A/N; The only thing I have to say is thank you to those of you who are still reading this and those of you who reviewed. I hope this chapter is nice enough for you guys and I'm kind of sorry for making you all wait so long for it.
Special thanks to JacobLupo for being so awesome and checking this chapter over for me!
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~ Capricious ~
Dreaming while awake
I lay in the sleeping bag; stiff in the arms of the boy I loved. I wasn't uncomfortable with the physical contact but with the fact that a few inches away from us sat Edward. He wasn't looking our way but I knew without a doubt that Jacob was making his life a living hell with thoughts of us. I'd warned Jake against it but I knew that my demand had fallen on deaf ears. There was no way Jacob would ever take pity upon Edward- not even for me. He could pretend, sure, but he would always despise Edward and there was no fooling a mind reader either way. I was once again grateful for whatever quirk made my thoughts inaccessible to him.
"It's nearly time" Jake whispered in my ear. I nodded into his chest, dreading the time when he had to leave. It was for the best, though.
"I love you" I muttered, flinching at the pain I was willingly submitting Edward to. The fact was that there was no going around it. I couldn't let Jacob go without telling him how I felt; just in case.
Just in case, what? I thought uncertainly. Just in case he died? Just in case things went from bad to worse? Just in case I didn't make it? There were so many things that could go wrong. I knew there was no use in pondering them but my brain couldn't help it. These people were risking their lives for me! The least they deserved was having me worry for them.
"I love you more, Bells" Jake tightened his warm arms around me. "And when this is over, I promise you that things will only get better"
I pursed my lips and resisted the urge to tell him that he shouldn't make promises he wouldn't be able to keep. I hated the fact that my life would never be ordinary but refused to ever regret meeting so many wonderful people, especially Jacob. It wasn't his fault that I was a danger magnet; that our lives would never end with a happily ever after. That was fine because I had honestly never believed in them but knowing that my life would always consist of this was tiring. All the fighting and death was horrid but having to fight for the right to live every other day was even more preposterous. My life was one crazy roller coaster that didn't seem to have an end and I could only hope that after all the twists and turns there would be a steep ride down to normalcy- or as normal as a life with vampires and werewolves could ever be.
"Yeah" I breathed. Only get better… if he only knew what I know now.
The sun was about to rise when I felt Jacob shift by my side. I scrunched my face, remembering that he was about to head out to fight for me. I knew Edward would end up facing Victoria and Riley but that only made things worse. I owed Edward and his family enough as it was.
"I have to go" He whispered into my ear. I nodded but didn't let go. My throat felt tight and my mouth was suddenly really dry.
"Be careful. Don't rush into things without thinking" I ordered him hoarsely. I buried my nose into his neck and inhaled his musky scent. Jake always smelled of the woods; pure yet strong and reassuring. Warm.
"I won't" He hugged me a little tighter before releasing me all together and sitting up. He glared at the entrance of the tent even though it was zipped up. I instantly knew that Edward was out there, waiting for Jake to take his leave.
"Take care Bells. Just, please, don't get into trouble for once in your life." I kissed him then. Because there wasn't really any satisfying answer I could give him that would be true.
"Go, they're waiting for you" I knew the only reason he even contemplated leaving me with Edward was because Seth would be here too; acting as some sort of walky-talky.
"I love you, Bella Swan" I smiled, my grimace disappearing in an instant.
"I love you too, Jacob Black" I looked into his eyes "Always"
"Always" He echoed.
As long as it lasted; a life by his side wasn't nearly enough.
Edward stood in front of me in a low crouch; growling like an animal as he faced Riley and Victoria. My heart pounded in my chest and I could barely hear myself think. I had always known this was coming and I thought I'd come to terms with it. Apparently I hadn't. My stomach clenched as Seth lunged for Riley. The male vampire evaded him with ease. I looked over to Edward who was trying to distract Victoria from coming after me.
I felt so useless. Here I was, standing in the middle of a fight that involved me yet I was the only one unable to defend myself. I guess it came with the life I chose but it didn't make the truth any less bitter. I had known beforehand that what I could do was limited to my human capabilities and they were nothing against vampires. Vampire's who's only weaknesses were blood and fire.
Blood; I remember having cut myself to distract Victoria and Riley from ending Edward. I frowned, moving backwards as Edward lunged towards Victoria. Why wasn't that happening? Was it even that important? Something told me that it was. That if it didn't happen, how would Victoria end up distracted enough to allow Edward to end her? I didn't know what to do. Should I go ahead and cut my arm? What if Edward made a fatal mistake because of it? I couldn't bear the thought of his demise, much less because of something I had done.
My decision was made for me when I heard the distinct whine of a wolf. I whipped around quickly, my eyes wide as I watched Seth's body slump to the ground. This had all happened before but somehow I just knew that it wasn't the same. Seth wasn't getting up and my body seemed to react before I knew what was happening. I ran. It was stupid and completely unreasonable but I did it. I knew that there was no possible way I could outrun a vampire but my mind was fuzzy with panic; with fear that this time, Seth might not get up after all. What had I caused now? I heard Riley's chuckle as I ran, stumbling and tripping down the snowy hill. Edward was nowhere to be seen; he'd been busy with Victoria and I wondered if he'd even noticed my absence.
Riley was playing with me, I knew. He could have -should have- caught me by now but instead he chose to stroll behind me, as if I was not even worthy of his time. Would he attack me? He seemed to think that Victoria was in love with him and vice versa; he would probably roughen me up but he wouldn't bite me. He would leave that for her. Tears prickled at the corner of my eyes as I gasped for breath. I only had time to skid to a halt and fall to my knees before I could tumble down a steep hill that lead down to the rushing river below. The water was a fury of movement as it rushed between sharp rocks, rising and falling like a living, breathing thing. I glanced back, eyes wide with horror as Riley's smiling face approached with each passing second. He was walking now. Heading towards me slowly, predatorily; he knew I had nowhere else to run. But I knew I couldn't allow him to have me. I knew that if I allowed myself the weakness of surrendering -the thought of dying and just ceasing to exist- I would, without a doubt give in, in my current state of mind in which all I wanted was things to be done with.
But then there was Jacob. And he was enough to make me want to live. He was the only reason why I was even here at this precise moment. He was the man who I came back for and to hell with all of these vampires who wanted me dead or turned! I didn't sacrifice so much in my life for all of it to be taken away so easily. I survived James, I survived Edward abandoning me when I thought I'd loved him and I survived jumping from a cliff and almost drowning. I looked back down at the rushing water; so violent yet it only made my resolve strengthen. I could only hope I'd also survive this.
And I jumped.
I jumped because it was the only thing I could do. Because it was the only way out; because maybe, just maybe, I was through with people having to save me all of the time and this was the only way I could protect myself without having to depend on anyone. Who knew what had happened to Seth? Edward was busy fighting Victoria and Jacob was fighting the newborns. All of them were involved in a battle; my battles. This was the only fight I could fight on my own and even now, I can only depend on hope to save me. On God, to have mercy and forgive me because to some extent I knew that I was only getting what I deserved. I've gained too much in life and given so little in exchange… it was time to change that. I would fight for the right to live on my own. There was no cheating my way around this one.
Pain blinded me for a second just as I crashed into the swirling water trap but before I could even begin to process the fact that I had rolled into the river, I was sucked under. And then I saw someone who had warned me against the very thing that was happening to me right now. Someone I should have listened to when I was told things might come to change unexpectedly.
Someone who was offering me a choice I didn't want.