At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 23: Reinforcements      Chapter 25: Battle →

Chapter 24: Preparation

That night before the newborn army attack was surreal. I didn’t know what was stranger. Seeing Edward again, after resigning myself to the idea that I would never see him again, or seeing Edward again and being unsure of what I felt for him. There was a time in my life when the answer would have been simple. He was it. He was everything. But now, I wasn’t so sure anymore.

Luckily, or unluckily, neither he nor Jake seemed to want to pay any attention to me right now. The danger was too real and too imminent. They seemed to have agreed to a temporary truce when it came to me. They still didn’t know when Victoria and her army would arrive. They didn’t know how many they were facing. They didn’t know whether they would win. And so their singular focus - for now - was to ensure our collective survival. Everything else could wait.

The same was true for the rest of the Cullens. Aside from a few warm smiles from them – well except for Rosalie, but I hardly expected a warm reaction from her – they were all as intently focused on the preparations for the morning’s battle. I was the only useless one in the clearing. The only one who could only watch Jasper’s demonstrations, the ensuing mock practice fights, and the strategy planning, but do nothing to actually help.

The strain of watching all of this finally became too much and I found a half-hollow rock that I could crawl into that would protect me from the brisk winds and the sounds of the mock fighting back in the meadow. I curled into a ball, hidden away from the others, and let the tears of fear, frustration, and confusion flow.

I don’t know how long I stayed there, sheltered in my little cocoon, when I finally heard Jake’s low voice calling me as he slipped between the rocks to reach me.

“Bella? What’s wrong?” he asked gently, his eyes warm and loving, despite having watched my confused and conflicted reaction to seeing Edward again for the first time.

“Nothing,” I muttered softly, thankful that my tears had long dried off. “Just feeling helpless, that’s all.”

“No one’s expecting you to do anything,” he reminded gently. “We just want you to be safe.”

I nodded, because I knew there was no point in arguing.

“Speaking of which, he … Edward … wants to discuss where we’re going to stash you during the fight,” Jake said in a low irritated voice as he pulled me to my feet and helped me climb back up the rocks to head back to the clearing.

“During the fight?” I asked stupidly, “Oh I see. I guess I can’t stay here, huh?”

“Absolutely not,” Edward’s voice rang loudly from across the other side of the field. I was suddenly sick and tired of all the supernatural power going on around me. Jake wasn’t too pleased either as he threw him a sharp look for eavesdropping on our conversation.

“That was never a possibility,” Jake shot back. “I don’t see anything wrong with our original plan, to stash her in La Push with Collin, Brady, and Seth as guards.” Edward frowned. He looked unsure of what to say. Jake scoffed. “I need some help here. I don’t exactly have your mind-reading abilities.”

“I’m just worried. Can you guarantee her safety in La Push?” he asked skeptically, with a look at the three younger wolves, who admittedly looked smaller than the rest of the pack. They yelped at him angrily, probably insulted by his lack of confidence in them.

“I can guarantee her safety better there than anywhere else,” Jake retorted. “What can you offer?” Edward’s face was stony as he stared back at Jake. Jake wasn’t fazed as he continued, “We need as many here fighting the newborns as possible. Collin, Brady, and Seth will guard the rez and be a lifeline to Bella. We’ll know if something happens.”

“It sounds like a good idea, son,” Carlisle interjected, seeing that Edward was still unable to respond.

“As long as you’re here,” Jake continued, “The red-head will fight. Sure, she wants Bella. But really, she wants you. You’re the one that killed her mate.”

“Fine,” Edward replied shortly, still looking unhappy. “But I hold you responsible if something happens to her.”

Jake snorted, “Right, like I’m going to care about that if something happens to Bella.” He turned then to Alice, “How much time do we have?” At my look of surprise, he explained, “The Magic-8 ball here” – with a nod towards Alice –“finally saw Victoria making the call for her team to head to Forks. She was right that the redhead was holding off on making a decision to try to evade her. But she finally pulled the trigger.”

“They’ll be here by dawn, so we have a little over an hour,” Alice chimed in helpfully, her eyes glowing with satisfaction now that she could feel comfortable in her powers again.

“Okay, then it’s time for you to turn into a pumpkin,” Jake said as turned to me. “I’ll phase while you … talk,” he finished awkwardly as he waved at Collin, Brady, and Seth to follow him.

Then it was just me and Edward standing alone in the moonlight. The rest of the pack had resumed their watch up on the cliff overhead. I could see that a few of them were sprawled out catching a few last moments of rest before the battle. And the rest of the Cullens were nowhere to be seen.

“They’re hunting,” Edward said in answer to my question.

I wrinkled my brow in confusion. “Can you read my mind now?”

He chuckled softly to himself. “No, but your face was easy to read just then.”

“You used to have trouble reading my face,” I reminded him. I couldn’t help remembering how Jake could always read me easily, while Edward, never could, always needing me to explain how I was feeling.

Edward shrugged slightly. “It was obvious what you were thinking then.” There was another long pause before he continued, “You look well.”

“Yes, well …I ….” my voice trailed off. I had no idea what to say to that. The truth? Or did I want to hold onto some shred of dignity?

“So you and Jacob?” Edward asked point-blank, watching my face carefully for a response.

“How did you know? Is it that obvious?” I blushed. I couldn’t help myself.

“Yes,” he replied shortly. “It also helped that I could see everything in Jacob’s mind.”

Oh, right. I blushed even more. I didn’t even want to know what he was able to discover from Jacob’s head. This was so awkward. And yet, did I ever expect that it would be anything but awkward? We had broken up. He was adamant that he felt nothing for me. And I didn’t know what I felt for him anymore. How could it have been anything but awkward?

“Trust you to pick out the second most dangerous person for you to be with,” Edward’s voice interrupted me. He had a wry expression on his face.

“Jake’s not dangerous,” I protested. I wondered how much Jake could hear in the woods where he was shifting. Oh who was I kidding. I knew he was listening to the entire thing.

“Oh?” Edward looked at me skeptically. “You’re telling me he’s never lost his temper?”

“Not with me,” I lied through my teeth defiantly. It was partially true. He had lost his temper a number of times and had come close to phasing, but it had never actually happened yet.

“Well, that’s good, at least,” he replied, sounding sincere. “You were supposed to be with someone normal, Bella. He’s not normal. ”

“What does it matter who I’m with?” I retorted suddenly, color coming into my cheeks no longer from embarrassment, but anger. “You left, remember? You have no right to come back and tell me what to do with my life.”

“I would have never have left if I had known how much danger I was leaving you in,” Edward replied urgently, his golden eyes pleading with me now.

“Danger from Victoria? Or danger from Jake?” I asked shrewdly.

“Both,” he replied. “How can you know that he won’t ever lose his temper with you? If I recall, Sam’s girlfriend suffered a pretty bad fate when Sam lost control of himself one day.”

I blanched. I had seen first-hand the damage caused to Emily, but I wouldn’t back down. “I don’t know. All I can do is trust him. Trust him to do what’s right for me. Trust him to never leave me.”

Edward’s beautiful face was shot with pain as I said that last sentence. When he spoke, his voice didn’t sound like his own. “Even if it would be better for you if he left?”

“What are you talking about?” I frowned, confused suddenly at the direction that the conversation was taking.

“Nothing, nothing,” Edward finally said, looking down in his hands. “It’s better this way. He can give you what I can’t.”

“And what is that?” I demanded angrily. I was surprised at how angry I felt over all of this. I had always thought that the first time I saw him again, I would be overwhelmed with delirious happiness at being with him again. Instead, all I felt was anger. Anger at him for leaving me the way he did. Anger at myself for still feeling something for him – deep down – despite everything that had happened.

“A normal life,” he said hollowly without looking at me. “Growing old. A family. Everything I’ve always you wanted to have.”

“What are you saying?” I sputtered. “That you left so that I could have all of those things?”

Edward didn’t say anything, but he didn’t have to. I could read it in his eyes. I felt my head spinning. I replayed that scene with him from last September. I remembered how deliberately he spoke about his reasons for leaving. How he no longer felt anything for me anymore. How I wasn’t right for his life. How I was holding him back. I could hardly reconcile that to what I was seeing before me now. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think.

“Umm... not that I want to interrupt this lover’s quarrel here,” Leah commented as she sauntered over, looking nonchalant in her ratty shorts and tank top. “But she needs to go into hiding soon. Maybe you could resume this after we’ve killed off the newborns?”

“Yes, yes,” Edward said, straightening up suddenly, “I should never have brought this up.”

“We’re not done yet,” I said, before I could stop myself. “You owe me an explanation. If nothing else.”

Edward nodded mutely before turning and taking off into the woods to put some distance between us. I couldn’t help watching him as he took off, my heart thudding loudly in my heart, as he disappeared into the trees. I didn’t know if it was because I was scared that I’d never see him again or if I was worried about what would happen when we did see each other again.

Leah was watching me shrewdly when I looked up at her.

“You better figure out what you want. And you better do it fast,” she said bluntly.

“I know,” I acknowledged, my face turning pink again, but this time from shame and guilt.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they’re back and all,” Leah continued as she ran her hands through her hair, straightening out some tangles. “But don’t make it worse for everyone involved by dragging it out. Just make a decision and go with it.”

“How do I know which one is the right one?”

“You’ll know,” she said with a dismissive wave. “And if you don’t, then you don’t deserve either of them.”

I sighed. Typical Leah response. Blunt but always right. Because secretly, deep down, I knew what I wanted. I just didn’t know if I had the courage to act on it.

← Chapter 23: Reinforcements      Chapter 25: Battle →

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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