The House That Jake Built
By Lady of Spain
Disclaimer: S. Meyer owns Twilight.
Disturbing content. Warning: Death of major characters.
The house stood against the blackening sky, almost like a setting for a horror movie. It wasn't always like that. This house was built by Jacob Black and the workers from Uley's construction. Jacob loved designing the home; it was in his artistic nature. Now it was an empty shell. His four children wouldn't live in it, but couldn't bring themselves to sell the home they grew up in. Too many memories clung to the walls; it was a history of their lives in wood, sheetrock and shingles. And so it sat there, year after year; the weeds and trees overtaking it, claiming it as it did the earth surrounding its wooden frame . . .
Jacob was so happy when he finally married his Bella. It was almost sickening. His whole life centered around her. They were, as the saying goes, joined at the hip. It was no secret they adored each other. Then when they began their family, he became preoccupied, pouring his every effort into making them a home. This home wasn't a mansion, or pretentious in any way, it was however, a place where love abounded; a safe haven from the evils of the world. Laughter and music filled the halls, good books lined the shelves, rusty auto parts laid in every nook and cranny of the garage, and the aroma of good cooking wafted into the air every day of the week.
Then one day, all that changed. Bella was feeling tired much of the time, and she was complaining of back and rib pain. The clinic ran some blood tests and the results showed severe anemia. Well, that was no surprise. She was a poster child for a low blood count. She started on some iron tabs to boost her hemoglobin, but after a couple more months, her blood count was still low, in fact it had decreased significantly. The clinic referred her to a doctor in Tacoma who specialized in blood diseases. It took another six weeks to get an appointment, and several weeks after that to get bone studies and lab work done.
The phone rang one afternoon, and Carlie, their oldest daughter, took a message. The results were back; wanted to speak to Jacob and Bella in person, the following Wednesday.
"Bella, Jacob, I've got to be honest with you. The tests are conclusive. Bella, you have what's called multiple myeloma, a very aggressive case, I'm afraid."
Jacob looked at his wife of nineteen years; the color nearly drained from his face. He took Bella's hand and asked the obvious, "What does that mean?"
"It's a cancer of the blood cells, the plasma cells to be exact. They're the cells that form antibodies to fight off infection. In this case they don't function right, so antibodies aren't being formed properly, if at all. They also grow in the bone marrow, and cause tumors in the solid bone." He turned his kind eyes to Bella. "That's why you're having pain in your back and ribs."
The lump in Jacob's throat was making it difficult for him to speak. "But, there's gotta be something you can do. There's chemotherapy, right?"
Dr. Thompson folded his hands on the desk. "We can go that route, but it's only a matter of time. It can't cure the disease. I'm so sorry."
Bella sat up a little straighter in her seat, and in typical Bella fashion, simply blurted, "How long do I have?"
Looking down at his hands, the doctor replied, "One year, maybe less."
Jacob stood up so fast that the chair nearly toppled over. "No . . . no—I won't accept this . . . this is complete bullsh**! Someone mixed up the blood samples. It can't be true. I want a second opinion," he ranted angrily.
She squeezed Jacob's hand and shook her head. "Please, Jake, don't. I apologize, Dr. Thompson."
"No, it's understandable. I'm not offended. This is really hard news to take. I'll let you two discuss it and get back to me next week as to what your plans are."
The next week was fraught with tears and arguments. The children were aware of the tension in the air, but the couple wouldn't discuss it with them until they had come to a crucial decision.
It's not like they never fought, but Jacob and Bella couldn't stay mad at each other for long. The kids hadn't seen their parents argue like this before. What was going on? Their youngest, eleven year old Sarah, was convinced mom and dad were getting divorced. That could be the only explanation.
Bella finally convinced Jacob that having treatment would only prolong her pain and suffering. She wanted to be home with him, not spending time in and out of the hospital or the doctor's office. She didn't want to be vomiting all the time either. What kind of existence was that? Life needed to go on, as close to normal as possible. They needed to love each other for as long as time allowed. At least they knew when death was approaching, so they could say their goodbyes; they would be prepared for the end.
The kids were tearful when they were finally told the truth, but Aaron had a harder time coming to terms with it. He threw himself into Bella's arms, crying, "Mom, why are you gonna die? I don't want you to."
Bella patted his head. "I know honey; I don't want to die either, but it's not up to me. I'd stay here with you forever if I could."
Too choked up to say a word, Jacob got up from the couch in the living room. He walked out to the back porch and sat down on the top step. When Bella came out to find him, he had his face buried in his hands sobbing. She knelt down behind him, and snaked her arms around his broad shoulders.
With her cheek pressed up against the side of his head, she whispered. "You've always been so strong. You have to be strong now; for me and for the kids."
Jacob rubbed his eyes and turned to face her. "I don't know if I can do that. I've been strong, because you were with me, but what about when you're gone? How can I be strong then?"
"I don't know. I only know that you've just wasted five minutes of our time together that you could have spent loving me, instead of mourning my loss. I don't want to argue anymore, Jake. Please . . . Come inside with me."
Bolting upright, he pulled her to him, pressing her body into his. He closed his eyes tightly, and raised her off her feet. Placing one arm under her knees, and the other around her back, he carted her into the bedroom.
That night, his senses were heightened. He concentrated on the feel of her silken skin beneath his fingers, and reveling in every subtle scent, taste, and sight of her. Both his pain and his joy were exquisite. Jacob could barely stand it. He had made love to her for these nineteen years, but it was not enough—it was never enough. It wasn't fair. At one time she worried about him imprinting on some other woman, and now the tables were turned. She was leaving him, and he was scared. If only he could hold on to this moment for eternity.
The months slipped by and Bella was so weak she had to quit teaching. She went to Tacoma once a week for blood transfusions, and consented to radiation to help with the pain in her back, and the new pain in her right leg.
She was taking morphine now for the constant ache, which added to her lethargy. It seemed she was sleeping more than she was awake.
Bella insisted Jacob should continue working with Sam at the construction company, but it was hard for him to be away from her so long.
One day he came home a little early and overheard Sarah yelling at Bella, complaining, "You're not my mother anymore. All you ever do is sleep. My teacher was mad at me today, because my homework wasn't done right. You don't even help me with it like you used to."
Jacob went ballistic. He stormed into the bedroom, and grabbed Sarah by the arm, roughly dragging her outside.
Shaking her by the shoulders, he yelled, "Don't you ever talk to your mother that way. She's sick; don't you understand that? She can't help it that she sleeps so much. Her medicine makes her sleepy. Now, you go back inside and tell her that you're sorry."
Breathing heavily, Jacob stayed by the old tree outside by the back porch. He sat on the swing hanging from the thick branches, in an attempt to compose himself. He hadn't spoken to any of his children out of anger before. Up to this point, he was always a pillar of reason, disciplining the kids with a kind, but firm hand. The guilt was gnawing at him. The sight of Sarah's eyes looking at him in fright made him cringe inside. The stress of these past months was getting to him.
He went back to the bedroom. Bella was awake. Her big chocolate eyes gazed at him, concerned. "She's just a little girl, Jake. She doesn't get it. Losing your temper isn't going to fix anything."
He knelt beside the bed. Bella reached out and ran her fingers through his thick hair. "You're angry; I know that. But so am I. I don't want to leave you alone. I don't want to leave the kids without a mother either."
The palm of her hand touched his cheek. He closed his eyes and placed his hand over hers, holding it there. When he began to rise from the floor, he took her hand and kissed that palm over and over.
He found Sarah in her room, sitting on the bed, her legs folded under her. Aaron and Liam were seated beside her, talking quietly.
"Guys," Jacob entreated, "Can I speak to your sister alone for a minute?"
"Sure, sure," Liam answered.
As they walked out of the room, Aaron muttered, "What did you do this time, brat?"
Jacob rushed to his daughter, lifting her off the bed. He hugged her to his chest, kissing her cheek.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," she choked. "I didn't mean it."
"I'm sorry too, sweetie. I was upset about your mom being so sick. Can you forgive me?"
"Yes," she sniffed, as she held tightly to his neck.
He looked into her shining brown eyes. They were Bella's eyes encased in his little daughter. "I love you Sarah. You know that, right?"
"Yeah, I love you too."
"You need to promise me that you won't ever talk to your mother that way again." He strained at the next words coming from his mouth. "She won't be with us much longer."
In the next few months, the pain in her leg got worse, and after they made love one night, she turned over in the bed and the bone in her leg snapped.
The XRAY showed a greenstick fracture, but she was told to be really careful to prevent further breaks.
Jacob was beside himself. Bella would beg him to make love to her. He wanted her so badly but was afraid of hurting her.
The last week was the worst. Sam let Jacob stay home to be with her. He wrapped himself around her wasted form, hardly ever leaving her side.
She spoke in whispers now. "I'm no use to anybody. I'm just a body in this bed. I have to feel needed again. Please, Jake, I want to feel you inside of me—a part of me—just one more time before I die. I don't care if it breaks every bone in my body."
Jacob complied, trying his best to be gentle with her.
As they snuggled afterwards, she offered, "I love you, Jacob. You were the best part of my life. I'm so glad I chose you."
A tear rolled down his cheek. "Stay with me then, Bells. Just a little while longer."
"You know that I can't. It'll be hard but you have to let me go."
He hugged her tighter, not wanting to release her, and wept into her hair.
The end was near. Charlie was visiting regularly, bringing Billy with him while Jacob was at work. Now he and Billy were coming daily. He and Sue would bring by food for them, along with the rest of the tribe. Renee came up from Florida to stay a few days, also.
Jacob shouldn't have felt so resentful, but he did. He hated having to share his last days with her. He wanted them to leave so he could have her all to himself. His best friends, Quil and Embry knew better. They let him spend as much time as he could by her side. They had families of their own, so they understood.
The last day, she could barely open her eyes. Jacob was lying beside her as usual. Suddenly her eyelids fluttered; those chocolate orbs widened, and she gasped, "I love you, Jacob, but I can't stay here anymore . . . I have to go. Please, you have to let me. I'm ready now. Will you kiss me goodbye?"
Holding her close, his lips touched hers. Her tiny hands grasped his neck, while their mouths lingered. As their lips parted, she whispered, "Goobye, Jacob." She nodded slightly and with a smile on her lips, murmured, "My Jacob."
The smile remained on her face, her pupils dilated, the color of her eyes took on a silvery hue, and she let out a soft sigh. Her hands dropped limply from his neck, and he realized she was gone. He held her lifeless body in his arms, rocking her gently, while the tears streamed down his face.
Aaron heard his father crying, and ran into the room. He saw Jacob on the bed, holding Bella. "She's gone?" he whimpered. "Mom's really gone?"
Jacob's breath hitched as he groaned, "Yes, she's left us." He could say no more, but continued to hold her, kissing her head and neck.
Things settled down in the house, but everyone remained pretty quiet. It had been three weeks since the funeral. Jacob was a robot, keeping the house in order, doing the laundry, cooking a little and finally going back to work.
That Saturday, the kids were all with Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Sue. Jacob was alone with his thoughts. He was taking the wash out of the hamper when he noticed her pillowcase was still in the bottom. It had her initials on it—BB in black embroidery. He lifted it to his nose, inhaling the lingering scent, then dropped it to the floor. Her clothes were hanging untouched in the closet. Pulling them out one by one, he flung them all over the room. He turned his attention to the bottles of medicine on the nightstand. With one sweep of his hand, the objects flew across to the opposite wall, smashing into bits upon the floor.
Looking around, he strode to the dresser, and picked up her brush, ready to heave it into the air. Strands of mahogany threads were trapped in the bristles. He fell to his knees, heartbroken. Memories of her were swallowing him up, steeping him in sorrow. He had to leave the house—now.
Out the back door he raced, heading toward the woods. As soon as the tree line closed around him, he phased. It had been months since he had gone wolf; he needed this to ease his pain.
He sped along as fast as his paws could carry him, the miles disappearing behind him. An hour went by—two hours. Then he heard a voice in his head. It was a familiar voice—her voice.
Jake . . . you okay?
Fine. You can go home.
You miss her. We all do, but we need you to come back.
I said I was fine. I can find my own way home.
I'm not doubting your sense of direction. I just thought it would be good if you had company. I've been following you for the last few miles, and your head is so full of memories that It's a wonder if you're paying attention to where you're going.
They were nearing La Push, when they reached a bend in the road. She heard the roar of a truck approaching, but Jacob was speeding ahead to get across. Didn't he hear it?
Jacob, she screamed in her head, Don't!
He stopped and turned to look at her, then straight into the oncoming pickup.
Quil, Embry and Paul were all inside, on their way back from hunting; a deer was trussed up in the truck bed. Jacob shot out in front of them. It seemed like he came out of nowhere. The tires squealed as Embry hit the brakes. It was too late. The truck hit him head-on, throwing his broken body onto the side of the road.
She phased back immediately and was at his side. His three friends scrambled out of the truck to help him. Embry was yelling, "I didn't see him in time. I honestly didn't see him."
Jacob lay there, bleeding profusely, the flesh was cut away, exposing his ribs, and part of his heart. His breathing was erratic, and he was howling in pain.
"Jake," Quil pleaded. "You've gotta phase back. We've gotta get you to a hospital, quick."
This was his decision. He couldn't fathom a life on earth without his partner, his Bella. What was the sense? His only consideration was his children, but they were old enough. He knew Sue and Charlie would take good care of them. Staring into Quil's face, he shook his head, no.
The blood was pooling at an alarming rate. His mangled legs twitched, and he whimpered in agony.
Her mouth was set in a grim line. "He's not gonna phase, guys," she told them. "We can't let him suffer like this. Embry, you've gotta get your rifle."
"You can't mean that," he said, shocked. "This is Jake, we're talking about here."
"You think I don't know that? If this was your pet dog, you'd put him down, wouldn't you? Now, go get the rifle."
Embry came back from the truck, the rifle in his trembling hands. Jacob peered up at him, waiting for the inevitable. Aiming the gun at Jacob's still beating heart, Embry lamented, "Sorry, Jake."
He started to pull the trigger, then stopped, lowering the muzzle. "I can't," he groaned.
Paul sidled up to Embry. I'll do it," he muttered. He no sooner had the piece in his hands, when Quil grabbed it from him.
"You're married to his sister. Are you gonna hide this secret from her for the rest of your life. It's gonna come between you— knowing that you're the one who pulled the trigger."
Jacob yelped again. Please, somebody—do it. God, I can't stand this pain. I hurt so bad.
Quil stepped up to him, and hesitated. She lunged at Quil and snatching the rifle away, looked at Jacob and tearfully uttered, "I'm setting you free, Jacob Black. Now go—be with her."
The shot rang out; his head jerked back, and his body stilled.
No one ever spoke about what really happened that day, but the pack mind couldn't conceal the truth. Liam and Aaron were part of that pack, and those gruesome images would forever be etched in their minds. Carlie and Sarah were spared the actual details. They were told, as was the rest of La Push, that Jacob was in a car accident, not mentioning the names of the people involved.
And so the house that Jacob built stands to this day, turning to dust, just as Jacob and his Bella. Some even believe it's haunted. She stood there staring at the monument to undying love. It was the twentieth anniversary of the day Jacob died. And every time she heard a rifle shot, she saw Jacob's eyes as they looked at her before they dimmed.
The car horn honked behind her. Seth stuck his head out the window. "Come on, Leah, let's go home."