At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 15: Idea      Chapter 17: Argument →

Chapter 16: Plan

Leah and I drove out to La Push that afternoon in Leah’s old baby-blue Chevette, followed by Charlie and Mike in the cruiser. They honked and waved at us through the window when they turned off the main road to follow an old dirt road that led down to some popular fishing spots along the Quilayute River.

When we pulled up to Jake’s house, I could see Billy and Old Quil sitting in the living room talking to Sam. Quil and Paul were sprawled on the front porch steps and raised their hands in greeting as we pulled into the driveway. I didn’t see Jared or Embry or Jake, for that matter.

Leah and I hopped out of the car at the same time. We hadn’t said a word to each other on the way over. Leah had turned up the alternative rock station as soon as we got into the car, so I figured she wasn’t in any mood to talk. Which was fine because I wasn’t either.

Quil and Paul got to their feet - they had clearly been waiting for us to arrive - but the boys remembered to stand politely to one side of the front door to let us into the house first.

“Where is everyone else?” Leah asked as she walked into the living room and plopped down on the faded blue armchair in the corner.

“Embry and Jared are running patrol. Seth is watching over Collin and Brady – they still haven’t been able to successfully phase back,” Sam replied as he stood up to greet me. “Bella, I’m sorry the vampire got through. It’s our fault. We promised to protect you and Charlie.”

“No, it’s okay,” I stammered awkwardly, my face warm with embarrassment. “It’s not your fault. You guys can’t do everything. And nothing happened, so there’s no need to apologize …”

“It’s kind of you to say that,” Billy replied gravely as he patted the couch next to his wheelchair. I sat down obediently, grateful to be out of the limelight. I heard a door in the hallway open as Jake appeared, with a serious case of bed-head and his eyes still fuzzy from sleep. He ambled into the room and greeted everyone with a wave before plopping down on the couch next to me.

Jake wrapped his arm around my shoulders casually, bringing me in close for a moment to nuzzle my neck, before pulling back to lean his head against the couch and close his eyes to catch a few more moments of rest. I tensed up at first, suddenly aware that this was the first time that he and I had been “together together” in front of the pack, but it didn’t seem to faze anyone. I’m not even sure anyone even noticed.

“So, we have a new development,” Old Quil announced gravely as he launched right into the meeting.

Quil and Paul, who had been idling around by the front door, quickly settled against the far edge of the room, leaning against a table that looked like it would be crushed by their collective weight.

“Yes,” Sam said as he reported out what happened last night, more for my, Billy, and old Quil’s benefit, since the rest of the pack had already heard all the details.

“Last night, a vampire made it into Forks and into Bella’s house without being detected by our patrol. He allegedly took an article of clothing from Bella’s room-“ Jake snorted at this as he lifted his head, opening his eyes, now fully awake “-and left without harming Charlie or anyone else as far as we know. Jake, Quil, and I tracked the vampire’s scent. He left his car parked at the far side of the Wildlife Preserve, along the southeast edge of the county line, which is way beyond our patrol grounds since no lives out there. Well, technically, the Cullens used to live there.”

Sam nodded at me then, I guess because I was the only one who had ever been to the Cullen’s house, before he continued.

“The terrain there is pretty rugged, full of peaks and valleys, so it took us a while to trace his route. He crossed into our patrol area undetected by swimming upstream in the Forks River. His scent disappeared into the river out in the Wildlife Preserve, only to emerge five miles upstream, well within our patrol borders, by the old rock quarry field.”

“The what field?” Paul asked loudly.

“The old rock quarry field. The one with the big cliff on one end and all the random rock formations around the edges. It’s the one where the Cullens used to play baseball back in the day.”

I knew exactly which field he was talking about. I had only been there once in my life, but I would remember every detail of that field forever. It was in that field that James, Victoria, and Laurent entered my life and changed everything forever.

“The vampire then entered Forks through the west side, arriving at Bella’s house, and then leaving exactly the way he entered,” Sam paused as he turned to Jake. “Anything else you want to add?”

Jake stood up stiffly. “Just that all the signs point to the redhead being involved. This vampire knew about us. Knew that we would be patrolling the boundaries and figured out a way to slip in without being seen. The leech didn’t hurt Charlie, who would have been easy prey, and instead, took something that smelled like Bella. If it wasn’t to bring back something that would make it easier for them to hunt for her, what was it for?”

Old Quil’s eyes were thoughtful as he looked at me, but he didn’t say anything. Billy, however, jumped right in, “I can think of at least one other explanation for this, son.”

Jake looked puzzled as did most of the others in the room. But suddenly, I knew what Billy was going to say and the words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them.

“It’s not him. Trust me. He wouldn’t come back. He has no reason to.”

“Are you so sure?” Billy asked quietly. “The Cullen boy would know about us. He would know how to slip in and out of your house unnoticed. And he would have no interest in harming Charlie. But he might have considerable interest in taking something of yours for old time’s sake? Am I wrong?”

”Yes, you are. Believe me. He doesn’t have any feelings for me anymore. It’s over. He was pretty clear about that … “ My voice faltered as I could see that my protests weren’t convincing anyone. Even Jake’s eyes looked doubtful – and pained - as he considered this new theory.

“I believe her,” Leah’s voice suddenly pierced the silence. My jaw almost dropped to the floor as I turned to look at her. Leah had unfolded herself from the armchair and was standing, with her arms crossed defensively in front of her chest, as she faced the rest of the pack. “Plus, I assume that Sam should be able to confirm whether this is true or not. He smelled the Cullen boy’s scent that time back in the fall when he searched the woods for Bella. He would know if this were the same scent.”

I marveled at Leah’s sharp recall. Sam grinned in appreciation too as he nodded slowly. “She’s right. I had forgotten about that. This scent was new. I’m sure of it. I haven’t smelled it before so it can’t have been the Cullen boy. I could be one of the other Cullens though. They stayed off our territory and we stayed off theirs, so we never learned all of their scents.”

“I doubt it,” Leah dismissed. “I can’t imagine any of the others coming back for her. No offense,” she added belatedly as she realized what she had said.

I shrugged. Being offended was the last thing on my mind right now.

“So what do you suggest, Leah?” Old Quil asked, speaking for the first time since the start of the meeting.

“The way I see it, there’s a 95% chance that it really is the red-head and her band of followers, looking to take this one down,” she jerked her thumb at me. “In which case, we’re in a lot of trouble. Sure, there’s a small possibility that it’s not them and it’s one of the Cullens, but I don’t think we want to bet on it.”

“Agreed. This was probably a trial run of sorts,” Jake mused as he continued Leah’s train of thought. “To see if he could sneak in and out undetected. He probably thought he was successful too. Though I guess he was successful”- Jake grimaced as he corrected himself –“I’m betting this is the route they take when the rest of them come. The last thing they want is to fight out by the border and give us time to sneak Bella off to a place where they couldn’t find her.”

“So let’s set up an ambush by the old quarry field. It’s the perfect place. There’s that sloping meadow that comes up from the river and tons of rock formations that we can use strategically,” Sam joined in.

“Yeah, we can totally take them by surprise,” Paul chortled with a high-five to Quil.

“They’ll never know what’s coming,” Quil laughed as he slapped Paul’s hand.

“Of course, we don’t know when they’re coming,” Leah rolled her eyes as she spoke over the boy’s comments. “Or how many of them there will be. If the newspaper reports are to be believed, there’s been at least twenty-something disappearances in the last few months and who knows how many more have yet to be reported.”

Everyone’s face was grim as Leah finally brought up the pink elephant in the room. Even Paul and Quil, never the sharpest tools in the shed, didn’t look quite so gung-ho now.

“Some of the disappearances are probably unrelated,” Jake suggested, though he didn’t look all that convinced himself.

“Not all will have successfully turned. Many new vampires die in the process or in the early days,” Billy offered weakly, a departure from his usually reassuring demeanor.

“Still,” Sam acknowledged what we were all thinking but were unwilling to say out loud. “No matter what. We’ll be heavily outnumbered.”

“Plus, they’re so much stronger than normal vampires,” I blurted out in a blind panic, worried that they might have forgotten that one crucial thing

The pack seemed confused by my response, except for Jake, who was used to my random outburst. “What do you mean?” he asked calmly.

I leaned down to grab my bag so that I could pull out the book. “It was in this book about Quileute Legends that I read. The newborn vampires have more human blood in them because of their recent transformation, so they’re a lot stronger than older vampires.”

Sam took the book from my hand and opened it up to the illustration that I had flagged. Jake learned over his shoulder and read the description aloud to the rest of the room.

Old Quil chuckled softly when he finished. “She’s right. I had forgotten about that. There’s just that one story about a newly created cold one. The tribe has never encountered one since so we never knew if it was true or not.”

“So what you’re saying is that we’re doubly screwed,” Leah commented calmly as she took the book from Jake to check out the illustration.

“Leah!” Quil protested, “You’re such a joy kill!”

“No, I’m just practical,” she replied emotionlessly as she handed the book back to Jake.

“You don’t think we can take them?” Paul asked indignantly, as he jumped up from the table where he was perched, his hands balled into firsts. I recognized frustration when I saw it. Paul knew the pack was in trouble. But it was easier for him to pick a fight with Leah than to deal with it.

“Umm. Let’s see,” Leah replied sarcastically without even the slightest hint that she was worried about Paul’s posturing. “There are 20 of them and 10 of us. Let’s just say that I don’t like our odds.”

“We do have the element of surprise,” Jake commented as he stepped between them and gestured for Paul to back down. Paul frowned but he settled back down against the wall.

“Uh … so do they,” Leah replied, “If you recall, we have no way of knowing when they’ll come.”

“So we’ll just have to be ready at any time,” Jake retorted, assuming his Beta voice and stance of authority. “We’ll continue to run our patrols, but we’ll make the field our home-base from now on. We can easily sleep out there. The cliff on the north side is the perfect vantage point to scope out the field and the river. We can start tonight. We’ll scope out the area and plan a strategy for greeting them when they do arrive.”

“You know what would help?” Sam said thoughtfully as he took in the exchange between Jake and Leah. “If Bella were there. They’re hunting for her, so her scent will distract them.”

“I’m game,” I said immediately, but my voice was drowned out by Jake’s roar.

“Absolutely not!” he yelled at Sam. “Are you crazy?”

“No, Jake, I want to be there-“ I protested as I made an attempt to grab at his arm.

“Out of the question,” Jake growled as he stepped in front of me to block me from Sam. His eyes were glowing defiantly as he pulled himself to his full height and stared him down. I didn’t want to know what would happen if Sam, as the Alpha, were to order Jake, to let me be there.

“No, I want to be there! This is all my fault. I should be there,” I protested again, but Jake wouldn’t budge, even when I tried to push him aside

“Oh please,” Leah cut in. “Like that will help. All that will do is distract Jake. He’ll be too busy trying to make sure you’re okay that he’ll be useless to us.”

“Leah is right,” Sam was calm as he directed his words at Jake. “It doesn’t make sense for her to be there. But if she could spend some time there in the next few days, her scent will linger, even if she’s not there in person.”

Jake’s nod was barely perceptible, but Sam seemed to have taken it as a sign of cooperation because he continued briskly “Okay, so it’s settled. We’ll scope out the site tonight, figure out where we want to place Bella’s scent to lure them into an ambush, and then Bella – you’ll go with Jake tomorrow morning to place your scent?”

“Of course,” I replied automatically before I remembered that I was supposed to be graduating from high school tomorrow morning. “Oh … umm … is it okay if we do it tomorrow night?”

Everyone in the room stared at me as if I had grown three heads. We had just talked about the imminent danger looming over our heads and here I was asking for a delay.

“It’s just … it’s graduation tomorrow and I don’t know how I’ll explain it to Charlie if I didn’t … and he made dinner reservations too,” I stammered awkwardly, feeling stupid even as the words left my mouth.

“It’s okay, Bella,” Billy’s deep baritone was reassuring. “Tomorrow night is fine. We can’t let this take over our lives. If it does, they win anyway. So celebrate tomorrow. We still have time.”

I nodded mutely, but I couldn’t bring myself to look into any of the others’ eyes, least of all Leah’s. Billy’s pronouncement seemed to be the end of the pack meeting. Quil and Paul gathered around Sam as he gave them some softly-spoken commands before they made a beeline for the front door. Sam said a few words to Jake, before motioning to Leah to follow him as he headed towards the front door too.

Leah paused on the threshold before turning to look at me with a strange expression on her face. Then she walked back to pick up the Quileute Legends book that had been placed onto the coffee table, flipped it open to a page half-way through before giving it to Jacob. She muttered something underneath her breath that I couldn’t quite make out and turned to give me a non-subtle glance before she headed out the door.

What the heck was that about, I wondered, but I didn’t have to wait too long to find out, because Jake’s eyes grew wide, first in alarm and then in frustration, as he skimmed the page that Leah had opened for him. He looked up with a sigh and then held the book out to me. It was open to the story of the third wife’s sacrifice.

← Chapter 15: Idea      Chapter 17: Argument →

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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