At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 16: Plan      Chapter 18: Decision →

Chapter 17: Argument

“Is there something that you want to tell me?” Jake asked, his voice rough with emotion, as he gestured towards the book that he held in his hand.

“No,” I replied defiantly as I made the move to head out the back door. I didn’t exactly want to do this in front of old Quil and Bill. I heard Jake stomping after me as we exited the house and made our way to his garage. I learned against the front hood of the Rabbit and turned to face him, ready for the confrontation. But Jake didn’t say anything as he stood there, his arms crossed in front of his chest, as he watched me under hooded eyes.

“I don’t know what Leah said, but she doesn’t know anything,” I retorted finally when I couldn’t stand the silence anymore.

“She just said that I should keep an eye on you since you’ve been doing some reading,” he replied as he brandished the book. “I hope you aren’t thinking of doing anything stupid …”

I scoffed as best as I could, given that I was thinking of doing something pretty damn stupid, but I could tell that Jake wasn’t convinced. He narrowed his eyes as he took one step closer to me.

“Because you know that it wouldn’t help, right?” He continued as his eyes darkened to a pitch black. “It would make it worse. First of all, you’d never succeed. I’ll watch you every minute of the day if I have to, to make sure you don’t try to do something stupid like sneak off to Seattle yourself,” –I scowled but Jake just raised an eyebrow as he continued – “And if by some chance, something did happen to you, do you really think that would stop all this?! That all of this would end?”

“Yes!” I blurted out before I could stop myself. “She has nothing against you. It’s me she wants.”

“Ha!” Jake shouted angrily as he threw the book onto his workbench with a loud thump and grabbed my shoulders. “She won’t stop with you. It’s not just about you anymore. We’ve gotten in her way one too many times. She’ll want to take us down too. Victoria wants to create pain and destruction all around her,” – Jake paused to take a breath –“And you know the twisted thing about all of this? I actually understand where she’s coming from!”

“What?“ I stuttered as Jake’s big hands closed painfully around my shoulders.

“Because she lost him. The only person in the world that mattered to her. And nothing she does will ever be able to bring him back. Nothing! And so she wants the rest of us to feel the despair and the pain that she feels every day,” Jake’s voice cracked as he continued in a broken whisper. “And to be fair, if I lost you, I can’t say I wouldn’t want to do the same thing.”

My insides melted as I saw the pain and torment in his eyes. For a moment, I couldn’t hear anything except my heart thumping loudly inside my chest. Then Jake continued, “If something did happen to you … if she succeeded in,” Jake swallowed deeply as he struggled to find the words, “-to kill you, do you think I’d be able to just walk away from her? That I wouldn’t want to tear her from limb to limb? Make her suffer as much as possible? Kill every person in the world that she might still care about? Believe me, I would. I’m not that good of a guy,” he muttered softly as he let go of my shoulders to pull me to him and bury his face in my hair.

The tears were flowing now freely from my eyes. I hadn’t thought about that, what Jake would do if I had managed to confront Victoria alone. I realized now how stupid I had been in thinking that was the best solution. It was the easiest solution, because it would relieve me of the guilt that weighed heavily on my shoulders, but it would only hurt them more in the long run.

We stood there for a long time, wrapped up in each other’s arms, until finally Jake broke away with a wry expression on his face. “Did I freak you out there?”

I snorted as I reached up to pat down his hair, which was still adorably tousled from his nap earlier in the day. “Hardly. I know what a good guy you are,” I replied softly.

“A good guy?,” Jake protested as he grabbed my hand to get my attention. “Didn’t you hear me? I said I would …”

“I know,” I said as I pulled my hand away to press my fingers against his mouth. “I heard. And it’s precisely because you’re such a good guy that you would do that.”

Jake looked like he wanted to protest, but I kept my fingers pressed firmly against his lips. He finally shrugged as he spun around so that he was sitting against the Rabbit next to me.

My head was spinning. Jake was right. It was a stupid idea. I didn’t know what I had been thinking. Especially since it wasn’t the only way I could help. There was another way I could help. And it was something that would actually help. The option had always lurked in the back of my mind, but I hadn’t really considered it. Until now.

I turned to look up at Jake, taking in the strain that was etched in the lines across his forehead and around his eyes. His eyes were dark and brooding as he stared off into the distance ahead of him, completely lost in his thoughts.

I mentally prepared the words I was going to say. I didn’t know how he would react. Part of me felt that he would be logical and rational about it, as he had been about everything so far. But then another part of me whispered that he might not be so rational about this.

“You know, Jake,” I cleared my throat as I tried to steady my nerves. “There is another option that we haven’t explored. Something that could help the pack.”

“Yeah?” Jake blinked as he shook himself out of his trance. He turned to partially face me, his eyes wary but hopeful.

“Yeah,” I said with more confidence than I felt. I turned to face him. “We don’t know how many Victoria has with her, but it’s definitely more than ten. And I don’t know if Collin and Brady even count. They’re so new. So there are really only 8 fighters in the pack. You need help. The pack needs help.”

Jake tilted his head to one side, but he didn’t argue with me. Instead, he motioned for me to continue.

“Well, I know where we can get the help,” I said, pausing as I worked up the courage to force the next few words out of my mouth. “I could contact the Cullens.”

Jake’s head snapped up and he opened his mouth to speak, but I put my hand over it as I stumbled on. “Just listen, Jake. It makes sense. You’re outnumbered. We need their help. There are seven of them. And they would help. I know they would. They started the problem by killing James. Well, I guess, I technically created the problem by existing-“ I felt Jake’s mouth moving under my hand, so I just clamped it over his mouth tighter until he stopped trying to talk “-Look, it’s an option. One we haven’t talked about. But we should. Because I know … you know … that we’re out of options.”

I looked up at him expectantly waiting for him to speak. That’s when I realized my hand was still over his mouth. I blushed as I pulled it away and gestured for him to reply. But he didn’t. Not for a long time. He stared at me, his stare penetrating deep into me, until I couldn’t stand it anymore and I had to look away. I didn’t know what he was looking for, but apparently, he didn’t find it. When he did speak, his voice was uncharacteristically low and defeated.

“I should have known it would come to this.”

“Come to what, Jake?” I asked with a frown. I didn’t like the look on his face.

“Him,” he said simply as he raised his hands, palms-up in surrender. “You want him back.”

“Yes …” I replied slowly. “Because I want him to help. You need him. You need them.”

The minute those words came out of my mouth, I knew I had said the wrong thing.

“We don’t need his help!” Jake exploded as he backed away from me hastily putting a few feet between us. “We can take care of this!”

“Yeah? You weren’t arguing with Leah before about being outnumbered,” I shouted back, stung by how angry his response was. “You know it’s true! You know that the pack is grave danger! They can help!”

“Help?! They’re the ones who caused this mess in the first place,” Jake spat out as he spun around in frustration and began pacing the length of the garage. “This is all their fault. If they hadn’t existed, none of this would have happened!”

“Oh right, because if the Cullens hadn’t existed, James and Victoria probably would have killed me a long time ago,” I retorted sarcastically, my cheeks mottled an angry purple.

“Hardly,” Jake shot back. “They wouldn’t have had any reason to kill you if the Cullen hadn’t flaunted you in front of them as their human plaything or chewtory or whatever-”

“-That’s not what they did,” I ground out between clenched teeth.

“That’s what it sounded like to me. The Cullens? They know better than anyone how dangerous their kind is. How on earth could they have put you in that kind of danger? And then leave you without protection? What if we didn’t exist, huh? What if the pack didn’t exist? What would have happened to you?” Jake continued, on a roll now, his eyes blazing in a fiery rage. “You would have died months ago! Died, Bella! But he doesn’t care about that, does he? Because if he did, he wouldn’t have left you unprotected from that murderous leech!”

“That’s not what happened,” I protested angrily, wanting to give Edward some benefit of the doubt. “He didn’t know that she would be back. He thought that she was over it.”

“He should have known,” Jake retorted just as angrily. “If he knew anything about his kind, he should have known how vindictive they are. Ruthless predators that will do anything to get what they want. He should know that. He’s one of them!”

“He didn’t know,” I repeated, more to reassure myself than to reassure Jake. “He doesn’t know. Because if he did know, he would be here. I know it. He may not … love me anymore,”-I tried not to trip over the words too much-“But he’s a good guy. I know it.”

“A good guy, huh? Is that what he is? Leaving behind his messes for other people to clean up?”

My jaw dropped as I felt my eyes begin to sting. “Is that what you think of me, Jake?” my voice broke up. “Is that what I am? A mess you have to clean up?”

“Damnit, Bella, you know that’s not what I meant,” Jake muttered as he pushed his hands through his hair and clutched at his head angrily. “Forget I said that. You know that’s not what I meant.”

I couldn’t help the tears that were overflowing now, but Jake didn’t see as he had taken a few steps back to put more distance between us.

“I can’t believe this. The first sign of trouble and you want to call him and ask him to come back to protect you,” Jake continued angrily as he began to pace back and forth, refusing to look at me.

“It’s hardly the first sign of trouble! I wouldn’t ask if we weren’t in a desperate situation,” I shouted now through my tears. “Damnit, Jake! Do you think I want this? To call him up to ask for a favor – no, no, not just a favor, to ask him to come and risk his life for me – even after he told me he never wanted to see me again? You think this is easy for me?”

Jake didn’t respond for a long time. I was beginning to think that he wasn’t going to respond when he finally stopped pacing and turned to look at me, his eyes filling with pain as he spoke. “It might not be easy, but I think this is what you‘ve secretly wanted all along,” he said slowly. “What you’ve wanted all along, but could never bring yourself to admit.”

“What? That I want him back?” I choked out. I wanted to wring his neck. The boy was so damn stubborn sometimes. And so damn wrong sometimes too. “You think that I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to call and beg him to come back into my life?”

“I don’t know, Bella,” Jake said as he threw up his hands. “All I know is that the first idea you come up with is to call him to ask him to come back and save the day.”

“You idiot!” I shouted as I took three steps towards him to try to close the gap between us. “I don’t want him to save the day! I want him to save you!”

“Me?” Jake’s eyes widened as he took in my words. “I don’t need his help. Thanks for the vote of confidence though,” he said as he started to push past me to leave the garage.

“Damnit, Jake,” I reached out to snag his arm to prevent him from leaving. He didn’t turn around, but he didn’t move either. “I’m scared. I don’t want you to die. I don’t want any of you to die. But she’s coming. I know she is. And I need to do something to try to help. This is the only thing I can offer. More bodies. The numbers will almost be even if they come. Maybe you would stand a chance. I can’t let you just walk into Victoria’s trap without knowing that I’ve done my best to help. I can’t … I couldn’t … I don’t want you to die …”

I let go of his arm so that I could wrap my arms around myself as the tears flowed freely now. But still Jake didn’t move.

“She’s after you,” he replied hoarsely, his back still to me, “And yet, you’re worrying about me dying?”

“Yes,” I said through the tears. “Because it’s okay if she gets me. But it’s not okay if she … it’s just not fair to you … you didn’t ask for any of this… it’s not fair.”

“Neither did you …” Jake pointed out, still facing away from me..

“I know, but you REALLY didn’t ask for this. You deserve more than this,” I said helplessly gesturing to the world around us even though his back was still to me, “You deserve more than this life … than dying because of me…”

“Oh Bells,” Jake said suddenly as he turned around with a loud sigh.

“Don’t ‘oh Bells’ me,” I retorted curtly now that I was cried out and the tears had been replaced with a growing sense of frustration. I couldn’t believe we were fighting over this and that Jake was still looking at me as if I had stabbed him in the back.

Suddenly, a short high-pitched howl pierced the air followed by a longer lower-pitched one. Jake’s head turned automatically to look out in the direction of the forest.

“Look, I’m sorry, but I need to go,” he said uncomfortably, “That’s the call that Embry uses for me. It’s probably my time to swap patrol shifts.”

“Fine,” I said as I waved my hand dismissively. I didn’t know if I could take arguing with him any more right now. “Go.”

“And I want to be there when they strategize about the quarry field. I would stay otherwise, but it’s important that I be there,” Jake continued awkwardly as he stared down as his feet.

“Go, Jake! It’s fine,” I practically shouted as I motioned for him to head towards the door.

Jake’s face was still uncertain but he made the move to leave. Then he shook his head and turned back suddenly. “Are we …ok?” he asked hesitantly.

“Of course we’re not okay!” I said in exasperation, “We had a fight! What makes you think we’re okay?”

Jake blanched as I said that, but he persisted, “I know. Our first fight,” he quipped with a wry smile on his face. I rolled my eyes as I used the back of my right hand to dry off the few remaining tears that were rolling down my cheeks. It was hardly our first fight, but I didn’t think it was worth pointing it out to him right now. “But we’re okay, right? I mean, you and me …”

I sighed. I knew what he meant and I couldn’t believe he would be worried. “Yes, we’ll be okay, Jake. I can’t believe you would think that one argument would end our relationship,” I said as shook my head in mock dismay. “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

Jake smiled softly then as he cupped his overly large and overly warm hands around my cheeks and bent down to drop a kiss on my forehead. “I know, I know, it was stupid. But-“ his face darkened as he said this “-I never know when it comes to him. He’s the one thing that I can’t ever be sure about with you.”

And with that parting shot, he turned and left me standing in the garage by myself.

← Chapter 16: Plan      Chapter 18: Decision →

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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