A/N: Beta'd by Tayjayfan. Thank you sweetie!
May the Warm Winds of Heaven, Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit, Bless all who enter there.
May your Moccasins, Make happy tracks in many snows, and
May the Rainbow Always touch your shoulder.
~ Cherokee Prayer Blessing
Bella sat on the beach, digging her toes in the sand. It was her tenth wedding anniversary and she'd been sitting there for the past hour daydreaming about her life with Jacob and their ten years together. She was more certain on this special day, this milestone, than she'd ever been that loving Jacob Black had been the best thing she'd ever done. He'd been right all those years ago: Loving him really was as easy as breathing. The thought brought a soft smile to her face.
Hearing his voice behind her reminded her of all the events that would take place that day and she accepted that marking the occasion of their anniversary would have to wait until later in the day. The Quileute Days Celebration was an annual event and most everyone came out to participate. One of the most anticipated events was the canoe race. Jacob and Quil were racing against other members of the tribe. They were expected to win and they always did. Their only real competition were Sam and Jared, who did well, but Quil was a powerhouse. His body was made for rowing, his large muscles allowed him to push the canoe through the water at an amazing rate.
As the racers made their final preparations, the pack placed bets on who would win. Jacob grinned when he heard Jared threaten to sabotage his boat so he and Sam could finally have a victory.
Just before the drums announced the start, the rest of the pack, tribe, and visitors, yelled their support from the shore. They cheered until the racers were out of sight. Since the route was four miles in length, it was now just a waiting game until they came back. The youngest members of the pack played sports and joked around with each other while they waited. When the contestants rounded the bend to race for the finish, Jacob and Quil were in the lead with Sam and Jared a close second. Bella was so proud of Jacob. His chest puffed up when his eyes caught hers in the crowd. As usual, the two childhood friends were the first to cross the finish line.
After the celebration settled down, Jacob and Sam prepared to take their sons out in their canoes. It was just for fun, but both men knew the importance of passing on the traditions of their people to the next generation. Jacob and Will would race against Sam and his son, Hakan, who was a year younger. Bella observed them teaching their sons to row, impressed with their skill. It was a rite of passage for young Quileute boys.
She watched her husband balancing himself in the canoe. He was agile for his massive size, his muscular thighs rippled as he moved to the rhythm of the waves. Now, close to thirty, he was in the prime of his life. Bella sighed as her eyes roamed over his magnificent form. His hair blew around his face, making him all the more sexy. They hadn't had any vampire sightings in several years so he'd been able to let his dark hair grow longer. One of the things she loved most was running her fingers through his thick hair.
Jacob grinned when he caught her staring at him and her lips automatically lifted in response. Bella knew how special their love was. It was rare—It was perfect. They did have their disagreements like other couples, but he had a knack for making all her troubles fade away. One look from him was all it took. His beautiful spirit was full of love and it radiated from him.
As usual, his eyes heated as she continued to stare at him and Bella shivered thinking of the many nights of passion they'd shared. Jacob was a very sexual man. It came to him naturally. She'd always felt it, always been drawn to him, even before he'd phased. She remembered the first time Jacob had let his romantic feelings show and how she'd chosen to ignore it. Bella giggled to herself… what a stupid girl she'd been.
Things had certainly changed since then. Having a family with Jacob seemed to have changed everything. There had been a baby boom on the rez after Will was born, prompting Billy to joke that something must be in the water on the Rez. For a while, it seemed like they'd had one birth after another; the wolves were driven to keep up with their Alpha. Life was good for the pack. It was quite a sight to see all those tough Quileute warriors playing with their babies on the beach. There was no question they were a blessed people.
The biggest change had been for Leah. She'd given up on the idea of ever having a family. Given up… until a handsome man from the Chinookan tribe came to visit Old Quil for spiritual guidance and training. One look at the tall beauty and he was a taken man. At first, Leah rebuffed his advances, tried to hide her interest, but he'd seen her sneaking looks at him under her dark lashes. He'd doubled his efforts and surprised everyone. Leah fell hard for him, but refused to marry him until she consulted Billy and Jacob about her fears of being barren. Billy had encouraged her to stop phasing and give it some time. His instruction had proved correct. Now they had two beautiful children.
Movement in front of her brought Bella's focus back to the beach and she called out from the shore, "Jacob, you be careful with our son! The water looks rough today!"
He reminded her, "Bells, we've been doing this for thousands of years." He moved his weight around, testing the canoe, and gave her one of his all-knowing smiles. "I couldn't sink this thing if I tried."
Will chimed in, "Yeah, Mom! It's in our blood."
Jacob and Will grinned at each other, mischievously.
Bella knew Jacob would take care of their son so she just grinned back and nodded. "Okay, just be careful."
As he turned away from her, she couldn't help but admire how his t-shirt clung to the planes of his back. His broad shoulders were so strong. Both man and wolf had only gotten more powerful through the years. Many men would have been crushed by the weight of responsibilities he'd been forced into, but he was proud of his bloodline. He could be downright brutal when he needed to be. The last time nomadic vampires had came on their lands, he'd single-handedly killed them both before help arrived. Later, he'd just shrugged and said he wasn't taking any chances with his family or his people.
She loved the strength that came with being such a capable leader, but Jacob could also be very vulnerable, especially when it came to matters of the heart. Three years earlier, a letter had arrived from Voltaire City, Italy. Feeling like her heart was beating out of her chest, Bella panicked as soon as she'd seen the postmark. Not brave enough to open it, she'd called Jacob to come home from work. She would never forget how the hands that were stained with grease shook when he'd opened the formal looking letter. The calm demeanor displayed on the outside in no way reflected the horror and fear she knew he must be feeling inside.
Jacob had held his breath when he read it while his terrified wife looked on. She knew she normally worried enough for both of them, but it scared her even more seeing him worry. Bella had to restrain herself from running outside, screaming in terror. The dark emotion in his eyes had glued her to the chair. The letter was a reminder of his greatest fear—to lose his family at the hands of the Volturi.
Relief poured into each of them as Jasper's words sank in. Aro apparently had been killed—accidentally-on-purpose. His eyes skimmed the letter quickly, looking for more information, but if he was being honest, Jacob didn't care how it happened. He'd been thrilled by the news. Finally, they could close that chapter of their lives. It was like a heavy cloud had been lifted from his shoulders. He'd been carrying a huge burden, even more than she had realized, and seeing that being taken from him was one of the most rewarding things she'd ever experienced. They'd sank to the floor and just held each other tightly, coming to grips with what this would mean for their future. It was one of the few times she'd seen him cry.
Hearing her son's laughter brought her mind back again to this most cherished of spots. She lifted her face, soaking up the warmth of the sun as she reflected on their lives together. There had never been a boring moment and they still discovered new things about each other. She was so proud of Jacob and had always known he would excel at anything he chose to do. He was an amazing husband, father, and son. In addition to that, he had lots of responsibilities with the tribe. They needed him, depended on him. Being Alpha to his pack added even more to his plate. It wasn't easy juggling everything, but somehow he did it. The tribal council said they were confident in the future with him at the helm. Billy said he was a natural leader, just like his father.
When he'd applied for a job in automotive repair at the local dealership, the owner decided to take a chance on the ambitious young man. Jacob had studied and worked hard. He'd taken all the certifications and recently earned his Certified ASE Master Automotive Technician degree.
Being a good provider for his family was something he was serious about and his determination paid off. Bella did her part as well, working part time at the school in La Push. They'd been able to build a house with a view of the beach. They'd agreed on almost everything but Jacob had insisted on two things—a large kitchen for Bella to enjoy and a porch on the front and back. The views were spectacular. The three bedroom house wasn't huge, but it was perfect for their growing family.
Bella suddenly realized their daughter, Sarah, was calling out to her.
"Mom, did you hear what I said?"
She shook her head. "Honey, I'm sorry. I was in a fog."
Sarah repeated, "I was asking if I could go with Aunt Leah to get an icee."
Leah and her children waved from several feet away.
"Sure, sweetie, go ahead." Bella smiled at Leah.
The sun was setting by the time they came back and people were starting to pack up their stuff to head home. Bella gathered their things, eager to enjoy some time alone with her husband. Charlie and Sue, along with Billy, had tried to get them to go to dinner at a nice restaurant, but neither of them cared much about that. Even though they treasured every minute of it, life with children was very hectic. Jacob wanted to enjoy a quiet night at home to spend some time together.
Billy had chuckled when Jacob mentioned that because he'd recently told him he and Bella wanted another baby.
Charlie and Sue were going to take the kids for the night. They were super excited about it because they loved being with their grandparents. Sue and Charlie were married soon after Will was born so Sue had been a part of the family for as long as the kids could remember. Both of them took an active interest and made a point of being involved in their lives.
Billy was joining in on the fun tonight, as he usually did when his babies were having a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa. He adored them and the feeling was mutual but he had a real soft spot for Sarah. He doted on all of his grandchildren, but little Sarah had his heart. One of his favorite things was to see her excitement when he presented her with a new carving. Her doll house was full of hand carved wolves. Her active imagination went into overdrive after hearing her grandfather tell the tribal stories. She loved to pretend the wolves protected her dolls from harm. Bella often admired the carvings, noticing immediately they were fashioned after the pack.
When Billy arrived, he presented an anniversary gift to Jacob and Bella. It was one of his most prized possessions… a watercolor his late wife had painted. Jacob had tried to thank his dad properly for the gift, though it was difficult with the lump in his throat. He knew the painting was a priceless treasure to Billy.
She and Jacob had spent several hours making love. He'd been singularly focused on bringing her pleasure, and she'd returned the favor. Passions sated, feeling cherished beyond measure, Bella had drifted off to sleep in the arms of the man she loved.
Later that evening something woke Bella. Wanting to let her husband rest, she decided to enjoy some time in one of her favorite spots. Filled with contentment, seated in a chair that her husband had made just for her, she sat on the porch looking out at the water. She was protected from the chill of the night air by her favorite throw. It was made out of faux fur. Jacob had made fun of it the first time he'd seen it saying it looked like a wolf fur, but Bella didn't care. The luxurious feel of it against her skin was erotic and she loved it. It was big enough that no one would guess she was naked underneath. Even though other houses weren't far away, the darkness of the night allowed some privacy.
Not surprised to find his wife sitting on the front porch, Jacob made his way to the kitchen on silent feet. He decided to prepare some of her favorite snacks to eat. On their anniversary he wanted to do something special for her.
His life was utterly perfect. He knew what a lucky man he was. His heart expanded in his chest when he thought of the love he'd been blessed with. He knew the depth of his feelings were inconceivable to most men but he never took it for granted. The bonus was their beautiful children. He smiled as he thought about how the kids soaked up their tribal knowledge.
The children had always been mesmerized by their grandfather's tales. Their eyes huge with wonder, they'd sat enraptured at his feet as Billy's majestic voice described the protectors. Jacob had overheard Will telling his little sister the wolf-protectors were real because he'd seen one of the them in the woods near their home. They seemed to instinctively feel the significance of their heritage. Instead of making light of the old stories, they'd decided the stories might be true. They'd embraced the Quileute ways early on—unlike their father, who hadn't taken it seriously until after he'd phased. When Billy had mentioned his own father had insisted they speak Quileute at home, Will had wanted to try it.
When Will had confronted Jacob with his suspicions, he'd wanted answers. His father didn't confirm or deny it, but he made sure Will understood how important it was not to reveal tribal secrets. He only told him he would explain things when Will was older and that it was a big responsibility. When he'd asked his son if he could trust him to keep their secrets, young Will had looked him in the eye and vowed to Taha Aki he would.
Eventually, Jacob planned to explain everything to his son. He could already see the pride of his people reflected on his son's face and he didn't want him phasing without the knowledge he needed to understand what was happening. The Elders' decision to keep him in the dark had always baffled him. He wasn't going to subject his son to that.
Out of the corner of her eye, Bella saw Jacob bringing a tray of snacks and drinks. He grinned as he approached, obviously pleased with himself.
She watched him with appreciation. "Hey."
Jacob winked. "Hey, Babe." He put the refreshments on the table next to the oversize chair and ottoman. He whispered suggestively, "Room in there for me?"
Bella giggled and lifted the throw to invite him in. "Always."
He placed her in his lap and wrapped his arms around her.
They cuddled and enjoyed the food together, while listening to the night sounds. The tribe was finishing up their Quileute Days Celebration, but the younger members of the tribe would continue well into the night. Normally, Jacob was expected to be there for all the festivities, but Sam was filling in, since it was their wedding anniversary.
Bella snuggled against him, listening to the steady beat of his heart. The love flowed from him as he caressed her skin. As they listened to the drums and chanting in the distance, Jacob was happy and content. He never got tired of the sounds of home. When he spoke, his words took on a magical quality. His deep voice sounded so much like his father, it gave Bella goose bumps.
"I was once told, when we're all gathered and singing in the circle, that there will be a point where you will hear more than just the beating of the drums. You will hear more than just the voices of those chanting. That is when the songs become alive. That is when our ancestors are here with us, watching over us."
Jacob turned to her. His eyes were illuminated by the moonlight. "I believe it." He pulled her closer to his chest and sighed.
Bella agreed, "So do I." She snuggled against him, submerging herself in the feeling. She looked up at his face while she gently caressed his cheek and whispered, "Jacob… you're so handsome. You just get more handsome all the time." It was true. Since they'd gotten married, he'd matured and the years agreed with him. It didn't seem possible he could become more handsome, but he was. Her mighty warrior took her breath away.
His eyes twinkled. It thrilled him that Bella found him attractive. He turned her to face him. "You get sexier all the time."
Bella grinned as she ran a hand down the warm skin of his chest. "Oh, you think so?" Bella was surprised at the immediate reaction she received. He growled and kissed her passionately. She stretched out on top of him and returned his kiss with fervor.
Jacob's arousal was fast and intense. He spread his legs and put both hands on her behind, bringing her soft body closer so he could grind against her.
Bella moved against him. "Jake, how did I ever get so lucky for you to be mine? Your love is the greatest gift I've ever received. Thank you for giving me ten years of love and happiness. I am so excited to see what the next ten will bring." The sensations were exquisite as she rubbed against him.
His eyes were dark with emotion and he was overflowing with so much love and lust for her, he didn't know how he could possibly contain it in his body. He contemplated her question. His warm hand touched her face. "Don't you know, Bells? One of my earliest memories is of you." He grinned and slid his hardness against her silky wetness. His voice was low and husky. "Honey, I've always been yours."
The air was thick with love, trust, and promises of forever. Looking deep into her eyes, he put his hand around the back of her head to ease her closer. Bit by bit, his lips touched hers. He kissed her deeply and reached down to stroke her. The feel of his warm fingers, tender as he touched her.
Bella spread her legs and rubbed her nipples against his chest. Jacob groaned in response. Soon, Bella was gasping in pleasure, completely lost in him. He took her hips in his hands and slid her down until his length was deep inside her. Bella was stunned by his intensity. She'd never felt more wanted… more loved.
He arched his body against her. He regarded her with dark intensity. When he spoke again it was as if he was making a vow.
"Always… I've always been yours." He thrust his hips, getting as deep as possible. Neither one spoke again while he made love with as much tender passion as she'd ever experienced.
When she could tell he was getting close to climaxing, Bella reached down to stroke herself so they would fall over the edge together.
When he felt her tighten around him, he held her gaze and moaned in pleasure as he exploded inside her. In that moment, he prayed he'd given her another son. His wolf rose up at the thought. Yes, another son, he agreed.
With tears overflowing, Bella stared into the eyes of her husband—the man she loved beyond comprehension.
He finished his promise. "And I always will be yours."
"I love you so much!" She declared, her hands cupping his face.
He gently wiped away the tears streaming from her eyes and quoted part of his marriage vows. "I will love you until I take my final breath in this life. I will love you beyond this life until the end of days."
Overcome with emotion, Bella wrapped herself around him and held tight. Words were inadequate.
For Jacob, no words were necessary. Today, just like yesterday, just like tomorrow—during this lifetime collection of days—he understood her heart.
A/N: Writing this story has been an amazing journey for me. I've learned so much and made some wonderful friends! I wrote more chapters than I ever intended and it took me way too long. I appreciate all of you who stuck with me and continued to read. It means so much! Jacob Black has fulfilled my life in so many ways. He is a wonderful character and I hope I did him justice. Thank you for reading!