So this started as an experiment in September when a Team Edward friend of mine said that Bella could never, EVER have ended up with Jacob, by any stretch of the imagination. I set out to prove her wrong, and... boom. Nighttime Walk. It was supposed to be a one-shot, but the possibilities were too exciting to leave alone.I elaborated, and got a few friends to read over it. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, so I decided it could make its internet debut. Interestingly enough, however, the basic elements of the Breaking Dawn story remain. They're turned upside-down, naturally, but they're still there.
If all goes according to plan, this will be one LONG fanfiction. Think BD-size. But I'll post it in manageable increments. ;)
Let me know what you think! (that means REVIEWS!!!)
Pretend you just finished Breaking Dawn, chapter 3. Jacob just arrived at the wedding and is dancing will the newlywedded Bella.
As I swirled in Jacob's warm embrace, I knew I'd made the worst mistake of my life. Worse than buying those damned motorcycles. Worse than jumping off the cliff and convincing all my loved ones I was a suicidal maniac. Worse even than leaving my heart out for every nice guy who walked by to take and keep and eventually break.
I'd gotten married.
And not to him.
"Why are you crying, Bella?" he asked softly, in his deep, husky voice. The tenderness after I'd crushed him so many times – never worse than today – made the tears come all the harder.
"I've made the worst mistake ever," I whispered. Jacob's eyes narrowed a little.
"Agreeing to one dance can't be that bad. I promise it'll just be three minutes, maybe four – and you'll be back with your leech. I mean, husband."
That word stung worse than anything I could have imagined. And it wasn'tleech – that one, I was used to. It was husband. I had a husband. And it wasn't the man I was dancing with at that moment. My fairytale was the most messed-up thing I could possibly imagine. I had married the villain who left me for dead after pledging his eternal love. Worst of all, in doing so, I was casting aside the prince who had invited me into his warm, safe castle during my most dire hour of need.
Jacob was probably as devastated as I had been when he found me. And now, it was all my fault.
"That's the part where you say, 'No, Jacob! I didn't mean dancing with you – I meant ordering the pink roses instead of the white ones,'" he said in a high-pitched falsetto voice, trying to make light of a situation that was clearly confusing and upsetting for both of us. I wiped my eyes on my shoulder, looking up to meet his gaze and feeling my face glowing with shame. I tried to make the words come, but they wouldn't.
"Bella, honey," he whispered, now sure that something was really wrong and I wasn't just being a silly emotional bride.
"I'm married," I whispered as he wiped one of my tears away with his thumb.
"Yes," he replied slowly, clearly confused. "I was aware of that fact."
"I'm married to Edward," I continued stupidly. Jacob's eyes narrowed.
"Bella, I've manned up and come here, but you're being a little insensitive, if you know what I mean," he said. I felt the tears continue to roll down my face in sheets.
"I mean, I'm married to him. And not to you."
Jacob's expression slowly changed from the mixed anger and confusion to a stark, deer-in-the-headlights, slapped-in-the-face look that seemed strange for him.
"Is this some kind of joke?" he demanded, dropping my hand to brush a shaggy lock of hair behind his ear. "What are you trying to say?"
"I'm trying to say that I'm making the worst mistake of my life."
My voice had dropped to a practically-silent whisper that was more of a hiss into his ear. I was so afraid that Edward would hear. And I didn't want to hurt him too.
"Bella, you've spent the last year being in love with Edward and breaking my heart," Jacob snapped, taking my shoulders. "Now, of all times, you decide to tell me that I've really been the one that you wanted all along?"
His tone wasn't helping my heart-wrenching guilt.
"Jacob, if I had known, I would have told you so long ago. I wouldn't have taken it this far. I've always known I loved you. And I loved Edward too, I think."
I was rambling like hell by this point, but I couldn't stop when it was all finally starting to make sense. Even if I hated what I was thinking and saying.
"But it was like everything faded to some kind of haze when he was around. It was beginning to go away after he'd been gone, don't you remember? I was beginning to understand what it means to be real. To hold somebody so close I could feel his heart beating. I didn't know what I really wanted. But when he came back, he eclipsed me, Jacob. Everything."
"And now, the spell breaks," Jacob said softly, his tone seemingly emotionless as he slowly withdrew his heavy hands from my shoulders. "When he knows that you're really his."
All of a sudden, I understood what Jacob was insinuating.
"Are you suggesting that he seduced me somehow?" I asked, beginning to feel a bizarre indignation on behalf of the man I'd thought I loved for so long. "That he did it on purpose, made me love him?"
There was a silence for a moment. I rested my head on Jacob's warm chest, taking his hand in my own like it had been before.
"I don't know what I'm suggesting," Jacob sighed, clearly not wanting to upset me any more. "But you're serious, Bella? You're regretting this? Already?"
"Like you wouldn't believe."
I realized that the first song had ended and we were well into another one. Suddenly, I thought of something that made my heart fall all the way through my stomach and hit the floor. Too often, I forgot that Edward could hear other people's thoughts. It seemed like a pretty big thing to forget, but it was hard when my own were always a secret. And I'd gotten so wrapped up in everything, I'd been terribly careless. But there was nothing I could do about it now – he knew everything I'd said, with Jacob's thoughts added into the mix too.
All of it.
I flipped around, all inclinations towards subtlety immediately abandoned in my horror. His amber eyes were wide – the eyes that had dazzled me for so long. And they were full of some of the worst kind of hurt that I had ever seen. He stared unblinkingly, not even noticing when I made eye contact. His mouth made a little 'o' of confusion and horror.
I was being pulled in a hundred thousand different directions. My intuition spun wildly, like a compass needle next to a magnet. I wanted to take Edward's smooth, cool face in my hands and make him stop hurting. I wanted to say that it was all going to be okay; maybe then I'd believe that myself. But I knew that it was never going to be okay.
Because I knew for sure at that moment that I didn't really love him.
Even though I wanted him to stop making that horrible, crushing face, I didn't want to run up to him and trace his marble skin with my fingertips. I didn't want to see him smile when I kissed his icy cheek. And above all, I knew that I didn't want to spend an eternity with him. An eternity without Jacob.
As I was standing there, all I could comfort myself with was the fact that I didn't hate Edward. That seemed like a terrible source of consolation, but I would take what I could get. Even though all logic told me that I should have disdained him, I couldn't bring myself to make that abrupt of an about-face. It wasn't possible to resent him for the years I'd spent entirely infatuated. They had been happy years, after all. Had it been some kind of outrageous phase? I'd thought that I was utterly, irrevocable in love with him. I had been certain of it. How could everything change after one dance with Jacob?
"What are you going to tell him, Bella?" Jacob asked, echoing my thoughts perfectly.
"I don't know," I said, knowing that my words were reaching Edward as Jacob heard them. There was no way to explain what I was feeling. No way to make it make sense. "He's so confused, I know it. But I am too! I… I can't explain anything right now."
"Not now. I mean, tonight. On your honeymoon," Jacob said softly, tracing my soaking wet cheek. My whole center, even though I thought I'd gone numb, seemed to turn into liquid ice.
"I'm not going," I heard myself whisper. "I can't."
At that moment, Edward's self-control must have finally run out. Before I knew it, his cold hands were on my shoulders.
"Bella, what are you doing?" he demanded, his eyes even wilder than they'd been before. Jacob took a protective step forward seemingly without even thinking about it. I could hear, somewhere behind me, the crunch of footprints as Seth slowly flanked Jacob. I, on the other hand, simply stood there as though I had turned to stone and desperately willed my weakly-chiseled mouth to form words.
"Edward, I don't know," I exclaimed, feeling the sick, misty feeling washing over me again but keeping control by the steady feeling of Jacob's warm breath on the back of my neck. "I don't know. I can't feel – I don't know what I feel, but I can't do anything right now. I can't think."
"What did you do to her?" Edward demanded desperately of Jacob, seeming to know very well that Jacob had done nothing. I could see Seth looking back and forth between them in confused hurt. But I couldn't make myself empathize; not the way I was feeling now.
"Let her explain," Jacob said calmly, keeping his head so well that I could hardly believe it was really him. Edward's gaze transferred to me once more. If I thought that the look I'd given Jacob had been one of shame, I'd had no idea what I was talking about. I didn't think there a way to say any of this that wouldn't make me want to throw up or run away or kill myself on the spot.
"Edward, I'm so scared," I whispered. "I've made a terrible mistake."
The silence was palpable and seemed to last centuries. Finally Edward broke it, but I really would have preferred to stand there and cry forever than hear the tone of his voice in his next words.
"What you told Jacob was true, then?"
I nodded, a bitter taste in my mouth.
"You don't want to be married?"
I coughed once, trying to clear my throat through the deluge of tears. I somehow managed to shake my head.
"I don't know how it happened," I whispered. "I don't understand it. You know I loved you that much. Or at least, you know I thought I did. I was sure I did. But suddenly everything just seemed to fade…"
"When you danced with Jacob," Edward finished softly.
I nodded, wondering if I would eventually just run out of tears. It didn't seem to be happening yet.
"I'm terribly sorry, Bella," Edward said soberly. His heartbreakingly beautiful voice pierced me even now. I knew if I could even begin to understand the sadness it held, I would never be able to stand myself ever again. I was already fairly sure that I wouldn't be able to as it was.
"You dazzled me," I whispered softly. Edward ducked his head in understanding.
"It was entirely unintentional on my part. I regret deeply any misunderstanding that it caused you," he said softly. I was horrified by the way he was handling this. His voice wasn't even cracking. I was reminded with a pang of the day that he left me in the woods. But now I was the one doing the leaving.
"If you'll excuse me, I have a marriage to annul and some affairs to put in order," he said, turning on his heel and promptly pulling out his cell phone. Around us, the festivities continued as though the world wasn't falling apart at its seams.
How could they all be so oblivious?
"Edward, please don't go," I whispered softly. I was honestly unaware as to whether I'd said it out loud, but he turned around briefly and gave me a look so pained that I took a step back.
"Bella, I understand," he said, his rational tone completely incongruous to the absolutely crushed look in his eyes. The words seemed quiet, but I could understand them very clearly despite the noise and the music. "I should have expected it to end something like this. This was how it was meant to be. I was merely an aberration to the ordinary flow of your existence that shouldn't have occurred – you deserve a life. Don't worry. It's over. It will be easier for you from here on out."
Finding nothing more to say, I turned back around to Jacob and buried my face his chest.
"Let's get out of here," he said quietly. "Seth, go get the Volkswagon."
I heard keys clink as Jacob handed them over, but I never looked back up. I was too busy breathing in all of Jacob that I could and trying desperately to make his warmth replace the pain. He didn't smell cold and fresh like Edward. He smelled like sweat and laundry detergent, maybe mixed with a little bit of cigarette smoke. It was the most comforting smell that I could have imagined.
With a jolt of fear, I thought of Alice. She must have figured out what was going on. Why hadn't she confronted me yet?
Edward must have stopped her. That's the only solution I could think of.
Oh, Edward! How could he still think about my feelings after what I'd just done? In all honesty, I probably would have been violently ill at this point, except for the fact that I had been too nervous to eat all day. Now it all seemed so dumb and superficial.
"Bella, honey, the car's here," Jacob said softly, though it seemed to me like there had hardly been enough time to retrieve a car in the moments I'd spent with my face buried. "I'm ready to go."
I nodded, still not looking up. I felt myself being scooped up slowly and heard the rustle of my dress.
"Where are we going?" I heard myself whisper.
"Wherever you want," he replied.