I don't own Twilight, Stephanie Meyer does.
Ok, I know that Bella and Edward are usually the standard with these things, but I adore Jake. I just do. He makes me warm and tingly inside.
I hope you enjoy!
I don't understand what is so hard to understand about following directions. Seriously. He had one job to do and that was to get to the shop on time to meet with the vendor. Now I had to get on the phone, salvage a business relationship, and set up a time for either the vendor to drive all the way back out here or for us to go out to him. Come to think of it, I think I'll send Paul out there. Make him do it. He got us into this mess, he has to get us out of it.
Paul had been working at my shop in Port Angeles for about six months and, trust me, hiring him was a favor to his brother-in-law Sam. Sam, unlike Paul, was an incredible mechanic and an even more brilliant business man. He helped me make Black Dog Motors the best and most dependable auto and specialty shops in Forks and all the way through to Seattle, actually. So much so, I was able to open a second shop in Port Angeles. But now that Sam's wife, Emily, was almost ready to pop with their first kid, he wanted to be around more for his family. Made sense, sure. Being totally selfish though, it seriously sucked ass. Because that meant Paul would be picking up the hours that Sam gave up. It hurt my brain. I had to do the thinking for both of us. Literally.
Thank goodness Emmett, his brother Edward, and Jasper were around. Those guys kept me sane, that's for sure. We'd known each other since high school and had been fooling around with cars ever since. Eddie took care of more of the sales end of things, I ran the place and did some work when I could, and Emmett and Jazz were two of the best mechanics along with Sam that I have ever known. I think the three of them were the reason Paul was still alive.
After setting things straight with the shops, I headed home. I loved my work and having a shop of my own was a dream come true but, lately, being home was where it was at. I loved being out in the middle of nowhere and I had always wanted to live in a cabin growing up. My place was the grown up version of that and it had become my sanctuary. Just me, my dogs, my truck, and my 65" plasma screen TV. No other complications, thank you. I had tried relationships before and it was too much of a hassle. It was hard for me to take women seriously. All of the women I had dated were hiding one thing or another, or basically weren't being themselves. I hated that. What was the point? Why would you get in a relationship with someone only to find out some five odd years down the line that they're really a completely different person? It was pointless. The set up I had now was just fine. Honest and real.
I pulled up in front of the house and I could hear my dogs barreling around from the back to meet me. My three boys – Dumb Ass, Idiot, and Goof. They were gorgeous Boxers, all rescues, and just complete screw balls. We got along great.
"Come on, guys. Dinner time!" They heard their two favorite words and took off to scramble into the back of the house before I even got to the front door. They knew what they were getting. I, on the other hand, had no idea what I had inside to scrape together for myself. I was a bad planner when it came to cooking. I could cook, don't get me wrong, but I was just lazy.
Just as I walked in the front door, my cell rang. No. No, I'm not going to answer it. I just entered my personal bubble and I don't want to ruin it. At least check the caller ID. Fine. Forks Shop. See? I knew it. Shit.
"Yeah?" This better be super important.
"Jake, it's Em. Sorry to bug ya , man. But you had to know. Forks has fresh meat." That was Emmett's polite way of saying a new person of the female persuasion moved into town. Emmett was a man whore. Pure and simple. He was hilarious, a good guy, and I loved him like a brother, but he had slept around this town at least three times over. He made it his business to keep track of who moves in and who leaves. I wouldn't be surprised if he kept a journal, he was that organized about it. I had asked him about it once and he basically spelled out his philosophy for me.
"Jake, it's like this. I love women. But there are so many different types of women! I think I might want to settle down one day but how will I know who the right one is if I haven't met them all?" He had a point, but he was missing the point at the same time. You can get to know women without nailing every single one you meet. Am I wrong in this? Besides, there are some girls in town who must have at least a few diseases that there just isn't a cream or a pill for. But Emmett's an equal opportunity… you know. It made me shudder just thinking about it.
"Emmett, I'm sure she'd absolutely love to hear that you refer to her like that. What, did she just move in this morning? An hour ago? How do you know?" This was entertainment for me. Who needed cable, sometimes, when you had Emmett to talk crazy?
"Ok, so I went to the diner to get some coffee to go because I'm working late on this damn clunker for Ben… he should just let this one go, man, the car's shot… Anyway, so I was getting some coffee and there was this vision! Blonde, gorgeous, body to die for. Seriously. I'd kill someone to go out with her just once!" Yeah, that would impress her. I set the dogs up with their dinner, freshened their water bowls, and started looking through my cabinets to find something for me as I listened to Emmett ramble on about his estimation of her measurements.
"Emmett, stop. Do you even know if she speaks English? Or have you planned your honeymoon already?" Soup? Eh, not feeling soup. Cereal would just be depressing. Ooh, grilled cheese! Decision made.
"Yes, jackass, I heard her order a cheese burger. With fries! She actually eats! I hate it when women eat salads when they know people are watching them but gorge when they're alone…" And my last root beer. How's my ice? Yeah, low on ice. I need to go to the store tomorrow. "Dude, are you even listening?" Shit. No, I wasn't.
"Sorry, Em. I'm trying to figure out what to have for dinner, I'm starving. So she eats. That's awesome. Did you talk to her?"
"Of course. Who do you think you're talking to?" Yeah, huh? What was I thinking?
"Sorry, sorry. So? And?" Humoring Emmett could be fun sometimes but difficult when you're hungry.
"Yeah… she blew me off. But that's ok! This is her first day. Give her some time to settle in, relax, and start to hear the word on the street when it comes to The Emmett Cullen." Ooooh yeah.
"Em, I don't know if that's really the road you want to take with someone new. Do you really want her to know your history? Let alone the fact that you have a reputation on the street. Do you honestly think that's a good thing?" I was trying not to laugh but it was getting more and more difficult.
"Whatever. Anyway, what's your problem, dude? You never date anymore! Everyone in town is starting to wonder about your celibacy. What's the deal? Lighten up and have some fun!" Ugh.
"I don't know, Em. I just have a lot of things on my plate and a relationship isn't one of them. Besides everyone has different ideas about what's fun, you know that." I didn't like the direction this conversation was going, meaning we were talking about me. So I tried to cut the conversation short.
"Look, Em, I'd love to hear the rest of this story but my stomach is starting to digest itself. Can we talk about this later?" I hope he understood because it was either that or make him feel bad. And I didn't have the heart to do that.
"Yeah, yeah, ok. But seriously, Jake, we're talking choice! She hasn't heard the last of me. Have a good one, man, and I'll see you, what? Monday?" Weekends were beautiful things.
"Yup, Monday morning. Bright and early. See ya, man."
"Yeah, later." Sigh. Well, at least I had some comic relief for tonight. That poor girl. She had no idea what he was getting herself into.
I woke up the next morning with sunlight streaming into my bedroom through the floor-to-ceiling windows. What was going on? Was I still in Forks? This had to be a good omen. Today was going to be a good day. I got out of bed and scuffed into the kitchen to start some coffee. Having nothing planned for today, it felt like heaven. I decided to go for a run after I got back from the store so I fixed a small breakfast and glanced through the paper. Nothing but bad news overseas, crazy-ass bastards trying to tear down the working man all over the country, and some dick in town decided to go on a stereo-stealing rampage. I tossed the paper in the recycle bin and finished my coffee in silence and with nothing but my thoughts.
My truck plowed up the long winding road to my cabin in no time, I hopped out, and grabbed my groceries from the back. Finally the boys made their first appearance of the morning. It was weird that I didn't see or hear from them earlier, but I thought nothing of it. Hopefully, they didn't kill anything I'd have to apologize for. No, they were good dogs. Just not the best judges of propriety.
The air was cool and crisp and absolutely perfect for a morning run on the trails through the woods. My breath fogged as I ran, the sweat on the back of my shirt stung cold against my skin, but my muscles felt great. The dogs always loved the runs too. They didn't always keep pace with me, often wandering off to explore, but they met up with me eventually. Suddenly, though, they screeched to a halt, their tails shot up straight, their ears all pricked in the same direction, and then all three darted off to chase… something. Usually, it wouldn't bother me, but I heard barking in the distance. Holy hell.
"Dumb Ass! Idiot! Goof! No! No! Come! Aw shit." I ran after them, picking up my pace to a sprint. Then I panicked because I heard a woman's voice in the distance as well calling to her dogs. No, no, no! Who else is up here? I'm the only one around for miles, aren't I? I ran into a clearing to find my crazy dogs playing with two very large and impressive German Shepherds, and jumping up on a tall blonde.
"Dumb Ass! Idiot! Goof! NO! Come. Now!" They immediately stopped what they were doing and trotted back to me with their heads hanging and tails between their legs. Yeah, they better be sorry. I ordered them to sit as I ran to the woman to check to see if she was hurt. She turned to face me, laughing.
"What did you call me?" Danger Zone. She was beautiful. I'm pretty sure I stared at her while I tried to think of something intelligent to say but all I could come up with was,
"Oh, hi." That was profound, Jake. You're such an ass. "No, sorry. Those are my dogs. That's Dumb Ass, that's Idiot, and that's Goof. Did they hurt you? We were out for a run and… are you ok?" Her hair shined in the sunlight, her brown eyes were so warm and deep as she giggled at me. She wore jeans that weren't too tight (I actually hated that, it couldn't be comfortable for them) but showed off her amazing everything, hiking boots, and a broken in Marine Corps t-shirt. The back of the shirt had a large insignia on it for the Third Battalion Seventh Marines, complete with a Kabar. You had to know someone to have a shirt be that specific. Hmm.
"No, I'm fine, it's good to see them again. Eric and Godric seemed to get along great with them earlier this morning. They're great dogs! My name's Rose." She held out her hand to shake mine but I was frozen in place. So that's where these monsters were earlier. And they didn't bring you along? Asses. Oh hell, she was still holding her hand out. What was happening to me?
"Sorry, I'm Jake. Jake Black. My place is down the hill a ways. Are you, uh…" I didn't want to seem too stalkerish. If she volunteered the information, that was great. If not, it wasn't my business. Shit, man, I hope she does. Seriously, what was happening to me? Where was my rough callous exterior? I'm sure I'm coming across like a slobbery puppy. Pull yourself together, man.
"I just moved in up the drive from out of town. It's absolutely beautiful here." I was starting to relax but, suddenly, there were so many questions I wanted to ask her. Again, I tried to keep the stalker factor to a minimum.
"Oh yeah? That's great. Yeah, that place has been empty for a while. It's been begging to be fixed up and lived in again. Where are you in from, if you don't mind me asking?" Talking to her was getting easier for some reason. Something about her was putting me at ease and it was a relief. I loved where I lived and, with her moving in so close, I didn't want to feel fenced in. My boys were getting restless by my side wanting to play with her dogs. I let them go and they were having the best time. Sometimes, the dogs know best.
"California. I'm a vet and I was working in connection with the program at UC Davis. I needed a change in scenery, I guess. Have you been here long?" Vet, huh? She's smart. And UC Davis was nothing to sneeze at. Interesting, the plot thickens. Goof walked back to me to be scratched and I got him in the spot right above the bridge of his nose as he liked.
"Forks, born and raised. Sad, I know. But I love it here. My family and friends are here, my business. It's my home." I felt exposed all of a sudden, I rarely spoke so openly with a stranger so quickly let alone an incredibly gorgeous woman. I looked down at Goof and tried to focus most of my attention on him and his ears. Hopefully that masked my embarrassment. She spoke in a softer tone than she had before.
"Wow, I'm jealous. I wish I felt that way about where I'm from. I seem to feel relieved whenever I leave a place that I've lived in for a while. I don't know, though. There's something about this place. Maybe it'll be different here." Now she was the one looking lost in thought. I think we've touched a nerve here, my man.
"Forks has it's ways if you let it, Rose. Well, like I said, I'm just down the hill a bit, about two miles or so. It's the first place you'll see heading down the road. Let me know if you need anything, ok? Besides, the boys seem to have become huge fans of yours. See you around?" I honestly hoped so. She seemed really nice, but had a little sadness in her. I couldn't imagine what it might be from but I chose not to think about it too much.
"I appreciate it, Jake, thanks. You've actually restored my faith in this place. I got hit on by the biggest sleaze yesterday in the diner. It was sad. I'll definitely be seeing you around. Enjoy your run!" She was the fresh meat Emmett was talking about! I almost choked on my spit trying to conceal this realization from her. We waved, I called the boys, and resumed our run back to the house. My mind was racing. She was unlike any woman I'd ever met. Sure we'd only talked for all of about ten minutes but still. As I headed into the house, I took off my sweaty t-shirt and kicked off my shoes and socks, and noticed that I was smiling. Shit.
Forks, Washington. Hm, we'll see. It was the farthest place I could go to get away from Davis that was close to the Pacific. Growing up in Southern California, the ocean was in my blood and being too far from it for an extended period of time became physically painful. Plus, it was a great opportunity to work not only in the vet clinic in town, but also in connection with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in their research section for large game. It would be a huge departure for me from the horses and cows I was used to but that was what I was looking for. Something completely different.
I didn't bring a lot of my stuff up with me either. The money I got from selling most of it pretty much paid for the rest of my shipping and moving costs. In my eyes, it was a win-win. I figured that the most fitting thing to do with a new place in a new state would be new furniture. Completely new surroundings. Start fresh. I liked the shopping part anyway. And the house's general state of disrepair gave me the opportunity to make it my own too. I had a good feeling about this place.
The area itself was foreign to me. Everything around me was lush and green, the air was fresh and crisp all the time, and things were clean. The woods were enormous and it felt comforting to be living in a place that was nestled in the middle of it rather than in town. Even though I was pretty much on my own up there, I still felt protected. Sheltered and hidden from outside forces. Davis wasn't like that. Not that it was the complete opposite, but there was a completely different feel. It was definitely rural (they were the Aggies, after all), and the land was beautiful in it's own way. But it was wide open and flat. I felt exposed and alone even though I had made quite a few friends there. It was a college town which made things interesting but you had to travel about thirty to forty-five minutes to reach some semblance of civilization in Sacramento. It was there that I discovered that there was actually a portion of the population that labeled themselves, "River Folk." Mullets and gun racks were the norm and they cooled their beer by tying a six pack to a rope and dropping it in the river. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it just wasn't me. Forks was a welcomed change from the dry dusty farmland in the spring and boiling summer and fall, and the frigid flooding hell of winter.
I might have spoken too soon. I had gone to the diner in town for a bite to eat before I went to the grocery store to stock my kitchen and pantry. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Anyway, I was sitting in a small booth minding my own business, like I do, and this guy came sauntering up to my table just after I ordered. He was attractive, yes, but he acted as though I should be impressed just by looking at him. Was this guy serious? All I wanted to do was take in the town in peace and on my own but this joker was having nothing of it. His tone of voice made me slightly ill.
"Well, hello! I thought I knew every beautiful woman within a fifty mile radius. How did you slip through the cracks?" Gross. He was obviously a big fish in a small pond who desperately needed to be dumped in the ocean and be taught a few things. I didn't respond to him, I only looked at him with a very annoyed look on my face. Hopefully he got my meaning. Apparently not.
"My name's Emmett. With you being new in town, you're going to need someone to show you around. Here's my number." He handed me a small cocktail napkin with his name and number scrawled on it in what looked like a child's handwriting. I looked at it and handed it back to him.
"No, thanks. I can find my own way around. A small town like this shouldn't be too hard to figure out. Like you, for example." Too harsh? I didn't care, I was hungry and I had started to like it here until he tried to ruin it for me.
"I see. Well, take my number anyway. You'll change your mind. They always do. Enjoy your burger." Oh gag. I wasn't hungry anymore. That sucked too because I didn't really go for left over burgers. Dick. When the food came, I took a few bites and asked for a to-go box. I made my way out to my truck determined to give this place a legitimate chance. It couldn't be this gorgeous for nothing. Plus, no one should be able to find me here.
It was getting close to midnight at Twenty-Nine Palms, and I wasn't supposed to be there. He smuggled me in. The smell of alcohol and cigarettes mixed with the dry wind shearing through the desert. This was an unholy place. "I can't talk to her the way I can talk to you… she's sleeping with some other guy right now, my cousin told me… I love her but I'm in love with you." Feeling the touch of his fingers and his breath on my skin, the giggling and whispering into each other's ears. No. No! Wait!
The next morning, I was up early preparing the house for some of my furniture to be delivered later this afternoon. I was still having those dreams. It had been two years, what was my problem? I decided to immerse myself in the house and try to forget. It would be hard but I hoped that, being in a new environment, it would be an easier process. I had already done some painting and refinishing in the critical places like the bedroom and the living room. Everything else could wait but I needed a place to sleep and a place to unwind when I wasn't sleeping. It made perfect sense to me. I fed my beautiful boys their breakfast and started something for myself while they ate. Eric and Godric were my babies and I had raised them since they were born. They were rescued from a hit and run accident. Some asshole hit their mother who was pregnant with six puppies. These two were the only ones we could save. I did the surgery so I got attached just like they say you shouldn't. But I couldn't help it. They were so helpless and innocent, I was determined to show them the unconditional love they deserved rather than being handed off to some random people who would just probably sell them. And they grew up into the fine specimens they are today, gorgeous German Shepherds. So proud, strong, and protective while being loving and playful when they wanted to. They were better than a boyfriend. They didn't rationalize and they didn't leave.
The sun was still in the process of rising and Eric, Godric, and I were outside as I cleared space for the delivery truck. Though no one had lived in this house for a while, the previous owners had left a crap-load of stuff behind. Random stuff too like rotted out wooden boards, old boxes with old paint cans and useless brushes, old curtains (I know!)… just crap. But the bones of the place were awesome. Two stories, stone fireplace, a large deck, and lots of windows. Everywhere I looked, I saw trees. And it was beautiful. As I was filling one of those trash trailers, I heard barking that wasn't coming from my boys. Eric and Gordric perked their ears in the direction of the barking and took a defensive stance in front of me. Three gorgeous Boxers came through the woods and approached cautiously. You could tell they were well trained and were just interested in the new scents they were finding. I gave my boys the clear to explore but carefully.
"Eric, Godric, gentle!" Their tails didn't come down all the way but they were getting there, the Boxers reacted in kind and I witnessed instant friendship created before my eyes. Dogs were such simple creatures. I wished humans could take some lessons from them. The world would be a much kinder place. The Boxers approached me slowly escorted closely by my dogs and they were so sweet! Whoever owned them showed them a huge amount of love and care. You could tell a lot about a person by their dogs and I just knew that whoever this person was had to have a kind heart. I looked forward to meeting their human. All of a sudden, as if they heard a silent alert of some kind, they all stopped and then darted back into the woods in the direction they came from. I had a feeling we'd see them again soon.
The Boxers didn't disappoint! About an hour later when I was checking the rest of the drive for stray crap, I heard the same sound of trotting paws coming through the woods, Eric and Godric pricked their ears and started wagging their tails in anticipation of seeing their new friends again. I hoped they didn't come alone this time. The Boxers came bounding into the clearing and resumed the play they left just an hour before. They ran to me as well, jumping up and licking me as I scratched them and ran my hands over their short soft coats. I heard yelling in the distance, though, and it was the voice of a man. Oh great. After about a minute, a young man about my age with bronze skin sprinted into the clearing and called his dogs to him with impressive authority.
"Dumb Ass! Idiot! Goof! NO! Come. Now!" Like I said, his dogs were well trained. They stopped immediately and ran to his side showing remorse for getting way from him. The names he called out better be his dog's names and, thankfully, they were. They weren't the most flattering but it's not like the dogs could tell. That made me smile. A sense of humor was always a good thing. And also as I said before, based on his dogs, he had to be a good guy. The dogs were too loving for him not to be. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt by introducing myself. Jake Black. I liked it. Very rugged. He was kinda staring, though. I was used to it but, with him, it was different. I could tell he was trying to stop and focus on me instead of what was under my clothes. That was rare. It didn't escape my notice, either, that he was super cute. Bordering on hot, to be honest. But girls can hide their ogling better than guys can. We just can. Conversation got easier between us as we went along and I realized toward the end that I enjoyed talking to him! I was enjoying a conversation with a man! There had to be a catch. Be careful, Rose. Just be careful. But he made to leave first, offered his help politely, and left with his dogs in tow. Sure I watched him run away and admired the view but I'm not made of wood. I think I'm definitely going to make an effort to see Jake again. He was definitely a huge plus in Forks' favor.