This is my first fanfic. I have never written anything other than essays and letters before this. The first three chapters were a bit of a learning curve for me, but I like to believe I improved over the course of this story. Happy reading!


Thanks go out to Edwardsfavoritebrunette and itsange, both from Project Team Beta, who have beta'ed this chapter for me.


Disclaimer
The following is based on the characters, settings, and events that appear in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. All recognizable and/or trademarked elements, including, but not limited to, characters, settings, events, plot points, etcetera, are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended. The author of this specific story (known by the pen name, light4dawn) is not associated with Stephenie Meyer, or any affiliates involved with the Twilight series. This work is intended for entertainment purposes only, and no profit is knowingly generated as a result of it. Only aspects entirely unique and original to this story are owned by this story's author.

Chapter 1 - Old Friends and New Foes

Chapter 1 begins on March 18th, 2006. Alice arrived in Forks two days ago, after seeing Bella jump off the cliff. After two days without speaking to her, Jacob surprises Bella with a visit. They argue, apologize, and share a very tender moment together. They are holding each other, and Jacob is about to kiss a very indecisive Bella when the phone rings...

The phone rang and rescued me from a decision I wasn't ready to make. I quickly reached for it to avoid what had seemed inevitable a moment ago.

"Hello?" I answered.

There was no reply.

"Hello? Swan residence, Bella speaking. Can I help you?" Maybe we had a bad connection. Maybe it was some kids making crank calls.

"Hello? Is anyone there?" I asked once more.

"Bella, hang up. If it's important, whoever it is will call back," Jacob said impatiently.

I shrugged, decided he was right, and hung up.

I turned around, and faced a sad, vulnerable, and disappointed Jacob. The phone call had distracted me enough that I had forgotten what had been about to happen moments before, but the look of rejection on Jacob's face, brought me back to kiss that never was.

"Jake…"

"It's okay, Bella. I told you I won't give up, and I'll always be here for you, no matter what. So, here I am." He understood I wasn't ready, and yet held nothing against me.

"You should be with a girl who can give you what you need and deserve."I walked to him, wrapped my arms around his waist, and rested my forehead on his chest.

"If she isn't you, then she's not who I want."

Again, I felt the need to hold on to him forever, to stake my claim. I wanted Jake to be mine, but it was selfish, and ultimately destructive, for us both, especially him.

"You don't deserve this, Jacob. You don't deserve to be hurt like this. Seeing you in pain hurts me, too." Yet, if I really cared for him, shouldn't I be able to let him go?

"Don't ever worry about hurting me. Nothing you do can come close to hurting me as much as it would if you weren't in my life. I'd rather be your friend forever, never touching you differently, or share anything more than what we have now, than to lose you. I don't care if you're with me because you need me, or that you're even using me. I just need to know you care about me, trust me, and I make you happy." Jacob's lips were close to mine, his breath warm on my face.

It seemed he always knew what I needed to hear. Somehow, even when he was the one in pain, he always found the right things to say to make my pain, guilt, and suffering lessen.

He took me in his arms, his soft flesh bringing me into his warmth. Jacob's touch, soothed me, keeping the hole in my chest from staying empty. When he held me, I felt love radiating from his body, infiltrating the walls I had built around myself. I held on, my eyes closed, and drifted into the imagined world where Jacob took away my hurt and gave me my life back. In this world, I was brought to life by a warm, moist touch that woke my sleeping heart. No, that wasn't in my imagined universe. Jacob had kissed my bare neck. It was nothing more than a peck, but the heat from his lips, and the unexpected nature of it, stunned me. I couldn't move and realized I wasn't breathing. He released me, looked into my eyes, and smiled.

"I have to go. I need to check in at Harry's, and your friend is probably waiting for you," he said.

I had almost forgotten about Alice. Of course, thinking of her now made me feel strangely guilty, but before thought up anything to reassure him, Jake smiled and said, "I love you Bells, I really do, and I'll be back, soon. Don't go anywhere." And he was gone.

Alice appeared at my front door as soon as Jacob left.

"Bella, I can't decide if you subconsciously seek out monsters, or if they're the ones that gravitate to you. I fully expect a sociopath to be madly in love with you the next time I visit. Of course, that might be too tame for the likes of you," Alice commented as she walked into the house.

"Alice, Jake's a really good friend who's been taking care of me," I replied. "If it weren't for him, I'd be completely lost, and probably dead. He's the only light in my life right now, so please don't."

"Okay, Bella. I didn't mean anything by it. I'm just concerned for your safety, and I want you to be happy." Alice was apologetic.

"So, I guess you have to get going now, before anyone notices where you are." I wanted to change the subject. Speaking to her had the same effect as talking about her with Jake. I cared for both of them so much, and hearing them express their hatred for each other hurt me.

Alice shrugged. What did that mean? "What? You don't have to go?"

She smiled. It was a familiar smile I'd seen before. She was about to bend the rules. "We were all instructed not to contact you, or check on you in any way, but since he's already… Maybe I'll stay a little longer."

I was so happy I jumped up and threw my arms around her neck, and probably would have knocked her over if she weren't stronger than on Olympic weight lifter. After the initial elation faded, I wondered about what she had said. "What do you mean 'since he's already'? Since who's already what?"

Alice looked at me innocently and asked, "What do you mean Bella? I don't know what you're talking about."

"Alice, you know I heard correctly, so why don't you tell me because I won't stop asking, especially now that I know you want to hide it from me."

"Look, Bella, I'm not supposed to be here. I wasn't even supposed to look for you, and now I'm sure he's angry with me."

"Wait, I thought you said he was travelling and only checks in every few months. You said he's really angry, as in present tense. How would he know you were checking on me? Does this have something to do with my previous question? Since who's already what?" My voice grew louder with every word.

Alice sighed again. If there was one thing about her, she was incapable of keeping secrets from her friends and family.

"Okay, fine. I made the mistake of telling Rosalie what I saw, and after I left, she called Edward and told him. He called here just a few minutes ago to confirm if it was true, but you answered the phone, so he knows my vision was wrong."

I didn't know why, but I was angry. It surprised me. I thought I'd be elated if Edward called, even if all he did was hear my voice and hang up. These past months, all I wanted was some contact with Edward. I had sworn to myself, over and over, that I'd take anything. I would've been willing to accept a sigh, a look, anything, as long as it was Edward; yet, I had gotten just that, and I was furious. Perhaps, not quite furious. If I were honest, I was more hurt than anything else. It only confirmed he didn't love me anymore. I had spent so much time risking my life to hear his voice, but the sound of my voice didn't even move him to speak to me.

"He can't do that! It's not fair!" I shouted. "He can't disappear from my life, taking all of you with him, forbidding you from contacting me, promising me he'll never come back, that it'll be as if he's never existed, and then decide to check in on me!" I felt tears well up in my eyes against my will. I was overwrought with frustration and pain. "He leaves without giving me a good reason. One day, we're in blissful love, and then he doesn't want me anymore. Now, just as I'm beginning to fill the emptiness inside me, as I'm starting to come back to life, he calls and hangs up? Is he trying to find the perfect opportunity to reappear, so he can destroy me for good?" Tears rolled down my cheeks.

Alice gave me a pained look and bowed her head down, ashamed. "Bella, we should have said something. I should have at least said goodbye, no matter what Edward asked of me. I'm sorry. And you're wrong about Edward. He thought you were dead. He only wanted to make sure that you hadn't…" Alice didn't finish her sentence.

"Hadn't what, Alice? Hadn't killed myself? Was he afraid he might have to live for all eternity with the guilt of killing me? For that, he had to call me? He couldn't just call you? He couldn't wait a day or two to look up a newspaper article or something?" I was consumed by emotion and my body shook while my words sputtered out between sobs. "Since when did a Cullen have trouble finding information? I guess it doesn't matter to him that it tortures me to be reminded of him. All my efforts now go into keeping myself together."

"Bella, you don't know everything. Think about him, Bella, about what he's like, not what he said to you that day." Alice was pleading, but I didn't want to hear about Edward. It was too painful.

"Alice, don't. Don't make me think about him, or that day. It's taken months to come back to this half life I'm living. It's taken all my strength, and all of Jacob's patience and affection, to live again. Please, don't ask me to think about him." I slowly eased into calm once Jacob's name escaped my lips. Jacob was the one who had saved me. I knew he loved me with all he had, and he would never leave. So, why was I still broken and alone?

"Okay, Bella. I'll do whatever you ask."

Alice and I spent the rest of the researching colleges. It was her idea. I had been neglecting—no, downright avoiding—this task. She insisted I had to apply, and if I decided not go, I could always say no later. We dug around for whatever applications I had, and she ran over to the old Cullen place and got others. I guessed they had been intended for her or Edward.

It had gotten late, and I had put everything away to start dinner, when the doorbell rang. I looked at Alice, wondering why she didn't announce our visitor in advance, but her irritated face told me who it was.

I answered the door to Jake who stood with his arms crossed in front of him.

"Hey, Jake, I–" He walked past me and straight to Alice. I wasn't used to being ignored by him.

He stood inches from her, probably trying to look menacing. "Listen, leech–" Jacob began.

"Jake, her name's Alice."

"Okay, fine. Alice, we need to know if you're leaving soon. The treaty line's causing problems." Jacob loomed over her, a giant next to her petite frame.

Alice went up on her toes, leaned her head forward, and shot back at him, "Don't worry, dog. I'm leaving today, so go tell your leader you can roam around wherever you want. I don't get it though, what's the hurry? Not enough land in La Push for the doggie Olympics?" Alice taunted. She tried but failed miserably at looking even remotely threatening. Under different circumstances, it would have been quite amusing.

"Look, not that you're any help, but we picked up a fresh trail for that red-headed leech, and it's gone off our territory. Normally, I couldn't care less, as long as she stayed away, but this one's after Bella. So, yeah, I want to roam around on your land. If you don't mind, we'd like to kill the bloodsucker, that's trying to kill Bella, because of her association with all of you." Jake pointed accusingly at Alice.

"Sorry, I didn't mean… You're right. If only I'd seen Victoria coming back for Bella," Alice answered.

Suddenly, she looked up, staring at Jacob accusingly and spat out, "If I could see past you and your hounds from hell, we'd have been here long ago. Your presence has completely muddied my ability to see!" I had never known Alice to be so…rude. It only lasted a moment, before she composed herself and finished her speech with, "Thank you, Jacob, for taking care of Bella all this time. You're right, we caused this problem, and we'll fix it. I'll call the rest of my family."

"Look, we don't need, or want, your help. We can protect Bella as long as you, and your coven, don't get in our way. Besides, you apparently can't see anything when we're involved, which I have to say is the only good news I've had from your visit. What do you propose to do for us, give weather reports? Believe it or not, we do get the weather channel on the rez," Jake snickered with an expression full of bitterness, arrogance, and disdain.

"I can rip apart a vampire just as well you, and you've been unable to catch her. She has special talents, you know. Hers is a supernatural ability to evade danger. Exactly what do you have to get past that? Is there one among you who can see her moves before she makes them? Oh wait, that's my special talent," Alice returned smugly. I guess Jake's attitude was getting contagious.

"We don't work with leeches; we kill them."

They were starting to get too close, as they pointed and poked. I squeezed myself in between them, looked at Jake, and said, "Jake, she's my friend, and you know she's not like that. If Alice can help, I think you should let her. The pack's getting exhausted with around the clock patrols. Alice doesn't sleep, and she can predict Victoria's moves before she makes them."

"We don't need another patrol buddy, not one that stinks like that," Jacob sneered, pointing to Alice. "She can't see anything anyhow, so I'm not sure how her 'special talent' is going to help us." Jacob was stubbornly holding on to his hatred for the Cullens.

"Listen, dog–" Alice began.

"His name's Jacob," I interrupted

"Fine! Listen, Jacob, I can't see when the wolves are around, like when you pulled Bella out of the water, but I can see when you aren't there, like when Bella jumped in the water. So, maybe I can't tell you if you're going to catch Victoria, if she's going to kill you, or if you're going to kill her, but I can tell you what she's decided to do, where she'll be, and when she'll get there. Unless, of course, that information is completely useless to you."

Jacob wanted her help, but he wasn't about to ask for it, at least not nicely. "Fine, I'll talk to Sam and try to work something out, but only because Bella trusts you."

Jacob was about to leave, when Alice started to stare into space. She had the same strange look she got when she was having a vision. I grabbed Jake's arm before he left and gestured toward Alice. It was only a few seconds, but it was eerie all the same, as we waited for Alice to speak.

"She's decided to go to Seattle, to meet someone. She's got a new companion, male, looks like he was in his late teens when he was turned. I recognize him, sort of, but she's not doing anything with him or making plans. All I know is that he's her companion, but he's also going off on his own a lot. I don't understand their relationship." Alice looked confused.

I gave her a paper and pencil, and she drew frantically. I recognized the face, but I couldn't place it. Jake stared at it too. We were all looking intently at the drawing, when Charlie got home.

"Hey, kids. Alice. I thought you would have hit the road by now." He walked over to the table and glanced at Alice's picture. "Hey, did you draw this? Looks just like that kid, Riley. Did you know him?" Charlie asked.

"Dad, who is he?"

Charlie was confused. He looked from Alice—who was still spaced out—to me and replied, "He's some kid who's been missing for about a year. There are posters of him around Seattle, and I got one sent to me at the station recently. Why? Did you kids know him?"

Again, Charlie was staring at Alice, so I tried to deflect. "Oh, it's someone Alice used to know. We didn't recognize his name, but she thought we might remember if we saw his face." Then I said in a hushed tone to Charlie, "I think she's kind of upset to find out he's missing, Dad. Maybe we should give her some space?"

Charlie didn't need to be told twice that this had the potential to turn into an emotional teenage girl situation. He left the kitchen, went to the living room, and turned on the TV.

Alice looked up at Jacob and whispered, "Riley's planning something. He's creating new vampires. Just a few it looks like, maybe five or six, at least that's his plan for now."

Jacob was horrified. He and Alice stared at each other and then turned to me.

"You and your pack can't go into Seattle, but my family and I can," Alice said to Jacob. "I don't know what Riley's plans are, but he's associated with Victoria, and according to Charlie, he can't be more than a year old. That means he can't be the one in charge."

Jacob opened his mouth to speak, but Alice interrupted before he could begin.

"Jacob, we love Bella too, and we can go into Seattle, no problem. You know you and your pack could never go there and phase. You'd have no way of remaining inconspicuous in the city." She was serious and no longer spoke as though they were enemies.

"I have to tell Sam, be right back," Jacob said, nodding in agreement.

Alice and I waited in silence for the few minutes it took for him to return.

"Okay, Sam says we can look out for Forks and Bella, while you take care of Seattle. However, if Victoria and her minions leave the city, let us know. We want to help." Jacob sounded more cooperative, the rancour gone from his voice.

Alice wasted no time. She immediately dialled and spoke into her phone with the quiet, speedy, vampire voice.

I was in shock and hadn't realized I had a horrified expression on my face. Jacob took one look at me and pulled me into his arms.

"It's okay, Bells. Don't worry. I'm going to take care of you. I'll do anything to keep you safe, even if it means asking all the Cullens to come back. Even if I have to beg Edward to come back, I'd do it, for you," Jacob whispered.

In the past, hearing Edward's name had always caused me pain, but when Jacob said it now—the way he said it—it was only a name. There was no pain nor did anything dig into my chest. All I heard was Jake telling me how much he loved me. He loved me enough that he was willing to call the one person he hated most, that he feared could take me away from him, and whom he could never protect me from. I saw more than my Jacob. I saw a boy who accepted a situation without struggle that only a man could accept.

As Jacob held me and filled my empty heart, giving me hope. I looked up at him as he looked down at me. His eyes were full of love and patience, all of it for me.

"I have to go, but I'll be back. Wait for me." He bent down and kissed the top of my head and left.

Once he was gone, I noticed Alice looking at me. I knew she had heard it all, and likely saw everything, too. It was innocent, but she knew, as I did, what it meant to me, what Jacob meant to me. She didn't ask me about it. Instead, she smiled, put an arm on my shoulder, and said, "Emmett can't wait to come to Seattle for a real fight, same with Jasper. Rosalie, Carlisle, and Esme are coming too."

"What about…" I started to say, but didn't continue.

"We're going to wait to see what the situation is like in Seattle, first. I saw five or six, but that's in the near future. Right now, it's probably less, so it may not be necessary to…call in anyone else," she said, hesitating near the end. "I'm going back to our old house to prepare. Are you and Charlie going to be okay here?" Alice asked.

"Yeah, we're fine. You go. Jacob, or one of the pack, is always here watching me and Charlie."

"Bella, despite everything, I see Jacob loves you and will protect you."

"I know, Alice; I just don't know if there's enough of me left to give to him."

She looked at me, a little sadly it seemed, and then she quietly left.


Chapter End Notes:

What is going on in Seattle, and why is Alice able to see Victoria now, but not before? Will Alice see more? Will Victoria's plans change?

And will Jacob finally kiss Bella?

Find out in Chapter 2 - The Roles We Play

Ah... my very first chapter of my very first fanfiction story, which is also the very first piece of fiction I've written since the fifth grade. A review would be quite encouraging... Just saying...