A/N: This is the sequel to my first Fan Fiction titled Learning to Live Again. Please read that one first so you don't get lost, and please review if you can.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters of Twilight or the books following it. They all belong to Stephenie Meyer.
Life's Many Gifts.
"Come on, Bella, we're going to be late!" my best friend Angela called to me as I finished getting ready. I smoothed my dress over my miniscule curves, glanced at my face in the mirror and finally stepped out of the bathroom. I rushed down the stairs, stumbling a bit on my way down to go out to dinner with my friends and family. Before I get into that, let me introduce myself.
My name is Isabella Swan and I am 23 years old. I lived in the town of Forks, which is located in Washington State, with my parents Charlie and Renee and my little brother Elliot. In my short life, I had gone through so many unbelievable things, like my parents divorcing then remarrying 19 years later and having my little brother. I had been in love with a vampire, yes they do exist, who left me so that I could live a human life. I thought I was going to die when Edward left me, but because of him I found my soul mate, the one person I know I was meant to be with, and he was a werewolf. Jacob Black was my destiny, which really should come as no surprise since we've known each other since we were kids. He is Quileute, which is a Native American tribe located in La Push, and he, along with several other young men, are the Protectors of their land.
Jacob and I have been together for 4 years now, and we are just as in love as we were when we first began our relationship. He lives with his father, Billy, in a little red house right down the street from mine. My parents, Renee and Charlie, had lived in Forks for a long time and decided to move to La Push so that Renee could be closer to the boutique she owned along with Sue Clearwater. It also made it easier for Leah, Sue's daughter, to be closer to my little brother Elliot. You see, Leah is a werewolf as well, and she imprinted on him the first time she laid eyes on him. Imprinting is such a crazy thing and I still find it hard to wrap my head around it at times. It's when a young werewolf sees the other half of it's soul in someone else. A bond is instantly formed and they pretty much are destined to be together forever. I am Jacob's Imprint, even though it didn't happen right away for us. I had been so heartbroken over Edward leaving me that my soul had struggled to return the call of Jacob's. When it finally happened, it was one of the most wonderful and beautiful things I had ever experienced.
Jacob and his best friend Embry were a year younger than Angela and I, but they had worked hard in school in order to graduate high school the same time as we did. He and Embry had gone on to a Technical school to learn more about automotives while Angela and I, who happens to be Embry's Imprint and fiancé, went to the community College in Port Angeles. We had just gotten our degrees the past week and were meeting our families at our favorite restaurant to celebrate. I was just finishing getting ready when she had called up to me, letting me know we were going to be late.
"Sorry, Ang, I had to fight with this stupid dress and my hair decided not to cooperate" I said, breathless from rushing around. I grabbed my purse and phone, then followed her out the door.
"You look fine, Bella. That dress looks incredible on you!" she said, jumping into her new car. As a graduation gift, he parents had gotten her a silver Honda Civic which was really cute and comfortable. I got into the passenger side and buckled my seatbelt just as she put the car in gear.
We drove to the restaurant, talking excitedly about the new garage we had all purchased together. It was located just outside of La Push and it had enough space to accommodate several cars that would need repair. Angela and I were going to handle the business part of it while Embry, Jacob and Quil were going to be the technicians. Quil is another one of Jacob's good friends, and is a werewolf also. He's a nice guy who was a total player at one time but had mellowed out since Imprinting on Emily's niece Claire. He wasn't going to be a partner in the business, instead he was going to manage the purchasing of parts.
We pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant and I noticed everyone else was already there. I felt my nerves kicking in, not at all liking being a center of attention. I sucked in a deep breath and followed Angela inside and back to the big banquet room that held our friends and family. My mom and dad, along with Angela's parents, the Cullens, Billy and Sue, the entire Pack along with their spouses and significant others, and several others friends we had made in college. Jacob and Embry got up and walked over to meet us, Jacob picking me up and kissing my lips.
"Hi" he said, tucking my hair behind my ear. I smiled up at his beautiful face and I felt my heart start to speed up and my body growing warm.
"Hi back" I replied, taking his hand in mine and making our way to meet everyone. Angela and I made our way around to everyone, greeting them while they congratulated us. Once finished, I followed Jacob towards the head of the table and he pulled my seat out for me to sit.
Dinner was wonderful and we sat around talking about the new business, Angela and Embry's recent engagement and other plans for the future. Of course there were gifts, which I wasn't too happy about, but I graciously accepted them and began to open them in front of everyone.
From my parents I got a thousand dollars in cash, which would come in handy in getting the garage off the ground. We still had a lot of work to get done at the place, and we were going to start working on it that weekend.
From Billy and Sue, who had recently gotten married, I got a check payable in both my name and Jacob's name for several hundred dollars. Everyone else pretty much gave us much needed money for us to get supplies and stuff.
From the Cullen family I opened up a large padded envelope with a pretty ribbon wrapped around it. My hands shook in anticipation, because I knew how generous they were and they seemed to love showering me with it. I looked over at Alice, who of course was bouncing in her seat and I knew it was something big.
"Alice, what did you do?" I asked before taking out the contents.
"Oh just zip it, Bella. You know you won't win with me" she playfully said.
I growled at her, then looked down at what was in my hands. My eyes grew wide and the papers slipped out of my hands in complete shock. I just looked hopelessly at Jacob as he picked them up, his own eyes growing huge as he looked at them.
"You bought the mortgage for the garage for us? Oh my God! Embry, Angela! Look at this!" He exclaimed, motioning for them to come over. They gasped and then started talking excitedly.
They surprised me once again by purchasing the deed to the business and had it transferred to each of us equally. Jacob got up and ran over to them, followed closely behind by Angela, Embry and I. We hugged each one of them, thanking them once again for their generosity. When I got to Alice, I playfully scolded her.
"That better be the last surprise like that, missy!" I said to her. She just rolled her eyes at me and sat back down.
"Bella, we know that you don't like big gifts like that, and we all got into a huge argument as whether to do it or not. Alice won out, of course, arguing that you needed to learn how to accept gifts better" Edward said, laughing at his exuberant sister.
"Thank you all, for everything you have done for me and my family over the years." I said, looking at them with love and adoration.
Not only did they shower me and my family with wonderful, thoughtful gifts, it was Carlisle who had saved my mother and little brother from certain death. When Renee was pregnant with Elliot, her uterus had ruptured when she went into labor because he had been such a big baby. Carlisle had come right away, delivering him by cesarean and stopping my mother from hemorrhaging to death.
We sat back down just as dessert was arriving, and I sat thinking about how much my life, and those around me, had changed so much over the last several years. For a long time I thought my life was so dull, that I would never meet anyone or get married, or experience the things that made life so special. I was dead wrong. My life was filled with excitement, a lot of love, and some unwanted drama as well. Carlisle had found out that something in my genetics made my blood powerful, and if an enemy vampire drained me, they would truly be immortal, unable to be destroyed. He also found out that if Jacob and I had children, the combination of our genes would create a new race of werewolves who would be completely immune to vampire venom and be much stronger than the current Protectors that patrolled the area. Carlisle found out that Elliot had the same unique genetics, so any children he and Leah had in the far future would have the same immunity. That was a long way off though, because right now, Elliot was only a month away from his fourth birthday. Carlisle was currently working on isolating which genes made us so unique, this way he could hopefully pass the immunity on to the other wolves in the Pack.
Sam was the Pack's Alpha, and at first he wanted nothing to do with the Cullens. They were sworn enemies, after all, but he was won over by them when they had joined forces and began training together in order to become stronger and more adept at destroying any vampires that might come looking for me or hurt the people in the area.
We had finished our dessert and everything was winding down when all of a sudden Jacob stood up, clinking his spoon against his crystal wine glass. Everyone stopped talking and I noticed Renee and Charlie give each other a knowing look.Uh oh……
Jacob got down on one knee in front of me and pulled a tiny box from his pocket and I felt myself stop breathing.
"Isabella Swan, I have loved you my whole life and will love you until the day I die. Would you please do me the honor of becoming my wife and let me love you forever?" he asked, his eyes shining with unshed tears.
He opened the box, and nestled inside was a shimmering, oval cut diamond solitaire surrounded by little pink diamonds set in rose gold. I noticed my hand trembling as Jacob took it in his, removing the promise ring he had given me so long ago, and replacing it with the engagement ring. He looked up at me, smiling as he waited for my answer, and I felt everything start to fade away as I began to pass out.
"Breathe, Bella!" Edward called from across the table and everyone started to laugh, knowing how I stopped breathing when things got really intense. I sucked in a deep breath which immediately brought my focus back. I felt my own tears fill my eyes as I looked at Jacob, then threw my arms around his neck, pulling him into a deep, passionate kiss. He pulled away a few seconds later, his thumbs wiping my tears away.
"Yes, Jacob, I will marry you" I said, kissing him again.
Everyone started clapping, then toasted us. I got up and sat in Jacob's lap as everyone came by and looked at my new ring. Rosalie was one of the last ones to come up, and she whispered something into Jacob's ear. He smiled, then thanked her.
"What was that?" I asked, wondering what in the world could make those two be so civil towards each other. They both tormented the other mercilessly, Rose with her mutt comments and Jacob with his dumb blonde jokes.
"She went with me to pick out your ring. I had an idea which one I was going to get, but I wanted someone who had the taste of a princess to come with me. Who better than the Ice Queen Barlie?" he laughed.
"You both did good, because I absolutely love it!" I said, playing with the ring.
"Not as much as I love you" Jacob said, taking my earlobe between his teeth and gently biting down. My whole body shivered as I felt his warm breath move across the skin of my neck.
"Want to spend the night at the cottage tonight, Mr. Black?" I asked, my lips kissing his chin. He groaned, then shook his head.
"I cant, Bells. I have to patrol tonight, but I will be at your house in the morning for when you wake up." he said, sadness in his eyes.
"Okay. What are your patrols this weekend?" I asked, my voice filled with disappointment.
"I'm off for the whole weekend, that's why I have to patrol tonight. Why? What did you have in mind?" he asked, grinning because he knew exactly what I had in mind.
"Oh, I don't know…I was thinking we could paint each others toe nails and do some facials" I said, teasing him.
"Uh huh. I guess that could be arranged, unless you have plans with your secret lover" he replied.
"Oh yeah, I do. He's about six foot seven, with dark hair and dark brown eyes and he is a complete animal in bed" I said, grinning.
"I see. So now you've moved on to sleeping with animals, huh? Ugh, I guess I'm going to have to take that ring back. I can't see myself marrying a pervert like you who would rather have sex with an animal instead of a normal human like me" he said, nibbling on my neck.
"Oh, I'm the pervert now? Who seems to like it when I tie them up and….." I didn't get to finish because his lips swooped down onto mine, shutting me up before anyone could hear our intimate secrets.
"Not that I'm against watching some down and dirty live porno, but I think maybe you both need to be separated before you dad has a stroke" Emmett said, laughing my how red my face got in embarrassment. I looked around, finally noticing that we were in a room full of family and friends, so I buried my face into Jacob's neck to hide.
"Oh leave her alone, you big ox!" Rosalie snarled at him. I gave her a look of relief, silently thanking her for yelling at Emmett. Everyone was getting ready to leave, so Jacob and I stood up, hugging them all as they made their way out.
Charlie and Renee went to put a sleeping Elliot into the mini van as I walked Jacob towards the nearby woods. He had gotten a ride from Embry, who had bought my old truck a few years ago, and was just going to phase and start his patrol from the restaurant. We walked a little deeper into the woods, and he removed his shirt and pants, hading them to me so I could bring them home with me.
My eyes raked over his hard body, taking in every muscle as they rippled underneath his bronze skin. I could look at him for hours, never failing to marvel at his statuesque beauty. He pulled me against him, kissing me long and hard before he phased.
"I love you" he said, panting from the kisses we had shared.
"I love you too, be safe" I replied. I knew he would be, but I still worried none the less. No other vampires had come looking for me, but that didn't mean the threat was gone.
I watched him phase and run off into the woods, then I went back to ride home with my parents. The ride home was short, but I was already beginning to doze off as we pulled into the gravel driveway. I helped them bring in everything, then went to my room to get ready for bed. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and dreamed about Jacob all night long.