Author's note: Hello! :) First off, I'm terribly sorry this took so long to get posted! I am really going to try to do better. Secondly, did you guys see the New Moon trailer? Wow! I'm so excited for the movie! It looks great! Thirdly, here's the seventh chapter! I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it! As always, reviews are greatly appreciated and thank you all for reading and reviewing in advance. Enjoy!


Out of Nowhere

Seven

"I just don't understand what you were thinking, Bella. Sneaking off in the middle of the night to go to some party and get your truck. If you wanted to see Jacob, I would've taken you down there tomorrow since you'd been so good, but you just ruined that. What's gotten into you?"

She was thankful the question was rhetorical because she couldn't bring herself to speak. They had reached the house around half past twelve, and she vaguely wondered when his tirade would end; her eyes, pink rimmed and tired, burned and her body begged for release from the day's events. She didn't know how much more she could take.

She simply shrugged her shoulders, hoping that the vacant look in her eyes would pass for guilt. But Charlie kept on; pacing around the kitchen, leaning on the counter, flipping his chair around and sitting down to look her in the eye. She wondered if he was practicing his interrogation techniques. Finally, after obtaining all the information he deemed worthy, he let her go, sending her straight up to solitary with no hope for parole.

The voyage up the stairs, with Charlie at her heels, seemed to drain any remaining energy out of her; and as she slipped beneath the sheets, the rain still falling lightly on the roof, she found that the silence was worse than the fussing from her dad. The silence allowed her to think about and dwell upon everything she didn't want to be bothered with during the week, everything that mattered and she needed to deal with but just couldn't.

For a time, Edward's face plagued her mind. His perfect features, his cool skin, his velvety smooth voice, the way his lips felt on her neck. The way they had been in this very room so many times before. Her breathing quickened, her heart ached as she thought of him, of how he had swept out of her life so easily.

Not so different from Jacob it seemed.

Jacob. The one who was in her life here and now, in the present; the one who had made her laugh again, made her smile, made her enjoy being alive. Feelings of despair washed over her at the thought of never seeing him again, of never hearing his laugh, the husky rattle that came from deep within his being.

And then there was the way he had acted tonight. The new, forceful Jacob. The one who had cornered her so swiftly, touched her so gently, disappeared so effectively. She shivered at the memory of his close proximity, his warm hands, his biting words - the cause of the hot, wet tears that trailed down to her pillow.

With a huff of a sigh, she glanced over at her alarm clock. It was nearly two in the morning. Turning over abruptly and adjusting her pillow, she hoped to jostle the thoughts out of her mind as she pulled the comforter over her head and slowly drifted off to sleep.

Fire trailed slowly, agonizingly slowly along her skin. It burned as it entered her scalp, pulling at the roots of her hair before dragging through to the ends and running down her neck.

The cool moisture followed next, as if to relieve the burn, dampen the fire, bring it down to a low, smoldering flame. Her back was against something rough, a tree. The wild, crashing ocean in her ears competed with the whimper that started low in her throat and was released in a small sigh.

His mouth moved from the delicate bend in her neck, flowing upward in a rhythmic pattern until it reached her earlobe, where his sparkling white teeth tugged for a moment.

"Jake," she moaned, feeling his lips curl into a smile on her skin.

Unable to take the waiting any longer, Bella's fingers pulled him toward her face; their eyes locked, their breath mingled and their bodies touched, lean muscle against soft skin as his mouth crashed against hers.

Bella woke with a start, the cool, grey, early morning light in sharp contrast with the flush of emotions raging in her body and the subtle pink skin under her eyes.

Sitting up, she swept the damp hair that clung to her neck into a high bun, relishing in the cool breeze the fan created. Her cheeks burned as her thoughts lingered upon the hazy dream that replayed in the back of her mind.

A dream. That's all it was - a random mash up of the events that occurred in one day. Nothing subconscious, no otherworldly signals here. It was simply an innocent retelling of things.

The retelling of a night gone horribly wrong.

Bella groaned as she rolled back onto her side and tried to focus on the shadows that were cast by the grey light that filtered through her window. Nothing had gone as planned. And now things were worse off than they had been before.

The sudden slam of a trunk made her feel as if she were going to jump out of her skin. Rushing to the window, she saw Charlie packing up the cruiser before stalking back into the house.

"Bella," Charlie's gruff tone echoed up the stairs.

Moving so fast that she almost tripped over her pajama pants, she met him at the top of the stairs.

He acknowledged her appearance with an absentminded nod, his eyes trailing from her to the window which was now speckled with light rain.

"I got a call in from La Push. They've got a real mess down there in the woods by the beach. Some kind of animal got a hold of one of the kids down there last night. He's okay…but it's critical…"

His voice sounded hollow as his words fell away, his hands fumbling into his pockets. He moved toward the door in the next moment, barely looking at her.

"I'll be back tonight. I don't know how long this is going to…" he stopped short, turning toward Bella fully and meeting her eyes. "Don't go anywhere, okay?"

It wasn't the command of a warden to his prisoner; it was the apprehensive fear that gripped the core of a father, causing him to forget trivial past offenses and to remember what was important.

"Be careful."

"I will," he muttered before opening the door and dashing out into the rain.

Bella's mind raced as she unsteadily slipped down to sit at the top of the stairs. A La Push boy was in critical condition. He was found near the beach where that party had been. Why hadn't Charlie said it wasn't Jacob? Why hadn't he reassured her if something horrible hadn't happened?

She didn't know how much time had passed before there was an urgent rap on the glass of the front door. Bella's pulse spiked as she slowly rose and quietly slipped down the stairs, her plaid pajama pants sliding behind her. Her fingers trembled as she reached for the handle; her eyes locked on the figure beyond the glass.

"Jacob!" she cried, throwing the door open and pulling him inside.

"I'm sorry," he said softly, his clothes dripping on the wood floor. "Bells, I didn't know where else to go…"

His fingers trembled as she took his hand; her eyes met his as she attempted to soothe him by pressing a reassuring squeeze along his knuckles. Her touch was light on his skin and he closed his eyes for a moment, tears glistening in them when they opened again.

Instinctively, Bella bridged the gap between them, pulling him into her arms. She wrapped her arms about his back tightly, running her fingers along his spine, in a motion that she hoped would make him feel better.

"I'm sorry," he repeated, his voice low and strained.

"What for?" She pulled away again, to meet his stormy eyes.

"For everything. For bringing you into this…I didn't want to…" He spoke softly as his hand caught hers and brought it up to his chest. "You don't know how much I didn't want to…"

"Jake…" she could feel a small lump beginning to form in her throat as their eyes met.

Silently, she pulled him into the living room, not letting go of his hand until they were both seated on the couch. He looked odd to her, his large frame taking up most of the space on the tiny sofa, his eyes appearing so troubled and lost.

"I was trying to hold out for you, Bells, to keep a safe distance. But I just…couldn't. I guess I'm not as strong as I thought, huh?"

"Jacob, just tell me what's going on. I can try to help –"

"I can't…" He spoke as if defeated, barely above a whisper.

"Why? What's holding you back?"

"More like who…" His words held a bitter edge that was raw on his tongue.

"Who? Billy?"

"No."

Her mind raced, thinking of everyone associated with him. "Quil? Embry? Charlie?-"

Shaking his head, he pointed to his jaw. The purple bruise, peculiarly barely visible now, stretched along the surface of his skin, drawn tight over his clenched jaw.

"Sam…" she said softly, beginning to feel angry. "What kind of hold does he have on you Jacob? Is it…is it drugs?"

For the first time in nearly a month, Jacob laughed. The couch shook under his weight, the motion making Bella angrier than before.

"Fine. It's not drugs then," she said sharply.

"No, Bella. It's not drugs…" he reassured her, trying to smile.

"What then? What could he possibly have on you that you can't talk about it? Does Billy know?"

"Yes," he sighed, his fingers cutting tensely through his hair.

"Are you unhappy?"

"Yes…"

Bella could barely make out his response, but his eyes said everything she needed to know. They were sad, tired, weary from stress and sick of being alone.

"You look exhausted. Why don't you rest for a while? You can sleep in my bed, if you want."

"No, I'd rather stay here with you…" He smiled, but it wasn't like it used to be. It didn't illuminate his whole face; it didn't touch his eyes.

Bella nodded as Jacob moved around, awkwardly trying to situate his body to where he was laying down without knocking her off the couch. Finally, Bella laid a pillow in her lap, patting the surface with her fingers.

"Thanks," he said, gladly resting his head on the pillow, his body contorting so that he was lying on his side.

For a time, they were silent, Jacob settling into the couch, Bella pulling a blanket from behind her and stretching it across him. It barely fell past his calves.

Her fingers threaded into his scalp, and for the first time, she realized that his hair was much shorter than it had been. She pulled up at it, trapping it between her fingers and letting it fall back down.

His breathing grew heavy quickly, and she thought that he was asleep until his quiet words broke into her thoughts.

"I'm sorry, Bella. For yesterday, you didn't deserve that. There are so many things that you don't deserve…"

"It's okay, Jake," she said, taking his hand. "We'll get through this together."

He pressed her hand into his chest tightly, holding it there and looping his fingers through hers. A comfortable sigh rose from his lips, filling the room as his warmth permeated her hand and spread all through her body. She found herself breathing more deeply as his fingers drew designs on the back of her hand and thinking about the dream until his fingers grew still and he finally surrendered to sleep.

Running her trembling fingers through her own hair, she attempted to relax, but so many different things began to cloud her mind. It was clear that he needed her, that he was going through something that was much bigger than the both of them. It was clear that he was growing attached to her.

And if she was being honest with herself, she was too. He held her without touch, eased the pain in her heart with only a smile and comforted her with a fleeting glance. The room seemed to spin around her, and she was glad to be sitting down.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this, she told herself. It shouldn't be so easy to move forward. But he made it so, and it scared her. Not wanting to think anymore, she grabbed the remote and turned on the television, quickly bypassing one of Charlie's baseball games and settling on National Geographic.

All she could do was breathe, blink and focus on the screen before her as Jacob mumbled and shifted in his sleep. His arm flung out over her legs and dropped to the floor before he grew still again.

She had intently watched two specials before he moved again, stretching so that his legs hung over the arm of the couch. He yawned and blinked before he caught her eyes, his body facing upwards, a grin stretching across his face.

"Hey," he murmured as he sat up, the blanket falling to the ground.

"Hey…" she whispered, bravely tearing her eyes away from the new documentary that played on the screen.

"How long was I out for?"

"Two hours?" she replied, bringing her knees up to her chest. She was noticeably colder without him.

"Wow," he laughed, wiping the sleep from his eyes.

"That's not so bad. You needed the sleep."

He smiled again before turning toward the television; she turned the volume up as he moved closer, his legs stretching to the coffee table and his arm falling behind her head on the back on the couch.

They watched in silence for a while before Jacob grew rigid beside her. They watched a pack of grey wolves stalking around in a snow laden forest for a fraction of a second before Jacob whipped around to Bella and pointed at the television frantically.

"What?" she wondered aloud, her eyes racing from the screen to his eyes which were troubled again.

"That's what I've been trying to tell you," he said anxiously, his eyes worriedly searching her face.

"What? What about them?" Her mind raced as she thought aloud, "Sam…has a wolf…illegally?"

"No, no." Jacob shook his head furiously, pointing at himself.

"Uh…you have a - a wolf?"

"No," he breathed, an achy pleading in his tone. He pointed at himself more determinedly. His eyes were frenetic; as a last resort, he took a hold of her hand and pressed it firmly against his chest.

She could feel his heart pumping wildly under his skin. She searched his eyes begging for an answer.

"You - you're…a wolf?" she gushed unsurely, feeling ridiculous as her eyes locked with his.

"Yes," he breathed, gulping for air.

He began to shake, his fingers trembling around hers as he pitched forward, catching her in his arms. Bella slumped against him, breathing in his earthy sent slowly as he whispered the words into her hair yet again, "I'm sorry."