It is short...it doesn't have a song to go along with it...and it probably has some errors... but it is a necessary chapter to move us along to more exciting stuff. I wanted to go ahead and post it when I had some time because I am going to be graduating from college in the next 6 weeks which means life is going to get crazy! Thanks for reading, everyone. And thanks for sticking with this story even through I'm terrible at updating frequently!
I threw myself into training with Douglas. That is, once Jacob realized that I wasn't in danger. The first day of the self-defense class, he came running in to the gym, his eyes wildly scanning the room until he found me. When he finally found me, he gathered me up in his arms and his hands moved all over me, making sure I was okay. Apparently, he had felt all of the anger and pain I was dealing with and thought something was wrong. I hadn't even thought about the imprint bond being affected by my swinging emotions. As I trained more, I was able to contain some of my aggression, while keeping my emotions to myself. That, of course, caused Jacob to come running again when he couldn't feel me for a short period of time. I felt so bad for the poor guy.
However, it did spark a bit of interest with us. We began experimenting with the imprint bond, trying to protect our emotions, or direct a certain emotion towards one another. The results were…scary. We were so closely connected that we were literally unable to put it into words. I felt closer to Jacob than I ever had once we realized how tightly connected we were.
If I wasn't working or spending time with Jacob, I was at the gym. Douglas even stayed late to help me out one-on-one. About a week and half into training, he finally outright asked me about why I was so aggressive with the kickboxing and self-defense training.
We were sitting on the mat, drinking water and taking a break. I took a long pull from my water bottle before answering. "I was in an abusive relationship before I came to Forks,"
That was literally the first time I had said it like that out loud. I had never been able to put those words together. I had told a handful of people about my past – Doc, Martha and Bella (and in turn Jacob and Edward) – but I had never once been able to just say it.
Douglas nodded, kindness shining through his eyes. "I figured that much, sugar. What I want to know is if you are safe now."
I began picking at the label on my water bottle, feeling relieved that I didn't have to go into details. The training and boxing had helped me release a lot of the pent up anger and sadness I felt about my past. But it still made me uncomfortable.
"I am beyond safe now," I said quietly. "He's dead, the guy who hurt me. He was involved in some really bad stuff and it caught up with him." I paused and leaned back on my hands. "The man I am with now is…" I trailed off, unsure of where to even begin. "He's amazing, Douglas. He puts me first. He loves that I'm stubborn and just always does the sweetest things."
Douglas smiled at me, a look of relief passing over his features. "Well, good. Honey, you deserve it. And if Mr. Perfect ever changes you tell me, and I'll take care of him. I may be a sassy gay man but I have black belt, I'm trained in Jiu Jitsu and I am not afraid to use it if some jerk messes with my girl."
I threw my head back and laughed as Douglas snapped his fingers before standing back up. I stood with him. "Alright, Mr. Sassy, let's get back to work before you hurt someone." During our training, Douglas told me he was actually a former boxer. I knew that even with all of his training, Douglas could never hurt Jacob. But even more amusing was the thought that Jacob would ever do anything to hurt me. Douglas didn't (and couldn't) know that physically, Jacob could never intentionally hurt me. Once again, I was struck with just how amazing the imprinting process was. He was exactly what I needed.
Douglas pulled on his sparring gloves as I stretched out a little bit. We fell back into what had become our new routine and I felt the familiar inner peace take over as I took out my aggression physically. After a while, Douglas had me just practice punching on the punching bag. I was so focused on landing my hits correctly and with as much power as I could muster that I didn't hear the front door to the gym open. It wasn't until Douglas' giggle cut through my concentration that I lost focus.
I turned, ready to complain about being interrupted when I saw Jacob standing in the doorway, all of his attention turned towards me. His eyebrows were raised and his mouth was slightly open.
"So this is your Mr. Perfect, huh?" Douglas' tittering seemed to shake Jacob out of whatever daze he was in.
I rolled my eyes as I began unwrapping the tape on my hands. "Douglas, this is my boyfriend Jacob. Jacob, this is my trainer Douglas."
"Hell-oh, Jacob," Douglas said, dragging out the 'o'.
"Hi, it's nice to meet you," Jacob responded politely.
"Oh, trust me, the pleasure is all mine," Douglas purred. Jacob looked a little confused, but kept a friendly smile on his face.
"Did you want to stay a while longer?" Jacob asked, his eyes meeting mine. "I didn't mean to cut your time short. I just have to…be at work in a little bit."
"Nah, Douglas needs to go in a bit anyways." I said as I began to gather my stuff up.
"Denae, did you ask Jacob if it was okay if you went with me tomorrow?"
I looked up, shooting an inquisitive glance at Douglas. "What do you mean?"
Jacob just looked at me with interest and confusion. "What're you doing tomorrow?"
"Douglas was going to teach me to shoot a gun," I replied, still looking at Douglas, waiting to see what he was up to.
"That sounds like fun. Billy has a bunch of old targets and stuff at the house that you guys can use." Jacob replied with an easy smile.
"So, you don't care that she didn't tell you?" Douglas said, his eyes fixed on Jacob. I knew then exactly what he was doing.
"Uh…no?" Jacob said, obviously not catching on to Douglas' little game.
"So Denae has your permission to go?" Douglas took a step towards Jacob.
Jacob's face burst into a grin and then a laugh. "If you know Denae at all you know she does whatever the hell she wants and doesn't ask anyone for permission," his eyes met mine. "That's why I love her."
Douglas smiled suddenly, apparently pleased with Jacob's response. "Well, then I'll see you tomorrow sugar!"
I rolled my eyes as I grabbed Jacob's hand. "See you, Douglas,"
"He seems nice," Jacob commented as we walked to his motorcycle. I just laughed.
The next day at work flew by and before I knew it I was out at the shooting range with Douglas. He taught me everything I needed to know about firing a gun. However, when it came down to it, I found that I wasn't a very good shot. After several tries I finally actually hit the target, although nowhere near where I should have been hitting. I was frustrated to say the least.
Douglas decided to switch tactics and teach me how to disarm someone with a gun. He used a fake, wooden gun that he had been using to teach me to shoot earlier and walked me through the various ways I could hit or kick someone with a gun. I felt much better after working on that because I found I could actually do it. It was satisfying to send the gun flying out of Douglas' hand and I had almost forgotten about my discouragement earlier.
Douglas and I were walking back to our cars, bantering about how he could never convince my boyfriend to 'switch teams' when I happened to look up. I was shocked to see Rosalie standing by my car, perfectly poised with a hint of irritation on her flawless features.
"Rosalie! What are you doing here?" I asked, shooting a glance at Douglas who seemed to be drooling over her jacket.
"I need to speak with you, Denae." She said curtly. I would have been offended if it was anyone else but Rosalie.
"Sure," I turned to Douglas, giving him a quick hug. "I should be by tomorrow. Thanks for today, it was fun."
He kissed my cheek before getting in his little Nissan and driving off.
"So," I said, dragging the 'o' out as I shoved my hands in my pocket. "What's up?"
"Bella and Edward have returned," she said; her golden eyes boring into mine. "And I think Bella needs all the support she can get right now. She isn't…well."
I blinked twice before her words sunk in. "What do you mean? Isn't she…like…like you?" I said, glancing around to confirm no one was in the parking lot with us.
"No," Rosalie seemed to struggle with her words. "Bella's pregnant."