Thanks to 22bluefic, lulu1709, wytchwmn75, amieforshort, for their help with this.

* Remember, some of this I borrow straight from the movie or the script, so it may seem familiar. But that still doesn't make it mine.*

~ . . . * * * s a n d a l w o o d * a n d * j u n i p e r * * * . . . ~

~Bella Swan

Rosie had been gone six months. She never called, and her postcards became few and far between. She had promised she'd come home to visit for Christmas and the New Year, yet the holidays came and went without her.

As much as I hated to admit it, over time I missed her less. I often looked down at the scare on my palm and traced it with my fingertip, sometimes I even kissed it, hoping she knew that I still loved her and missed her like crazy.

On her last postcard I'd received she'd scribbled words in the outline of a circle. Simple words that stirred something inside me, words that wouldn't stop replaying inside my mind like a broke record. 'Promise me you won't lock yourself away in THAT house. You'll lose yourself. There's a whole world out here Bell. At twilight when the wind blows, I swear I hear it calling your name, daring you to live. I miss you too much. Always, ~Ro'

Her words cut to the bone and angered me. She didn't know what I was doing, if I was living or not! She had no idea that my life merely consisted of cooking meals that no one really wanted and polishing furniture that never needed dusting – but still!

I never even had the chance to tell her that the Aunts were teaching me everything I would ever need to know about our garden and the herbs they grew and sold. It made me feel useful and smart. I also found it relaxing to lose myself in the ways of nature.

She didn't know that I was working part-time at Newton's Hardware in the garden center sharing what I was learning with customers that would approach me. Some people still avoided me with cautious eyes, but for the most part, I was accepted. Heck, I even sometimes volunteered at the library.

So there! I was living, it just wasn't very exciting and maybe it wasn't even worth telling, but it was... me. Like some people, I wasn't traveling with freedom and excitement, but dammit – I was living with purpose!

~ . . . * * * s a n d a l w o o d * a n d * j u n i p e r * * * . . . ~

The Aunts knew better than to make a fuss about today. I wasn't too old to lock myself in the attic and hide under the covers until the sun rose again tomorrow.

Today was my birthday and I suppose for others, turning twenty-one would be a pretty exciting milestone. For me, it was just another day. I was headed into town to buy some fruit and vegetables at the Farmer's Market. I just wanted to cook and lose today's significance in flour, butter, and fruit.

I passed Jessica Stanley at the corner and couldn't help but laugh out loud. A few years ago, Rosie told her that if she wanted to be noticed by all the guys in town she should get a tattoo of a spider's web covering her neck.

That stupid girl did it.

Now even in the heat of June, Jessica wore turtlenecks hiding the ugly tattoo. I overheard Lauren saying at the library the other day that Jessica was planning a trip to Atlanta to see about getting it surgically removed.

I wonder if Ro ever regretted telling her that...

And just like that, my laughs turned to quiet sniffles. This would be the second birthday in a row that I'd be without my Rosie. Of all the people in the small circle of my life, she was the only one I wanted to acknowledge it. The only one I wanted to sing to me happy birthday and bake me a cupcake with too sweet icing. Yet the only one that mattered to me, seemed to have forgotten all about me and the date on the calendar.

I wondered around aimlessly at the market. My mind had gone blank forgetting if it was peaches or apples I was going to purchase. Tears streamed down my face and with each slow beat of my pulse, my heart broke a little more.

I felt the warmth of a searing hand touch my bare arm, asking if I was all right. I closed my eyes and shook away my hurt, burying it deep down where it might get lost inside.

"I'm okay," I huffed finally looking up to find concerned eyes watching me closely. I stumbled away from his touch. It was suffocating, yet calming. His dark eyes were so deep and comforting, I felt lost again.

"Jacob, hello." I've known Jacob for years. His father had the best fruit stand in the entire lower half of Massachusetts. The aunts had introduced us on our first trip to buy a bushel of plums. Lately, Jacob had been away, caring for his ailing grandmother in New Mexico. "You're back." I spoke aloud, not sure to him or to myself.

"Yeah, good to see you again Bella." Just hearing his voice brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of what I wanted – the companionship, the relationship, The sunken tone of his voice leisurely washed over my skin, causing me to gasp with desperate want.

I turned and ran. I ran from damn Jacob Black and his warm touch. I ran from his bass voice and wet lips. I ran from the look that was in his eyes, the one that told me that he wanted me the same way I wanted him.

I shouldn't replace my loneliness with the first man I come across. It was all an illusion, a distraction. It couldn't be genuine or even worth it. I ran even faster knowing it just wasn't meant to be.

I ran from him taunting me with... forever.

~ . . . * * * s a n d a l w o o d * a n d * j u n i p e r * * * . . . ~

The next day right before noon, I felt a buzz. It was as if a hundred flies had landed on my skin. I dropped my dust rag and stood up looking around for the source of my discomfort. Maybe the door had blown open and there was a breeze rushing in from a distant storm.

I walked outside and looked to the sky. There were no clouds, no rain, and no breeze. But there was sunshine and there was this pull, balmy sunshine that dominated my steps, one foot in front of the other. Steps that took me in a direction I was familiar with and along with that pull – that tug – there was an excitement, and anticipation, and promise. It was good... and welcomed... it was completeness.

It was my heart directing my body to move, my soul taking charge over my fears – my future rising above my past and granting my wishes.

Without conscious guidance, my feet retraced the exact steps I'd retreated the day before. As life sometimes allows, a blessing, a promise, I ran to instead of running away.

Turning the corner into the farmer's market, I crashed into the chest of Jacob Black. He too had been running, his feet carrying him to me. His arms enveloped me and he whispered my name a thousand times, like I was his favorite song. The muscles in my legs relaxed, my held breath escaped my lungs, and all I could think of was... finally.

~ . . . * * * s a n d a l w o o d * a n d * j u n i p e r * * * . . . ~

Within weeks Jacob and I were married and moved into the attic at the Aunt's house. He was just so easy to love. He was selfless, thoughtful, and well-mannered.

He made himself right at home, cleaning the gutters and trimming the hedges. He took the Honda apart and put it back together so it didn't backfire anymore when you put it in park. Somehow, he also knew to stay out of the herb room near the twilight hour and not ask questions about the women who still came to the back door – maybe Jacob had his own sixth sense.

I was happy because love was finally mine and the thing about it all, was that it was just so natural. It wasn't forced, and I didn't even have to try to love him, I just... did.

He kissed me slow and deep, his caresses soft and possessive. He would slowly remove my clothes with the curtains wide open and the light from the full moon illuminating my body. Jacob knew how to love all my worries and apprehensions away.

Little by little, without even realizing it, when I thought of Rose, I began to pity her. Let her chase random men state to state; let her kiss every fool that crossed her path and break every promise she made to us that mattered. Let her feel sorry for her sister, thinking I was cooped up in this old house and that I was not living.

For once, Rosie was wrong.

~ . . . * * * s a n d a l w o o d * a n d * j u n i p e r * * * . . . ~

After Jacob moved in, the old house on Fork's Lane began to change. The house became warm and cheery. Our love chased away the eeriness and the darkness. Our house was now a ...home.

Two weeks before our first wedding anniversary Antonia; our daughter was born right there in our attic bedroom. There was so much joy between us all, I was afraid the walls may give out. That night, the creaking of the foundation was replaced by a sound; one as if a river was flowing right through the house. The noise was so beautiful and so real that the mice came out of the walls to make certain that the place was still standing and a meadow hadn't taken its place. It was the sound of pure peace and serenity.

To the aunts constant badgering, we mutually decided that Antonia and I would keep the last name "Swan." Jacob understood it was a family tradition and thought it to be perfect. It only felt right to have his last name added on to ours; I was now Bella Black Swan. We had a good laugh thinking how our names sounded like some secret government mission.

The aunts went to spoiling our baby immediately. Syrup was added to her bottles and as soon as she was eating solids, cake was her favorite breakfast. She was allowed to make mud-pies in her best clothes and she was never, ever told 'no' in any form of the word.

Antonia was a happy child, never crying or fussing except for the night exactly two years after she was born when her sister Kylie joined the family.

It only took days to realize that Kylie was special. Even the aunts who thought that Antonia was beyond compare, predicted that Kylie took after her grandmother Alice – she would see what others could not.

She tilted her head and listened for the rain before it fell. Her eyes would close seconds before thunder would rattle the windows. She would point to the sky right before a raven would fly overhead. Kylie was such a good baby that people would peer into her stroller and feel peaceful and drowsy just by looking into her eyes.

Sometimes with all the baby talk the aunts feared that maybe Antonia was feeling left out. They take her out to the garden at midnight, way too late for a toddler to be awake, and they show her how nightshade bloomed in the dark. They'd tell her to listen with her big-girl ears, which were much more in tune than her baby sister's were, and that she could hear the earthworm's moving through the soil and the birds sleeping in the distant trees.

I began to realize that sometimes, fate begins to feel remorse and decides to give you favor. My life was becoming everything I had ever wanted. Rosie and I even kept in touch with letters and random phone calls. She was still the same ol' Rosie, but even she had acknowledged that I had changed.

Every time I received a letter, I wrote her back immediately, sometime sending two letters, knowing that her return address could change before she even had time to receive it.

Dear Rosalie,

Today is our third anniversary and all I have to show for it are 2 beautiful little girls and a husband I just can't stop kissing. I wish you could see us. You wouldn't believe how everything has changed. No more stones being thrown, no taunts cried out. Everything is just so blissfully normal. Life is perfect. It's just what I wanted. Every single thing.

~ . . . * * * s a n d a l w o o d * a n d * j u n i p e r * * * . . . ~

There were times when my past apprehensions and doubts would find their way back to the forefront of my thoughts. Especially went the house was stone quiet, my sleeping husband at my side.

The moon and stars were the same exact distance away from me that they had always been. They reminded that I was still Bella Swan and that the only thing that had really changed was my name and my age.

I was still a witch, even though I didn't practice the craft. I was still apprehensive and confused by love and how it could really be so simple that it was complicated. I was still a descendant of a cursed family and was I really so fortunate that I was the one to finally break that spell?

Sometimes all those worries were just too much, so with a shake of my head I dismissed them all. I had better things to think about. I didn't want to focus on the ways of the witches. Sometimes you had to dismiss the good, to abolish the bad.

~Esme Swan

Often there are forces in life that make you blind to the world around you. Forces like love, hope, and faith.

Like a little girl so adoring of her father that she never noticed the bruises on her mother's face, or the newlywed who dismissed the strange calls to his wife's phone at one in the morning. Even the heart attack survivor who ignored the pain first thing in his chest when waking up the morning.

Those signs, they were there for a reason. They were the universe's way to alert you to look, to open up your eyes, and to see. Then you could prepare and adjust. So many times, the predetermined course of our future could be coped with if we were to only look around and be aware.

Just like now, Renee and I hadn't slept for days. The deathwatch beetle had made abode in our home. His signal for Bella's husband's death resounded in our ears like the vibration of an earthquake, one so strong that no ground remained untouched.

The beetle itself had set up camp right under his kitchen chair. The insect, which marked off time clicking like a clock, issued the sound no one ever wanted to hear beside their beloved. A man's time on earth was limited as it was, but once the beetle begins it's countdown, there was no way to stop it. No red wire to pull, no switch to hit, no pendulum to stop.

Renee and I knew, without even voicing the words, how soon our lives would change. We too, had grown fond of the man who lived among us. If we'd only known how this would end, we might not had done it at all.

So far, only my sister and I had heard and acknowledged it's call. Denial had a way to deafen the ear and numb the mind. Bella knew what the beetle summoned, she had just chosen to behave like her mother, somehow trusting that refusing to believe took away the probability it could happen.

Bella dismissed our warning, calling it nonsense and laughing in our faces. She told us that she could turn a blind eye to the foolishness we conducted in the herb room, but she would not let it affect her family. She called it nothing more than rubbish, and a silly porridge mixed up to feed the delusions of the desperate.

She wouldn't debate the reason of the black dog who had taken to sitting on the sidewalk outside of the house, howling at the moon every evening. And how it hung its head and tucked its tail when Jacob walked past it.

Renee and I did what we could. We put myrtle under his pillow and replaced his soap with black holly wash. We put our luckiest rabbit foot into his coat pocket and added rosemary and lavender to all his drinks.

Yet the beetle never silenced.

I saw the fright in Bella's eyes when the girls began to cry every time Jacob left their sight.

The lesson Bella had learned all those years ago as a child, to be careful what you wished for, was so far and faded from her mind that it had turned to yellow dust. The sort of dust you couldn't sweep away, instead it lingered in the corners and blows right into your eyes when a cold draft moved through the house.

"Why doesn't Jacob hear it then? If it follows him around, ticking away his precious minutes of life, why doesn't he ever hear it?" Bella seethed with confusion and desperation.

"Oh my love, no one who is doomed can hear the sound of the deathwatch beetle. That's why he insists nothing is wrong. He would go mad." Renee said as she hugged Bella.

"Then why can't I hear it? Tell me that!" Bella would ask through her frustrated tears. Then as soon as we tried to answer, she would turn and huddiely walk away. She never stayed to receive our answer. For she had to know, for to be able to hear, she had to listen.

We began to see the change in Jacob. He removed his watch, and each and every day he set back all the clocks in the house by a few minutes. When the ticking became louder to our ears, he drew the blinds and pulled down the curtains, as if that could stop time. As if anything could.

~Bella Black Swan

The Aunts were know-nothings. I'd researched the deathwatch beetle at the library and looked through every insect book I could find. The deathwatch beetle ate wood - that was it. Our furniture and the walls might be in danger, but not my Jacob.

I scoffed at the Aunts and their preventions to save my husband. Didn't they know they were encouraging the legend? They were pouring gasoline on a fable made of coal. I believed it was smarter to just ignore it all. With time, they would see how wrong they were. Belief gave the magic strength, so if you have weak faith, rejection should follow.

Antonia was four and was enrolled in preschool three days a week. Kylie was almost two and just beginning to sleep through the night. This wasn't going to happen. Not to us. Things were good. I had done everything right. I was a good person. Jacob was a good person. Our daughters were healthy and happy. We didn't deserve for anything bad to happen.

Even though I didn't have much faith in their silly premonitions anymore, all the talk of death had made me nervous. I'd lost my appetite and at night, I never slept. All I ever felt was doom, especially when he would leave my side, I wondered if this would be the last time I ever saw him alive. When he kissed me I never wanted to let go, as soon as his lips were away from mine, my tears would fall uncontrollably.

Fear confuses the feeble, and anxeity weakens the soul. I had been kind to the power of magic, was it so crazy to believe it would spare me?

I refused to give in to the knowledge that something as silly as bug could doom my life. I knew it was folklore of our ancestors and the myths had been trusted for generations after generations, but I was going to be the first to go agasint it. If I did not believe, it would not happen.

I knew it.

I was angry too, because this was exactly what I had wanted to avoid. Sometimes I had began to wish that I'd never fallen in love at all. It had made me too helpless - that was what love did for you. There was no way around it, no way to fight it, and I would never, ever get over it. Now, if I lost Jacob, I would lose everything.

~ . . . * * * s a n d a l w o o d * a n d * j u n i p e r * * * . . . ~

I was lying in my bed, watching the shadows of the tree in the front yard dance on my walls when I heard it for th first time. It was like a heart beat or an old grandfather clock that had just been wound.

It was a click or a ... a tick.

It wouldn't stop, even after I covered my ears with my hands, somehow it just grew louder. Even when I tried to bury my head underneath the pillow and the covers, I heard it.

Tick. Tick.

I jumped out of bed, looking for an old clock that had went haywire or one of the girls toys they had forgotten to shut off.

I searched every room, finally giving up when I entered the kitchen.

Then I saw something small dart beneath Jacob's chair. A small shadow of thing, one that's sound was way worse than its might, and my heart sunk down to my feet.

That night at twilight I found myself, on my knees in the herb room begging the Aunts to help me, just as all those desperate women had done before me.

"Please save Jacob. I'll give you anything I can. I'll believe in anything. Just tell me what to do!"

They dropped to their knees beside me and held me with their weak arms. "Some fates are guaranteed no matter who tries to intervene," they apologized though their sobs.

We cried until the sun rose the next day. Jacob was still alive but I felt like I had already lost him.

A child's kiss is magic. Why else would they be so stingy with them? ~Harvey Fierstein

So if you're familiar with Practical Magic, you know what this is all about. I am shocked to learn that many of you are not (GASP!), so you maybe thinking WTF?

In case your wondering Edward & Emmett will make an appearance in 2-3 chapters. I promise. Also the daughters are the original characters from PM.

I will be happy to answer any of your questions if you leave them in a review, trust - I AM NOT A JACOB shipper. I am ExB fan, ALL. THE. WAY!