WHAT THE DEAD KNOW

A Jake and Ness All Human Thriller

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Preface: Renesmee Cullen is a typical junior in college visiting her grandfather Charlie Swan on Spring Break. At a Forks diner one night, she meets her mother's high school friend Jacob Black, owner of a local garage and the new Chief of the Quileute tribe. The events that follow soon thrust her into a world of the unknown—a world of danger, mystery, and ultimate tragedy as she and Jacob race to unearth secrets of the past before it's too late.

****THIS FAN FIC IS RATED M (Mature) - May contain coarse language, sexual content, violence toward women, and other scenes of violence. ****

Disclaimer: All Twilight characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. Just to be clear, Jacob is NOT the villain in this story.


"I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?

Hearken! And observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story…"

~Edgar Allan Poe, "The Tell-Tale Heart"

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Prologue

The light from the flames licked around the face of the enemy, her pale blue eyes boring into me like a dagger into the very heart of innocence. I knew this was the last time, the last chance to breathe, before my time on this earth would be said and done. Everything we had worked for, every action over the past few weeks, had led to this very moment. As she raised the gun steadily in the air, I braced myself, gladly welcoming death, for my spirit would soon join the man I loved in eternity. I heard her finger lightly squeeze the trigger, and felt my heart gloomily beat its last…


Chapter 1: It Happened One Night

Renesmee's POV

I sat at the small, round table, absently twirling my straw in my soda. I stared blankly down at the book wedged in my right hand. I couldn't make my brown eyes absorb the words, for my mind was elsewhere. The scent of coffee and bacon saturated the air around me, reminding me of home. Taking a deep breath, I memorized the fragrance and let memories of the past sweep me away.

I remembered my mother, Bella, her long, flowing locks glistening in the sun complimented by her kind smile. My father, Edward, was by her side, planting gentle kisses on her neck, filling my heart with everlasting joy…

I noisily shut my book, slamming it down on the surface of the diner table. The waitress at the counter looked up briefly from her cleaning, her worried eyes meeting my own. I glanced down and blinked away the tears. My father and mother had been killed by a drunk driver while I was still in high school. A flash of my grandfather Charlie's, sad eyes entered my brain for a fleeting second, then quickly dissipated. Charlie had become a second father to me over the past few years since my parents died. My rock, my strength. To me, spending time with him during my Spring Break was better than a thousand days elsewhere. When I was with Charlie, I was home.

He was the one who encouraged me to apply to college and try to make something of myself when I graduated high school. With the loss of my parents at such a young age, you can only imagine how lost I felt. Two of the most prominent people in my life were stripped away from me in a split second. I felt robbed. I even cried out to God to take me away as well. I cursed the very air I breathed because my parents weren't able to anymore. My heart ached each time I saw a picture of my mother, or heard a classical tune I thought my father would adore. The absence of their presence was everywhere I turned.

My father's parents, Carlisle and Esme Cullen, moved to Denali, Alaska, shortly after the accident, but we kept in close contact through phone calls and emails. I missed them dearly, especially my grandmother, Esme. I had overheard her lament to Charlie once that I reminded her too much of my father, and the pain was just too overbearing for her to handle living in Forks any longer. Besides my grandmother Renee and my step-grandfather Phil, who also lived out of state in Jacksonville, Florida, Charlie was the only one there willing to help me pick up the broken pieces of my shattered life.

He suffered, too, though he would never let it show. He missed my mother, his only daughter, more than the desert missed the rain. Sometimes I would even catch him in my mother's old room upstairs, pacing back and forth, fingering the little trinkets and belongings still left from her high school days. I just let him be, and he showed me the same kindness. Memories are all we have of those that we've lost. Why should we ever want to forget?

After being accepted into the University of Washington at Seattle, I decided to major in English. I always fancied myself a good writer, and had a love affair with books. They were an escape from the world, a world in which I didn't have to face the reality of my parents' death. It was comforting to know that just with the turn of a page, I could be swept away from all of the madness that had become my life.

Now here I was, twenty-one years old, sitting in a nearly-vacant diner on a Saturday night in Forks, with my nose in a book, sipping on a diet soda. I was never a socialite or one to stay out until all hours of the night. The local kids were probably out partying or cliff diving down at the beach in La Push. They kept Charlie quite busy on nights like tonight; he was the chief of the Forks Police Department, after all.

The dinging of the bells at the diner's entrance suddenly made me look up from my closed book.

"Evening, Sarah. How's life been treating you?" A tall man with russet-colored skin donned in a leather jacket called as he entered the diner, carrying a black motorcycle helmet.

My brown eyes trailed after him as he took a seat at the counter.

"Pretty fair, I guess, Jacob. You having the usual?" Sarah, the waitress behind the counter, walked up to meet him, leaning against the opposite side of the bar.

"Yes, ma'am," he answered, setting down his motorcycle helmet on the empty seat next to him.

Sarah placed a coffee cup and saucer on the counter in front of him and filled it to the rim. I picked up my book and pretended to read as I watched the intriguing, yet handsome, man who now commanded my full attention. He was a native, judging from his gorgeous tanned skin, possibly from the La Push reservation.

"Thanks." Jacob unzipped his leather jacket and slid it down his shoulders, revealing a light blue t-shirt. The fabric hugged his back and arms in a way that accentuated his already well-defined muscles. I had to remind myself to breathe as my eyes took in every inch of his form.

"How's Billy doing?" Sarah's voice roused me from my thoughts.

"Pretty good. He's recovering quite nicely from that last stroke," Jacob replied, lifting a container of creamer and emptying some of the contents into his coffee.

"That's wonderful news. I was worried about him." The waitress grabbed her washcloth and returned to her cleaning as she spoke, her salt and pepper hair dancing about her shoulders.

"Thanks. Dad's a stubborn old man; he doesn't let anything faze him." He chuckled, taking a generous sip from his yellow cup. "At least he let me take him to the hospital this time."

"Jacob, your father has been that way as long as I've known him, before you were even born," Sarah added to the derision, spraying the empty table to my left with cleaner from her bottle.

"Sure, sure." Jacob glanced at her and then at me. His eyes locked into mine, his eyebrows furrowing.

My heart stopped for a brief moment, and then began to pound like a hammer in my chest. His eyes were the deepest chocolate brown I had ever seen.

"Um…" He looked away as if he'd seen a ghost. "Y-you're not even old enough to be my sister, Sarah."

"Jacob Black, you flatter me too much." Sarah held up a dismissive hand and went back to scrubbing her table.

Jacob Black. I knew that name. It was the name of my mother's high school friend, the one she used to call her 'personal sun.' That name also belonged to the owner of Black's Garage and Repair in La Push…the very man who was the new Chief of the Quileute tribe. Charlie was good friends with Jacob's father, Billy, and doted on him quite often.

"Excuse me, miss." Jacob was now standing beside my table, coffee cup in hand. I had been so dazed, I didn't even notice that he had left his seat at the counter.

"Y-yes," was all I could manage to utter. I could now smell his glorious, woodsy scent, masculine with a hint of musk. It was incredible.

"Are you by any chance Charlie Swan's granddaughter? Nessie Cullen?" he asked, sweeping his free hand casually through his jet black hair.

"Ness," I corrected him, looking back down at my soda. No one had called me Nessie in years, not since the unthinkable happened.

"Okay, then, Ness. I'm Jacob Black." He lifted his coffee and swallowed a hearty mouthful. His eyes returned to me as he swallowed. "I knew your mother."

"Yes, she spoke of you often," I told him. My mother had always reminisced about her high school days with Jacob and my father. Anytime my mother brought up Jacob, my father would always become tense. I had to wonder if there was something else they didn't tell me about their relationship.

"Did she now? Mind if I join you?" Jacob questioned, pulling out the chair opposite me, and sat down.

"Be my guest." I placed my book back on the table in front of me.

"What are you reading there?" He pivoted the book so that he could read the title. "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…your mother would be proud."

"Just some Spring Break reading…getting ready for mid-terms," I shyly added.

"Mid-terms? As in college mid-terms? How old are you, Ness?" Jacob probed and finished the rest of his coffee in one last sip.

"I'm twenty-one." I raked my right hand through my bronze hair and tucked a few strands behind my ear.

"Ah, has it really been that long?" Jacob mused, appearing deep in thought. "I remember when you were born."

I could feel my cheeks reddening with the heat of embarrassment as his last words hung in the air. My mother had gotten pregnant right before she and my father graduated from Forks High. Their marriage, which Charlie affectionately had referred to as the notorious 'shotgun wedding,' soon followed, but nothing seemed to dishearten my parents. They were so much in love; they had been since the very start. Adjusting to married life well, they welcomed me almost seven months later. A fairytale ending indeed…only to be marred by tragedy sixteen years later.

I frowned, glancing up at my new friend.

"Ness, what's wrong?" Jacob placed his large right hand on top of mine, his face full of concern. "I'm sorry. I know it's got to be difficult for you still…it is for me, too. Bella was my best friend. Always will be."

"Mine, too." I fought back the tears, turning my palm upward to greet his. The warmth of his hand atop mine was exhilarating. It was a comforting warmth; no wonder my mother called him her 'sun.'

"You look so much like her…and Edward, too. It's starting to freak me out just a bit." Jacob heartily laughed, lightening the somber mood now hovering over us like a thick fog.

I couldn't help but smile back; the cadence of his laugh was infectious.

"Ah, so you do smile?" Jacob mirrored my grin, his brilliant white teeth emerging from beneath his lips. He ran his thumb gently back and forth over mine.

"When I want to, yes." I let my smile widen as I looked into his brown eyes.

I wracked my brain to determine how old he was. From what Charlie had told me, he was two years younger than my parents, so that meant he was about seventeen when I was born. He had to be no younger than thirty-eight.

"It just takes the right person, huh?" Jacob softly squeezed my hand, his pale pink lips forming into a pout. He was much older than me, but I couldn't help wonder what it would be like to feel those thick lips pressed against mine.

"Yeah…um, sorry." I swiftly took my hand away, cupped my palms around my soda glass, and sucked on the straw, even though the glass was empty.

I had a boyfriend back at school. What the hell was I thinking? Nahuel would be extremely ticked off if he knew I was flirting with someone not that much younger than my father.

"I should be the one who's sorry, Ness. I shouldn't have held your hand like that. You barely know me. It was rude of me," Jacob apologized, and I suddenly felt embarrassed all over again. He then glanced over his left shoulder at the clock hanging on the wall behind the counter. "Look, I have to get back to my dad. He's always home alone now that my sisters are both married."

He stood up to leave, pulled out his wallet, and threw a few dollars on the table to cover his tab.

"It was nice seeing you again, Nessie," he said, grabbing his leather jacket and helmet from the bar. "I've been meaning to come visit Charlie for some time now. Maybe I can take you out to lunch when I do."

"I'd like that." My heart thrilled at his words even though a part of me knew Nahuel wouldn't approve. What he didn't know couldn't hurt him, right? Besides, he was in South America visiting his father over Spring Break anyway.

"Excellent," he replied, flashing me that brilliant smile again. He threw on his leather jacket and placed the helmet securely over his ebony locks.

"See you soon." His voice was muted by the helmet. "Night, Sarah!"

"Night, Jacob! Tell Billy I've got some blueberry cobbler saved for him!" Sarah called after him, but he was already out the door.

Seconds later, I heard the loud revving of a motorcycle engine, and it soon faded as he sped out of the parking lot.

Jacob Black. What a nice guy, I thought.

Smiling, I picked up my book and cracked it open, feeling somewhat happier now that I had met Jacob. My mood abruptly faltered when I realized I had turned to Romeo and Juliet, one of my mother's favorite plays by Shakespeare. The somber mood had fatefully returned.

"Is there anything else I can get for you, Nessie?" I heard Sarah ask as I closed my book and laid it back on the table.

"No, thanks. I was just leaving." I reached for my canvas messenger bag at my feet and slid my large book into the main pocket.

"I can't believe how grown up you are." Sarah eyed me up and down almost adoringly, placing her hands on each of my shoulders as I stood up from the table. "The spitting image of your-"

"Here you go, Sarah. Thanks for the soda." I handed her a five dollar bill as payment for the drink plus a generous tip, pulling the strap of the messenger bag onto my right shoulder. She confusedly snatched back her arms.

As I bolted for the door, not wanting to hear for the hundredth time how much I resembled my mother, Sarah shouted, "Don't be a stranger now, ya hear?"

I stepped out into the darkness of the night, hugging my arms close to my chest. The air was quite chilly, but at least it wasn't raining. A clear night was a rarity in Forks.

Walking toward the back of the diner to my red Chevy pickup, a hand-me-down from mom, I heard a low scuffling of feet behind me. I froze. Someone had followed me from the diner.

"Hey, Nessie, is it?" A rough male voice spoke as I placed my hand on the driver's side door handle.

Deciding to play it safe, I ignored him and opened the door to my truck.

"Hey, I'm talking to you!" he angrily boomed, gripping the back of my jean jacket, and flinging me up against the side of the truck. My messenger bag fell to the pavement, scattering the contents all around us, including my cell phone.

"What do you want?" I screamed at him, tears now staining my eyes. I could see through my tears that he also wore a jean jacket, but his was very old and worn. His long, dirty-blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck.

"I have money in my bag and an iPod," I offered, panicking.

"You are what I want…" He breathed onto my neck, clenching his fists around both of my arms at the elbows.

"Help m-" I screamed, but he muffled my cries with his palm, slamming my head back against the metal of the truck. I shrieked in pain, struggling beneath his arms, as he roughly ran his free hand underneath the fabric of my black skirt.

Oh, God, he's going to rape me. I felt my body stiffen when his fingers hooked onto the elastic band of my panties.

"Just relax, I'll take it nice…and slow." His hand excruciatingly pulled down my panties to my knees and turned me around so that my back was to him. His right hand still gripped me firmly by the mouth to keep me from calling out for help, while his other now proceeded to trail back up my skirt.

"Get the fuck off her!" A husky voice pierced the night air, and the coarse hands of my attacker left my body.

"And just what are you gonna do about it, Tonto?" I heard him reciprocate just before he went sailing to the pavement below.

I spun around, only to observe his limp body lying face down and motionless on the concrete beside the truck. Jacob Black stood beside him, holding his right fist in his opposite palm. He'd obviously punched my attacker and saved me from a night full of God only knows what.

"Nessie, are you okay?" He hurried up to me, cupping his injured hand around my left cheek. "Did he hurt you?"

"N-no," I stuttered through the sobs that came without warning. I hurriedly pulled up my panties that now hung at my knees. I was completely mortified, and heartbroken beyond repair.

Without saying another word, Jacob pulled me to him, encasing me with his burly arms. I locked my arms around his neck, weeping as the floodgates spilled wide open. I couldn't resist him, the sensation of his arms around me felt so congenial, so familiar.

"It's okay. You're safe now," he whispered into my ear, pressing his head affectionately on top of mine.

Just as he spoke those words, my attacker picked himself off the pavement and darted from the parking lot of the diner, holding his left shoulder in apparent pain. I returned my head to Jacob's warm shoulder, the sobs coming even faster now.

"Just needed to teach him a lesson. He won't hurt you ever again. I promise." Jacob sweetly kissed the top of my head, then let me go. I was left in a daze. What the hell had just happened? And where did Jacob come from? I had seen him speed away on his motorcycle not even five minutes ago.

"Ness…" I vaguely remembered Jacob's hand waving in front of me. "Hey, do you need me to take you home?"

I snapped out of my zombielike state, peering up at him through strained eyes. I figured my mascara was probably running in angry streaks down my cheeks.

"No, I think I'll be okay." Wiping my eyes, I bent down and started to frantically retrieve the items from my messenger bag. I couldn't think straight; my mind was becoming all hazy and cloudy. I even felt for a moment that I might pass out. Was I in shock?

"Ness." Jacob grabbed my hand to stop my frenetic movements. "We need to go to the police station and report that son of a bitch to Charlie so that he doesn't do this to other women."

"No, no cops." I started to panic again. My attacker would know where to find me if I reported him. What if he followed me home and waited until I was all alone again? What would I do then? Neither Jacob nor Charlie would be there to save me a second time. "And please don't tell Charlie about this."

"Ness, are you crazy?" Jacob exasperatedly said, helping me back to a standing position. "That man almost raped you!"

"But he didn't so…no harm done."

I reached down and snatched my messenger bag from the ground. I hopped into the cab of my truck and shut the door behind me. Desiring nothing more than to get the hell out of there, I patted the pockets of my jacket, but my keys were nowhere to be found.

"Looking for something?" Jacob's fingers dangled the keys tauntingly outside the driver's side window.

I sighed, leaned forward, and placed my forehead on the steering wheel. After a few seconds, I heard the tailgate of my truck being lowered, and then the entire truck shook as something was maneuvered into the bed. The tailgate then slammed shut, and I raised my head, only to see Jacob appear back beside my window.

"Open up. I'm driving you home," Jacob said, absolute firmness in his tone.

"Jacob…" I protested, but he opened the door anyway. "I think I'm more than capable of driving myself home."

"No, you're in shock. Now, scoot over," he ordered, forcing me over to the passenger side of the truck as he positioned himself in the driver's seat.

"Fine." I crossed my arms defiantly over my chest, sliding all the way to the opposite side of the seat. I could already feel the tenderness about my elbows. I secretly hoped my attacker hadn't left behind any visible evidence of what he had done. Charlie would question it. "But I'm not telling Charlie about this."

"Alright," Jacob said, jamming the key into the ignition and turning over the engine. "Let's just get you home…and safe."

As we sped off toward Charlie's house, I sat there, stewing from Jacob's unwavering resolve. Even though I knew my attacker could possibly return, I just wished my new friend had let me drive myself home and forget this whole mess. Still, another part of me was thrilled to have him near me once again. Giving into the latter, I sighed in ultimate relief, and leaned my head onto Jacob's inviting shoulder.

"Thank you," I spoke softly. "I don't know what I would've done if you hadn't been there."

"No problem. Glad to help." He tilted his head to the side, meeting mine. He then draped his warm right arm over my shoulders and pulled me closer to his chest.

I relaxed, feeling secure inside his soothing embrace, and inhaled his musky scent. That was the last thing I remembered before I surrendered and let the darkness of sleep consume me.

Attn: This is my first attempt at an all human story, so let me know what you thought. This story is going to take some interesting turns in the next few chapters. Hope you will stay tuned. ;)