To wolvesnvamps, the reason this story exists. Her amazing heart and astounding generosity donated an astounding $2700 to charity so that Stacie could get herself some chemotherapy and pain medication. We just hope begrudged. is what she envisioned.
If you wanna go ahead and participate in another fundraiser for charity, Alex's Lemonade is collecting for children's cancer, and the Twilight Fandom is a big part of it! Details forthcoming! Ask Ninapolitan if you wanna know now, she's the brains behind this operation.
Don't forget, A Different Forest is relaunching tomorrow night! Interviews with most of the rangers on Dancing with Jenn and Tor, ADF's new mascots, and an all-new fanfiction feature with working forums! Plus, little things that will make the forest even homier for you busy little campers. /cheesy
He fucked me that night; more than once, more than twice. With his ice cold fingers and lips and body, he wiped out the last vestiges of Jacob's scalding touches.
At times I would let myself go immobile; I'd let him contort me and bend me and leave bruises he didn't realize he was leaving— because I'd given myself over to him.
But at some points, he'd lay flat on his back and he'd become the still, unmoving one, letting me explore all of him. Every curve and hard, flat plane of him I learned about that night. I straddled him and pounded hard on him- my new territory.
He was just as much mine as I was his.
And when we were consummated and clean of everything but each other, I knew there was equality. We were equally powerful to each other… and powerless to stop this.
The sun came up, streaming through the floor to ceiling windows and I smiled, wrapped in his shirt and a quilt he said had belonged to his mother.
The sun hardly ever rose strong and bright in Forks, yet today- this new day- it had.
There was so much to figure out, the world had tipped and I knew we'd have to figure out how to put it back upright, but right then, wrapped in his house and his clothes and his arms, I didn't need to worry about that.
But Edward's mind was always turning. I was learning that fast. He was capable of focusing on everything, intently, all at once.
"You have a decision to make…" he started when he came downstairs to where I was sitting.
"You shower?" I asked, looking over my shoulder at him. His hair was wet and his clothes were fresh, and he smelled like soap. His family had never come home.
"Of course I shower," he said, and his voice was mocking offense, but his smile was crooked and couldn't be helped.
"I… want to know things like that about you," I said, because I did. Because past this magnetism, this pull that I had no resistance to, it just now occurred to me- I was in a new relationship with someone I hardly knew.
And looking at him, with this playful smile on his handsome face, with his hair towel-dried and unkempt and his feet bare despite him being fully dressed— I knew I was right to give in to this.
Now I just wanted to know why.
"Well, we have all the time in the world for that… I think?" he asked, his head ducking almost sheepishly, and this was another new side to him I'd never seen.
"What do you mean, you think?" I asked, and turned to face him fully, because he'd just fully panicked me. "You're not… I mean, you still—"
"What I was saying… about decisions—"
"I made my decision, Edward… you have to know that. I want to be here. With you. And—"
"Not that," he said, waving his hand dismissively, knowing my choice was obvious.
"Oh. Well, then what?" I asked, then I opened my arms up to him, so he'd come be next to me.
For a split second his eyes widened, then his face broke out into a full smile and before I realized what had happened, I was scooped up and on the couch, on his lap.
"You're going to have to work on slowing down," I panted, blinking back dizzying stars.
"Yeah, well, apparently, going slow isn't our thing," he said, and put his lips just under my jaw.
I turned myself, to face him fully; then, because he was mine and I could, I put my hands on either side of his jaw and angled his head up.
I kissed the sides of his neck,going from ear to ear while he made a gravelly humming noise.
"I'm not stopping, so don't ask me to," I mumbled.
He made a long, deep noise and sank into the back of the couch and snaked his hand under the front of my shirt.
"No… we have to decide…"
"Decide what?" I asked, replacing my lips with my tongue.
That stopped me in my tracks. I sat up straight and looked at him.
"I haven't even had coffee yet. Or sleep," I said, trying to deflect the conversation I knew I shouldn't.
He closed his eyes, then opened them slowly. He took a deep, unnecessary breath and I shifted in his lap.
"Just… say it," I said.
"We can't stay here. Either way—"
I cut him off by shaking my head hard— agreeing with him. I knew we wouldn't stay here, in Forks— or Washington at all, for that matter.
I couldn't… I wouldn't stay here in Jacob's home and… be with someone else. I wouldn't do that to him. I couldn't bear to see him… tormented.
And knowing it was my fault.
I wouldn't live here and be with someone else. Forks, La Push, Washington- they were home for me and Jacob.
I wouldn't stay.
And not only just for Jacob… I was much more selfish than that. I wouldn't stay because of me, too.
I'd made my decision, one that I can't even regret— but still.
I loved Jacob.
Very much. I wouldn't risk seeing him and mourning my lost future, my alternative path that was never really an option at all.
I was Jacob's only chance of completion— and hanging around here would be the worst kind of taunting. After all, he didn't choose to imprint on me.
He couldn't help it.
Just like I couldn't help needing Edward.
He couldn't read my mind, but Edward could read my face. His finger went under my chin and my eyes met his.
"He couldn't maintain an imprint… if you were instinctive enemies," he said slowly.
"Jacob Black. Couldn't need something he's born to hate. And… I'm sure you don't know, but when a human is transformed to a vampire… human memories fade."
He moved his finger and put his hands at his sides, limp on the couch, and I stayed put on his lap, making sense of what he'd just said.
He watched my face as I put his cryptic words together.
If I were like Edward, a vampire, Jacob couldn't love me. It went against his very reason for existence… and if human memories fade, the pain I had for Jacob would fade, too.
It would make everything… bearable.
"You know I don't age," Edward began again.
"That seems to be the problem with all of my boyfriends," I said flatly.
He tensed underneath me; whether at my mention of Jacob or the way I made light of the situation, I didn't know.
"Is that what you want?" I asked him. "Do you want to… change me?"
"No… I want…" he started, but actually struggled for words. "I want what is easiest— rather, what is best for you. And I want what will make you happy. And I'd do anything to see to that. That, Bella, is all I'm saying. I only broached the subject because I want you to be aware of all of your options. I'm content to be with you in any way you'll have me…"
"If I don't change… you wouldn't have me forever. I'll—"
"Bella. Hey. Look at me," he said softly, and I turned my face up to him again. "I don't want you to base your choice on me. I would be lucky and beyond honored to have you… for the duration of your human life—"
"But I couldn't— I wouldn't want you to be here, without me," I said, my eyes wide and my talking too fast. "Not only for you, but for me! I… don't want to be anywhere you're not. No, no. My choice is to be with you. Always. I don't care what means it takes to do that."
"You don't care?" he asked, abruptly sharp.
"You don't care… about never seeing Jacob, your friends— your father ever again? You don't care about your soul? Your—"
"Stop it. You stop it right now," I said, and firmly clamped a hand on his stone mouth. "You didn't ask these questions when you were sneaking into my window and taunting me all around town. You didn't ask these questions when I sent Jacob away at the boundary line. You don't get to ask them now—"
He jerked his face away from my hand, and gently wrapped his fingers around my wrist.
"You can't go back on this one," he whispered, dropping his chin and staring at me intently. "You can't change your mind—"
"I've already made huge sacrifices to be with you. And Edward… this one… I don't consider a sacrifice-"
"Oh? Jacob, your father, Forks—cast all that aside. You don't consider giving up heaven a sacrifice?"
"I consider anywhere you're not Hell," I said, slow and deliberate.
He stared, black and hard at me for a few long seconds, before his slow, half smile crept up.
"That was very dramatic, Bella. But I'd be a liar if I said some part of me wasn't celebrating. I got what I wanted."
"I have a feeling you always do," I said, then he leaned forward and pressed his lips to my throat.
"But for you," he whispered, cold breaths on my skin, "I'd give it all up, too."
"When?" I breathed out, suddenly anxious and impatient to start. To let everything, everything go and just be with him.
He laughed softly under my hair and into my throat, then I felt his cold fingers scrape at the soft skin at the back of my neck.
"So anxious for damnation?" he mused quietly.
"For you," he repeated, an afterthought before I was locked tightly against him again.
Throughout the day it went on like that, bits of conversation, bits of plans mixed with cold kisses and locked bodies. Then I fell asleep.
And when I woke, everything was different.
My eyes fluttered open, instantly finding Edward's intent and steady gaze, right above me.
"You have to get up. Now," he said, and his hands went under my arms and he lifted me until I was sitting on the plush couch I'd fallen asleep on.
He hastily tossed my jeans in my lap and when I didn't reach for them, he snatched them back and started dressing me.
"Edward, what— stop— you're scaring me—"
"He's here— Jacob— he's coming. A mile away— but he's fast—"
"What? Why is he—"
"I don't know, I don't know— his mind— he's giving up? He's coming to give you up, to concede, give his begrudged blessing—"
"That's not so bad," I said, my voice shaking as Edward reached for my hand.
He pulled me forward and looked over his shoulder and down at me, mid-stride.
"That's not all he's doing," he said.
"What? Edward— you gotta tell me—"
"I don't know. He's… masking," Edward said, and the frustration in his voice was almost tangible. "What he's thinking on the surface… but it's all too angry, too full of rage… Bella— he's very dangerous right now—"
"I won't let him hurt you," I said, tugging back on Edward's hand— and then he stopped short and turned to me.
"I won't laugh, given the serious nature of our current situation," Edward said. "But it's not me I'm worried about."
His fingers went to my cheek for half a second, gentle and soft and I understood.
"Jacob wouldn't hurt me," I said. "He wouldn't—"
"Maybe not intentionally. Maybe. But Bella, you're… taking his life. He's—"
"He wouldn't hurt me," I said again.
"Fine. We're getting you out of here anyway," Edward said, then scooped me up in his arms. "I'm taking you upstairs, to my room. Do not under any circumstances come down the stairs. No matter what you hear— no matter—"
"I won't argue. He's on his way. You can take me upstairs, but I'll come right back down. This is… this is my doing. I won't avoid the fallout like a coward—"
"This wasn't your fault. I don't even think it was mine. Or his. This is imprinting."
"I am at your side, Edward. I am—"
"He's in the back. Twenty yards from the house… in human form," Edward said, his eyes narrowing and seeing off, thinking thoughts I wasn't privy to.
"See?" I whispered, slipping out of Edward;s frozen grasp. "If he were raging mad, he wouldn't be able to help it—h e'd be a wolf. He's just…sad," I said, and my voice broke on the last word.
I walked to the back of the house, Edward directly behind me, at my heels.
"Tell me," I whispered, "what is he thinking… so I know…"
"Christmas?" Edward replied, his voice now a mix of confusion and anger. "A red sweater…"
I bit down on my lip, remembering the awful red sweater I attempted to sew for Jacob two years ago. The arms were mismatched in length and the stitching was lopsided… and he wore it proudly every day for a month.
"More?" I rasped out.
"Kissing in the lake… 'I'd give up cake for you, Jacob.'" Edward was repeating the things he heard in Jake's mind, the things I'd said to Jake. The pain in me, the pain from Jacob and in Edward was almost too much to bear.
My knees shook and my stomach ached.
"Keep going," I whispered, almost to the back door. Edward breathed out hard and swore under his breath twice before talking again.
"Sex, laughing. Sex," he said through gritted teeth, then a feral snarl ripped in his chest.
I reached out for the brass door knob, but before I made contact, I was standing behind Edward.
He threw the door open and there was Jacob, blank-faced and quiet, his hands in his pockets, staring at the house.
"This isn't your territory," Edward said calmly and I took a step to stand beside him.
"I'm leaving," Jake said, quietly and to me. "I can't stay here—"
"We're leaving Jacob. You don't— the boys are here. Your dad is here—"
"I just came to say… goodbye… and I hope… I want good things for you, Bell," Jacob said. "I guess… that's what imprinting is all about? That I should always want what is good for you?" he asked, confusion and sad clouding his deep, soft voice.
"Oh," I breathed out, then I put a hand on Edward's arm, before taking a step off the back porch.
"Bella," Edward practically hissed out my name.
"I'm just saying goodbye… I need… goodbye," I said.
Edward shook his head warily, his black eyes on Jacob, then grabbed my hand and walked with me over to him.
When we were a foot apart and I couldn't see through my tears, I put a hand out for Jacob and heard Edward let out a cautious growl.
Slowly, Jacob's fingers met mine, and then— he snapped me forward.
"I'm not letting go," Jacob said, and it took me a moment to realize he was talking to Edward, who was still holding my other hand.
In a flash, Edward dropped my hand, as though it had burned him, and he looked at Jacob— horrified and enraged.
"Jacob—" I shouted, and in a futile move tried to pull my arm from his grasp.
He responded by turning me around and in to him, so my back was pressed to his stomach and chest.
"I want what's best, Bella. It can't be a leech."
"Enough!" Edward shouted and I focused on his face— cold, calculating and… terrified.
"Jake, please, you're not even thinking—"
"He is," Edward said, and his black stare and deliberate words were all on Jacob. "Too much… he's thinking too much."
"I can't live without her. You can't live without her," Jacob said to Edward. "None of us are going to make it out."
Then I felt his scorching hand slide up to my neck— but there was no shaking, no panting— he wasn't poised to hurt or kill a mosquito, much less me.
Edward crouched and I shrieked.
"No— Edward, he won't— he wouldn't— he's not even phasing—"
Then Edward's eyes shot to Jacob's face and his thoughts must've been… they must've been of carnage.
I felt his hand tighten minimally around my neck, then he spoke.
"Would I? Would I be capable of doing it?" Jacob asked Edward. "Here's a better question, bloodsucker— are you going to stand there and find out?"
Edward didn't move— not even a twitch as he stood and assessed Jacob.
"No more waiting," Jacob said, and I watched Edward's head slowly cock to the side, seeing whatever Jacob was showing him.
At the same time Edward sprang forward, a small square of paper was pressed into my hand and I was thrown onto my back and several feet away.
Jacob didn't even fight.
He didn't even phase.
He… welcomed Edward's attack.
The following week, I was cold andwrapped in icy arms in a small, remote city in Alaska. Edward's lips were still and breathless on my neck.
In a few moments, Edward would replace his cold lips with his sharp teeth, and while I knew there would be pain, I also knew there would be relief.
Though I knew I could never fully forget Jacob Black and I could never forget that Edward had killed him, I was hoping the memories of all of it would be muted, that the pain would dull in time.
Clutched in my hands was the unfolded square of paper, the final chapter of our story— of Me and Jacob.
I know it by heart now, but still, I read it anyway, because somehow, someway, I deserve the painful anguish it brings.
If you're reading this, it means I'm a goner. It means things worked exactly as I planned.
I had to do it. I don't regret it, wherever I am now. I need you to know that I don't regret it. Death in a new world must be better than death in our world… because I was already dead. The moment you made your choice… I was already dead.
And I can't even hate you for it.
Maybe if I wasn't capable of imprinting, I would be able to hate you… but I'm all too well aware of that kind of power. You say you couldn't help it, and maybe that's true… but I can't help it either… so.
I never would've hurt you. When my hand was at your neck, I never planned to hurt you. You've always known that. I was just banking on the fact that Edward wouldn't.
And you know me well enough to know this wasn't just the quickest means to an end for me. None of us could help it, but ultimately, we'll all pay for it.
Bella, I may have lost you, bu, do you see how I've won? Don't wallow in guilt, like I know you are. In the battle between enemies, the ultimate victory was mine.
He gave me the death I wanted, and when he did that, I got any revenge I'd ever wished for.
I didn't concede, and I didn't simply give you up… I left you with my murderer.
Every time you see his face, you'll see the face of my killer.
Every time he puts his hands on you, you'll know his are the same hands that violently ended me.
I asked for it, I willed him to do it, and I wanted it.
We both know you hold grudges. I suppose now Edward will know that, too. For eternity."
I curled my body up around that note, and Edward curled with me. I closed my eyes at the sight of his hand lying limply near my face.
He'd been telling me for days he was sorry, and maybe he was sorry I was mourning for Jacob, but we both knew he wasn't sorry for his death.
He told me Jacob would be dead either way.
We discussed this sick phenomenon of imprinting—how it was unjust and unfair and a death sentence.
The possibilities of life without imprinting were endless…
Would I have chosen Jacob in the first place? Would he have wanted me?
Jacob would be alive and happy today if it weren't for imprinting… if he weren't bound to mythical laws.
Did I imprint on Edward? He on me? Had his family just passed through Forks, as they were supposed to, if I never would've cut my fucking finger…
If doesn't matter.
What matters is nothing is pure and complete, the way it should be. Everything has been forever marred because it was never in our control.
Edward begrudgingly killed Jacob. He did it for me.
I begrudgingly let go of Jacob, because I simply needed Edward.
Jacob had been the smartest in the end- he found his way out and he left us—Me and Edward. For all the control the three of us never had, it was Jacob who ended this with the only calculated move in this triangle.
He knew his life and his death would forever haunt me, vampire or not. And Jacob knew that though he forced Edward's hand, I would always know that Edward had ultimately stopped Jacob's heart. I may have been his first death, but Edward was the reason for his last breath.
I will always hold that.
Somewhere, always at the bottom of my heart and in the deepest corner of my mind, I will always be haunted by the fact that Edward killed Jacob— who I never claimed to stop loving.
You see, this was never a tale of Jacob giving me up, or of Edward reluctantly giving me his heart… or even me, reluctantly running to Edward and away from Jacob.
And Jacob… well.
This was more a tale of me and Edward and Jacob. Jacob, who left us begrudged for eternity.