At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 3: Deja Vu      Chapter 5: Disappearance →

Chapter 4: Confusion

Charlie was late for dinner that night, which was good because I had a late start in preparing it. I made a ton of food since I wasn't sure if Jake was swinging by too. He often came by in the evenings with his homework to spend a few hours before he had to run his patrol – and since he was a bottomless pit these days, I always had to be well-stocked if he did show up.

Charlie's arrived just before eight o'clock. I heard the door open and his footsteps as he stomped into the foyer and pulled off his wet boots and jacket. The misting rain from the afternoon had turned into a torrential spring downpour. I used to hate the rain but now, I was used to it and I found the rhythmic pattering of the rain against the roof soothing.

The table was set and the food was ready to go by the time Charlie toweled himself off and came into the kitchen. He sniffed appreciatively and gave me a half-hug in greeting as he reached around me to grab a beer from the fridge.

“Good day, Bells?” he asked as he flipped off the lid of the bottle and took a long swig.

“Yes,” I replied as I steered him towards the dining room table. “I spent the afternoon with Angela helping her with her graduation announcements.”

“Good, good. Glad you got to spend some time with the girls,” he replied as he settled himself in.

We passed the dishes around and served ourselves silently. That was the nice thing about Charlie. He didn't pry. And I never had to explain anything if I didn't want to. We finished eating in silence, then we stood up at the same time to begin clearing the plates. We had our routine down pat.

“So Angela's mom is driving her to Seattle next Saturday to go prom-dress shopping. I think I'm going to with them,” I said as I started sudsing up the dishes.

“Prom?” Charlie asked with a half-smile, “I didn’t think you were the prom-type-of-gal.”

“I’m not. I’m just going to hang out with them. You know, get some girl time.”

“Okay,“ he chuckled. He was about to head out of the kitchen when he suddenly paused and turned around. “Did you say you were going to Seattle?”

“Yeah, why?”

Charlie frowned as he leaned against the doorway, still nursing his beer. “There have been a bunch of murders – well both murders and disappearances actually - the past few months in Seattle. I don’t know if it’s a good idea for you to go.”

“Dad, please. I think I'll be fine with Mrs. Scott.” I barely refrained myself from rolling my eyes. It was tough sometimes being the daughter of a cop. “Plus, I don't think murderers really hang out at the mall in broad daylight. I should be safe.”

“I don't know, Bells,” Charlie continued with a frown. He had put his beer down on the countertop and was now standing with his arms crossed. It was his thinking pose. “It’s been happening all over town, even in some of the nice places in the city. Twenty people in the last month or so. They were only able to find a handful of bodies too. The rest just disappeared into thin air. That's why the police haven't made any progress on cracking the case….”

“Dad, we'll be fine,” I said emphatically as I stacked the cleaned dishes onto the rack that I had emptied just moments before. “We'll have lunch, hit some stores, and come back.” Seeing that he still looked unconvinced, I decided to play my trump card. “Do you want to call Angela’s mom to make yourself feel better about the trip? You can tell her that you don't think it's a good idea for her to be taking me ...”

“No, no,” Charlie said, quickly back-pedaling. He and every other male in Forks was scared of Janet Scott. She was a formidable fixture in the community and a force to be reckoned with. “I'm sure it'll be fine. Just promise me that you girls won't go off on your own.”

I tried to hide my smile as I patted him on the shoulder. “I promise,” I said as I turned off the light and we walked out of the kitchen. Charlie headed to the living room to watch the ball game and I headed upstairs to find my books so that I could start my homework. But I got sidetracked when the prom invitation, which I had hastily stuffed in my bag after receiving it in homeroom, fell out of my backpack and onto the floor. I picked it up and finally read it through – mentally mocking the pink ruffly frilly card that had Jessica's name written all over it. She was, no surprise, one of the chairs of the prom committee.

June 16th. Three weeks away. I had plenty of time to make a decision, I rationalized to myself. Not that I was thinking about going. I definitely didn't want to go. As I said to Angela, I was not a prom kind of girl. Even Charlie knew that. And I hated prom last year. Well I didn't totally hate it, but it was only because of him. So why was I even considering the possibility of going?

Damn Angela for putting all sorts of thoughts into my head about going with Jake. I didn't know if I was ready for that. I didn't even know if I wanted it. It was too soon. It felt too soon. And yet, prom last year also felt like a million light-years away. I flipped the card over and read the details again. I was so caught up sorting out my jumbled emotions that I jumped when somebody spoke over my shoulder.

“So, who are you going with?”

I swiveled around so quickly that I lost my balance and had to grab the side of my desk to steady myself. Jake was standing a few feet behind me, grinning widely. I felt myself relax. I hadn't realized that I had been waiting all evening for him to show up until now.

“How did you get in?! I didn't hear you come up the stairs!”

He shrugged. “I knocked and everything. Charlie said I should just go up, so I did and your door was open. It's my superhero stealthiness,” he added with a teasing wink.

“I'm pretty sure that's not a word.”

“When you're a superhero, you can make words up,” he replied, his face was solemn but his eyes were twinkling. I rolled my eyes and mock-punched him. He expertly side-stepped me and instead, swiped the prom invite from my other hand. He looked it over quickly before he gave it back, “It's very pink.”

“Yes, I know,” I said with a sigh. “What can I say? Girls like pink.”

“Thank God you don't though,” he said as he ruffled my hair and then collapsed on my bed with a loud yawn. He had been up in my room a few times now. Charlie trusted him to be alone up with me. Which was saying a lot in some ways since Charlie wouldn't trust any other guy to be in my room alone with me. But in other ways, it didn't say much because everyone trusted Jake. That was just who he was.

But it was strange to see him lying on my bed like that. In the past, he had perched on the edge of my bed a number of times, but he had sprawled out comfortably like this, his arms behind his head, his feet – sans shoes – kicked up. He yawned again and smiled apologetically, “Sorry, long day running patrol. I'm beat.”

I was still standing there staring at him. For a moment, it just all felt too much. The last guy – no scratch that – the only guy that had ever laid down in my bed had been him. Edward. I forced myself to say his name. And the contrast between the two of them couldn't have been any greater.

When Edward laid there, he had always held himself slightly rigidly, always in control and guarded, his arms and legs held tightly in line with the rest of his body. Even when he held me in his arms, I could always sense that he was keeping a barely perceptible distance between us – in case he ever lost control. He never looked at ease the way Jake did right now, his large body taking over the entire bed, his arms and legs sprawled out casually and unconsciously. The countless nights that Edward had spent in my bed, he had always been in control, strategically watching and waiting, but never at ease and never as if he belonged. Jake sprawled across my bed comfortably as if he belonged there and for a starting moment, I thought that maybe he did.

“So ...” Jake's voice interrupted my thoughts. I looked up startled. I felt my face begin to flush as I realized what I had just been thinking. About Jake. About my best friend. About my hot best friend. Because come on, I wasn't blind. I had told Jake once that he was sort-of-beautiful, but that wasn't quite the word to describe him. Edward had been beautiful with his perfect features, but Jake was … hot. I couldn't think of any other word to describe him. From the chiseled body – due to his werewolf duties, I had seen him shirtless so often that I was beginning to forget that not all guys looked like him – to his handsome face with it strong jaw, blunt cheekbones, and intense eyes – there was no doubt that Jake was hot.

And he also currently lying in my bed – actually he was taking over my entire bed - with his t-shirt riding up his stomach, showing off his ripped abs, and his cut-off shorts sitting snugly over his hips. My cheeks were now burning hot. It's not that I hadn't noticed all of this in the past. I had, in sort of an indifferent cursory way, the way you noticed that the woman sitting next to you had blonde hair or that the bus-driver had a funny moustache. But now I noticed. Boy did I notice. But I didn't know how I felt about it.

“I would give everything I own to know what you're thinking right now,” Jake said suddenly with a husky voice. I looked up to see him staring intensely at me, his dark eyes had turned the deepest coal black, and the look on his face sent shivers down my spine.

My head was awash with confusion and emotion. Just this afternoon with Angela, I had almost lost it when reliving a memory about … Edward. And now, here I was, staring at Jake, with a million conflicting thoughts running through my head. None of which made sense. None of which I knew what to do with.

We stood there staring at each for a while, before Jake finally looked down. He was laughing softly to himself and then stretched himself out lazily, at ease again, before asking, “Okay, how about we go back to my original question. Who are you going to the prom with?”

“You, if you will ask me,” I blurted out before I realized what I was saying. My mouth dropped open. I couldn't believe I had said that. I didn't know what the hell had gotten into me. I didn't think it was possible for my face to burn up even more, but it did. My whole face was aflame with embarrassment and confusion.

Jake tensed slightly at my words, his eyes turning dark again but this time they were alert and watchful, and he looked at me for a long moment. Then he grinned. “I'd be happy to ask, but technically, it's not my prom. It would take some cojones for me to ask you to your prom, no?”

“True,” I said, as words continued to just tumble out of my mouth. “So … will you? You know?” I looked away from him now, too embarrassed to see his response. “As friends,” I amended quickly before he got the wrong idea. Not that I knew which was the wrong idea – going as friends or going as more than just friends.

“As friends,” Jake repeated slowly after me, drawing out each syllable. I nodded mutely, still not looking at him. Finally, the silence got to me so I tentatively lifted my head to catch his gaze. He was still lying there, looking comfortable in my mess of pillows and comforters, and he was watching me through hooded eyes that were unreadable. Suddenly panicked that he was going to refuse me, I was racking my brain for some way to try to salvage the situation when he finally answered matter-of-factly, “Of course, I will.”

“You will?” I felt my voice crack with relief that this wasn't going to become a big deal.

“Of course. As friends,” he teased with a mocking grin as he sat up again. I caught my breath worried that he was taking this the wrong way, but he waved away my frown. “Chillax, Bella. I understand. Just as friends. But as best friends, right?” He looked at me earnestly now, his hair rumpled from lying down. He looked very childlike suddenly. Despite his size, he looked vulnerable for the first time in a long time.

“Of course,” I replied with a warm smile. “The very best.”

“Good,” he said as he got up and rumpled my hair to match his. We laughed and any awkwardness in the moment passed. But something had changed between us that night. I just couldn't put my finger on what it was.

← Chapter 3: Deja Vu      Chapter 5: Disappearance →

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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