At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 5: Disappearance      Chapter 7: Confrontation →

Chapter 6: Danger

I burst into the dressing room area, followed closely by Angela and her mom who were weighted down by all of the dresses that Angela had wanted to try on. Bree’s mom was standing by the door of the first dressing room.

“She’s gone!” she said, gesturing wildly behind her with one hand, as she frantically pushed some buttons on her cellphone with the other.

I pushed past her to look in. All of the dresses that Bree had wanted to try on were still hanging neatly on the rack, except for that pepto-bismol pink dress. An empty hanger, along with the cutoffs and tank-top that Bree had been wearing, were laid out on the bench, so she must have been trying it on. Next to her clothes was her dark green purse. Nothing looked disturbed. Nothing was out of place. Except that Bree wasn’t there anymore.

“That’s weird. I know we didn’t see her leave….” Angela muttered as she and her mother put all of their stuff down on the blue sofa in the waiting area.

Bree’s purse began to vibrate as the call from her mom came through. I reached over and opened it to find her cell-phone and wallet completely untouched inside. Our faces blanched. It seemed unlikely that she would have left without her phone, money, or ID.

Our heads turned, almost simultaneously, as we felt a slight breeze waft into the dressing rooms just then. That’s when we noticed that the door behind the third dressing room was ajar – just slightly – there was a faint sliver of light coming through the crack where the door hadn’t been completely closed. The light coming through clearly illuminated some scuff marks on the shiny white linoleum floor right in front of the door.

“Bella, don’t!” I heard Angela cry out as she saw me turn, but I ignored her as I walked towards the door. I didn’t care how stupid it was, but I had to know. I could feel the eyes of the other three women staring so intently as me, that it felt like they were drilling holes into my back. I was holding my breath. I was pretty sure the others were holding their breaths too. When I reached the door, I paused just slightly, before slamming it open with a heavy thud.

Fresh air flooded the stale dressing rooms. It wasn’t a door to a closet, as I had originally thought, but a service-entrance that opened up to the back parking lot. I leaned over to look outside. There was a dark reddish stain on the asphalt in front of me. My stomach lurched. It was blood. I could tell by the way the rusty salty smell made my head spin.

I motioned weakly to the others, but Angela had already come up behind me. She shrieked when she saw the blood over my shoulder. I scanned the parking lot, hoping to catch a clue about what had happened, but I knew even then that it was pointless. Whoever had done this was long gone. We were on the far end of the mall, the side that backed right up against the shipping docks along the bay, and the parking lot was deserted. Not a person in sight. Not a car in sight. It didn’t even look as if the employees parked here. It was early evening now, practically twilight.

Janet took charge, as Bree’s mom was clearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Janet steered her back to the couch in the dressing room and instructed her to start calling all of Bree’s friends, before dispatching me and Angela to find a store manager or a mall security guard immediately.

The store was a madhouse the rest of the afternoon. A bunch of store clerks – who all happened to be out on break at the same time – loitered nervously as they folded, refolded, and re-racked clothes. A harried looking middle-aged man in a bad suit, who was the store manager, paced the floor as he answered calls from corporate headquarters. Half a dozen or so security guards and cops were gathered, taking us each in turn to the store manager’s office to question us about Bree’s disappearance.

I told them everything that I could remember about my two-minute interaction with Bree, except for what happened in the dressing room. What was I going to say? Sir, I think there was a vampire in the dressing room? Right. Like that would work. I could tell that they were hoping that I would say something they could use to peg Bree as a teen runaway. The last thing they wanted was to add her name to the growing list of serial murder victims, but the pool of blood outside the service door was pretty damning.

After an hour or so of questioning and turning over all of our contact info, we were allowed to go home. The three-hour drive back was mostly silent with the three of us lost in our own thoughts. Bree's disappearance made the 10 pm news that night, which Charlie was watching when I got home. He was nearly apoplectic when they showed footage of me, Angela, and Janet being detained in the store as witnesses.

I tried to calm him down, but without much success. I was afraid that he was going to ground me for the rest of my life. But I had to admit that I was unnerved by what happened too. One minute she was there and then the next, she was gone. It was like …. I didn’t want to finish that thought.

We watched the evening news together silently. Bree marked the 21st case in the last two months in Seattle. There were 15 murders and 6 victims who had disappeared but were presumed to be murdered. The first disappearance was a guy named Riley Saunders, a senior at UW and the starting quarterback of the football team. The TV station kept flashing up his picture. He was the epitome of the clean-cut boy next door, tall and blonde with a winning smile. He had been a popular guy on campus and the university had put up a substantial reward for any information that would help crack the case.

But the others were a motley crew who ranged in age, gender, race, and class. That was what stumped the police, according to the news reporter, since there was no obvious pattern or relationship between the victims, except that all of them were upstanding citizens who had no reason to disappear or run away from their lives.

I didn’t feel like sleeping just yet and so I sat up in the living room long after Charlie had gone to bed. The whole Bree disappearance had shaken me. Mostly because I couldn't shake off the thought that I had seen something in that dressing room. For a moment, I had thought that it was him. That Edward had come back for me.

But the rational side of me told me that it could just as likely have been another vampire. One that was significantly less friendly to humans, like Victoria, for example. I knew that the pack hadn’t been able to find any trace of her near Forks in months, but I couldn’t understand why she would have given up so suddenly. Unless she somehow found out that Edward and I … well … that I was no longer important enough to kill.

A sharp rap at the window startled me, but I let out a sigh when I saw that it was just Jake – checking in as usual before his night patrol. He waved at me with a cheerful grin and I felt myself relax, the way I always did, in his presence. I waved back and walked over to the door to let him in quietly.

The minute the door opened, Jake's face froze - his nostrils flared and his eyes narrowed – he grabbed my arm tightly and yanked me closer to him. “What happened? Where have you been?”

Shocked by his reaction, I stammered, “I was in Seattle. Dress shopping with Angela and her mother. I told you that ...” He didn’t seem to hear me at all. “Jake … what is it?”

His grip grew tighter as he leaned in so that he could better smell my hair. I froze. There was only one thing that would cause this type of a reaction in him. I looked up, afraid of what I would see, but my worst fears were confirmed by the expression on his face.

“Vampire ...” he ground out. He sniffed again as he continued, “It's faint though. You were probably near one without knowing it. What happened today?” he asked, not relinquishing his tight grip on my arm.

I quietly filled him in on the details. If I thought he had looked angry before, it was nothing to what he looked like now. Jake had gotten really good at controlling the terrible rage that afflicted all the werewolves, but somehow, this controlled tightly-leashed anger within him seemed far more deadly to me than the screaming rip-roaring anger that Quil or Paul were known for. My voice faltered under his intense eyes when I got to the part about the weird dressing room incident.

When I finished, Jake let go of my arm and pushed past me into the house. Without saying a word, he grabbed the remote to flick on the television. He turned the volume down – so we wouldn’t wake Charlie – and then flipped through the channels until he found a 24-hour news station that was covering the Seattle Serial Murder story. We watched for about half an hour until they moved on to something else, and then Jake turned off the TV.

We sat there in silence for a few more minutes. Jake’s head was lowered in thought, his fingers steepled against his chin. I could see the gears churning, but I didn't know what to make of it. Finally, I couldn't stand the silence anymore and I nudged his arm. He raised his head and looked at me expectantly.

“So … what are you thinking?” I asked.

He sighed. “I’m not sure what to think, except that maybe Sam and I should go check out the situation in Seattle.” We were quiet for a few moments before he asked me, “What are you thinking?”

I did a palms-up. Something the news reporter had said was bothering me, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Then, just a suddenly, a thought flashed into my head. “Wait a second....”


“The news report said that Bree was the 21st case in the past few months…”

“Right. Fifteen murders. Plus another six who have disappeared but are presumed dead. All in the last two months. Presumed to be a serial murderer. Victims unrelated,” Jake briefly recapped.

“Don't you think that's odd? For there to be so many bodies that were never found?” I said slowly, a terrible realization dawning over me. Jake sat up tensely as he watched my expression change.

“What are you saying, Bella?” Jake turned and put his arms on my shoulder. Then suddenly, as if the same terrible thought had just occurred to him too, his grip tightened so hard that I was sure it would leave bruises. I winced and he let go immediately, but his eyes were harsh in the dim light. “It’s not just some vampire killing humans. It could be a vampire … ” His voice trailed off.

“… creating new vampires,” I finished. “That’s would explain why bodies haven’t been found. There are no bodies left … they’re … they’re …”

Jake nodded thoughtfully. “The violence has been escalating recently. Which would make sense if there are more new vampires in search of blood.” Seeing my horrified reaction, he patted me on the shoulder. “Don’t worry. Sam and I will go check-it out tomorrow. Figure out what’s going on.”

“No!” I almost shouted. “Just the two of you? It’s not safe. There were at least 6 disappearances. And those are just the ones that the police know about.”

“We’re not going to fight them. Just see what’s going on,” he cut me off matter-of-factly. But he softened as he continued, “Look. I’m not stupid. I don’t have a death wish. If they’re there. We’ll know. We don’t even have to get close, remember?” He tapped his nose.

“But …”

“Don't worry. I just think we need to find out if our suspicious are correct. Even if they are, I’m not sure there’s much we can do. Seattle is far away.” He shrugged apologetically. “Sam’s the Alpha and I know what he’s going to say. Our job is to protect the tribe. We can’t go out trying to rid the world of vampires.” Seeing my horrified face, he amended. “Nor would you want us to.”

“They’re not all bad …” I mumbled, knowing that we were venturing into dangerous territory with this conversation.

We sat in silence for a bit before Jake spoke again, “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” I replied hesitantly. I knew more or less what he was about to ask me.

“How did you … how could you stand being so close to one of them?” He flicked his hand as he referred to the Cullens. His voice was low and tense. “Weren't you scared that they would ... that they could …”

“They're humans. Just like us,” I interrupted him.

“No, they were humans. Not any more.”

“But that doesn't mean they've lost their humanity.”

“Is that what he told you?”

“No, but they were good people. Really, Jake. Carlisle is over five hundred years old and he's never touched a drop of human blood. And despite the fact that you guys call him Dr. Fang,” - Jake winced when I said that -“he’s an amazing doctor. How could he not be a good person?”

“Point taken,” Jake acknowledged. “But he’s an exception. What about the others? You can't tell me that they're as clean as he is.”

I knew exactly who he was referring to. “No, they aren't,” I said sadly. “But they are trying now. That should be worth something, right?”

Jake shrugged, but he looked unconvinced.

“They aren't that different than you and the pack really,” I said, the words tumbling out before I could stop them. I saw Jake tense up immediately, his protests ready to spill out, so I continued quickly. “They didn't have a choice. They were all turned against their will. And now they're trying to do the best that they can.”

Jake’s brow was knotted with frustration as he tried to find the words to respond. “Yes, but sometimes doing your best isn't enough. He could have lost control at any moment and you would have been ...”

“Lunch?” I supplied. He rolled his eyes, but chuckled at my lame attempt to lighten the mood. I took the opportunity to lean into him then, craving the comfort and warmth that I had always been able to find in his arms. He smiled as he felt my snuggle in. I could feel the deep reverberations in his chest as he finished laughing. There was a long pause before I continued. “Yeah, I guess I could have been. But you could lose it at any moment and the consequences would be about the same, right?”

Jake's arm around me tightened and he got that weary expression on his face, the one he always had when confronted with the reality that he could hurt me at any time. He nodded curtly without saying anything. It was clear that he didn't want to talk about it anymore and so we sat there, comfortable in our shared silence, until I finally fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

← Chapter 5: Disappearance      Chapter 7: Confrontation →

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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