The Never Ever Happily Ever After Contest
Title: Breaking Point
Characters: Jacob, Bella, Quil, Embry
Word Count: 1671
Disclaimer: All characters are the property of S. Meyer. Warning: Contents include death of a major character and disturbing turn of events.
"Hey, look who's here. Quil, Embry, you're just in time for supper. Hey, Bells, can you bring a couple of extra plates?" Jacob hadn't seen his two best buds since . . . had it really been a couple of weeks?
Quil and Embry sat down at the table. Their eyes glanced around the sparsely decorated room. They seemed awfully quiet—for his best friends that is.
"Yeah, I know, it doesn't look like much yet, but it's coming along slowly. Bells and I can only work on it on the weekends. She's busy at the hospital, and I'm puttin' in plenty of hours at the drug rehab center. I wish I could be home more for her, especially helping with the kids. We're expecting another baby in May. We're both hoping for a girl this time. Billie and Charlie are a handful. I guess they must take after me, huh? They run around here like a couple of wild Indians. A little Quileute humor there guys!" Jake's face lit up with a smile.
Embry jumped into the conversation. "So, are you doing okay, buddy? I mean . . . do you miss seeing the pack at all?"
"Sometimes I do, but Bells keeps me happy. I love her to distraction, guys. I still remember the day we got married. She was the most beautiful woman I ever laid eyes on. She still is. Damn, speak of the devil . . . Man that smells good, Bella. I married the best cook in the whole world too."
Jacob saw the pink tinge starting to spread. "You always say that, Jake." Did you hear that guys? She's still so humble.
" 'Cuz it's always true—and I like to see that flush of color in your cheeks. Jeez, Bells, I'm still crazy about you. You know that right?" He had the look of a man in love.
His two friends peered back and forth at each other, looking uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry, guys. I can't help myself. I'm totally smitten, and I don't care who knows it. By the way, when are you two losers going to tie the knot?"
"When I finally find a girl who's willing to be strung along," Embry answered.
Quil broke in this time, changing the subject. "Does the doc have anything new to tell you? Are you getting any better? Last time, Billie told me what the doc said—that you're still in denial."
"Hell, what does he know? And if you're going to harp on that again, you can both leave. Isn't that right, Bells? "
"Okay, Jake. We didn't mean to upset you." Quil looked remorseful.
Six months earlier:
Jake had just gotten off patrol. He lingered awhile, shooting the breeze with the guys. The whole pack had been hot on the heels of that notorious redheaded vamp, Victoria. He needed to unwind a bit before seeing Bella. Setting foot at First Beach, Jacob sniffed the air—Bella—the scent was unmistakable. He literally followed his nose to the top of the cliff—yes, the same cliff his buddies were diving off—every chance they got. He scanned the area quickly, but she was nowhere in sight. Jake leaned over the edge, and immediately sensed danger. The scent stopped here. That could only mean one thing—Bella was in the water. He felt the adrenaline rush, and in an instant, he sailed over the precipice, diving into the churning black waves.
He swam with all his might, his heart seizing with terror at the thought of losing her. He cursed each time he had to break the surface to take a needed breath. How many minutes had he clocked? Three . . . five? God, he had to find her before it was too late! The water was ice cold—that was a good thing—people could survive drowning if the water temperature was cold enough. He could bring her back even if her heart stopped beating, couldn't he?
God dammit! Where was she?
Jake took another breath, and this time dove further into the briny depths. There out of the corner of his eye, he spotted her. She was drifting from side to side, being buffeted with the flow of the current. Her arms were outstretched as if she had surrendered herself to the deep.
Grabbing one of her arms, he pulled desperately, dragging her to the surface. His lungs were nearly bursting, as he finally gulped in oxygen from the air. One look at her told him all he needed to know. He covered her mouth with his—forcing his own air into her water filled lungs—even as he swam with her toward the shore.
He carried her as soon as the ocean was waist deep, still struggling to give her mouth to mouth. He laid her on the pebble strewn beach, and checked for a pulse in her neck. There was none—no sign of life. He remembered his CPR training from school and placed the heel of one hand over her sternum. He had to be careful—she was so small—he didn't want to break any of her ribs. "1 and 2 and 3 and 4," he counted out loud, ". . . . 14 and 15". He gave her two more rescue breaths. He saw her chest rise with the force of his exhalation, but she did not initiate one on her own.
He continued breathing into her lungs and compressing her heart for several minutes. There was still no response. He yelled for help, but the beach was deserted. He couldn't leave her to phase and alert the pack. Several more minutes went by—he was beside himself now. With tears streaming down his face, he continued his grueling task.
"Bella!" he shouted, "Don't do this! Please breathe for me honey. C'mon, you've gotta breathe for me. You can marry your vampire; I don't care—just don't die on me! Please . . . oh, God please don't take her away from me," he pleaded.
Jake continued with renewed determination. "No . . . ! No . . . ! I'm not letting you go. You're not leaving me. Do you hear me, Bells? God dammit! Breathe, Bella, breathe!"
After another rescue breath, he heard a clattering of rocks farther down the beach. "Over here," he cried.
Sam was the first to reach him. "I'll take over the compressions," he said.
Jake didn't like the sympathetic expression on Sam's face.
They continued to work feverishly over Bella, but her body remained lifeless.
The rest of the pack arrived. Embry and Quil wrapped their arms around Jake, pulling him away.
"She's gone, Jake," Embry whispered. "I'm so sorry."
Jacob fought them off, kneeling down beside her. "She's gonna come back to me. I just know it. She can't leave now, she can't. I won't let her!"
"C'mon, Jacob," Paul entreated him softly. "You've got to let her go." He placed his hand on Jake's shoulder.
"Get your hands off me. Leave me alone!" he shouted at them. "Get out of here—all of you!"
Sam, Quil and Embry all converged on him at once. He grappled against them futilely, and finally stopped his struggling. Instead, he clung to Embry, sobbing uncontrollably. "I loved her Embry. Why? Why did she have to do this? I don't want to go on without her."
Sharing tears with his friend, Embry acknowledged Jacob's grief. "I know, Jake . . . I know." His voice cracked under the strain.
Needless to say, Jacob was not himself for the following days. He ate little, slept less, and spoke to no one. His mind was in a constant flurry of conflicting emotions. He was angry at Bella for hurting him. Then the guilt set in. He should have been there that day, or told her to stay at the house. Why didn't he get to the cliff sooner? He should have prevented this. He was supposed to protect her. How could he live, knowing that she was gone, and it was his fault?
The day of the funeral, Jake walked up to the casket, dropping something inside. He kissed her cold lips—gazed at her one last time—and whispered, " Bells . . ." Then he silently slipped out the door.
Before leaving the funeral home, Embry looked into the casket and noticed a charm in the form of a wooden heart. It hung on a leather cord. The features of a wolf were carved onto the surface. On the opposite side, the initials: JB & BS were delicately inscribed. There were beads hanging from the bottom edge of the charm. At the end of the beads, instead of a feather, a silver wire was wrapped around a lock of Jacob's hair. Embry nearly crumpled at the sight.
That night all of LaPush were privy to the anguished howls of a lone wolf. The animalistic wailing lasted well into the early morning hours.
Jacob was never the same. The sunny disposition was gone. The smile had vanished, a blank expression taking its place. Then there were the fits of anger. He would scuffle with anyone over anything. The anger was escalating to the point that he was in a constant state of rage. One day, he was out of control. The police were called in to help. They had to take him away in a straight jacket for his own safety and that of his family.
Quil and Embry looked sadly at the shell that was once their best friend. A nurse came by and said, "Mr. Black, it's time for your medication."
"We'll see you soon," Quil offered.
Jake's voice rang out, "Bells, honey, they're leaving. Come say goodbye."
The two loyal friends drove down the long cobblestone road. As they headed on their way back to LaPush, the gated compound slowly shrunk out of sight. It was now concealed behind an elaborately painted sign that read:
Clallam County Behavioral Health Facility
We Repair Broken Lives.