At the Cliffs

My take on New Moon / Eclipse - written from Bella's perspective

← Chapter 12: Waiting      Chapter 14: Visitor →

Chapter 13: Prom

Jake stayed through dinner and even pulled out some books to study alongside me that evening. I raised an eyebrow, since I thought that the guys were pretty much foregoing formal education these days due to the demands of being in the pack, but Jake just shrugged and said that he wanted to stay on track to graduating a year early. I blushed, since I knew exactly why he wanted to graduate early, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything in response.

After watching the 10 o’clock news, which reported no new disappearances or murders from the Seattle serial killer, Jake took off, saying that he wanted to do a quick patrol of the neighborhood before he hit the sack. It also allowed us to avoid any awkward conversations about where he was going to sleep. I didn’t trust myself to make smart decisions right now, so I was glad that he just took it out of my hands entirely. At least the weather was perfect – pleasantly warm with a balmy breeze – so it wasn’t such a bad night to be sleeping outdoors.

We continued the same routine for the rest of the week except on Wednesday when Embry had to take the shift while Jake ran patrol with Sam. Charlie had come down with a bad case of the flu and stayed home for a miserable few days. He was feeling better by Friday, but I was able to convince him to stay home one more day to fully recover. I stayed home that day too. It was the last day of school – a half-day - most of which was scheduled to be a rah-rah pep rally that I had no interest in being a part of, so I stayed home to keep Charlie company.

My final exams had come and gone and I had somehow managed to pass all my classes respectably. Now, there were just two things left in my high school career: prom tonight and graduation on Sunday. Sometime in the craziness of that week, I mailed in my acceptance card and my first semester tuition check to the University of Washington. It was stupid, but planning for a future as a typical college freshman somehow made it easier to pretend that my life was in fact that of a normal high school senior.

The same thing could be said for tonight’s big event. Prom was a celebration of youth and of life – at least for those who lived a normal life - something that I wished, more than anything right now, that I could have. Unlike last year, which Alice had made into such a big production with the expensive dress, the elaborate party, the fancy car; tonight, was going to be a low-key affair.

I had decided to wear an old dress of Renee’s that I had in the back of my closet. A simple silk dress that was icy-blue in some lights and silvery gray in other lights. It had a sweetheart neckline and was tight in the bodice, but flowed out into a soft swirly swishy skirt. The dress was comfortable to wear and easy to dress up, with an old pair of silver sandals that Renee had bought for me years ago, pearl earrings and necklace – an early graduation present from Charlie, simple make-up, and my hair down, loose and flowing against my bare back.

I was putting the final touches on my makeup when the phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID and saw that it was Jake.

“You better not be standing me up,” I teased as I picked up the phone.

His warm hearty chuckle echoed through the receiver sending a thrill through me. “No, not exactly, but I’m afraid I will be late … uh … something unexpected just happened and I need to take care of a few things before I can head over. I’m really sorry.”

“What happened?” I asked, my heart thumping wildly, as I ran through a list of all the bad things that could have happened in La Push this afternoon. Unfortunately, there was a lot on that list.

“I’ll tell you about it later,” Jake’s voice was low and soothing. “Nothing to worry about. It’s good for the long run, just a bit of a nuisance right now. I’m really sorry …”

“You’re not hiding something from me, are you?” I demanded anxiously.

“No, I promise. I’ll tell you tonight. I really have to go. I should be there by 8. Do you want to just go and I’ll meet you there?”

“Yes, that’s fine,” I said automatically, responding to the urgency in his voice. “I’ll see you there.”

“Bells, I’m so sorry. I really am. I’ll explain tonight, I promise. ” Jake said again just before he hung up.

I sat there, staring at the phone in my hand for a few minutes as I realized that I had just agreed to show up at my prom solo. I was considering calling him back to tell him to come get me when he was ready, when the phone rang again. It was Angela calling to ask my opinion about whether she should do her hair up or down. When she found out about Jake, she insisted that she and Ben would come by and get me on their way to the prom.

I wish I could say that the first part of the night was enjoyable, but it really wasn’t. I had never been much of a dance-kind-of girl to begin with and being solo while enduring Jessica and Lauren’s smirks, dealing with the hopeful look in Mike’s eyes, and participating in the endless social chitchat about people’s post-high school plans was exhausting. I was ready to call it a night when I saw Jake coming in through the door earlier than expected.

I swallowed hard as I took in the sharp grey suit that he was wearing along with the light blue shirt and tie that perfectly matched my dress. I was so used to seeing Jake in ratty cutoffs and t-shirts that I forgot how well the boy cleaned up when he wanted to. Unlike some of the other guys in the room who looked awkwardly immature in their suits and tuxes, Jake wore his clothes with a careless grace that was wildly attractive.

Jake still hadn’t seen me yet so he paused when he reached the edge of the dance floor to look through the crowd. The boy was completely oblivious to the fact that almost all the girls in the room were checking him out, but I wasn’t. Suddenly, my heart wrenched because I realized that at any moment, Jake could look at one of those girls and imprint, and then we – whatever it was that we were right now - would be over. Done. Over before anything had even really started. In that one moment, I undid all the progress I had made this past week in convincing myself that the imprinting thing wouldn’t be an issue.

But then, Jake saw me, and the way that his face lit up took my breath away. His eyes widened slightly as they flickered over my dress in appreciation, but it was his smile – which seemed to start from deep within him - that made my heart beat just a teensy bit faster as he made his way over to me through the crowd. If he could look at me that way, how could he possibly imprint on someone else?

Finally, Jake was in front of me and that’s when I noticed a box with a corsage in his hand. I didn’t remember telling him what color my dress would be or what my favorite flowers were, but he had managed to guess correctly on both – a cluster of delicate delphiniums beautifully arranged with a pale blue ribbon.

“Did I say I was sorry for being late?” he asked softly, his warm hands engulfing mine as he slipped the flowers over my right wrist.

“Yes, but you can always say it again,” I teased as I brought my hand up to admire the flowers.

Jake grabbed my hand and he brought it to up to softly kiss the inside of my palm, sending shivers down my spine. “I’m really really really sorry,” – he punctuated each really with a kiss which officially turned my knees to jelly – “Did I also mention how amazing you look? You look like moonlight in that dress.”

“Moonlight?” I teased lightly. “That’s very poetic of you.”

“What can I say? I’m a man of many talents,” he laughed as he pulled me onto the dance floor so that we could sway slowly to the music.

“I don’t remember you being this smooth last year,” I said as I tried not to make a fool of myself on the dance floor.

“Let’s just say that I got some coaching from Quil,” Jake waggled his eyebrows in response and we both burst out laughing just as he dipped me expertly.

I hated dancing. I always felt so awkward and self-conscious on the dance floor, sure that everyone was watching and mocking my clumsiness, but somehow with Jake – it was easy. I forgot that we were surrounded by people. It was just him and me. And all I had to do was follow his lead.

It felt so good to just be normal for once. And right now, it was easy to pretend that everything was normal, that I was just another girl enjoying her prom with a guy who gave her butterflies in her stomach. Angela and Ben danced by us then; Angela gave me a discreet thumbs-up, while giving Jake a welcoming smile. We said hi briefly, but didn’t bother to stop dancing to chat. There would be plenty of time for that later. Right now, the moment was too nice to lose.

I sighed as I moved in closer, laying my head on his broad chest as we swayed to the music. I could feel the heat of his body through the smooth sheen of his cotton dress shirt and it felt comforting in the heavily air-conditioned room. I turned my head to one side so I could lay it against his chest, smiling as I heard the steady dependable thrum of his heartbeat. Everything was perfect right now. Even the shabby old gym, which the prom committee had done their best to disguise with its Monte Carlo themed decorations, seemed like a comfortable haven from the unpredictable world outside.

Jake seemed to feel the same way as he shifted slightly so that he could wrap his arms tighter around me. We were barely moving at this point, just swaying to the beat of the song, a song that I would associate with this perfect moment – the calm before the storm – for the rest of my life. I wished I could just stay in this moment forever – feeling loved, secure, and safe… but the moment couldn’t last.

Try as I might, the fear that lurked on the edges of my mind began to creep in. Damnit. It wasn’t fair. Why me? Why couldn’t I be like Angela who could dance happily in the arms of the boy who loved her without worrying about being hunted by a murderous vampire who would be willing to destroy everything and everyone just to make a point? And don’t even get me started about the imprinting thing.

I lifted my head suddenly, “So you never told me … why were you late?”

Jake looked down at me. His face looked tired all of a sudden. “Colin and Brady turned today. Sam was away doing border patrol with Paul, so I had to do the whole welcome-to-the-pack thing until he got back.”

“Oh, wow.” I replied. “They’re just 14, right?”

“Yeah,” Jake said shortly. “There aren’t that many of us with the gene, so they just get younger and younger.”

“So that’s ten of you now, right?” I asked as I mentally tallied up the pack members in my head.

“Yeah,” he replied shortly. I could read the ambivalence in his tone. As much as he wanted more help in dealing with Victoria, he wouldn’t have wished this fate on anyone.

“I guess it’ll help … in case, you know …” My voice trailed off. I was running out of ways to skirt talking about the Victoria issue.

Jake felt me tense up and he pressed his lips to my head in a soft kiss. “Don’t …” he admonished gently, “I know it’s hard to forget reality. But let’s enjoy this … we may never have it again.”

I smiled into the folds of his shirt and he pressed me to him as we continued to sway to the music. The boy knew me too well. I felt myself relax again. I don’t know how long we stayed like that, lost in the moment, when Jessica, without her date, and Lauren, with Tyler in tow, interrupted us.

“Well well … “Jessica said archly, “Don’t you guys look adorable?”

We broke apart as I dutifully made introductions all around. Lauren’s eyes were wide as she took in Jake in his sharply tailored suit. Tyler, who was no chump in the height and shoulders department, suddenly looked very awkward and ungainly beside him.

“So, I guess this means the two of you are together, right?” Lauren asked with a flirtatious smile directed at Jake. The girl looked like she was ready to eat him up with a spoon. The blatant invite in her eyes as she coolly appraised him just ticked me off.

“Yes-“I said, before I could help myself.

“-No” Jake had jumped in anxiously to save me from an awkward moment, but he turned to me in shock, a faint glow of hope filling his eyes as he registered my “yes.” I stared back, unsure of what I had just said myself. Somehow, that just seemed like the right answer.

“Whatever the lady says,” Jake finally said with a wide grin. He squeezed my arm slightly while turning back politely towards Lauren.

Lauren pouted prettily as she looked up at Jake from beneath her thick lashes. “Well we can’t let her keep you all to herself. That just wouldn’t be fair.”

Jake smiled politely in response but didn’t respond, giving me another gentle squeeze. Lauren and Jessica, seeing that Jake wasn’t going to play ball, soon left us alone. But not before Lauren reminded Jake, her hand on his arm, that he should definitely stop by Jessica’s post-prom party so that they could get to know him better. I had never thought of myself as a jealous person, but at that moment, I thought I could have easily clawed her eyes out.

I didn’t know what it was. With Edward, somehow, I had never quite believed that he and I actually belonged together. He was so divinely perfect, that I had never felt that I could claim ownership over him. Not that Jake wasn’t unbelievably perfect in his own way, but somehow, it was different. I wanted him to be mine. I just didn’t realize quite how much until I saw Lauren blatantly sizing him up.

The rest of the evening was pretty non-descript after that. Somehow, every girl I had ever met during my brief stint at Forks High School, stopped by to say hi and to gush about the end of our high school life together. But I wasn’t fooled. They all just wanted to be introduced to Jake.

The poor boy had no idea of his appeal. It wasn’t just the good looks and ridiculous body. It was the endearing blend of the earnest warm-hearted boy that he had once been, with the intense brooding swagger that came from his new life as a member of the pack. The boy next door, but with an edge.

We dutifully made our way to Jessica’s post-prom party afterwards with Ben and Angela, but it was pretty much a bust. Most of the others were so trashed that their drunken shenanigans were just painful to watch. The four of us slipped away, sure that our absence wouldn’t be missed, and hit up the diner instead for a late night food-fest. Jake fit in easily, he and Ben striking up their own guy-bond, while Angela and I had fun running down the events of the evening.

It was the perfect end to a night of normal everyday fun – an interlude from my real life - so I was sad when Jake pulled his car up to my driveway. The light were out, so Charlie must have gone to bed already, not bothering to wait up for us. Jake cut the engine to the Rabbit immediately so that he wouldn’t wake Charlie.

We sat there for a few moments in silence. Neither of us had referenced the moment with Lauren again for the rest of the night, and I felt awkwardly tongue-tied about it. I was worried that if we talked it out, I would manage to talk myself out of it. I mean, that was the rational and logical thing to do in my situation, but my gut was telling me to do something totally different.

Finally, Jake took a deep breath as he straightened his shoulders and turned towards me, “Bella … about earlier … when you said-“

I cut him off as I put my hands on his warm cheeks and pulled him towards me, fusing my lips against his. It was better than I had remembered. Jake froze at first, in shock, but he quickly got over it as he eagerly wrapped his arms around my waist to pull me towards him. I felt the gear shift digging awkwardly into my side as Jake half-dragged me over it while he fumbled with the seat latch with his left hand. The seat pushed back from the dashboard suddenly, causing me to lose my balance, and I tumbled into his lap as we heard a loud rip from my skirt being caught between the gear shift and the passenger seat.

We broke apart at the sound and turned to look at my skirt and then back at each other before bursting out laughing. I felt myself crumple up against Jake in a fit of laughter, though I wasn’t the only one. Jake’s entire body shook from laughing so hard.

“This is what happens when you can’t keep your hands off of me,” Jake teased when he finally was able to find his voice.

“What can I say? You’re irresistible,” I replied jokingly though irresistible really was the only word I could use to describe him. Despite every logical rational part of me that told me that getting involved with him was a terrible idea given the whole imprinting thing, I just couldn’t stop myself.

“I know, I know,” he replied with a mock sigh as he leaned closer to nuzzle the side of my cheek.

I rolled my eyes as I tried to pull away to give him a mock punch. “All the girls think so. I can’t believe you didn’t notice. At prom, they weren’t coming over to talk to me, that’s for sure.”

He chuckled, a deep hearty rumble in his chest, as he grabbed my hand and brought it up to kiss it. “All that matters is that you find me irresistible.”

I laughed and sighed at the same time. How was I supposed to keep my head straight when he said stuff like that. “I’m glad Charlie is sleeping,” Jake continued with a cheeky grin. “You don’t think he’ll come out here with a shotgun for me, will he?”

“Well maybe we should try to defog some of these windows so that it doesn’t give him the wrong idea,” I teased as I gestured to the heavy condensation that had built up on the inside of all the windows. It felt like it was about 100 degrees in the car, so I manually rolled down the driver’s side window a crack.

I sniffed appreciatively as the deliciously cool crisp night air flowed into the car. I turned back to Jake, ready to continue where we had left off, when he sat up abruptly, his face suddenly harsh, his eyes alert, and his nostrils flared. He put his hands on my waist and tossed me back into the passenger seat as he reached over me to lock my door.

“What?” I sputtered in confusion, “What’s going on …”

“Vampire,” Jake ground out, as he threw open his door and pulled himself out of the car, slamming it shut behind him with a resounding thud.

← Chapter 12: Waiting      Chapter 14: Visitor →

About Me

I'm a Twilight fan who believes that Jacob Black is better for Bella than Edward, so I wrote these Team Jacob fanfiction stories to try to convert as many people to my side as possible. :)

I've tried to stay as faithful to the original books as possible up through At the Cliffs, which is when I break off from canon and write out Eclipse the way I wish it had happened!

So ... what do you think? Good? Bad? Ideas for other stories?

Please let me know!

Jane

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