In the Shadows

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

← Chapter 6: Gang      Chapter 8: Beautiful →

Chapter 7: Worry

I got out immediately and headed around the back of the truck to grab the bikes. I pushed the red bike towards Bella with a teasing smile.

"Happy late birthday. Are you sure you’re ready for this?"

"I think so,” she responded, but doubt and fear was written all over her face as she examined the bike.

"We'll take it slow,” I promised as I turned to pull the other bike down.

When I parked it next to the red bike, Bella was looking at me carefully but resolutely. “Jake …”

"Yeah?"

"What's really bothering you? About the Sam thing, I mean? Is there something else?"

Even though I knew she was watching me carefully, I couldn’t help but grimace and look away. I was hoping that she would drop the topic. I stared at the dirt, trying to think of what to say.

"It's just… the way they treat me. It creeps me out." Once I started, the words started to rush out. "You know, the council is supposed to be made up of equals, but if there was a leader, it would be my dad. I've never been able to figure out why people treat him the way they do. Why his opinion counts the most. It's got something to do with his father and his father's father. My great-grandpa, Ephraim Black, was sort of the last chief we had, and they still listen to Billy, maybe because of that. But I'm just like everyone else. Nobody treats me special… until now."

Bella looked surprised, "Sam treats you special?"

"Yeah," I said, looking up at her not caring about looking cool anymore. "He looks at me like he's waiting for something… like I'm going to join his stupid gang someday. He pays more attention to me than any of the other guys. I hate it."

"You don't have to join anything,” Bella said angrily. Her cheeks were flushed bright pink in indignation on my behalf.

"Yeah," I mumbled as I started rhythmically tapping my foot against the tire of my bike.

"What?" she demanded after a few seconds of silence.

I frowned and I looked up at her, trying not to look as worried as I felt. When I was with her, things were fine and I was able to forget. But when I came home, the whole Embry-Sam thing gnawed at me continuously. In fact, it was part of the reason the bikes were done so early. I had needed something to keep my mind off of this. "It's Embry. He's been avoiding me lately."

Bella’s blushed suddenly, "You've been hanging out with me a lot.”

“No, that's not it. It's not just me–it's Quil, too, and everyone. Embry missed school all week, but he was never home when we tried to see him. And when he came back on Friday, he looked… he looked freaked out. Terrified. Quil and I both tried to get him to tell us what was wrong, but he wouldn't talk to either one of us." I refused to look at her, afraid that my eyes would start tearing up if I did. But I wasn’t sad anymore. Now I was just angry. And I wished I had an outlet for that anger. "Then this week, out of nowhere, Embry's hanging out with Sam and the rest of them. He was out on the cliffs today,” I said tersely and angrily.

I looked at her, unable to hold it back. "Bella, they bugged him even more than they bother me. He didn't want anything to do with them. And now Embry's following Sam around like he's joined a

cult. And that's the way it was with Paul. Just exactly the same. He wasn't friends with Sam at all. Then he stopped coming to school for a few weeks, and, when he came back, suddenly Sam owned him. I don't know what it means. I can't figure it out, and I feel like I have to, because Embry's my friend and… Sam's looking at me funny … and …" I didn’t know what to say anymore.

"Have you talked to Billy about this?” she asked as she gripped my arm tightly.

"Yes," I snorted angrily. "That was helpful."

"What did he say?"

"It's nothing you need to worry about now, Jacob,” I mimicked Billy’s voice. “’In a few years, if you

don't … well, I'll explain later.’ What am I supposed to get from that? Is he trying to say it's some stupid puberty, coming-of-age thing? This is something else. Something wrong."

I bit my lower lip and clenched my hands, I needed to do something, anything, or else I was going to break down in front of her. Suddenly, Bella threw her arms around my waist and pulled herself hard against my chest. I was stunned for a moment. I touched her back gingerly and then slowly wrapped my arms around her. She was a perfect fit.

"Oh, Jake, it'll be okay!" she promised with another small squeeze. "If it gets worse you can come live with me and Charlie. Don't be scared, we'll think of something!"

"Thanks, Bella,” I responded automatically, though for a moment, I had forgotton what we had been talking about completely.

The feeling of having Bella in my arms was indescribable. She was so tiny, and yet I was aware of every inch of her body as it pressed against my mine. Every breath that she took, every beat of her heart, those tiny movements reverberated like shockwaves through mine. I was achingly aware of her closeness. She seemed content to stay in my arms, and I was grateful. I needed her comfort at this time more than I needed anything else, and I buried my face into her strawberry-scented hair as I savored the moment.

"If this is how you're going to react, I'll freak out more often,” I teased softly as I ran my hands gently through her silky hair.

She tensed suddenly and pulled away. I stiffened too, worried that I had crossed some unspoken boundary, but she broke the tension by patting my cheek gently as she broke away from our embrace, "It's hard to believe I'm two years older than you. You make me feel like a dwarf."

"You're forgetting I'm in my forties, of course,” I reminded her as I pulled back too, but I kept my arms lightly around her waist.

"Oh, that's right.” She pouted in mock protest as I grinned.

"You're like a little doll. A porcelain doll,” I marveled. She rolled her eyes as she took another step back and out of my grasp. I knew she thought she was being subtle, but I could tell that she was trying to resurrect the boundaries between us. I wasn’t bothered. I knew that it would take time before she was ready.

“Let's not start with the albino cracks."

"Seriously, Bella, are you sure you're not?" I teased as I stretched my arm against hers to compare skin tones. "I've never seen anyone paler than you… well, except for–"

Her face paled and she glanced away suddenly. D*mnit. What the hell was I thinking? I clearly hadn’t been thinking, lulled by our easy intimacy and comfort into saying whatever the hell had run through my head in the moment, without thinking about the consequences. Not wanting her to get into a mood again, I switched gears quickly. "So are we going to ride or what?"

"Let's do it," she agreed enthusiastically, clearly grateful for the change of topic. We stood there just smiling stupidly at each other for a moment, marveling at how easy everything was between us. We were always on the same wavelength. And just like that, we both turned our attention back to the bikes.

← Chapter 6: Gang      Chapter 8: Beautiful →

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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