Dead Inside

Rest in Pieces - Saliva


Lying in my bed, in the middle of the day, I could do nothing but think about Bella and how she had betrayed me. It hurt, down to my core. And worse, I just let her go; I didn't fight to keep her. Staring up at my ceiling I saw the glow-in-the-dark stars I put up when I was a kid and closed my eyes, trying to push back the tears. Inside I was screaming at myself, at Bella, at Edward. At everything that he did, and how he hurt all of us. Memories swam in my head; of all those times she was mine, holding Bella in my hands, saving her from dying.

She looked so lifeless.

But now she was alive, and I'm – what? Dead inside.

It was then that I tried to mentally shake myself. I gripped my pillow and sunk my face into it, hating that her past had haunted her and now it was coming back to… I didn't know. Mess everything up!

I felt so lost.

There was a soft knock on my door. It was Embry, I could tell immediately by his footsteps, his scent in the air. "Jacob? Are you okay? You're dad called me."

I looked down at my clothes. I was already dressed and ready go to the funeral, another reason to be cheerless, another life lost. Is that why Edward came back? To finish what he never did?

"Argh!" I growled.

"Jacob? Will you come out? Or I could come in?" Embry said in a calm, soothing voice.

I sighed and got to my feet, pressing my hands against my clothes to smooth out the wrinkles. Hastily I wiped under my eyes where I knew tears had been. When I caught myself in my mirror I did a double take. Don't let him take her, I thought to myself. Fight for her. Fight! Angry, I punched the dresser, leaving the wood splintered on the corner.

"Jac–" Embry started but I swung the door open to catch the expression on his face. His eyebrows were knitted together, his eyes red from crying. This truly was a sorrowful day. The light from the tiny hallway, if you could even call it a hall way, burned my eyes. The imprint of the light faded away with each blink.

Embry and I just looked at each other for a second, seeing how we were both grief stricken, and hugged each other. It wasn't weird, or that odd manly hug that people do. This was comforting your friend over a loss type of embrace. But today, it was a double loss. How would I survive this?

My dad wheeled out of the kitchen, a pile of Kleenex tissues in his lap, his eyes and nose red from crying. Immediately I felt twice as bad for holing up in my room. I wasn't the only one hurting. Swiftly I rushed toward him and dropped to my knee so we were eye level and grabbed his big russet hand in mine.

"Dad," was all I said. He nodded to acknowledge all the things that were said with that one word, all of our sadness spoken between us with the single sound. He cupped my hand, sighed, and pulled away, wheeling back to the kitchen table. It was a signal – one that said I need a minute to myself.

Embry and I walked outside, but right before I grabbed my keys. It was like I was sleep walking. The sky was as cloudy as ever. Jared was leaning against a tree in my front yard. Everything seemed so surreal.

"Hey."

"Hey," Embry and I said back, our voices full of grief.

Instead of stopping and talking awkwardly about things that were completely unimportant I walked past Jared. Embry's feet didn't continue behind me, neither did Jared's. I put the key in the door to unlock it.

"Where are you going?" Jared demanded.

Where was I going? That was an excellent question. To Bella's where she was happily spending time with Edward? To stalk around her house? Maybe I was just looking for a fight.

"Jacob?" Embry pressed.

"I've got to go see her!" I shouted. They didn't need to ask, they already knew how I was feeling about everything – who I was talking about. It was a gift that I couldn't hear their thoughts right now, though I would have preferred to be the wolf right now. Less grief.

"Jacob–"

"Jared, I'm going over there. There is a parasite in Bella's house as we speak." I sighed in exasperation, pulling the key from the car and marching towards them. "We protect the innocent from those bloodsuckers!" I pointed at the ground, angry. He shot me a disbelieving look. "She's innocent! And Victoria! If the vampires are around then they need to know. If I'm not there protecting her, hopefully the leeches will."

Jared spit at the ground in anger. "She chose to accept the leech into her house. She is a leech lover. Get that through your head. And as far as Victoria is concerned–"

"Jared," Embry said quietly, cutting in, "Jacob's right. We have to at least make sure she's all right."

"If this is all about the rules," Jared shot back, "what about the treaty? We can't go over there. And what about the funeral?"

My hands were beginning to tremble with the anger of the whole situation. The burning sensation was hot and boiling from within. The memory still blistered in my mind of Bella looking over her shoulder, her eyes glittering with the image of the black Mercedes parked out front of her house. Edward had finally come back, and she picked him over me. She barely waited a second after I ran off to meet her bloodsucker again.

"I'm going," I pushed between Embry and Jared. Embry hurried in my wake, Jared making noises of protest behind us. "I'll be back in time."

"Fine," Jared shouted and ran to catch up. "But I'm driving."

"Fine," I conceded and threw the keys over my head where he caught them in mid air.

As we drove toward the small town of Forks I tried to rehearse what I was going to say in my head, or what I was going to do. Maybe I'd snatch her out of there and bring her back to safety in La Push. If Edward didn't let me pass I'd fight him. For months I'd watched as he hurt her, broke her. She was lifeless inside, and I was finally seeing something inside her spark to life. I refused to let him destroy her anymore than he already had.

Soon we were driving on her street. The Mercedes was still parked across the street from her house. But it wasn't Edward's voice I heard inside, it was the high tinkling of a girl, and it wasn't Bella. So where was the bloodsucker? My eyes darted around suspiciously.

Jared pulled into the driveway and Embry lifted his seat to let me out of the back. I was pretty sure they did that on purpose, so they could keep me contained in the two door vehicle if I felt the need to sprint from it and attack. They knew it wouldn't keep from breaking out the back window if necessary and I also knew they would have my back if anything were to happen.

I stood on the small landing outside of her door, hesitating before I knocked. I stepped back several steps, preparing for who might answer the door. I could hear Bella's heart pumping the precious blood inside her body and the steady breaths as she spoke swiftly with…Alice? At least she was alive still. Even though Alice was a vampire, I felt better than it being Edward inside the house. Alice seemed so tiny and frail, though I knew looks were nothing but deceiving.

Bella dashed down the stairs, her soft steps easily echoing in my ears before she propelled the door open. The vampire stink flew out of the house as if someone turned on a huge fan and was blowing it in my face. I tried hard to keep my face composed, but my nose automatically wrinkled at the sickly sweet scent. Her eyes roamed over my expression and she thrust her chin up defensively in response. I wasn't quite sure what she saw on my face. It only took her a second to assess the situation. Her eyes darted behind me to see Jared and Embry in my Rabbit. I waited for her to say something because I was speechless; without words.

"Hey," she said, giving in first. Her tone was soft, unlike her annoyed expression.

I listened closely to the noises inside the house. Charlie was not home, and Alice was making no noise. Bella noticed my wandering eyes and her teeth came together, her words muffled. "She's not here. Do you need something?"

Maybe Alice wasn't here, but what about the other Cullens? Surely Alice didn't come alone. For a moment I hesitated, wondering if this was some trick. Bella wouldn't do that to me, would she? I didn't know anymore. She did pick them over me. "You're alone?"

"Yes." She conceded and sighed.

Now I was unsure of what I was going to say. "Can I talk to you a minute?"

"Of course you can, Jacob," she said like it was obvious. "Come on in."

I peered over my shoulder to see Jared scowling as Embry shook his head infinitesimally. Any second we were going to have a very nonverbal conversation but Bella mumbled beneath her breath, "Chicken." For a second I didn't know if she was talking about them or me. My head snapped back to her and her facial expression only made me angrier. She was furious at me! All I did was save her life and keep her safe.

Ignoring the space between us I pushed past her into the house, sniffing the stink of vampire. There was definitely only one that had been here, which I didn't know if that was a relief or not. The stench was worst in the living room where a pile of blankets and sheets were spread out over the couch and chair.

"Slumber party?" I snapped acidly.

"Yeah," she bit back. "What's it to you?"

The smell only grew in strength when she shut the door behind her, the fresh air no longer flowing in and out. "Where's your 'friend'?" I asked bitterly, keeping along the edges of the wall as if there was an un-caged lion in the room.

"She had some errands to run. Look, Jacob, what do you want?"

Errands? That meant she was coming back and Bella didn't seem to mind. Actually she seemed to act as though I was the unwelcome visitor. Who knew when she'd be back? Who knew who would be with her? That same warmth quivered deep within me, the feeling of the wolf wanting to break free.

During my thoughts I moved from the living room to the kitchen, pacing irritably. Hadn't I just saved her life and this was how she would repay me? Even in the kitchen I could sniff out the sickly smell. She had been everywhere. My eyes narrowed and began searching the kitchen, like there was something that would help me put Bella's behavior together.

"Hey," she stood stiffly in front of me. I stopped to look at her chocolate eyes – the eyes that I loved more than anything. "What's your problem?"

"I don't like having to be here." I told her honestly. The vampires had every right to attack with me being here; which thoroughly pissed me off, too.

She flinched under my words which only made my suspicions heighten. Was that why Alice left? To get the other Cullen's for back-up?

"Then I'm sorry you had to come," she spat. "Why don't you tell me what you need so you can leave?"

I kept my voice quiet, trying to keep the acid from leaking into my tone again. "I just have to ask you a couple of questions. It shouldn't take long. We have to get back for the funeral."

"Okay. Get it over with then." The animosity was deep in her words.

I tried my hardest not to take it to heart. She was probably acting this way because the people she mourned over for eight months came back into her life. And here I was – royally against it. Another person she loved. I took a deep breath to try and calm myself. The boiling warmth within me cooled for a moment. It took every fiber of my being to keep myself aloof.

Slowly, I took a deep breath. "One of the Cullens is staying here with you," I acknowledged.

"Yes. Alice Cullen."

I nodded in understanding. So I was right, it was Alice. Better than Edward, I had to admit. "How long is she here for?" Disgust curled my lip.

"As long as she wants to be." Her expression became stony. That wasn't the answer I was wishing for, but I didn't expect her to be kicking her out, either. "It's an open invitation."

I was thoroughly discomposed, and of course, annoyed. Trying to keep my voice as serene as possible, my face smooth, I said, "Do you think you could… please… explain to her about the other one–Victoria?"

She blanched, probably not expecting me to say that after how belligerent I was when I came over. "I told her about that," said Bella, her eyebrows coming together for a second.

I nodded. "You should know that we can only watch our own lands with a Cullen here. You'll only be safe in La Push. I can't protect you here anymore." I only prayed that the Cullen's would. Automatically my eyes shot down to her wrist with the white and very cold scar. It made me very uneasy.

"Okay," she whispered, barely audible.

My eyes darted toward the window. A soft rustling noise could be heard in the forest. Maybe it was the Cullen family, come to claim Bella as theirs. I didn't know if I could handle it.

"Is that all?"

I didn't look away from the window where I could see our reflections perfectly, anyway. "Just one more thing," I said in a low voice. It was hard to form the words. How did I ask her without seeming like a jealous jerk? How could she welcome that parasite back in her house after everything that happened?

"Yes?" Bella eventually prodded.

"Are the rest of them coming back now?" I asked as calmly as I could, trying to keep my cool. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know the answer.

Silence met my words so I turned around to look into her deep brown eyes with intensity, seeking for the information. "Well?" I prompted, anxious as to why she was silent. She looked as though she was having some sort of painful internal struggle.

"No," she whispered unwillingly. Reluctantly. "They aren't coming back." The sadness was apparent in her face and my heart dropped into my stomach. I hated the bloodsucker for doing this to her. This hopeless longing of hers burned me deeper.

"Okay. That's all." I barely whispered.

"Well, run along now. Go tell Sam that the scary monsters aren't coming to get you," she snapped back at me.

"Okay," I repeated, realizing now no matter what I did she would always love them more than she would ever love me.

Without thinking, my feet moving without permission, I left the kitchen hastily; ready to leave before she could hurt me anymore. My hand rested on the door knob, but for some reason I couldn't will myself to leave. Not yet, not while we were both hurting so much. It would only cause problems later. I loved her – would do anything for her. I was hardly able to tear my eyes away from her.

I backed up to get a view of the kitchen where Bella leaned over the counter, sniffling. She frowned deeply, tears spilling from her eyes and hitting the counter right before her head plummeted into her hands. Her shoulders shook silently with sobs. How do you handle a situation like that? My promises were something I tried my best not to break, and I promised I would never do what he did to her – leave her. Did my promises mean nothing?

"Bella… ?" I whispered, worried. There was a strong impulse to comfort her.

She lifted her head as the tears descended her perfectly flushed cheeks. It was her face looking at me with those reproving tears that broke through my serene façade. Swiftly, I rushed toward her to…I didn't know what. I felt horrible. She relied on me and this is what I did to her? I was no better than him.

Unsure how to wade through these rough waters all I could say was, "Did it again, didn't I?" Like I was admitting my guilt.

She stared back at me. "Did what?" she asked through the tears.

"Broke my promise. Sorry." My hands were itching to hold her.

"'S'okay," she stammered. "I started it this time."

My mind was stuck between so many emotions that this wasn't what I was expecting her to say and I'm sure it showed. Maybe I shouldn't have come here to cause more problems but I had to make sure she was still okay. The lousy phone call from yesterday wasn't enough. I needed to see her living and breathing.

"I knew how you felt about them. It shouldn't have taken me by surprise like that." I conceded reluctantly. How could she still feel that way? – well – I kept that to myself.

By the set of her lips you could tell she wanted to argue but she didn't. "Sorry," she said again.

"Let's not worry about it, okay? She's just visiting, right? She'll leave, and things will go back to normal." I said – hoping for more information. Like when was she going to leave?

"Can't I be friends with you both at the same time?" she asked, her tone aggrieved.

I barely shook my head. "No, I don't think you can." And I meant that.

She stared at the ground, sniffling. "But you'll wait, right? You'll still be my friend, even though I love Alice, too?"

My first reaction was to shout, No! but I didn't, trying to keep my promise. I couldn't stand to argue with her anymore. And I knew, deep down, there was no way I could ever consider Bella as the enemy. Her eyes never came up to meet mine, like she was waiting for me to say the worst and that killed me, hurt down in my bones.

"Yeah, I'll always be your friend," I promised. "No matter what you love."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

When she didn't look back up I snaked my arms around her, wanting nothing more than to comfort her. It was my fault she was feeling this way. Asking her to choose – not a wise idea. I should have known better. She didn't hesitate to embrace me back, her warm cheek leaving tear stains on my chest. The scent of vampire was strong in my nose, but I heard no sound of footsteps.

"This sucks," she whispered.

"Yeah." I offered, then brought my lips down to kiss her hair. Instead I got a whiff of that sickly sweet scent. I sniffed to double check it was her. "Ew."

"What?" she demanded. "Why does everyone keep doing that to me? I don't smell!"

I tried to hide my smile. "Yes, you do–you smell like them. Blech. Too sweet–sickly sweet. And…icy. It burns my nose."

"Really?" she asked, disbelieving. "But why would Alice think I smelled, too, then?"

Didn't see that one coming… "Huh. Maybe I don't smell so good to her, either. Huh."

"Well, you both smell fine to me." She placed her head on my chest again and regardless of the smell it was just nice to have her in my arms again. Safe.

"I'll miss you," I whispered, wishing she could really understand how much of my day I actually spend thinking about her. "Every minute. I hope she leaves soon."

"It really doesn't have to be that way, Jake."

I sighed. "Yes, it really does. Bella. You… love her. So I'd better not get anywhere near her. I'm not sure that I'm even-tempered enough to handle that. Sam would be mad if I broke the treaty, and you probably wouldn't like it too much if I killed your friend." My tone grew cold and sarcastic at the end.

She flinched away at my mistake, but I only held her tighter against me. "There's no point in avoiding the truth. That's the way things are, Bells." I said, trying to reconcile.

"I do not like the way things are."

My eyes looked down at her soft skin and I pulled her chin up to my face, her alabaster skin even more pale against my tanned skin. Her eyes met mine. "Yeah." I sighed. "It was easier when we were both human, wasn't it?"

She echoed my sigh. We stared at each other for a long moment. Still, I never let go. Her lips were full, her skin perfectly white in the light of the kitchen. Her cheeks slowly flushed as her once tear-filled face stared back at me under her long dark lashes.

In that moment I saw who it is I wanted more than anything on this planet. She was everything I could want, everything I would ever want. There was no one else but her and me in this kitchen. She still cared for me even after a Cullen came to visit. And in that moment, I wanted to tell her how much it meant to me that she still wanted me around, would fight for me, but words were not enough.

For one trembling second I hesitated. When I got up the courage, I removed my hand from around her waist to bring it to her cheek. Her very soft, delicate cheek. Now both of my hands were on her face, and just like in the movies I was going to kiss her, gently. My palms trembled, and I was sure she could feel it, yet I already made my decision, I just had to act on it. It was like an overwhelming instinct.

"Bella," I whispered.

Her eyes darted back and forth across my face, thoughts swirling behind her eyes. She didn't back away from me, and for once I thought she might be ready. I had tried not to push her and now all of my patience was going to pay off. I leaned down toward her face to her supple lips which were parted slightly – inviting.


Author's Note: This will be in two parts. Part two will be finished sometime this week! Thank you, to all of my fans, for all of your wonderful encouragement.


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Disclaimer:All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Stephenie Meyer. Lolafalana is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of New Moon. No copyright infringement is intended.