At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 13: Prom      Chapter 15: Idea →

Chapter 14: Visitor

My fingers were numb as I fumbled with the lock to throw open the door.

“Stay in the car,” Jake ground out without turning to look at me. He was frantically scanning the property, looking for any sign of the intruder, but nothing looked out of place.

I ignored him as I scrambled around the car to stand next to him. I wasn’t a total idiot. I didn’t know who or what was out there, and staying as close to him as possible was my best bet for survival. Seeing that I wasn’t going to obey him, Jake pushed me behind him so that I was wedged between him and the Rabbit.

“Quil!” Jake hissed towards the woods by the left side of our house.

Nothing happened for a few seconds. Then we heard some rustling in the trees as Quil emerged from the woods a good distance away from us. I could barely see him in the darkness, just the glint of the buttons and rivets on his cutoff jean shorts when they caught the moonlight.

“You party animals are back early. Couldn’t find something better to do?” Quil drawled as he stretched lazily and let out a loud yawn.

“Quil!” Jake hissed again, the veins in his neck throbbing as he kept his anger and fear tightly leashed.

“Sheesh. What’s with the ‘tude, man?” Quil asked as he picked up his pace and jogged over towards us. “Seriously …” His voice trailed off when he got within twenty feet of us and picked up the same scent that was freaking Jake out. “Sh*t, Jake. I had no idea. I’m sorry-“

“What the hell have you been doing?” Jake spat out angrily.

“I’m sorry, man. I showed up at 10 to relieve Embry and there was no scent, I swear. I looped around the place and didn’t see anything, so I went back to the woods to hang out. Didn’t want to freak out the locals. But I fell asleep-“ Jake’s eyebrows raised-“I’m sorry man, I’m exhausted. We’ve been pulling double shifts for weeks now. I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t see anything. I didn’t smell anything until I got out here. There’s no scent back in the woods, I swear.” Quil turned to me in agony; his face wrought with guilt, “Bella, I’m sorry. I really am.”

“It’s okay, Quil-“I started to say.

“No, it’s not,” Jake snapped, “Just stay with her while I go into the house to check.”

“Charlie. You don’t think they ...” My voice trailed off as I felt all the blood draining from my head as I finally connected the dots. Jake grabbed my shoulders to keep me upright.

“The scent isn’t strong enough for two. It’s just one of them. But it leads to the front door, “ he replied curtly, though his hands were gentle as he leaned me against the side of the car. Jake turned to Quil and spoke quickly, “As the Beta, I’m ordering you to protect her. No matter what happens. If you hear me in trouble, take her and go to the rez immediately. Do not leave her to help me.”

Quil’s face faltered as he turned to look at me and then back at his best friend.

“Do you hear me?!” Jake snarled as he pulled off his jacket and tie, which would constrain his movement too much, and threw them onto the hood of the car next to me.

“Let me go in with you.” Quil stuttered, “She may still be in there …”

“Do you hear me?!?!” Jake snapped again as he stepped closer to Quil so that he was inches away from his face. I thought Quil might melt from the laser-like intensity of Jake’s eyes.

“Yes, yes, I promise,” Quil whispered softly. “Be careful, man.”

“It’s not her. It’s a different scent,” Jake dismissed as he turned towards me. “Do what he says,” he ordered as he took off down the driveway towards the house.

When he reached the door, I realized that he didn’t have a key and so I began fumbling with the door handle to get my purse with the keys, but I looked up in shock as Jake just turned the knob and silently let himself in. The door was unlocked. The door was never unlocked. Something was definitely wrong. Oh God. If something happened to Charlie because of me, I would never be able to forgive myself.

My knees went weak and I felt myself slumping against the side of the Rabbit. Quil reached out in alarm, but I shrugged off his assistance and slipped to the ground. I wrapped my arms tightly around my legs as I willed away the tears that were on the point of overflowing. Breaking down right now wouldn’t help anything. I had to get a grip.

It wasn’t Victoria, so that was good, I reminded myself. And Laurent was dead. So maybe Charlie was okay. Maybe it was one of the Seattle vampires or a random traveler who came through the area. I couldn’t think of any other vampire that had any reason to be in Forks. Another possibility flitted through my head, but I shut down that thought quickly. It wasn’t possible. He wouldn’t come back. He had no reason to.

I turned to see Quil watching the house; guilt and fear written all over his face. It seemed hard to believe that a few minutes ago, I was a girl flushed with happiness in the aftermath of a perfect evening. And now, I was curled up in a tattered prom dress, surrounded by darkness and God knows what else was lurking out there, waiting to find out if two of the most important people in my life had been or would be killed by a deranged psychotic murderer. It seemed like ages since Jake had entered the house, but we hadn’t heard a sound so either nothing was wrong or something was terribly wrong.

Just when I thought I was going to pass out from hyperventilation, Jake rounded the corner of the house, having come out the back door, and gave us a thumbs-up sign as he jogged over silently. I dropped my head in relief and tears did flow now. Silent tears of relief. Thank God. Charlie was okay. For now.

Jake came to my side and I let him pull me to my feet, though I was still somewhat wobbly, so he kept his arm around me to help steady me as he gave us the debrief.

“Charlie was asleep on the couch. It was odd. The scent went a few steps into the living room where Charlie was sleeping“ – my eyes were wide in alarm – “but no closer. I followed it straight up the stairs to Bella’s bedroom where the scent was the strongest. It think the leech spent a few minutes in there before leaving through the front door. I checked the rest of the rooms and around the back. No scent anywhere.”

“That’s really weird,” Quil stammered, still reeling over the shock and guilt, “You’re telling me a vamp walked into the house, checked out Charlie sleeping, didn’t do anything, went up to Bella’s room, and then left again. “

“Yes,” Jake replied with a frown. “How the hell did he get by our border patrols? I thought we were running the boundaries down through the Forks town line.”

“Sam’s been tied up getting the two new ones up to speed. Maybe the vamp came through on a blind spot. We’re trying to cover hundreds of miles. Something is bound to slip through,” Quil pleaded in defense of the pack.

“Then we’ll need to step it up. Someone got through. Someone could have died!” Jake argued back in a violent whisper.

“Yes, but no one did. It sounds like it was a friendly vampire. I mean, who else would leave Charlie alone? Maybe it was, you know, the … ” Quil’s voice trailed off awkwardly as he looked at me.

“The Cullens, you mean?” I asked, my voice sounded tighter and higher than normal. Jake stiffened beside me. “It’s a possibility, but I don’t see why they would be here.”

“Maybe he wanted to talk to you,” Quil replied matter-of-factly, though he avoided Jake’s eyes.

“We broke up almost a year ago. I’m not sure there’s much to talk about,” I said honestly, trying to lean into Jake a little more to reassure him and myself, but he stayed stiff and unyielding, holding himself tightly in check next to me.

“Umm … Last I heard, exes still do talk to each other,” Quil replied. A weird growling sound seemed to come from Jake’s throat, though he hadn’t visibly moved. Quil put up his hands in surrender. “Look, buddy, it’s a possibility. I’m just saying.”

“Right now, I don’t care who he is, I just care about how he got here without us knowing about it,” Jake ground out. “Go summon Embry and report to Sam.” Quil obediently took off for the woods to presumably shift into wolf form to pass on the message. Jake turned to me with an impassive expression on his face. “Embry will stay with you while Quil and I track down the scent to figure out how the leech got in and out without us seeing.”

“Jake, it’s okay. I can be here by myself,” I replied feebly, but I stopped when I saw the look in his eyes. “Okay … fine … Embry can come.”

Jake pulled me into a tight bear hug then, losing his tough-guy exterior for a moment. “I’m just glad that you’re okay,” he muttered brokenly into my hair. “And that Charlie is okay. For a moment there … I thought that this was … you know …”

“I know,” I whispered softly, my words muffled into his chest. I don’t know if he heard me, but it almost didn’t matter. I was so flush with relief. Relief that Charlie wasn’t hurt. Relief that it wasn’t Victoria. Relief that Jake wasn’t going to get all hung up on the whole Cullen thing.

Quil coughed slightly as he re-emerged from the woods, so we broke apart reluctantly. “He’ll be here in five. Sam’s coming with him. He can’t believe the vamp got through either.”

Jake nodded as he slung his arm around me and walked with me towards the house. Quil stayed outside to give us some privacy, which was so unlike him, that I figured the guilt from not catching the vamp was still weighing on him heavily. We let ourselves into the front door quietly. I sniffed around, trying to figure out if I could smell the scent that was driving them all crazy, but nothing. I remembered the Cullens smelling amazing, like the most tantalizing elusive perfume that you could never hope to be able to bottle, but I didn’t detect any of that now. Just the pleasantly normal smell of our house.

I peeked into the living room and saw Charlie snoring away on the couch. My eyes misted over as I watched him sleeping peacefully, unaware of all the tumult around him. Thank goodness he was such a deep sleeper. Though the boys moved so silently these days, despite their size, that they probably wouldn’t have woken him up anyways.

Jake motioned for me to head upstairs to my room. I started to limp towards the stairs, partially because my feet were killing me in the high-heeled sandals that I was wearing and partially because I felt the adrenaline draining out of me now that I knew that Charlie – and I – were safe for the time being. My shoes were making too much of a clicking sound against the hardwood floor, so Jake picked me up and carried me up the stairs effortlessly.

He let me down on my bed and then stepped back to stand in the doorway, his arms crossed as he leaned against the doorframe. I wanted to just lie down and pull the sheets over my head and pretend that none of this had just happened, but I figured that was too cowardly. Instead, I pulled off my shoes and reached over to grab my pajamas which I usually hung on the footboard of my bed. They weren’t there.

I frowned as I got up and started feeling around the edge of my mattress where it met the footboard to see if they had fallen through. Nothing. I got up to peer at the floor around my bed and found the pajama bottoms – an ugly pair of plaid lumberjack-esque pants that I had stolen from Charlie years ago and loved precisely because they were so ugly - but I didn’t see my shirt anywhere.

“What’s wrong?” Jake asked as he saw me surveying my room with a frown.

“My pajama top. It’s gone. It’s weird. I always hang it over the foot of the bed, but I don’t see it,” I said as I started searching the rest of the room, flipping through the clothes in the hamper and pulling open drawers even though I knew there was no way that I had put the shirt there.

“What does it look like?” Jake asked as he pushed himself from the doorway to come help.

“It’s just a plain red shirt. Cotton. Long-sleeved. Nothing special,” I said with another frown as I exhausted all the possibilities in my room. My room wasn’t that big and I was relatively neat, so there weren’t that many places for a shirt to hide. “It was just my favorite sleep shirt because it was so comfortable,” I explained as I turned back to him.

Jake lifted up the mattress from the bed frame so that we could peer around underneath. Nothing. We swatted around the pillows and the sheets. Still nothing.

“Are you sure it’s not downstairs?” Jake asked dubiously.

“No way. I swear, I put it there. I like having my stuff organized, I don’t leave things lying around,” I muttered as I ran my hands through my hair in frustration. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jake stiffen. I looked up to see him staring at me in horror.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“That’s why he was here…” he said slowly as the gears began to click into place.

“Why who was here?” I asked stupidly.

“The bloodsucker just now. If it was some random leech, he would never have passed on Charlie. The vamp – he or she or whatever the heck they are - he was here for a reason. He wanted something of yours. Something that-“

“Something that would smell like me,” I finished for him, feeling my heartbeat racing as I finally caught on.

“That’s it! This explains everything,” Jake almost shouted, before remembering that Charlie was sleeping downstairs. He lowered his voice and continued, “They knew we’d be watching. So they were careful to avoid the forests where we would be hiding. They came in the front and made a quick beeline to your room to get the shirt and to get out without us noticing.”

“I guess this means you were right,” I said numbly, the full weight of what Jake was saying landing with the force of an anvil on my shoulders. “It’s her. It has to be her. She’s the only one who knows about the pack. She’s still hunting me, but she’s got others to help now.”

Jake’s face was suddenly tight as the elation over having solved the puzzle faded and the implications settled in. He swallowed hard and we stared long and hard at each other. Even though we had suspected all along, knowing it was a different thing. I think there was a secret part of us that had been hoping that maybe Sam was right. That maybe she had moved on. But here was proof that she wasn’t done with us yet. Proof that the odds were stacked against us.

“We’ll figure it out. We have to,” Jake said hoarsely as he reached out to me. I stepped into his arms, my ultimate safe haven in a scary scary world, and wished desperately for that to be true.

Jake stiffened suddenly and turned towards the window. “They’re here. I should go. We need to figure out how he snuck past our border patrols.”

I nodded mutely as he let go of me and turned to leave. He paused at the door, “Embry will be camped out in front of the house until we get back. Don’t-“

“Don’t worry? How can I not?” I asked softly, with everything that I felt for him but was unable to say in my eyes. Jake took it all in for a long moment. And then he nodded and disappeared down the stairs.

← Chapter 13: Prom      Chapter 15: Idea →

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!


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