Chapter One

I walked back to my truck, common sense coming back with every step. Why would I jump when Jacob had asked me to wait? He had promised to take me cliff diving anyways, so why be stubborn and go by myself? I sat down in the front seat, tempted to lie down and take a nap. I had woken up energetic, but it was like I had a Coke this morning, because now I was exhausted. I pushed the seat back, and closed my eyes. Maybe I could hear Edward some other way. I didn't want to lose the beautiful voice, but I couldn't be reckless all the time.

"Bella?" A voice woke me up. I blinked my eyes open, confused by the rain that pounded on the truck windows. I sat up, the seat still back, and looked through the droplets on my front window.

Jacob was soaked, I could tell by the black splotches on his gray shorts, and I didn't care. I unlocked and opened the passenger door for him, and he crawled inside. I saw Sam standing on the beach shore, and I looked closer at his face. It was twisted in grief, and I couldn't tell if he was crying from the rain.

"What happened?" I demanded before Jacob had even sat down. Sam waved at us, and hurried to Billy's house. I saw him duck around the corner of the house, before I turned my attention back to Jacob.

Jacob winced. "It's Harry Clearwater."

Harry. Whatever happened, it wasn't good. "Is he okay?"

Jacob shook his head, and his bright smile seemed to be gone forever. "Harry's had a heart attack this morning."

I fell against my seat, shocked. "Oh, no! Does Charlie know?" This would kill him. I could only imagine how it would be like for Seth, Leah, and Sue. Seth being a werewolf, and Sue had always told Harry to watch his cholesterol intake. . .

"Yeah, he's over there too, with my Dad."

"Is he going to be okay?" Heart attacks were survivable, weren't they?

Jacob's eyes tightened. "It doesn't look so good right now."

I sighed and shuffled in my seat. Charlie would be crushed. I had to get home. "I'm glad you didn't jump."

"What?" I looked at Jacob, curious. He looked at me from the corners of his dark eyes and smiled. "Off the cliff?"

"Yup."

"I thought about it." I had almost done it actually.

Jacob huffed. "There's a hurricane out there." He looked out the windows to the dark gray sea. "I hope it stays there."

I peeked around his head and saw the water churning. The rain was easing off, but the dark storm clouds stayed in place. "The water would have been cold, but I might have done it."

Jacob rolled his eyes. "Right." A comfortable silence filled my truck, and within moments, I could hear Jacob's breathing ease as he fell asleep. He started snoring, and instead of breaking the silence, it faded into the background. The rain and Jacob's snores were slowly pushing me to sleep. Harsh gusts of wind and hard droplets battered the windows, but I didn't care. I turned the heat on, and felt my mind begin to empty.

I closed my eyes then, with Jacob beside me. He was still a sun, even in the middle of a storm. Edward was gone, for good, now. I must have known it for a while, because thinking it didn't hurt as much as I had anticipated. The Cullens weren't coming back, and if they ever did, I couldn't imagine why. The hole ached faintly when I thought about Edward, but with Jacob next to me, it almost felt nonexistent.

A knock on the window made my eyes fly open. My dreams had been warm, and composed of sunshine and sand. I had been sitting with Jacob, talking about everything and anything. The sun had been in my eyes, and I had blinked them closed, only to wake up.

Embry was the one knocking. I looked around me, and saw that the rain had stopped. It was quiet, besides Jacob's loud snores.

I unrolled the window manually. "Hi, Embry."

"Hey, Bella." Embry smiled at me. "Where's. . ." he spotted his friend in the car, and I tried to pretend not noticing his smile growing. "Tired him out?"

What was he implying? "I guess he crashed. The rain didn't help."

Embry opened the car door for me. "Rain always helps sleep, to me anyways. I sleep like a baby when it rains outside."

I laughed when I remembered how much the rain had troubled me when I had first come to Forks. Rain was a constant in my life, like Jacob was now, and it did actually help me sleep better. On the rare days when the sun was in my face, it kept me awake because I'd hope for the bright orb the next day.

"Jake, wake up!" Embry prodded his friend. My shoes squelched in mud and I rubbed my arms when the cold air hit my bare skin. Jacob stirred and then pulled himself in a sitting position, groggily rubbing his eyes.

"Hey, Em. What's up?" Jacob groaned. He climbed out of the truck, and looked at Embry when he walked to Jake. I got back in the car, now remembering what Jacob had told me about Harry.

"Jake, Embry, I'm going to go home." I said to them before Embry started talking. "I'll see you later."

Embry and Jacob waved to me. I drove home carefully, fully aware of the tiniest mistake it would take for me to have an accident. I thought about Charlie, and what I could do to help him. He was going to miserable for a while, and I knew that death wasn't easy to recover from.

When I pulled in, I got out of my truck and hurried inside to make one of his favorite fish fries. It was reheating in the microwave when he got home. I hugged him. "I'm so sorry about Harry, Dad."

"I'm going to miss him," Charlie mumbled.

"How's Sue doing?"

"She seems dazed, like she hasn't grasped it yet. Sam's staying with her." His voice faltered. "Those poor kids. Leah's just a year older than you, and Seth is only fourteen. . ." He shook his head.

I sighed and hugged him a little tighter. Hadn't it been my plan once upon a time to be turned into a vampire? We would have had to leave or stage my death or something horrific. Charlie would have been experiencing now what he would feel like then all over again.

I'd serve Thursday's casserole on Monday, to welcome school again, I decided. Charlie was quiet when he ate, and when he went to bed, I felt lonely as ever. The hole was festering, angry at me for taunting it to be soothed by cliff diving earlier. I needed relief, and I was beginning to be bothered by it. Though Jacob didn't mind me hanging out with him so much, I wished I could handle myself alone sometimes.

He answered on the third ring. "Hello?"

"Hey, Jacob." I muttered.

He registered my tone immediately. "He's home, isn't he?"

"Yes, and quiet." I was abruptly sad for Charlie. "I don't know what it's going to be like here for the next few days."

"Need me to come over?" His offer pleased and annoyed me at the same time. Where would he sleep? The thought of him sleeping over was exciting, and saddening. The only person who had ever slept over my house was Alice. Though Edward had snuck in through the window-

"No, it's fine." I bit my lip. "I just needed to hear your voice."

Jacob bellowed in the phone. "Hello, Bells."

I burst out laughing at his deep tone, and he started laughing with me. "Hello, Jake." I squeaked in the highest pitch I could manage. Jacob almost busted a gut.

"You sound like a squirrel!" He guffawed. "A squirrel who had about ten cups of coffee."

"Jacob, what is coffee?" My voice broke when I tried to go higher. Jacob laughed so hard I had to sit down on the floor. I was in tears when Charlie came down. His eyes were dimly shocked, but mostly pleased.

"Jacob?" He guessed, grabbing a glass to get water from the sink. I nodded, wiping at my eyes.

"Isabella Swan is a squirrel!" Jacob belted. I squealed with laughter, and had to gasp for air. Charlie was grinning when he left the room. "And Jacob Black is a bear! We'll eat your kids for break feast."

"Jake, stop!" I hunched over, laughing as if I was being tickled. It almost felt like he was in the room with me.

Jacob calmed down before I did, and he was chuckling when he heard the effort my lungs were making to make me breathe. "Bella," he tried again.

"Jacob, shut up!" I sucked in a breath.

"Fine, fine." I could tell he was rolling his eyes. My urgent breaths took on sobs. "Are you crying?"

"I haven't laughed so hard since that zombie movie you and I saw. You were going on about how fake the blood was, and Mike was about to puke his brains out."

Jacob burst into a new round of laughter, which ruined my efforts to breathe again. When we both finally settled, Jacob told me that he had to get ready for a Pack meeting tomorrow. He and Embry had talked over things, and Jacob had talked to Sam before I called. Apparently, I was invited to the meeting.

"Go get some sleep, Jake." I said to him.

Jacob yawned, which interrupted his failed protest. "All right. I'll come get you at ten? It's past midnight now."

Past midnight? I looked at the clock and say that it was 1:05. "Okay. I'll have to make sure Charlie gets to help Sue tomorrow." Sadness entered my tone.

Jacob sighed. "I can come over earlier then. Support the cause."

"Night, Jake." I cooed. I was suddenly fine with going up to my room. I could handle anything that was coming.

"Night, Bella." I hung up the phone, and clomped up the stairs. I got ready for bed, and when I sat down on the mattress, I waited.

The ache wasn't there.