Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. The authors are in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Thank You to our wonderful beta joanne swift. Without you it just wouldn't be the same.

A/N: First off our sincere apologies for the long wait. Both of us are very excited and committed to continue Hostage of Love and we are promising to bring it to a proper closing.

Thank you to all of you who have asked and checked in regularly about the status of our story, it means the world to both of us. Also, tons and tons of Thank You-s to everyone who reviewed. Please, don't be too mad at me for not responding. I promise, I try to be better. Each and every review encourages us and means the world!

Without further delay, here is chapter 15 for your reading pleasure. We hope you like it.

EyJ & JB


Hostage of Love

Chapter 15

A New Friend

.

.

"Wait a minute...What? You're not with Jake? But...but how is this possible? You have a baby together and you came over and I thought...I thought..."

Bella's head throbbed and her heart was beating like a hammer in her chest. She closed her eyes, and then she remembered as clear as if she was still standing in his kitchen...She felt his strong arms come around her, first very slowly and then he embraced her fiercely, almost crushing her in his hug. She closed her eyes and wished they never had to move for the rest of their lives. This felt so right, this felt like where she belonged all along.

~EYJ & JB~

"Do you still love him, Bella?" Leah asked, getting straight to the point.

"I...I..." Bella stuttered flummoxed. She wasn't willing to share her innermost feelings with Leah Clearwater.

It hurt that Jacob had preferred not to tell her that he wasn't in a relationship with Leah. It shouldn't be a big deal telling her that before he took her to his house. Bella had not forgotten how embarrassed she'd been, getting caught by Leah.

So her voice had a sharp edge when she asked, "Why would you care, Leah? You practically chased me out of his house. You said you weren't his girlfriend at that time, but you acted like a jealous housewife...Why did you do that?" Bella actually fumed now.

"Simmer down, Swan. I came over because Yuma had gotten sick that night and I had no one to drive me to the clinic," Leah barked back, and she was king of admiring the spunk she heard in Bella's voice.

"Look, Sam was out of town and Jake was the next best option. When I found out that you were there...damn... I smelled you a mile away in fact, I got a little upset if you will, because I was worried for Jacob. There is a history here of you hurting him, right? All I wanted to do was protect Jake, and how can that be wrong?"

Bella wanted to cut in and defend herself, but then she decided to just listen to what Leah had to say. Leah had never called her before. Something important must have happened to make Leah call her.

"OK, look, he was really in a bad place after you married that leech. I mean, he was almost beyond repair to be honest. You did a good number on him, and Jake never deserved that. I didn't want you to hurt him again. But I think I made it all worse..." Leah had said in a much calmer and friendlier tone.

Bella shook her head, and she felt her stomach burn painfully now. She had a hard time processing the information Leah had just revealed. It all sounded way too weird and how could she have been so wrong? It had felt so right to be held by him. She belonged in Jake's arms.

Breathing seemed difficult all of a sudden. Her breath came in small gasps and she felt dizzy. The mental images were all too real. She had fought so very hard with herself to leave any thoughts of him locked away in some small corner of her brain, but Jacob Black just pushed himself all the way out with a vengeance.

"Why are you calling me now after all that time? Why not earlier?" She was confused. With the memories of their night together also returned the memories of the hurtful words she had said to him the morning after, before she ran out on him again and his devastating promise in return.

"If you leave now," he had said, "you are dead to me." Bella had no doubt back than that he meant every word he said. She had left with the intention to let him live his life with Leah and their son, Yuma. She had been so sure that they were a family.

She remembered how humiliating the situation had been and how truly betrayed she had felt. She had tried so hard to understand how he could he have sex with her the way he did, how he could whisper all those beautiful words into her ear and how the hell he could touch her with such love and care when he had a family? She had always come up blank. It didn't make sense. Something seemed off to her about that whole situation.

She had finally pushed all thoughts of Jacob off from her mind, needing to protect herself from the pain.

She never allowed herself to really think about what had happened, she knew she was being stubborn but she had been feeling so rejected and humiliated. Her heart started beating fast just by thinking of the situation. Damn! She only ever wanted Jake to be happy.

Leah interrupted her trail of thoughts. "Bella, snap out of it and listen. Jake isn't doing too well. That's why I'm calling. You know, I really had hoped he'd get over it...over you! It would have been for the best, but no!"

Bella shivered anxiously. Jacob was still feeling something for her? But that couldn't be. He had said—

"What exactly are you feeling for him?" Leah insisted.

Bella's breath hitched and she started coughing wildly, trying to hide her inner turmoil. "I'm dead to him," she said hoarsely, after a minute or so. Her stomach was churning and her heart was pounding painfully in her chest.

"Say what?" answered Leah, clearly confused now.

"He said if I leave him again, I will be dead to him. I left, right? Plus, I told him that he was a liar and a cheat. He won't want me anymore..."

She suddenly regretted that she'd never given him the chance to explain himself. If only he would have told her the truth right away, that horrible fight and the hurtful words would never have happened.

"Oh come on. That's just Jake being overdramatic." Leah snorted.

"I will have to think about it," Bella murmured. Her hands were suddenly shaking. She was freezing.

"What would you want me to do?" she heard herself ask Leah, which was quite a shock to even her right about now. "I can't come back right now. My exams start next week..."

Leah made an impatient noise. "You could call him for a start and go from there."

~EYJ & JB~

A lot had happened since Leah called for the first time. They started talking on the phone on a semi regular basis. Their initial conversations usually short and not very friendly.

Eventually though, both of them started to really listen to each other and both of them began to open their minds and hearts. It was without a doubt that both of them had found a new friend and ally in the other. Who would have thought!

They ended up apologizing to each other and promised to go on from there and focus on the future. A future where Jake finally could be a happy and content man.

During their talks throughout the next couple of months, Bella learned to understand how much Leah had been and still was truly concerned for Jake and that she honestly needed her to help.

Leah in return had to admit that Bella wasn't the selfish, heartless bitch she thought she was, after Bella explained herself to Leah and told her about her true feelings for Jacob, and that she came back to Forks in the hopes to make amends with Jacob and that she had hoped that he would give her another chance.

Bella also told her everything that had happened between her and Edward. She had left nothing out, and when Bella came to the point where Edward had tried to force himself on her and threatened her about the Volturi, Leah got so furious she almost phased while still on the phone. When she was coherent again to formulate meaningful sentences, Leah told Bella that she was so damn proud that she had found the courage to leave Edward in the end.

Bella had blushed and mumbled, "Sure, sure," almost breaking down crying when she realized she'd used Jake's trademark phrase.

Many of their conversations went on for hours on end, but every so often Leah would hang up saying Jacob would be coming over any minute for a meeting with Sam or to pick up Yuma. At one time, Leah joked around how she would simply give the phone to Jacob so that he and Bella were forced to talk to each other. With a sigh, both of them agreed that neither Bella nor Jacob were ready for that.

Soon, Bella was looking forward to their conversations, and she enjoyed them tremendously. They got to know each other and they truly started to care for one another. Bella never wanted to stop listening hearing Leah talk about little Yuma.

Bella, who never even imagined that Leah Clearwater had a sense of humor, found herself laughing many times about the little man's antics. Leah not only loved to talk about her son, but she also shared funny pack stories with her. Bella guessed that motherhood was the best thing that could ever have happened to Leah.

And then there was Sam, and Bella knew that Sam truly balanced her out. They were perfect for each other.

In one of their longest talks, Bella learned about the deep love and dedication Sam and Leah shared. She teared up a few times when Leah told her how Sam had finally broken his imprint to Emily, and how much it had physically hurt him to break the bond.

She was amazed to hear that Jacob and the entire pack-imprinted and unimprinted wolves likewise-completely supported Sam in his decision. She cheered when Leah told her that no matter the pain and no matter the repercussions the council threatened Sam with, he never once hesitated to pull through with it, because his heart simply belonged to her. Bella was truly touched by that.

You could say, they'd become friends, and Bella was still in awe about that, she never thought this could have been possible. Leah had a huge heart, and she was very thoughtful. Bella had learned to genuinely appreciate Leah's direct and honest approach on any topic.

Over the next several months, Leah also told her everything that was going on in Jacob's life - at least, everything that Leah was able to find out.

Jacob, being the Alpha wolf, had learned to hide almost all of his thoughts while in wolf form, and he wasn't very forthcoming in sharing his personal life and thoughts even with his closest friends. It hurt Bella to learn how much he still suffered, but his stubbornness also made her very furious.

That fury was her driving factor to finally make a move contacting Jacob, and with Leah's constant badgering, even if she only meant well, she eventually felt encouraged enough and was ready to do so. In fact, she was determined. It finally was time to straighten things out with him.

It was time to tell him everything, her reasoning and her feelings of what she had thought had happened at the time when she left him...again. She wanted, no, she needed to make him understand! She wanted to make everything better for him...for both of them.

Leah encouraged her and gave her Jacob's new cell phone number. As this was his "emergency" phone that was reserved for pack and family calls only, Bella could be sure that Jacob would answer the call. Additionally, she gave Bella Jacob's work and patrol schedule for the entire upcoming week, so she would actually get him on the phone.

"But won't that get you into trouble? I mean... sharing insider information?" Bella asked while saving Jake's number in her contacts, but she felt a small sliver of hope, hope that things could be worked out between her and Jake.

That sudden feeling made her heart skip a beat and pushed a rush of blood into her head. She started to feel giddy. Better not dare dream too much ahead of herself, she reminded herself.

"Don't break a sweat. I'm a big girl. I can take it," Leah answered, and so, after ending the call with Leah, Bella dialed Jacob's number.

She lost her nerve and quickly hung up the phone before it even started to ring. She tried to work up the courage to call him for at least 4 days in a row, but her nerves got the better of her every single time.

On the fifth day, she was a nervous wreck. "How hard can it be?" she cursed under her breath while unlocking the door to her apartment. Her hands were clammy and shaking, butterflies were having a party in her stomach. She tossed her purse onto the table and toed off her flats. "I will not hang up today!" she berated herself. "I will talk to him!"

She was allowing herself the luxury to take a nice hot shower first. She wanted to just stand under the hot spray, which she knew would be calming to her nerves. Yes, she felt confident enough.

As soon as she was out of the shower, she simply wrapped a towel around her hair and body, not wanting to waste anymore time. She took her phone off her dresser and pressed the redial button.

The phone rang and rang and rang. With every second passing she lost hope that he would answer, but then she heard his husky voice state curtly, "Jake."

Bella was about to hang up, she did not expect him to answer anymore, when she suddenly felt startled, almost dropping the phone when she heard him bark his name into her ear.. She finally stuttered, "J...Jake?...It's...ummm... Hi! It's Bella."

There was a pause. Her own heart beat was so loud that she was sure he had to hear it too, along with the rest of the world.

He cursed, and then the phone was dead. He had hung up on her!

"Shit," Bella muttered and dropped her phone down onto the receiver. She sat down on her bed, her hands and knees shaking with adrenaline, but quickly decided to just call him again. She let the phone ring for a while, but he didn't pick up his line anymore. She tried it again after a couple of minutes. Again. When she called him for the third time about an hour later, he had simply switched off his phone altogether.

"Fine!" Bella thought, getting more and more irritated as time went by. "I can just be as stubborn as you. We will see about that." She was now on a mission and contacted him daily, sometimes more than once, but he'd always hang up or didn't even bother to answer after her caller ID would appear on his phone. He was so damn stubborn, but so was she!

Leah continually encouraged her not to give up on Jacob. "What a pig-headed mule," Leah would say to her. "Swan, you hang in there."

Leah knew that Jake was still in love with Bella, but he wasn't ready to forgive and too stubborn to even give her a chance to explain herself. However, Leah deemed it was about damn time that something would change. With that, Leah announced that she had a plan, a plan where Jake had no other choice but to face the music.

It was time for Jake to get his head out of his sexy ass (Leah's words) and Bella could only agree. She was more than ready to hear Leah's plan.

~EYJ & JB~

The day finally came where Bella looked around her tiny apartment for one last time. Everything was ready to go. Her suitcase was packed and she was just about ready to leave for the airport. She was going back to Forks, or more accurately LaPush.

Leah announced that she is getting married and she had convinced Bella that this is the perfect time to make a real move on Jake. Besides, Bella was going to be part of the wedding. That thought made Bella feel nervous and excited at the same time. She was truly happy for Leah and she wanted to meet and get to know Yuma as well.

She only hoped that the pack would take it easy on her.

She felt good about her decision to give it a real try to work it out with Jacob and she was determined to do whatever it takes.

Bella had a feeling that she will have her work cut out for her. But she also knew that it will be worth it in the end. She was ready to fight for their future, and she was definitely ready to live a long and happy life with Jake.

Bella knew that Leah was really trying to help both of them and had invited Bella to stay for a while to help Jake take care of Yuma while Leah and Sam went for their honeymoon. According to Leah, she had it all worked out. The prospect of living in such close proximity with Jake and his son was both terrifying and exciting to her.

Naturally, she had had her doubts initially, that Leah's plan would ever work, but since Jacob is going to need help with Yuma, or so Leah had predicted anyway, he had no choice but to face the music. Both of them would take care of Yuma and according to Leah, that was a done deal.

The cab driver took his time to drive to the airport, and since she was a few hours early, she did not really mind. When he finally dropped her off on the curb and put her suitcase down, she tipped him and walked straight to the check-in counter. She knew, there was no turning back, she had made up her mind and she will see it through to the end.

Her ticket flew her directly to Port Angeles, with just a quick stop in Seattle and Leah was to pick her up there to drive her directly to LaPush, she reminded herself, while she noticed a flutter once more in her stomach, and she started to feel just a little lightheaded. Oh God, this is it, she thought, feeling a slight panic coming up from the pit of her stomach, but she was determined to push that feeling right back. After she was checked in, she sat down close to her gate, trying to relax once again. She whipped her little powder out and took a careful look at her face. "Yep, that will have to do", she thought. Just a touch of eye-shadow and a pale pink gloss was all she really needed. Her eyes were clear and her mind was made up.

The flight had passed quickly. Bella was in deep thought when the announcements came over the intercom to fasten the seatbelts for landing. Bella quickly sat up straight and tried to look out of the window. It looked like it was raining heavily.

Once landed, her exit was fast, she no longer wanted to waste any time and she knew Leah's time was limited. She felt a burst of excitement at the prospect of meeting Yuma face-to-face shortly. All the wonderful things that she had heard of him made her feel like she already knew him in a way. She simply couldn't wait to hold this little fella.

As soon as she took hold of her suitcase, she heard Leah calling out her name. She turned quickly and watched as Leah rushed towards her. Bella stopped dead in her tracks.

She felt tears sting her eyes as she looked at the boy, Leah had sitting on her hip. The pictures Leah had shared with her really didn't do him justice. Yuma was the spitting image of Jake. Her heart pounded erratic and she felt such a burst of happiness and pride for Jake, the force of it took her totally for a spin.

She felt herself instantly fall in love with Yuma.

~EYJ & JB~

They arrived in La Push, and Yuma - who had slept through from Port Angeles - was wide awake now and ready for action. So Leah asked Bella if she would like to entertain the little man while she would be making dinner. Sam would be home soon, and he would be tired after a long day at his construction job.

Just like his father, Yuma definitely wasn't shy. He simply took Bella by her hand and tugged, urging her to follow him into his room. "Ella play," he said and graced her with a big happy smile when she sat down on the floor and watched him push his fire truck back and forth.

Bella felt a little self-conscious at first and was not sure what she should be doing. She hadn't been around a little kid before. Suddenly, the whole idea about taking care of Yuma while Leah would be on her honeymoon was overwhelming.

Don't be silly, she thought. Yuma is an adorable kid. There's not much you can do wrong!

"Can I play with you?" she asked with sudden excitement.

"Ella play wolf," Yuma pressed a stuffed animal wolf into her hand. She let the wolf "run" next to his truck, while he imitated the siren blaring. "Wolf fast," he said, shaking his head proudly. "Yuma fast."

He jumped up and raced into the kitchen. "Mommy, Ella play." He tugged at her skirt. "Car. Want my car."

"Bella, would you mind taking him to the backyard?" Leah asked, throwing chopped vegetables into a huge pot.

Yuma jumped excitedly and clapped his hands.

"Of course not. Will you show me the way to your backyard, Yuma?"

Yuma ran to the backdoor, stretched on his toes and turned the lock. The door stayed closed. He demanded, "Out."

Leah shrugged. "Like father, like son..."

Bella smiled and turned the lock, but the door wouldn't budge. She turned around. "It's locked."

"Safety lock, Bella." Leah laughed at her and pointed at a latch at the top of the door. "This little guy is very outdoorsy. I would constantly need to run after him if I wouldn't lock the doors."

"I see." Bella smirked at Leah and opened the door. Yuma slipped through and was situated on his police push car before she could even blink.

Half an hour later, suddenly a shadow hovered over them. She looked up and with a startle, noticed that Sam stood right behind her. "Hey, Bella," he said, a huge smile covering his face and a twinkle in his eyes. "'bout time you got here." He winked at her.

Bella felt herself blush and quickly turned towards Leah, who had a huge grin on her face.

Thank God she got distracted as Yuma ran and flung himself at Sam. "Pappy!" he cried and started laughing when Sam began to tickle him.

Bella watched their interaction intently. Sam seemed like a completely different person than the last time she saw him. He smiled; his whole demeanor was relaxed as he joked around with Yuma. Gone was the hard mask that was his face when he was still the Alpha and imprinted on Emily.

Finally, Sam sat down on the grass, putting the boy onto his knees. "Hey, champ! How was your day?"

Leah took Bella by her hand and pulled her inside the house. "Want to help me set the table and get dinner ready?" she asked, and Bella agreed happily. She already felt comfortable and at home in Leah's house.

They had just started putting the plates and silverware onto the table, when suddenly Leah stopped in the middle of what she was doing. "Oh!" she said, her eyes quickly alternating looking at the front door and at Bella.

"What's wrong?" Bella asked. Her stomach clenched nervously. She listened intently, but could hear nothing.

"Jake's coming," Leah said quietly, and rubbed her neck. "I can feel him."

Bella shook her head and glanced at her confused. "What...how..." she stammered. "I can feel nothing."

"He's the Alpha," Leah explained in a hushed whisper. "We all can feel when he's around us. It's like a tingle in the back of my neck..."

"Did you know he was coming here?" Bella said with a glare. She was excited and nervous, almost nauseatingly nervous, but she had promised herself she wouldn't let it show. She was stronger than that now! After all, she had come here with the goal to confront Jake, and now was as good a time as ever.

"No, I didn't." Leah pulled out another plate. "Not that it matters anyway." She listened again. "Okay, here we go."

Bella froze.

Leah put the plate onto the table and stepped in front of of Bella, facing the door. She took Bella's hand. "Be strong, Bella. You want him back!"

Bella nodded.

Leah started to count.

"One…Two…Three…"

The door slammed open.

And there he was.

Jake!