In the Shadows

New Moon - Part 1 - rewritten from Jacob's perspective

← At First Sight:: Chapter 9: Messenger      Chapter 2: Search →

Chapter 1: School

“Sophomore year. It’s gonna be awesome, man. We’re moving up the totem pole,” Quil sighed in satisfaction as we claimed our table in the cafeteria. It was the first day of school and it was important to stake our claim, otherwise, we’d be stuck near the kitchen or worse, the bathroom.

We sprawled out with our books and food, and kicked back to enjoy the crisp air that was flowing in through the cafeteria’s large windows. It wasn’t a bad way to start the school year. And I was – strangely enough - happy to be back at school.

Summer in La Push was always a weird thing. The little rez that was practically dormant for the other nine months of the year turned into this booming beach town that attracted tourists from up and down the West Coast looking for a cheap place to catch some waves and live the good life. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the town bustled with day-trippers, weekenders, and summer-bums alike.

I was busy all summer, working at the Clearwater’s General Store and the Ateara’s Garage to earn some much-needed cash. And in my free time, I hung out with Quil and Embry. Embry worked at his mom’s store and Quil “worked” part-time at his dad’s garage with me. By “work”, I meant that he spent most of his time hanging out at the beach checking out girls. Which also meant that I went on a lot of group dates over the summer. Quil wasn’t shy when it came to trying his luck with the ladies, and he inexplicably seemed to have more luck this summer than usual.

Every Friday night, he managed to round up a group of girls to watch a movie or go to a bonfire and Embry and I were dragged along to even up the numbers. Quil said it was because we would never get dates if he didn’t help us out. I dutifully tagged along and watched almost every bad movie that summer. At first, I was hopeful. I mean, here was a cross-section of girls from across the country. Surely, one of them would pique my interest. And they did. For a while.

There were some spectacularly pretty sisters from Vancouver, down for a family reunion for two weeks. They were fun to hang out with and I wouldn’t deny that they were totally crush-worthy. But somehow, when they left, it was easy to let them go. I never thought about them much after they left. And I didn’t really miss them, the way that I missed … other girls.

And so I had a good summer, except for that tiny niggling part of my brain that would remind me about Bella. It was stupid, I know. I reminded myself that I was being stupid every time I looked up eagerly when a brown-haired girl of about a certain height stepped into the store. Or every time, my ears perked up when Billy or Harry had an update from Charlie. Or every time I went into Forks, scanning the supermarket or the bank or wherever I was in hopes of catching a glimpse of her. It was stupid. I knew it was. But it was easier to ignore it than to acknowledge it.

“Yo! You gonna eat that or are you gonna share?” Quil snapped his fingers at me, pulling me out of my thoughts.

“All yours.” I tossed him the bag of Doritos without paying much attention. My aim was wildly off and the bag flew over his head. A giant hand swung out and swiped it before it felt to the ground.

“Thanks, Black. Don’t mind if I do,” Paul smirked as he opened the bag and dumped half the contents into his mouth in one fell swoop. Paul Meraz was a junior that I knew by sight only. But that didn’t say much, I knew everyone under the age of 20 in La Push by sight.

“Give it back, Meraz.” Quil jumped up and grabbed at the bag, but Paul sneered as he held the bag high above his head.

Now Quil was no slouch in the height department, but Paul was just huge. Massively huge. Well over six feet and built like a belligerent ox. And it seemed as if the growth spurt had happened overnight too. I didn’t remember him being his big last spring.

“Make me.” Paul grinned obnoxiously with orangey-cheesy bits stuck in his teeth. His eyes had a bright feverish glaze to them and he seemed flushed and overheated, even though he was barely dressed in dirty cut-offs and a ripped tank. It looked like he hadn’t showered in a while either, his hair was scraggly and his skin was grimy – as if he had been rolling around in dirt. On his right leg, a thin black cord hung loosely and flapped against his sneaker every time he moved.

“You think you’re hot stuff, huh?” Quil unconsciously pushed up his glasses as he got right into Paul’s face. His hands were clenched tightly but were also shaking ever so slightly. Quil was no fool. He knew Meraz would own him in a fight. “You don’t scare me at all. Now give me that.”

“Give me one good reason, punk,” Paul sneered crumpling the bag in his hand as he gave Quil a hard push with the other hand..

Great. Just what I needed on the first day of school. A fight. A food fight at that. Just as I got up to intervene, Jared Gordon stepped in.

“Calm down, guys,” Jared said as he smoothly plucked the Doritos bag away from Paul and handed it back to Quil. “Sorry, he woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.”

Jared was also severely under-dressed for the weather in a beat-up t-shirt, shorts, and the same black cord around his right ankle, but his stance was friendly and he grinned at us in apology.

Quil looked for a moment as if he would deck Paul anyway. Embry and I both tensed, but then Quil sighed loudly and took the Doritos. “Not worth my time,” he muttered as he sat back down and shoveled the rest of the chips into his mouth.

I watched as Jared herded Paul out of the cafeteria with a strong arm. It was clear that he was saying stuff that Paul didn’t want to hear, because Paul looked like he wanted to deck Jared. They rounded the cafeteria and headed out to the parking lot. A beat-up old car pulled up just then and as the driver got out, my stomach clenched hard.

Sam Uley. Leader of the La Push gang. Jerk-extraordinaire. Class A Suck-Up. Bane of my existence.

Not that I wanted to make Sam and his buddies sound more important than they were by calling them a gang, but I couldn’t think of what else to call them. At first, it was just Sam going around doing his “always-do-the-right-thing and don't-shame-the-tribe” act by himself. Kissing up to all the elders. Monitoring the behavior of all the boys. Acting like he was God’s gift to La Push. Then Jared joined him last spring. And now, it looked like Paul had joined him too.

It wasn’t as if they were causing trouble or anything. In fact, they were all about supporting and protecting the tribe. Which of course, Billy and the other elders lapped up. They LOVED Sam. Literally. Saint Sam could do no wrong. He got elevated to elder status and had a say in how the tribe ran the reservation. He and Jared hung out all summer at the beach, showing off their ripped muscles and deep tans, scoping out visitors to make sure they weren’t “threats to the tribe” – as Sam called it. It was nuts, if you asked me.

“I hate those guys,” Embry muttered suddenly. I looked up at him, shocked that he had read my mind; but I saw that he and Quil were also watching the scene unfold in the parking lot.

Paul looked like he was about to lose it – he was breathing heavily and struggling hard against Jared - but then Sam walked over and put his hands on Paul’s shoulders. Sam said something to Paul and it seemed to have an immediate effect. Paul calmed instantly and his shoulders slumped. Jared bundled Paul into the back seat of the car while Sam got into the driver’s seat. He drove off so quickly that he left faint tread marks on the ground.

“Ditto,” I replied as I bit into my sandwich. “I don’t know what the elders see in Sam.”

“Sam’s cool,” Quil interjected with a frown. “It’s that damn Paul that pisses me off. He’s such a jerk. Thinks he can pick on everyone just because he’s so jacked.”

“Oh I forgot, you’re part of the Sam fan club,” I responded dismissively. Embry and I both rolled our eyes. Quil thought that Sam was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I begged to differ.

“Hey, don’t hate, man! Sam’s the coolest guy at the rez. What’s wrong with wanting to be like him?” Quil asked, spitting slightly as he talked and chewed at the same time.

“Sam’s a jerk, that’s why.”

“I don’t know what your problem is. He’s never been anything but super nice to you.”

“That is true, Jake.” Embry commented thoughtfully between mouthfuls of bologna. “He is always extra nice to you.”

“That’s part of what freaks me out about him! I don’t want to be part of his little gang,”

“It’s not a gang,” Quil scoffed as he swiped the cookies that Embry had just pulled out of his lunch bag. Embry shrugged as he pulled out a second bag of cookies. “They’re good guys. It’s not as if they’re doing anything bad or anything.”

“Name one good thing they’ve done,” I demanded. Maybe Sam didn’t do anything bad per se but he definitely didn’t do anything good either. Pumping all the younger kids with stupid ideas about their duty to the tribe. It was complete crap. I didn’t know how hanging around the rez doing crazy daredevil shenanigans to impress folks fulfilled our “duty to the tribe,” but heck, what did I know? Here I was thinking that I should try to go to college and make something of myself.

“Well,” Quil paused mid-bite. “They dealt with that Meth dealer from the Makah tribe that was selling in La Push this summer. And they policed the beach too. That’s why none of the tourists got rowdy this year. Those cabins by Second Beach usually get trashed by the end of the summer. But not this year.”

“Okay, fine,” I grumbled. I didn’t want to concede, but he was right. I put down my sandwich as I struggled to articulate my frustration. “But why do they have to be so … so ....”

“Macho about it?” Embry supplied helpfully.

“Yeah! I mean, they strut around here as if they own the place just because they can beat up a few guys. And they act as if we should all kiss their feet because of it!” I continued.

“I prefer to think of them as hall-monitors-on-steroids,” Embry quipped as he swiped his half-eaten bag of cookies back from Quil. Quil opened his mouth to protest, but then he just shrugged.

“Exactly!” I said getting revved up. “They’re bullies. Just because they take care of a few jerks, doesn’t mean that they aren’t jerks themselves.”

“You’re just jealous because Billy thinks Sam is great,” Quil interrupted my rant, talking through a mouth full of food..

Ugh. I hated that Billy couldn’t see past Sam’s bullsh*t. “Don’t get me started. I can’t believe the elders think that Sam is some kind of role model for us. What’s so good about becoming a meat-head bouncer for the tribe?”

“Don’t hate, man! Just because he’s got the looks and the bod is no reason to piss on him,” Quil said in a matter-of-fact tone.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?!!” I sputtered.

“Whatever, dude,” Quil said airily. “I don’t see anything wrong with Sam. He gets all the chicks! Who doesn’t want to be him?”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I muttered again as I looked to Embry for moral support. He just shrugged as he concentrated on finishing his lunch. I didn't know how Embry was so level-headed all the time. He never got riled up and was able to let most stuff slide. I wish I could say the same about me.

“Hells yeah! Wait ‘til I finish this new workout regimen I’m on. I’m going to be pumped too.” Quil flexed his arms out in front of him and cracked his knuckles. “Pretty soon, the ladies will be lining up for a date with the Quil-meister,” he said as he waggled his eyebrows. I nearly snorted the soda I was drinking up my nose.

“You guys done, yet?” Embry asked lazily as he started gathering up the remnants of his lunch. “The bell’s going to ring soon and we haven’t even checked out -“

“- the frosh girls! I know! Tell me about it!” Quil exclaimed as he swiveled around in his seat to better scope out the room.

“I was going to say, we haven’t checked out our afternoon class schedule yet, but that works too,” Embry laughed and gave Quil a playful shove as he turned to look too.

The two of launched into a deep discussion about the blonde vs. brunette debate. I tried to join in at first, but my head wasn’t in it, so so I spent the rest of lunch staring out into the parking lot at the tread marks that Sam and his gang had left behind.

← At First Sight:: Chapter 9: Messenger      Chapter 2: Search →

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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