Bella stared at the windowpane, fascinated by the tiny drops as they hit the glass with a soothing patter. Each diminutive droplet fell as it surrendered to gravity. They lazily carved an elaborate pattern as they periodically joined with other sparkling trails of moisture. Each gleaming path was an integral part that leant itself to the artful painting of the whole window.
A painting that somehow managed to mirror the intricate pattern of tears that slowly made their way down her face.
The rain reminded her so much of her father. Of all the times that she had splashed through the puddles with him as a young child. Of her visits to Charlie when she was older that she had spent cooped inside avoiding the dreary Forks weather. And mostly, it reminded her of her most recent time in Forks. Of those months after Edward had left when she sat staring out her bedroom window wishing she were dead. The rain reminded her of how hard Charlie had tried to make things better for her, how he had been devoted to take away her pain. How he had done everything for her because he loved her.
She gently touched a fingertip to the glass in front of her and slowly traced the path of a particularly large drop, following it through twists and turns until it finally reached the sill, pooling on the other side of the glass. She allowed herself a small smile as it peacefully arrived at the bottom and enjoyed the slight coolness of the glass on her skin. A warm hand touched her lightly on the shoulder and she couldn't help but jump and turn quickly to face whoever was behind her.
Jacob smiled at Bella softly and tenderly wiped the tears from her cheeks with the pad of his thumb, sweeping her hair out of her face in the process.
"What's on your mind Bells?" he asked quietly, searching her eyes.
"I was just thinking... about Charlie," she replied softly, almost choking on the last words.
"Oh honey..." Jacob whispered sweeping her immediately into a hug. His embrace was firm but soothing and she instantly melted into his arms, weeping softly.
"I just miss him so much," she said as she buried her face deeper into his shoulder.
"I know," Jacob soothed as he held her, waiting for her small sobs to quieten.
Finally, she calmed enough that her cries had turned to only an occasional sniffle. Slowly, she removed her head from Jacob's soaking shoulder and looked into his eyes. "Thank you Jacob," she whispered to him, "everything that you do just means so much to me and I just wanted you to know... I love you."
"I love you too," he whispered back, and before he even knew what he was doing, he was kissing her softly on the lips.
Bella froze for a moment in shock, but quickly returned the kiss. "Jake..." she sighed at his gentle ministrations, then slowly ran her tongue across his lower lip, begging for entrance.
Jake quickly complied, allowing her access and deepening the kiss. His hands began to wander from their place on her back, traveling upwards until they tangled into her curly brown locks. He pulled gently at her hair to try to move her head into a better angle...
He pulled harshly at her hair, trying to yank her head back to gain access to her neck. The fingers of his other hand dug painfully into her face, gripping it to try to keep her still. She felt the razor sharp edge of his teeth graze agonizingly across the delicate skin of her throat and instantly tried to recoil.
"No," she whispered.
His hand left her face, but immediately returned as he slapped her roughly. Jagged shards of pain flamed across her cheek, and she had to bite her tongue to keep herself from crying out. His hand found its way under her clothes and she began to struggle in earnest, wanting to get away at all costs.
"Please stop," She pleaded.
She continued to struggle against his horrible groping hand. He soon became frustrated and punched her in the stomach, winding her instantly. She fell to the ground, limp and was unable to move as the blows began to rain down upon her. "I'll teach you some respect," he growled as he emphasised his words with kicks to her spine. Somehow, she was miraculously able to get her breath back.
"STOP IT EDWARD!" Bella screamed and ran as fast as she could manage out of the room.
She didn't even notice Jacob standing frozen in the middle of living room. He stood wide-eyed and unable to move until the sound of the bedroom door slamming shut made him flinch.
Sam made his way slowly up the front porch after meeting with the tribal elders. He frowned slightly at cloudy sky overhead. The heavy rain that had pounded the earth earlier in the afternoon had calmed into a light drizzle and Sam wondered idly if the weather would hold up long enough for his planned lesson that evening.
Bella had finally healed well enough to begin her promised self defence training and Sam planned to start things off slowly by teaching her some simple holds in the backyard that night.
As he entered the house he noticed Jacob sitting on the couch, staring off into space and shook his head. "Where's Bella?" he asked lightly as he hung his jacket near the door.
When he didn't receive a response, he turned to look at Jacob more closely, examining his posture. Jacob sat with his shoulders hunched and his head hanging low, his hands shook slightly and his eyelashes appeared to be faintly wet, as if he had been crying some time ago.
"What happened Jacob?" Sam asked slowly, not wanting to assume anything.
"I don't know..." Jake mumbled, then looked up into his mentor's eyes pleadingly.
"Jacob," Sam sighed and walked over to sit in a nearby chair, "You need to tell me what's going on... otherwise I can't help you."
Jake contemplated his response for a moment, then replied quietly, "Bella was thinking about Charlie and she got really upset. I went to go comfort her and then I—I," he groaned softly and continued, "I kissed her. Everything was going great for a while but then she just sort of froze in my arms. I guess I kept going and she started muttering things but I couldn't really understand what she was saying."
Jake then looked piercingly into Sam's eyes and added, "She thought I was Edward." His hand balled suddenly into a fist and came crashing down forcefully onto the coffee table. "She screamed and called me Edward and then she ran," he finished, spitting out the leech's name as he spoke.
Sam grimaced. He would need to speak to Jacob later about boundaries and giving Bella space so she could emotionally heal. But for the time being there were more important things to attend to. "Where is she now Jake?" he asked quietly.
Jacob groaned and let his head fall back into his trembling hands. "She locked herself into your room. I tried to talk to her but she won't let me in. I fucked up Sam… I fucked up really bad."
Sam got up and walked to the back of his small house. He tapped lightly on the bedroom door and waited, hearing only silence on the other side. "Bella?" he called softly, but again received no response. He rattled the knob a little but found that the door was still locked and sighed. He reached for the bobby pin he had stored above the doorjamb for the few occasions that he and Emily had gotten into arguments and she had similarly locked herself away. Sam picked the lock easily, then eased the door open, looking around inside.
Upon first glance, the room appeared empty, the only movement being the curtains fluttering in the breeze from the open window. Sam hurried over but quickly found that Bella's scent stayed within the confines of the room and exhaled in relief. He did a quick check under the bed but found only dust and a couple of old discarded socks. That left only one place.
Sam padded slowly toward the cramped closet that he and Emily shared and tapped lightly on the small wooden door. "Bella..." He whispered and was met with a quiet rustling from within followed by a short whimper. He eased the door open a few inches and the rustling within intensified culminating in a dull thud that sounded vaguely like Bella's head bumping roughly into the wall.
He quickly jerked the door the rest of the way open to make sure that she was okay. As the light from the room flooded into the closet Bella jumped back from it as if it burned her. She attempted to cram her body into the small area of shadow just inside the closet door and threw her arms over her head protectively.
"Please don't hurt me," she whimpered pathetically, refusing to look up.
"No one is going to hurt you Bella," Sam said gently as he squatted down just outside of the tiny room. He slowly reached out a hand to grasp her shoulder reassuringly, but before he could even touch her, she jumped back with a shriek, tripping over a pair of Emily's shoes in the process and falling on her rump.
"I'm really sorry. I swear I'll never do it again. Please just let me go," Bella continued hysterically as if she hadn't heard him.
"Bells he isn't here. It's just you and me. It's Sam sweetheart," He reached into the closet again but more tentatively, wanting to snap her out of her daze without startling her too badly. "You know I'd never let anyone hurt you. You can trust me," He coaxed gently, his hand finally reaching the bare flesh of her arm.
Bella was still in the midst of trying to scrabble backwards and make herself as small as possible, but at Sam's warm touch it was like a shock went through her system and she instantly froze. "Sam?" she questioned, a confused expression suddenly twisting her features. She looked around the cluttered closet, then back to his face, searching for answers. "What am I-? What happened?"
"Shh Bella," Sam soothed, relieved that she had seemed to snap out of her state. He offered her his hand, pulling her to her feet and immediately into his strong but gentle embrace. "I'm glad you're all right." He walked her over to the bed and sat her down keeping one arm protectively around her shoulders.
"I don't understand," Bella stammered, "it was like I was having a nightmare but I wasn't, I was awake and I could feel everything and it was so horrible. One second I was just… Oh my god, Jacob!" Bella's hands flew to her mouth in horror, and she broke down, tears streaming down her face in anguish.
It broke Sam's heart to see this girl that had come to mean so much to him over the last few months so defeated. Words failed him, and he found that all he could was hold her close, rubbing soothing circles into her quaking back.
"What's Jake going to think?" Bella cried once she had finally calmed enough to speak. "I was doing so much better and now this… the things that I said to him… Sam this is going to crush him." Bella was digging her nails into her palms nearly to the point of drawing blood she was so tense.
"Hey," Sam whispered taking her hands into his own, slowly unfurling her aching fingers and smoothing his thumbs across her indented palms. "No matter what you're feeling this isn't your fault. Jacob is strong and so are you as you've both proven many times over. You'll get past this. You have the full support of the pack and though we all know this will be a struggle, we aren't going to let up until everything is made right. You're family now Bells. You're my family."
Sam brushed some stray hair behind her ear and placed a light kiss on her forehead, before pulling her once again to her feet. "Now come on little sis," he teased her with a small smirk, "there's someone outside that's pretty worried about you."
Bella bit her lip and gave a small nod, allowing Sam to lead her down the short hall to the main area of the house.
Jacob sat exactly where Sam had left him, his eyes still glazed over in a daze, his hands clasped tightly between his knees.
"Jake…"Bella whispered tentatively, staring at the floor as if she were afraid to truly look at him.
Jacob's head shot up immediately at the sound of her voice. He stood up quickly, but stayed on the other side of the couch shifting his weight nervously from foot to foot, unsure of what to do.
Before he could say anything, Bella bounded across the remaining distance between them and flew into his arms. The two embraced tightly, rocking back and forth, both stumbling through apologies as tears streamed down their faces.
Sam watched from the doorway with a small loving smile on his face. They still had a long way to go, but they would make it.
Yes I'm aware it's been a long time. I'm not offering any excuses. I'd appreciate a review if you're still following this story!