All things Twilight are the sole property of the divine Stephenie Meyers. This fan fic is purely for entertainment with no other gain. No copyright infringement is intended.
Moonshadow begins at the bottom of page 376 of New Moon...
Chapter 1. After the Fall
Jacob parked in the driveway behind Charlie's cruiser. My head rested on his warm chest, his skin over his firm muscles was like hot satin with a faint woodsy scent. His arm around my shoulders tightened "You okay, Bells?"
"Okay," I sighed pulling closer to his comforting presence. "Thank you, Jake, for y'know, saving my life, again."
"Sure, sure. Like I'd do anything else! Just don't scare me again like that, Bella. If I hadn't gotten there in time-." He choked and was silent. I felt his lips brush my hair. Jacob's large gentle hand cupped my chin as he drew my face up to look at him. In the uncertain light his eyes were deeply shadowed, I couldn't read his expression.
"Can, er, may I kiss you, Bella?" He whispered. I considered for a moment, well, why not? He was my best friend; I owed him my life several times over. I was fonder of him than anyone else I knew, more than I really wanted to admit to myself. Not trusting my voice I leaned closer to him.
His silky hair brushed my cheek as he gently pressed his lips to the bridge of my nose, my cheekbone, the edge of my mouth. His lips were full and very warm and soft as they met mine.
It was so odd to kiss someone other than Edward. His lips were wintry cold and hard, my lips had always formed to fit his. I sat passively, not moving, as these details ran in circles in my head.
Jacob sat back with a faint sigh of exasperation "It's nicer if you kiss back. You'd probably enjoy it more, too."
"You know what your problem is, Bells? You're in love – with the wrong thing. You think you're hung up on a guy who left you, but you're not, not really. You're hung up on the idea of yourself as the heartbroken heroine. Got news for you, honey," he spat out, "whatever you may think, Romeo and Juliet were not a success as a couple. Get it?" He drummed on the steering wheel with his hands.
I sat stunned, my mouth hanging slightly open.
"What do you think is going to happen? That he'll come back and be so impressed with the way you've suffered that he'll - do what? Waiting for him to come back is sucking the life out of you as surely as if he had drunk your blood!" Jacob made a convulsive gagging sound.
"It's not like that!" I retorted.
"Isn't it? Look at yourself, Bells. You've held on to… whatever for so long that you don't know how to let go anymore."
He leaned his head back against the seat and took a deep breath.
"Maybe it's not so exciting or romantic, but have you heard of a story where the nice guy from next door gets the girl? One where he really makes her happier, lots happier than the first guy? Hey, it could happen!" Jacob's voice cracked and was silent.
I suddenly hated myself for letting this lovely boy wish for things I wasn't even trying to give him. Taking my courage I leaned to him again, sliding my arm around his neck. His hands went around my waist pulling me closer. This kiss was different, he wasn't so hesitant, and his lips were harder, more demanding. And so, so warm.
All at once, it wasn't an effort to kiss Jake. My breath came faster, a curl of heat uncoiled in my stomach, my hand clenched in Jake's hair drawing him to me. A soft, hoarse moan sounded in the back of his throat as his hands started to roam my shoulders and back. His hand slid down my thigh gathering me to him and sending a jolt of electricity through my body.
Kissing Edward had certainly never been like this! He'd always been so cautious, for my own safety, he said. Jacob was just as dangerous in his way, but I knew would never hurt me. His lips parted mine as he slipped his tongue over my lower lip and into my mouth, another thing never allowed by my previous lover. A new sensation of heat and softness.
"Oh, Bells," he whispered and moved his mouth to my neck, into the soft spot just beneath my jaw, drawing his lips down to the hollow of my collarbone with agonizing slowness. I leaned my head back as a soft whimper escaped me.
Jacob's arms suddenly loosed me and he sat back, holding me at arm's length as he stared at me, mouth slightly open, his breathing ragged. "See, I told you it'd be better if you kissed back!" with a flicker of a smile. He seemed so in control even though moved by passion. Who was this Jacob?
I started to close the space between us, but he stopped me "I'd better let you get inside, Bella,' he murmured hoarsely, "or …" He leaned past me to open the truck door.
"H-how will you get home?" I faltered.
"Run, of course! It's not far, and just at the moment a good run in the cold air is exactly what I need!" he chuckled.
We stepped out of our respective doors and J. came around the truck. I turned my face up for another kiss but he gently brushed his lips against my forehead, and looked steadily into my eyes.
"Think about what I said, Bella. I guess I'll always be around like your pet dog; I'll come when you call. But, I'm leaving it up to you: you'll have to call – when you're ready to give me an honest chance. There's only so much of this I can do."
I sighed and stepped up to the front door, pausing and turning to watch my wolf boy stride to the edge of the woods beside the yard.
There, just inside the glow thrown by the porch light he stopped. He slipped his cut-off sweat pants down and stepped out of them, rolling them up and tucking the shorts into the leather thong tied around his ankle. In the dim light I could just make out the sinews of his back and torso, the taut lines of his thighs. I was used to seeing Jake without his shirt, but had never seen him in this state of undress or from this angle. My breath stopped.
"Knew you'd look!" he called mockingly as he jogged off into the forest.
I stood for a moment looking at the space where he's disappeared then turned reluctantly and went into the house. As usual, Charlie was on the couch watching some sports show. "Have a nice day at the rez, Bella?"
"Oh, yeah…" I said distantly.
Charlie turned to look at me "What happened? You look a mess!"
"Oh, you know me," I mumbled lamely, "I fell in the water at the beach. But Jake pulled me out." I avoided the truth of the afternoon, why worry him?
Charlie turned back to his game with a laugh, "Good kid, that Jacob."
I drifted to the stairs saying "Good kid, huh!" That had been no kid's kiss!
For the first time in months my dreams that night weren't terrifying, but rather of warmth and comfort and soft, deep fur.
The next day was an odd, blank day, the hours marked only by variations in my worrying.
Charlie was gone, either at the station or in La Push at the Clearwater's. I refused even to look at the phone. After Jacob's words the previous night, and the kiss that followed, I felt a welter of confusion that I needed to sort out before I talked to him again.
I tried to study for a while and found myself re-living Jake's kiss in disturbing detail. Forcibly removing my mind from the moments in the truck I turned back to my schoolbooks. Only to be distracted by the memory of his parting words: "I'll come when you call…when you're ready to give me an honest chance."
I shriveled inside as I thought of how I had taken advantage of Jake over the last few months – but I knew I wouldn't have made it without him. My own personal sun who let me warm myself in the heat of his good nature, humor and understanding. What had I given him back? My company wasn't exactly sprightly these days.
I knew he loved me, but had his message been that he was running out of patience with my preoccupation with my lost love? The thought of life without Jacob's sturdy presence made me feel as though I had taken a physical blow to the stomach.
Was he right? Was I hanging onto a memory out of habit? Could I…?
I decided that homework wasn't doing the trick; I'd clean the house, instead. Maybe I could wear myself out enough to sleep tonight.
I scrubbed and dusted and swept, accompanied by the same litany of worries: would Jake really stay away? Could I give him what he asked? Was I being untrue to the overwhelming love I had felt for…him, if I tried to rebuild my life? Maybe it was time….
The habits of the last few months rose up in rebellion at that thought. How dare anyone ask me to give up the feelings I clung to so fiercely! My pain proved the depths of my feeling for my beautiful, faithless one. I would be loyal. I was altered for life by this loss!
I sank to the floor beside the bed I was changing, my arms full of stale sheets. Ooooh! Just like Jacob had said: I was caught up in the vision of myself as a tragic heroine.
"Next thing you know," I snarled to myself, "I'll go into a decline and waste away!" How pathetic!
Disgusted with myself, I trotted down stairs to deposit the sheets in the laundry basket and to start dinner for Charlie. Recalling Harry Clearwater I resolved to begin a new habit of heart healthy meals. We had a freezer crammed full of fish, I'd try out some new recipes.
I was gratified at Charlie's response when he dragged in a couple of hours later, his face set in grim lines. "Smells good, Bells, thanks." He gave a wan smile but settled into the meal with something close to eagerness.
That night in bed I pulled my memories of the time spent with Edward out and lived over them in intimate detail. I had done this so often. The pain was still there; but…was it my imagination or were the memories just a little… faded?
I could no longer hear his voice in our remembered conversations, only my own reciting his lines.
Finally, I drifted off, to dream confusingly of glaciers and deserts, blizzards and bonfires.
The next morning, I woke earlier than usual, surprised by a sense of urgency. Jacob! He'd said I had to call him or -? Would he follow his own advice and try to move on? The thought caused my stomach to clench and my heart race with something close to panic. Our earlier separation when he had joined the pack had almost been my undoing.
I threw on the first jeans and shirt I could find, jamming my feet into tennis shoes after a glance at the window showed the day dawning clear – for Forks.
It was very early but I couldn't wait, I'd drive out to La Push and just wait till someone was up at the Black's, it had worked before.
I almost collided with Charlie at the top of the stairs. Charlie was in a tie, carrying a suit jacket. Oh, the funeral! I'd been so preoccupied that I had forgotten the Clearwaters' loss.
"Couldn't sleep," Charlie explained. "Figured I might as well get ready and go to the house, Sue and the kids might need some help. You're up early."
"Oh, uh, I've got some things to take care, get an early start, you know," I mumbled lamely. For some reason I didn't feel like telling him that I had to go see Jake.
"See you around," he said heavily and headed to the cruiser.
I waited in an agony of impatience for him to pull away and then several minutes more to let him get well ahead of me.
Finally, I figured the coast was clear and sprinted to the truck. Leaving Forks I put all my weight on the gas pedal trying to coax a little more speed from the ancient engine but got mainly more noise. "This thing is SO SLOW!" I hissed in frustration. That was a first: I was the world's most cautious driver.
A couple of miles down the La Push road I saw Jacob's little Rabbit heading toward me, Jake's face frowning anxiously through the windshield. He looked so huge in the tiny car. He saw me at the same moment. I pulled over as he made a screeching u-turn and squealed to a stop inches from the truck's rear bumper.
My hands shook as I fumbled with the seatbelt and Jacob reached the driver side door before I could get out. His hands reached for me and drew me out, lifting me high as one would a small child and spinning in place.
Setting me on my feet he engulfed me in one of his warm hugs. "Ah, ack! Can't… breathe!" I gasped against the rough fabric of his shirt.
He loosed me, stepping back to look into my face and taking both my hands in his.
"Bells!" he exclaimed, breathlessly. "When I didn't hear from you I didn't know what to think. I shouldn't have left things the way I did the other night. I – that is, you're too important to me to not have you around, however you feel."
"I thought all day about what you said, Jake. You were so right about a lot of things. I was so afraid that you were too disgusted to want to be my friend any more." The words tumbled out of me. "You're important to me too, Jacob, the most important person I have. It's just that it's not the same-."
He stopped me with a finger on my lips. "Let's just hold it there," he said softly. "'The most important person you have' is a good starting point. I can live with that."
A puzzled look crossed his face. "Is that what you're wearing to the funeral?"
For the first time I took in Jacob's appearance, neatly pressed jeans and a dark Pendleton buttoned high. I realized that the clothes I had so hastily thrown on were the same ones I had worn for cleaning house the day before, crumpled and smeary.
"Oh, oh, " I stammered, "I didn't think I'd go to the funeral. I hardly know the Clearwaters and …" my voice sputtered to a stop.
Jacob blinked and said quietly "You know Charlie, and my dad. You know me."
My mouth opened to make further excuses, but instead I heard myself saying, "
"I'll go home and change. When should I be there?"
Harry Clearwater had been a tribal elder and one of my dad's best friends; his death was a loss to everyone. I writhed inwardly with shame at my self-absorption.
"I'll follow you home and we'll go together." Jake said, with a sheepish grin. "That's where I was headed anyway." He turned to the Rabbit.
"Jake," I croaked and cleared my throat, I had to be certain. "Jake, can you take me as is? Water damage and all?"
"Bella, look around you. Everyone is damaged, it just sort of happens, living." His dark eyes stared off at something far distant. "You have to choose to mend. And then you have to keep on choosing it." He got in his car and waited for me.
I stood open-mouthed for a moment, wondering at his observation, then got in the truck and headed for home.
A/N: Scattered throughout Moonshadow are lines lifted from the Saga, these are italicized; I have made no attempt to cite them by book or page as I have, um, re-employed them for my own purposes...
Chapter 2. A Study in Black
For the next couple of weeks nothing much seemed to have changed in my friendship with Jacob. Just comfortable times spent at his house or mine; no attempts at recreating that astonishing kiss. I told myself firmly, several times, that this was for the best. Then I would find myself wondering obsessively why Jake wasn't pursuing the matter.