Chapter 11

"You know you're going to have to tell Jake, right Bella?" Embry said when he picked her up. They'd been in the car about ten minutes, and she was deep in thought about what Edward had said.

She frowned. "Tell him what?"

Embry laughed. "Why you smell like a vampire."

Bella's eyes went wide. Shit, she had forgotten about that. Her only hope was that Jake wouldn't be home, and she could shower while she came up with a plan. Maybe she could convince Embry to keep his mouth shut until then.

They pulled into the parking lot of Jake's apartment and she frantically searched for his bike.

"Shit," she muttered. Embry just shook his head and followed her up to the apartment.

"This should be good," he mumbled.

Bella opened the door the find Jake pacing like a caged animal.

"Where the hell have you been!" he yelled when he saw her. They both flinched at the volume of his voice. Jake's face crumpled and he dropped to his knees. He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, pushing his face into her stomach. "I'm sorry, okay? I'm so sorry. It's only ever been you, Bells. I just—"

He looked up, his dark eyes glossy. Bella's heart squeezed painfully in her chest. She slumped forward, wrapping her arms around Jake's broad shaking shoulders and rested her head against his. He took a deep shaky breath and then froze.

Bella stilled, holding her breath.

"Why do you smell like him?" Jake growled. He didn't move, didn't release her. When she didn't answer, Jake pulled away, loosening his arms around her middle, and looked up into her wide brown eyes. "Bella. Why do I smell that fucking bloodsucker on you?"

Bella swallowed hard. "Edward came to see me. He…surprised me outside of my class."

Jake's nostrils flared. He dropped his arms from around her and rose to his full height. Fury and rage rippled along his taut muscles, and pulsed from the vein in his neck. His words were clipped. Hushed.


Bella bit her lip. She knew that Jake would never hurt her. She knew that. But this angry shaking man in front of her was suddenly more beast than man. And it scared her.

Jake couldn't think rationally right now. Hell, he couldn't even see straight he was so furious. And, if he was honest with himself, terrified. Edward coming back at the worst possible time was a situation he knew all too well. The possibilities were sending him into a full on panic.

Which made him—and his wolf—all the more angry.

Bella spoke slowly, softly. "He wanted to warn me."

Jake's fist clenched into tight fist at his side as he growled low in his throat.

She rushed on. "He said I was in danger. That Aro was coming. That you couldn't protect me."

Jake exploded in anger, his fist connected with the wall. Bella jumped and covered her ears.

"That son of a bitch," Jake cursed. Leah walked in then, her eyes wide when she took in the scene. Bella was shaking, hard, trembling like a leaf, tears streamed down her cheeks.

And Jake was vibrating, his whole shape blurring as he tried to restrain the caged beast that raged inside.

"Jake, man, let's—"

He pulled his arm away from Embry and turned his almost black eyes back on Bella. Suddenly, his whole face changed, scrunching in pain. Nausea swirled in his gut.

She was scared.

He had scared her.

"Bells, I—" he swallowed hard and took one step towards her. He shook his head. He was angry and disgusted with himself, with Edward, with this whole fucked up supernatural bullshit that both of them had been forced into.

He knew it was just as much his fault as it was Edward's that she was involved.

And then his mind flashed to the night she left him to go save Edward in Italy. It was the first time she'd chosen the vampire over him, but it was also the moment, she became even more in danger.

If she wouldn't have gone, Aro would have never known of her existence.

His anger spiked again. Maybe it was more that fucking bloodsucker's fault.

The pack would have taken care of Victoria, and Bella's be safe.

Maybe, he thought. He thought back to that bloody battle. How much the pack had needed the Cullen's help.

His anger mixed with his confusion and regret in a stomach curdling cocktail.

If Edward wouldn't have left her in the first place…

He couldn't think that. He might have never gotten close to her. And even with all the pain and heartbreak, he'd never regret the time he had with her.

"Bella, I'm sorry, I—"

He raked a still shaking hand through his shaggy hair. "He makes me so fucking angry."

Bella took a stuttering breath, but didn't say anything or make any attempt to move.

His eyes stayed locked on her. He sighed, as a little bit of his anger dissipated.

Maybe if the Cullens would have never returned to Forks everything would have been different.

No wolves. No red-headed vampires with a vendetta. No ancient monster hunting Bella.

No Edward fucking Cullen to muck up everything.

He remembered what he'd said to her that day after the fight when he laid broken in his bed and she'd broken his heart. Again.

If there was no monsters, no magic, this—Bells and Jake—would have been their natural path.

He'd once foolishly believed there was nothing that his love for her couldn't defeat.

But now, he wasn't sure if they could even figure it out amongst the wreckage. If she'd been right back then. If all that stood between them was just too much. An eclipse.

Jake shook his head again, then turned away from her and stalked out the front door.

Bella fell to her knees as sobs wracked her tiny frame. She took huge gulping breaths of air as her chest threatened to open up. As every wound opened back up.

Embry followed Jake out the front door, and Leah, in a surprisingly soft and tender voice, crouched down next her, gathered her in her arms, and whispered in her ear, "Shh, Bella. Let's get you a shower and in bed. He'll be back."

Bella let Leah help her to her feet and into Jake's bathroom. Leah turned on the hot spray of water.

"When?" Bella whispered.

Leah turned back to Bella. The hard bitter shell that usually exuded from Leah was gone. There was sympathy and understanding shining in her dark eyes.

"When he figures his shit out. He'll be back."

Everything inside Bella clenched tight. Her heart and her head ached. A thousand thoughts raced through her head, but she only clung to a few.

I have to figure out what Edward is hiding.

I have to save us all.

I love Jake.

I won't leave.

I can't let him give up on us. On me.

I won't.