In the Shadows

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

← Chapter 11: Movies      Monster:: Chapter 1: Change →

Chapter 12: Promise

There was no sign of Mike in the hallway, so I ducked into the men's bathroom and found him puking his guts out. I backed out of there quickly.

"Oh, he's in there, all right,” I told Bella as I restrained myself from rolling my eyes. "What a marshmallow. You should hold out for someone with a stronger stomach. Someone who laughs at the gore that makes weaker men vomit."

"I'll keep my eyes open for someone like that,” Bella smiled weakly.

We were alone in the hallway. Both theaters had movies running, so the lobby was deserted. It was quiet enough for us to hear the popcorn popping at the concession counter. I sat down on the bench against the wall, patting the space beside me.

"He sounded like he was going to be in there for a while," I said as I stretched my legs out and settled in for a long wait. She joined me with a deep sigh and I shifted over to put my arm around her shoulders.

"Jake," she protested, leaning away. I dropped my arm immediately but didn’t look away. I knew I should have felt rejected, but I didn’t at all. I felt strangely confident and sure of myself. I didn’t know where it came from and I could hardly believe it when I reached over and grabbed her other wrist – holding it firmly but gently - even as she tried to pull it away.

"Now, just hold on a minute, Bella," I said calmly. "Tell me something."

I gently pulled her so that she was facing me, but she refused to look up to meet my eyes at first. When she finally did, I could read the confusion, the torment, the indecision in her face. I could see how much pain I was causing her by trying to force the issue. And suddenly, it just didn’t feel so complicated anymore.

Despite what Quil kept saying about how I needed to have a WUWU – “what’s up with us?” – talk. (Seriously, I don’t know where the guy gets this stuff. I’ll bet he secretly watches Oprah.) – I knew that I didn’t need to define what Bella and I were. We were just Bella and Jake. And that was enough for now.

"What?" she finally asked softly, when she saw that I wasn’t saying anything.

"You like me, right?"

"You know I do,” she replied quickly.

"Better than that joker puking his guts out in there?" I gestured toward the bathroom door.

"Yes.”

"Better than any of the other guys you know?"

"Better than the girls, too," she pointed out.

I smiled slightly. "But that's all.”

Bella looked like a deer caught in headlights, afraid of saying the wrong thing that would set me off. "Yes," she whispered softly, watching me carefully for a reaction.

I grinned at her. "That's okay, you know. As long as you like me the best. And you think I'm good- looking–sort of. I'm prepared to be annoyingly persistent." I laughed softly at that. She had no idea how persistent and patient I could be.

"I'm not going to change," she said sadly, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.

"It's still the other one, isn't it?" I looked at her then and watched her face crumple as she looked away. Suddenly, it was as if the past few months had faded away and I was looking at the same Bella who had showed up at my front door that day. Broken. Helpless. Lifeless. The pain that I had seen in her eyes a few minutes ago when I had tried to press her about “us” was chump change compared to the naked pain that was etched on her face now.

I suddenly felt a rage like I had never felt before in my life. A red haze of uncontrollable fury raced through my veins and roared in my ears. I felt as if my skin had erupted in flames, with tiny hot prickling pins sticking at me from the inside. The f*cking bastard! What the hell had he done to cause her this much pain! I could kill him!

I pulled back in shock when I saw my reflection in the mirror across the hall. My hands were balled into fists and my face was contorted in an expression that I had never seen before. It was terrifying. For a moment there, I thought I had lost control of myself. Turning quickly to see if Bella noticed, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that she was still staring numbly at her feet. I brought my hand to her face and turned it so that she was facing me again. My heart melted at the agony on her face.

"You don't have to talk about it," I said softly. She nodded, with a feeble and apologetic smile on her face. "But don't get mad at me for hanging around, okay?" I squeezed her chin gently. "Because I'm not giving up. I've got loads of time."

"You shouldn't waste it on me," she protested weakly.

"It's what I want to do, as long as you still like being with me."

"I can't imagine how I could not like being with you," she said honestly, looking me in the eye for once.

I smiled back at her. I dropped my hand to cover hers without breaking my gaze. "I can live with that."

"Just don't expect more," she warned as she tried to pull her hand away. I refused to let it go.

"This doesn't really bother you, does it?" I persisted as I marveled at how her hand fit so perfectly into mine.

"No," she sighed. I knew that she liked it. That she liked the warmth and the protection of my hand over hers. But I was glad that she was able to finally admit it herself.

"And you don't care what he thinks." I jerked my thumb back toward the bathroom.

"I guess not."

"So what's the problem?"

"The problem," she said slowly. "is, that it means something different to me than it does to you."

"Well." I tightened my hold on her hand. "That's my problem, isn't it?"

"Fine," she grumbled. "Don't forget it, though."

"I won't. The pin's out of the grenade for me, now, eh?" I teased, poking her in the ribs to get a laugh out of her.

She rolled her eyes but she chuckled softly. Just like I knew she would. I knew her so well. Better than she knew herself. I knew that she was stronger than she thought she was. And I knew that if she only gave us a chance, I could make her happier than that jerk ever could have. We fit together perfectly, the way our hands fit perfectly. And I knew that I would wait for her, for as long as it took. Always waiting in the shadows until she was ready to take the next step.

"That's a funny scar you've got there," I said as my pinky felt the scarring on the side of her hand. I twisted her hand up to examine it. "How did that happen?"I traced the long silvery crescent that was barely visible against her pale skin with my pinky. It was the oddest shape, almost like a bite-mark, and it was cool to the touch.

"Do you honestly expect me to remember where all my scars come from?” Bella said casually. Almost too casually. As if there was something to hide. But I didn’t press it.

"It's cold," I murmured as I continued to trace it lightly with my pinky. Bella shivered in response and our eyes caught for a moment, and it was like there was nothing else going on in the world outside of the two of us.

Just then, Mike stumbled out of the bathroom, his face ashen and covered in sweat. He looked horrible.

"Oh, Mike," Bella gasped, jumping up from the bench. I stood up with her.

"Do you mind leaving early?" he whispered.

"No, of course not." She pulled her hand free and went to help Mike walk. He was unsteady on his feet.

"Movie too much for you?" I asked, not doing much to conceal my laughter. What a puffball.

He glared at me. "I didn't actually see any of it. I was nauseated before the lights went down."

"Why didn't you say something?" Bella scolded like a soccer mom as we shepherded him towards the door.

"I was hoping it would pass,” he admitted with a dour smile.

"Just a sec," I said as I walked quickly back to the concession stand. No way was this joker going to puke all over my hard work.

"Could I have an empty popcorn bucket?" I asked the salesgirl with a grin. She looked over at Mike and immediately thrust a bucket at me.

"Get him outside, please," she begged. I winked at her and she blushed in response. I didn’t know what had gotten into me tonight.

We towed Mike out into the cool, night air. He inhaled deeply and some color seemed to come back into his face. I helped get him into the back of the car and handed him the bucket. We rolled down the windows, letting the icy night air blow through the car, hoping it would help Mike. Bella pulled her legs up and curled her arms around herself.

"Cold, again?" I asked, putting my arm around her before she could answer.

"You're not?"

I shook my head.

"You must have a fever or something," she grumbled as she touched her fingers to my forehead. "Whoa, Jake. You're burning up!"

"I feel fine." I shrugged. "Fit as a fiddle." No point in mentioning that I was burning up all the time these days it seemed.

"Your hands are like ice," I complained.

"Maybe it's me," she acknowledged.

Mike groaned in the backseat just before throwing up in the bucket. I checked anxiously to make sure the car wasn't defiled, but he seemed to have controlled his vomiting. When we got to Bella’s house, Bella drove Mike home in his Suburban, while I followed behind to take her home.

Bella and I were quiet all the way back to her house. I was feeling odd – both elated but also wired – I could still feel the hot red feral rage that had flooded my veins an hour ago simmering just below the surface of my skin.

"I would invite myself in, since we're early," I said as we pulled up to the house. "But I think you might be right about the fever. I'm starting to feel a little… strange."

"Oh no, not you, too! Do you want me to drive you home?" Bella exclaimed, her eyes wide with worry.

"No." I shook my head as I frowned. "I don't feel sick yet. Just… wrong.” That was an understatement. Something was definitely wrong. Something bad. But I just didn’t know what. “Bella, don’t worry. If I have to, I'll pull over."

"Will you call me as soon as you get in?" she asked anxiously.

"Sure, sure." I frowned, staring ahead into the darkness as I bit my lip. I wanted to say something to her, but I knew I shouldn’t. But I had a weird feeling that if I didn’t say it tonight, I would never have the chance to say it. So when Bella opened her door to get out, I grabbed her wrist to pull her back in the car.

"What is it, Jake?"

"There's something I want to tell you, Bella… but I think it's going to sound kind of corny."

She gave a sigh so soft that it was barely perceptible. "Go ahead."

"It's just that, I know how you're unhappy a lot. And, maybe it doesn't help anything, but I wanted you to know that I'm always here. I won't ever let you down–I promise that you can always count on me. Wow, that does sound corny. But you know that, right? That I would never, ever hurt you?"

My words came out in a rush, pouring out of me before I realized what I had said. Bella reached up to stroke my face gently. "Yeah, Jake. I know that. And I already do count on you, probably more than you know."

I smiled and started to turn my face towards her hand, when I froze suddenly. That weird white-hot prickly sensation was growing stronger. I closed my eyes suddenly as the strange haze of rage and elation raced through my body causing me to lose my focus and my grip on Bella for a moment. What the heck as going on with me?

"I really think I'd better go home now," I said quickly as I let go of her hand and pushed her towards the door.

Bella hopped out of the car quickly and slammed the door. “Call me!”

I nodded to her as I pulled out of the driveway. Something weird was happening to me. I didn’t know what. But I knew that I had to get out of there now.

← Chapter 11: Movies      Monster:: Chapter 1: Change →

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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