At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 1: Cliffs      Chapter 3: Deja Vu →

Chapter 2: Mourning

When we returned to Jacob's house, we knew immediately that something was wrong. Charlie's cruiser was parked haphazardly in the driveway, as if he had arrived in a rush, and the driver's side door was hanging open. The front door to the house was also open and we could hear commotion as Charlie helped Billy maneuver his wheelchair out onto the porch. Their faces were grim and drawn.

“What's going on?” Jake asked, speeding up so he could circle around the car to help Billy get into the passenger seat.

“Harry just had a heart attack. He's at Forks Hospital,” Charlie replied as he waved at us to get into the backseat of the cruiser. Jake and I hopped in and Charlie took off quickly, turning on his cop-car lights, not that he really needed it. Traffic was never exactly an issue in either La Push or Forks.

“How bad is it?” I asked. We all knew Sue, Harry's wife who was a registered nurse, had been trying to get Harry on a low-fat low-cholesterol diet for years with little success.

“It's not good. We got the call from Sue to come by ASAP. The doctors don't think he's going to make it,” Billy trailed off, his normally steady baritone voice was almost unrecognizable from the strain.

I felt my jaw drop. I turned to look at Charlie who was staring straight ahead at the road. His face was impassive, but I could see that he was clutching the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles were white and the rest of his hands were an ugly mottled purple.

Harry, Billy, and Charlie had been best friends for most of their lives. Harry was at our house at least once a week to watch a baseball game or to go fishing with Charlie. I couldn't imagine what this would mean for my dad. We rode the rest of the way to Forks in silence. Jake and I looked at each other occasionally. We didn't say anything but I knew that we were both worried about the same thing.

We didn't get there in time. When we arrived, we saw Sue, and her two children, Leah and Seth, sobbing silently in each other's arms in the hallway. I felt my eyes begin to smart with tears as I witnessed their loss. I felt my hand slip unconsciously into Charlie's and he squeezed it gratefully. I turned to give him a hug, but he waved me away, clearly not ready to mourn yet. His eyes were glassy with unshed tears, but his expression was vacant, shell-shocked, as if he were still processing the news.

The sight of Charlie’s pain broke my heart and for the second time that day, I realized how callously I had been behaving for the past few months. Jake was right. I hadn't been thinking clearly about how my reckless antics would impact the people that I loved the most.

For the first time, I saw the glints of gray that flecked Charlie's temples, which was striking in its contrast against his dark brown hair which I had inherited. I saw the deep weary bags under his eyes, the grayish pallor of his skin, and the lines across his otherwise youthful face – none of which had been there a few months ago. It was evidence to how much strain and stress I had put on him in the past few months.

I felt my tears begin to flow then. I was crying as much for Charlie and for myself, as I was for Harry. It was like waking up from a dream and finding that the world had changed, but not for the better.

The next week passed in a blur. The funeral itself was ghastly. Watching your parents – who you once thought of as superhero strong and infallible – break down helplessly was a terrible thing. And watching Harry's family in their grief was just as terrible.

I stopped by Sue's house one afternoon with some casseroles and other easy-to-heat meals that I had prepared for their freezer. When I walked up to the back door, I could see Sue in the kitchen – sitting alone – sobbing at the kitchen table. Unabandoned reckless sobbing. The kind you do when you think no one is around to see your pain. The kind you do when you think you have nothing left to live for. I was quite familiar with that type of sobbing.

And yet, somehow, it struck me now as strange and silly almost that I had mourned my six-month relationship with him the same way that Sue mourned the death of her husband of almost 25 years. It surprised me that I could think this way now – a little more logically, a little more rationally about him. I never would have thought that a few weeks ago. And yet, here I was.

Not surprisingly, Jake was everyone's rock throughout the difficult time – helping Billy and Sue with the funeral arrangements, being an older brother to Seth in his grief, and running double patrols to protect me from Victoria – who was still on the loose and trying to hunt me down. Jake was so good at being everyone’s shoulder to lean on and if anyone were to mention it to him, he would have brushed it off matter-of-factly.

A week or so after the funeral, I found myself unable to sleep. I tiptoed out of my room to look out of the hallway window, which faced the backyard and had a good view of the forest behind the house. I knew that Jake was out there somewhere – in wolf form – as he was any night when he didn’t run patrol. And I desperately wanted to talk to him. To feel his solid dependable presence next to me. To have him make me laugh by cracking the perfect joke to get me to relax. And most of all, to get reassurance that everything was going to be alright.

It had been a tough day with Charlie. Even though he was handling the grief well outwardly – burying himself in work and spending most of his free time helping Sue get her affairs in order – I knew that the grief was eating him up on the inside. On the rare night that he was home, I would look in on him from the dining room table – where I did my homework most nights – only to find him sitting in the living room staring blankly at the baseball screen, watching the game for hours but seeing nothing.

On a whim, I grabbed my hoodie from my room and tiptoed down the stairs, agonizing every time the steps creaked that I would wake up Charlie who was sleeping poorly these days. I slipped out the back door and crossed the porch quickly. It was a beautiful spring night, brisk without it being cold, with skies clear enough to see every star in the Western Hemisphere.

I reached the edge of the backyard and was surprised that Jake hadn't come to meet me already. With his supersonic hearing as a wolf, he could usually hear me coming from miles away. I stood there awkwardly, playing with the strings on my hoodie, before I finally whispered loudly, “Jake, are you there?!”

I stood and waited, but nothing. “Jake?” I whispered again, a little louder this time.

A few more moments passed and I was about to give up when finally, I heard some rustling in the dense wooded area about 20 yards in front of me. The air seemed to shimmer just then, blurring my vision, which wasn't that good at night to begin with. There was a few more minutes of rustling then, louder this time. I blushed as I tried not to think about Jake putting on clothes. He had explained to me once that when the pack shifted in and out of wolf form, they did it in the nude, which was why they always had to carry their shorts with them tied to a black cord on their right ankle. I was feeling my cheeks grow warm when he finally appeared, stepping out from behind a tree.

Jake was wearing cutoffs – his usual uniform these days – and he was barefoot. He waved as he approached me. He had grown into his height in the past few months, bulking up in a way that just seemed unfathomable if I hadn't seen it happen before my very eyes but he was still light on his feet, making no noise as he approached me. When he got closer, I saw that he looked uncharacteristically grim, the planes of his jaw were tight and his brow was furrowed. Feeling bad that I had probably interrupted him from something important, I motioned for him to go back as I whispered, “It's okay! You can go back. It was nothing!”

He shook his head and motioned for me to come meet him half-way, so I turned to make sure Charlie's light was still off, before I tiptoed my way into the forest. No need to give Charlie a heart-attack at the sight of Jacob half-dressed meeting me in the middle of the night. Jake came forward to give me a helping hand – his large warm hand closing over mine – and he pulled me easily through the brush where we would be hidden by the trees.

“What's up? Is everything okay?” he asked finally as we reached a mini-clearing with a mossy half-overturned tree that was the perfect height for sitting. He gestured to it but I shook my head. I was feeling too restless to sit.

“I'm fine, but what's up with you? You look worried,” I asked, reaching out to smooth the lines that were furrowed across his brow. He chuckled and swatted my hand away lightly.

“Same old, same old. Still can't find any sign of her.” Jake sighed as he slumped down on the mossy overturned tree. “Sam is convinced that she's given up, but I'm not so sure.”

“No scent? Not even on the beach?”

“Nothing. Not a peep.” Jake thumped the tree stump with his fist in frustration. “I know she's out there. She's not the type to give up. She's trying to figure out a way around us, but I can't figure out what the heck it is.”

“Sam doesn't agree?”

“Sam agrees that she's not to be underestimated, but he's had other things on his mind recently ... we've … uh ...” Jake's face faltered as his lips quirked up in a grim smile. “We've had a new addition to the pack recently. Ten bucks says you can guess who it is.”

“Quil?” That was no surprise. Jake had told me a few weeks ago that he thought Quil was close to changing. It was pretty obvious that this was a tough issue for him. As much as the pack needed more help, Jake wouldn't have wished this fate onto anyone.

“Yeah,” he snorted. “The guy is thrilled. Thinks it's the best damn thing that has ever happened to him. Stupid idiot.” The sound of an angry yelp came just then from deeper within the forest. I swiveled my head in the direction of the noise, but Jake didn't budge. “That's him. I'm teaching him to run patrol so he was with me out in the woods. I forbid him to come out to see you, but he can hear us. He was never that good at controlling his temper and now it’s just worse.”

The angry yelp had turned into a plaintive whine now. Jake just rolled his eyes. I laughed before I could help myself. “I'm surprised he's actually listening to you,” I remarked knowing the testy – but affectionate – friendship between the two guys.

“He has to,” Jake admitted sheepishly. “I'm the pack's Beta. Second in command after Sam. So he has to do what I say.”

I heard Quil give a disgusted snort – which as a wolf – came out as a weird howling sound. I laughed again and I could almost feel him laughing with me. If I squinted hard enough in the distance, I could almost make out his dark shape hidden in the trees just out of sight.

“I'm surprised you haven't abused your power over him,” I teased giving Jake a nudge in the ribs to try to get him to lighten up.

He chuckled. “Oh, I will. I will. I'm making him stand guard outside your house every night for the next month.”

“That's hardly fair to him.”

“Don't feel too bad for him. He's thrilled by all of this. It's good that one of us is at least enjoying the wolf thing.” Jake sighed deeply. I could see the strain of the past few weeks etched plainly on his face in the moonlight. Normally, he hid it so well – trying so hard to always be there for everyone - but now, in the middle of the night, the mask was slipping and he looked exhausted. His normally sharp eyes were blurring over from the lack of sleep. I felt the sudden urge to tuck him into bed and watch him as he slept and finally got the rest he so richly deserved.

God, I was so confused. I didn't know what the heck I wanted to do about my best friend. I loved him deeply as a friend. Of that, I was a 100% sure. But did I love love him? I didn't know. I had only loved one person before and it had ended traumatically. I didn't know if I could risk it again. Especially not with my best friend. The one person who understood me enough to wait patiently in the shadows while I figured myself out.

“I'm sorry, Jake,” I whispered as I reached out to tenderly stroke his cheek. He turned his face into my hand and smiled in apology.

“No, I'm sorry, Bells. I'm tired and cranky and I'm taking it out on you.”

“It's okay.”

“No it's not,” he replied as he stood up and shook himself awake. He turned to me with a smile again. “You should get some sleep. Don't worry.” He jerked his thumb back towards the forest. “Quil will be out here all night, so you can relax. Victoria won’t get through him. Get some sleep.”

“Thanks Quil,” I said in the direction of the woods. I got a short howl in response. I laughed softly.

Jake patted my hand as we headed back towards my house. And then he watched me from the trees as I crossed the backyard and slipped into the house.

← Chapter 1: Cliffs      Chapter 3: Deja Vu →

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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