After Your Heart Stops Beating OneShot Contest
Never Say Goodbye
Summary: Bella leaves Forks, but returns to search for what she could salvage between her and Jacob.
Will he do the one thing she asks, or will it be the end for them?
Word Count: 3,911
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Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight.

Was it you I saw last night?
I can see your ghost in the morning light,
I've seen them in picture frames, traffic lights and interstates,
They're all the same.
Find our Places – Austin Crane

There comes a time in everyone's life where they wish they could re-live one moment. As I stared deep into her blazing, red eyes, I realized I had found my moment.

She snarled at me like a feral animal, baring her teeth. I could see the drool dripping from her lips as her gaze bore down on me like a predator tracking its prey. I tried hard to convince her that I was the Jacob she should remember, but it was as if I no longer existed to her. I was waiting for it, the moment when she would bite down into my jugular to kill me. She now had the ability to do the deed, and yet she hadn't. I felt as though she was toying with me. As her lips lingered close to mine, her hand tugged my hair, and in one swift jerking moment, her lips grazed my neck. I froze and patiently waited for death to take me.

The seconds ticked away, one by one, and I was perplexed when she whispered into my ear, "As much as I want to kill you right now, I can't. Believe it or not there is some humanity left in me, Jacob Black." She pushed me away and stepped back, smiling.

Four Years Ago

As time passed after Edward left her, it became obvious that she couldn't survive without him, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. Hell, even Charlie tried everything he could think of to help her move on from it, and nothing seemed to work. He came to me, confused and annoyed with Edward. Our feelings were mutual.

I will admit having the bloodsuckers away kept the pack pretty happy, except when that annoying red-head that would cross over into our territory every once in a while, and things were finally calm in the woods.

Bella came over one afternoon, and as always, she sat on the floor of the garage, her brown curls limp and draggling across her shoulders, while I tinkered with my Rabbit. It was the only time she ever seemed to open up. Talk of Edward was forbidden, but everything else was open for discussion. She asked me the strangest question while I was fixing the timing belt under the car.

I heard her muffled voice drift between the tires. "If you could live forever, what would you do?"

I slid out from under my car and pushed myself up, resting my back against the frame of the car. "Where did that come from?"

"I don't know. I've just been wondering, you know, what it would have been like?"

"What are you talking about, Bella?" I asked, wiping my hands on my jeans. I wasn't sure I'd heard her correctly.

"Well you know, if you-know-who wouldn't have left, I would have been… you know… a vampire."

I felt heat and rage wash over me. I thought we had an agreement that he would never be spoken of in this garage. This was a safe place for the both of us to get past all the craziness that the Cullens had brought into our lives.

"I don't want to discuss this if you don't mind," I said, standing up quickly.

"What's wrong with discussing immortality? Think about it Jacob, never dying, being able to experience the things that you would have missed otherwise. Just think of all the things that Ed… they experienced in their lifetime. I'm actually sort of envious of all that."

I walked up to Bella and knelt down beside her, taking her shoulders into my hands. "Have you lost your mind? Do you realize what you are saying? You are basically telling me you want to become a monster. I thought we've been over this before, and I thought we were moving past all this talk about you becoming a vampire."

She pushed my hands off her body, roughly. "You were done with discussing it with me. If I were what they are, then… then…"

"Then you think Edward would come back into your life? Bella, you are basically suggesting suicide, and as your friend I don't want to hear you to talk about this ever again. Do you understand?" She nodded and didn't speak another word for the rest of the night, choosing to stare at the floor rather than look me in the eye again. She left later without saying goodbye.

A couple of days went by before I got a call I hadn't been expecting.

"Hello," I answered in a sleepy voice when I picked up the phone.

"Jacob, it's me. Um… I have some bad news," Bella replied. I could hear the catch in her voice on the other end of the line.

"What? Is everything okay?"

She started to sob, and I could imagine the tears streaming down her sallow cheeks as she sat on the bed in her room. I'd seen that sight many times before, no matter how hard I'd tried to make her happy during the past weeks.

"No, it's not. Charlie's making me move to Florida. He said he couldn't deal with me anymore, and he's making me leave. Jacob, please don't let him make me go. I can't stand to be away from here. It's the only way," she paused for a moment, breathing in deeply before finding the strength to continue. "It's the only way I can hold onto everything. I keep forgetting what he looks like and what his voice sounded like… Jacob… don't let him do this to me." Her tears drowned out the words, and I all I could hear from her were the quick shallow breaths she took.

The words that came out of my mouth next were the ones I would regret for the rest of my life. "I think you need to go, Bella."

She hung up on me and left Forks without even saying goodbye, a shell of the girl I had known with so much light in her eyes.


"What in the hell happened to you?" I asked as I took in the vision of her in front of me. She was nothing like what I remembered.

She laughed, almost hysterically. Bella had nearly gone mad.

"Do you realize how easy it is to become, well, me?" she said as she circled around, a tiger pacing around it's cornered dinner. "All it takes is finding the right person and asking the right questions."

"I'm confused," I said, circling with her.

"Charlie wasn't exactly smart to send me to Florida. He didn't realize how incompetent Renee really was. After about six months of moping on the shores along the Gulf of Mexico, I made an interesting friend. I would only see Peter at night when he paced back and forth through the sand near Renee's beach house. It was as if he were looking for something so I figured I'd ask. The moment I was close him, I knew what he was, and he realized that I knew."

She paced away and back again, staring at me a smile spreading slowly across her face. "We developed an odd relationship. He could have killed me at any moment, if he'd really wanted to, but something stopped him. We instantly bonded. It wasn't exactly the kind of bond I'd had with Edward, but it was close. He had also recently lost someone he loved, so we had something in common. We just clicked."

"So is he the one that turned you?" I asked, trying to figure everything out.

"Oh no, you see Peter didn't have the strength or willpower to do it. I left one night when Renee was out of town and never went back. I traveled with Peter for about six months, heading towards the Pacific Northwest. Apparently, he was trying to bring me back home, but along the way we ran into a bit of trouble." She grinned, the light glinting off the razor sharp teeth that had replaced the brilliant smile I had once known.

"I still had my enemies here. When Edward had saved me back in Phoenix, we didn't realize that his mate Victoria still held a grudge for the things that Edward had done to her lover. She was out for revenge, and I was willing to take it. I wanted her to bite me, begged her to do it, but she had other ideas. It was her plan for me to meet the true death, the kind you don't come back from, and well, I wasn't about to have that. Neither was Peter. He was much stronger than her and killed her quite quickly, as I recall." The expression on her face was sickening as she relished every moment in her perfect memory. "I eventually left Peter to go out on my own. It's been extremely lonely to be honest."

"You wanted to die?" I asked. "You wanted this?" My voice raised in volume until I was almost shouting. I gestured towards her, looking at her up and down. I had to admit that she was even more beautiful than I remembered her being as a human.

"At first, I wanted to be like Edward and the rest of the Cullens, but I quickly learned as the venom spread from Victoria's bite that becoming what Edward would have been impossible for me. It's been over three years, yet I still crave the taste of human blood. I could never fit in with his family. They would never have tolerated such behavior. Carlisle wouldn't have even let me in the door like this."

"So, are you going to kill me?" I asked, swallowing hard. She laughed, evilly.

"Jacob, if I wanted to kill you, don't you honestly think I would have done it by now? I've had at least a million of opportunities to take advantage of this situation, and not once have I leapt towards you. So, do I want to kill you? No." She stepped closer as she spoke, closing the distance between us.

"What about Charlie, and Renee? Aren't they missing you?" Her eyes held me mesmerized, and I stared into them as I searched for answers.

"Renee thinks I'm backpacking in the great blue yonder with God only knows who. She doesn't care. She's never cared about where I end up. As for Charlie, I send a letter or make a quick phone call every once in a while. The way I see it, they'll be dead in twenty or thirty years, out of my life and out of my hair." She twirled one of her shining mahogany, curls around her finger as if to emphasize the point.

This wasn't the Bella I remembered. She seemed broken, betrayed by everyone who had ever left her.

Bella continued walking up to me, slowly and meticulously, and as she got closer, my heart began to race. I had the strangest feeling inside of me. I wanted to reach out to hold her, hug her to my chest like I had done a thousand times before she left. As much as I wanted to hate her for what she had become, I couldn't. She'd never wanted anything more than to be loved, but everyone she'd ever cared about had abandoned her. As she approached, I held my arms out. It second nature for me, even after all the years and the changes in her body.

She accepted my embrace, and I could feel her unnaturally cold skin against mine. It was strange how I still held feelings for this girl, as different as she was from my Bella.

"Bella, I'm sorry that I didn't fight for you. I thought being away would do you better than sticking around Forks, trying to hold onto his memory." I breathed into her hair. Her scent was different, but underlying it was the same essence that I had always associated with her.

"I don't blame you, Jacob. Can't you see that? I blame Edward for all the pain he's caused me, and after all this time, I realize how stupid and blind I was. I had the best thing right in front of me the whole time." She stepped back and stared into my eyes again. I couldn't believe my ears.

"What are you saying, Bella?" I pulled away from her, sorry to have her out of my arms in spite of the strange circumstances.

"I'm saying that I want you Jacob. Please tell me it isn't too late." Her eyes were pleading, their crimson glow filled with emotion.

I sighed. The words I'd so desperately wanted to hear rang in my ears, but a part of me thought it was far too late for us. She was now my immortal enemy, and I was sworn to kill her. I couldn't very well take her back to Sam and the rest of the pack to say, "Hey guys, remember Bella? Well yeah she's now a blood-sucker, but she's still Bella. Mind if she hangs out with us?" It would never work. We would never work. I didn't know how to answer her.

"Bella, I… I'll be honest. I don't know how this could possibly work out. You know as well as I do that if I take you back to La Push, so many things could happen to you. I just can't do that to you."

She nodded. "I understand Jacob, but you could come with me. Didn't you tell me that as long as you were around a vampire, you wouldn't age? We could live together forever. No one would ever have to know. Please Jacob, I need you." Her words were so beguiling.

"Bella, my father needs me. He can't take care of himself, and I just can't leave him helpless like that." I answered her, my voice filling with regret.

She looked upset. "I guess coming back was a stupid decision," she spat, spinning on her heels and beginning to walk away.

"Wait," I said. Bella stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face me again. "Can you give me a night to think about all this? I just can't up and leave you know. I need to prepare myself if I do decide to go with you."

She smiled. "Thank you Jacob. I'll be staying just outside of town." She handed me a card with a phone number on it. "Call me at this number if you want to go with me. If I don't hear from you by sun down tomorrow, I'll know that you've decided to stay here. I won't come back and bother you again if that's what you really want."

She disappeared so quickly that I wasn't sure she had really been there in the first place.

I walked back towards my house and stood on the steps overlooking my dad's land. I didn't have the heart to tell Bella that my father had passed away a year ago. I had nothing holding me back here except Sam and the rest of the pack. They had all imprinted on someone and were set up for the rest of their lives with the one girl they were meant to spend eternity with. I knew Bella was my soul-mate. I'd known it from the first day on La Push beach when I saw her with the rest of her friends.

As the night passed, I sat on the couch, before dragging myself to bed in the early hours of the morning, but in bed I tossed and turned. I wanted to call Sam and ask for his advice, but for Bella's sake, and the sake of the pack, I decided to not involve them in any of this. As morning broke through the windows in my bedroom, I stood up, pulling on a pair of shoes and a T-shirt. I reached for the phone on the nightstand and slowly dialed the number that Bella had given me. When she answered the phone, I could hear the elation in her voice.

"I knew you'd say yes." She spoke without even a hello.

"How did you know?" I hadn't even known what my reply to her would be.

"I could see it in your eyes last night. I'll be there shortly." She hung up and I waited, patiently.

About fifteen minutes later, she was standing at my door. Her long brown hair curled down her back, and her pale skin glistened in the sunlight.

"Aren't you afraid of being seen?" I asked, dragging her into the house and scanning the area for anyone who might have caught wind of her presence.

"Not at all," she said. "Your house is pretty far off the beaten path and I seriously doubt any of your neighbors can see me from here."

She looked around, asking, "So where's Billy?"

I sat down on the couch before I answered. "Bella, he died last year." She gasped, lowering herself gently onto the couch next to me. She held my hand, and I shivered as her coldness once again surprised me.

"I'm sorry to hear that, Jake." I could hear the sincerity in her voice. Bella had always loved my dad.

"Thanks, it was a shock. I really wasn't expecting it." That was at least the truth. He had died suddenly, a heart attack in his sleep. I found him the next morning as cold as… well, as cold as the hand that clung to mine.

"Why did you lie to me in the woods when I asked you to come with me?"

"I wasn't expecting that question. I was expecting you to tell me you were back in town when you first called to tell me that you wanted to see me yesterday, but then when I realized what you were, it added an extra problem for me to solve."

"So you've made your decision?" Her eyebrows rose slightly, examining my face for any sign of my response.

"I have. I… can't go with you Bella. I wanted to tell you in person, since the last time I never even got to say goodbye when you left for Florida."

She glanced down at our joined hands and removed fingers from in between mine.

"Well I guess that's fair," she spoke sharply, the words tumbling out like bits of ice on the floor. "I guess I'll be on my way then." Bella stood quickly, her body leaving mine in a blur. She stopped at the door for a moment.

"I have a question before you leave." My words caused her to turn her head slightly before answering.


"Have you seen Edward since you became, you know, a vampire?"

Bella turned around completely this time, considering her answer carefully. "Actually, yes I did. I was up around Alaska earlier this year, and I ran into a group of women that knew the Cullens. I stayed with them for a bit, but as I said before, abstaining from human blood was just too much for me. They asked me to leave in their own way. I wandered through the frozen tundra, attacking the occasional animal for sustenance. Once, I went to attack a polar bear, and as I leapt for it, someone else did too. It was Edward's brother Emmett. Needless to say he was shocked to see me." She pulled her hands close to her chest, crossing her arms.

"We spoke for a moment, and I asked about Edward. Before I could even finish speaking his name, he appeared before me, wiping blood from his face. He stared, confused, but never spoke a word. I growled and ran away."

"Why did you run, Bella?" I was confused. Hadn't that been the one thing she'd been wanting all this time.

"Do you know that look your parents give you when they are disappointed in you for failing a test or doing something they don't approve of?"

I nodded my head yes.

"Edward gave me that same look. I couldn't bear to face him anymore, so I left, without ever looking back."

"I knew it," I said sighing. "I was your second choice, again." My heart sank in my chest at her response. I would always play second fiddle to that leech.

"No Jacob, you weren't my second choice. It was always even split. I loved you as much as I loved Edward, just in different ways. I know you'd never look at me the way he did. You would have always accepted me, regardless of what happens in my future, or what had happened in my past." She turned and looked out the door. "You promised me Jacob."

"Promised you what?"

"The day I asked you if you would still like me if I became like Edward. You said that you wouldn't have approved, but you would never leave me like he did. But here you are, doing it again. You're letting me go without a fight."

"I'm sorry Bella. I just don't know what to do." I felt the confusion rack my brain; one part of me wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of eternity at her side. Another was absolutely disgusted by what she had become.

She turned her back to me again, "That's okay Jacob, and I'm making the decision for you." Bella walked out of the door, and before it could slam shut inside the frame, I heard the most awful noise in the world.

I ran out of to find her in a stand-off with Sam, Leah and Paul. Before I could scream for them to stop, Sam leapt towards Bella, Leah and Paul following suit. The struggle lasted only a few moments before the world came to a standstill.

Bella's lifeless body lay on the matted and trampled grass in my front yard surrounded by the naked human forms of Sam, Leah, and Paul. The three of them disappeared for a moment and returned, fully clothed.

"You son-of-a-bitch," I yelled at all three of them, not sure of who to address my anger to. The fight had been such a knot of limbs and fur that I didn't know who had delivered the fatal blow. "Look what you did. How could you?" I held what was left of Bella's battered body in my arms. Her head had been torn off, and I cried over what remained.

"Honestly Jacob, we didn't know. We thought she was just another one of them."

I sat there for hours, holding her, refusing to let go. The rest of the pack came and tried as hard as they could to pull her from me. I wouldn't let them. After a few hours passed, Leah finally convinced me to let her go. I watched as the flames grew high in the night sky, seeming to lick at the stars, when they burned her body out on the cliffs. My mind drifted to the days we'd spent watching the waves roll in.

I said my silent good-bye to Bella while the smoke drifted away across the ocean, and I turned towards the house. I turned off every light, locked up and stood on the porch, looking one last time at the land that my ancestors had fought and died for. Jumping off the front step, I phased, the fur bursting out of my body and covering me like a warm coat against the coldness of the world outside. Turning towards the woods, I ran and never looked back.

A/N: Just an FYI. This was my very first non-HEA. I never realized how easy it would be to write one but I'm glad I finally got that out of the way. After a discussion one night out with my Team Fire and Ice h00rs, it was decided that ending the story with "and then a meteor fell from the sky and killed them all" is not the way to end a fic, so ladies (and gents) don't try that at home.

Thanks to TwiCharmed and Wordslinger for the contest and special thanks to CereuleanBlue, my bad ass beta! Good luck to all the writers who enter the contest. I can't wait to read them all!