I'm digging the in depth reviews and I always take into account what is said! Y'all are always saying "I hope this happens!" and "I hope that happens!" and I'm always like "Hush you're ruining the surprise!" because I have this thing planned out in detail to the very end :P
JB 39 BIRTHS AND BRACELETS
Victoria had been killed. Yeah, I was shocked when they told me. Because it hadn't been by one of us. It had been by him. I figured it was a last ditch effort to win Bella back, but it hadn't worked. The guy was a nut job. That's all I could figure. I was thankful – bitterly thankful, maybe – but I mustered up some thanks nonetheless. We were rid of Victoria. Edward was gone. He had no reason to come back now. Bella had chosen me –even with Edward standing there, staring her in the face- and I still smiled when I thought of that. That was a week ago. Things could go back to normal now.
Well, as normal as ever. If you counted being in the hospital with a pack of werewolves normal.
"Don't brush up against any doctors," Sam had ordered. "If they feel your fever, they'll think you're about to die and throw you on a stretcher."
"Are you sure they won't just chalk it up to our incredible hotness?" Jared had prodded.
"Shut up," Leah chimed back. Yup, Leah was back and in full force. On her good days she was less obnoxious than she had been. But still obnoxious. I couldn't say I was 100% thrilled to have her back, but we were family, so we all dealt with it.
Emily had gone into labor early this morning and we'd all piled into the tiny Forks hospital. I wouldn't have been surprised if this was the largest crowd they'd ever seen. With Victoria gone, we had only been running one or two person eight hour patrols. Easy stuff compared to what we had been doing. Especially since there were so many of us. I only rotated in once every three days.
The Cullens were gone. I'd talked to Carlisle – Alice could see that Edward had come back, but couldn't see what had happened because I had been there, blocking her vision. I told them he'd left, and he wasn't coming back again. Sam had discussed the treaty again with Carlisle, and they agreed to leave because of Bree. Having an untrained, unvegetarian vampire so close to the reservation was a risk no one was willing to take. They moved to Alaska, sending word to Edward to join them there. I doubted he ever would.
After the shock of everything, Bella had finally assembled enough energy to be beyond livid at me for keeping everything from her. She was mad at the rest of the pack, too, but most of her anger was directed at me. She'd insisted on driving herself to the hospital and sitting across the waiting room from me. It was immature, maybe, and a little senseless if you ask me, but I figured she'd get over it eventually. It had been for her own good in the long run.
Sam was going nuts. Having eight (and a half) wolves in a non-reservation hospital put him on edge, especially with half of them hitting on the nurses in the waiting room. Along with that, Emily was in labor and had been for hours. I'm not sure which one rattled him more.
To get around the whole birthing-a-wolf-in-a-real-hospital thing, Emily had insisted on bringing her own midwife – the reservation doctor. She'd do her best to handle the baby – because we expected it would be showing some wolf symptoms like fever. Sam knew being here was a huge risk, but in the end it weighed in Emily's benefit and the baby's safety. Worse comes to worse…well, we didn't really have a plan of action.
Bella had never been this peeved at me before. In the beginning when I'd kept my transformation from her had been hard, but I don't think she'd been this mad. I took comfort in the fact, though, that she'd still chosen me. Even if she'd been angry. And she was still wearing the bracelet Emily had given her, and the bracelet I'd given her at graduation. She'd get over everything soon.
The doctors had called Sam in about thirty minutes ago. Most of the pack had sprawled out across the waiting room – creating make-shift beds by lining up chairs. Jared laid on the floor, which Leah objected to because hospitals are unsanitary, but wolves are pretty much immune to colds and viruses, so he ignored her.
"Just because we let you back in doesn't mean you can be a pain." He said, head resting on his arms like a pillow. Bella and Seth glanced at each other and smiled. I knew Bella was happy for Seth that his prodigal sister has returned. She saw me catch her smile and shoved her face back down into her book.
"It's a boy!" Sam yelled, busting through the waiting room doors in scrubs that were way too small for his huge frame, almost tearing the door off its hinges. The pack burst into applause, hoots and hollers. Embry and Quil exchanged a twenty.
"Excellent!" Embry exclaimed.
"What's his name?" Paul asked.
"Joshua Samuel Uley." Sam said proudly, rubbing the back of his neck. "They won't let you all come back yet, but they will soon. Someone call Seth in from patrol and give him the news."
"Got it," Embry Call responded, hopping up. "I need to stretch out anyway. Haven't changed in two days."
"Good thinking," Sam said, clapping him on the back as he passed. "Everyone keep tabs on that," he said to the rest of us.
Tabs? I had no idea what that meant – but I was getting pretty well accustomed with ignoring all the wolf banter. I could pick up a few things – I had the forty-eight hour patrol chart ingrained in my brain – and I figured I'd learn the rest of the ropes as time went on.
"Bella," Sam whispered, leaning down next to me. He looked tired, but elated. "Emily's asking for you." I put down my book on the side table – I'd already read it a hundred times – and let myself into Emily's room. The curtains were pulled back and a vase of flowers rested on a table at the foot of her bed. Naye had come by and left a picture Clair had drawn of Emily and the new baby (labeled by Naye). That sat on Emily's bedside table, next to a glass of water. Even after giving birth, hands and arms laced with IVS, Emily was beautiful. The baby had been taken into another room with the midwife so Emily could rest. I pulled up a pink hospital chair next to her bed and sat down.
"How are you feeling?" I asked. "Sam said you did great."
"Giving birth is a lot of work," she chuckled. "He put up quite a fight."
"So he's healthy? Everything's good?"
"Oh, he's perfect, Bella." She gushed. "I can't wait for you to see him. He looks just like Sam." I smiled for her.
"Is he like the rest of them?" I asked in somewhat of a code. No one had talked about the wolf factor in case one of the nurses or doctors overheard.
"It's possible. His fever isn't as high as the others – 103 degrees at birth. Enough to make me sweat at least," she grimaced. "We don't think he'll be fully fledged until later on."
"Another wolf for the pack. That'll bring it up to nine." I counted.
"I don't know how I'm going to feed everyone." Emily laughed. "You'll definitely have to help me."
"Absolutely," I agreed.
We sat in silence for a while, just she and I in her tiny room, until she spoke again.
"I know you're upset with Jacob," she said. A thin layer of sweat glistened on her forehead, but she was still stunning. "He told me what happened."
I played with a string hanging off my shirt.
"You chose him," she said, reaching her hand towards me and lifting my wrist, holding my hand. "You love him." I looked up and met her eyes.
She took a deep, meaningful breath. "The Quileutes have a small tribe – much smaller than the Cherokees or Iroquois – but our tribe has always been powerful. Our history is riddled with legends and myths and magic that other tribes can only pretend to claim. The very first chief was a shape shifter, like Sam and Jacob. Shape shifters don't age, as long as they keep shifting."
My jaw hit the floor. "What? Wolves don't age?" Why was she telling me this now?
"Not as long as they shift consistently. Regularly. Ten days without shifting could earn you an overdue grey hair or two." She smiled. The heart monitor beeped softly in the background.
I was not smiling. I was in shock. Jake hadn't mentioned this little tidbit at all. My blood was rushing; I could feel the inevitable panic setting in. It all came together now. How Quil could love Clair and wait for her. He wouldn't age. And he'd stay how he was – a teenager – until she grew up. Now I understood.
'"Yes, Jacob knows." She said, answering my unspoken question. I wrapped my arms around my knees and pulled them up to my chest. I took a shallow breath through my nose and closed my eyes. I was teetering on full blown panic mode.
"I didn't tell you at first because I thought you might not be able to handle it. I didn't want it to influence your decision…Immortality isn't something to take lightly. It messes with the natural order of things. But I supposed nothing about our relationships are normal, are they?" Her eyes stayed locked on the window pane by her bed and she took in a breath to continue. When she saw my impending condition out of her peripheral, she turned towards me. "Bella," Emily said more firmly, reaching out to touch the side of my face. "Calm down so I can finish explaining." I nodded.
Thoughtful, she continued. "These bracelets…they have certain powers. Clandestine magic. Quileute gifts used for centuries. The stones are passed down from generation to generation through the chief counsel."
She rolled the stones on her bracelet between her fingers. I watched the movement meticulously, focusing on breathing normally and the sound of her voice.
"Jacob is a shape shifter. As long as he keeps shifting as often as he does, he won't age. But you love him. Right? You want to be with him."
I nodded. Forever.
"This bracelet will allow you to. Legend says they will keep you alive for as long as Jake lives. You'll age, but slowly. Matching with the aging of Jacob. It only works, however, if you love him. Really love him, Bella. With no qualms or doubts. The bracelets can only be taken off if you're not 100% given to him, 100% committed. They break if the love is gone."
She looked up at me. I remembered back to when I'd taken it off the first time. And what that must've meant for Jacob. I felt so ashamed. But I knew it wouldn't come off now, and it never would again.
"I love him," I said confidently.
"I know," she smiled. I fingered the bracelet on my wrist. A long, extended life with Jacob. It's more than I could have ever asked for.
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