In the Shadows

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

← Chapter 8: Beautiful      Chapter 10: Confrontation →

Chapter 9: Valentine

Bella needed seven stitches to close the cut on her forehead. I knew I shouldn’t have let her get back on the bike ever again, but I couldn’t resist her big brown eyes. So the next day, we took the bikes out a second time. And sure enough, Bella took another fall that required another trip to the ER. I didn’t know if my heart could take any more stress, but I found it hard to put my foot down. Luckily, Charlie did it for me, by asking too many pesky questions about all of Bella’s “accidents.”

"Charlie's getting nosy," she complained as she picked me after school on Friday.

"Maybe we should cool it with the bikes,” I suggested. I was grateful for the change, but braced myself for the disappointment in her face. "At least for a week or so. You could stay out of the hospital for a week, right?"

"What are we going to do?" she pouted wistfully.

"Whatever you want." She thought about it for a few minutes, scrunching up her nose and forehead. "What are you thinking about so hard?" I teased.

"Well…" she began slowly."I found this place in the forest once–I came across it when I was, um, hiking. A little meadow, the most beautiful place. I don't know if I could track it down again on my own. It would definitely take a few tries…"

"We could use a compass and a grid pattern," I said confidently. I was just glad she had picked another thing that I was pretty good at. "Do you know where you started from?"

"Yes, just below the trailhead where the one-ten ends. I was going mostly south, I think."

"Cool. We'll find it." This was a good diversion, and it was much safer than biking anyway. At least I thought it was. But you never really knew with Bella. The girl was a total klutz.

The next day, Bella picked me up so that we could plan out our hike. Or really, so I could plan our hike. Bella laughed and joked with Billy as I sprawled out in the living room, mapping our proposed trajectory on one of Billy’s old county maps. I smiled at the sound of her cheerful happy voice. I could hardly believe the difference between the Bella now and the Bella that had first come to visit months again.

"Maybe we'll see the super bear," I teased without taking my eyes off what I was doing. Charlie had been getting reports about a gigantic black bear that was scaring off the hikers.

Billy chuckled."Maybe you should take a jar of honey, just in case."

I winked at Bella. "Hope your new boots are fast, Bella. One little jar isn't going to keep a hungry bear occupied for long."

"I only have to be faster than you,” she retorted as she stuck her tongue out at me.

"Good luck with that!" I said, rolling my eyes as I refolded the map. "Let's go."

We drove out to the edge of the forest where all the hiking trails began. There weren’t many other cars parked in the lot. The weather was still a bit too damp and cold for most people, but the sun was peeking out from around the clouds, so I wasn’t going to be too picky. I pulled out our gear and turned towards the trails.

"I went this way," Bella interrupted as she pointed the opposite direction into the dense forest. I glanced at where she was pointing and then back towards the clearly marked trails. Bella frowned at my expression. "What?"

"I would have figured you for a trail kind of girl,” I said with a shrug.

"Not me," she replied with a cheeky grin. "I'm a rebel."

I chuckled as I pulled out the compass and map. "Give me a second. Okay–first line on the grid. Let's do it."

I moved easily through the rough undergrowth of the forest, but I realized quickly that Bella was a lot slower than I was. I tried hard not to smile at the sight of her trying hard to keep up. I had spent my whole life running around these woods. I guess it wasn’t fair to expect her to know them as well as I did.

I couldn’t help wondering why we were seeking out this meadow. I knew better than to ask her about it, but I was pretty sure that it had something to do with him. I couldn’t see how she could have gotten to this place herself. I mean, I knew Bella. And I knew that she could never have made her way through the dense forest alone.

I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand, helping her find this place wasn’t exactly thrilling me, but at the same time, it was clearly something she desperately needed to do. And well, if it made Bella happy, then the answer was always going to be yes. I was entirely unable to say no to her. Something that Quil was quick to point out to me later that night when he came by to check-in.

“Man! You are so whipped! It’s embarrassing!” he complained as he watched me pore over the grid pattern that I had sketched out on the map, trying to zero in on the areas that Bella and I didn’t cover that afternoon.

I shrugged. There was no point in arguing with Quil. He got on my case about Bella almost every night. I had learned that it was easier to just let him get it all out.

“Seriously, come on! Haven’t you ever heard of playing ‘hard to get’? It’s not just for girls, you know. It wouldn’t hurt if you were a little less … available… all the time, you know?”

Quil unfurled a copy of the latest Maxim magazine – also known as the Quil Ateara bible – and tossed it at me. We were in my garage as always. Quil was leaning against the Rabbit, drinking some warm soda and scarfing down beef jerky.

“There’s an article in here that you need to read, ‘5 Signs that You’re Coming off as Desperate,’” Quil paused as he slid into the Rabbit and slouched down comfortably in the driver’s seat, his bag of snacks in his lap. “I took the quiz for you and I hate to break it to you, but you come off as a total loser.”

I rolled my eyes at him but took the magazine, flipping it open the marked page.

“Number 1 - You always call her first,” I read aloud to Quil. “Well, technically, Bella calls me too. So this doesn’t apply.”

Quil snorted. “You know that Cleopatra ain’t the only Queen of ‘de Nile, right?”

I ignored him. “Number 2 - You always agree to do whatever she wants.” Guilty. I didn’t even bother trying to defend myself there. I continued, “Number 3 – You’ve never turned down the chance to spend time with her.” Guilty again. Damnit.

“Still living in denial there, buddy?” Quil chortled as he switched to munching noisily on some chips.

“Number 4 - You blow off your friends to hang out with her.” My face flushed. I jumped in before Quil could say anything, “Yeah, yeah, I know. But I still see you every day at school and at nights!”

“Hey!” Quil held his hands up in protest. “I’m fine with you hanging out with the ladies, if you were actually getting some.” He popped open a bag of cookies. The guy was seriously a bottomless pit. He ate pretty much all the time and wasn’t too discerning about what he ate either. Quil threw a couple of cookies into his mouth before continuing, “Which brings me to Number 5…”

I looked back down at the magazine and read, “Number 5 – You guys aren’t actually dating, but you still do Numbers 1-4 for her.”

Oh right. That little technical detail. I put the magazine down with a loud thud. I mean, I knew, of course, that I had fallen in love with her. I didn’t know when and I didn’t really know how, but it was there. And it was why I was willing to come off as a total desperate loser – according to Quil and Maxim – because all that mattered in the end was doing the things that made her happy. Not that I was going to admit this to Quil.

“Okay,” Quil said, “Clearly, that did not get the reaction I was hoping for. Let me try again. When are you going to bust a move?! This ‘best friends sh*t’ is getting pathetic!”

I sighed. “We’ve talked about this before. She’s not ready – she’s still cut up over that Cullen guy. I need to give her some time-“

“-Yada, yada, yada. Excuses, excuses, excuses.” Quil waved his hand dismissively. “Are you sure, it’s not because you know deep down that she’s just not that into you?”

That stung. “It is a possibility…”

“Exactly!” Quil pummeled his right fist into his open left palm in excitement. “That’s why you gotta make a move! You need to find out now if she’s not interested, so you don’t continue wasting time on her.”

“I’m not wasting time …”

“I don’t see you hanging out with any other girls? Don’t you want to know how she feels about you?” Quil persisted. “Look, all I’m saying is that you need to test the waters. I know you’re trying to be all sensitive and sh*t, but sometimes, you just gotta … do something to shake things up a bit, you know? Keep it real!”

I nodded mutely because that was the easiest thing to do. That was about as much “girl” talk as I could handle in one night any way. And clearly we had reached Quil’s limit too because we quickly moved on to talking about the Rabbit and the latest repairs I had done.

But Quil’s nagging had gotten to me. And I figured that it couldn’t hurt to test the waters a little bit, just to see how things were. Valentine’s Day was this week, so I figured that I could get away with doing something small just to see how she reacted. I bought a pink box of conversation hearts on the way home a few days later, careful not to let anyone – especially Quil – see it, as I stashed it at the bottom of my bag. I figured that it was casual enough not to be too weird in case the whole thing blew up in my face.

Two days later, I had to remind myself to play it cool as the Chevy pulled into the driveway and Bella jumped out of the car.

“Hey, Jake!”

“Hey,” I returned her sunny smile with one of my own. “Happy Valentine’s Day, “ I blurted out next. Great. Real smooth there. Thank God, Quil wasn’t here to see this or he’d piss his pants laughing at me. I gave her a rueful smile as I handed her the candy.

Bella stared at the pink box for a few seconds. "Well, I feel like a schmuck," she finally mumbled. "Is today Valentine's Day?"

I shook my head in mock sadness as I teased, "You can be so out of it sometimes. Yes, it is the fourteenth day of February. So are you going to be my Valentine? Since you didn't get me a fifty-cent box of candy, it's the least you can do."

Bella blushed and looked down, but not before I saw the discomfort written across her face. “What exactly does that entail?” she hesitated, still not taking the box from me.

Well, I guess I had my answer there. She still wasn’t ready. OR she wasn’t interested. I wasn’t sure which. But it hurt either way. Though not as bad as I thought it would. I mean, I knew all along that she needed more time. I wouldn’t have pressed it if Quil hadn’t been freaking me out about it anyways. And maybe I could win her over with time. I had plenty of time. I could wait. And she was definitely worth waiting for.

I relaxed as I went into damage-control, "The usual–slave for life, that kind of thing."

"Oh, well, if that's all…" She took the candy from me tentatively, and I could see her – almost literally – racking her brain to find some way of trying to clarify the boundaries between us.

Deciding it was best to change the subject, I asked casually, "So, what are we doing tomorrow? Hiking, or the ER?"

"Hiking," she said, gratefully latching on to the new topic. She opened the box and offered me a few pastel hearts. "You're not the only one who can be obsessive. I'm starting to think I imagined that place…"

"We'll find it,” I assured her. "Bikes, Friday?"

"I'm going to a movie Friday,” she said quickly, averting my eyes. ”I've been promising my cafeteria crowd that I would go out forever.”

“Oh.”

Damnit. Maybe I was wrong about everything. Maybe it wasn’t that she needed time. Maybe she just didn’t like me ... in that way. I had started to take it for granted that she would always want to hang out with me. But maybe I really was living in denial. I looked awkwardly at my feet unsure of what to say.

Bella reached out suddenly to touch my arm. "You'll come too, right?" she added quickly. "Or will it be too much of a drag with a bunch of boring seniors?"

I look up, confused. "You'd like me to come, with your friends there?"

"Yes," she admitted with a small smile. "I'll have a lot more fun if you're there. Bring Quil, and we'll make it a party."

I laughed and I looked down, trying to hide the relief in my eyes. "Quil's gonna freak. Senior girls."

"I'll try to get him a good selection."

She winked at me. And just like that, I was feeling pretty damn good again.

← Chapter 8: Beautiful      Chapter 10: Confrontation →

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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