At the Cliffs

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

← Chapter 7: Confrontation      Chapter 9: Meeting →

Chapter 8: Rain

I stumbled back into the living room and gave Sue the message from Leah. I must have looked as confused as I felt, because she gave me a concerned look and asked me if I was okay. I nodded my head quickly when I saw Charlie and Billy both look up from the game in alarm. I told them that I just wanted to get some fresh air before dinner. I mean, what the heck was I supposed to say? That Sue’s daughter had just threatened me? That I was confused about what I wanted to do about Billy’s son?

I headed out the door and blindly turned left from the driveway. Dark clouds were rolling in overhead and I could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. A storm was coming in and it was coming in fast, but I didn’t care. I needed space to think. To figure out what I wanted to do with the tangled emotions that Leah had stirred up inside me.

I wished I could pretend that what was getting me worked up was the knowledge that Seth and Leah had joined the pack. Or the fact that I had put them all in danger because of Victoria. But the only thoughts that were ping-ponging around inside my head had to do with what Leah had said about Jake. About me and Jake. Or rather, about the fact that “me and Jake” didn’t technically exist yet.

Her throwaway comment annoyed me - that we all knew what we wanted, it was just a question of whether or not we wanted to risk it – because I knew deep-down that she was right. I was scared about opening myself up again, because I knew first-hand the kind of pain that being in love could bring if things didn’t work out. And the fact that the guy in question was Jake just made it a thousand times scarier. I couldn’t imagine how I could have survived the last few months without him and I definitely didn’t want to think about having to.

Thunder rumbled loudly overhead and then, as if on cue, the rain arrived too, coming down in heavy icy cold sheets despite the fact that it was June. I could see Jake’s red house through the trees just up the street. It took me a few minutes to make it down their long driveway, so I was completely soaked by the time I reached the cover of their front porch. I tried the doorknob, knowing that they left it unlocked most of the time, and let myself into the empty house.

I stood awkwardly in the living room. I knew that neither Billy nor Jake would mind my being there given the circumstances, but it still felt strange to be in someone else’s house when they weren’t there themselves. Noticing that a puddle of water had pooled around my feet, I took off my shoes and tip-toed to Jake’s room to look for something dry to change into.

Jackpot. There was a faded blue t-shirt folded neatly on his bed. I took it with me into the bathroom and hastily stripped off my wet clothes. The blue t-shirt, despite being freshly laundered, still smelled like Jake – woodsy, musky, and much too alluring. When I pulled it over my head, I was barely able to focus as his scent seemed to swell around me. My knees went soft as a rush of heat flooded through me leaving me momentarily dazed. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Get a grip, I told myself. Jake was attractive. Alright, he was hot. I had always known that though it was only recently that I had begun appreciating it. But letting that newfound appreciation confuse me right now was just going to make things more complicated. And I didn’t need more complication right now.

Forcing my mind back to the task at hand, I shook the excess water from my wet clothes before placing them carefully on the shower rod to drip dry. I was about to head out of the bathroom when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Jake’s blue shirt was absurdly big on me. It made me look like a little girl playing dress-up.

I frowned as I examined myself critically in the mirror. My skin was always so noticeably pale against my dark hair, but at least both features were both good independently - my skin was clear and got some color during the summer months and my hair was thick with a slight wave, which allowed me to just wash and go most days. The rest of my features were pretty non-descript though – a straight nose and brown eyes that had neither Edward’s mesmerizing golden-toffee hue or Jake’s smoldering dark gaze - I was really just the average girl next door. Nothing too amazing. Unlike the men I seemed to be attracted to.

With a sigh, I flicked off the light and stepped back into the hall. The rain was still coming down hard. I could hear it pounding against the roof of the house. I stood in the hallway, trying to decide where to go, before heading into Jake’s room.

It used to be his sisters’ room*, which explained the mauve-colored walls and the double twin beds, but the rest of the room was all Jake. Minimalist to the point of bare. His clothes barely took up half of the closet. His bookshelves were mostly filled with his sister’s old books – I chuckled when I saw a few Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte books there – it was weird seeing them in his room.

The handful of books that actually belonged to him were propped up against his deck. I flipped through them absentmindedly. A few books on cars, a few more on working out, a couple of paperback mysteries, and a book about college scholarships and financial aid. I grinned as I pulled out one of the paperback mysteries. It was actually one of my books that I had leant to him months ago. I flipped it open wondering if he had read it. Probably not. He had enough going on as it was.

I sat down on the bed since it looked far more comfortable than the chair at his desk. I unconsciously straightened out the patched blue cotton comforter and the two matching pillows that were scattered across the unmade bed. The room felt cold to me and the thought of curling up in bed was just too darn tempting. Oh to hell with it. I slipped under the covers and felt another surge of warmth trickling through my limbs as I snuggled into the sheets that smelled just like him. This was almost as good as getting a hug from him. Almost.

I grabbed one of the paperback mysteries that I hadn’t read and started thumbing through it, but it was no use. After half an hour, I realized that even though I had made it through the first few chapters, I couldn’t remember anything that had happened. With a frustrated sigh, I let the book slide to the floor. I stretched lazily as I let my mind wander.

Graduation was coming up next week. It seemed hard to believe that my last year of high school had gone by so quickly. And yet in some ways, September – when I celebrated my 18th birthday with the Cullens - felt like a lifetime ago. Since then, I had survived Edward leaving, not one but two attacks by blood-thirsty vampires (Jasper and Laurent), a pseudo-attack by an angry werewolf (ahem Paul!), my own attempts to learn how to ride a motorcycle without killing myself, a mental mishap that caused me to do crazy stupid things for the sake of lost love including a botched attempt at cliff-diving, late college applications that luckily came through, and now this.

As if the Jake situation weren’t complicated enough, I had a big decision looming overhead. I had until the end of June to decide if and where I was going to college. I had been putting off thinking about this for as long as possible. I didn’t even bother to celebrate when I got my University of Washington and Washington State acceptances a few weeks ago. I was grateful – because I had literally gotten my applications in on the last possible day for the last round of admissions – but I had pushed any thinking about this aside as I wasn’t quite ready to make decisions about the future. I had spent too long mired in the past that I just wanted to enjoy the present, but worries about the future kept creeping up on me.

Not that there really was much of a decision. UW was in Seattle and closer to Forks. WSU was across the state. Both had given me about the same amount of financial aid and I could swing the rest with the college fund that Charlie and Renee had set up for me. So it was a done deal really. Plus Angela and Ben were going to UW too, so it would be nice to know people at school. But somehow, I couldn’t pull the trigger and send out my acceptance letter. Instead, I had shoved the entire acceptance packet underneath my bed and hadn’t looked at it since.

Jake wondered, but didn’t pry. I guess he didn’t want to think about it much too. I mean, in two months, I’d be moving to Seattle. Three hours away. A big city. And Jake would still be here. In high school. Still responsible for protecting the tribe. I had a hard time imagining what that would be like. Would my new-found peace of mind and sensibility desert me if I wasn’t around him as much? I shuddered at the thought.

Of course, there was always the possibility that I didn’t go to college. I could postpone for a year. I think Charlie or Renee might have had an aneurysm if I said I wasn’t planning on going ever, but deferring for a year posed its own set of problems. What would I do? Live with Charlie? Work at the sporting goods store? See Jake whenever he had free time from the pack? What would I accomplish by waiting around for another year? And so I guess I was still stuck, unable to move forward and yet unwilling to stay here. And now this Seattle vampire situation was only adding more drama to the mix.

I heard the roar of a bike coming up the street just then. I felt my shoulders slump with relief, all the tension draining out, as I registered the sound of Jake pulling into the driveway. Nothing had happened to him and Sam while they were in Seattle. I hadn’t realized how heavily that fear had been weighing on me until they returned. I was so caught up with my relief that I barely remembered that I was curled up in Jake’s bed wearing just a t-shirt. I threw off the covers and dashed to the bathroom to grab my still damp clothes. But he was too quick. I was in the hallway, clothes in hand, when the back door opened and Jake stepped in.

He looked tense. His eyes were stormy and his mouth was set in a grim line, but then he saw me. The corners of his mouth began to curve up, first in surprise and then in amusement, as he took in the situation. I could almost see him shaking with silent laughter. I knew I probably looked a mess. I was still in his rumpled t-shirt that was at least two times too big for me and the humidity had caused my hair to turn into a wild frizzy bushy mess.

I frowned, ready to give him grief for what I was sure to be some snappy remark about how I looked like a drowned cat, when his eyes dropped to the t-shirt that I was wearing. His t-shirt I should say. His eyes widened as they continued to sweep downward, lingering at where the t-shirt ended mid-thigh on me. And then, all traces of amusement disappeared from his face. In its place was a look that sent a searing burst of heat through my body, making my fingers tingle and my mind go blank.

“Bella?” His voice was unsteady as he looked up to catch my eye.

“You’re back,” I responded equally unsteadily. I looked down. I had to. It was too un-nerving. It was like my brain had stopped functioning. All I could think about was the fact that I suddenly felt more alive than I had every felt before. Then I remembered what it was that he had been trying to do today and it shook me out of my daze like a cold hard slap to the face. “So you’re okay? Nothing happened? Did you see anything?”

He blinked a few times as if he were pulling himself out of a daze too. He shook his head slightly and then, as if my questions had triggered a reset button in his brain – he was Jake, the responsible Beta-wolf again, tense, frustrated, and very worried about how I would react to his news.

Jake came over to me, his bare feet not making a sound against the hardwood floors. He took my arm and steered me into his room. My skin started to crawl as I wondered how bad the news could be for him to act this way. He stumbled slightly when he took in the rumpled sheets on his bed, evidence of my having spent the better part of the afternoon snuggled in them, but he didn’t say anything. I saw the determined look of forced concentration on his face. This Jake was all-business and he wasn’t going to let anything distract him from it.

I perched myself on the edge of the bed, primly pulling the edge of the t-shirt to cover my knees, and waited. When it was clear that he wasn’t going to start first, I jumped in. “What is it, Jake?”

He stood in front of me with his arms crossed and took a deep breath. “I don’t know how to say this, but we smelled Victoria’s scent in Seattle.”

I felt a sickening pit in my stomach open up. When the pack hadn’t caught sight of her in months, I had secretly hoped that she had given up. That she had realized that I was no longer important to Edward. That she was wasting her time by hunting me. But I had never truly believed it. I had been living the past few months on borrowed time, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it looks like it just did.

Jake gazed as me steadily as he continued. “We also smelled a few other vampires. We couldn’t figure out how many – we didn’t want to get too close – but from the intensity of the scent, maybe 3 or 4 others close to the area by the mall you went to. I thought there might have been more elsewhere in the city, but Sam wouldn’t let me venture further after we caught Victoria’s scent.”

I nodded. The sickening pit had now grown into a gaping hole. I could barely stop myself from shivering in fear. Victoria was back. And she had others with her. What did this mean?

“We’re not sure what her plans are,” Jake continued, as if he had read my mind. “Sam thinks that she’s just starting over. You know, creating some new vamps to replace her mate and the one we killed. He thinks it’s a sign that she’s over what the Cullens did. He doesn’t think she’ll bother to come back now that she’s got a new family.”

“But you don’t agree,” I deduced from Jake’s tone.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Something doesn’t feel right about it.”

I nodded. I agreed with Jake, but the alternatives to Sam’s theory were too horrifying to discuss out loud. But I couldn’t stop imagining them. My brain was overwhelmed by memories of Victoria, Laurent, and James – the fear of what they were individually and of what they had been like as a group – cruel, ruthless, and exceptionally dangerous. I relived the memory of James’ attack, something I hadn’t done in ages, and I shuddered helplessly as I thought about Victoria creating a new and perhaps improved version of him.

Jake sat down on the bed next to me as he continued gently, “The pack is assembling here in a few minutes to discuss. I wanted to give you a heads-up. I didn’t want you hearing the news for the first time in front of everyone.”

His warm strong arms came around me then, as I knew they would, and I felt some semblance of sanity come over me again. Suddenly, nothing seemed impossible. We could figure something out. I forced myself to calm down and get a grip. I had to stop behaving like a child. Jake had enough stuff to worry about, without thinking that I might go to pieces again at the thought that Victoria might be back.

“Why aren’t you at the Clearwater’s?” Jake asked once I seemed to be breathing normally again.

“Oh …Leah … um … gave me an earful.”

I felt Jake flinch. “Sorry I forgot to tell you about her …” his voice trailed off awkwardly. “It was a bit of a shock when it happened.”

“I’ll say. Seth too, I hear.”

“Yeah, that only happened a few days ago. And two more are coming up. Sam told me that Collin and Brady looked like they were close, even though they’re just 14.”

Now it was my turn to flinch. Two more young boys who were going to risk their lives for me. I let out a deep sigh and Jake gave me a squeeze to let me know he understood how I felt. He turned his head to the window suddenly, his supersonic wolf senses picking something up in the distance.

“The guys are almost here,” he said as he stood up quickly. “And Leah too,” he added guiltily. I felt a surge of sympathy for Leah. I knew Jake was trying harder than the others guys, but even he was tripped up over having her in the pack.

“Yeah, I guess I should …” I gestured to the t-shirt that I was wearing.

“Yeah, yeah,” Jake grinned as he headed towards the door to leave me alone to change.

“I wouldn’t want them to get the wrong idea. You know how Quil is.”

Jake laughed then. A rich rumbling sound from deep within his chest. “Yeah, I know.” He paused as he stepped over the threshold. Then he turned to look me, all traces of amusement had been wiped from his face, and his eyes looked stormy again. “Are you sure it’s the wrong idea?”

I flushed, but my voice was surprisingly steady when I responded. “No, I’m not.”

He nodded and turned to head out of the room, but not before I could see his whole face light up with a wolfish grin.

← Chapter 7: Confrontation      Chapter 9: Meeting →

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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