Chapter 11: Home

Alex smiled broadly as the door to her hospital room slid open and Jacob came in. "Hey," she said.

"Hey," he replied, sitting down in the chair that Charlie had occupied most of the morning. He shook his head at heavy purple circles under Alex's eyes and clicked his tongue at the IV drip. "You look like shit."

"Actually I'm feeling much better," Alex said, putting her hand on the one he'd put on her stomach. "Yesterday I felt like shit. And speaking of yesterday, where were you?"

"Getting what was coming my way," he said, frowning. "I informed the other wolves of what happened. Leah nearly tore my head off for not mentioning anything sooner. They all send their best wishes, by the way."

She chuckled. It was sweet how much they seemed to care about someone they didn't even know. "So I guess you had to confess that you didn't play bondage."

"Are you kidding? They still believe that," he said, waving it off with a smirk.

"Jake!" she said, trying to sound outraged in spite of her laughing.

"There was actually something I wanted to ask you…" he trailed off, looking as if he wasn't certain he should go through with whatever it was he wanted to ask.

"What is it?"

"That night when we fought that minor demon… you told me to move on and that you understand how I feel…"

"Oh that." Her stomach clenched slightly. She inhaled deeply, letting the breath out slowly. "I had been talking about one of my boyfriends. Lewis. He… wasn't my first boyfriend, but he was the first I…" Jacob nodded, showing he understood what she meant. "He was seventeen, I was fifteen and I didn't actually want to do it yet. We'd only been dating for two months. But I was so in love with him that I would have probably jumped off a building if he'd wanted me to." She smiled sadly at the memory of how naïve she'd been.

"The day after I gave in to his demand, I found out he was also seeing my best friend, Jennifer. We decided we would both break up with him. I did. She didn't. She decided that he was more important than our friendship. So, yeah, I know what it's like to lose your best friend and the one you love at the same time, even if it came in a double package for you and mine were two separate people." Jacob had remained silent throughout her story, looking at her with a sympathetic expression.

"How did you get over it?"

"Honestly? Sometimes I'm not sure I ever have. Lewis was fairly easy to get over in time. Losing my best friend was the worst part. Still is, actually. Something like that sticks."

"Like a bad earworm," Jacob said jokingly, instantly lighting the mood again.

"I guess you could say that," she giggled. "What I mean is that things like that leave scarring, they never go away entirely, but it gets better after a while. Distractions might be good for a while, but in the long run you have to confront it."

"I don't think I'm at the confronting part yet," Jacob admitted.

"Which was worse? That she chose Edward or that she chose to become… one of them?"

"The second, I think," he answered. "I wanted her to be happy, even if it killed me seeing her with someone else, but I needed her to be… alive." Alex could see the betrayal in his eyes as he thought back to the decision Bella had made. One thing she was sure of; he'd loved her deeply. Still did.

She pressed deeper into the pillow, sighing heavily. The pain medication was taking care of most of her headache, but there was still a dull throbbing. They'd offered her some pills for sleeping better as well, but she'd declined. The result of that was that she lay awake at night, every noise sounding like a threat from hell. When she did sleep she had nightmares filled with pentagrams and the cold, merciless, blue eyes of the Demon Lord.

"The official story is out," Jacob suddenly said, tearing her from her dark thoughts.

"So what is it?"

"The truth." She raised an eyebrow. "Well, parts of it," he amended.

"And Irving?"

"Got away while we tried to keep you alive. There's a country wide APB out on him. I suppose it's a waste of time, but at least the killings have stopped and I figure Irving got what he deserved."

Alex wasn't sure that she agreed so she kept silent. At least, in a way, Irving was at last getting the recognition he'd been craving.

After four days in the hospital Alex was finally allowed to go home. She still needed a lot of rest to finish recovering from the serious concussion and Charlie was taking free time whenever he could, Sue, Seth, Leah or Jacob keeping her company when he couldn't. She felt extremely out of place with all the caring attention she was getting.

On Saturday evening Jacob loaded her into his car and they drove to La Push to attend the bonfire. Gillian was there, too. Jacob had decided, after all that had happened, that it would be only fair to Gillian that she knew the whole truth. She was beaming radiantly as she looked around the circle at all the werewolves. This was her dream come true.

Billy told them the legends of the Spirit Warriors, Taha Aki and the Third Wife. Gillian had been on the edge of her seat through it all, glued to Billy's every word. Alex had sat through it quietly, though some questions arose in her mind, particularly concerning the relationship between Taha Aki and the Third Wife. Later Jacob explained imprinting to her. She supposed it was nice to know if you truly belonged together, but at the same time she thought it sounded forced, an intervention in free will. But the imprinted couples didn't seem to mind.

It wasn't until some of the boys – she thought their names were Paul, Jared and Quil – began lacing their conversation with innuendoes at Alex's expense that she realized Jacob really hadn't corrected their assumption that they'd slept together. She threw him a dirty glare and he had the decency to look ashamed. In spite of that she kept the truth to herself, deciding she'd get back at Jacob in some other way.

As it grew later Jacob grabbed Alex by the hand and pulled her to her feet, guiding her away from the bonfire, down along the beach. The boys wolf-whistled immaturely. From the corner of her eye she saw Jacob turning to look over his shoulder and wink at them. She stepped on his foot for that.

"Not funny," she said, but the grin on her face belied her words. "I thought you guys can read each other's minds. How come they still think we slept together?"

"I have a very vivid imagination," Jacob answered, grinning cheekily, ducking away from her swinging fist. "You don't wanna do that. Bella broke her hand once punching me in the face."

"I'm not Bella," Alex replied.

"No, you're not," he said with a smile and wrapped an arm around her carefully. The bruising she'd gotten from the minor demon had turned a brownish-yellow and didn't hurt that badly anymore. He still handled her with kid gloves.

She couldn't help but smile happily at his closeness. She couldn't believe she'd been in Forks only three weeks. So much had happened in that short time span. Her life in Detroit seemed an eternity ago. She also couldn't explain how she could possibly feel so incredibly close to Jacob. They'd known each other for only two weeks now and just prior to that she'd believed him to be a cold-blooded killer. Now being with him felt completely natural.

"God I'm going to miss this when I have to go back," Alex said with a sigh and Jacob stiffened slightly at her side.

"You don't have to," he muttered quietly, the soft crashing of the waves on the beach nearly drowning out his words. He was right. Charlie, for whatever reason, had offered to apply for a permanent legal guardianship. She'd been very tempted to agree. Alex felt good here in Forks, taken care of and even loved.

"I can't." She sighed again. "I can't do that to my mother." Absentmindedly she rubbed over the bandage around her left wrist. The stitches wouldn't be taken out until Wednesday and they started to bug her.

Jacob took a heavy breath, hugging her closer to his furnace of a body, nicely cancelling out the cold from the sea wind blowing around them. "Then I guess we just have to make the best of the time given to us."

He made good on that, too. The remaining month had been one of the best in Alex's life. It didn't matter if she spent her evenings watching football with Jacob, Charlie and Billy or if he took her to meetings with his brothers – and sister. It was always fun and sometimes Gillian would join them – not so much when they watched sports or when they went hiking, because she didn't like that, but when they made trips up to Port Angeles or met up with the packs at the beach.

They were rarely alone, which made the few times when Alex had Jacob to herself all the more memorable, even if all they did was sit on the couch and watched a movie or American Idol. He liked that for some reason. Alex didn't much like reality TV shows of any sort, but she didn't mind watching with him.

"I can't believe I have to go already," Alex said, looking at Charlie and Jacob. They'd brought her to the airport. She'd said goodbye to everyone else the previous day and it had been a lot harder than she'd expected. Gillian, the wolves, Emily, Kim, Sue, Billy… they'd all grown on her so much.

"You call me if you change your mind," Charlie said, hugging her briefly. He meant the guardianship. Knowing he was willing to keep her here, give her a chance at a new life, was making it so much harder to turn her back on it.

"I wish I had that choice," she said quietly. He let her go and she turned to Jacob, her heart growing unbearably heavy. "Jake."

Before she could say anything else he pulled her into a bone-crushing hug. She could feel the tears stinging in her eyes. "Call me when you land, okay?" He'd buried his face in her curls, his words muffled.

"I will." She couldn't keep the tears back anymore and they spilled freely over her cheeks. It was very likely that she would never see him again. Alex wouldn't be able to afford the flight even if she took up another job. "If you ever end up in Detroit, let me know."

He let go of her, smiling sadly. It was just as improbable that he'd come to Detroit as Alex coming back here. "I will," he said anyway, lifting a hand to wipe at her tears. "Stay safe."

"You too." She had to get going or she wouldn't be able to anymore. With one final goodbye she turned and hurried away.

Jacob watched her disappear in the crowd with a heavy heart. He knew he wouldn't see her again. Just like he wasn't going to see Bella again.

The last two months had been reviving in a way. He'd always known that he'd had a good effect on Bella when Edward had left her, but he'd never really understood it. Now he did. With Alex around the loss he'd experienced hadn't hurt so much. He'd been able to laugh again and do the things he used to before they'd become memories of his times with Bella; like going into his garage and work on the Rabbit or the Harley while talking to Alex.

She'd become a part of his life. Ironically that had been exactly what he'd been afraid of when they'd first teamed up. He'd been afraid of falling in love with someone who'd just leave him again. He hadn't. He wasn't ready for that yet. But he had found an amazing friend in her. Thanks to Alex he felt like he had a chance at a halfway normal life again – or as close to normal as it could be as a werewolf.

"Come on," Charlie put a hand on his shoulder. "Let's go." Tearing his eyes away from the place where she'd vanished, Jacob turned and followed Charlie back to the parking lot.

No, it didn't have to be the last time. He would take her advice. When he was ready he would find Bella and confront her, rid himself once and for all of her hold on him. And just like Bella, he could go find Alex. And when he did he would bring her home…

The End

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting throught the wind
Wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing

Do you know that there's still a chance for you
Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gonna leave 'em fallin' down

You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road

Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gonna leave 'em fallin' down

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time to let it through

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky

You're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gonna leave 'em goin "Oh, oh, oh!"

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

"Firework" – Katy Perry

Okay, so obviously no happy ending, no happily ever after. You'll all be thinking now, "hell, she can't leave it like that" and, while technically I could, I'm not going to. The sequel is already written and is called Blood Bonds.

Here's the short summary: After an incident Alex finally decides to let Charlie become her legal guardian. But a vengeful ghost is haunting and murdering the people responsible for his death. And one of Alex's friends is on the ghost's hit list.

Sound good?

Not convinced yet? Here's an extract from what's coming your way (from Chapter 09):

Together they hailed a cab and drove over to the Greenes' place. Chenille was the one to open the door, no doubt eager to finally meet the infamous Jacob Black. She'd stared at him open-mouthed for a full five minutes, standing in the doorframe, before Alex had stepped on her foot to snap her out of it.

Once the introductions had been made, Chenille had dragged Alex out of the dining room and into the adjoining living room. "Oh my God, please tell me he has a brother, I'll totally pack my bags and move to Forks with you," she said, giggling quietly. Out of the corner of her eye Alex could see Jacob grinning, his chest swelling slightly, perfectly able to hear every word.

"I've seen better," Alex lied to Chenille, watching gleefully as Jacob deflated again, shooting her a glare.

"Hell, if you don't want him, I'll take him," Chenille said, throwing an admiring glance into the kitchen. "Please tell me you've at least slept with him." Jacob had just taken a sip from the champagne Monica had offered him and swallowed it the wrong way, shocked by Chenille's words. Alex had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing as he started coughing violently and Charlie had to clap him on the back.

"No, Chenille, we haven't slept with each other," Alex said, trying to sound annoyed rather than amused.

"So this is serious," Chenille whispered. Alex suddenly felt uncomfortable. Even with her whispering she was certain Jacob could still hear her. He definitely had his ears cocked in their direction.

"I don't know what you mean," Alex lied. She knew what Chenille was trying to get at, but it was ridiculous. There was nothing going on between Alex and Jacob. Then why did she feel like Chenille was about to blurt some secret out?

Still not convinced? Well, then I can't help you.

Anyway, Blood Bonds will begin uploading when I have at least five reviews on this chapter, preferably more. And when I say 'preferably more' I really do mean 'preferably more'. It's okay to go past minimum limits, they're minimum.

Okay, enough on my side for now. I'm looking forward to seeing you all again soon with Blood Bonds. Au revoir! Sayonara! Auf Wiedersehen! Goodbye!