Note: This chapter is exactly the same as the previous, up until Jacob and Bella arrive at the wedding reception, just after their rendezvous in the confessional at the church.
"God, look at him. He's a baby. He's barely old enough to drink."
"Yeah, but it takes about 2 six-packs and a quart of tequila to get him drunk, so… "
"So what's your point Jacob? He still looks like a baby."
I could see Seth's hand was shaking as he slipped the ring on the new Mrs. Clearwater's finger. She looked beautiful in her white lace gown. She was a tiny little thing, but nothing fazed her. Pun intended. She held her own with Seth and with the pack.
She was an outsider and Seth never imprinted, so there was a huge debate with the elders on whether she should be told about Seth's "abilities". But since all the boys had stopped phasing after the Cullens left, they had decided no, there was no reason to. If an event should occur in the future, they would deal with it if and when it happened.
That decision had been made 6 months ago, right after the engagement.
Before 'The Incident'.
About 3 months ago I had been out with Angela and her cousin, Lily. Lily, by the way, is Seth's fiancé, who both met at Jake's and my place one night.
Anyway, Angela and Ben were long over and Angela was engaged to a man she had met at her job. He was a lawyer and Angela was going to law school and working as a paralegal at the same firm. Where, incidentally, I was also working as a paralegal. Angela, Lily and I had gone to see a movie and stopped for coffee afterward, so I got home a little late.
It was just after eleven and I was surprised to see Jacob was fast asleep on our bed. The first thing we had done after moving into our own place was buy the biggest bed we could find. There's minimal walking space around our tiny bedroom with all the square footage our bed takes up. And his feet still managed to hang off the edge some nights.
His face looked so sweet as he was lying there. His hands were tucked underneath his cheek as he laid on his right side. His body on the other hand, looked anything but sweet, all coppery smooth and hard. I debated for half a second on whether to let him sleep or ravish him and figured if he'd had a choice in the matter, he would tell me to ravish him.
I hung my pants and blouse up quietly, leaving me in just my bra and panties. Ever since our first encounter with me in Victoria's Secret, it was all I wore now. You don't mess with success.
I crawled onto the foot of the bed and made my way over his body, straddling him.
"Hey baby," I whispered, kissing his eyelids softly.
I saw his lips languidly turn up into a smile before his eyes opened and he reached up and rolled onto his back, pulling me down against him.
We kissed lazily, enjoying the feel of our bodies against each other. It had been a little over five years since Jake had phased and his body temperature had dropped back to normal, but he always managed to be warm compared to me. I still used him as my personal space heater.
"How was the movie?" He murmured against my lips, running his hands up and down my back.
"I'll tell you later." I pushed my weight to the side and he let me flip us over, putting me back on top.
"Okay," he mumbled, more interested in unhooking the clasp on my bra. He pulled it down my arms and tossed it to the side.
"Mmmm," he pulled me flat against him, then raised my body up, bringing his chin down so his mouth could catch my breast.
He felt like a steel rod against my pelvis already and I moved down his body languidly, trailing my tongue teasingly over all his weak spots. The hard muscles of his pecs and abs were particularly sensitive. But not as receptive to the tricks my mouth could play a little lower. I nuzzled his length through his boxers. I pulled them back and Jacob sprung free. I licked him from base to tip before engulfing the head in my mouth. He still squirmed, even after all these years. And I still loved going down on him. But I had other plans for him, so after a few minutes of warming him up with my tongue, I eased his boxers back in place and made my way up the length of his body and rubbed myself rhythmically against his cock, through our underwear. After just a few strokes, he reached down and gripped my backside in his palms and pulled my panties down. I raised up slightly as he eased them off me and threw them to the side. I sat back down and instead of Jacob, I felt the cotton of his boxers against my crotch. Those needed to come off for good. Now.
I pulled the elastic back and freed his erection again, then tugged them all the way off.
"Mmm-hmm," he hummed as I took him in my hand, guided him toward me and slowly sat down on his length. I had never been with anyone else but Jacob, but I knew no one could fill me so completely, so torturously full, as him. I moved on top of him for a few minutes before he flipped us back again and lifted my legs up over his shoulders and drove himself in deep, all the way to the hilt.
"Oh god. That's… so good." That's what I loved about having our own place: I could moan as loud as I wanted and no one would hear. And when Jacob Black pounded his length into you, trust me, you had to moan.
Every one of his thrusts made me cry out as he hit something so deep inside me.
"Come on, honey," he coaxed me, nuzzling my neck, then biting gently, the way I loved.
Years of practice had perfected our knowledge of what the other wanted and needed for complete satisfaction.
"Faster Jake," I whined.
He pumped deep and fast and the friction felt so good as he moved in and out. And then my body peaked and crashed and convulsed around him over and over again. I felt him tense and then he groaned and collapsed on top of me.
"See, you should have stayed home tonight," he pouted a few minutes later, kissing my ear before nibbling on my earlobe. "That could have been our fifth time tonight instead of our first."
"I do have to walk tomorrow Jake, I have to go to work," I chuckled. "But it's tempting."
"Aw, walking is over-rated. We could just stay right here and never get off the bed. I'd find ways to keep you busy."
"I bet you would," I giggled. "But how would we eat? And we'd start to stink."
"Okay, we would be allowed bathroom breaks and showers. And trips to the refrigerator. But that's all."
"Yeah, right. How would you buy me birthday and Christmas presents?"
"How would we get food?"
"Emily and the internet."
"How would we keep in touch with our friends?"
"The internet," I mimicked along with him, before hitting him in the head with a pillow.
The phone rang and broke up the beginning of our giggling wrestling match.
"Hello?" Jake answered the phone next to our bedside. I wondered briefly who it could be as hardly anyone ever called us on the house phone, except for Charlie and Billy.
Jake's expression froze on his face and he sat bolt upright. My heart started pounding instinctually at his reaction.
Before hanging up the phone, Jake choked out, "I'll be right there."
"I hope I can still do this shit," he murmured, jumping up from the bed. He looked confused, looking back and forth and starting to remove his shirt, then stopping as he realized he was naked already.
"What's going on Jacob?" I was panicking.
He looked at me blankly for a moment and then blinked dazedly a couple times.
"Vampires," he breathed. "On our lands. They think there's five of them. Maybe more."
"I've got to go," he said, heading for the door. I grabbed my robe from my closet and ran after him down the hallway toward the front door.
We were renting a small cottage not far from my dad's house in Forks. We rented from a wealthy family who owned the land and a much larger house on their 1,000 acre plot. Luckily we were pretty secluded here, and no one saw my naked husband run out the door and freeze in his tracks.
I almost ran into his back when he stopped so suddenly. He turned to face me.
"I don't know if I can still do it," he whispered to me in a panic. "I don't know if I remember how."
I grabbed him by the shoulders. "You can do this. Look at me."
He moved his glazed stare from somewhere in the distance to my eyes.
"Remember when I wanted to be one of them? Remember when I was going to let Edward – no, remember when I begged Edward to bite me and make me one of them?"
I felt his shoulders start trembling under my hands. I heard his breathing hitch and his jaw hardened.
"Remember what they felt like? Cold and hard and dead. They wanted to drink my blood. They fought against their basic nature to rip my throat open and suck the life right out of me."
He was almost there, I could feel it. "Remember what they smelled like?"
It was working. His body began quaking and he threw me back away from him so hard, I hit the ground as he took off running toward the trees. I looked up just in time to see him leap into the air and explode, as a giant russet colored wolf took his place.
I immediately ran into the house and called Emily. She had no idea what was going on. She'd been home cooking dinner for her and Sam and little Alex while Sam and Jared had gone fishing for the day. She expected him home for dinner and when he didn't return by 8:00, she got worried. She called Kim, who hadn't heard from Jared either and the two of them kept each other company on the phone to relieve each others' panic.
Finally, about 10:15, Emily got a call from Sam. She said she hadn't heard him like that in a long, long time. He was abrupt, authoritative and quick; in total alpha mode. She told me that all he said was that he and Jared were both okay, but there were at least five vampires on their lands by the river where they were fishing and to call the pack and tell them to get their asses in wolf form pronto. He would take over from there.
Dear god, I thought we were through with all this. Scenes from long ago began flashing through my mind. The Cullens - Edward and I lying in the meadow - cold, hard, closed-mouth kisses – Edward and I huddled as close as was comfortably possible, with me wrapped in blankets and still shivering from the cold.
I began shaking with nerves.
What if Jacob wasn't as strong as he used to be? He hadn't done this in a long time. Five vampires were a lot and I didn't know how many of the pack were out there helping. I did a mental head count: Sam and Jared and Jake were there for sure. Colin, Brady, Paul, Seth, Embry and Quil. Possibly ten of them at best. Oh, and Leah. That makes 11.
The last time there had been a battle of this size, Jacob had been hurt badly. Please god, I prayed, just bring Jacob home in one piece. I'll never ask for anything ever again.
I walked the kitchen floor all night. Periodically I opened the kitchen door and ran out toward the trees trying to see or hear something. But the forest was quiet.
My mind jumped all over to images from the past to present day throughout the night. From the girl I'd been at 18, to the woman I was now, at 24. Had I really changed that much? Maybe. Maybe not.
Finally, about 7:30 in the morning, my phone rang. I dove so fast for it; I fell onto the kitchen table, hitting the 'talk' button on my way down.
"I'm okay Bells." He sounded so tired. But he was speaking, he was able to call me, so he must be alright.
"Where are you? Did you get hurt? What happened?"
"Whoa honey, one question at a time. I'm fine. I'm getting too old for this shit, but I'm fine."
"You're not old, you're 22, you jerk."
"Come to Emily's. She's making everyone breakfast. The guys are all fine. By the time you get here, there won't be a scratch or a bruise on us."
"I'll be right there." I started to hang up. "Jake?"
"I love you."
"I love you too, honey."
"I now pronounce you man and wife." Reverend Weber smiled before telling Seth, "You may now kiss the bride."
Which Seth did; with gusto. The kiss went on so long; the guests were beginning to snicker.
"Son? Son, that is my niece. Behave yourself and wait till you get her home tonight." Reverend Weber chastised Seth, fighting back a good-natured grin.
Seth smirked self-consciously as he and Lily turned toward the crowd before making the descent down the altar steps and out to the reception area.
"She looks so beautiful," I murmured, watching her and Seth sail by with happy smiles on both their faces.
"Not as beautiful as you did." Jacob put his arm around me, pulling me closer.
"Well, ours was a lot more casual."
"And a lot better," Jake added.
"Yeah," I nodded. I had to agree. Our wedding had been perfect. A rare sunny day last June on First Beach. Less than 50 guests and the reception at Charlie's favorite diner, where I spent many a night eating, when I didn't feel up to cooking. They gave my dad a great deal.
Had it only been a year ago? Time flies when you're having fun.
And except for the incident 3 months ago, we were having fun. Patrols were run strictly for the 2 months post vampire attack, but nothing had been seen since. So Lily was still in the dark about the whole escapade. Which was probably for the best. I knew from experience, sometimes ignorance was bliss. The last couple weeks, patrols were scaled back and by next month, if all remained clear, would be stopped.
The guests were beginning to file out as the bride and groom were finished with church photos and everyone was headed to the reception. Jake and I were one of the last people to make our way out. Jake was very curious and checking out all the stained glass windows and the sculptures near the altar. I was a few feet ahead of him when I heard him call me excitedly.
"Bells! Look!" He had opened one of the doors along the wall, underneath the multi-faceted stained glass of the Virgin Mary and a multitude of angels.
"Jacob!" I wandered back toward him to whack him. "That's a confessional, get out of there."
"What do you do in there?"
"You confess your sins to the priest."
A wicked grin spread across his face. "I confess I'd like to fuck you in there."
"Jacob Black! You're going straight to hell!"
"Aw Bells, I'm going to Hell anyway. Come on," he pulled me in, laughing.
Bless me Father, for I have sinned….
Our late arrival to the reception went unnoticed. Paul and Rachel saved us a seat at their table along with Sam and Emily and Billy. Imprinting had a strange softening effect on Paul, and Rachel seemed to draw out the best in him. His combative nature waned over time and he and Jacob were closer now. Holidays sometimes were tense, long periods of time in close quarters together were pushing it. But in small spurts, the two of them could enjoy each others' company. Rachel moved back to La Push to be with Paul and Billy made the effort to bring Jake and his sister closer. He took every opportunity to include her in dinners and just plain old hanging out.
"Where's the grub, man? I'm hungry."
"Paul, sweetie, you're always hungry." Rachel rolled her eyes at us.
Yes, apparently even imprinted couples bickered occasionally.
We'd missed the bride and groom's first dance, but they had hired a dj and guests were dancing out on the floor.
"Come on," Jake took my hand and gestured toward the dance floor.
"No Jake. Maybe a slow one."
"Alright," he kissed the tip of my nose.
I saw a young woman with long dark hair that I'd never seen before coming toward our table. She looked confused and a little out of place. Paul followed my gaze and saw the woman I was looking at.
"Oh! That's Lana." Paul gently elbowed Rachel. "Sweetie, Lana came."
Rachel stood up and waved her arm at the girl, gesturing next to her at the empty seat she'd saved her. I looked curiously at Paul.
"That's Rach's best friend, Lana. She moved to Port Angeles after high school to go to college."
Lana saw Rachel and looked relieved as she smiled at her and started toward our table.
I was just going to ask Jacob if he knew her, but he was watching the couples on the dance floor and probably waiting for a slow song so we could dance.
I watched his face as Lana pulled the chair back to sit down and he turned toward the noise. He looked straight at her and at first I thought he remembered her. But his eyes glazed and emotions I'd never seen before flickered over his face. Emotions that frightened me. Reverence, worship, love.
I couldn't suck in a breath as the force of recognition at what was happening literally knocked the wind out of me. I jumped up from the table and knocked two water glasses over. Jacob turned to me and looked at me like he didn't even know me.
I'd always wondered if I'd know when it happened. Now I knew. It was so blatantly obvious, there was no way not to know. The raw emotions on his face would forever leave blood-soaked gashes on my soul.
I got up from the table and walked out the door and never looked back.
Almost two years passed and while I never allowed myself to fall back into that depressive oblivion of my 18th year, I barely hung on. If it weren't for work, I wouldn't know what to live for. I would certainly never give my heart away to another man again.
After Seth's wedding, I filed for divorce. I hoped Jacob would fight me on it. I hoped he would tell me I was the one, would always be the one and he would fight the imprint.
But he didn't. I refused to speak to him for 3 months. He'd called me every day the first month and then sporadically after that. Needless to say, I usually hung up on him.
I finally agreed to meet him for coffee. I got there first and ordered an Americano and found a table in the back where we could talk privately. As I made my way to the back, I caught sight of my reflection in a mirror that hung against the back wall. My first thought was, who is that old woman? She looks familiar.
It was at that moment, Jacob bounded through the door. He, of course, looked amazing.
He ordered a drink and a few scones and joined me in the back. He apologized profusely, but the whole time he fidgeted and kept looking at the door, like he wanted to bolt. Like he couldn't stand for even an hour's time be away from her.
My first reaction was anger and I fought not to holler at him. Maybe slap him across the face as hard as I could or throw my hot coffee at him. But after just a few minutes, I could see… This wasn't my Jacob. This was her Jacob. Lana's Jacob.
I was very proud of myself. I only excused myself from the table once to use the restroom and vomit.
Years ago Jacob had told me he'd rather I'd been dead than to become one of the Cullen's. And that was exactly how I felt sitting across from this stranger.
My Jacob was dead.
I heard as soon as our divorce was finalized, six months after the filing date, that he and Lana got married. I stayed as far away from La Push as possible and Charlie knew better than to ever mention certain names.
Much to my chagrin, life went on. I attended Angela's wedding. In fact, I was part of Angela's wedding. That wasn't easy, but I grit my teeth and forced myself through it. For her. She'd always been a good friend to me. I never did like weddings.
But the most foolish thing I've possibly ever done in my whole life? I ran into an old friend at Angela's wedding. And out of anger, or spite or maybe some form of revenge: I went out with Mike Newton.
Not my finest moment.
We dated for about two months, until both of couldn't stand it anymore. Frankly, I'm shocked he put up with me for that long. Any long-time yearnings for the girl he knew in high school, I squashed, but good. Apparently it's not fun when the girl you're making love to cries the whole time.
So, I threw myself into work. Trying hard to keep my mind as numb as possible, so I couldn't think too hard. Otherwise, it crept its way back to the past, and when that happened? Those were the days that were the hardest to drag myself out of bed.
Which was where I was at the end of one particularly rough, emotional day. I'd eaten a light supper and gotten into bed and turned the television on to dull my brain. I must have drifted off, because I felt a draft when I opened my eyes a few hours later. My room was dark, meaning the timer on my television had gone off, and now the tv was not on.
I shivered and looked around the room for the source of cold air surrounding me, but I saw nothing out of place. When I lay back down, I noticed something white standing out starkly against the rich plum color of my pillowcase. I picked it up and it unfolded itself; an old-fashioned white lace handkerchief. As it unfurled in my hand, a piece of lilac paper dropped from its folds.
I looked around my room again before opening the meticulously folded piece of paper.
I told you I would check up on you, love.
You're still as beautiful as ever.
My heart began hammering in my chest. I held the handkerchief to my nose and inhaled. My eyes rolled back in my head and dizziness swept through me as I breathed in his sweet, familiar scent. God, it really was intoxicating.
I looked wildly around my room yet again. And this time as my gaze swept past the window, I saw him.
It was as if he had been frozen in time. Beautiful and flawless: pale, golden-eyed perfection.
My body performed as if on instinct. I was ready now.
I got up and went to the window.
And let him in.
A/N: As you can imagine, when this was the original ending, the readers were not happy. Chapter 8 had been my originally intended ending, but when I wrote it out… Jacob just imprinted on me! I angsted over what to do about it for weeks. Should I change the ending for the sake of making everyone happy? Or do I stay with the ending that became "real" to me? So I posted this as the ending and did an Alternate. Now going back, I much prefer the other one.
So pick whichever one you like best – the HEA, or the dark twisted tragic ending, and retain that as your own personal ending to Reality and Dreams.