Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight.
Summary: Just as Jacob is starting to become Bella's "personal sun," he imprints on Leah. Heartbroken, Bella finds solace with another werewolf - a more volatile, hot-tempered werewolf who doesn't put up with her pity party. PaulBella, JacobLeah, New Moon AU
I know I shouldn't! I really do! But I've been reading all of these excellent PaulBella fanfics lately, and I've become absolutely addicted to this pairing. I just felt like playing around with scenarios that happened in the book, and here it is! It's something new. A change from all the JasperBella that I've been putting out as of late. And I rather like this idea myself. Oh, and I'll explain more about the timeline and all at the ending author's note as well.
Alright, so here's my first chapter! I hope y'all enjoy!
Playing With Fire
Chapter One: Torn
Sometimes, there is a moment in life when you just want to say fuck it.
And I've reached that moment.
I hate to sound melodramatic, but maybe that's how I've been in the past months since…he left me.
Fuck it, - see? I said it - I'm gonna start calling him by name in my thoughts. Edward. There. I said it. And even as I thought it, the very mention of his name causes the ragged edges of the hole around my heart to fray and tear even more than before.
But at least there was someone to help me through the darkest moment of my life.
My sun. My own personal, bright, ever-present sun.
He helped me in more ways than I can count. I don't even know when it started. Maybe when I brought the bikes to his house, or maybe later, but Jake healed a part of me that I had thought would never be fixed. Sure, it wasn't like Edward was here, and helping me, but his presence was like a salve to my wounds. Healing, but still stinging whenever the conversation about the Cullens rose up. I would always want him, but lately I had had the fleeting thought about what life would be like with Jacob. Even though I couldn't possibly give him all of me, could I love him enough to keep him happy? Could I be enough?
He loved me enough to give his life for me, and maybe I was looking forward to - sometime in the future - being with him. It wasn't the forever I had been picturing, but it was a type of forever. A good kind. But something that was barely there, fuzzy in the recesses of my mind, and painful whenever I thought about the very notion of forever without Edward…
Apparently, I needn't have worried.
"I…Bella, there's something that…I…it's about the Quileutes."
His words echo inside my head as I press the gas pedal down all the way with my foot. To hell with the speed limit. There are just some things that need a free pass after you've been through them.
"It's called imprinting."
"Imprinting." I hissed through clenched teeth as the rain started to splatter against the windshield.
I shouldn't have assumed that Jacob and I could be together. After all, there was still the matter of Edward, and how I wanted him to come back for me. There was still the matter of the vampire hunting me.
And there was still the matter that I was actually opening up to Jake. Actually trying to be like that with him.
Why did everything have to be so complicated?
Jacob Black was a werewolf. He was a part of the Quileute tribe, and they were basically built for hunting vampires, which is what they were doing right now. Protecting me from Victoria because she so desperately wanted my death after Edward killed James. Besides me fearing for my life, and Jacob helping ease my worries, there were some other things that had been said about the tribe.
"It's like gravity moves. Shifts. Binds you to one person." Jacob had said, his dark eyes kind and sorrowful as he looked at me.
"So…" I had replied, trying to understand what he was getting at. He'd given me an example of imprinting before. Sam, the Alpha of his pack, had imprinted on Emily, the cousin of the girl he was in a relationship with. He had broken up with her basically as soon as he set his eyes on Emily, and, like he said "gravity moves."
My icy fingers clenched the steering wheel as I made a particularly sharp turn, reveling in the adrenaline that filled my body at the fast driving. I listened for any residual sound of Edward's voice warning me to stop, but there was nothing.
I didn't know what came over me, but Jacob…imprinting caused something inside me to snap.
"Bells, honey, I…" Jake had said, almost on the verge of tears, "I imprinted. On Leah."
Those words, said so kind and considerately, had broken me.
I couldn't even hide my heartbreak. I didn't even recognize my own voice as I had assured him I would be okay. That he shouldn't worry about me. The part of me that imagined dark haired, dark eyed children, playing out in the yard while Jake and I laughed, had vanished. Gone forever. If Sam, Emily, and Leah's story of imprinting was any case, you couldn't fight it.
Jake and Leah were bonded forever.
And there was nothing I could do.
Leah was gorgeous. Beautiful, fiery, and confident, with long silky black hair and dark, smooth skin. Why wouldn't he want to follow his imprint and be with her? I was nothing special, as it was blatantly obvious every day of my existence. My own mundane appearance was solidified by the beauty of the vampires, and now the beauty of the woman who had stolen Jake from me.
No, not stolen. I shouldn't blame her for this. Imprinting was apparently a totally involuntary reaction. It wasn't her fault for this. And it wasn't Jacob's either. They couldn't control what happened.
But that one thought wasn't enough to settle my suddenly queasy stomach.
I slammed on the break, jerking the truck to a halt on the side of the road, and wrenched myself out of the cab, clenching my stomach tightly as I collapsed clumsily, spilling the contents of my stomach onto the squishy grass. The smell of it burned my nose, and I coughed more, trying to get as much out as I could. My hair was hanging alongside the extent of my face like a brown curtain, and I quickly flipped it back, not in the mood to have vomit in my hair.
I coughed once more, spitting on the ground and into the pile of sick around me.
God, I was pathetic.
Closing my eyes, I tried to think of other things, instead of the very thing that made me sick - the fact that I wasn't good enough, yet again. It was almost like Edward all over again, except Jacob didn't really have a choice. He imprinted. Edward just grew tired of me and left.
I spit up again, retching until the muscles of my stomach burned.
I fell back, sitting down in the damp grass, my hair falling behind me as I watched the murky clouds rearrange themselves above me, blotting out the sun. Appropriate that a storm would come, I supposed. What a way to reflect my mood. The only thing better would be if a hurricane would come and envelop this damned town. My back was pressed tightly against the wheel of my truck and I brought my knees up to my chin.
The first droplets of rain hit the crown of my head, and I let the tears consume me.
I was so weak. I didn't know what was wrong with me.
But wait, of course I did.
How could I not?
The love of my life - and my supposed afterlife - had left me, just because he supposedly wanted to protect me. Protect? The word sounded bitter in my head as I moved my hand backward to smash into the side of the vehicle. The resulting sting wasn't enough, it seemed, so I kept on pounding away at the tires and metal of my truck, wanting to be bruised, wanting to hurt.
Now, I wasn't good enough for the one person who I thought had healed me - not completely, but somewhat. Someone who I thought I could spend the rest of my existence with. Someone who I wanted to spend the rest of it with.
And he had imprinted.
All my thoughts seemed to revolve around those three faces.
They all rotated around in my brain, knocking about like bowling pins, one fighting for dominance before the other one overtook that one, continuing where I had started my self-loathing and depressed monologue.
I was starting to get a headache, and possibly a cold due to the rain, when I suddenly felt the droplets cease above me. My eyebrows knit together in confusion and I looked upward, only to see the canopy of an umbrella over the top of my head.
"Are you gonna sit here wallowing in self-pity all night, or am I gonna have to force you come with me?"
The voice was slightly unfamiliar, rough, but soothing to my ears - it wasn't Jacob or Leah that had come after me, not that I'd expected them to. I looked up and saw the handsome face of one of the werewolves - not Quil or Embry, but someone else…either Paul or Jared, I assumed. He was looking at me with hard eyes, but a snarky smile was on his lips. Like he didn't care.
I shouldn't have expected him to. Not like he knew what was happening with me. Not like he knew that I felt like I was being pulled apart, bit by bit.
"Are you Jared or Paul?" I asked, my voice wavering slightly.
He scoffed, like I should already know this, "Paul."
Great, they sent the hothead werewolf, the one with the least amount of control, to come after me.
"And why are you here?" I asked, looking at him with skeptical eyes.
"To bring your sorry ass back to La Push." Paul said, my heart tearing at the insult he hurled my way. Yeah, like that was what I needed, "Jake and Leah practically bombarded me to come, and then Sam put his pretentious Alpha foot down, so here I am."
I looked at him, the tears on my face starting to dry up as the rain pattered around us. "What's with the umbrella?"
"Complaining now that I brought something to help keep you dry?" His smirk was enviable, and he raked a hand through his soaked hair, as the droplets of rainwater made their way down his defined chest. I felt a blush make its way across my cheeks. Just because I was completely broken, didn't mean I still couldn't feel embarrassed in front of a shirtless guy. I'm sure that was something about me that would never change.
"No, it's just weird, since I…I was driving, ya know." I ventured, my eyes not daring to meet his own again.
"Well, the newly imprinted couple didn't know what had happened." I tried to ignore the way my heart clenched when he said that, "After Chief Swan called not knowing where you were, they sent me. Don't ask why. You've been missing quite a while. They made me bring this stupid thing," he gestured to the umbrella, "because with your track record, who knows. You could've been lost in the woods again, or had your truck break down, wandering around the place, lost, and, of course, it's raining. You're not exactly the luckiest person in the world, Isabella."
The way he snarled my full name caused chills to run down my spine. I looked at him with defiant eyes and snapped, "Well, sorry about that, Paul. Sorry to be such a damn burden to you."
I rose to my feet, stumbling slightly, and his arm shot out and grasped at my thinner, more fragile human limb. I shook him off before moving to open the door to my truck. His large hand was over mine in an instant, prying my fingers away from the handle. "What?" I snarled at him, with all the fury equal to one of his wolf friends.
"They wanted me to bring you back to La Push. You ran off without them being able to explain everything fully - "
"Oh, I think I got the gist of it." I said, sarcasm coloring my tone as I desperately tried to pull away from him, but his strong had was tight on my arm, the temperature of his body burning my skin. "He doesn't want me. He has Leah now. He imprinted, and that effectively cancels out any feelings he might have had for me. So I'm alone. And I would prefer to be left alone, if you care at all. Which I highly doubt."
My chin was suddenly yanked by strong fingers, causing me to look at the man that was currently fueling this anger inside me that I didn't know was there. "Stop that." He growled, and I could feel his hand shaking against my chin. "Stop with that damn self-loathing. Jake might've put up with it, but I won't."
I glared at him, an undeniable hatred starting to build and build within my body.
"Imprinting…you have no clue." Paul stated, his eyes fierce and feral, boring into mine, "It might have erased whatever romantic feelings that Jake had for you, but it didn't make all of his attachment to you leave him." He said, and for once, I found the anger subsiding, "Not that you would've actually been with him, even if he did imprint. He told us all - we saw it, through the link. You are still pining over your leech."
"You - You…how dare you?"
"You know it's true. You might have convinced yourself that you would be with Jake, but you know it was all for not. If you were able to be with him, you would've thought about that damned bloodsucker every day. You still do."
"You don't know me." I muttered, grasping his wrist, trying to move his digits away from my face. Being this close to him was infuriating, even terrifying, considering that I could say something to cause him to phase. And, if it happened so close, then I would have the scars like Emily…
Apparently, that didn't matter to me, because here I was, provoking him. "You don't understand at all…"
But it was true. What he said was painfully, embarrassingly true. Edward was a part of me, always would be. And even if I insisted that I wouldn't think of him, I still found his topaz eyes haunting my every thought, every day. With Jacob, it had been better. He had healed me. Maybe that was why I wanted to have that claim over him, because he had made it better, like a salve. And now, that claim was gone. He wasn't going to be able to help me anymore. He had Leah. He loved Leah. I wasn't his priority anymore.
I was so selfish.
"I know enough." Paul scoffed as he ripped his fingers away from my chin. The blood rushed back to the area, prickling my face as it did so. I must have bruises by now, right? He looked at me with those bottomless black eyes of his as the rain pattered around him. The umbrella was still over me, trembling in his hands as he fought from phasing.
I could tell he was about to say something else, but something about my change of posture must have tipped him off that he had done it. He had gotten through, though I know that wasn't his intention when he came after me. He was just following orders, and he ended up getting me to admit to myself that I was…that I wasn't in love with Jacob. I don't think I would ever be - I couldn't now, considering the imprint.
But it didn't stop it from hurting.
The fact remained that the one person who I thought I could actually spend the rest of my life with had imprinted on another…and it still was painful. Despite the selfish nature of my thoughts, it still hurt. I cared for Jacob immensely, and…I should be happy for him.
I should be happy for him.
The thought took me off guard, and I realized that…that was the best thing I could do for him. I should be happy for him. Because, if I was moping around, then all he could feel was guilt. And that was the last thing I wanted for him. He deserved so much more for putting up with me during my zombie stage. He deserved to be truly happy, with a woman who could truly reciprocate his feelings. And if he still cared for me as a friend, he'd feel guilty that it was his fault that I was sad yet again.
I would do this act. This one, selfless thing. For Jacob, not for myself. I would be happy. I would try to do my best to put a smile on my face - a real, genuine smile - and support Jake and his imprint.
"Something short circuit from standing in the rain?" Paul asked, the wry tone in his voice indicating humor. And I was surprised to hear it coming from the man who had single handedly broken me down and made me see reason.
"You came to take me back to La Push?" I asked him, my eyes searching for his. They met and I saw that they were wondering, contemplating if I was actually sane.
"Yeah." He said, though the inflection in his voice made it sound like the answer was a question.
"Then let's go." I said, opening the door. "I'll drive."
He was confused, but climbed into the passenger's seat anyway. It felt odd, driving with someone that wasn't Jacob or my dad, but it wasn't unwelcome.
Sighing, I started the engine, beginning the trek back to La Push, where I was going to make sure that Jacob felt no guilt over what had transpired.
End Chapter One.
And there it is! The end of the first chapter of this fic that I've been wanting to start for the longest time. I would absolutely love to hear your opinions and everything, so please review! I always love to hear people's opinions on my stories. Yes, I know Bella is being a bit whiny in this chapter, but as you can see, she wants to change for the sake of keeping Jake happy. And wouldn't you be just a bit whiny too, if you found out the guy that had been the key to your happiness had moved on to another, without rhyme or reason? Just a reaction called "imprinting." So yeah…
Anyway, this fic takes place a little bit after Jake has phased for the first time. Edward is still away. Bella has accepted the werewolves, and all that. Though Leah has not phased for the first time. Neither has Seth. So right now the wolves are just Jake, Paul, Sam, Embry, Quil, and Jared.
If you have any more questions, just review and I'd love to answer them in my next chapter.
Thanks for reading!