*For those of you who have already read my story, Firebird, up to date, you will find that I am going back and revising the story. I feel that I have grown a bit in my writing skills and I found that I was not satisfied with the way that it was written. Here is my revised Chapter One, starting even before the original Chapter One. Let me know what you think.
*I in no way shape or form, own these characters, or any rights to the unbelievable fortune that Stephenie Meyer is surely raking in due to the invention of these characters.
*I'd like to send a huge thank you to my reviewers. You all are what helps me to hone my writing and also gives me confidence to allow these characters to take on their own life. Love you guys!
*I have no beta, so please excuse grammatical errors. Reviews are most appreciated, educational and motivating. Hope you enjoy.
Fate Can Be a Temperamental Mistress
Bella lay freezing in the tent. A snowstorm raged on outside. Evendressed in her warmest clothes, with thermals on underneath, a warm hat, and burrowed into her down sleeping bag, she couldn't stop herself from shivering violently. She felt as if she was frozen through. Her heart went out to Edward who loved her so very much, but could only look on as her body quaked with the cold. Bella guessed that the temperature was probably between about fifteen to twenty degrees, outside and wondered if she would be able to avoid hypothermia before morning.
She tried to distract herself with thoughts of her decision to finally accept Edward's marriage proposal, just the night before. The ring was beautiful, she had to admit, but huge. She felt a bit funny about wearing it. Big diamonds were just not Bella's usual jeans and comfortable sweater style, but it had belonged to Edward's mother, so she thought of it as a very special token of Edward's affection.
She imagined herself being turned. Bella the Vampire. It had been what she had wanted from the beginning, but thoughts about leaving Charlie, Renee, and Jacob behind, forever, caused her undeniable pain. She chose to try and focus on spending eternity with the bronze haired, quietly serene man in whom she had chosen instead.
God, this cold was becoming almost unbearable. Bella heard the zipper on the tent being unzipped, but her mind was growing ever more sluggish as she became more and more numb.
Jake looked down at her shivering form and looked to Edward. Jake had an impish smile on his face.
As Edward read his thoughts, he was angered. "Don't even think about it!" He roared.
"Fine, but if she freezes to death, it's on you. Jake turned to leave the tent, reluctantly, scared to death for Bella's safety. To his relief, Edward shouted for him to wait. No words were necessary. Jake knew that Edward would rather have Jake lay in the sleeping bag with Bella to keep her warm, though it ate at him. The tortured look on Edward's face said it all. "Don't get any ideas, Jacob." Edward spat, through gritted teeth.
Jake just smiled at him and gently unzipped the sleeping bag an edged his way into the tight confines, zipping it closed to retain the heat. Wrapping his arms around Bella, he laid her head on his chest. Bella felt the sudden heat radiating against her frozen body.
"Mmmm." She moaned. "Feels good." Edward gritted his teeth, emotion showing in his eyes.
Bella quickly began to doze off into a blissful sleep as Jake's heat seeped into her bones. They laid there like that for a moment, Jake gazing down at Bella's small form. Her face, so sweet as she slept. Her body seemed to mold perfectly to his own.
"Can you at least try to control your thoughts?" Edward snapped. It was clear that watching this happen and hearing Jake's most personal inner thoughts, was sheer hell for Edward.
"She loves me, and you know it." Jacob looked Edward directly into his amber eyes.
"Maybe. But she wouldn't leave me for you." Edward smiled confidently. Jacob said nothing in return. He knew that Edward was probably right. Bella had made that quite clear on so many heartbreaking occasions before. He decided to just enjoy this closeness to Bella that he had, if only for tonight and bent his head a bit to fill his senses with her scent, while he still could.
Edward watched, outwardly calm, yet he could clearly see and hear the kind of love that Jacob had for Bella. It was surprisingly pure. It made Edward feel a hint of jealousy. Secretly Edward wondered if he truly loved Bella in the same intense, absolutely selfless way that Jacob did. After all, Bella was his singer. Would the yearning that he felt for her, stop after she was changed? Suddenly it hit him like a punch in the chest. Jacob could truly give Bella the life that Edward never could. Edward felt a rush of panic that he had allowed this thought into his mind confused about whether it was actually his thought, or Jacob's. He watched Jacob as he held Bella with such tenderness. He knew that with Jacob, Bella would have to give up nothing. Nothing, but the possibility of immortality. An existence that both he and Rosalie, had always despised.
Jacob could give her children and grow old, alongside of her, leaving a legacy for their children's children. Bella would never have to give up Charlie or Renee, in whom she loved so deeply.
Edward looked up to see Jacob's eyes boring into him.
"What's with the look on your face, Cullen? Does it bother you that bad to see me next to her?"
Edward just scoffed at Jake's jibe.
"So let me get this straight." Jake pressed on with this conversation. "You can just thumb through my mind like a magazine, but you won't even share one of your thoughts with me?"
Edward was silent for a moment. "Look, Jake, if she chooses you, I won't blame either of you."
This remark caught Jake off guard, taking him a moment to recover. Half laughing, half forbidding himself to hope, he answered, "Well that's all, real big of you, Edward, but we both know that you've got your hooks in her so deep. Look, I know that she loves me too, but just not enough." Jacob could feel the pain of his heart breaking, once again, even as he spoke those words.
Edward and Jacob said no more to each other for the remainder of the night, both lost in their own thoughts.
The sun finally crept over the mountain and with it, the footsteps of a phased, Seth Clearwater. Edward's ears easily picked up the soft sound of paws in the deep snow, from far off.
Jacob had torn himself away from Bella's sleeping form, with a heavy heart. He was already out checking the woods for her safety before she had even awoken.
Edward watched her intensely as her eyes slowly opened, heavy lidded. She blushed at Edward's intense stare, knowing that she must look a mess. Hair tousled hair, probably slightly matted, hanging under her warm hat. It was then that Edward knew that he could not and would not let her go so easily, as her blood, warmed by Jacob and the down sleeping bag, sang to him. Edward smiled. Though Bella thought that it was for her, the truth was that a plan was forming deep within the recesses of his mind.
Hearing Seth's thoughts communicating with Jacob, he knew that Jake was on his way back up the mountain. Putting on his most dazzling visage, he grinned at Bella, lifting her to her feet. Leading her outside¸ he leaned in close to her as if to show her the affection that she always seemed to crave, hearing Jake approaching. "Look at this Winter Wonderland, Bella."
Bella smiled and squinted as the sun sparkled off of the snow, reminding her of Edward's skin. As Jacob grew closer, Edward leaned even closer to her. "Don't worry, Mrs. Cullen. Everything will be alright.
A flash of confusion at Edward's sudden affectionate attitude and a touch of discomfort of being called Mrs. Cullen, passed through Bella's mind, wondering why Edward would choose now, the day of extreme danger and certain carnage, to try and show such affection for her. Despite her confusion, she forced a smile, before the unthinkable happened.
Jacob appeared, from down the path, looking as if he had just been shot in the back by his best friend.
He looked at Bella with desperation in his eyes. "You're marrying him?"
Bella couldn't think for a moment. Then suddenly she looked at Edward. All of the pieces had fallen into place. "You did this on purpose!"
Edward's voice was cool. "He deserves to know."
As Jake turned and stormed off with fast, long strides, Bella moved to run after him, but Edward grabbed her arm to stop her. She turned on him with a look of fury that Edward would have never known that she was capable of.
"Let go of me!" She screamed through gritted teeth. Wrenching her arm from his grip, she ran as fast as she could, in the direction that Jacob had gone. Seeing him up ahead, she yelled to him. "Jacob!" He looked behind him, fury and tangible hurt on his face, but kept walking.
"Jake!" She tried once more, but he ignored her. Desperation built up in her chest at his retreating form. Stiffening her spine, she took on her most commanding tone. "Jacob Black, come back here, right now!"
Jacob, fueled by this final straw, this nail in the coffin, spun on his heels. "Why should I?"
"Because, I want you to!"
"Not good enough, Bella!" He went to turn away again.
"I need you Jake!" Her voice was growing hoarse from yelling. He turned once more.
"Still not good enough!" He began his retreat, once again. Bella did the one thing that she knew would bring him back to her. Her pulse pounded a fast rhythm in her ears. "Jacob, kiss me!"
Jacob stopped in his tracks. Turning, he looked at her face for only a moment. He saw the sincerity in her eyes, as if he would need any excuse. Quickly, he closed the distance between them and kissed her, long, passionately, pouring all of the love that he had pent up for her into the kiss. Bella wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back. She felt the kiss take on a life of its own as she was being swept away. Lacing her fingers through his hair, her heart felt as if it would burst out of her chest and it was then that she knew. This was the love that she had been longing for in her heart all along. This open and heartfelt affection. This passion. She knew then that Jacob Black loved her just for being her. Not because her blood was like his "own personal heroine." She had loved him all along, the three of them had all been aware of that this whole time, but as their hearts thundered together at the magic of this kiss, she knew that she loved and would always love Jacob Black, much more than she could love anyone else.
Jacob pulled back a bit and laid his forehead against hers. She looked deep into his eyes. "Jacob, it's you. I've been so foolish. Bella began to laugh and cry at the same time. Suddenly her eyes took on a genuinely pleading look. Please forgive me, but I know that I could never feel with anyone the way that I just felt with you." Bella's eyes spilled over with overwhelming, pent up emotion. A shuffling in the trees caused them both to look toward the campsite. Edward stood watching as still as a statue.
"I'm sorry." Was all that Bella could say, only audible enough for a Vampire's keen sense of hearing. What could she possibly say or do to make this easier?
A voice suddenly rang out of the forest.
"Oh, look at this. It seems that we have stumbled upon a little love triangle. I've always enjoyed a bit of drama." Bella recognized that face from the wanted posters that had been plastered from Seattle to Forks for the last eight months.
"Riley Beers." The name left her mouth before she realized that she had said it out loud. This seemed to startle him for a moment, but he proceeded toward them.
Suddenly, Jake was backing away from Bella, causing her a moment of confusion, but then as quick as a flash, he phased into his giant russet form. Bella was shocked, until Riley got close enough that she could see that his irises were red with blood lust. Riley was a newborn.
Hearing a huge crack behind her, she whirled around, just as Jake charged Riley beside her. A flash of red caught her eye up in the gigantic tree that Edward was currently pushing over.
Victoria. She leapt out, just before the tree thundered to the ground. She was strong, but Edward was fast. Bella heard a nauseating crunching sound as Edward ripped off one of her arms. Victoria screamed at him. A war cry. Out of nowhere, Seth jumped out and grabbed her in his giant jaws, by the shoulder, giving Edward just the leverage that he needed. Vaulting toward her, he snapped the head from her shoulders, the lifeless, marble-like body, lay in pieces in the snow. Edward quickly whipped out a Zippo lighter and lit Victoria's remains. They went up like a roman candle.
Seth was feeling his oats, now. He might be the youngest of the pack at fifteen, but he would prove that he was just as strong and capeable as anyone else in the pack as he turned and charged toward Riley.
Hearing Seth's thoughts, Jake was distracted for a split second, from this grueling fight with the uber-strong newborn and yelled, "Seth, no!" Riley took advantage of that moment and grabbed Jake stretching his arms around each flank and squeezed, a horrible bone crushing sound rang out, causing Bella to fall to her knees.
Riley immediately turned his attention to Bella, who smelled irresistible. Becoming unaware of anything but his lust for Bella's blood, he charged her, never seeing Edward and Seth coming. He never made it to Bella as pieces of his body soon fed the very same fire that consumed Victoria.
Seth turned immediately toward Jake's still form, ears down, a high pitched whine coming from his throat.
Bella was already kneeling by Jake's side, rubbing his face and ears, gently. "Hang on, Jake, please hang on. We didn't make it to this moment only to be separated. You will hang on!" Bella's emotion shook her voice as hot tears poured down her face.
Edward took one more painful look at Bella, before rushing to the battle that he was sure, was raging below. He heard the thoughts of Paul and Jared as they kept perfectly still, hidden in the woods, watching the scene in the clearing just beyond the tree line. Apparently, Sam, Quill, and Embry, Leah, and Seth, had rushed back up the mountain to get Jake back to La Push. It was clear that the pack was well aware of Bella's choice. They thought of her suddenly, as an insider, as quickly as that.
Edward could hear sinister and prideful thoughts approaching as he joined his family in the field where the battle had played out, fires burning the bodies of newborns crackled in various spots around the clearing.
The sinister thoughts became louder as the figures of Jane, Alec, and Felix, seemed to drift into the clearing like black smoke.
Jane was the first to speak. "Amazing. I've never seen such a small coven remain completely intact after such an assault." Alec and Felix remained still and quiet next to her, but each Cullen knew exactly what violent actions that they were capable of.
Once again, Jane spoke, her voice an even sound, laced with self- important boredom. "Where is the human who was supposed to be changed?"
Edward stepped forward. "Bella was unfortunately killed only moments ago by a nomad name Victoria." Edward's true emotions helped to sell this story. "Surely, Jane, if Aro had known of this nomad, she would have been dealt with, I assume"
Edward had set Jane on the defensive. The other Cullen's looked at Edward's cool visage toward Jane with horror, shock and sadness at the loss of Bella. Alice, however, understood what Edward was up to and was genuinely sad for her brother for an entirely different reason.
Jane's eyes flashed as she opened her mouth to reply, but her words were cut short as a newborn, who apparently had hid on the field, bolstered with the strength and paranoia of the recently turned, jumped out of her hiding place and with a tremendous show of instinct and strength, ripped Jane's head cleanly from her body.
Paul and Jared shared a look for only a millisecond, descending upon Alec and Felix. Jared took care of a shocked Alec well enough, but Felix was giving Paul a real run for his money. Suddenly Emmet joined the fight and he and Paul quickly dispensed of the powerful and large Volturi. Aro's messengers were fed to the flames as Paul and Jared ran to join the rest of the pack.
The Cullen's formed a circle around the obviously terrified newborn. She couldn't have been more than sixteen or seventeen, with red eyes and beautiful, long, wavy, black hair.
Esme spoke softly to her. "Come with us, honey. We will not hurt you, I swear that. We will help you." The girl coward a bit, but after a moment of noticing the amber eyes of these strangely peaceful Vampires, nodded her head as Jasper sent calming waves toward her. Esme still smiled kindly. "I'm Esme Cullen and this is my family. We all live together, but we do not as a rule live in violence. Please join us, won't you? We'll car for you, honey."
Slowly the girl nodded. "M-my name is Bree. She relaxed her posture a bit. Esme extended a hand to her, genuine kindness written naturally on her features. Bree stood slowly and very cautiously took Esme's hand.
The entire pack, now had Jacob on their shoulders. He had returned to human form and was clearly, badly injured. Bella walked silently beside them, tears pouring from her eyes as Jacob choked back cries of pain, sometimes unsuccessful. His torso seemed misshapen, as if it were caved in on itself, and his left arm was clearly out of socket. Bella cried out as his arm slipped off of his chest and dangled in an unnatural, nauseating fashion. Sam shot her a sympathetic look and carefully laid Jake's arm, back on his body and held it there with one of his arms, making the burden of Jacob's large shoulders, just that much harder to carry.
Finally, Billy's small red home came in to view. Bella ran ahead, to prepare him for what it was that he was about to see. Billy quickly wheeled himself through the open door and watched the silent procession of the pack as they bore a critically wounded Jacob. Billy moved down the ramp and out of the pack's way as they carried Jake inside and carefully laid him on the bed. At just the light impact of being laid on his bed, Jacob cried out and then, turned his head and wretched over the edge of the bed. As Bella and Billy watched, Bella laid her hand on Billy's shoulder, both in comfort and in need of comfort. Billy, reached up and squeezed her hand, his face pale and eyes wide, banked with tears. He wondered silently to himself, how it came to be that Bella was here with Jacob and not with the Cullen's. The news was quickly shared as Sam bent to whisper into Billy's ear of Bella's choice. This managed to comfort Billy a bit. He hoped that his son would live to enjoy the reciprocated love of the woman that had held his heart, since her return to Forks.
As the pack cleared out, Bella quickly cleaned up the floor and lift for a moment to find wash rag. Wetting it, she focused on the facts. It was true that Werewolves healed quickly, but in some cases, such as this one, healing the way that his bones were crushed, could actually be worse. They didn't always survive such serious injuries.
Bella gently bathed Jacob's face with the cool washcloth. "Hang on, Jake. I won't let you go now."
His voice was shaky and week, but still he spoke. "If I do die now, I will die a happy man, knowing that you love me, just as I have loved you for so long." The exertion of speaking was too much. Jacob's eyes rolled back into his head and he blacked out, mercifully.
Bella jumped as Sam's phone rang in his pocket, right around the corner. She could only hear one side of the conversation. "Of course, Carlisle. You would be most welcome. Yes, it will be no problem. We appreciate the help." There was a pause and then, "I can't thank you enough." And then, there was silence. Bella focused on bathing Jacob's sweaty face. She jumped as Sam lightly touched her on the shoulder. "Carlisle Cullen has volunteered to come and see to Jacob's needs. He'll be alright Bella." Bella let out a breath it felt that she had been holding in for an hour and held on to Jacob's right hand. "Oh, thank God." She whispered.
"This is something really special, Bella." Sam spoke softly, but Bella could tell by his eyes that he was in earnest. She knew that it was a very generous act of kindness that Carlisle was willing to care for Jake, but there seemed to be something more behind what he was saying. Sam seemed almost telepathic at Bella's confusion.
"Bella, this is the first time, since the treaty was made, that any of the cold ones have passed on to Quileute land. It is also a great kindness toward Carlisle's natural enemy that he is willing to help Jacob. I have ordered the pack not to phase, which will be difficult, as the Vampires are clearly our mortal enemies.
"Carlisle has a kind heart, Sam. That is the very reason that he is able to do what he does. He is around human blood, daily as a Doctor yet he does not let it affect him, due to the fact that he knew that all he ever wanted to do was help people. He never had any interest in being the monsters that he had encountered early on, during his stay with the Volturi. You have nothing to worry about, I promise you that, and I am so thankful to both you and Carlisle. Thank you for letting him come here, Sam." Bella's face was red and tear stained, her eyes puffy from crying. Sam nodded solemnly, conveying his understanding.
Once more laying a hand on Bella's shoulder as she knelt next to Jacob, he smiled for the first time. "Welcome to the pack, Bella. I am so happy that you are here. Jacob has had a fierce love for you and it is a wonderful thing to see my brother's affections returned, obviously with the same intensity." Bella managed a small smile. "I will never leave him, Sam. I have been so blind. I feel that I must ask that you would please forgive me for what I have put him through. For what I have put you all through. I am ashamed that I did not see the truth in my heart, until now. So much pain could have been avoided."
"No more of that, Bella. Sometimes it's hard to hear what's in our hearts and sometimes our hearts choose for us, leaving others in pain. Believe me, I know all too well." Bella's mind flashed to Leah and Emily. Sam continued. "There is nothing to forgive. You're here now, and that's all that matters." Laying his hand on Bella's head as if in a benediction, he left the room to meet Carlisle Cullen in front of the house. As alpha, he would see to it that Carlisle did indeed have safe passage. Sam found that he had the beginnings of a new found respect for Carlisle Cullen. This would take some getting used to.
*To my readers: Please note that I am in the process of reconfiguring this story. This is the first chapter that I have reconfigured. Understand that until I am done, the following chapters may not quite make sense, as some of the story line will be developing in a slightly different way. I hope that you have enjoyed this chapter and expect the second chapter very soon. Thanks for reading. Reviews are most appreciated, motivating, and instructive. I love hearing ideas from my readers, as well.