That was the last entry in Ephraim's handwriting. Jacob's blood ran cold. A new script started up, tight and urgent, as though it was used to writing too much in too little time. There were water spots on the page. A new script meant a new person. Jacob continued reading, too entranced to stop.

July 15, 1970

This is Ray Tah-yat'l Black. I am Ephraim's second son, fourth child and a keeper of the Protector secret. I have finished reading this journal and needed to add to the record. I did not realize my father had been keeping a record like this for so long. I also did not understand its purpose until now. When I read it, something unexplainable happened.

As I finished each entry, I could suddenly see the entire scene my father had lived as though I was with him for every step of his life that he recorded. I ached at the death of his sister and rejoiced when Maggie agreed to marry him. My heart was torn out as I learned of her death and my half-siblings. I felt patriotic as he went to war and the joy and peace he felt when he first met my mother: a toddler of 18 months. I know the way his mind has been divided for decades now, hoping I would phase and join him as a Wolf Protector, but fearing it at the same time. Afraid that he would lose another child, another loved one.

Despite all the things my father recorded, this journal would not be complete without this entry. The cold one who had escaped from the beach returned to avenge his mate and my father was there on the beach to greet him.

I took several days off of work and I watched the water for hours at a time. Big Quil took some time off from his fishing business and Carol even took off a day because my mother had started to cry whenever she was in the house alone. My father patrolled the woods and along the beach at night. Finally, I saw him. A bright white dot on the ocean, swimming towards the shore. I called on the walkie-talkie and my father came down quickly. He insisted I stay behind the driftwood, far enough away that I was out of range and upwind.

My father waited for the cold one to come on dry land, he said he was outmatched in the water. The cold one came running like a locomotive and attempted to put his arms around the wolf that was my father. My father leaped out of the way and grabbed hold of the thing's right arm. He spit it away with such energy, that the cold one was even more infuriated. He threw himself at my father and dove, face first, onto his shoulder. My father roared with a terrifying sound I had never heard before: a wolf in pain. He quickly lashed out and with his last burst of energy, bit through the cold one's neck. Then he slunk to the ground.

By the time I reached him, his breathing was labored. I patted his head and he relaxed and the fur receded, leaving my father, strong, proud and dying. I covered him with my shirt and pulled out the lighter I had started carrying two nights before when he burned the female vampire. I remembered all the lessons he had taught me about making fires, from the forest rides on his back to the bonfires on the beach, and I made my first cold one fire. It sputtered and sizzled with a thick purple smoke.

I called to Big Quil on the walkie talkie and he came out to the beach. We carried my father home and laid him on his bed. The dawn was peeking through the window and it cast a bright light on him, highlighting the angry red line which shot toward his heart. He died with his hand in my mother's. She cried tears until her cheeks were raw and held his body until it grew cold. We held a funeral today. My mother refused to leave her room. It seems she cannot live without him.

The handwriting changed again. This time, Jacob recognized his father's scrawl.

January '90

My son has been born. Jacob Ephraim Black.

I got out grandfather's journal to write that, but now it feels like I should write more. My father Ray died last year. This book was among his things, I had never seen it before. The secrets our Wolf Protectors and their children must keep are staggering. We have been without wolves since my grandfather died and reading this journal I know why.

I met Sara at a concert in Seattle in 1983. She is Piti Ateara's youngest daughter. And now I understand that this is significant. When I introduced Sara to my father, his eyes got large and he was excited and terrified. We had twin girls who are two and now baby Jacob. If anyone of the upcoming generation has a chance to phase to a wolf form, it will be him.

September '03

The Cullen family moved to Forks. Carlisle called the tribal council office and asked for Ephraim Black's phone number. He was given mine. He told me they intended to live there for at least 5 years and that they wanted the treaty to be in force. Old Quil (father called him Big Quil, but once his grandson was born, we started to call him Old Quil), Harry and I convinced the tribal elders that we should all avoid any place we know the Cullens might be: the hospital especially since Carlisle will be working there. Some of the younger ones thought this was foolish. They will not listen to our warnings.

Old Quil has started to have more bonfires than we have had in a while. He is encouraging all the children and parents to come listen to the legends. He convinced them that it is important to maintain our cultural identity. It may also be important to keep them alive, if they will only believe them to be the truth and not just myths.

April '05

One of the Cullens is hanging out with Bella. Bella the daughter of my friend Charlie, the Police Chief in Forks. The same Bella who made mudpies with Jacob when they were young and hung around Rachel and Rebecca when the men went fishing. Charlie can't see how dangerous the Cullens are. I have warned him that 'Edward' is no good for his daughter, but Charlie just says to not be so prejudiced against people I do not know. But I know the arrogant boy better than Charlie will ever know him.

June '05

Sam Uley has disappeared. At first the tribe thought he had a fight with his girlfriend and had just run off, but Leah says they are fine. I am afraid he is a lone wolf somewhere, scared. None of us can communicate with him. Charlie put up posters, but I am afraid they will do no good since Sam no longer looks like himself.

July '05

We found Sam. It took Harry and me two days to talk him down so he could phase back to human. I am going to give him this journal once he recovers from the shock.

After that, Sam's stark printed letters began. Jacob continued reading.

Dec.1.2005

I'm not much for writing and this journal is pretty boring to me, but Billy acted like he knew more than what was written somehow. The Cullens moved, so none of it matters anyway, except that Jared and Paul joined me in the Wolf Protectors. We are waiting for Jacob and Quil, the youngest of the teenage descendants.

I imprinted on Emily.

Jan. 15.2006

Embry Call is a Wolf Protector. We did not expect that one. No one will tell us who his father is.

Jan.26.2006

While we were jumping off the cliff near the beach to cool down from training, I saw Jacob drive by with the leechlover Bella. She looked thin and awful. He scowled at us. I am worried he is not making the kinds of decisions an Alpha would make.

Feb.21.2006

Jacob has joined the Wolf Protectors. I explained that since his Great-grandfather was the Alpha he should be, too. He got all flustered and then scowled and said I could still do it. I insisted he be the beta, at which point Paul got upset. He thought he was the beta.

Mar.4.2006

There was a vampire out in the woods today. He almost killed a human. Our pack took him down after a slight chase. He was no match for five of us.

Mar.7.2006

There is another vampire in the area, we have been chasing her, but we can never seem to catch her.

Mar.10.2006

Jacob thinks he is so clever, he really gets under my skin. He snuck off last night and gave Bella a ton of hints as to why he can't hang out with her anymore. He ignored my Alpha command. I am really afraid he is going to get hurt.

Mar.16.2006

Seth Clearwater is a Wolf Protector. And his sister Leah.

Mar.21.2006

After so long with no Cullens, they are back to stay. The treaty is back on. We pulled our patrols back. Each time one of us runs into one of them at a store or park, there is a greater chance another of our young teenagers will phase and join the Wolf Protectors. It makes me hate them all, the change is unrequested and inconvenient.

Jun.11.2006

There is a vampire army coming to Forks for Bella. We insist on helping to defend our land and people. The Cullens showed us some fighting examples tonight.

Jun.15.2006

We destroyed the vampires, with Cullen help. Jacob was injured, but is healing ok. Hopefully that will be the end of the vampire problems.

The journal ended there, but Jacob knew the rest by heart. The vampires they killed, the patrols run and the challenges faced. Trying to destroy the Cullens and then defending them and the mystery fetus that was to become his Nessie. It was a history he had lived. The grubby leather cover curled over the edges of the cream pages.

Jacob put the journal back down into the chest, next to the folded white dress and the small pile of pink and blue baby clothes. He felt as though the entire 90 years of Ephraim's experience had been downloaded into his brain. It wobbled around a little bit and Jacob sat down on the edge of his father's bed, the wool blanket folded at the end and the blue and green quilt pulled up reaching the pillows. He knocked the lid with his elbow and the wood closed with a thud.

The clouds had taken over the sky and the bright light coming from the window held a muted white dignity. Jacob looked at the clock. It was dinner time. He was still alone in his father's house.

There was silence coming from the laundry room, so Jacob stood up and moved his laundry. He felt as though his body were moving solely out of habit, there was no direction coming from his brain at all. It reeled with the knowledge of the deaths Ephraim had witnessed, the joys he had lived, the treaty he made with the Cullens. The Cullens. The Blacks owed them a debt that his family could never repay. Twice Sally was saved by Carlisle. It overwhelmed him.

And there was more love. His great-grandfather lived and loved enough for two lifetimes. Sally had been his imprint but Maggie had been his best friend and Jacob could tell from the experiences he had with the journal that Ephraim had loved them both.

Jacob sat down on the couch and contemplated the lives Ephraim had lived and the paths he had taken.

The door slammed and Jacob jerked his head up to see Paul and Rachel laughing their way into the house. Ugh, he thought. The last thing he wanted right now was to be in their presence. Imprinted or not, it was just gross to see his sister kissing anyone, especially Paul.

He was up and out of the door before it could even close. He could hear yells of complaint behind him, but he would not stop. He started toward the beach, still in his dirty shorts. The clouds had returned and hung like icing over the ocean. Jacob sat down on the sand, too deep in thought to even find any driftwood. The journal had opened his eyes to things he had not supposed: things about love before imprinting and the deaths of friends and family. Jacob realized he had only an inkling of something, something he could chew over for the rest of his life.

The waves crashed endlessly, filling his mind with its rhythmic sound and the feel of the ground thumping under his paws in memory. Thumping under Ephraim's paws. Hearts and paws thumping in his memory as the waves crashed again and again. The endless ocean: ever changing and ever the same.

He threw himself up to his feet in one swift movement and rushed to the forest. He ran as fast as his two legs could carry him, back to the Cullen's house. He wanted all his thoughts to be his own, to stay on the tip of his mind for as long as he could. No animal instincts, no pack mindspace to confuse him. He leaped part way across the river and splashed through the rest of the way. He ran and took the porch steps in one leap. Without knocking he threw open the door, slamming it against the wall. The four vampires in the room turned to him, confusion in their eyes.

"Where is Carlisle?" he demanded. He felt a wave of confusion mixed with calm flow toward him.

"He is upstairs in the study, dear," Esme's sweet musical voice answered. She was standing near the door, rearranging some flowers. Jacob took a deep breath and for once did not shudder. The smell was still too sweet, but it was too sweet like eating a handful of sugar, nothing he hadn't tried when he was a child. Jacob reached out and took Esme in his arms.

"Thank you." He released her and sprinted up the stairs to Carlisle's office. Esme stood still, frozen in place.

Emmett started to laugh. "If I had known he was handing out hugs, I would have answered him myself," he teased.

"Yeah, Rosalie would have loved that," Jasper replied from his spot on the couch where the two of them were competing, game controllers in hand, history lesson with Nessie long over. Jacob could hear their banter, but he was focused. He reached the study door and debated with himself for a half second before he flung the door against the wall.

Carlisile stood up from his desk and came around it, ready to hear whatever Jacob wanted to tell him. Jacob spotted the compassionate old vampire and with one long step, pulled him into his arms.

"Thank you, Carlisle. Thank you for saving Sally."

Carlisle's stone body was tense for an instant, pulled into a smelly hug so abruptly, but then he relaxed in understanding. He returned the young man's hug as a father would. After a moment, they pulled back and Carlisle looked him in the eye. "You are welcome. You and your tribe have more than paid us back. I owe my entire family's lives to you and your pack. We can never thank you enough."

Satisfied, Jacob nodded his head once at the old doctor, then turned back to the stairs. He leaped over the banister, landed with a thud on the wood floor and ran out the back door to find Nessie. He had some stories he wanted to tell her.

Author's Note:

Ephraim's Journal has been nominated for a 2011 Faithful Shipper Award! Best Wolf Pack! Thanks guys.

Read other nominees here:

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