At the Cliffs

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

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Chapter 32: Epilogue - Ten Years Later

Jake was running late, so I waited for him at the clearing on the cliffs just north of first beach at La Push. I’m not sure how this came to be our spot, but it was the place where all the main turning points of our life happened. And I had a feeling that today would probably be another.

I sat down against a rock to enjoy the warm June afternoon. The sun was out in full force and I pushed back the sleeves of my shirt so that I could enjoy its warmth. The ocean in front of me was a sparkling blue sea of calmness, with mild waves crashing against the cliffs in a gentle rhythmic thud.

It had been ten years since that day. The last time I saw any of the Cullens. The last time I saw him. It seemed like a lifetime ago. I never saw Edward again after that night. I had written him a farewell letter, where I was able to write the things I could never be able to say in person. I received only a brief note in response. An ivory card with stark black cursive handwriting that said, “If you ever change your mind,” and an email address. I still had it, buried somewhere in my files, more as a keepsake than anything else.

I never saw Alice again either. I had thought that maybe she would have been able to stop by periodically. After all, Forks was their home too. Or at least one of their many homes. She emailed me occasionally, a brief newsy update about where she was and how things were going. She never mentioned him and each email ended with a note saying that she would try to make it to Forks soon. But it never happened. And that was okay, too. I guess ten years is just a drop in the bucket when you live forever.

We didn’t experience any more vampire troubles after Victoria. There may have been a straggler coming through from time to time, but no one was killed near La Push or Forks. I didn’t know if perhaps the Cullens had something to do with keeping vampires away from this area, but I was grateful either way. It made it easier on me. And on the pack.

The guys were able to go back to leading pretty much normal lives at this point. Well somewhat normal. They still ran patrols, but there were enough of them that they could take shifts and still go about their daily lives. Leah left La Push entirely. After going to college in Seattle, where we occasionally hung out, she decided to stay there. She had made a new life for herself and was more than happy to leave her pack life behind her, though she did go for a run occasionally in her wolf form whenever there was a new moon.

Leah was the only one who left permanently. The other guys scattered to college and jobs, but all came back eventually to settle down. A few of them did imprint. Embry on new girl from the Makah tribe, Julie. Quil on Emily’s niece, Claire, a toddler - which I can’t explain except to say that it wasn’t as weird as it sounded. It just turned him into a glorified babysitter most days.

But Jake never did imprint on anyone. He doesn’t know why. And neither do I. But I don’t care. I’m just grateful. It was always there, in the back of our minds, wondering, waiting, worrying. Maybe our faith in each other was enough to override it. Or maybe our decision to be together altered the course of his life such that he would never meet his imprintee. We’ll never know.

All I know is that Jake was now old enough to phase out of the werewolf life permanently. In an extreme emergency, he could probably phase back if needed to defend the tribe. Otherwise, he had done his duty and was released from his responsibility. He was free now to choose.

The sound of footsteps coming up the trail behind me made me smile.

“Happy to see me, huh?” Jake teased as he rounded the corner and approached the clearing where I was sitting.

“You’re late,” I pouted in mock-protest as I got up to my feet to greet him.

“I know,” Jake replied with cheeky grin as he pulled me to him in one quick motion. “You can punish me for it later.”

“Don’t think I won’t,” I replied as sternly as I could even though I could feel myself melting into his kiss. Then I forgot everything as he pulled me close to him, wrapping his strong arms around me, as if he could never get enough of me. This last year of living in different states had been really tough.

We somehow managed to pull ourselves apart and we leaned back, grinning at each other stupidly. I ran my fingers through his thick black hair that was curling around his neck. He desperately needed a haircut. And a shave too, as the rough stubble along his jawline had scraped the hell out of my face. He reached down to touch the faint red irritation on my jaw tenderly.

“So?” I asked with a smile as I took in the happy glint dancing in his eyes.

“I got the job,” he said barely able to contain his excitement. “I’m moving back!”

“I knew you would get it, Jake!” I laughed triumphantly as he picked me up for a celebratory whirl. “Though I guess I should be calling you Dr. Black, huh?”

“I’m not exactly a real doctor,” he said, his face flushing a little in embarrassment. He was so cute.

“Right, just a Doctor of Rocks,” I teased. Jake had turned out to be something of a brain, following me to UW in Seattle and finishing his Ph.D in geology in record time. He had just finished a post-doc year at Denali in Alaska, and was now returning to work with the Washington State Department of Natural Resource to do conservation work and testing out in the Olympic Peninsula.

I had moved home last year to become the guidance counselor at Forks High School, after working in Seattle for a few years while Jake finished school. I thought that moving back would have felt more like coming home, but it never felt quite right. Something had been missing … until now.

Jake laughed again as he crushed me to him, the wind whipping my hair so that it surrounded us like a dense brown cloud. I savored the moment, taking in Jake’s woodsy musky scent, blended with the fresh summer scent of the forest and the tangy breeze from the ocean. It all brought back a storm of memories.

“Do you…” I asked tentatively, unsure of myself suddenly, “Do you remember the first time we were here?”

“Yes,” he said shortly, his arms tightening around me. “I was so mad at you. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that mad at you again.”

“I deserved it,” I replied, my voice muffled into his shirt. “I never thanked you for what you did and said that day. I have this feeling like my life would have been totally different if you hadn’t stopped me in time.”

“Who knows what would have happened if you had jumped,” he murmured softly. I could feel him smile as he brought his head down to nestle against mine. “But I’m pretty happy with how things turned out.”

I just laughed, feeling a chuckle rumbling deep within his chest too. Then Jake stilled, tensing his body slightly. I pulled away to see his normally laughing brown eyes looking worried.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

Jake just took a deep breath. “I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it. I went for a hike this morning around Denali. I figured I would get one trek in before my flight home. And while I was there, I ran into …”

Suddenly, I knew what he was going to say. There was something about this spot that brought back all of those memories and made them feel real again.

“What happened?” I asked quietly.

“Nothing much,” Jake replied honestly. “He did most of the talking. I guess he had been keeping tabs on us. He just wanted to make sure that I hadn’t imprinted. That you were still happy … with me.”

“Oh, and what did you tell him?”

Jake looked down, his cheeks turning a dull red, as he replied, “Well I told them that I hadn’t imprinted obviously. And that I thought you were still happy …with me. Was that right?”

“Not far off,” I said with a teasing smile as I leaned up to give him a peck on the cheek. Even though I had chosen him, Jake would always feel insecure about the whole Edward thing. I guess I couldn’t blame him.

“He also congratulated me,” Jake continued awkwardly.

“Congratulated you for what?” I asked in surprise.

“I guess now that I’m not able to phase anymore … Alice can see my future,” he paused suddenly before correcting himself. “Our future.”

“Oh? And what did she see?” I asked, feeling my own face begin to flush hotly.

Jake looked me in the eye and I felt myself tingling all over at the intensity of emotion that I could feel radiating from their depths. He reached his hands up to cup my face as he brought his lips down for a soft kiss.

“Bella,” he said hoarsely, his voice rough with emotion, as he pulled away. “Will you marry me?”

I felt the tears begin escaping down the side of my cheeks. I had known this was coming and yet still, I couldn’t help being swept up in the moment. I smiled at him stupidly through the tears and we stared at each other for a few moments, content to stay in this blissful moment, before I was able to compose myself enough to respond.

“On one condition…”

Jake’s lips quirked with a smile. “Anything.”

“You promised to take me cliff-diving once. You never fulfilled that promise,” I said with an arched eyebrow.

Jake threw his head back and laughed heartily, before he leaned forward to kiss me again. “You’re right. And I always keep my promises.”

He turned towards the edge of the cliff, pulling me with him.

“Wait! You want to do it now?” I asked in shock. I had mostly said it as a joke. Mostly.

“It’s a perfect day,” Jake grinned as he gestured out at the calm ocean waves that were glittering under the sun. “Why? Are you scared?”

“Please,” I rolled my eyes as I marched up to the edge of the cliff next to him. I felt my knees shaking a little as I looked down and saw how far down the water was. I heard Jake chuckle beside me.

“I’m not scared,” I protested as I jutted out my chin a little more.

“I am sometimes,” Jake said suddenly in a serious tone. “About what might happen. About whether you … made the right choice.”

“So what … I guess we just need to take a leap of faith?” I teased as he rolled his eyes and mock-punched my shoulder. I could never resist a good pun.

He learned over to kiss me again and I felt myself leaning into him, the warmth between us making the warmth of the sunlight against my skin feel like child’s play. We broke apart reluctantly and I grinned when I saw Jake’s rakish grin and playful look in his eyes.

“Ready?” he asked as he squeezed my hand.

“Ready,” I replied with a smile. And then we jumped.

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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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