Disclaimer: I don't own the Twilight saga


Chapter VIII

Near silence filled the Cullen household, the only sounds being that of the smooth, classical music playing over the stereo and the occasional flipping of a worn book page. Bella sat reading a weathered copy of PrideandPrejudice while Edward leaned back into the couch, eyes following her feminine fingers as they stroked the tattered and yellow paper. Alice and Esme had taken Nessie outside to watch a meteor shower while the other Cullens had gone on a hunt, so Bella and Edward were left to their own devices.

Bella sensed Edward's sudden tension even before he sat straighter, eyes focusing out the large window and brows rising slightly. "What is it?" she questioned, marking her place and putting the novel on the coffee table.

"It's Jacob. He's on his way here. I can hear his thoughts loud and clear." Edward listened closely before looking to Bella, amber eyes lit up with knowledge and possible excitement. "He needs to talk to you. Jacob's imprinted as well."

Immediately, Bella shot up out of her seat and was at the front door in an instant, waiting for the wolf she could now smell, to break through the tree line. She could hear him putting his shorts on before he came into sight, and immediately Bella ran to him, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.

"Congratulations Jake!" she breathed, and Jacob let out a bitter laugh before she pulled back.

"Figured you'd already know," he snorted, glancing over her shoulder to where Edward stood, now by the door, a knowing smirk on his face. "Leech," he affectionately greeted, Edward's smile unable to be contained as he responded with a nod.

"You have to come in Jake! Tell me all about it!" Bella demanded, grabbing his wrist and leading him into the living area. Jake cringed at the overpowering stench, opening his mouth slightly to breathe. He took a seat on the plush couch, Bella sitting at the other end while Edward perched on the arm beside her. "So, first Leah, and now you? God, I'm so happy for you guys. Really!"

"It's not as great as you're making it seem, trust me." Jacob rubbed the back of his neck, wondering where exactly to start, and also what they already knew, since Edward could read his thoughts and Leah had already been here.

Collecting his thoughts was difficult though, as they all revolved around Cambria at the moment weaving further away from the actual subject of conversation and more into mindless fantasies about what she was doing at that very moment.

Edward chuckled and shook his head. "You apparently have a thing for taken women."

Though much of their relationship was patched up now, Jake still sent Edward a glare in retaliation to his comment, which Bella mimicked before turning back to her friend. "She's with someone?" Her voice held anguish for him; she hated that she had been the cause of so much pain for him in the past, and now when he finally has a chance at happiness…

Nothing just ever seemed to go right for Jacob, and it killed her.

Jake shook his head. "It's not as bad as it sounds… I don't think, anyway. She's a member of that pack. They're staying in a foreclosed place right outside the rez. She's with someone but there's no doubt in my mind she imprinted on me too. I just saw her."

"I think Seth was right. It doesn't seem to me that she knows about imprinting at all," Edward said, commenting on Jacob's thoughts before he could even say them out loud. It irritated him to no end, but Jacob had other things on his mind, much more important thing, to bother picking a fight over it.

"I don't think she does either. She was confused. But I couldn't bring myself to tell her." The reasons the pack had fled from their home ran through his mind, causing Edward to look away, sympathy pouring through him.

"What? What's wrong?" Bella was sitting there, left in the dark.

Jacob began to shake as the thoughts continued in his mind, certainly unable to speak them as his self control was hanging by a mere thread at this point anyway.

Edward cleared his throat before he spoke softly. "Jacob's imprint and Rosalie have something in common it seems." It took Bella a short minute to figure out what her husband meant before she gasped and covered her mouth with both hands.

"Apparently their old Alpha did it, and that's why they're here. They didn't know if they were being followed or not, so they ran to Florida and then up here." Jake's explanation was said through clenched teeth as he tried to get rid of the idea of Cambria being raped before the wolf exploded out of him.

"You couldn't have done anything Jake. You didn't even know she existed," Edward commented, listening in on Jacob's guilt stricken ideas.

"Yeah, well, it doesn't make me want to rip the guy to shreds any less." Jacob swore mentally that he would destroy their old Alpha if he ever got the opportunity. And he would enjoy every gruesome second of it. Shaking his head, Jacob snapped back to reality. "I want to give her the time I think she needs before I really tell her. I don't want her to feel pressured; her life's complicated enough."

"That might be best," Bella agreed, lightly nodding her head. Even though it had been his idea, Jake kind of wished Bella told him to do something different, for instance, tell Cambria they were soul mates, then take her then and there. Jake growled as he saw Edward's eyebrows raise in amusement, obviously listening in. "Stop it," he snarled at his newly formed friend.

Edward just shook his head and turned his eyes southward. "I wish I could sometimes Jacob, I really, really do."

Standing, Jake stretched his arms up above his head, the stress that was consuming his mind taking a toll on his body. "I have to get back… and… you know."

"Jake, do me a favor and don't sleep outside her window all night," Bella suggested, fully aware of how creepy that could come off as.

"Sure, sure," Jacob responded, heading out the door, a clear sign he would not comply with Bella's request. She sighed and shook her head, a small smile tugging at her lips.

Edward placed a smooth hand on her shoulder. "You know he's going to do it anyway."

Bella sighed. "I know."

"Well you said all night. Technically, it's morning."

And Jacob did just that, making himself comfortable in a mossy patch through the early morning, only until he was approached by Sam in wolf form. When Jake saw the older Alpha, he sighed in annoyance.

Sam was no idiot, and Jacob had been caught red-handed, sitting here at his self-assigned post. It wasn't his fault. He couldn't bring himself to go back home and go to bed. He needed to watch over her, and Sam probably wasn't going to buy any half-assed excuses, so Jacob didn't see any point in trying to shield his thoughts from him, since they, both being Alphas, could still communicate. 'I can't help it.'

'I understand you can't help it, but you need to be a little more inconspicuous if you're going to stalk her,' Sam stated firmly.

'She has a mate, and I don't need a fight breaking out between the two of you.'

'That's a joke,' Jake grunted. 'And I really don't need a lecture.I can't ignore it Sam,and you know it.'

'I know it better than anyone,' Sam growled. 'But you need to go home now. And you need to approach this with much more caution. She is in the same position I was in, and you know how it tore me up inside.'

Sam sighed, noticing Jake was completely distracted. Cambria was awake, and standing at the window they were facing, looking out at the two of them. Her teeth pressed into her lower lip as her eyes stayed glued on Jacob's large, russet wolf form.

Sam growled, then let out a loud bark, grabbing Jake's attention. He looked at Sam, thinking bitter things, but he also knew Sam was right. This should be a slower process. It would make everything easier on her, and that's all Jake really wanted. So he looked back to her at the window once more before he disappeared into the woods, on his way home to get in a quick nap.