Disclaimer: The Twilight series belongs to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended or implied.
A/N This fic takes place after Bella and Edward's engagement, in between the ending of Eclipse and the beginning of Breaking Dawn. However, here, Jacob does not run away but remains in Forks, still struggling to accept Bella's choice to be with Edward. Jake will be portrayed as ooc. If this bothers you, please consider choosing not to read.
Important - This story (like Twilight) is complete fiction for entertainment purposes only. It is not in any way a factual or true representation of Forks, Washington, the Quileute people, or their beliefs, traditions and folklore. Please do your own research to separate facts from fiction.
Warning - Readers sensitive to violence may find some scenes upsetting. I will post detailed trigger warnings at the beginning of any chapters that need it. If you are not a sensitive reader you may want to ignore them to avoid spoilers. This story will also contain scenes of sexuality and adult language. It is intended for mature readers.
Thank you in advance for reading.
Chapter 1 -
The Best Laid Plans
. . . . . .
The house is quiet when I get home. For once, I'm grateful that Bella isn't in the kitchen. Usually she'd be in here by now, starting dinner. I spot her through the window, lying outside on a blanket in the backyard, trying to soak up some of that elusive Forks sunlight. I can't imagine she's having a lot of luck, seeing as how every few minutes it disappears behind an ever increasing bank of clouds moving in from the North. I've never completely understood the whole sunbathing thing, but I guess that's just me and the fact that I've lived in Forks most of my life. Still, she looks adorable, and I can't help but smile, remembering her as a little girl. She always did love the sun.
The smile doesn't last, though, because the truth is, she's hardly a little girl anymore. The engagement ring on her finger proves that.
Yeah, that damn engagement ring.
I slam the last of the groceries away, and toss the steaks on the counter with more force than necessary. Ever since her and Edward told me they were getting married this summer, I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to wrap my head around the whole idea. It's not as if I don't have a reason to be concerned - after all, she is only eighteen, and her fiancé isn't exactly my idea of Mr. Right. Still, I've been trying. Trying to accept Edward, tying to get over the whole nightmare of having to watch my little girl suffer through months of hell after he left her in the woods, alone, abandoned…
I need a beer. Thinking about that time isn't going to help anyone, so I shake the memory out of my head and rummage through the cupboards for a bowl large enough to marinate these T-Bones. Of course I can't find one, and I grit my teeth, glancing back out at Bella. I've never been very domestic, and ever since she's moved in with me I've become even less so. She's taken over the kitchen, and though she's only made a few small, subtle changes, it's enough to guarantee I probably won't find a bowl without her help.
Thankfully, she's already on her way in. I watch as she heaves one last disapproving scowl at the darkening sky before gathering up her blanket and book. Squaring my shoulders, I lean against the counter and prepare myself for her wrath. When she finds out what I'm planning for this evening, she isn't going to be pleased. But damn it all to hell, I am her father, and I have to try, one last time, to derail this train she's on.
"Oh, hey, Dad. I didn't hear you come home."
"Hi, Bells. Yeah, I uh, just came in."
"Aren't you a little early? I haven't even started dinner yet, sorry. The sun was just too tempting to pass up."
She smiles, and I see that little girl she used to be in my mind again. I have to swallow past the lump in my throat before I can answer. The ponytail, the shorts, and the small blade of grass stuck to her knee, don't help me at all in picturing her as a grown, married woman.
"Yeah, it was quiet today so I called it quits early." I glance out the window, feeling ridiculously anxious. "Looks like that sun has made its last appearance, at least for today."
She sighs and purses her lips in a small pout. "Oh, well, it was nice while it lasted."
"You must miss it, the sun I mean, after Phoenix." Christ, I'm stalling like a five year old who has to admit to stealing cookies out of the cookie jar.
"Not so much, really. I've gotten used to it I guess." She smiles. I can see she's in a good mood, and it doesn't take much to know why. Edward's been gone for the last few days on some hiking trip with his family, but he's due home sometime tonight, and she's got that look about her. The one that tells me she won't relax or even breathe right until he's here. That also tells me this whole stupid plan I've schemed up for tonight has about as much of a chance at being successful as me winning the damn lottery.
"What do you want for dinner?" She moves farther into the kitchen and spots the steaks on the counter. "Oh, steak." She wrinkles her nose slightly, but gamely begins unwrapping them anyway. She's never been a big meat eater.
"Uh, Dad, you've got way too much meat here for just us. Why don't you pass me the plastic wrap, and I'll put some of this away."
"Actually, Bells, it isn't just us. I uh, invited someone for dinner."
"Oh." She looks surprised and rightfully so. I'm not exactly Mr. Social. A sudden smile breaks out on her face, one that looks way too hopeful for my tastes. "Did you invite Sue Clearwater, Dad? Because that's really great if you did. I can even, you know, vacate the premises, it's not a problem. Edward's going to be home tonight anyway, so we'll just go hang out at his place with Alice."
I can feel my face grow red, and I snort loudly in mock irritation. I should have known my hanging around the Clearwater place lately wouldn't go unnoticed, but Bella is reading that all wrong. Not that Sue isn't a great woman... Yeah, I really need to stay on track here. Just hearing Bella say Edwards name in that adoring way she does is enough to strengthen my nerves.
"I invited Jacob, Bella." And just like that, her smile falls away, and the light goes out of her eyes to be replaced by the same sadness I see every time his name comes up.
"Oh, Dad, I really wish you didn't do that." She closes her eyes and pinches the bridge of her nose in a move I know she picked up from Edward. The gesture annoys me for some reason, probably because it reminds me of the way he does it every time my mind starts wondering down a certain path. A certain path that included several very creative ways of getting him out of my house, and out of Bella's life. It's almost as though he hears me, and he's striving for patience or something. He really can be a very unnerving young man.
"Look, Bells, I know how you feel, and I know you and him had it out about all these feelings he has, but I ran into him today, and well, he just looked like hell."
She visibly cringes at my words, making me feel like I should be wearing a sign that says, 'world's worst father.' I have to remind myself why I'm doing this in order to continue.
"C'mon, honey, it's just dinner, and who knows, you said it yourself once that you missed him, and how you wished things could be different. Maybe this will help mend fences between you two." She shakes her head sadly, but I can tell that the idea doesn't completely appall her.
"Dad, you just don't understand. Some things can't be fixed; he'll never accept Edward, and I can't be what he wants me to be."
I study her carefully. This is the most she's said about the situation between her and Jake. "What do you mean, 'you can't be what he wants you to be?'"
She shakes her head and turns away, rummaging through a cupboard, and easily snagging the bowl I was looking for and couldn't find. "Never mind, it doesn't matter, just…" She makes a very frustrated, very female sound in the back of her throat, and she instantly reminds me of her mother. The pain is old but still carries a sting, and the irritation at the reminder of Renee bothers me enough that I quit trying to cajole her into this dinner.
"Well, fine. If you don't want to tell me then don't, but I've already extended the invitation, and it's too late to take it back. Jake is coming, and that's that. Besides, with Billy out of town visiting his sister, it's kind of my responsibility to look out for him. I can at least make sure he eats a good meal."
She looks up from marinating the steaks and scowls, looking like she's ready to fight.
"Jacob's a big boy, Dad. He can take care of himself."
Trying to avoid an ugly scene that may just have her storming out and having my plans go up in smoke, I try and joke my way into her good graces. "Yeah, you want to believe he's a big boy. Have you seen the size of him? I swear to God he's grown another two or three inches since the last time I saw him, and that was just a few weeks ago."
Her expression doesn't change.
"You do realize that Edward is coming home tonight, right? He and Jacob do not get along."
I can see the thoughts spinning in her mind, and I know it won't be long before she comes to the conclusion that I'm up to no good. I speak quickly, trying to head her off at the pass. "You said Edward isn't going to be home until after 8 o'clock. Jake will be long gone by then. Besides, Edwards a reasonable guy, perfectly capable of behaving, and so is Jake for that matter."
She looks at me like I've lost my mind, or like she knows something I don't. Sighing, she turns back to the steak and shakes her head.
"What time is he coming? I hope it's not too soon. I'd really like to grab a shower before he gets here."
She still sounds snarky, but she's obviously giving in, and I quickly offer to finish the marinating so she can grab her shower. The less we talk about this, the less chance she'll head for the hills, or the Cullen house.
I wait until she leaves the kitchen and heads upstairs before I pull her cell phone out of my pocket. I'm not real big on technology, but it's pretty damn apparent this has to be top-of-the-line. It has more buttons than I can find any rhyme or reason for.
A few weeks back, I overheard Edward explaining to Bella how to work the text messaging feature, though, and that's the only thing I need with the damn thing now. I really didn't plan on messing with her phone, but it was beeping at me when I first walked in the door today. I initially grabbed it just to shut it off. But of course, the second I picked it up and saw there was a new message, from Edward no less, my curiosity got the better of me. I hoped he was sending her a message to let her know what time he planned on being home. That kind of information could be very useful in regards to my current plans, and so, even knowing that I had no right to, and that I was crossing some serious lines, I looked.
Sure enough, he was texting her with that very information, and I learned he isn't going to be home at 8:00 o'clock. He's planning on being early, an hour early to be exact. This means he'll probably show up before Jake leaves, which could really work in my benefit. If I believed in karma or fate, I might think this is a sign in my favour. Not that I want a fight, at least not one between Edward and Jacob. No, what I want is for Bella to have some alone time with Jacob. What I want is an opportunity for him to convince her that she's with the wrong guy. I'm not a fool, I understand very well that this scenario is unlikely, but Edward's text and plan to be home earlier, provides me with another possibility.
Edward is a cool cucumber, but he can be possessive as hell and very protective, the latter of which is his only redeeming quality. If he comes home and finds Jacob here with Bella, and the two of them hopefully rebuilding their friendship, or more? Well it's bound to cause tension between him and her, and I'll settle for even that at this point. Tension could delay things like weddings. Tension could give my strong-willed daughter time to come to her senses. In order for any of this to work though, Bella can't get this text. I thumb through the menu, find the delete button, and hit it without remorse.
Call me an ass, or be kind and just call me overprotective. Either way, I'm not ready to roll over and let things go the way they're trying to go. I'm not sure I shouldn't just mind my own business. I'm not sure that anything I'm doing right now is right. I'm only sure of one thing, and that one thing is enough to make me risk just about anything. Because the truth of the matter is this, when I picture Bella with Jacob, I can see their future. I can see them getting married, buying a nice, cute little house somewhere close to here. I can see Christmas dinners with Billy and me, and I can see Bella, pregnant, glowing, loved and healthy. I can see a future and grand-kids, and my life going on with the daughter I don't think I can stand to live without.
But no matter how hard I try, I can't see any of that happening with her and Edward, and I don't know why. All I know is the harder I try and picture her future with him, the more I see nothing, nada, zip, just a big black empty hole where my heart and life used to be. I don't understand it, but in the end, it doesn't matter what I can and can't imagine. What matters is that I've been where she is. I've made these same mistakes. Marrying too young, and to a guy who once had no compunctions about abandoning her in a way that damn near destroyed her, spells disaster to me.
I have to make sure she's not forgetting she has options before it's too late. Jake's a good kid. I've watched him grow up, hell, I helped raise him. Bottom line is, I trust him with Bella, and I sure as hell don't trust Edward. There is something not right about him. Something not right at all.
I'm not about to give him a second chance to destroy her. Not if I can help it.
. . . . . .