At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 19: Graduation      Chapter 21: Night →

Chapter 20: Ride

Leah hopped out immediately and ordered us to stay in the car while she ducked behind a tree to change. She emerged in her ratty shorts and tanktop and waved at us to come out. She stuffed her nice clothes back into the backpack, which she tossed onto the front seat of the car before turning to Jake with an expectant look.

“Alright oh mighty Beta, where to now?”

Jake scowled at her, which just made her laugh. “Okay, fine, fine,” she said as she backed off. “I’ll head to camp myself and give you two some alone time. Just make sure to do a good job spreading her scent around. Ambushing them is about the only advantage that we’ve got.”

Leah shrugged as she jogged into the woods and disappeared into the night. Then it was just me and Jake in the deserted parking lot lit only by the moonlight.

Jake looked over at me with a wry expression as he gestured towards the start of the hiking trails, “Shall we?”

“Yeah, sure,” I mumbled as I took the little flashlight that he handed me. I hated how awkward things felt between us.

We stumbled along the trail for a few minutes in silence, until I couldn’t even see the parking lot or the Rabbit anymore; we were just surrounded by the never-ending darkness of the forest. I could barely see the trail ahead of me that was illuminated by the flashlight. I shivered, scared suddenly by emptiness that surrounded me, and I stopped abruptly in my tracks, causing Jake to almost barrel into me.

“Whoa! What’s wrong?” he asked as he reached out to steady me.

“No, nothing,” I stammered. “It’s just, won’t it take a while to get there?”

“Yeah, it’s ten miles,” Jake admitted. “It’s five miles to the river, then we cross over, and then we’ll follow the river upstream for another five miles or so to get the quarry field. We can take breaks though if you want. Or I can carry you part of the way.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier if you carried me on your back while you’re in … wolf form?” I asked tentatively.

“You would be okay with that?” Jake asked, with surprise written all over his face.

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” I replied wrinkling my nose in confusion.

“No, I guess I just thought you might think it was weird that’s all,” Jake said. “It would definitely be faster, if you didn’t mind.”

“No, of course not,” I said as I turned to face him. He stared at me for a few seconds before he realized what I was waiting for instructions from him about what to do next.

“Oh right, okay. I’ve got to go shift –“ Jake blushed and so did I at the thought of him stripping naked a few yards away –“And then I’ll come back. You’ll just need to hop onto my back, as if I were a horse, and hold onto my fur. Don’t worry. It won’t hurt me or anything. Just hold on tightly.”

I nodded as he disappeared from the pool of light provided by flashlight. I didn’t know how far he had gone since it was pitch black, but I could hear the rustling sound as he shed his clothes. Then there was an eerie silence, followed by a quick gust of wind, and then I heard the sound of paws coming toward me.

Even though I knew what was coming - I had seen him in wolf form the time he and the other wolves rescued me from Laurent - I had to remind myself not to scream when the outline of the gigantic russet wolf came into view between two trees. He was huge. I had forgotten how huge the wolves actually were. And how menacing they looked, with their razor-like teeth which glinted in the moonlight and their grizzled rangy build that gave them unparalleled strength and speed.

The wolf seemed to sense my fear because it hesitated before approaching, moving its paws slowly one in front of the other, so that I wouldn’t be taken by surprise. When the wolf finally came within a few feet of me into the light of my flashlight, it took everything that I had to fight my natural instinct to run away.

My hand quavered as I held up the flashlight so that I could see better. The shaking light cast funny shadows around us intensifying the strange eerie feeling of the night. Finally, the wolf leaned its head down so that it could look me in the eye and suddenly, everything was okay because it was Jake’s eyes looking out at me. I would know them anywhere. So dark brown that they were almost black, but with light golden brown flecks that formed the inner rim of his iris. They looked at out me knowingly, even in wolf form, and I felt the same sense of calm flow over me that always happened when I looked into Jake’s eyes.

“Hey, Jake,” I said tentatively as I reached my hand up to pat the space between his ears. Jake closed his eyes in contentment as he nudged his head closer to my hand. I laughed suddenly, as I scratched him between the ears, watching as he made a humming noise of appreciation in his throat the way a cat would.

“You’re not scary at all, are you?” I teased suddenly as I realized that he was really just a big overgrown puppy. A dangerous puppy with scary teeth and gynormous paws, but an adorable one all the same.

Jake raised his eyebrows, if wolves even had eyebrows, to look at me skeptically, but I just smiled and continued to pet him. He finally rolled his eyes and stuck his tongue out at me. It was such a funny image that I couldn’t help burst out laughing. The sound of my laughter echoed endlessly into the night.

I watched as Jake lowered himself on his front paws so that I could climb onto his back. It was like riding a horse. A really furry horse. I settled in just behind his front legs and crouched down to wrap my arms around his neck – they barely fit. “Is this too tight?” I asked anxiously as I tried to get a good grip on the fur around his neck so that I wouldn’t fall off.

Jake just shook his head as he slowly brought himself up to his feet and began to move. Even though I knew that Jake wasn’t going fast – for him – it was scary at first and I held on probably more tightly than was comfortable for him.

But then I remembered that I was probably making it harder for him than necessary by being so tense, so I tried to relax, let myself go, allowing myself to move with his motion instead of fighting rigidly to hold on. And then … it was magic. It felt like I was flying through the forest.

Jake moved so quickly through the trees that it was almost dizzying. But I didn’t have time to feel nauseous. The dark and menacing night had suddenly become an adventure-land under the stars. I was no longer afraid of the darkness, wrapped tightly around Jake who was radiating warmth even in wolf form, as we made our way effortlessly through the dense woods.

The river appeared soon ahead of us and I looked around for a bridge or some stones or something to help us cross. But I didn’t see anything. And that’s when I realized Jake was speeding up.

“No, don’t!” I said, but before the words were halfway around my mouth, we were flying. Really flying. Jake had catapulted us off of one bank of the river and I could see the water crashing loudly below us. I had a half-moment of panic when I wondered how well he could swim, when suddenly, the other side of the bank appeared beneath his feet as Jake landed lightly.

“Show-off,” I muttered in Jake’s ear, but he just made a braying howl, which I assumed was his wolf version of laughter. Jake was more playful now - hopping on logs, skipping around stone - just trying to show me what he could do. And it was amazing – especially for someone who had never been remotely coordinated or athletic in her life.

All too soon, we reached the clearing ahead which signaled the start of the quarry fields and I felt Jake slow down underneath me. The ground cover was less dense here so I could hear more clearly now, the sound of his paws hitting the ground as he made his way into the field, finally stopping on the edge by a patch of wildflowers that were a startling shade of silver-blue in the moonlight.

I patted Jake’s head as he crouched down to let me slide off. The moon was high overhead and it was so bright that I could see all the details of the field around. Jake turned his head and looked up at the rocky cliffs that overlooked the field and the river just behind us. I could just make out the shape of another wolf in the distance, a smaller grey one. That must be where the pack was camping out these days.

Jake nodded at me before dashing back into the cover of the woods. I heard the now familiar rustling wind sound as he phased back, and then louder rustling as he dressed. I had barely noticed his clothes tied around his right leg using the black cord. Finally, I heard the sound of footsteps and I turned just as Jake emerged from the trees, fully dressed again, with a sheepish grin on his face.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” he asked.

“No, it was scary at first. But then … it was amazing,” I replied with a genuine smile.

“Yeah, the speed is amazing, right? I’ll be you’ve never gone that fast before,” he said enthusiastically with a boyish grin until he caught sight of my face. I had gone that fast once before. With Edward. “Oh right,” he stammered as he looked away from my face. “I forgot. You have. So this was nothing.”

“It wasn’t nothing, Jake,” I said softly as I remembered why things had been awkward between us just now. We had had a fight. About me contacting the Cullens. Which I did, but with no luck. “Look, Jake, about the other night. I’m sorry that-“

Jake cut me off with a wave of his hand. “No, I’m sorry. I over-reacted. I was a jerk, I’m sorry,” he insisted as he took a step closer to me with a look of determination on his face. “You’re right. We do need their help. I was just being stupid.”

“You weren’t being stupid,” I scoffed as I reached out to take his warm hand in mine and pull him closer towards me.

“Yes, I was. I was also jealous too,” Jake admitted as he let me pull his arms around me. He rested his head gently on top of mine before he continued, “I can’t help it. He was this perfect guy – well except for the whole vampire thing – and I’m just … well I’m just me.”

I tried to lift my head to look up at him in protest, but he wouldn’t let me move as he continued on, “I know what you’ll say. That you’re with me now and that’s all that matters. But I can’t quite get over the fear that maybe … maybe it’s just because I’m here and he isn’t.”

“Jake-“

“No, don’t deny it, Bella. You would never have looked my way if he had never left. You know that. I saw the way you looked at him,” Jake said softly.

I was quiet for a long time, unsure of how to respond. Because he was probably right. Would I have looked at him if Edward had never left? Would I have looked at anyone? Probably not. I had been so dazzled by Edward that I’m not sure I would have been able to seen anything beyond him.

I looked up to see Jake watching me with a sad knowing expression in his eyes. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I didn’t know what to say.

“Don’t worry, Bella,” he said finally with a pained grin. “I understand. I always understand.” He paused then as he pulled away, reaching up to touch my cheek softly with his right hand. Then he sighed as he turned and started towards the north side of the field. He didn’t look back as he gestured for me to follow. “Come on. We better get started.”

← Chapter 19: Graduation      Chapter 21: Night →

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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