HELLO EVERYBODY! Okay, I know that I've been gone for a REALLY long time. My apologies for that. I was finishing up my book and taking classes, unemployed, then employed, then...well yeah, you get the picture.

After some thought, I've decided to do a Bella/Paul story. It isn't overplayed/done and has some good potential. I hope that you like what I've written. I plan on posting at least once a week. The exercise of writing is good for me. I have two other books that I have to finish up and I have found that writing something other than my books helps me with writers block. ;-) When you are done with this, please review. I look forward to getting your feedback.

Enjoy! **DISCLAIMER: I own nothing Twilight**

"Alright, all finished. You ready to take them out for a spin?"

From his position perched beside one of the bikes, Jacob turned his chocolate gaze to me. Those depths held much more than what the average person was lead to believe. No, my best friend wasn't the person whom I thought he was, but a werewolf. Talk about making a girl's head spin.

"Now more than ever."

Edward, the man whom I gave my heart, was a vampire. His whole family was vampires. Was I some sort of 'non-human' magnet? Between being prone to random accidents, and surrounded by people that weren't human I felt like a minority.

When Edward left it nearly destroyed me. With the help of Jacob, I've been slowly on the mend. But now I am beginning to feel like a rat in a cage. Jake had only ever introduced me to Sam and I knew he has a few other friends that are oh….not human.

With the exception of going to school and sleeping, I was always at Jacob's house. Since his change, his father hired someone to home school him. One never knew when duty would call, or when something somebody did would set him off. Not that Jacob wasn't level headed. But they couldn't take the chance.

"Hey Jake, when are you going to stop hiding me like I'm some sort of prized pet? Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with you, but I'd like to have more friends. I never talk to Jessica or Angela anymore. Even at school both girls ignore me like I'm a walking plague."

We've had this discussion before, which always result in an argument.

"I told you Bella, I don't trust the other guys around you. They are not as in control of their emotions as I am."

"Sam seems to think –"

"Sam doesn't see fault in the guys. You've seen Emily. All it takes is one moment. Just a few seconds and your life could be extinguished. I've almost lost you once. I can't do it again."

"You need to stop being so dramatic Jake. If death has eluded me so far, what makes you think your friends will deliver the final blow? Come on Jake, you're not being rational."

"Bells, please don't…"

At lightning speed Jacob jumped up to his feet. He immediately reminded me of a guard dog getting a whiff of an intruder. If he was in wolf form, I had a feeling that the hackles on the back of his neck would be standing at attention.

"Stay here Bella." He walked to the closed double doors of the barn.

"But –"

"Stay here Bella." The coldness of his tone only infuriated me more.

Jacob didn't leave any room for me to respond as he walked out of the barn, quickly closing the door behind him. The eerie quiet I was left to only added fuel to my fire. Who in the heck did Jacob think he was ordering me like that? I wasn't one of his pack.

Without another thought I set the wrench that'd been in my hand down and strode with purpose to the door he'd just exited. I was done. Done taking orders from people who thought they were giving them to keep me protected. More like they were given to shelter me. In my mind there was nothing worse than feeling like a prisoner. I wasn't made of fragile glass. I don't break easily.

"…I told you not to come here when Bella is around."

My hand was on the door but I froze just before pushing it open. Jacob was whispering to another person.

"I know what you said." The unknown man growled out. "Sam has been trying to reach you all morning. You've been too pre-occupied with your pet to notice he's been calling for you."

Okay, that was it. I was sick of other people referring to me like I was underneath them.

"That pet has feelings and can hear you." Both men snapped their heads around. Their eyes both round with surprise immediately turned to slits. Oooo…two ticked off werewolves. Good, at least she had their attention. "Jake, this has gone far enough. You treat me like a priced piece sitting on your mantle." I rounded my attentions to the mysterious friend. "And you…I am not a pet!"

My words hung in the air and the silence stretched out between all of us. At least the two of them were smart, for the moment, and keeping their muzzles closed. Once the red cleared from my vision, I realized that Jacob's friend was staring at me, mouth agape, his eyes once again round like little globes.

"NO!" Jacob roared and lunged at the stranger.

In a blink of an eye, tattered pieces of clothing were sent flying around them. Both men quickly changed into their wolf forms and went at it. It all happened so fast I hadn't even been able to register what was going on until it happened.

Both wolves lunged at each other, nipping at each other's necks. I stood there, frozen in place, not knowing what I should do. I'd only ever seen Jacob in his wolf form once, and he'd been the only one. Sam never changed in front of me. To see these two large magnificent creatures go at it was amazing. It reminded me of those times I'd watched Animal Planet where two dominant wolves fought over territory.

"Bella! Get back in the barn!" Out of nowhere Sam appeared, shouting directions at me that I could only half comprehend. "Now Bella!"

Sam was quickly upon me and pushing me back into the barn. The doors slammed shut. Now I really felt like an animal trapped in a cage. The sounds outside were awful and not being able to see what was going on tore me apart. I stepped back from the doors and frantically searched for a window I could access and get a view of the scene outside.

The only windows on the first floor were too tall for me. There was no maneuverable objects that I could use as stepping blocks. A few more glances around the barn and the only window I could get up to was the one in the rafters. I made quick work of climbing up the old wooden ladder, over the piles of wood planks and boxes, and finally got to the window.

What I saw stole my breath. In the open field about two hundred feet from the barn, two enormous wolves went at it. I could easily identify Jacob because of the russet coloring. When I took a good look at the other wolf I froze.

He was beautiful. His coat looked like it had been kissed by the moonlight. As much as I loved Jacob as a friend and wanted to route him on, I couldn't take my eyes off the silver wolf. For his size he moved as gracefully as a cat and as deadly as a…well, a wolf. I shook my head in an attempt to clear the haze that suddenly gripped at my mind. I didn't even know the man, but the wolf had me under his spell.

The fight continued for what felt like hours. When I looked at my cell phone, I guessed it'd only been about five minutes. After noting the impossibly stretched amount of time, I looked back out the window, only to see the large russet wolf disappearing into the tree line. Okay, now I was really confused.

"Bella?" My gaze drifted down to Sam who stood by a tree about twenty feet away from the window. The other man was nowhere in sight. "Bella, why don't you come down? We need to talk."

Where had the silver wolf gone? I was beyond confused.

"Okay, I'll be right down."

I hadn't noticed how many obstacles I jumped over in a haste to get to the window until I had to make my way back across them. Only two falls later I was down the ladder and out the front door.

"Sam, what's going on? Why did Jacob leave?"

"He left because he didn't like what he found out." It wasn't Sam who answered.

The silver wolf, now back in his human form, sauntered from around the building. He'd obviously had his way with Jacob's wardrobe. He was barefoot, wearing a pair of khaki shorts and no shirt. Was it because Jake's shirts were too short, or because he couldn't find any that were clean? In any case, his beautiful caramel skin glistened underneath the mid-morning sun. The sight caused my cheeks to warm.
He walked straight up to me and stopped inches away. The closeness sent my heart racing – a foreign sensation since Edward left.

"I'm sorry for what I said earlier. It was out of line."

"Ah…" What was I supposed to say?

"Paul, get Bella back to my place. You can tell her everything there."

Paul? This was Paul? From what Jacob told me, Paul was hot-headed and always ready for a fight. His coldness before when talking to Jacob now made sense. What didn't was his apology, at least not from what Jacob had told me.

"I'm not moving until somebody tells me what in the world is going on."

I folded both my arms over my chest and gave the pair of them my best 'don't think to argue with me because you aren't going to win' look.

"Bella, this isn't the place. It would be best if you went back to my house. Emily can make you some coffee. You and Paul can talk. I need to go after Jake."

"But –"

"Please Bella."

I stared at Paul. Those two words, coming from a man who'd only gained the reputation of hard-ass, sounded broken and like a plea. As much as I wanted to protest, to stand my ground, I found it increasingly hard to do so.

"Oh, alright."

"Good. I'll go after Jake. Paul, take Bella's truck and I'll see you there later. I'm not coming back without him."

"K."

Sam didn't say another word before he took off running, changing into his wolf form in mid-stride. After her was gone, I wasn't so sure of the plan we just made. I didn't know Paul. Regardless of how he was making me feel, how I wanted to meet more of Jake's friends, I felt vulnerable. The man radiated lethal strength.

"Don't be afraid of me. I won't hurt you."

"Hmph…if I had a hundred dollars every time somebody told me that, I'd be wealthier than Bill Gates."

Despite the feeling of uncertainty, I turned and looked at him. Paul was staring at me curiously, and with a heat I hadn't even seen Jacob look at me with.

"I mean it Bella. Now let's go."

Paul reached out a hand to me. It sat in mid-air while I contemplated whether or not I wanted to take it. Not wanting to be rude, I put my hand in his and the moment I did so I snatched it back. The burning sensation didn't leave with the disconnected link.

"Ah…I can walk."

And I took off at a pace faster than I knew I was capable of. What in the heck was going on? This morning felt like an episode from the Twilight Zone. All of it was too weird to digest.

Once I got to my beloved truck, slammed the key into the ignition and turned. Paul climbed into the passenger side and sat still.

"You know, I can drive myself if you want to run there. I've been there a couple of times. Jake was driving, but I'm sure I could find my way no problem."

"No, I want to come with you."

Paul's gaze bore into mine and for one of the few times in my life, I was at a loss for words. Even though the ride to Sam's was uneventful, the air in the cab was thick with tension. The twenty minutes it took to get to Sam's felt like twenty hours. The only thing Paul said was 'turn here' or 'turn there'.

I drove the long stretch of driveway. A hundred feet from the cabin and it appeared out of the thick trees that surrounded it. Emily sat on the porch, rocking in an old wicker chair, reading a book. Just her presence calmed me. Of the few times I'd met Emily, I really liked her. She felt like a sister I never had.

I parked the truck. The old metal door creaked when I opened it and Emily's head lifted, like she'd just noticed our arrival. I climbed out of the seat and with heavy legs made my way over to her. I barely registered Paul getting out of his side of the truck, or that he was suddenly walking in time with my pace.

Weird.

"Hey Emily. How are you?"

The woman set her book down on a little table and got to her feet. Her welcoming smile warmed my heart. Why didn't I hang out with her more often? She was the first human I felt normal around.

"Good. I see you've had an…eventful morning." Her gaze flicked over my shoulder where Paul was on me like a shadow.

"Yeah, well, it seems like I'm the only person out of the loop. So either you fill me in, or I think I'll scream."

Emily laughed. It was a good thing I didn't take offense to such a little gesture. As it was, I was wound tighter than barbed wire.

"I believe that is for Paul to talk to you about. Would you like me to make you some coffee? You hungry Paul?"

"I could use some food. Thanks Em."

With that, Emily walked into the house. I started to follow but felt a big warm hand surround mine. I was still turned away from him, which was a good thing. That simple touch sent my heart fluttering and my eyes drifted shut. This was wrong, really wrong.

"Bella, we need to talk."

No, I didn't want to talk. Talking would mean acknowledging and whatever this was between us. Yes, I wanted answers. But now that the time was at hand I wasn't so sure anymore.

"Paul, we just met. Can't we go in and get some coffee and food and talk later? I'm sure that Jacob will be –"

My words were cut short at the sound of a lethal growl. I couldn't help myself. I turned around and came face-to-face with what Jacob had always described Paul as. Call me stupid, but I wasn't scared.

"I'd like it if we didn't talk about Jacob right now."

Okay….

"Look Bella," Paul closed his eyes and sought out my hand. When I gave it to him, he brought it to his face "how much has Jacob told you about us?"

"A lot."

His eyes drifted back open and pinned me where I stood. I couldn't tear my eyes away from him.

"Has he told you about when we mate?"

"Yes, not that it really matters to me considering I'm not a wolf."

"You don't need to be a wolf for it to matter."

"Okay…."

Paul turned my palm over and placed a kiss there.

"We can talk about this later. Let's get you your coffee."

The day had taken a sudden turn for the stranger. Before coming here I was steadfast and wanted answers to where Jake went and what happened. Now, I'm not so sure.

Please let me know if you would like to see more of this. Reviews are appreciated. Thanks!