The Fragrant Taste of Rain by Pavarti
Bella Swan moved to Forks, Washington, to teach at the small Quilleute Indian Reservation in La Push. Despite recovering from a broken heart, she enters into a turbulent and passionate relationship with the mysteriously artistic Jacob Black. Race relations between the towns, Jacob's past, and Bella's former lover, Edward, complicate their relationship, but in the end is he exactly what she always needed?
Special Thanks to the following people, without whom this story would not have been possible: HopeAlways, Amanda Wilder, YNotJacob, WordSlinger, Shawnie and JKane180
Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction intended for entertainment only. No profit is being made through the posting or dissemination of this story. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
When I said I'd give my right arm for you, I didn't think you'd ask me for it,
but you did.
You said, Give it to me.
And I said, OK
I believed you wouldn't have asked me for it unless you really wanted it, and needed it.
But then, when you got it, you bronzed it and put it on the mantel over the fireplace in the den.
-Forgiveness by Rebecca Brown
I walked inside the little convenience store I'd stopped at to pay for gas. It had been a long drive from Arizona, but I was almost there - to my new the state of Washington, under a near constant cover of clouds and rain, there is a small town named Forks. Population: 3,120 people. This is where I was moving. Looking up at the sky, I sighed, knowing it might be one of the last times I saw the sun for a long while.
To say I was less than enthused about the idea of going to Forks was an understatement. When I applied to the Teach for America program, I expected to go somewhere exciting, maybe even a little dangerous, like Brooklyn or Compton; hell, Salt Lake City would have been more exciting than being assigned to the Reservation School in La Push, Washington. I wasn't allowed to live on the Reservation while working there - some Tribe Council rule to keep the area from gentrifying. So I got to move to Forks and share a house with some woman who had an extra room that I talked to once on the phone.
Twenty-three years old and moving alone to the set of Deliverance wasn't something that I planned on when I filled out my application and checked the box that I agreed to go anywhere in the continental US they assigned me. But I tucked my negativity into my back pocket as I grabbed a Kit-Kat and paid the clerk. The bell on the door taunted me as I walked back outside to resume my northbound trek.
I was one hour away from Forks and my new life in Rosalie Hale's spare room. I was one hour away from no longer being a college student with no plans for her life; one hour until I had to become an adult. But that was in one hour.
Until then, I sang along with Mary J. Blige on the radio – how can that woman make even the word "percolate" sexy? It was a skill I couldn't even remotely relate to since I can't make a negligee sexy even when I try. The windows were down in my crappy rent-a-truck, and I enjoyed the battle the wind had with Mary for dominance. The first thing on the to-do list when I got there was definitely to find a car. Rosalie had told me I could borrow hers until I found one, but I didn't want to start out by imposing on her.
Rosalie Hale was only a little older than me in age but sounded much older than me on the phone. She'd inherited a house a few years ago that she and her three year old son Royce lived in alone. She said she had a boyfriend who was around a lot, but her entire second floor was vacant. I wouldn't have my own kitchen, but I would have a bedroom, sitting room and private bathroom. It was better than the boarding house I'd called, that's for sure, and Rosalie seemed nice enough, even if she was extremely business-like.
The house was on the outskirts of Forks, on the La Push side, making it ten minutes to downtown and twenty minutes to the Reservation. That was, of course, assuming that you had a car.
As I drove, I watched the trees become denser and greener, a natural side effect of the deluge of rain that had already begun. I switched on the wipers and turned down the music, enjoying the calming sound of the rain falling on the truck. It reminded me of the tin roof that had been on the house I lived in growing up in Massachusetts, but that was a long time ago.
My father died in the line of duty when I was eight, and my mother never completely recovered. She never spoke his name again, and I wasn't even allowed to keep a picture of him in my room, but I had one - one small picture of the two of us together at the Quarry the summer before he died that I kept tucked into whatever book was by the side of my bed. That picture was in my purse now, hiding in my well-read copy of Wuthering Heights.
I pulled off of the main highway and began seeing signs for La Push beach. The roads were narrow, barely enough for more than one car at a time, but then, there weren't any other cars on the road today. It was a dreary Tuesday afternoon, and I would begin teacher training on Thursday, with students starting class on Monday. Working at such a small school, I was given more than one title; I was the English/Creative Writing Teacher and Yearbook Club advisor.
I drove past the first turnoff for La Push and noticed that it was surrounded by an entrance gate, intricately designed with wood and wrought iron images of wolves and deer. The second entrance was not as elaborate. There was simply a sign informing visitors that this was the road for the school, Tribal Cultural Center and residential homes. In other words, go to the other entrance, ya tourist. These were a people who liked to keep the boundaries clear; I could see that already.
The road became rougher as I got closer to Forks, and I almost missed the dirt road that Rosalie lived on. It was barely a road, with more mud than gravel showing the path. The rain was coming down in sheets now, making it impossible to see, even with the wipers going at full speed. Down the path a ways, I could see what looked like a house light and hoped I had the right place.
The house I pulled in front of was large and white. It looked like it had been restored, at least partially, in the past few years and had a fresh coat of paint on it. The yard was mostly grass; at least there were no plastic flowers in window boxes like my mother put out, insisting they looked just like the real thing. I stopped the truck and noticed that there were two cars here already: an old Jeep and a nice, little VW Bug.
Grabbing my bag, I opened the door and ran as fast as I could to the covered porch, but any attempt not to get soaked was useless. This place was just waiting for Noah to set up residence and start building an arc. Forks might actually be hell on Earth.
Knocking on the door, I held my arms around myself; despite the warm August weather, the rain had chilled me.
"Hello!" A small child opened the door.
"Hi there," I replied, leaning down to him. "You must be Royce. I'm Bella. Is your mom here?"
"Mama!" he cried, running back into the house and leaving the door wide open. "Miss Bella is here!" I wasn't sure if I should go in or wait out here. At least the porch was covered, so I wouldn't get wetter than I already was.
"Bella." The disembodied voice I recognized from the phone call reached me a split second before the most striking woman I'd ever seen walked into view. She was naturally blonde, with pale skin and plump lips. Her hair was so fair and striking that it almost created a halo around her.
"Please… come in." She looked at me, and it took my breath away when her eyes finally came to mine. "Maybe you could take your sneakers off though, so we don't have mud in the house?" She smiled at me. God, was I moving in with a neat freak?
"Oh, okay." I leaned down quickly to begin to unlace my sneakers.
"Not out there!" a booming voice called from behind Rosalie. "Come on in. You can sit down and take those off in here." A muscular man came up behind Rosalie.
He had an arm around her waist now and was smiling down at her with a playful smile. "Rose, sometimes you just don't think," he smirked, leaning down to kiss her.
"Miss Bella?" I heard as I walked in and sat on the bench by the front door.
"Yes?" I looked at the small boy before me for the first time. Now that I'd seen his mother, I could tell that this child was not her boyfriend's. His dark skin and black eyes were definitely from another relationship.
"Are you going to live here?"
"Yes." Rosalie kneeled down to his level, looking from him to me. "Miss Bella's going to live in Gram's old room and stay here with us."
"Yeah!" he hollered. "I'm gonna go get Sadie; you can meet him; he's the best, and if you want to, you can hold him, and I like to hold him, but you can't hold him too tight, or he'll get hurted and die, right, Mama?"
"Right, Roy." She smiled down at him.
I looked up with a raised eyebrow. "Sadie?"
"Hamster; Emmett got it for him for his half birthday this summer. Oh, Bella, I'm sorry; this is Emmett Cullen, my boyfriend I told you about."
"Hi," I greeted him, standing up on my safely de-shod feet to greet him.
"Hey, Bella!" He smiled so big you'd think he was part Labrador Retriever and reached out a hand for me to shake. His grasp was firm and warm, his smile pulling my heart out of the rain and into the warmth of their home.
"So, let me show you around, and you can settle in a little."
"Bella, if you wanna give me your keys, I'll grab some of your stuff." Emmett sat down to pull on his boots.
"Maybe we should wait for the rain to stop…" I said, biting softly on my lower lip and making both Rosalie and Emmett laugh.
"So you're planning on never bringing it in then?" Emmett snickered and pulled on his frog jacket. I smiled and handed him my keys; I could tell that this house was a home to them, which would make it either the best possible place for me or the worst. More than likely, I wouldn't fit in, and I'd end up hiding in my room most of the time; such was college and every other social situation I found myself in, it seemed.
Rosalie showed me around the main part of the first floor that we'd be sharing, which was mostly just two large rooms. There was a nice living room with a TV and large, wood-burning fireplace that was decorated simply but with a lot of care.
"You're welcome to put anything you want in here; I'd really like it to be a comfortable place for us all." She smiled at me again. "I don't even have curtains up, and I've been here for a few years, so, you know, don't feel like you can't decorate a little."
Past the living room was a large kitchen with a full-sized table, big enough for four people to sit comfortably.
"This is fantastic," I beamed, looking around me.
"It's the only room I spent any money on when I got the house. Do you like to cook?"
"Yeah, I don't get a chance to do it often, but I'd love to learn."
"Well, I don't cook, but Emmett's amazing, and when he helped me do the work to the house and painted it on his days off without even complaining, I decided to invest a little in some nice pots and pans and a new stove. Feel free to use anything you want, really, and if you ask, I'm sure Emmett would love to teach you. He'd love to have someone to talk to about blanching and pureeing things."
"That sounds like a lot of fun."
"Back here is where my room, the bathroom, and Royce's room are," she said, pointing to a door next to the refrigerator. "I closed off the entrance from the main room so that we could feel like you had your space upstairs; I had mine back here, and the rest we could share."
"Thanks." I felt overwhelmed by how much thought she'd put into this.
She walked back out to the living room and led me upstairs to my part of the house. There was a door at the top of the stairs that opened into a large area that had probably originally been a loft space. There were two doors off of the main room; one led to a small but usable bathroom and the other to a small bedroom.
"This is amazing." I walked farther into the main room. "I feel bad only paying you $400 a month for it though; I mean, you could easily get more."
"Not around here." Rosalie shrugged. "Besides, with Royce in the house, I wanted to find someone we could get along with, not just have ghosting around up there." She smiled at me, making me feel like I'd found something I hadn't expected: a friend.
Emmett and I hauled my boxes and few pieces of furniture upstairs while Rosalie ordered a pizza; she wasn't kidding when she said she didn't cook. Over dinner, I learned that Emmett was the gym teacher and football coach at the local high school in Forks, and Rosalie was a legal secretary/office manager at the only law firm in town.
That night, when Rosalie was putting Royce to bed, I went upstairs, unpacked a few things, put my futon together in the bedroom, and pulled out my sheets. As I climbed into bed, I pulled the picture of my father out of its hiding place and smiled; he would have liked it here. It'd been a long day, and I fell asleep easily, listening to the rain beating out a familiar tune on the tin roof above me.
The next morning, I could smell the coffee from downstairs and threw on a sweatshirt over my pajama top. I left on the yoga pants that I'd slept in though, figuring there was no reason to pretend to be something I wasn't, right?
When I opened the door, I could hear Royce happily chatting away and Emmett laughing. I came into the living room, and Royce had 379 Hot Wheels lined up around the perimeter of the room.
"They's in a parade, Miss Bella!" he exclaimed when he saw me, running over and wrapping his arms around my legs. I picked him up quickly in a bear hug.
"Morning, sunshine!" Emmett said from the stove, where he was scrambling eggs in his pajama pants and a t-shirt. "Rose is still basking in bed, happy to have me here to take Royce to daycare; she'll be out in a while. I left the paper on the table for you too."
"Thanks." I disengaged myself from Royce's grasp and poured myself a cup of coffee.
"You're a good car; you can go to the parade. Not you, you're bad. Time out for you!" I listened as Royce went back to sorting his cars for his game.
The paper was already opened to the FOR SALE section, and I smiled up at Emmett's strong back. He was definitely a good guy. There were three or four cars in the paper, but all of them were out of my price range. Then I saw it:
Classic Chevy Pickup
Rough exterior but well loved
New clutch and brakes
And that's how I found myself driving out to La Push a day before work began in Emmett's Jeep while he and Rosalie carpooled to work. The twenty minute drive went by quickly, especially since Emmett let me take off the top and undo the window flaps so I could enjoy the warm weather that had followed last night's rain. I loved these old things; it was perfect.
I pulled into the Quileute entrance to the Reservation, following the directions the man had given me on the phone down the main road and then off a small drive right before I got to the boardwalk. About thirty yards down the drive was a small red house with my new truck sitting in front of it.
As soon as I saw her, I knew she was going to be mine. Her body was curvy, long, and a rusty red color that showed off all of her features perfectly.
"Bella Swan, right?" the voice from the phone called out from behind me. I had been too taken in by the truck to remember that I was actually here to meet a person.
"Yeah, um, yeah, hi," I stuttered, turning around. Before me stood what had to be the definition of masculinity. He was easily 6'2" and broad in the shoulders. His hair was cut short and spiky, black against his bronzed skin. He had on low-slung baggy jeans and a tight t-shirt and was wiping his hands on what looked like a kitchen towel. I turned back to the truck to avoid staring at the man before me. What was it about him that made me feel like crawling up his body and begging him to tie me to the bed?
"So what do you think?" he asked, coming closer behind me. His voice was low and scratchy, and it almost seemed to vibrate from somewhere inside of me.
"She's perfect," I answered without looking up.
He laughed a full, throaty laugh. "Don't you even want to start her up?"
"Oh, right, yeah, but really, it doesn't matter." I looked up at him again, catching myself in the reflection of his eyes. "She's an amazing specimen."
"I'm glad you like her; I'd hate to see her go to someone who didn't appreciate her in all her glory." Then he smiled, looking deep inside me. His face was broad and unrestrained. "I'll go grab the keys." He turned away, leaving me in a stupor.
Pull yourself together, Swan. That's totally not your type.
I returned to the car. Running my hands over her frame on the way, I checked out the flat bed. It was in rough shape; she'd definitely been well-used, but she had character, charm and a lot of soul. I climbed up into the back and looked at the yard around me.
"King of the mountain?" the man called up to me as he came back out.
"Heh, yeah, something like that." I smiled at him. Was I flirting? Bella Swan does not flirt. What was going on here?
He opened the car door and started to climb in.
"Ummm…May I drive?"
He hesitated. "Do you know how to…"
I interrupted with, "Oh, yeah."
Still hesitant, he said, "Most people don't know how to drive an old…"
"Well, it's going to be my car..."
He was so sweet, not wanting to offend me but not quite willing to hand over the keys. Finally, I convinced him, and I hopped out of the back and climbed in behind the wheel.
We drove out of La Push and up to Forks. He gave me directions, showing me how the truck handled on the less than well-maintained roads. He was patient as I learned the quirks of the truck and seemed to be enjoying the ride.
He didn't speak much, and I was paying attention to the feel of the truck, but his presence in the car was palpable. It was as if there was a heat rolling off of him, relaxing me, even as I navigated the sticky transmission.
"So why are you getting rid of her?" I asked as we pulled back into his driveway.
"Oh, well, Dad can't drive it anymore, so…I thought I'd see if I could make some money."
"Oh…is your dad…okay?"
"Sure, sure, he was in an accident, but he's fine; just can't drive."
"Well, that's good." I smiled up at him.
"Thanks," he said heavily, looking into me again, past my guards, past my reservations, right down into my heart.
"Okay, well, um, I brought my checkbook. $200, right?"
"Yeah, come on in. We can do the bill of sale and everything there."
I followed him back to his house, watching his long, sure gait and tight ass. Mmmm, I would love to chew on that ass… Stop it, Bella!
The inside of his home was sparse but very clean. I stood in the doorway and waited while he went into another room to get the paperwork. He had a small couch and a TV on a stand in the corner of the room. There weren't many pictures on the walls, but the ones that were there looked like they might be of his family. I fought the urge to wander around and look at everything.
"So, you're taking her, huh?" asked a man rolling out of the kitchen in a wheel chair. He looked about the age my dad would have been now if he'd lived but was still incredibly handsome. He had the same confident stature his son had, regardless of his use of the wheel chair.
"Yeah, she's amazing," I gushed, hoping he would know how much I'd love his car.
"I bought her in '65 brand new. Only car I've ever owned." He looked out the window.
"I promise, sir, I'll take good care of her."
"Well, first, don't you be callin' me 'sir'; 's Billy. Second, if you mean that, then you'll never let a mechanic other than my boy back there touch 'er."
"Oh, yeah, I hadn't thought about that. Sure, I can do that." I smiled at the man before me. His eyes sparkled as he winked at me
"He's the best there is around here."
"Dad, stop trying to drum up business."
"Should know the truth, 's'all. Don't want her taking my girl down to those idiots in Port Angeles, do ya?"
"Guess not," he agreed, smiling and looking over at me. As his eyes hit mine, I blushed slightly and looked down.
"Okay, Ms. Swan, here we go. I just need you to sign here on my copy, and I'll sign your copy, okay? Then you can get plates from the DMV."
"Thanks, and it's Bella; just Bella."
"Sure, okay, nice to meet you, Bella." He reached his hand behind his neck, his confidence momentarily wavering. "I'm Jake, ah, Jacob Black."
Billy chuckled and rolled himself into the next room. "You guys want anything to drink?" he called.
"Oh, no, sir, I mean, Billy." I corrected myself quickly. "I need to get back and settle in; I start work on Thursday." I wasn't sure why I was telling this stranger so much about myself.
Jacob and I signed the papers while I told Billy about my position at the Reservation School.
"Oh, it'll be great to get someone in there with some energy. My nephew Seth is a senior, so if he gives you any trouble, just let us know."
"I'm sure it'll be fine, but thanks," I replied, smiling at the old man; he really was the kind of genuinely good person you don't meet everyday. "Okay, well, I guess I'm off…" I turned to walk outside. "How, ah, how can I get the car from you?"
"Oh, you can take it now," Jacob said, walking me out the front door. "Just bring me back the plates when you get your own."
"But I have the Jeep. I have to…"
"That's Emmet's Jeep, right?" Jacob asked, taking a small phone out of his pocket. He dialed a number quickly as I nodded.
"Em, hey, yeah… look, I sold my Dad's truck to some girl who has your Jeep… yeah, yeah, Bella… okay… no, how about I pick you up in the morning? Sure, sure, no problem… Okay, see you then." As he hung up, he smiled at me, making me momentarily weak in the knees, and I forgot all of my self-imposed restrictions about men. "Em and I work together, so I'll pick him up in the morning in the Jeep and just get a ride home. You can take your truck now."
"Oh, that's awesome!" I squealed, giddy to get in my truck. I held out my hand for the keys. As he dropped them into my hand, I smiled and looked to the ground. "Well, I guess I'll see you around," I said softly.
"If you're friends with Em, then yeah, I'll probably see you." He smiled at me but looked a little sad, like he was holding something back.
I walked over, climbed into my new best friend, and rolled down my window when Jake knocked. He put his hands on the door and leaned into the truck a little. "Bring her back soon, and I'll change the oil for you."
"Thanks." I didn't meet his eyes, putting the key in the ignition instead.
"Okay then…" He slapped the door frame and stepped back. I turned the key, started up my beautiful new truck, and sighed asshe growled to life. The engine had a smooth sound, and she grumbled her pleasure under my hands. I was going to like it in Washington State, I thought. I waved to the tall man outside my window and the older man on the porch, who watched as I drove out of the driveway and into my new life.