Rant: I really don't get why people make Ed out to be a gentleman. He's not. And he's also stupid. Breaking up with your girlfriend in the woods?! A clumsy one at that?! What the...! This is as bad as Angel breaking up with Buffy in the sewer. No, wait, this is worse (since Angel didn't tell her he didn't love her anymore). And no, pointing her in the direction of her house doesn't make it better and it's not an excuse.
Warning: Still not beta-ed. I claim all the mistakes and the lack of synonyms.
Thanks: to everyone who's still/again on board.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Tho I didn't get anything done while I was on vacation (sorry about that, I blame my crappy vacation), but I stumbled into a plot hole. It's the scene when Jake realizes that Sam hurt Emily, even tho he loves her so much. BUT - I finally realized - Jake can't really know how much Sam loves Emily because he hadn't been around the guy before his change, except maybe official tribe-stuff (e.g. bonfires). So... Emily won't be Sam's imprint anymore. From now on it's Leah. I figured it's more likely that Jake's seen Sam and Leah together on more than one occasion. And I like it much better this way anyway. Poor Leah gets to be the only female wolf in the books (which has to suck majorly), but she doesn't even get to be her love's (Sam's) imprint?! I know there's supposed to be tragedy and fuck-ups in books, but it was too damn much. You can't help but feel for the girl, even tho she's so cranky. And since this is fanfic... I can do whatever I want. ;o) So... slight changes in this part and the following.
Bella stood frozen in the kitchen, staring uncomprehendingly at the open back door.
The door Edward had just left through.
The Edward who had just broken up with her.
The Edward who had just broken her.
No! the scream in her mind crushed her, hurled her back into reality. “Edward! No!” she yelled, running after him into the woods.
But she didn’t get a response.
Was he already too far away? Or had he not wanted to hear her? But how could this be? He had not saved her life two times, just to end their relationship now, had he?
No, that couldn’t be true. There had to be more. Some reason why he suddenly behaved so strangely, why he wanted to leave when he could never stay away from her before.
She wanted… no, needed an explanation, so she followed him. Or tried to anyway. She stumbled every so often and she knew she was no match for his enhanced vampire speed. But it didn’t curb her determination. Wasn’t their love a thing worth fighting for? She thought so. That’s why she couldn’t, wouldn’t give up so easily.
If only she had any sense of direction. If she only knew where the Cullen’s house was in relation to her current location.
She should have taken her truck, she thought, but realized she would only lose precious time trekking back now. So the woods it was. A road would be better, of course. Then she'd know where she really was and could go from there. And hopefully, be on time to stop him.
Unfortunately, the only thing she could see were trees. The only things she could hear were the numerous, hard to pinpoint sounds of the forest, the birds and the small animals she couldn't see, and the wind weaving its way throught the thicket, making the trees creek omniously. It was creepy.
If this wasn’t bad enough on its own, it was getting darker. She didn’t know if it was because it was already getting late or if she’d gone too deep into the forest. But at least it wasn’t raining. Not yet anway.
Knock on wood, she told herself, so she wouldn’t jinx the weather. And did exactly that. After all she had plenty of possibilities. A giggle escaped her.
You’re insane, Swan. Get yourself together.
She needed to find a path to civilisation. God only knew what Charlie would do when she didn’t come home. Probably send out the cavalery to find her. And then they would get lost in the woods because of her, just like her.
She swallowed hard as the realisation finally sank in. She was truly lost and all alone.
No way home.
Dusk had already settled, bathing the forest into creepy, omnious shadows of doom. The perfect set-up for a horror- movie. And she hated those. Her blood-encrusted scratches would probably soon call forth dark, unsavory creatures that would devour her whole.
“Drama queen.” she chided herself.
It was more likely she’d get mauled by a bear.
Then she’d have something in common with Emmet. Only Emmet wouldn’t be there anymore, wouldn’t hear about it. And neither would Edward, because they were gone and she’d be dead.
Struck by that last thought, she slumped to the ground in defeat, not caring that it was wet and dirty.Edward had left her. He didn't love her anymore. She wasn't good for him, had never been, she feared. And now she was alone.
She pulled her arms around her middle, to keep her insides from spilling out, to keep herself together. But it didn’t help, she still hurt. Tears were already rushing down her cheeks and she chocked back a sob. But really… for whom? No one was here to hear her. So she gave in, let the emotions rush out of her in a torrent of desperate cries, shudders and tears.
Too consumed by the pain in her heart and soul, and too drained by the strain on her mind and body, she never noticed she fell asleep in exhaustion.
Jacob had been in the garage since he’d gotten home from school. Feeling restless and frantic all day, he’d hoped working on his rabbit would calm him down and stop the incessant, annoying itching in his body.
No such luck in those departments. He still wanted to go up the wall every ten minutes. His high body temperature didn’t help either. Though he’d pulled of his t-shirt long ago, he still was hot. Hotter than these past few weeks. Strangely, it hadn’t resulted in any illness. In fact, it was the complete opposite. He felt great, like he could run down to Mexico and back in four hours.
He shook his head. It was impossible, so he tried to concentrate on fixing his car again, as much as he could in his current condition. But there came a point, shortly after dusk, when he couldn’t stand it anymore. He went outside to cool off, to keep himself from tearing the walls around him apart.
Cold rain splattered against his naked upper body, the drops hitting him like annoying pinpricks just shy of hurting. He rubbed his arms and chest, trying to shake off the feeling. It wouldn’t stop and he felt like scratching away the human confines of his skin to crawl out and break free.
He snorted at the absurdity of the thought. Then he heard a strange ripping noise.
Another growth spurt?
Did they come in such bursts? Could he actually watch it happening? And what was wrong with his eyesight?
No, wrong was not the right word. His sight was so much better than before; clearer, so detailed he could hardly believe he was able to make out ants marching up the tree on the other side of their property, even though dusk was already setting.
He let his eyes roam, marveling at the vivid colors, the highly pronounced shapes and…
Shredded pieces of cloth?
They littered the ground in front of him. And upon closer inspection, he recognized them as jeans material. The exact color of the one he’d put on today.
Had his pants actually given way to his recent growth spurt?
He looked at his legs to assure himself that it was impossible, only to encounter big animal paws covered in russet fur.
What the hell?!
He wriggled his toes experimentally and found the paws moving in the same rhythm.
They were his.
The legends are true! was his first thought.
‘Jacob!’ was the first thing he heard.He turned his head to the woods so fast, he was surprised he didn't break his neck. And like a puppet on strings he was pulled into the direction of the voice that had sounded so urgent, so helpless. He didn’t even question his need to follow the cry for help. He just went on instinct, knowing it would lead him where he needed to go.
This time he rocognized the voice. It was…
‘Sam.’ the owner supplied his identiy and continued speaking to Jacob’s mind – How about that! – confirming another wolf legend and trying to calm him down.
The current Alpha wrongly assumed that the newly phased boy was confused and angry as everyone else before him had been when they’d phased for the first time.
‘I am calm, Sam.’ Jacob assured. In fact he was incredibly focused.
‘Then why…’ the friend he thought he had lost to Sam joined his thoughts.
But Jacob wouldn’t let him finish. ‘Embry?’
‘Yeah. Why are running through the forest like a maniac? Away from us?’
‘I…’ He didn’t know why.
But then he saw her: a wolf with light fur. He could make out that much in the dark, just not her exact shade. She was lying on the ground in front of him, curled in on herself and sleeping. He didn’t question how he knew it was a female. All that mattered was her.
Curious, he walked closer, so he could sniff her, get to know her scent, bask in it, engrave it on his senses.
She smelled sweet, warm, innocent and somehow familiar, even though he’d never seen her before. She was tiny, too. Then again that didn’t say much because he didn’t know how big he actually was. So everything was relative.
‘It’s a normal sized wolf.’ Sam replied to his musings, having snatched the picture from Jacob’s mind. ‘Emphasis on normal. Leave it alone!’ he ordered as an afterthought, but it fell on deaf ears.
‘She!’ Jacob corrected and wondered what she was doing out here. There were no wolves left in this area – besides them – least of all polar wolves. And she sure looked like one.
Then a story from his childhood rose from his memories. Was she actually the Lone Wolf?
It would be fascinating.
She was fascinating.
Suddenly a deep, dangerous growl errupted behind him, stopping his comtemplation. He whirled around and came muzzle to muzzle with – what he presumed was – another real wolf.
It… no, he… was darker – Brown maybe? – and only as half as big as him. Still it didn’t seem to discourage the newcomer that he was physically outmatched. He was in attack-mode, his ears aligned to the side, teeth bared, lips pulled back and his head slightly lowered.
‘Now you pissed off her mate.’ Paul snickered.
‘Come on, Jacob.’ Sam urged him to leave the real wolves alone.
And finally he listened, although it was quite reluctantly. He wanted to stay, needed to... he didn't actually know what it was, but logically it couldn't be anything real wolves could give or do for him. So he ran to his pack brothers - who’d hidden not far from him behind the trees – and never looked back.'Let's head back to my place. I'll explain everything.' Sam suggested. Jared whoofed in affirmation, knowing Sam's kitchen was always stocked with an abundance of food. 'I'm hungry anyway.' Then he was off running.
‘If you don’t leave anything for us…!’ Paul threatened and followed.
As did Embry, Sam and Jacob. Only the latter felt like he’d just lost something, but he took comfort in the exhilaration of the run.
Twigs and branches flashed past him, he flew over fallen trees and old stumps, dodging them easily, never missing a step. Wind rippled his too long fur, leaves and needles got stuck in it, but he didn't mind. Nothing could intrude or mar this perfect moment of freedom. He was one with nature. The woods were his home.
‘It’ll change once he finds his imprint.’ the current alpha mused in private.
But Jacob had heard him anyway. He just couldn’t understand why that fact would make Sam feel so conflicted, sad and happy at the same time. ‘What’s an imprint?’
Images seen through Sam's eyes bombarded Jacob's mind faster than a movie, replaying an argument between Leah and the Alpha about his disappearance, his apologies, but unwillingness to divulge his secrets, her resulting anger, his silence, the tremors rippling across his body, the hard slap from her small hand cracking against the side of his face before he exploded into his wolfform and pushed her away from him with his paw, hurting her in the process. He froze in shock, her bloodied cheek and chest were screaming at him, hurting him, reducing him to a helpless human, crouched in front of her, begging her forgiveness as he held onto her her legs, face pressed against her abdomen.
"Sam?" she asked unsure, her voice full of pain.
He snapped to attention, lifted her into his arms and rushed her to his car. He had to get her to a hospital. Now! But he couldn't raise suspicion or he would have run on his two feet, drawing on the strength and endurance the wolf in him leaked to his human form.
Having settled her gently in, he closed the passenger side door, ready to leap over the hood, just to get things done faster when she stopped him with her plea: "Please, don't leave me."
Time stopped, the world stopped and there was only her.
The woman he loved.
She was time.
She was world.
She was purpose.
She was love.
She was everything.
And he was hers.
"Never." he swore.
Jacob stumbled as the memories ended, nearly barreling into a tree. His snout hung open, astonishment and confusion evident even on his wolf-face.
'Sorry, didn't mean for you to see that.'
'What was that?' Jacob replied, already suspecting that this was the answer to his earlier question.
‘Later.’ he said.
Coming home from work, Charlie saw his daughter’s truck parked in front of the house, but not Edward’s. And as much as he supported their realtionship, he was grateful for the rare occasions when it was just the two of them, family. Soon he wouldn’t even have that.
Brushing aside the sadness this thought brought, he called out for her to let her know he was back and put his gun and belt away. The house only greeted him with silence.
He looked around, but didn’t find a note from her. Even though they’d come to the understanding that she’d let him know where she was if she wasn’t home after school. He knew he was a little overprotective with this request, but luckily Bella had indulged him to put his cop-mind at ease. At least, that was the excuse he’d given her. The truth had more to do with fear of his family finding her and the repercussions that would fall upon her.
He walked into the kitchen since her scent came strongest from there and found the back door open.
Was she outside and hadn’t heard him?
No, there was no sign of her.
Getting closer to the treeline, Charlie made out both their scents. There were equally strong and intermingled. But she wouldn’t leave the door open, if she went into the woods with Edward.
So what the hell was going on here then? Had they found her? Or had Edward, sensing the threat, run away with her to keep her safe?
But the worried dad in him was getting ahead of himself.
Proof before speculation, he reminded himself.
He couldn’t go on a wild goose chase. Better to call them on the phone first. There was no use in premature worrying. Still he hurried along with his plan because it was already getting dark.
He tried Bella's cell first, then Edward's, but no one picked up. Calling the Cullen household didn’t produce any results either. His last resort was the hospital where Carlisle worked. Maybe he could help him out.
As it turned out he couldn't because he wasn't there. But a nurse who’d recognized Charlie as the chief of police provided helpful information. Doctor Cullen had quit a few days ago to move his family away because he’d been offered a new job elsewhere.
Things didn't add up. Just yesterday he'd seen Bella with Edward.
Now would be the right time to worry, Charlie thought.
But he didn't succumb to this particular feeling, even though the circumstances were puzzling. Instead he decided to track them.
Leaving through the back door, he headed into the woods behind his house, following their faint scents and the trail his clumsy Bella left behind.
He hadn’t come far when their scents separated and headed into different directions. He could still see his house from this point. Had Edward left her there? All alone? Why had Bella not gone back? But instead stumbled through the thicket of the forest, losing her way and almost going in circles?
Charlie sighed heavily. His daughter had no sense of direction.
What was worse, it started drizzling. He decided to transform before full-blown rain washed away her trail. He’d be faster on four paws anyway.
It didn’t take him long to find her, but he still couldn’t believe the sight that met him. A huge, monstrous wolf was sniffing her.
And only the gods knew what else the thing had in mind.
With no concern for himself and his daughter’s protection the only thing on his mind, Charlie-wolf approached the beast with his ears to the side, lips pulled back and an angry growl errupting from his throat.
The huge wolf turned around, but didn't react to the threat at first. Then again why would he? His pack was waiting out of sight. It was the least of Charlie's worries, though. The beast was two times bigger than Charlie's wolfself. He was the danger and the chief could only hope he'd make it out of this alive.
He needn't have worried. The giant wolf suddenly trudged away to join his pack. Charlie could still not make out their number, but he promised himself to stay out of their way and keep Bella away from the woods for now.
They were a complication he really didn’t need right now. But he’d worry about them later. First things first. He had to get her home.
He nudged her gently with his muzzle, but she didn’t even stirr. She seemed to be unconscious, which really didn’t surprise him. She’d transformed far too soon and who knew how long she’d been wandering the woods before that had happened. He only knew she hadn’t turned into a wolf before she came to this spot. Only here could he detect the hint of wolf in her scent.
Realising he’d been standing there contemplating, instead of actually doing something, like getting out of the forest before the beasts came back, he transformed back into human. Then picked her up and carried her home.
Once he had her safe in his house, he carefully placed her on her bed and stayed by her side. Stroking her fur to soothe her, he started working on plans on how to avoid those monster wolves, keep Bella’s change hidden while not curbing the desires and freedom her wolfself would demand.
But what really worried him was that his plans for Bella's safety had just turned to dust.
Originally, if his family had ever found out about Bella, he would have asked the Cullens for support since one of their boys had fallen for her and she for him. Not that he didn't want to protect her, but he knew he was not strong enough to fight off an entire pack of werwolves.
With the vampires on his side, though, there was no doubt in his mind that she'd be safe. So he had encouraged their relationship as much as was acceptable without arousing their suspicion or scaring them with his overzealousness.
He’d even forgiven her for her dissappearance, her supposed need to go back to her mother. He’d known something had happened, just not what. But seeing the crescent scar on her wrist upon her return, his hopes had soared. It was a sign – a mark as his species called it – that they’d deepened their relationship, that they’d embarked on something permanent.
But he’d been wrong. Edward Cullen was obviously gone and Bella had transformed too soon. Her wolf-genetics were supposed to kick in on her 18th birthday – not sooner, not later - declaring her mature, ready to take on the responsibility, ready to find a mate. Only she had already found him. And he was gone now.
She was alone and a wolf.
What the hell had happened out there? Charlie had seen no signs of struggle, but that didn’t have to mean anything. Had the vampire actually triggered her transformation? Because he’d left her? Or had she broken up with him?
No, not likely. His daughter wouldn’t follow him if that was the case. She was so in love with Edward she’d barely noticed anything else in the world that didn’t revolve around the Culllen boy.
Hell, her ignoring her childhood friend had been proof enough. Sometimes Charlie had wondered if this was even healthy. But it had been better than imagining her being forced to mate with someone she didn’t want or love by the fraternal side of her family.
Now he was on his own again to keep them off her back until she found a new mate.
Yes, Bella is stupid, too, running into the woods like that. I never said she wasn't. ;o)