In the Shadows

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

← Chapter 7: Worry      Chapter 9: Valentine →

Chapter 8: Beautiful

I set up the bikes on the side of the road and motioned to Bella. She walked over, apprehensively, and then she swung her leg over the red bike and gripped both handlebars tightly. She looked like she was about to pass out.

"Okay, where's your clutch?" I asked.

She pointed to the lever on her left handlebar, but let go of the right handlebar in doing so and the bike started to tip over, threatening to crush her. I grabbed the front tire to hold it steady as she regained her balance.

"Jacob, it won't stay up!”

"It will when you're moving," I promised. "Now where's your brake?"

"Behind my right foot."

"Wrong."

I grabbed her right hand and curled her fingers around the brake attached to her handlebar. A shiver went through me at the touch of her skin. I knew she felt it too, because she looked up at me quickly. And then, just as quickly, we both averted our eyes.

"But you said–"

"-This is the brake you want. Don't use the back brake now, that's for later, when you know what you're doing."

"That doesn't sound right," she said suspiciously. "Aren't both brakes kind of important?"

"Forget the back brake, okay? It’s too dangerous. Here–" I wrapped my hand around hers and squeezed the lever down. "That is how you brake. Don't forget." I squeezed her hand again for emphasis.

"Fine.”

"Throttle?"

She twisted the left grip.

"Gearshift?"

She nudged it with her left calf.

"Very good,” I smiled approvingly. “I think you've got all the parts down. Now you just have to get it moving."

"Uh-huh," she muttered softly. She looked absolutely terrified as she stared down the long stretch of road ahead of her.

"I want you to hold down the clutch," I instructed. She followed my directions instantly, wrapping her fingers around it. "Now this is crucial, Bella," I stressed – moving my hands to her face to turn her to look at me while holding the tire in place between my knees. "Don't let go of that, okay? I want you to pretend that I've handed you a live grenade. The pin is out and you are holding down the spoon."

She nodded solemnly as she squeezed down harder. Her knuckles were turning white.

"Good. Do you think you can kick-start it?"

"If I move my foot, I will fall over," she muttered through clenched teeth and I had to work hard at stifling my laughter.

"Okay, I'll do it. Don't let go of the clutch."

I stepped back around the bike and slammed my foot down on the pedal. The bike came to life with a loud roar which shocked Bella into loosening her grip on the bike. I caught her just before she fell off the bike.

"Steady there," I said soothingly. "Do you still have the clutch?"

"Yes," she gasped. She had a weird expression on her face. As if she had seen a ghost.

"Plant your feet–I'm going to try again." But I held the back of the bike this time to be safe. I kicked it more tentatively this time, afraid that the sound would scare her again. It took me four kicks before the ignition caught, the bike roaring to life like an angry animal. "Try out the throttle," I prompted again. She looked at me and nodded slightly, but her eyes seem dazed and unfocused. I continued cautiously, "Very lightly. And don't let go of the clutch."

Hesitantly, she twisted the right handle and almost fell off the bike again as it snarled, angry and hungry beneath her. I shook my head. This was not going well. "Do you remember how to put it into first gear?" I asked gently.

"Yes."

"Well, go ahead and do it."

"Okay."

She didn’t do anything. I stifled another chuckle. "Left foot," I prompted with a smile.

"I know," she mumbled, with a deep breath and a shaky voice.

I look at her carefully. All trace of amusement had disappeared from my face. "Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked gently. "You look scared." That was an understatement. She looked absolutely terrified.

"I'm fine," she snapped as she kicked the gearshift down one notch.

"Very good," I praised as I stepped away from the bike. "Now, very gently, ease up on the clutch."

"You want me to let go of the grenade?" she stuttered in disbelief.

"That's how you move the bike, Bella. Just do it little by little."

She started to slowly release the clutch, when suddenly, she gasped and her hand fell of the clutch. The bike jumped from underneath her, yanking her forward and then collapsing half on top of her as she lost her grip.

"Bella!" I jerked the bike upright before it could crush her. "Are you hurt?"

She seemed to be in a daze, her eyes were dreamy and unfocused again.

"Bella?" I shook her shoulder urgently.

"I'm fine," she mumbled as she ran her hands through her hair. She seemed to be muttering something to herself. My mind ran swiftly through the possibilities. Maybe she hit her head on the ground. Or she got an electric shock from something. I pulled her to her feet to examine her more closely.

"Did you hit your head?" I asked even though I had launched into my own inspection, turning her head every which way so I could check for cuts or bruises. Nothing that I could see.

"I don't think so." She said as she shook her head back and forth to check. "I didn't hurt the bike, did I?" She exclaimed suddenly, grabbing at the handlebars anxiously.

"No. You just stalled the engine," I replied reassuringly. "You let go of the clutch too fast."

She nodded."Let's try again."

"Are you sure?" I asked. She didn’t look that good. But she seemed desperate in her need to get back on the bike despite the fact that it obviously terrified her.

"Positive."

I guess if this is what she wanted. But I started wondering uneasily if it was a good idea to be helping her in these dare-devil shenanigans of hers. I felt suddenly like a drug dealer aiding and abetting a crack addict.

Bella tried to kick-start the bike herself. She was so tiny that she almost had to jump up before slamming her entire body weight down on the pedal, but it still didn’t generate enough force to start the engine. I worried that she was going to knock herself over again, so I hovered over the handlebars ready to catch her if she needed me. Finally, after almost a dozen tries – which were getting quite comical actually – the engine finally caught and roared to life.

Remembering to hold tightly onto the clutch, Bella revved the throttle experimentally and it snarled loudly. She grinned at me quickly and I grinned back.

"Easy on the clutch," I reminded her.

She smiled tightly – her eyes taking on that dreamy distant quality again. I had an uneasy feeling that I didn’t want to know why she was looking like that. Focusing at the task at hand, I reminded her, "Ease off slowly.”

"I will," she promised as she relaxed her hand slowly. The gear caught almost immediately, wrenching her forward, and then she was flying past me faster than I had expected.

“Slow down!” I shouted, but she didn’t hear me. “Slow down! Slow down Bella!” I shouted as she raced up to a curve in the road much too fast. “Bank it! Your brake! Use your right-hand break!”

She couldn’t hear me. She was too far away. I panicked as I saw her instinctively slam down with her right foot to try to stop the inevitable. The bike snarled in protest as she tried to over-correct the turn by pulling on the handlebars. The sudden uncoordinated shifting of her weight was enough to tip the scale. The bike wiped out, pitching Bella head-first into a clump of rocks, before crashing on top of her. My heart stopped.

“Sh*t!” I yelled as I hopped onto the Sprint and kick-started it with a roar, “Bella!”

I saw the red bike move as Bella tried to push it off of her. I was dizzy with relief. I pulled up beside her and hopped off the Sprint, letting it spin off to the side of the road. I reached over and grabbed the handlebars of the red bike and almost threw it across the road in my haste to pull it off of her. In a normal situation, I would have wondered how on earth I was strong enough to do that. But I was too worried to think about that just yet.

"Bella!" I crouched over and grabbed her arms to help her partially sit up. "Bella, are you okay?"

But my concern seemed misplaced as Bella had a big smile on her face. "I'm great!” she enthused as she flexed her arms and legs to make sure they were working correctly. "Let's do it again."

"I don't think so,” I frowned as I took in the jagged cut on the side of her forehead that was pouring blood. It didn’t look like it was bad enough to have caused serious damage, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. "I think I'd better drive you to the hospital first."

"I'm fine,” she scoffed as she grabbed my arms to try to pull herself up. I held her in place as I peered closer to try to figure out how bad the cut was.

"Um, Bella? You've got a huge cut on your forehead, and it's gushing blood," I said. It occurred to me that maybe she had hit her head too hard and was suffering from a concussion, which would explain the weird smile and dopey expression on her face.

She clapped her right hand over her head and started when she felt the wetness against her fingers. She pulled her hand back and stared at the sticky redness coating her fingers dumbly for a few moments before reacting.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Jacob!” She suddenly panicked as she started pushing her hand hard against the gash on her head to try to staunch the bleeding. I grabbed her arm to stop her from doing any further damage to the cut.

"Why are you apologizing for bleeding?" I demanded, confused by her reaction.

Her eyes looked away, full of guilt, but she didn’t say anything. I stood up and pulled my t-shirt over my head swiftly. Then I knelt back down and pulled Bella closer to me as I wadded up the t-shirt and used it to blot the cut. It didn’t look too bad now that I had cleaned off the blood, but it definitely could use some stitches. Charlie was gonna kill me. I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her up. "Let's go. I'll drive.”

She handed me the keys, "What about the bikes?" I had forgotten about the damn bikes. I should never have let her ride them. I forgot how clumsy she was. What was I thinking?

"Wait here, don’t move. Just sit here,” I said as I pushed her back to sit on the rocks.

I hopped back on the Harley Sprint and raced down the road back to the truck, faster than I had ever gone before on a bike. Even though she was lucid and seemed to be doing okay, I didn’t want to take any chances. I threw the Sprint into the bed of the truck and hopped in to drive back towards Bella.

I left the truck running as I raced over to her. She hadn’t moved, but the bleeding seemed to have mostly stopped. I wrapped my arm around her waist and helped her towards the truck. She was moving too slowly, so finally, I just picked her up and bundled her into the passenger seat myself.

"I'm honestly fine," she assured me as I buckled her in and shut the door. "Don't get worked up. It's just a little blood."

"Just a lot of blood," I muttered as I grabbed the damn red bike and threw it into the bed of the truck. I didn’t care if I broke the damn thing.

"Now, let's think about this for a second," she said as I hopped back in and took off, kicking up a cloud of dust on the dirt road. "If you take me to the ER with the bikes, Charlie is sure to hear about it."

"Bella, I think you need stitches. I'm not going to let you bleed to death." I growled in anger.

"I won't," she promised. She tilted her head as she thought it through. "Let's just take the bikes back first before we go to the hospital."

"Are you really sure?" I looked at her skeptically. The color seemed to be coming back into her face and she had lost that dazed look about her, which was good.

"Trust me. I'm an easy bleeder. It's not nearly as dire as it looks."

I didn’t know what to do. The bleeding seemed to have stopped and she seemed lucid and alert – which were two things they always said to watch out for in terms of a concussion. I frowned as I weighed our options. I sighed heavily as I nodded.

I drove us back to my house to store the bikes. I didn’t want her to get into any more trouble with Charlie, but I worried about whether I had made the right decision during the entire drive over to the Forks hospital.

Bella sat silently, staring out the window with a dreamy half-smile on her face. I hated that smile for some reason. It was the vacant smile of a drug-addict. I knew she was thinking of him when she smiled that way, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why riding the bikes had anything to do with him.

"You still okay?" I checked anxiously as I heard her sigh to herself.

"Yeah,” she responded as she dragged her eyes away from the window to look at me.

"By the way," I added. "I'm going to disconnect your foot brake tonight." She rolled her eyes at me affectionately.

"How do I look?" she asked as she tentatively pulled my t-shirt away from her head. The bleeding had stopped entirely.

"Better," I admitted as I gauged the jagged dark red cut on her forehead. It wasn’t life-threatening. Maybe I had over-reacted a little bit.

"Do I look like I tripped in your garage and hit my head on a hammer?"

I shrugged. "Sure, I guess so."

"Okay, that’s what I’ll tell Charlie-"

“But …”

Bella cut me off with a pleading look. I sighed heavily in defeat. We sat in silence for few more minutes.

"We should have grabbed you a jacket,” she said suddenly as she noticed that I was still shirtless. She looked down at my bloody stained t-shirt in her hands and blanched slightly.

"That would have given us away. Billy would have wanted to know what was going on," I reminded her. "Besides, it's not cold."

"Are you kidding?" she shivered and reached to turn the heat up higher.

The odd thing was that I really wasn’t cold at all. I didn’t know why. It was March and it was still freezing outside. But my body seemed to be in a perpetual state of warmth. I figured it was just my teenage metabolism or something. I slung my arm over the back of her seat, trying to help her warm up. She scooted over gratefully and leaned against my side. I noticed her staring at me and I was suddenly self-conscious.

"What?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.

"Nothing. I just hadn't realized before,” Bella said slowly. She was frowning when she finally continued, “Did you know, you're sort of beautiful?"

It took everything I had not to let my jaw drop open in shock. "You hit your head pretty hard, didn't you?" I finally managed to say.

"I'm serious."

I glanced at her again and she did seem serious. And she was biting her lip nervously as she watched my reaction. "Well, then, thanks. Sort of." I grinned, unable to stop the deep flush that was spreading across my cheeks.

She grinned back."You're sort of welcome."

← Chapter 7: Worry      Chapter 9: Valentine →

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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