At first Jacob hated and resented the fact that he was a werewolf. He hated it mostly because Sam, the Alpha Male, had ordered him to stay away from me; for my own safety. We were both miserable for those first weeks after Jacob first changed. Eventually, I guessed his secret, and by then he already knew mine.
It was when we were telling each other our secrets that Jacob first began to accept his werewolf side. I was able to tell him that the vampire that was killing people was named Victoria and she was actually after me. She was trying to avenge the death of her mate. The death of her mate was caused by him. He had killed James, to stop James from killing me. But not before James bit me on my wrist and left me with my scar. At that time, I would have never believed that months later he would leave. But he did, and I was alone, with a vengeful Victoria determined to finish her mate’s job. For the first time, Jacob was glad to be a werewolf. He was glad because now there was a reason and a purpose to it. He existed to protect me.
Even though I loved Jacob as my best friend, I still missed him more than is explicable. His loss was a physical pain, and I had to stop saying or even thinking his name because of the pain it caused me. But still, I couldn’t let go. One doesn’t easily forget such a love. He was my soul mate. I found that when I was stupid or reckless, or in danger, I would subconsciously hear his velvet voice. It felt as if he still cared for my safety; as if he still loved me.
It was on one of the days that I felt like I really needed to hear his voice that I did the most reckless thing in my life. Jacob had promised to take me cliff jumping, but at the last moment the pack caught scent of Victoria. Jacob had to run off to do his patrolling job. There was a storm coming in, but I was oblivious to it. I was too focused on the chance to hear his voice in my head. I went to the highest cliff, not the reasonable one Jacob had planned for our recreation. I stepped close to the edge and was about to jump off when I heard a voice. But it was not the voice I had been expecting. It was Jacob’s. The disappointment I felt was crushing. Jacob had seen me going up to the cliff side. Guessing what I was about to do, he ran as fast as his werewolf speed could take him and caught me just in time.
It wasn’t until after he demanded an explanation and made me really look at the choppy waters below, that I realized what I had almost done. The storm had increased in velocity and the ocean had responded. Had I gone over the edge, it wouldn’t have been the trill of an extreme sport I would have experienced that day. It would have certainly been my death.
Jacob wouldn’t let up in his demands for an explanation, and I was shaken up by the realization of my near death at my own hand. My mind couldn’t cope with everything on its own anymore. I was constantly worried about being attacked by Victoria. I worried for the wolves risking their lives to protect me. My escape from my troubles had been hearing his voice, and now even that was denied me! I was enraged! I turned on Jacob, my common sense leaving me. My mouth spilled every crazy detail of my need to put myself in danger to hear his voice, like it was a drug. There were absolutely no secrets left between Jacob and I anymore. Jacob listened to me with a mixture of what looked like shock, horror, anger, and sympathy. Amazingly, he understood how I felt, even though he hated the fact that my strong feelings were for a “bloodsucker”, as he put it.
To this day, I am in awe that Jacob was not revolted by my confessions. He accepted me even with all my damaged emotional baggage. He still loved me, even though he knew a part of me would always love him.
It was soon after this that I came to my decision. The tribe and Charlie suffered the loss of a dear friend that day. Shortly after we returned from the cliffs to Billy’s house, we learned that Harry Clearwater had a heart attack and he passed away that night. Harry was a life long friend of my father’s. We all left to our respective homes in very somber moods.
Charlie and I went to our separate rooms to try to sleep, both knowing it wouldn’t come easily. I lay awake running the events of the day over and over in my mind. I had been selfish and thoughtless in my plan to go cliff jumping. What if I had gone over the edge, and fallen to my death? And for what? To hear the imaginary voice of someone who didn’t care about me anymore. What would that have done to Charlie? I saw how upset he was over the death of his best friend. I couldn’t imagine what he would have been like if it was me, his own daughter! I couldn’t put Charlie through this kind of grief over me and my stupidity. I thought about what Charlie meant to me, and then what Jacob meant to me. I decided then and there that I needed to lock up that part of my heart forever, and with it every imagined and subconscious yearning I had for him. I had to go on with my life, not just the motions of life, as I had been doing since he left, but start living a real life. Charlie deserved that.
During this introspection late at night in my room, I was suddenly snatched from my bed and roughly pulled out my window. I felt myself being carried down the side of the house and then pulled across our lawn. Victoria had found me. She had found a way around the werewolves’ perimeter while they were grieving.
I was frozen with fear, knowing that Victoria had planned a slow and tortuous death for me. She dragged me to the forest behind my house where I was sure she would begin her cruel work. She threw me to the ground and stood above me with a viscous smile curling around her lips.
Then I heard the most beautiful and terrifying growl I’ve ever heard in my life. I turned and saw the familiar russet colored wolf, which was Jacob. He lunged toward Victoria, landed with his front paws on her shoulders. This pushed her backwards onto the forest floor and away from me. Then they tumbled over each other, each with teeth bared and disappeared into the lush of the forest green.
I was too terrified to move. I heard growling, joined by more howls. Screaming, crashing, terrible noises. I sat in worry hoping the pack would arrive soon to help Jacob. Just as I heard the rushing of trees behind me announcing the arrival of the other wolves, I saw a figure in shadows ahead of me, walking back from where I saw Jacob and Victoria disappear. It was a human shape. That meant it must have been her, and Jacob was—I couldn’t even think it.
But then, unbelievably, I heard Jacob’s voice call out to me, “Bella, are you alright?”
“Oh, Jacob!” I cried and my numb limbs found their strength, and I got up to run to him.
“Stop!!” he commanded me. I was so confused by his tone of voice that I quickly obeyed. I noticed the other wolves quietly walk past me and clear the gap between where we were and where Jacob stood. They paused by Jacob, and I could tell he was telling them something, instructing them. Most likely towards Victoria, she must have gotten away, but at least Jacob was unharmed.
“Bella, you’re safe,” he called out to me. Then after an awkward pause he added, “Now, do you think you could find me something to wear?” Suddenly, I understood why he didn’t want me rushing to him. His clothes most likely had been shredded when he exploded into his werewolf form.
“Umm...give me a minute.” I ran back to the house, and used the key hidden under the eave to let myself back in. It took me a moment as my hands were shaking. I was afraid Victoria would return. Luckily it seemed as if Charlie had finally gotten to sleep, and my movement downstairs didn’t wake him. Equally as lucky, I had recently done the laundry, so I had a limited selection of Charlie’s clothes to choose from in the laundry room. I found a pair of black sweat pants, which had enough of an elastic band I was sure Jacob could make it work. But unfortunately, the load of shirts had been put away. I didn’t think I could sneak into Charlie’s room and rummage through his clothes without waking him. I sighed and figured the pants at least would make Jacob feel more comfortable.
I slipped back out the door and looked for Jacob. I couldn’t find him, and I began to panic again. Then I saw the russet wolf pad slowly to me and nuzzle my hand. I stroked his soft, coarse fur for the first time, and noticed how warm he was even as a wolf. He closed his eyes and made a noise that almost sounded like a whimper, and then nudged my other hand which was holding the sweat pants. “I’m sorry, it’s the best I have right now,” I said as I awkwardly held the pants out, not knowing quite what to do. He slowly and carefully put his teeth around the edges of the fabric and lifted it out of my hands. Then, he ran off toward the area I’d earlier seen him disappear with Victoria.
I waited. And waited some more. Soon I got a chill, but still couldn’t stop looking for him to return. I decided to at least be more comfortable, as it was now the middle of the night, and I’d had no sleep after an extremely eventful day. I quickly and silently went back into the house, and went up to my room. I sat on my bed, wrapped my blanket around me to warm myself and rested my forehead on the cool glass of the window. This way, I could continue watching the forest for Jacob’s return.
I was surprised when Jacob touched my shoulder from behind. I almost screamed from shock and fear. I still wasn’t sure of what had become of Victoria. Jacob quickly, but gently, put his hand over my mouth to stifle the scream I was building up. As soon as I realized I was in no danger, I relaxed and we both looked towards the door to see if Charlie had woken and was on his way. The house stayed silent.
My emotions broke through then. I threw my arms around Jacobs’s bare mid section. He was so warm, I let the blanket slip off of me. I held him as tightly as I could and began to cry in relief and fear.
Jacob seemed a little surprised by my reaction, and at first didn’t know what to do with his arms. He finally settled on wrapping them around me and returning my embrace.
“Shh," he whispered into my hair. “You’re safe now. I took care of Victoria. She’ll never haunt you again.” What he said was such a relief, but impossible to believe. Yet it had to be true, because Jacob was here. I clung to him tighter; just to assure myself that he was really there.
Not willing to believe my nightmare was over, I asked for more details. Jacob explained that he was on his way to watch over me tonight when he had caught her scent. He went into frenzy when he saw her standing over me, and attacked. He said he was so enraged that he had taken care of her before the others had even arrived. His voice was cold and menacing, and I was happy I was not his enemy.
“But, then why were you gone so long just now?" I asked. "I was so worried that maybe she had gotten away.”
“We had to finish the job properly and completely, and then dispose of the body and destroy any evidence.” That was all he said. I was glad he spared me the gory details. I sat there, still holding him to make sure he was real, and let the words work through my brain. Slowly, I began to accept what he was telling me was true. He sat patiently, never releasing his hold of me. He waited for my brain to come to terms with the fact that I was safe now. My acceptance turned into me sobbing again, but this time out of pure relief. I cried out all my pent up fears, and Jacob simply held and soothed me, my tears evaporating off of his hot skin.
And as my tears of relief subsided, I slowly became aware of the fact that I was alone in my room, with Jacob, and we were wrapped in each others arms with him wearing nothing but Chief Swan’s sweat pants. Those pants never looked so nice; they were too tight on Jacob. But, I also realized that I didn’t care, because I felt safe at that moment. For the first time in months I felt safe and as if I belonged somewhere.
I could feel Jacob rubbing my back, still soothing any of my sobs that were left over, and making hushing sounds into my hair. I knew he was unsure about how to help me now, but just he being there was enough. I also knew, the fact was always lurking in the background. I knew he loved me, but was willing to take things as slowly as I needed. I had told him before that I was a waste of his time. He should find someone whole. He had shrugged and said I was better than a whole woman, and he could be patient.
I began to wonder, as he held me then, if I was capable of giving him what he wanted. Certainly, I wanted him to be happy. I did care for him, and love him as my best friend, but could I give him more, as he deserved? Would he still want me even if I couldn’t give him my all? So many serious questions. But, I also thought, I could give him hope right now. We could discuss all the details of what our relationship could be later. Right now, I could at least let him know I was willing to try. I wouldn’t even have to say a word.
I turned my head from his shoulder, and looked up into his deep brown eyes. I saw a desire there. It was now or never. I could return my head to his shoulder and let him know I wasn’t ready or I could lean slightly forward, and let him know I was ready to move our friendship into something more. I was in an internal debate and filled with doubt. I opted to stay still, my undecided eyes locked to his.
His eyes never left mine, but I felt his right hand move up from my back to my shoulder, then to my neck, my cheek. The sensation was thrilling! So warm! So unlike any other touch I had ever had. His hands were calloused, which made them slightly rough. I was still unsure, and still sat motionless. With one hand still on my back and one on my cheek he slowly pulled me in closer. I could feel his warm breath envelop my face, and then his lips were on mine.
I had only ever been kissed by one other boy in my life. Jacob’s kiss was so different. It wasn’t the careful and cold sensation that both cooled, yet heated my body. This kiss was full of heat, the heat of Jacob’s body pressed against mine, and the heat of the passion he felt for me. He kissed me lightly at first, but when I didn’t immediately pull away he became bolder. He pressed his lips to mine full on, as if he were relishing in a forbidden fruit he had desired for so long. I found myself losing myself in his passion, and began to return the kiss. I was hesitant at first. This was so different from what I was used to. Then, I realized I was having desires of my own again. All of my passion wasn’t taken from me the day he left. I did have feelings for Jacob, and they were beginning to explode as he kissed me with even more longing.
My arms were already around his waist, and I began to trail my hands up and down his back. I thrilled to the sensation of his soft skin beneath my fingertips rising in goose bumps as a sign of his pleasure to my touch. I had never felt someone’s skin react to my touch before; always it had been the feel of cool, smooth granite. Jacob’s body was solid and muscular, but it definitely wasn’t granite. It thrilled me to know I could cause such a reaction in a being.
In my mind I realized that we were getting to that point where he should be pulling away. Weren’t there always boundaries, limitations put in place? And then I remembered, Jacob didn’t’ have the same fear of breaking me with inhuman strength. Granted, Jacob was exceptionally strong, but not enough where he would accidentally break me if he didn’t concentrate on his every move. Jacob was free to follow his passion, if he so desired, and it seemed that he desired it very much, right now. As much as the thought of following these desires appealed to me, more than I thought was possible ever again, I decided that someone did have to put some boundaries in place. It seemed it had better be me. At least, I had plenty of practice.
I brought my arms around to the front and lightly pushed on Jacob’s solid chest. I felt it rise and fall quickly beneath my palms. He reluctantly, yet slowly, tantalizingly pulled his lips off of mine, but he refused to let the rest of me go. He rested his chin on top of my head, as I suddenly felt a loss when our lips parted. He pulled me into his lap and cradled me. I felt so small next to his large body, that I realized this is how a child must feel cradled in the protective arms of a parent. I felt just as secure.
Neither one of us spoke. We were afraid of what the next words might bring, Instead, Jacob held me silently as I became drowsy, and then I felt him lay me down on my bed, yet he still stayed by my side. As I drifted off to sleep, I noticed how eerily familiar this felt, to have a supernatural boy sneak up into my room and lay next to me in my bed. Similar, and yet, completely opposite. There was no blanket between me and the boy this time, to keep the chill from the lack of his body away from me. In fact, I noticed how pleasant it was to lay in bed and feel the heat of Jacob’s skin next to mine. A blanket would have been too hot. So, I fell asleep with Jacob closer to me than he had ever been before. In an instant, our relationship had certainly changed.