Disclaimer: Characters, world etc. does not belong to me- I am merely playing in the sandbox. The opinions expressed in this story do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Quileute Nation. Meyer wrote about a fictional tribe and put their name to it, so in writing this story I have had to do the same.
Summary: So, if there were no monsters and no magic in Bella's life, Jacob would have been her soul mate, right? And that would have been easy, right? A fortnight after getting engaged to Jacob, Bella reflects on their relationship from when she first moved to Forks, to the ultimatum Jacob has been given by his tribe- her, or them...
Thank Yous: I have had several beta readers throughout this story. People who helped me on this chapter were- Ashley G, Aprylle D, maired75 and CapriciousC.
Prologue: Ultimatum- The Beginning
It was raining as Bella stood huddled up against the wooden wall of the tribal meeting hall, sheltering under the porch roof. Jacob, who had been pacing up and down the wooden decking, his frustration clearer with every stride, looked at her and hissed.
"Jesus, Bells. You're freezing."
He wrapped his arms tightly around her, enveloping her in both his coat and embrace.
"I'm sorry, Jake. This is all my fault."
He turned her around and stared at her as though she was crazy.
"Hey, this is not your fault." His resolve was like steel. "It's theirs. All of this. We're not the ones being unreasonable here."
Bella sighed and rested her head against Jacob's shoulder.
"This is such a nightmare…"
"We'll get through it," he reassured her as he glanced at his watch.
"Is it time yet?" Bella asked, gripping Jacob's wrist with her hand and gently coaxing his arm towards her, so the watch was visible. Jacob shook his head.
"Another five minutes," he gritted through his teeth.
"Breathe, baby. Just breathe," Bella soothed, reaching up to run her fingers through his long black hair.
"I just want to march in there and tell them where they can stick it, you know?" he said, his eyes brimming with anxiety.
"I mean, what are they expecting me to say? Sorry that you're white?"
"I think they'd like that, as a start."
Jacob let go of Bella and began to pace again. "Are they going to match up our kids to a colour chart, check they're dark enough to qualify as Quileute? What the hell does that even mean around here? We're all a big fat mix of every colour under the sun…" He stopped, dragged his hands over his face, looking for a moment like a lost school boy and not the son of the Quileute chief, the great grandson of Ephraim Black himself.
The son who had divided the tribe by slipping a shining ring on a white woman's finger.
He composed himself, and suddenly looked like the man who had accepted all the responsibility his birthright bestowed upon him, but was not going to back down over this one small thing.
Bella reached for his hand without looking, their fingers interlaced as though it were their natural position.
"Jake," she started.
"I know what you're going to say."
"Do you sometimes think it would have been easier if we…" She released a short, sharp laugh that had no humour lurking in it. "If we just hadn't got together in the first place?"
"Yes," Jacob replied wearily, "but it would have sucked."
Bella smiled weakly, before staring back out towards the lush green forest, dulled by the grey sky.
"I'd understand, you know," she said quietly.
"If you… If you couldn't give this up."
Jacob clutched her in his arms and whirled her around to face him.
"Bella," he said; his tone and expression deadly serious. "I love you. You're my best friend and I made a promise that I'll be here for you, always. I don't break my promises." He smiled suddenly. "Especially not when I've made them to such a hottie," he said, raising an eyebrow flirtatiously.
Bella smacked him on the arm, before reaching up to kiss him. Jacob happily bent down to lessen the gap in their heights.
At that moment, a woman approached them, protected from the rain by an anorak and an umbrella. She crept under the porch and undid the hood, letting her thick glossy black hair fall to her shoulders.
"Leah? What are you doing here?" Bella asked. Leah smiled and shrugged.
"Came to wish you guys luck," she replied. Jacob smirked bitterly.
"You'd better be careful Sam doesn't spot you 'fraternising with the enemy'," he said, making air quotes as he spoke. Leah nudged him gently.
"He's my husband, not my keeper," she replied, a sliver of heat in her voice. "Anyway, he's not against you guys. He's just worried about the consequences. How it'll affect the whole tribe."
Suddenly, the door to the communal hall opened. Billy Black wheeled himself out to face the couple.
"Come on, son," he said heavily. "It's time."
Jacob took Bella's hand in his own as they walked towards the door. Billy sighed and shook his head.
"Jake, you know you can't bring Bella in with you."
"She's going to be my wife. She has just as much right to be in there as anyone else," Jacob contested.
"Jacob." Billy's voice was weary. "You know that's precisely what we're here to discuss."