A/N: I'm sorry that it took me so long again to finish this chapter. Lately, I really have a hard time to wrap my mind around this story. Nevertheless, I'm going to finish Days without Rain and we're nearing the end of the story, but it will take me some time.

I'm posting this chapter without my awesome beta JUL5857 had another look on it. Blame me for errors you will find. I'm posting the beta'ed version as soon as the chapter will be back from Julie.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

-o-o-

.

Chapter 34 – Connections

.

~~Bella~~

.

What happened to Bella recently on Days without Rain: Bella leaves for Jacksonville to visit her mother alone, since Jacob went through his second transformation. Nobody knows that Edward got to know about Bella being in Florida. He goes to find her there. Edward stalks Bella night and day. He also overhears a phone call between Bella and Jacob, learning that the two are pretty close to each other by now. When Bella returns to Forks he follows her there. Jacob imprints on Bella when he picks her up from the bus and Edward needs to witness it without being able to stop it. Raging jealous, he attacks Jacob attempting to kill him. Bella interferes, but gets nearly killed when she jumps in between the fight. When she's out cold she's 'hearing' voices in her head, but doesn't know what to make out of it. Coming back to her senses, she gives Edward a piece of her mind and tells him that there's no chance for him, that she loves Jacob more than everything. The little doctor – that treats Charlie, since he's having heart problems after Victoria's attack – witnessed the fight between Edward and Jacob, incl. seeing Jacob phase, is now in the secret as well. Jacob decides that her abilities to 'see' injuries by laying her hands upon a person could be of great use for the wolves. Doc Liz helps Bella to build up a spiritual connection to Jacob. Later that night, Charlie tells Bella about her Native background and about her real name Taima. She's given a medicine bag, and while wearing this medicine bag she's falling asleep and finds herself connected with Jacob again.

-o-o-

I opened my eyes and looked into Charlie's face which hovered over me. I realized that I must have fallen asleep at some time during our conversation and that I built up a connection to Jacob in my sleep. Disappointed that I had been woken up, I asked Charlie groggily, "Why did you wake me?"

Charlie tiredly rubbed over his eyes. "You should sleep in your bed. You must be so tired after your long flight last night," he insisted and gave my hair a fatherly caress.

Recognizing that my head was positioned in my father's lap, I sat up, feeling awkward. "Uh, yes, of course," I replied and I got on my feet. Dizzy with sleep, I almost fell over the small table and the box with the documents and pictures on it threatened to fall down. "Sorry," I mumbled. "Still clumsy me…"

Someone chuckled across the room. When I looked up I found Billy standing at the window, peering out into the fading night. He seemed wide awake and in a splendid mood. "Go to bed, Bella," he said with a smirk upon his face. "I'm not leaving just yet."

Exhausted, I trudged up the stairs and fell flat on my bed. Then, I felt something heavy around my neck and I reached up, finding the leather cord of the medicine bag entangled with the one that was attached to the wooden wolf. I closed my hand around it, feeling warmth coming off it. How could this be warm?

I disentangled the cords, took off the medicine bag, and put it on my nightstand. For a while, I stared at it, caressing the feathers with my fingertips. This is mine now, I thought and recalled everything Charlie had told me. Never had I thought that I was a descendent of Alaskan Natives. I, who didn't do well with cold, unpleasant weather, descended from the icy Alaskan region. I smiled a bit when I thought about the natural grace most Natives possessed, at least the ones I knew and remembered. Here I was, a klutz. No grace, no strength, no survival instincts. I was nothing of that, but trouble. Surely, I wouldn't have survived if I had been living back then.

I couldn't wait to tell Jacob everything I learned about my heritage. Not that it would really matter to him, since he loved me just the way I was, but maybe Sam would be easier on him once he knew about my background. He hadn't been pleased that Jake had imprinted on me—a pale-face. I recalled Sam's shocked face and his pissed remark when he put two and two together, realizing that Jake had imprinted on me. It made me tremble with anger. If I could only turn the time back a few hours, I would love to tell Sam what I thought about his closed-mindedness.

Would Sam be the only one who would react that harshly on the imprint? Or would the other boys and Leah think likewise about me? Leah didn't like me that I knew, but maybe she could be happy for Jacob, since he had imprinted on someone he had loved before the imprint even happened?

Was it possible that Jake had imprinted on me because I finally had opened up? Could it be possible that only when I realized my true feelings for him and how deeply I loved him, we were granted the imprint? It was the only explanation I could come up with, nothing else made any sense to me. Maybe Jake could find out more when he was back home and things had settled down. He could ask Billy or Old Quil in a quiet minute. I was sure that the members of the Tribal Council knew more about the history. Maybe, there was even some kind of archive where we could search for knowledge?

Tossing and turning, I tried to sleep, but sleep wouldn't find me. From time to time, I slumbered for a minute or two, but then almost instantly memories from the last day would pop up before my inner eye. I would see Charlie lying on the couch, his bruised face haunting me. I would remember Edward attacking Jacob. I would relive the fear of losing Jake when he fought against Victoria and later against Edward. Almost vividly, I recalled how Jake had crashed into me when I had thrown myself between him and Edward and the impact had knocked the wind out of me. And what was it with the strange voices I had heard during my unconsciousness?

I must have been waiting to fall asleep for about an hour or so and I still was wide awake. Hearing the soft sounds of Seth and Paul as they walked around the house from time to time, made me feel secure and protected—well, as good as it could get with me missing Jake so much. It was even worse than when I had been missing him in Jacksonville.

I gave up on sleeping then and switched the light on. I took Jake's Lord of the Rings book and started to read. This time, I was able to concentrate much more, but after another hour I was so fidgety that I decided to get up for real. I made my way down the stairs, where I met Billy who was still sitting in our living room, watching over Charlie.

"Hi," I said quietly as I walked over to him. "I couldn't sleep anymore. I just feel so restless, and I'm missing Jake so much." I shrugged my shoulders and sat down next to Charlie. He didn't look any better than he did when I had left them three hours ago. His skin was ashen and let the bruises and gashes seem so much worse.

Billy stood up and went to the door. "I'm going to talk to the boys." Charlie and I stayed seated and didn't know what to say to each other. The awkward moment was broken, when Billy returned. "Everything is alright out there, Charlie," he said, pointing out into the slowly approaching morning. "Paul and Seth are watching over your house for another hour or so. Then, Sam and Quil will take over. I'm going to head home, take a short nap and change. I'm picking you up around eight to see the doctor."

Charlie nodded and mumbled gruffly, "Thanks for being with us this tonight, Billy." He slowly rose and walked towards the door. I was shocked to see him give Billy a hug. Technically, it wasn't only a hug. Charlie almost fell into Billy's arms as if searching for strength or something.

I flew into the kitchen, overwhelmed by what I witnessed. Seeing my father acting way out of character was more than I could bear right now. Billy finally left and Charlie locked the door behind him.

Charlie came into the kitchen and said, "I guess I'll take a shower now and try to rest for another hour or so."

"You should do that, Dad. Try to get some rest. Shall I wake you up when breakfast is ready?"

"You don't have to plan on something big, Bella. I'll probably just have some coffee and a jam sandwich," he replied tiredly.

I played with the medicine bag and then I asked him timidly, "I was wondering if it was okay with you if I invited Paul and Seth in once they're done patrolling. They will be hungry. It's the least we can do…" I expected Charlie to protest, but he only nodded his head.

"You're probably right, Bells," he responded staring out of the window as if he was trying to see the wolves out there. "I still don't like my daughter around these… these…" he added and shrugged his shoulders. "It seems I have to get used to it anyway," he said, frowning.

"They are people like you and me," I replied upset and put a pan onto the stove rather roughly. "If it weren't for them you wouldn't be alive anymore."

Charlie ran his hands through his hair, wincing when he touched the sore spots, and looked at me apologizing. "Sorry, that was uncalled for."

He turned around to slowly walk up the stairs, but before he could take a step I had my arms tightly wrapped around him. It was so unlike me, but I knew that we both needed the reassurance that we hadn't lost each other. The shock about Victoria's attack still ran too deep. Charlie grunted when my arms encircled him, but he accepted my hug and then he hugged me back. When we finally stepped back, I saw that his cheeks were wet from tears. But my eyes stung too, and I knew I had shed some tears as well.

I waited until I heard the shower, then I opened the window and quietly called for Seth. Seconds later I saw his sandy grey colored wolf form moving through the bushes. He tilted his head to the side in a questioning manner, looking that much like a huge puppy dog. He yipped once and grinned. At least, that's what it looked like when his tongue lolled out and the chaps curled upwards.

"I'm preparing breakfast. I thought you and Paul might want to come in and join me when you're done patrolling," I called out and he yipped a second time, before he disappeared in the bushes again. I whipped up the batter for pancakes, peeled and sliced some apples and put them into the batter. Then I pulled out bacon and eggs from the fridge, and set the dishes.

While I worked my thoughts were with Jake and where he might be right now. For a moment I was stock still, remembering how it felt when I was connected to him through our minds, and the need to touch the medicine bag was irresistible. I reached up, getting dizzy as soon as I wrapped my hand around the leather. Closing my eyes, I found myself moving very fast through a lush, dark forest. Everything blurred around me in a whirlwind of dark, sharp colors, the cold morning breeze whooshed against my face, the smells of moss, and leaves and trees invading my senses.

I almost toppled over from the force of it; the sensory overload made me sick to my stomach. I gripped the counter to steady myself. "This is just weird," I mumbled as the vision faded, feeling light-headed, but for all I had just experienced again I couldn't bring myself to remove the medicine bag from my neck. It belonged to me now. I would never put it away.

In an automatic reaction, I tucked it under my shirt, effectively hiding it from anyone's view. I didn't want Paul and Seth to see it before I could discuss everything with Jake. He should be the first to know about my heritage and this gift that had been handed down to me.

Concentrating on the task right before me, I toasted slice after slice of bread, baked the pancakes and fried the eggs. I also thought about the upcoming dinner, calculating what amounts of food I would need to feed the entire pack. I noticed that I grinned all over my face, looking forward to that dinner with all of my heart.

Just in time it rapped and Seth stuck his head through the door, peaking in. "May we come in?" he asked and when I agreed he slipped in with Paul in tow.

"Come on in, guys," I replied and mentioned to our tiny guest bathroom down the floor. "You can wash up if you want to."

Seth strolled down the floor and closed the bathroom door behind him. Paul kept standing awkwardly next to the door, frowning as he watched me placing the pancakes on the table. "How's your father?" he finally asked, not losing his frown, and walked over to the sink to wash his hands.

I held my breath as he walked by me, feeling a little bit intimidated. "Um, he needs to go to the hospital in the morning. The doctor is worried about his heart," I told him and gave him a towel to dry his hands. Smiling half-heartedly, I added, "He has a hard time adjusting to the fact that you turn into wolves and that vampires exist."

"Who can blame him?" Paul mumbled, putting the towel aside. Without being asked, he took the orange juice from the counter and filled the glasses. This made me think that maybe Paul wasn't that bad as I had thought before. "We saw what happened through Jacob's eyes, but we were too far away to be back in time," Paul said, looking upset as he remembered the other night, but when he went on a look of approval showed on his face. "Chief Swan was absolutely freaked out, but still he fought like a true warrior."

My chest constricted and my knees became week as his words reminded me that I could have lost my father, but I fought away the tears. I didn't want to cry in front of Paul, but he noticed my little internal struggle anyway and gave me a sympathetic look which I made sure to ignore. After all, Paul still wasn't my most favorite pack member and I still had strong memories of the day when he enraged me so much that I slapped him. Something, I was sure, he would never ever forgive me—as much as he had tried to downplay it later on.

An awkward silence fell on us and I rearranged the dishes and serving, sighing with relief as Seth finally returned from the bathroom. Paul sat down as if it was the most normal thing to sit down at our table. "I'm so glad that you invited us in," Seth said happily and took a seat opposite Paul. "I really appreciate that I don't need to run back to Emily's. I'm starving. I really don't understand why Sam doesn't want us to-" Seth stopped talking and winced, while Paul glared at him. What? Seth mouthed and said out loud, "It's the truth."

Paul leaned forward and stared Seth in the eyes. "Shut up," he said with force and Seth obeyed, his shoulders slumping as the older wolf's order weighed him down.

"Why?" I asked and straightened myself. It seemed ridiculous because even though I was standing I had to look up at Paul. "I know Sam doesn't like me for what reasons ever. It's really not a secret. The thing is I don't really care. Making breakfast for you and Seth—this is me saying thank you for everything you did for my father and for me. And if you don't want to eat with us, feel free to leave." I turned on my heels and went for the stairs to get Charlie, but I stopped when Paul called after me.

"The redhead came for her revenge campaign thanks to you, Bella." Paul looked at me menacingly. "If you'd just stayed away from your leeches in the first place nothing would have happened," he accused me. "Or at least she would have come alone and not with another bunch of bloodsuckers."

I gaped at him open-mouthed, not being able to respond as his accusation slowly trickled through. "What? Why would you say that," I finally asked hoarsely, when I found my voice again. "In the beginning I didn't even know what the Cullens really were. And later it was nothing but a run of bad luck. James wanted to kill me, so the Cullens killed him. They didn't know that Victoria and James were mated…" My voice was thick with the onslaught of bad memories and fright, but I noticed that I wasn't hurting anymore. Only anger remained and that I could handle.

We both ignored Seth who was looking back and forth between the two of us. "Paul…" he chimed in self-conscious. "Maybe you better…"

"Seth, eat. It's none of your business," Paul brushed him of briskly and turned his attention back on me. "You know I'm not interested in the whys and wheres… Fact is, you're the reason they came here," Paul said unaffectedly and crossed his arms before his chest. "Once you knew what the Cullens really were, you should have stayed away from them. It would have saved you and us the trouble."

I shook my head vehemently, automatically defending myself—and them. "But I… they're good. They don't drink human blood. They are not dangerous."

Paul barked out a sarcastic laugh. "Do you hear yourself, Bella? In case you've forgotten: Your leech attacked your boyfriend. You still think they're harmless?" Paul stood up and walked really close to me. "You were exposed to the vampire world. That makes you a liability—to the pack and to Jake. You should have stayed away from them. Only the reckless or idiotic run with vampires, Bella."

I was intimidated by his size and the way he approached me, but I didn't back away. Instead I straightened myself even more, furious about Paul and his arrogant behavior. Maybe it hadn't been the best idea to invite him in. "He's not my leech. We're done. And what do YOU think that I should do about the past NOW? Shall I dig me a hole and bury myself in it?" I hissed aggravated. "You're obnoxious. Did you never make a mistake? I can't change it anymore and if you can't trust me because of it, then I probably have to live with it. I'll be forever grateful that you saved my father's life, but I won't let you talk to me like that."

Paul laughed out dismissively. "As if you could influence me… I'm stronger than that. I'm not whipped like Jacob."

I couldn't fight an enraged scream. "Jacob isn't whipped. You can't say that… That's… that's just wrong! Jake is the strongest person I know," I yelled and stabbed Paul in the chest with my finger. He looked at me coldly, sardonically, while Seth exasperatedly chewed on his lips. I instantly felt sorry for the younger boy as it was obvious that he felt more as uncomfortable with the situation, but that he couldn't do anything to help me.

I dropped my voice to a whisper, aware that I better not screamed like that again when I didn't want to engage Charlie in this argument. "You can't do anything about me and Jacob. We love each other and nothing will change that."

Paul set his lips to a grim line, before he spoke up again. "This is the most fucked up imprint I ever heard of," he scoffed. "The biggest and strongest of us imprints on a white chick. What's the future Alpha supposed to do with a pale face? There's not even the slightest chance that you might carry the gene…"

I paled at his affront. How dare he? My mind reeled. Jacob was supposed to be the future Alpha? His second growth spurt finally made sense to me, but why had he never told me that he might become the next Alpha?

Suddenly, Charlie was by my side, moving himself protectively in front of me. Looking over his shoulder, he asked me, "What's going on here? Are you alright, Bella?"

"I'm fine, Dad. Fine as can be," I said reluctantly and studied Paul's face, realizing that he looked concerned, more so worried. It made me think if his behavior was only set up to hide that obviously the working of imprinting was unclear to the pack. Not that I knew anything about imprinting other than the already known facts, but they didn't know anything else, either. Studying Paul even more, I noticed nervousness in him that I hadn't noticed before. It made me pretty sure that I had just seen behind the curtain, even though I didn't know why.

"Paul and I just had a little misunderstanding and he was just about to leave," I sneered nevertheless, determined to not let him know what I had figured out. Apart from that, I really was furious. Concerned or not, it didn't give him the right to speak that disrespectful with me.

"Chief Swan," Paul greeted and tipped his head, smirking arrogantly, and then pinched my cheek. "You're feisty," he chuckled, ignoring my feeble attempt to slap his hand away, and tugged at my cheek a little bit too hard. "I didn't know you had it in you."

Paul blinked in surprise as Charlie reached out and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, yanking him down. Putting all authority into his voice, Charlie shouted into his face, "If you ever put so much as a finger on her again, I'll make sure to find a way to get my guns to good use on you—werewolf or not. Get out of my house. Now!"

Behind us a chair fell as Seth jumped to his feet and tried to pull his pack mate away from Charlie. "Back off, Paul," Seth cried out, his voice cracking with panic. I gasped and realized what made him react like that. Paul trembled and huffed, his instincts kicking in, as he clearly didn't like being attacked by my father.

"Dad, let him go," I begged and shoved against Charlie, trying to push him away from Paul, but Charlie didn't budge an inch. "Paul, just leave…" I was panicking, because I hadn't forgotten how easily Paul got riled up. Even though he was one of the oldest pack members, he was said to be the most volatile wolf with the least self-control.

From outside a rough, commanding bark was to be heard. Charlie flinched and paled, but didn't let go of Paul. Paul ducked his head and stepped back, twisting out of my father's grip easily. Before I could blink an eye he was gone and almost at the same second I heard another, more furious bark and the shredding of clothes. Then, there was silence.

"I'm so sorry, Bella. Thanks for the breakfast though," Seth mumbled embarrassed and turned around to leave, too. He didn't come far.

"Seth, you stay here. Sit down and eat. I'm not letting you get out to that maniac," Charlie croaked and collapsed on a chair nearby. "You okay, Bells?"

I nodded, too shaken for words and sat down next to him, trying to find out how he was feeling. His hands were shaking and he was pale, but other than that he seemed fine. Seth took his seat again, reluctantly. He was tense and listened intently to the noises outside. There still was barking and growling going on farther away from our home. Seconds later it became quiet and it rapped at the door.

I jumped in surprise and I jumped again, when Charlie lost his temper.

"If that's you, Paul Walker, get lost," he shouted, exasperated, turning from pale to an angry red. His hands trembled and his breathing became erratic.

"It's only me, good ol' Quil," a happy voice sounded and the door opened, as Quil let himself in. "Chief Swan, Bella," he greeted, throwing all of us a cheerful smile, and walked to meet us in the kitchen. Quil avoided looking at me, and I tried with all my might not to blush, as I remembered how he had walked in on me and Jake the day before. I hoped that he would keep his mouth shut about it. It wouldn't do any good if he teased me about it and my father got to know. This clearly was the last thing Charlie would need right now.

I took my father's hand and pressed it slightly. He huffed in defeat and muttered under his breath, "Dammit. I'm too old for this shit."

"We were just about to have breakfast. Why don't you come and have some with us?" I addressed Quil nervously and as I waited for him to answer, I noticed a frantic look in his eyes. Looking at him closer, I could have sworn that he was downright freaked out, even though he gave his best to not let it show. If you would ask me why I'd know, well I just knew.

I offered Charlie some pancakes, but he refused and took two slices of toasted bread instead and let me pour him a cup of coffee.

Quil sat down next to Seth, taking the seat Paul had before. I stacked his plate with a couple of pancakes, smacking some pancakes at Seth's plate, too, and when I walked around the table to help myself to a some pancakes as well, I noticed how they sat with hunched shoulders, looking around similar hectic.

Something was up. This I could tell.

I put the pan away and sat down. We all dug into our food. No, scratch that. Seth made a massacre of his pancakes; Quil didn't stop talking throughout his entire meal, and nervously bounced his legs, eating only little for that he was a wolf. Charlie chewed at his dry toasts, observing Seth and Quil. I was the only one that actually ate at all. The situation was awkward and tense.

Charlie was visibly fuming, a fact that I hated. After all he had been through he shouldn't be upset because Paul behaved like an ass. After glaring at every one of us without saying a word, Charlie finally moved to the living room, where he switched on the sport's canal. Only when he was seated on the couch, Seth scooted closer towards Quil. "You," he said frantically, "why are you here? You should be out patrolling with Sam. I doubt that he agreed to you having breakfast with Bella…"

Quil's happy-go-lucky face fell and he chewed on his lips pensively, looking really miserable. "Jake ordered me to go in and not to leave Bella until he said otherwise," he finally choked out, clearly shaken. "I had no choice…"

"What are you saying?" Seth whispered and shook his head in disbelief. "But Sam must have ordered…"

"Jake's order overpowered Sam's. I couldn't fight it. Sam couldn't fight it." Quil shrugged his shoulders and buried his hands in his hair, tugging at it rather forcefully. "I can hear Jake's thoughts. Even now. He's raging mad."

Nervously, I played with the leather cord of my necklace. I heard Seth saying, "But you're not phased. How can you hear him?" and then I felt blazing hot white fury. Nothing but fury. I clutched my chest, hard, as I felt like going up in flames and erupt in an inferno of rage. I clenched my teeth so hard it hurt, and when I was able to emerge from this veil of fury, I tasted blood in my mouth and I found Quil and Seth staring at me with wide eyes.

Slowly, I removed my hand from my chest, realizing that I had been holding on to the medicine bag again and sucked in a sharp breath. Okay, very obviously this was the key for building up a mental connection to Jacob. "My ribs are hurting…" I declared whispering and stood up, hoping they wouldn't ask questions I didn't want to answer.

Quietly, we cleared the table, working hand in hand. "The area is vamp free," Quil eventually informed me. "We're sure that your father kind of… imagined seeing things. We didn't track anything down. Sam and Paul left. Jacob wanted them gone from your house. I'm supposed to stay with you until he returns."

"Can you really hear Jake right now?" I asked him, feigning casualness, while stacking the plates in the dish washer.

"Right now, all I feel is his fury. But when Paul started to argue with you…" Quil told me openly, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand, keeping the other hand he buried in his hair. Then he went on agitated, "Okay, first there was our normal mind link. He was phased, I was phased. We heard him even though he's still quite far away from here, but we were in our wolf forms. So it was no big deal, even when he started to yell at Sam to make Paul stop."

Seth nodded, hanging on every word Quil was saying. Quil continued, "Paul left your house and exploded and Jake flipped. Jake told Paul to piss off and me to phase back. His order was so strong; I couldn't do any different than just follow. I had no choice. It was as if his order pushed me into my human form. When I walked up the stairs I heard him as clearly as if he'd been standing beside me."

"Wow," I said, deeply impressed and shoved the pan with the fried eggs into his hands. "And Paul?" I asked.

Quil grinned as he took an egg and shoved it into his mouth. "He ran off, following Jake's order, and Sam couldn't do a thing," he declared proudly, spraying tiny bits of food through my kitchen.

"Shit," muttered Seth concerned. "That's going to give trouble. Sam won't let Jake get away with it easily."

"What do you think will happen?" I asked curiously, deep within me I couldn't do anything but doubt that Jacob would accept any punishment that came from Sam. In fact, if Jake was supposed to become the next Alpha Sam better be careful around him.

"Sam will order him to run extra patrols. That's usually his kind of punishment," Seth explained and I frowned. I could so see Sam using extra patrols to keep Jake away from me. That's what he liked to do lately—keeping me and Jake apart.

I cleaned the rest of my kitchen in silence. Seth and Quil were forced to watch TV with Charlie after he caught them peeping curiously at the screen from their spot the kitchen. They visibly felt uncomfortable around Charlie, afraid that he might lose his temper again.

Around eight o'clock Billy pulled up with the Clearwater's old pickup. He sent Seth home to check on his mom, but Quil wouldn't budge when Billy told him to leave. Quil only said, "Jake told me so," and Billy caved.

At the hospital Charlie was thoroughly examined and checked by Doc Liz. He received an ECG, an EEG, and a CT scan that he barely could make it through because he panicked again. In the end, all Doc Liz found out was what she already knew before. There were no severe injuries or traceable heart problems. After a long talk with Charlie she explained that all symptoms were most likely a matter of the stress he had been exposed to.

When she was done with Charlie, she made the men leave the room and checked on my bruised ribcage. With my newly developed perceptiveness, I felt a strange vibe coming from her. "Who are you," I asked Doc Liz, feeling the need to know more about her.

"I'm a Watcher," she answered simply, smiling at me, and raised her eyebrow as if she expected me to know.

"I don't understand," I replied, twirling a strand of hair around my fingers. "A Watcher, like in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?"

Surprisingly enough, Doc Liz wasn't offended by my question. She only laughed out, but then explained, "That is fiction, Bella. What I am is real, even if it sounds like fiction. When I told you I can see your aura I meant that I can see your soul. Everyone walking this earth and the realms between has a task. Mine is to take care of you. I made sure your mother would meet your father. She was the vessel, the passage that led you the way."

"Uh-hu," I replied at a loss of word and stared at her wide-eyed, trying to comprehend what she was saying. "And where were you when James almost killed me? And what about Laurent? And Victoria?"

Doc Liz didn't answer on that. She just sent us home with the promise to check on Charlie later when she finished her shift. No need to tell how much frustrated I was about her silence.

Over the rest of the day I grew totally restless. I took care of our house, did the laundry, mopped the floors, and watched TV with Charlie. I also continued reading my Lord of the Rings book. Every so often I meant to feel Jake and every now and then I dozed off on the sofa from the lack of sleep.

I finally went to bed, too exhausted to even think straight. I snuggled deep into my pillows and fell asleep almost instantly, but my sleep was fitful and I found me running over long distances and at a high speed.

It was late at night when I awoke from the persistent ringing of our phone. "Hello," I groggily answered.

"I'm home, Bells," a familiar, husky voice at the other end of the line replied, and I almost squealed with happiness.

"Hi, Jake," I breathed and rubbed the last remnants of sleep out of my eyes. "Is everything okay?"

Jake's voice was thick with concern. "We brought Leah back, but she's severely injured. I need you to call Doc Liz and make her come to the Clearwater's."

"Okay," I said and hurried down the stairs to get the Doc's phone number that was stuck to the fridge. "Will you come over later, Jake? Or should I drop by?"

"Just stay at home, Bells. I'll be with you as soon as I can. Love you." Jake ended the phone call and I dialed the hospital.

Although I was totally happy that Jake was back safe and sound, I was deeply concerned about Leah. What had happened to her? Why was she injured?

I went back to bed, wanting to sleep the time away until Jake could be with me. This time, I removed the medicine bag from my neck, before I fell asleep. When I awoke next time it was still dark outside, but I knew the morning was approaching. I felt Jake's presence, knew by my heart that he was close.

I was down the stairs as fast as never before, not minding that I was only wearing my pajamas, and ripped the door open, running into our yard.

Out of the woods my huge, russet wolf emerged, and I practically flew towards him and wrapped my arms around his thick, furry neck.

.


.

A/N: Please, check on my new oneshots (The Workout, Correspondence, and When a Child is Born) and my new story (Hostage of Love), as I've been busy writing during the last months. Everything is posted here in my profile. Let me know what you think and leave me some love on my stuff, since that's what gets me running, folks.

Love you all and I wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!