Seventh installment of the Jacob Black “Home” series, (Playlist / “Home” - “Familiarities” - “Reunion” - “Pitching Fits” - “Grand Gestures”- “Jail Break”) requested by a great deal of you. Hope you like it!
All past and future installments of this series can be found on the “The Story Continues…”page.
The morning came quicker than you could have anticipated after your nighttime stunt with Jacob. As you lifted your head from your pillow to pound the life out of your alarm clock, your hair still damp from the rain, you were struck with a difference in the light that normally filtered through your windows. Your head swiveled, staring now at the scenery beyond the glass Jacob had knocked on just hours earlier. The rain that had been falling then had, at some point during your slumber, transfigured to snow, coating the earth with a thin layer of purity, the likes of which you couldn’t explain. Untouched by footfall and unmarred by salt or sludge, the world beyond your window was an unblemished wonderland, ripe for the ruining by the morning’s commuters. You heaved yourself from your bed, running your fingers through the stringy dampness of your hair as you made your way towards the kitchen, hoping Charlie was at his usual position behind the stove. Your mouth still tasted like butterscotch, if only faintly, and no matter how pleasant the memory was, the overwhelming thickness of sugar that clung to your teeth and lay stagnant on your tongue had you grimacing.
To your surprise, the Chief had already departed for work, as was evident by the jacket no longer hanging on the peg by the door. You figured he had bolted for the station early in preparation for the throng of drivers who suddenly forgot how to function behind the wheel in the presence of a snowstorm, no matter how minor. You hoped, blindly, that Bella wasn’t a member of that so dangerous throng. If her clumsiness translated to her driving skills, you’d both be dead before first period. Wouldn’t Edward Cullen get a kick out of that? You shuffled over the course pine boards towards the kitchen, following the sound of cereal striking porcelain until your sister was in sight, her hair matted on one side from another night of restless sleep. You offered her a grumbled greeting, sliding into line beside her, reaching up for the vibrant cabinet that hosted Charlie’s stack of identical dinner plates and wide soup bowls. You worked together in silence, grabbing the flimsy cardboard box from Bella as she handed it to you, rustling the plastic and colourful flakes within before mirroring her previous actions and pouring yourself a cold breakfast. She slid the carton of milk in your direction and turned towards the table, opting instead to lean her back against the counter as she prodded at the cereal.
“I’m not judging you, but if you’re going to sneak around with Jacob Black, don’t slam the front door on your way in,” she whispered, her voice low and muffled by the contents of her mouth. Her warm eyes locked on yours, your cheeks blazing under her stare. She giggled, shaking her head at your apparent shock. “Don’t act so surprised. I’ve been playing mom for the past ten years of your life. Charlie might not have noticed, but…” She tapped her temple with the handle of her spoon, laughing to see your obvious defeat. “I’m not sleeping. Remember that in the future. Right upstairs.” You rolled your eyes, moving to sit at the table. “Directly above you,” she continued, stressing each word, her finger waving absentmindedly above her head.
“Loud and clear,” you replied, shoveling your breakfast into your mouth, hoping to speed your way into the truck before she had time to push further inquiries. Though she was your sister by blood, she was more likely to play the role of proud mother if she caught wind of your upcoming rendezvous with Jacob. You needed at least one parental figure that didn’t pray for a Swan-Black shotgun wedding each night before bed. You finished your breakfast in relative quiet, neither of you being uncomfortable with a lack of conversation, moving about quickly on your way to Forks High. Charlie had adhered snow chains to the tires of Bella’s hulk of a truck, which settled your heart quite a bit, allowing thoughts of at least drafting a final will and testament before departing slip from your mind as easily as you thought you’d be slipping across the road. Most of the population of Forks were slow drivers (the atmosphere didn’t exactly allow for thrill rides), and your ride to school was uneventful as ever, both of your eyes glued to the road before you, acutely aware of your affinities towards destruction. Upon arrival, you went your separate ways; Bella left for English with a calm smile playing over her lips (they were reading Macbeth, a play you knew she had nearly memorized), and you began your trek in the opposite direction, trudging through the shallow sea of snow en route to Chemistry. You reached for the building’s entrance, your hand falling short of the handle as it was opened from the inside, a short and impossibly slender girl standing in your way. Her eyes were a strange shade of ocher, an enticing and intriguing hue you’d never seen before in another pair of eyes. At first, she didn’t speak, but her eyebrows knotted in confusion at the sight of you. She stepped to the side, revealing a tall, blonde figure she was leading by the hand. His eyes were a similar shade of golden brown, and he too seemed confused by your presence. You could have said the same for the two; unless they had paperwork to drop off with a teacher, they had no reason to be exiting a building before first period. The girl seemed shocked, to say the least, that you stood in her path, as if stunned that she hadn’t had the sense to look up before she took a step.
“Sorry… I didn’t see you there,” she sang, her voice trilling like bells, an odd accompaniment when paired with her muddled demeanor. She gave a light tug on the man’s hand, excusing themselves as they passed, her eyes on your back as you entered the building. You’d heard rumors of the strange behavior of the littlest Cullen, but there was something darker to her that no one had bothered to whisper in the halls. Her eyes… there was something about her eyes that had your thoughts scrambled. It was the same with the boy, but… no one dared to talk about him. It was common knowledge that he was someone you didn’t cross. No one that quiet could be good news.
You continued on your day as usual, meeting up with your sister at lunch, your heart sinking when you saw the expression on her face. She looked as if she’d seen a ghost, only she was more bewildered than frightened. As if on cue, three boys entered the lunch room, their hair dripping with glorious pearls of water, their clothing dusted with snow. One, the blonde, another the beast of a man that parted the halls like Moses did the Red Sea… and third, but certainly the target of your stare, was Edward Cullen himself, back at last from his extended leave of absence. You cursed under your breath, watching his golden eyes rise to meet yours. You scowled, trying your best to remain polite, despite the damage he’d done to your sister, but hating him vehemently nonetheless. You decided at that moment to distance yourself from his as best you could, watching his brow furrow in your peripheral vision as you turned away and forbade yourself to think of him again. He simply wasn’t worth your time, not if he treated your sister like the plague. You turned to Bella, meeting her halfway to your usual table, your hand outstretched to lay against her shoulder.
“Are you alright to go to Biology?” you asked, your voice adopting her maternal tone, her brown eyes flickering towards the table the strange and beautiful family occupied, swiftly returning to your face. So he was watching her, wonderful. She nodded silently, settling down beside you to wait out the lines around the kitchen. You leaned your head towards hers, lowering your voice to hover just above a whisper. “I ran into the short girl today, the one with the spiky hair? Well, I mean, technically she ran into me, but I think they’re all a little… off. Maybe it’s not just Edward.” Your words had little effect on her stiffened figure, her eyes lowered to the faux grain painted onto the plastic.
You all but sprinted for the truck after your last period class, awaiting the no-doubt gripping tales of your sister’s Biology class, your back against the thick metal, chilled by the cold lingering above the snow, your fingers drumming against the smooth exterior. When Bella arrived, her face was not what it had been on her first day, but some other puzzle entirely. Gone was the mask of fear and failure, replaced now by the same confusion you’d worn earlier in the day. She ignored your prying eyes, slipping into the driver’s seat before opening her mouth to speak, her eyes shouting questions she couldn’t answer on her own.
“I feel like I’m in a fever dream,” she whispered, prompted by your inquiries on the behavior of the Cullen boy. “He was… polite. Very polite. He introduced himself and asked me about home, about Renee and Phil… he called me Bella.” You snorted, disturbing her deep recollection, her eyes hardening on yours at your so sudden interruption. You fought to keep your voice steady, urging the sarcasm from your tone as you spoke, fastening your seat belt.
“Well, yeah, Bella. That’s your name. What else would he call you?” She ducked her head, toying with the cuffs of her jacket, her fingers pinching and pulling the fabric as she organized her thoughts.
“I didn’t think he’d talk to me at all. But he didn’t call me Isabella. I don’t know, it was… he’s the only person who didn’t automatically… And his hands, they were so cold…” she shook her head, her palms slapping against the steering wheel, her eyes locked on the windshield, never focusing on an object seen through the glass. She was distracted. “It’s nothing. He was just… different today. It caught me off-guard.” You allowed the conversation to drop into silence as the truck roared to life, hoping to maintain what was left of your sister’s sanity by ignoring the obvious pull she experienced when it came to pondering the actions of Edward Cullen. You found yourself exhausted by the events of the day, your fatigue fueled further by your lack of sleep the night before. Unable to do much else besides complete what you could of your homework and throw yourself onto your comforter in defeat, you surrendered to the peace of sleep, woken only briefly for dinner with Bella before returning to the quiet of your bedroom.
The next morning had the world transformed once more. The snow that remained on the ground had been covered in rain, which had quickly frozen solid, covering the world in glass. You were almost certain now that Bella would crash, and quickly weighed the pros and cons of being driven to school in a police cruiser. Unfortunately, Charlie had left early again, limiting your mode of transportation to your sister’s less than effective reflexes. She still seemed bothered by the Edward Cullen situation; it was obvious from the set of her brow and her almost frustrating focus on her food that she was lost in thought on the subject, but you didn’t dare bring it up. You feared you were both dangerously over-analyzing the situation. Bella drove into school slower than she normally did, the truck skidding ever so lightly across the black ice that coated the roads, her foot heavy on the brakes whenever she felt she was losing control. She did remarkably well, and arrived with minutes to spare before the beginning of first period. Luckily, the entirety of the student body seemed to be driving at the same speed, with most of the school arriving at the same time, feet rushing against the snow and slick to hurry for the doors. You opened your door and exited the cabin, your eyes instantly picking up on a group of students standing beside their shiny, silver car. The Cullens stood gloriously against a polished Volvo, unbothered by the rushing around them or the biting chill in the air, just far enough that you couldn’t hear what they were all laughing about. Bella’s door closed loudly, her body moving into view on the opposite side of the truck bed, her eyes on the snow chains Charlie had snuck onto her car. She was smiling to herself, apparently grateful to not have perished or been the cause of your untimely demise behind the wheel, hefting her backpack on her shoulder. Someone’s van pulled into the student lot behind her, accelerating along the ice, no doubt seeing the students running for class and assuming they were late, before turning their blinker on to pull into an open spot.
An unimaginable squealing sounded as the wheels began to slip across the ice. You’d never been one for athletics, but you’d always been a relatively quick thinker, and you noticed within seconds that the van was hurtling towards your sister. She spun to face the car as you began to move, hurtling around the end of the truck to pull her from the line of attack, knowing, with the speed of the van and your human slowness, that you would be too late to push her from harm’s way. You ran regardless, calling Bella’s name, your hands outstretched to protect her when you collided, instead, with something else. It was hard, more solid than you could have imagined for what vision met your eye, and it gave a solid shove against your chest, knocking you back against the pavement. You skidded, your sleeves catching against the pebbles, your eyes struggling to absorb what was occurring before you. A figure was sweeping your sister from her feet, her head colliding with the asphalt. The figure had moved her from the line of direct impact, but the van was spinning. His hands shot out and… you blinked, your head spinning, the breath crushed from your lungs.
He stopped the car.
Edward Cullen paused a moment, his face out of sight as he stared down at your sister. You scrambled to your feet, your hearing returning in slow waves, as if you were emerging from a swamp, the thick water still clogging your ears and disturbing your senses. You stumbled to her side, hovering just beside the boy, your eyes searching for signs of injury.
“Bella? Are you all right?” he asked, her voice returning a simple sentence to dispel the worst of your concerns. She was fine. She moved to sit up, but his hands kept her on the ground. “Be careful, I think you hit your head pretty hard.” She groaned, then, her fingers probing the back of her skull. You could barely speak, your hands hovering over her battered body in shock, torn away every few breaths to press against your ribs. You were aching, but your body had not yet fully registered your injuries. You couldn’t focus on anything but your sister, lying on the pavement beneath her unlikely savior.
“How in the…” she began, her voice weak. “How did you get over here so fast?” You turned your attention to Edward then, his brow furrowed, uncertain how to respond or puzzled by her inquiry, his eyes sparkling.
“I was standing right next to you, Bella,” he spoke, his voice clear in his conviction. You straightened beside him, your features mottled in confusion. You parted your lips to speak, the world quiet beside the stern words that filtered through the air.
“No, you weren’t.”