
I managed to compose myself, rip that nasty rag off my head, and chuck it in the bag by the time Jacob had closed the hood and opened the passenger door. I started the car, saying my usual words of encouragement and praise to the engine and, trying to ignore Jacob's visibly shaking shoulders and mirthful grin, I pulled out of the spot and headed over to the Black's house.
A/N: Like it? Hate it? Should it disappear into the hole of suckish fanfictions that are never completed? Drop me a review and let me know.