A/N: Whichever way you intend to celebrate it, I want you all to have a wonderful, safe and worry-free holiday. I know, "worry-free" right? ;) Happy Holidays my devoted ones and stay safe :D
Karma's a bitch
After romping around for an hour in the warm Pacific water that was as blue as any water she had ever seen, Bella was exhausted. She and Jacob sloshed back to their waiting towels and plopped down on them. The sun had escaped the day, and was quickly falling into the sea.
Bella, breathing heavily as she lay on the towel, looked up into the sky that was changing colors by the second. She couldn't remember the last time she had seen a sunset like this. Maybe she had never seen one like this. The colors were beyond belief. As the sun sank lower past the water's edge, the sky that had once been sky blue had now evolved into a shade of lapis, merging on indigo. Sunbeams were a different story altogether - an explosion of colors, ranging from yellow to orange to a shade so dark she couldn't name it, all in layers that blended together seamlessly setting fire to the clouds above it. The tops of the fuchsia clouds, devoid of any light looked ominous and out of place, but vigilant; a visual reminder that darkness and light always go together.
She looked at the changing colors and fading light as though she were seeing more than that.
Had it always been this complex? Bella could have been referring to her life thus far. She could also have been referring specifically to her romantic life or to the sunset itself. She had heard it before, but it really sank in now; the only constant in life is change. She mused how watching a simple sunset could make her think about so many things in different ways, things she never had time to think before. She was intrigued, and inspired to write about it first chance she got.
"You sure you don't want to jump?" Jacob asked referring to the large rock. He brought her back to reality.
While there seemed to be a steady stream of jumpers all through the day, the number of kids had decreased dramatically. Everyone was going home. In fact, the entire beach's population had sunk to only a handful of people. The heat of the day had passed and she could feel a shift in temperature as the wind blew against her wet skin.
"Maybe next time," she smiled in a consoling way.
"The Bella I remember would have jumped in a heartbeat," he said in jest.
She thought about that for a second and darkness fell across her face.
"She's gone I'm afraid," she said soberly.
Jacob sat up and began to towel himself off. "Why do you say that?"
She shrugged as she remembered the LaPush cliffs. The darkest period in her life; a time when she felt unwanted, unloved and desperate to the point of recklessness; all to desperately hear her Edward's voice, even if it wasn't real. She knew now his reasons for leaving, but that time in her life was the beginning of her trust issues with him...the crack in the teacup. She loved him enough for a lifetime, but it wasn't enough to fix it. All their best intentions weren't enough, either. She would always love him in a way, she felt sure of this. However, she was equally sure she did the right thing, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt.
In spite of her beautiful surroundings, she indulged these sad feelings if only for a moment. Running from Demetri, Edward is off who knows where for who knows how long, but broken relationship or not she didn't want him hurt. She hated the thought of something happening to him and wondered where he was and if he was okay.
Jacob watched as Bella's eyes closed and a single tear rolled down her temple. For a moment he was speechless, then decided to get up and take their things back to the jeep, giving her a moment to herself.
He remembered what he was like when he first came here. Rebecca told him several times that he would eventually get over Bella and move on, but he didn't believe it. But she was right. There eventually came a time when he didn't think about Bella as much and keeping busy helped him to not think about her at all.
Maybe that's what Bella needs. Maybe a job would keep her distracted, he thought, scheming.
He changed into his clothes and walked back. She was now sitting up.
"How ya doin'?" he asked.
She sniffed and periodically dabbed at her eyes. "Better, thanks. Feeling a little silly."
The wind continued to blow, making her regret still being in her damp suit. She shivered and looked around her for a dry towel, quickly wrapping one around herself. She watched as the tide inched closer and closer to them.
Bella seemed awfully small right now. Deflated, in just a few minutes' time.
Jacob continues to stand while she remained seated. He put his hands in his pockets and enjoyed the hypnotic effects of the tide.
"You know," he said, "the first day I came to Oahu, I snitched Rebecca's car and disappeared."
"Yeah. Boy, was she mad," Jacob chuckled.
Bella looked at him questioningly.
"She was fussing over me," he explained. "I had only been here a couple of hours and she was asking me question after question, getting all up in my business. She kept trying to mother me. Ha, smother is more like it. I wasn't ready to deal with it, yet. She had questions I didn't have answers to," he said calmly. "I won't lie, it was rough. Really rough in the beginning."
Bella felt herself burn and grimaced, "I'm sorry, Jacob," she said, feeling guilty, "I really am."
"It's all right, Bells. I can't blame you for loving someone...and I don't. Besides, that was years ago. The reason I'm bringing all this up is 'cause when I first got here and got tired of driving around in circles, this was the first place I stopped. I got out and stayed...for hours and hours. I saw my first Hawaiian sunset here…and 12 hours later, my first sunrise."
"Yeah, but did you cry and make a fool of yourself?"
"Like a baby," he admitted. "Well maybe not a baby, I mean you know...a manly baby," he said in a much deeper voice.
Bella laughed. Jacob smiled.
"It gets easier, Bells. I promise."
She smiled, believing him. "Thank you, Jake."
She pushed herself off the mat onto her feet still clinging to her makeshift blanket and wrapped her arms around him in a hug. His long arms engulfed her making her feel tiny. She felt good being wrapped in his embrace. His tremendous heat, although a few degrees cooler than he used to be continued to burn hot against her, as his huge body shielded her from the wind. He rested his cheek against the top of her head and began to gently thrum his fingers consolingly against her back. After a few moments, something happened to make his hand stop mid rhythm. He could hear an increasing heart beat, it seemed to skip a beat in its hurry to beat faster. The beat was louder than the roar of the waves. It wasn't her heartbeat. It was his. Bella's scent, holding her, Bella holding onto him lovingly churned something inside of him, a feeling he thought was dead.
Bella stirred, slowly turning her head upwards. She moved cautiously. She locked eyes with his and both their expressions went blank as they felt the same urge. Bella tilted her head upward as Jacob moved his face to hers.
Inches away, Jacob uttered something under his breath, "Bella, I've...I've got a girlfriend," he said, pulling back a fraction.
Bella blinked her eyes and looked away in shock. "Uh, oh…Oh," she gasped and suddenly backed away. She recovered enough to say, "I'm, I'm...I don't know what came... You have a girlfriend, of course, you have one of those. I don't know why I didn't ask, I guess I just...assumed…" she said looking confused.
Jacob continued to look guilty and flabbergasted. "I should have told you before-"
"No, no, don't worry about it. It's good…we're good...congratulations. She's a very lucky girl," she said, still clearly embarrassed.
Jacob smiled uncomfortably and put his hands back into his pockets taking another step back, while Bella wrapped the towel tighter around herself. Jacob took the hint and suggested they head for home.
After they took their respective showers, things continued to remain awkward, even though neither brought up the beach or what almost happened. Kimo came home with some groceries and cooked dinner for the three of them, and Bella had fun trying to decipher his pidgin. Kimo eventually took pity on her and spoke as plainly as any mainlander, using his "tourist-friendly voice" he calls it. He usually reserved the pidgin for islanders anyway.
Bella offered to help clear the table and clean the dishes and Kimo appreciated the offer, letting her dry while he washed. Once things were in a presentable state again, Kimo headed off to bed. Bella said to Jacob, "Well it's getting late, I'd better go to sleep, too. Are you sure you don't want your bed back, Jake? I could sleep on the couch, it's no problem."
"Don't be silly. The couch is extra-long and way more comfortable than it looks. Do you want to sit up and talk a little while?"
"Um, sure, but I thought you said earlier you were going into work early to get next week's schedule?"
"It's no biggie. I can get there whenever. Besides, Rebecca should be in soon and I can help you get reacquainted since you're gonna be here a while."
"Yeah, we keep missing each other, don't we?" Bella smiled and sat down on the couch next to him.
"So, Rebecca's a nurse now," she said. "Huh. Yeah, you know, I wouldn't have figured that," Bella laughed. "She was always so...so..."
"Bossy? Rude? Opinionated?"
"Um, well, yeah," Bella said carefully.
"She still is. But she knows her stuff and keeps everyone in her department in line. Even the doctors are scared of her."
Bella laughed. "And Rachel was always the shy one, right? How's she doing?"
"She's great. She finished Washington State and is a full-fledged computer geek now, accredited, of course," Jacob smiled.
"That's great, Jake. Billy must be so proud of his kids...All of them." Bella nudged Jacob's knee.
"Yeah, he's one proud papa all right. And what about your dad? I hear he's liking on someone now," Jacob smiled.
Bella did a double take. "He what? He is? I didn't know that!"
"You didn't? How could you not know that?"
"He never told me he was seeing someone. Are you sure?"
"Well, yeah, I think I'm sure. That's what pop says anyway...says the Chief's really 'warm for her form.'" Jacob laughed.
"Ugh!" Bella exhaled sharply, "Why wouldn't he say anything to me? What do you know about her?"
Jacob shrugged his shoulders, "Just that she's new to the department, blond, divorced...a couple of kids, I think."
"Kids?" This woman didn't sound like anyone Bella knew at the department and certainly no one that her dad had mentioned in phone calls.
"I'm sure it's okay, Bells. You knew your little man was gonna grow up and discover girls sooner or later," he said condescendingly, patting her hand.
"Oh, ha ha. I am so not amused."
"Yeah I see that. Okay, so he got a life while you were at school. Good for him! In case you were wondering, that's actually a good thing."
"Jacob, he kept her a secret from me. I don't know anything about her. Why am I the last to know anything? Is he going to marry her? Is he married already? And kids, how old are they? What in the world is he thinking about, raising more kids - at his age? He's an old man for crying out loud!"
Jacob looked shocked, "He's only like, 40-something, Bella. I don't think he's ready for the nursing home yet."
"Well, still," she said pouting.
Jacob stifled a laugh at her expense.
"What?" she asked.
"Nothing. It's cute seeing you so protective."
"Glad I amuse you," she said.
"You're being childish you know. Dad says the Chief seems happy. You should be happy for him."
Bella sat quietly and brooded. She hated to admit it but she did feel childish. Her dad had been alone for so long, she never had to share him before. Plus, he was never a guy, he was just...dad. He never expressed any desire to date and as far as she knew that part of his life was over. But now that he was diving head first into the dating pool, she would have to think of him in a whole new light - the new and improved Charlie Swan – Forks, Washington's most eligible bachelor and…Resident Hottie? Bella cringed at the thought.
They continued to chat more about all their old friends and acquaintances, and about the pack members and who paired up with who. Jacob told Bella about Quil surviving Claire going to school and how for the first few days he kept hanging around the building worrying about her, until the cops told him to go home.
"Poor Quil," Bella chuckled.
"Yeah, she's quite the heartbreaker, too. She's already got a boyfriend."
"A boyfriend? She's only 6."
"Yeah. Quil doesn't approve. Says she's 'too young for that nonsense,'" using air quotes.
Bella laughed. While they were reminiscing, Rebecca came home from work. She had gotten her shift back and was getting home at a decent enough time again.
"Oh, hello," she said when she spotted them on the couch.
"Hey Rebecca," Bella said brightly.
"I thought you two would be asleep," said Rebecca curtly. She turned around and placed her purse and keys on the stand by the door, taking care to place her shoes neatly beside the other slippers.
Rebecca didn't say another word. She bypassed them, went straight into the kitchen, took some yogurt from the fridge and headed for bed. "Well, goodnight," she said with an insincere smile.
"Good night," Bella said, looking puzzled. Jacob said good night as well but with as much sincerity as Rebecca's.
Bella didn't say anything.
"She, uh, she takes a little warming up to," Jacob said. "She's kinda like that old truck of yours. You gotta let her idle a while if you want her to run right." Jacob could have phrased that better but after thinking about it he realized he couldn't.
"I get the feeling she hates me. True or false?"
He scrunched up his face, "Well, hate's a...really strong word...it's more like..."
"Hate, about covers it yeah, but not in the strict sense of the word. I mean, she wouldn't let you die a horrible agonizing death, for example."
"Well, that's something I guess," she chortled uncomfortably. "So I'm guessing the source of her disdain is she knows everything about...well everything?"
"Sorta. I mean she knows you and I were, uh...Well she knows that you and Edward were engaged. From there it gets complicated."
Bella looked at him to coax more information.
"Becca knows you and I were, well, and about you and him. She kinda came to her own conclusions after Sam and Em's wedding. As far as knowing about the Cullens, and the pack, that's a tough question. As you know, the council opted not to tell family members who weren't on the council or in the pack about what we were. We tried to keep our secret as quiet as possible, but that wasn't realistic. It seemed like every week some other kid was phasing, some as young as 12. So Sam and I talked about it with the elders and we decided that since so many kids were affected and the pack was getting bigger and people were beginning to talk anyways that we'd loosen the restrictions. Immediate family members you're living with can now be told the secret. It's been easier all the way around and gets the school and health department off our backs. Word started getting around that all these kids were missing school because of 'mono' and 'mysterious fevers,' so we figured this was the only way to squash some rumors. The families have agreed to home-school their kids and show up around town once in a while looking healthy and normal. Since I came to live here and since I wasn't at all sure what the future held for me, I told Rebecca and Kimo."
"Kimo digs it, I'm not sure he really believes it, but Polynesians are very accepting of the spirit world and all. He accepts that I believe it and that's enough for him."
"She doesn't believe it."
"How could she not? Didn't you change in front of her?"
"I could have, but I made a promise to myself to not change anymore, for any reason. All I was obligated to do was tell her and I did. She chose not to believe it so that's her problem. Dad said not to push, so I didn't push. And there we are."
"But she knows all the stories?"
"Oh sure, the same way all us Quileute kids heard it growing up. But it was just stories, ya know. No one really believed it. I mean, why would we? Do you believe in the tooth fairy? Leprechauns? Santa Claus?"
"Well no but in your case your stories are true."
"Yeah but we didn't know that. It's an origin story, every tribe has them. We all hear them at young ages, but we don't take them literally, I mean not really. At least we didn't."
"Maybe it's good in a way - that she doesn't believe it, I mean," Bella said.
"Yeah. She and Rach aren't affected by it but they're carriers of the gene. It will pass to their children and lie dormant as long as those leech...vampires don't return to Forks. As long as the vamps stay away, all the Quileute children will have a chance at a normal childhood. Eventually, it will all go back to the way it was."
"That's great but that also means eventually it'll all just be stories around the campfire again. Will no one know what you boys and Leah did that day? About the battle? Everything you went through? You mean no one ever know what you all sacrificed?"
Jacob slowly let his eyes look away and shook his head just enough. "It will be told only to those in the pack and council members. We're the only ones who will ever know what we did. It's for the best, Bella."
She started to reach for his hand but stopped herself. A silence fell between them that spoke volumes.
"Well, I think I'm done for the night," and patted his hand as she got off the couch. "I'll see you in the morning, okay?"
"Okay. Good night."
Bella turned around quickly, "Oh by the way, when can I meet her?"
"Your girlfriend. I'd like to meet her some time."
Jacob's eyes grew wide, "Uh, I don't know, her schedule's pretty busy."
"Oh, well just let me know when's a good time. What's her name again?"
Jacob paused, it was the first name to come to mind but he knew he was going to regret it before he even said it, "Uh, Hina."
"Hina? Is she Hawaiian?"
"Pretty name. What does it mean?"
"Uh, you know she's told me but I can't quite think of it right now."
"Well, it's nice," Bella said, trying to look encouraging. "Night, again." She turned around and went down the hall to Jacob's room.
Jacob remained seated on the couch, dumbfounded.
"Well, fuck a duck," he said under his breath.
[The next day at the shop]
Jacob had messed up. This was never more obvious than now because now he had to reveal the complexities of his relationship with Bella to Hina, something he never wanted to discuss before. While she was glad to finally know everything there was to know about his past, except of course anything vampire/werewolf related, she was surprised to now have a starring role in his drama. She took it better than he thought.
"You told her what!" Hina said, shocked.
Jacob was pounding his forehead on his hand that lay against the front desk. "I know...I know. I panicked!" he said in between pounds, shaking the whole desk. It made a low banging noise.
"How could you? … Why would you? … We Are Not Dating, Jacob," she said firmly.
"Uh, I know this, Hina!" he spat back. He raised up to look at her. "I thought I was over...I mean, yeah I still thought about her and wished things could have gone differently but I moved on. She moved on. We both...UGH!" he barked and sank his head back down on top of his hand.
"What happened?" Hina asked.
Jacob wobbled his head still firmly planted to the desk. "I don't know," he said, muffled.
Exasperated, Hina grabbed his ear dragging him upward with force, "What happened?" she said stronger.
"Ow, okay, okay! We were at the beach, we were having a good time...it was innocent, I swear. Then she got upset, I tried to comfort her and then, WHAM! It was like...it was like someone jumpstarted me. I don't know if that makes any sense."
Hina smiled sweetly, "Oh."
"Ah man, don't do that!" he said annoyed and embarrassed.
"I still don't see the problem. She likes you, you like her...it's like, the oldest story in the world, Jake. What's the problem?"
"The problem is, I don't want it. I don't want to fall for her...not again. I've been down that road. Hell, I got ran over on that road - like a freaking turtle. Why would I want to go through that again?"
"So, you told her we're dating."
"Yeah. I mean I didn't really think it through, it just popped out."
"And she reacted, how?"
Jacob shook his head as he remembered, "I don't think she could have been more surprised if someone had shot her out of a cannon."
"Good," she smiled mischievously.
"What do you mean, 'good?'"
"It means, Karma's a bitch, Jacob, and so am I. It would do that girl a world of good to get some of her own medicine. It also means, this is just the beginning. This should be fun," she smiled, rubbing her hands together.
This didn't bode well.
Jacob groaned and went back to pounding his head on the desk.
A/N as of 06/10/2015: I know you're all worried about the conclusion of this story, but don't worry, even though I don't update as often as I'd like, I am always working on it. I'm taking a break, but have decided not to update again until the whole story is complete that way I can update it all in one shot instead of one chapter once in a while. It's not fair to you. So by all means please add me to your Follow list, either as a story or author, or you can Favorite me. I have to admit, I love seeing someone Favorite me and/or Waning Moon. It's the biggest rush! Thank you again for your patience and for your reviews.
***Disclaimer: The characters setting and familiar situations belong to Stephenie Meyers. References to films, places or music also do no belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. I'm not making any monetary profit from this.***