Summary: Edward and Jacob become friends and lovers after the sudden death of Bella. This story is set after Eclipse, but before Breaking Dawn begins.

This was my first ever FF called Little Ashes and originally written over two and a half years ago. It was four chapters long—two of them het—but I never finished the story as I was not happy where it was going. I subsequently deleted the two het chapters and reworked the ending to keep it slash and this is the story as it stands today after much editing as well.

I then submitted it to the StandUp4Katalina compilation. Thank you if you contributed to this worthy cause.

Many thanks to AJasperForMe and Edwardsmate4ever for the beta and editing work.

Warnings: Main character death (Bella), M/M Slash and explicit scenes.

Heartbeat

Edward's Point of View

Jacob and I became friends and lovers after Bella's sudden death.

No, I didn't kill her, if that's what you're thinking.

I didn't give in to my urge to drink her blood, nor did I force my rock-hard body upon her. I had learnt to control myself in her presence.

Bella trusted me, wanted me, desired me ... as I did her.

Now I wish I'd given in to her pleas to make love; taken her in my bedroom on the night of our compromise or even in our meadow as we finalized our wedding plans.

If I'd lost control when I was with her, then perhaps I could have saved her. I could have used my own venom or taken her to Carlisle so he could have changed her.

And she would still be with me now.

I always told Bella her time was up the day she met me.

Apparently, however, her time wasn't up because of me. But even so, her days were numbered.

Not in the classroom as I thought of ways to take her on the day we first met.

Not when Tyler's van almost crushed her.

Not when James, Laurent and Victoria tried to steal her away from me.

Not even any of the times when I'd been alone with her.

But her time was up and it always had been.

A ticking time bomb.

The one sound I heard from her body, each moment I was with her. I'd listened to it pound in her chest every time she set eyes on me, or when I touched her beautiful face or embraced her.

How could I not have realized? I had some medical knowledge. Was I so vain as to think it was just me who caused that fluttering in her chest?

Obviously.

I'd screamed at Alice, desperate to know why she didn't forewarn me this was going to happen. Through pleading eyes, she'd insisted she knew nothing of Bella's heart condition. She hadn't received any indication at all, as her death wasn't a choice Bella had consciously made.

I was hunting with Emmett and Jasper, too far away from her, the night she was taken from me.

Charlie said it must have been quick—while she was alone in her room—asleep.

I should have been there. I usually spent my nights in her bedroom watching her breathe ... dream ... sigh my name.

Why couldn't I have been with her on that night?

I could have saved her ... changed her. We could have been together for eternity.

In the hours following the phone call from Charlie, I'd run through all possible scenarios in my mind.

What if ... what if ... what if?

Alice couldn't see Bella's future.

Was that because the dog, Jacob, had somehow been connected with her death? Had he decided to force himself upon her and taken the last chance to steal her away from me before we were to be married? Had he climbed into her room to talk her out of our future together? Did he lose it and scare her to death or try to take her virtue in the hope I wouldn't want her anymore?

I pondered what to do to him while sitting alone in our meadow.

Should I tear him apart straight away or allow him to explain his actions before I did so?

No! I needed him to rip my head off. I didn't want to carry on any more. Without my Bella, I had no future.

I decided to wait to end it all until after her funeral. I wanted the chance to say goodbye to my only love, but I couldn't live in a world where she did not exist. I knew the Volturi would never end my existence—I'd asked them once before.

I needed Jacob to do this for me and I was sure he would thoroughly enjoy it.

As I sat in there trying to hold myself together, I was distracted by a rustling in the grass at the edge of the meadow.

Quickly springing to my feet, I breathed in deeply and took in the scent of the dog. I could hear his heart thumping in his chest along with his shallow breathing. He approached me cautiously in his human form.

I was confused as to why I hadn't heard him approaching me, or smelt him, or even heard his thoughts. Had he actually found a way to block me out?

This was the first time I'd seen him since the death of Bella and his anguished look astounded me. Though I probably looked worse, to see the grief on his face, and emanating from his whole demeanor, suddenly made me realize just how much he loved Bella, too.

I felt a connection to him I'd never felt before and gasped as I saw the tears rolling down his youthful olive face. His eyes, his dark chocolate eyes, were ... so like Bella's. I'd never noticed how they matched before.

A tingle ran down my spine and I had to repress a violent shudder.

"I'm so, so sorry," Jacob mumbled as his eyes searched mine. "I can't tell you how sorry I am." His lip quivered as he spoke.

I swallowed hard and bit on my bottom lip the way Bella used to do.

I couldn't take my eyes from his face and those eyes. "Jacob ... you've got to help me," I implored him. "Take away my pain, please."

Jacob stopped in his tracks as he considered what I'd asked him to do. "Why didn't you save her?" he finally said.

I felt my forehead crease as I processed his question. "I thought you would rather have her dead than like me." My lips formed a smile–or was it a smirk—as I repeated his own bitter words?

"I apologized for that outburst. Bella knew I would still love her," his lip trembled, "even after her heart stopped beating."

With that, Jacob completely went to pieces. His knees buckled beneath him and he crashed to the ground in tears.

I wanted to run from the meadow and never stop. I couldn't bear the grief, the pain, the agony.

Being with Jacob seemed to amplify my feelings; I was feeling his pain now as well as my own.

Stepping forward slowly, I dropped to my knees in front of Jacob. I breathed in his scent as my eyes trailed over the dark stubble along his jaw. To offer some comfort, I hesitantly reached out to touch him. My cool hand rested on his muscular shoulder in an act of friendship and comfort. As we connected for the first time, I felt something unfamiliar flow through my body and surge somewhere deep inside of me.

Jacob must have felt it too, for his eyes looked up to mine. I don't know how long we remained transfixed. Only Bella had ever made me feel this way before, and even then, it had never been this intense or life-changing. Lust and desire for him exploded in my body, as well as emotions which made me feel this was who I was destined to be with.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something sparkle.

Under Jacob's sleeve, I caught sight of the heart-shaped diamond I'd given Bella on the night she tried to seduce me without success. The night she accepted my proposal of marriage and the night I also placed my mother's engagement ring on her finger.

It was still attached to the bracelet Jacob had given to Bella for her graduation present. I reached out to touch the bracelet and adjusted it so I could see the intricately carved wolf Jacob made for her. My fingers brushed against his oh-so-warm wrist, and it sent a torrent of feelings flooding through me that made me sense Bella was close to us.

"Charlie said I could take it," Jacob rushed to explain defensively.

I nodded. I didn't want it back. "You can keep it," I muttered breathlessly, stroking his wrist one more time to enjoy this wonderful new sensation. I wondered whether he was feeling it, too.

We both pulled away a little and sat on the ground.

I wanted to say something, but Jacob broke the silence first. We couldn't seem to talk about what we were feeling. He started recalling happy memories of his time with Bella, and in turn, I let forth a gush of affection as I told him some of my favorite moments with her. By the time we had finished, the sun was setting and Jacob was being called by Sam to run the perimeter of their reservation.

"Can we meet here again tomorrow?" I asked with hope in my voice.

"I don't see why not ... and every day until the funeral?" Jacob replied, looking desperately into my eyes.

Was he making sure I didn't do anything reckless between now and then, or did he also relish this warm flow of emotion we felt connecting the two of us now?

He slipped off the bracelet and handed it to me. "You keep Bella's bracelet tonight. Look after it for me, Edward, and I'll collect it tomorrow."

Before I could reply, Jacob turned around and transformed into his russet wolf-form, fleeing into the surrounding forest. I stared down at the bracelet, at the wolf and rock charms, so close, yet so far apart.

Tomorrow I hoped the wolf and the rock would meet together … tenderly.

I started to run in the opposite direction from Jacob and imagined Bella was in her usual position on my back as I fled through the forest.

As the wind breezed through my hair and I raced faster and faster, I thought I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. I tasted the drops with the tip of my tongue as they slid into my mouth. They didn't taste of salt or venom. I sighed heavily when I realized it had started to rain.

By the time I came to a halt, my hair and clothes were soaked through with rainwater. I leaned back heavily against a wide pine tree and inhaled deeply. My animal instincts burst into life as I sensed prey nearby. I wasn't in need of blood, but in my confusion that was all I wanted at this moment. To grab this creature, drain its blood and then tear it to shreds.

I kept perfectly still as my eyes scanned the forest floor. About forty meters ahead of me a small deer was grazing on some wisps of grass.

It suddenly detected my presence and turned to flee.

Oh, silly creature.

It stood no chance as I lunged towards it with my superhuman speed. My arms were around its neck, my teeth pressing in deeply and draining the creature of its warm, sweet blood in seconds.

I let it drop lifeless from my hands as I decided one animal would not be enough to satisfy me tonight. I desired more, even though I'd had my fill when I'd hunted with my brothers the previous week.

I continued in my gratuitous hunting spree for hours, attacking and killing a variety of creatures throughout the night until I felt sated beyond words.

All the time, I longed to be back in the meadow.

Damn Jacob! He was all I could think about.

I couldn't cope with the lustful urges I'd felt as we knelt together in the long grass earlier today.

Could being with him actually make up for not being with Bella?

Could touching him bring back the amazing feelings and that electric buzz I felt whenever Bella stroked my cold skin?

I closed my eyes as I replayed this afternoon's events and, as I did so, I experienced familiar stirrings in my loins.

In the deep pit below my stomach, I felt an ache that just had to be met.

As the sun rose over the mountain range, I ran back through the forest to my home.

My family didn't say much to me or even really look me in the eye. I sensed their sadness and pity for me, and their acceptance of the loss of a family member. They knew deep down that after the funeral they would probably never see me again.

They kept their thoughts hidden from me and I was relieved they didn't try to talk me out of my decision. They'd been through this once before and this time I didn't have Bella to return to. She was definitely gone.

I sincerely hoped Carlisle and Bella were right about me still having a soul. Perhaps then Bella and I still had a chance of being together.

I shook my head. I was pathetically clutching at straws.

Being with Jacob was my only connection to her now.

I showered and dressed quickly. As I thought more about Jacob, I was tempted to relieve my anxiety in the shower, but with renewed anticipation, I decided to wait.

Remembering to collect our bracelet, I raced to the meadow, not knowing how long I would have to wait for Jacob to appear.

To my surprise, he was already waiting for me, lying back in the sun with his arms resting under his head.

As I approached him, I felt a craving deep inside, and was greeted by those glorious brown eyes and a smile that would have melted my heart if I had one.

I handed over our bracelet as I sat down next to Jacob, deliberately touching his hand.

"Thank you for keeping it safe for me," he said huskily.

As we connected, my whole body rippled with longing and genuine feelings for him. He didn't take his eyes from mine as he slid the bracelet over his wrist.

"I'm glad we are friends at last, Jacob," I said in a whisper, eventually dropping my gaze from his face.

"Edward." He said my name firmly, but with affection.

I looked up to see Jacob's gorgeous face moving closer to mine as he pushed up from the grass.

Hesitantly, I reached across to touch his chin and stroked my fingertips along his bristled jaw. He didn't flinch or react in a negative way, so I took it as a sign to continue and cupped his face with my hand. As he turned his head towards my palm, his lips gave my palm a gentle kiss. Instantly, a wave of desire crashed through my body.

I didn't really have a clue what would occur with Jacob today, but I now knew something was definitely going to happen between the two of us. And I welcomed whatever it might be. Our connection was beyond the physical, but that didn't stop me from wanting him.

Tentatively, I wrapped my arms around Jacob and tucked my face against his neck, breathing in his scent. Leaning towards his face, I took his bottom lip softly into my mouth. As I pushed my tongue over his lips, I felt his hand grasp the back of my head and his fingers weave through my hair. Our kiss became more passionate as our tongues collided, with us both letting out groans of desire.

"Edward," Jacob gasped into my mouth with desperate need this time.

My cool hand ran down the front of Jacob's body. I felt his nipples harden under his shirt as a result of my touch, which made me want to feel his skin next to mine. Sliding my hand to the top button of his shirt, I slowly undid it, but suddenly I swooped my hand down and ripped the rest of the buttons off as I impatiently tore his shirt completely away from his body.

I could almost see his heart beating against his muscular chest and I could definitely hear it pounding with anticipation. Pausing for a moment, our lips continued to kiss tenderly as I rested my hand over his erratically pounding heart. It was at this moment I began to relish the sound and smell of the blood flowing through his body.

As another wave of desire rolled through me, my hands continued to explore his warm, firm torso, and his nipples hardened further as I moved my fingers possessively around them. Jacob's head fell back and a low, sexy growl made its way up through his chest. Yearning for more of him, I started to kiss his neck and behind his ears.

At the same time, my hand massaged down the front of his body, and over the bulge in his trousers. I smiled when I realized he was as excited as I was. My palm continued down his thighs, but quickly returned to where I wanted to focus my attention now. I stroked him quite firmly and enjoyed seeing his body writhe in pleasure.

By now, we were panting heavily and our kissing had become rough and noisy. I ripped his trousers apart and pulled them off so rapidly I'm sure he hardly noticed. To my delight, he had no undergarments on and, as he was already in bare feet, Jacob lay naked before me, except for the bracelet.

"You're a little overdressed," he said with a cheeky grin, and subsequently stripped me of my clothes quite forcefully, too.

We both lay naked in the long grass fondling and kissing each other for several minutes, perhaps even hours. I didn't care. Time seemed to have lost all meaning to me. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and well-being, and didn't want this experience to end.

Even so, we were both a little unsure how to proceed beyond the kissing and stroking, so we just let instinct lead us.

My tongue explored the curve of his muscles and the dents made by his bones, leaving moist spots that shone in the sun. Jacob clung to me, his expression a mix of amazed tenderness and underlying surprise, like he nearly didn't believe what was happening.

I repeatedly caressed his body with my hands, until I eventually had the courage to make my way down to his heavy cock. Gently and slowly, I took his large manhood in my hand. Encouraged by his moans and sighs of my name, I gripped harder and began to stroke with more pressure. We kept eye contact in between kisses, as I wanted to ensure I didn't hurt him. He was not as breakable as Bella. He would heal, but I wanted to be tender and as loving as I would have been with her.

Feeling the sudden desire to have him in my mouth, I boldly slid down and hovered over him while I continued to pump his cock up and down with my hand.

"Yes, Edward," he gasped when he realized my intention. I licked the end of him slowly, tasting his delicious flavor, and was rewarded with more pleasurable moans. My mouth opened and took most of him in as he raised his hips to meet me. My hand continued to move in time with my mouth while I sucked him. Increasing my pace as Jacob's groans grew more intense, my own arousal dripped with desire for him. My skin tingled and burned and ached with want. I hurt with emotions that confused, but compelled me. They drove me to want to consume Jacob in every way, to please him, to penetrate him.

I longed to give him extreme satisfaction, but as I hardened more at the thought of him coming in my mouth, he suddenly flipped me over onto my stomach. His tongue trailed slowly and deliberately down my spine, making its way sensuously between my cheeks. The feel of him lapping and tasting me and his warm breath passing over my skin sent shivers of unexpected pleasure ricocheting through my body. Never had I experienced anything as erotic before and its effect was astounding.

After my rim was thoroughly moistened with his tongue, his fingers opened me up until I was all but begging for him to fill me.

Cautiously at first, I felt the head of his thick cock slide over my hole. Wet with more saliva, he eased inside as I expanded to accommodate his girth. The warmth of the contact along with the stretch and the burn were all unfamiliar, but something I already craved more of. His solid chest came into contact with my back and his strong arms wrapped under me as he finally pushed all the way inside my body. Placing soft, almost feather-like kisses along my shoulders and neck, Jacob began to glide smoothly inside of me. Panting with the pleasure his touch provided, I welcomed his moans of delight as he moved over my body.

"Feels so good," he whimpered against my ear and I had to agree. I'd never imagined it would be like this.

After a while, Jacob began to rock over me in a frantic rhythm, creating a hot, velvet sensation in my ass. My pleas for more seemed to spur him on.

With our arousal heightened, he began to push rapidly in and out of me. I sheathed him completely, feeling my insides tighten around him. I gasped as he grabbed my hips and forced himself deeper and harder. All of a sudden, his warm liquid spilled into me as he let out the most glorious howl I'd ever heard. His body continued to spasm as he rubbed his chest into my back and he kissed my neck with considerable might.

"Your turn, Edward," he said with passion, pulling us both up onto our knees. His hands were all over me—my chest, my shoulders, my hips. As he kissed me wildly, new tremors of pleasure pulsed around my already quivering form. My body was tightly wound and I knew I wouldn't last much longer.

Wrapping his hands around my very hard cock, he immediately started to pump me.

He knew exactly what I needed.

Jacob flipped me on my back, and without hesitation, took all of my solid erection into his mouth. I could feel his warmth and moisture as he pulled me further to the back of his throat. The most wondrous sensations spread through my body, and rapidly, I felt a tightening in the pit of my groin. I erupted violently and Jacob swallowed it down without hesitation.

We shared another long passionate kiss until my body stopped its shaking. We lay panting heavily for some minutes as our bodies recovered from the ecstasy we had just experienced. Jacob continued to stroke my cool skin with his warm hands as we lay in the sunshine. I was content to rest my head over his heart and I wished once again this joy I was feeling could last forever.

I moved my chin onto Jacob's shoulder and whispered, "Why is this happening? How is it even possible?"

He replied with a smile, "Why am I feeling these things for you? It is so strange, and yet I'm so … happy." That was when I knew my future now lay with Jacob. We lay transfixed in each other's gaze for a while, occasionally kissing, but returning to look at each other every now and then. It was as if we didn't want to be apart. Ever.

It was Jacob who heard it first—the sound of someone approaching us across the meadow.

What was wrong with my senses?

We both looked at each other in horror and realized we wouldn't have time to put on our tattered clothing before we would certainly be spotted.

I was sparkling in the sunlight, but that was the least of our worries.

What if it was someone we knew? Someone from my family, or another wolf, or anybody who would recognize either of us.

As the footsteps got closer, we realized it was someone we both knew and I suddenly feared for Jacob's safety.

Sam approached us, surprisingly without embarrassment, but with a stern look etched across his face.

Jacob's heart was once again pounding in his chest, but this time from fear and anxiety. Worried he would suffer humiliation because of me, I stood to face Sam and protect Jacob.

Sam's eyes flitted between the two of us as Jacob stood to take his place at my side. "You kept this hidden from us all," Sam said sullenly.

"It's none of your business," I replied in anger.

"If it affects our tribe, then it has everything to do with me," Sam spat out. "You do realize the Council will not sanction this," he growled, waving his hand between the two of us.

Slipping his hand into mine, Jacob replied, "It's got nothing to do with them."

Squeezing his hand to show I supported him fully, I knew he was my future.

"There's nothing you can do to separate us, Sam. I've imprinted on Edward. He is my life now," Jacob said, smiling gloriously at me.

Returning the smile with equal fervor, I confirmed, "I have found my true mate in Jacob."

Lifting his hand, I kissed his skin and smiled once again at the wolf and the diamond attached to the bracelet secured around his wrist. We were always destined to be together, we just never realized it until today.

Jacob's heart fluttered as I kissed his lips right there in front of Sam.

Sam shook his head, but could not disguise the grin spreading across his face as he turned and fled from the meadow.

It was our meadow now.

And always would be.


Author's Note: I am currently working on my own fiction and publishing under the pen name of Lily G. Blunt. Check out my blog - lilygblunt blogspot co uk (put dots in the spaces) for links to my Kindle stories, videos and some hot pics.

Once my current story is published, I will return to Always, I Could Always Make You and My First, My Last, My Everything to complete them.