Disclaimer: all characters and copyright belong to Stephanie Meyer.
A/N-this three part story is co-authored by AugustDarkStar, she has written Edward in this story (you can probably tell, LOL;) This is set a year after Bella and Edward's wedding in Breaking Dawn...there is no Renesmee.
Part One-Coming Home
Edward pulled up outside the Swan house and parked behind the police cruiser. He turned and looked at Bella; her eyes were far away as she gazed at her old home. He reached out and grazed her cheek gently with his long fingers. His cold touch brought Bella back into the moment.
"Are you okay, my love? You looked very wistful when you were gazing at the house." Edward said softly.
Bella gave him a tired smile. "Just remembering." She replied.
Edward glanced up at the house again. "It seems like nothing has changed."
"No, it's exactly the same. My dad never did like making changes." Bella bit her lip nervously. "I should have come back sooner to see him."
Edward stroked the soft skin of her cheek again. "Charlie understands, Bella. It takes time to settle into college. Just remember if you had gone through with your original plan to be turned you wouldn't be here now." He reminded her.
Bella sighed. "Yes I know. Still a year is a long time." She thought back to the day she had left and how sad her father had looked as he bid her goodbye, that and the fact that she had begun to second guess her decision to be changed had prompted her to delay things after the honeymoon. She had decided she wanted to experience college as a human, at least for the first year. Edward had been ecstatic at her decision and had thrown himself into making her first year at college exciting and memorable.
"Are you ready, Bella?" Edward interrupted her musings, forcing her back into the moment again.
"Yes, let's go in." Bella managed to smile at him as she opened her door and climbed out of the new Porsche that Edward had bought her to celebrate the success of her first year.
Edward joined her quickly and took her hand in his own, gently fingering the ornate engagement ring he had given her. It was something he always did when holding her hand, touching it reassured him that she was really his and not some cruel dream he was living. They walked up the steps and Edward knocked on the door.
The door was yanked open quickly and by the last person either of them expected to see. Bella gasped as Edward stepped back, his shock rendering him speechless. How had he not known that he was here? He hadn't and couldn't now read his mind and for some reason the smell that always accompanied his presence was masked somehow.
"Jake?" Bella breathed her former best friends name as she stared at him. He gazed back at her, an inscrutable expression on his face as he studied her. He appeared taller than she remembered and his muscle mass had increased. He looked so much more imposing and intimidating as he crossed his arms and leaned nonchalantly in the doorway.
"Bells." He said in greeting, her old nickname sending her tumbling into the past.
"Jacob Black, we didn't expect you to be here." Edward said coldly as he put his arm discreetly around Bella's waist.
"I bet you didn't." Jacob muttered sarcastically.
They were interrupted by the sound of Charlie calling Bella's name excitedly. He suddenly appeared, pushing past Jacob as he pulled his daughter in for a hug. "You actually came, kiddo." He said in delight.
Bella frowned as she hugged him back. "Of course I did. I promised I would."
Charlie pulled back and smiled at her sadly. "I know you did, kiddo, but I know how exciting it is starting a new life. It's not easy finding time to visit." He then turned to greet Edward, the smile disappearing off of his face. "Hello, Edward."
"Charlie." Edward responded, holding out his hand. Charlie shook it quickly before snatching his hand back.
"Well come in." Charlie urged them. "I called Billy and invited Jake and him over to see you. I know that you would want to see your old friends."
Bella blushed red as she looked sideways at Jacob. She still couldn't read what he was thinking. In fact he seemed slightly bored. "Thank you, dad." She mumbled.
Edward squeezed her hand reassuringly as he leaned close to her and whispered. "I told you it would be fine, love."
Jacob snorted with laughter as he easily overheard what Edward had said. Bella turned to look at him and he gave her a smirk before following Charlie into the kitchen and out of the back door. The smell of charcoal burning made Bella's nose wrinkle. Her dad must have fired up the barbecue. "Will you be alright, Edward? I know that you find it hard to be around cooked meat like this." She said solicitously.
Edward swallowed as he held his breath. "Bella, I think I may need to go." He told her sadly. "I will admit it's a struggle. I'll apologise to your father and just tell him I am visiting friends in the area. I will return for you in a few hours." He gave her an apologetic smile as he hooked her hair behind her ear.
"If you think that's best." Bella agreed. She let him lead her out to the back garden, the smell of the barbecue making her wince. They found the others gathered around the barbecue. Jacob was kneeling next to his dad, whispering something. Billy seemed to be frowning, when he saw Edward emerge outside, his expression turned to one of outright hostility. Whatever he was thinking, Bella noticed that her husband kept his cool. He went over to Charlie and began to share his regrets about having to leave. Bella could see that her father was delighted at this piece of news; he didn't bother to hide it.
Edward returned to her side and cupped her chin in his fingers, raising it so he could kiss her gently on the lips. Bella jumped when she heard Jacob growl. "I'll see you later, Edward." She said quickly, stepping back.
Edward gazed at her intently for a moment and she could tell he was trying to read her mood. He often did this as he couldn't read her mind, for which she was eternally grateful. He glanced over at Jacob for a second, a dark look crossing his handsome face as he did so. "I'll be back to collect you around six, Bella." He gave her another brief kiss before leaving through the back door.
The tension evaporated as soon her husband left. Charlie openly laughed as he opened a beer for himself and Billy. Jacob was drinking plain water and Bella did the same. Billy rolled his chair over to her and smiled. "You look well, Bella. It eases my mind to see you with colour in your cheeks."
"Thanks." Bella couldn't fail to notice the insinuation. "You look great too."
Billy patted his stomach. "That's all thanks to Jake's efforts, he's put me on a new diet and I must say I do feel as if I have much more energy."
"That's great." Bella smiled as she peeked over at Jacob, he had his back to her as he helped himself to a burger.
"Bella." Billy brought her attention back to him.
"Yes." She replied distractedly.
"You can't hurt him again, he won't survive it this time." Billy's words shocked her. Before she could reply he had swivelled his chair around and called out to Charlie for another beer.
Jacob finally approached her while Billy and Charlie were occupied. He handed her a plate of food. "Here."
Bella took it and gave him a tentative smile. "Thanks."
Jacob took a bite of his burger and chewed slowly. He kept his dark eyes trained on her and Bella could feel her skin heating up as she blushed. When Jacob saw this his face finally broke into a grin. "You're still you."
Bella's smile slipped from her lips as she shook her head. "No. I'm not."
Jacob put his plate of food down and took hers. "Come with me for a walk." He held out his hand.
"I can't, Jake. I came here to see my dad." Bella protested.
Jacob took her hand in his and turned back to talk to Charlie. "You don't mind if Bells and I head off for a walk, do you?"
Charlie exchanged a glance with Billy before answering. "No, go ahead. We'll save you some food."
Bella could tell that her dad and Billy had planned this, probably Jacob too. She felt like making an excuse to leave and calling Edward to collect her, but one glance at Jacob's face made her pause. She owed him this time, after everything he had done for her in the past. A flashback to the last time she had seen him entered her mind and she grimaced. Jacob tugged on her hand. "Let's go." He said meaningfully as he led her toward the back door.
They walked side by side in silence. Bella was again struck by how tall he now was. He must be six foot seven at least. She continued to study him discreetly, noticing the way he walked confidently, his head held high as he looked ahead. It wasn't only his height that had changed, he definitely seemed to have attained more muscle, he looked stronger than ever. His shoulders were broad and she could see the definition of his arm muscles through the material of his black shirt, which he wore open at the neck, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows.
Jacob turned his head and she blushed again as he caught her looking. His lips curved upwards as he watched her cheeks turn red. "Yeah, definitely still you." He said again.
Bella sighed. "I told you already, I've changed."
"So you keep saying." Jacob said mildly, reaching out he took her hand and laced their fingers together.
"That's because it's true." Bella retorted. She looked down at their joined hands and frowned, Edward wouldn't like it, but then this was how they always were with each other, even after being separated for a year. Their friendship had always been an overly affectionate one. At times they acted more like a couple and she could guess that if anyone saw them strolling together, that's exactly what they would assume they were.
"Why didn't you change?" Jacob asked her bluntly, sending her emotions into a tailspin.
Bella stopped walking and stared up at him. "I just decided I wasn't ready." She hedged.
Jacob raised his eyebrows at her. "The truth, Bells. Why did you change your mind? When we last spoke you were adamant that you were going ahead with it after your so called honeymoon." He said sarcastically.
Bella remembered their fraught conversation at her wedding. It had resulted in Jacob's pack brothers having to haul him away as he tried to attack Edward. "Where are you going with this?" She snapped.
Jacob pulled his hand out of hers and placed his strong, warm hands on her shoulders. "If you won't tell me then I'll say it for you. You didn't go through with it because you finally realised you had made a mistake marrying the bloodsucker, that you could lose any chance of seeing your dad, mom or me again. You still love me."
Bella was taken aback by his proclamation. She took a moment to compose herself before answering. "If that were true then why did I not come back until now? I didn't come here to see you, Jake. I came back to see my dad."
She saw the anger flare in his dark eyes as he regarded her for a moment. His fingers dug into her skin slightly. "That's bullshit."
"It's not." Bella yelled back at him, always in denial. "I've made a life for myself. A good life. I love college."
People began to look at them strangely as they passed. Jacob glared at them all as he took Bella's hand again and began to pull her toward a dirt track leading to the forest. She tried to resist, but his hold was too strong. She gritted her teeth and gave up, deciding to just let him have his say and then she could return back to the house and call Edward to come and collect her. This had been a bad idea on her part. She should have known a visit home would end up in disaster.
When they were well out of sight of other people Jacob stopped and took hold of her upper arms. He took deep shallow breaths to calm himself, Bella always had the ability to get under his skin. "Do you know you haven't even asked me how I've been?"
"You didn't give me a chance." She said irritably. "I was only in the house for five minutes before you dragged me out here."
"Ask me?" He demanded.
Bella glared up at him, her anger making her brown eyes flash fire. "How are you, Jake?" She spat sarcastically.
A slow smile spread across his face at her words. "I love it when you get riled up. Like I said you're still you."
Before she could stop herself Bella raised her hand to slap him across the face. Jacob caught hold of it just as it neared his cheek. "That's not a good idea. Remember the last time?" He leaned close to her as he spoke, his warm breath ghosting across her skin.
"Don't you dare." Bella warned him.
"I dare." Jacob murmured before pressing his lips onto hers. Bella knew that he was going to kiss her; she readied herself to push him away, but when his mouth moved slowly against hers, her will dissolved. She was thrown back into the past to the last time they shared such an intense kiss. Like then she found herself melting into his arms, her hands slipping around his neck and digging into his hair as she clung to him. Heat enclosed them both in a passionate cocoon as Jacob groaned, wrapping his arms around her body and hauling her against him.
Jacob's tongue slipped between her lips and Bella gasped as she felt fire flood through her body until it reached her core. As before it was Jacob who pulled away first, a smile playing about his lips as he looked at her. The passion slowly began to recede as he gently put her back down on her feet.
"Like I said, you're still you." He said cockily.
Bella smoothed her static charged hair down as she tried to compose herself. How had she allowed this to happen? She loved Edward, he was her husband. She glanced up at Jacob, her breath coming in short pants. His dark eyes were shining with amusement and something else...hope. Guilt slammed into Bella, covering her like a shroud. She had done it again, betrayed herself, Edward and Jacob with her thoughtless actions. He was right, like he always was. She still loved him and that was the primary reason why she had not gone through with the change.
She gave a sad sigh as she took his hand in her own. "And you're still you." She finally admitted.
A/N-Part two coming soon!