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28 July 2012 @ 05:46 pm
Always ~ Chapter 1  
I wrote this ages ago. Literally, the date last modified on these files is 12/27/11, which seems like a lifetime ago to me now. I had forgotten it was even complete and ready to post. I tried to go through and do a final edit, though.

This story picks up after Bella's encounter with Laurent, and proceeds from the supposition that Jacob DID imprint on her at that point - and that Sam accepted what occurred AS an imprint.





“As it stared at me, I suddenly thought of Jacob…”

Bella watched Laurent run from the wolves with profound disbelief. He was a vampire! What could he possibly have to fear from a bunch of giant animals? It was several seconds before she could move at all, but then she scrambled to her feet and ran.

The woods were cold and wet, and she couldn’t see the sun to tell how soon it might start getting dark. She tried not to let déjà vu settle into her conscious thoughts as she picked her way as quickly as possible through the trees and undergrowth, hoping futilely that she was headed in the right direction to find the truck. How long had she been trying to run? Would the wolves come back to look for her when they couldn’t catch Laurent? Would Laurent come back for her when he escaped the wolves? She tried to keep quiet, but knew she was hyperventilating. All her thoughts came to an abrupt halt when she heard him. For just a second she felt stupid, suddenly remembering the compass in her back pocket.

“BELLA?”

She would know the shouting voice anywhere, and she’d never been so happy to hear it, which was really saying something. “JAKE!” she screamed back. “JAKE, I’M OVER HERE!” She stayed where she was, then, calling back to him when he called out again, and he found her.

“Bells!” He caught her up into a hug and spun her around, for all the world as if they weren’t in mortal danger. He was shirtless, and he’d butchered his gorgeous hair since the last time she’d seen him. She was in too much of a hurry to wonder about it.

“We’ve got to get out of here, Jake, there are wolves – huge, giant wolves, I saw them, and –” She stopped talking abruptly as he set her down, laughing at her. “I’m serious. They must be what all the hikers have been spotting, not a bear at all.” He stepped back away from her, then, the sunshine of his smile going dark without warning. “Jake?” His expression was suddenly serious. Intense, even. It was jarring after his joyfulness just moments before.

“Bells, after everything you saw today – EVERYTHING you saw – you really think the wolves are the scariest thing in the forest?” he asked quietly. She blinked at him twice and thought back to Laurent’s red eyes. He and Victoria were haunting Forks, looking for her. They would both need to hunt. She swallowed hard and looked away, but her head shot up to stare at him again twice as fast.

“What do you know about what I saw today?” she demanded, her anger at his abandonment sparking to life again. Where did he get off acting like he knew what was going on with her, when he’d been avoiding her all this time?

“I was there with you in the clearing, Bells. And we got him. He will never come near you again.” Jacob seemed unaffected by her yelling at him, except that he’d become still more serious. He stepped closer to her, placing his hand on her arm. When he felt the goose bumps, he rubbed his hands against her arms to warm her. It felt to her like he was still running the fever she’d noticed on movie night.

“What do you mean you were there, Jacob?”

“You looked right at me. You knew.” He said this confidently, his eyes boring into hers.

And then she remembered. She’d looked the huge russet wolf right in the eye and Jacob HAD sprung to her mind. She’d thought it was because she was glad he wasn’t there with her, to be eaten by giant wolves or vampires, or whatever other dangerous monster she might next manage to attract…but that hadn’t been the reason. It was because she’d seen the same look in the wolf’s eye that was staring her in the face right now. It wasn’t a very different expression than the way he’d looked at her while they waited for Mike to finish puking, the weekend before last. But it was a little different – more intense – and that scared her almost more than the epiphany about what he was. She felt her knees give out.

Jake caught her before she hit the ground. “Bells!”

“The stories you told me on the beach?” she asked weakly, remembering them all in fast-forward as she clutched at his arm for support. She’d been so focused on Jake while he was avoiding her recently that everything sprang into her mind at once.

“You knew they were true before I did,” Jacob admitted in a breathless whisper, picking her up carefully and cradling her as close to him as possible. “Did you park at the trail head, like we used to?” he asked, when she didn’t reply. She nodded. “You were going entirely the wrong way.” He chuckled as she huffed in annoyance. She didn’t say anything, but she did put her arms around his neck to hold on as he jogged off toward the trail head. Most fun he’d had all day. And, considering how much fun it had been ripping the bloodsucker to pieces, that was really saying something.

It only took him a couple of minutes to get her back to her truck. He didn’t want to think about how long she might otherwise have wandered through the trees with the red-headed leech still out there. It was the same kind of worry he always felt for her, but it was different, too. He knew, now, that there were more dangerous things in the world than just heartache, though maybe still nothing more painful. He had a lot more to save her from all of a sudden, but he was every bit as willing to do the job. More willing, even. It had taken far less time to rescue her from today’s leech than it was taking to rescue her from Edward Cullen.

The thought brought on the shakes, but he controlled them almost instantly. She was a lot better than she had been. And maybe now - now that he felt like his heart had expanded to ten times the size it was before, and was beating only for her - maybe now he could help her get over the leech. He could hardly believe he had imprinted on her. If he’d been able, he’d have gone straight to her house after his first transformation to see if it would happen. Unfortunately Sam had seen that plan in his thoughts, and forbidden him. But it had worked out. If she could just forgive him for ignoring her all this time…

“Bells, I’m sorry I couldn’t call you back,” he offered gently, setting her down at the passenger door of her truck. “I wasn’t in control at first. I was afraid I’d hurt you. You understand? I needed to stay away until I could be sure you wouldn’t get hurt.”

She stared up at him. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she dropped her arms from around his neck and wrapped them around herself instead. He recognized the posture, and it always broke his heart a little. Today it hurt a lot. “I – I understand. Thank you for coming to find me.”

He couldn’t prevent the word before it slipped out. “Always.” He put a hand to her cheek for a long moment and swallowed nervously. “The guys are making a bonfire out on the beach to celebrate our first - well, to celebrate. Will you come with me?”

“I’m kind of – no, Jake, I don’t think I should.” She reached up and took his hand from her face, but he quickly twined their fingers together so she couldn’t easily let him go.

“Please, Bells? There are some stories you haven’t heard yet. Some parts about this wolf business I need you to know.”

Bella had thought Jacob’s expression couldn’t get any more intense, but he stared at her so fervently that she agreed without thinking. “Alright, Jake, if you want.” Even as she said it, though, and watched him break out into his sunshine smile, she was afraid again. What was she doing, encouraging this sort of thing? He deserved a lot better than to be led on by a girl who could barely hold herself together and wasn’t ready for any kind of romance. “But you know – this doesn’t change what I said at the theater, Jake. I’m still not –”

His smile vanished for just a second, but was back again just as fast. It was enough to stop her talking. “I know. But it doesn’t change what I said, either.” She swallowed hard and nodded. As long as he understood.

“Do I have time to go home and get cleaned up before this party?” she asked lightly. She’d got grass stains and dirt all over her jeans, and her hands were scraped up. The deep woods were not exactly her ideal habitat.

“Sure, sure. Won’t be much of a party till you get there, since it’s your life we’re celebrating, right? They can wait for us.” He reached around her to open the truck door, leaning in a little to manage it, and she noticed it again – that odd look in his eyes that seemed to twist something in her chest, right where she’d thought she didn’t have anything left. It wasn’t pain, exactly, that it caused, but it was uncomfortable. She looked away, digging her keys out of her pocket to give to him. But she didn’t hand him the keys. She held them in front of her for a moment, then hid them between her hands before he could reach for them.

“Before we go, I want to see,” she said determinedly. Jacob took a step back like she’d pushed him, and for the first time all afternoon, he looked unsure of himself. She remembered that expression from the very earliest days of their friendship. Oddly, it was more endearing to her than any other expression he’d worn.

“Are you sure?” For answer, she closed the truck door, keeping her eyes on him. He definitely looked nervous. “Right,” he said quietly. “Well, you’re going to have to turn your back for a second.”

“How can I be sure it’s you if I don’t watch?”

“You’ll know, just like you did in the clearing.” She raised an eyebrow at him, and he rolled his eyes. “The shorts don’t phase, Bells, just me.” He held his hands out to the sides as if to say what you see is what you get, but a bitter smile twisted his lips – not HER smile. Bella’s eyes widened in shock. She spun around quickly and realized right away that she could see his reflection in the truck window. She closed her eyes, but not before it occurred to her how much he had grown since she’d seen him last. She hadn’t thought of it until she’d seen his reflection, but he was probably another three inches taller than she remembered, and he hadn’t exactly been short on movie night. It had to be something to do with what he was, now. His muscles seemed more defined also. When he’d hugged her earlier it had felt a lot different than she remembered. She could feel the flush of her cheeks as she thought about it. She didn’t know how long she should wait to open her eyes. How long did it take a – a werewolf to transform?

For a second, she was surprised at her mental stutter over the word. Wasn’t she accustomed to myths and legends YET? Then she squeaked and jumped as something cold and wet bumped her hand. She turned around to find him right beside her.

The wolf was every bit as large as she remembered from the clearing. His eyes were right at her eye level. She took a deep breath, prepared to be frightened again, but since she could see his eyes, she really could SEE it was Jake. He was right about that much. That same depth and intelligence was there in these eyes. “Your nose is cold,” she whispered, to explain away her momentary fright. He let his tongue hang out of his mouth sideways for a moment, and she smiled at the goofiness of it. It was the first smile she’d managed since Laurent had terrified her so completely. How did he do it? Even now, when he was a wolf, he managed to calm her pain and fears.

She reached up a hand, intending to touch his ear, but thought better of it halfway there. He might not like being treated like a pet. “Can I?” she asked. His tongue lolled again, and his giant snout bobbed up and down like he was nodding, so she let her fingers touch his ear, which was very soft compared to the rest of his scraggly hair. “This is why you cut it?” she asked sadly. He only stared at her in response, and for some reason it made her just as uncomfortable as when he’d leaned toward her to open the truck door a moment before. Then he lowered his head and pushed it against her stomach, shoving her back a step, against the truck. Bella couldn’t help but laugh, running her fingers through the hair at his neck, feeling his whole frame shudder.

“Thank you for saving me today,” she whispered, suddenly feeling very grateful and humble. He raised his head quickly, like he was surprised, and she wrapped her arms around his neck for just a moment. When she released him he backed up and when she didn’t turn around right away, he sat down and cocked his head sideways at her, waiting. She laughed and shook her head. But when she turned away she didn’t close her eyes this time until his shorts were nearly up. She managed it before he looked up, at least. By the time he took her hand in his, she was blushing all the way down her neck. Still, she turned around at his touch, determined not to give herself away. She wondered what had come over her, and resolved not to dwell on it.

Bella didn’t understand it all yet, Jake knew, but he could tell she noticed something was different between them. She hadn’t been afraid. That had been his biggest worry, that she’d be able to accept vampires but not werewolves. Irrational. Bella was more accepting than anyone he knew. She even seemed to accept that he was going to love her whether she wanted him to or not. Good thing, too, since he now knew he’d never love anyone else.

“You’re welcome,” he said, when she turned back away from the truck, letting him take her hand again. But the word that had gone through his mind when she thanked him was Always. Sam had still been phased and had suggested he take it down a notch, though. The bonfire was going to push the limits of her acceptance as it was.

But she’d smiled up at him, blushing, when he opened the door for her again and plucked the keys out of her hands to drive her home. She didn’t say anything while they drove, but she didn’t resist when he took her hand again, either. He couldn’t seem to prevent himself from reaching for her. That, at least, was no different than it had always been.

He tried to wait in the kitchen while she showered and changed without letting his imagination run wild. He could hear everything now. He found himself trying to match the sounds to possible shower activities, but decided that felt too much like spying. He went outside to stand in the misting rain, instead, only going back in when he heard her bedroom door open and close. By the time she finished and came back downstairs, he was nervous again. What if the imprinting stories made her freak out? She’d handled the wolf, but he knew perfectly well that it was the man she was most likely to fear, after all she’d been through. He knew her very, very well. He’d studied her extensively for months, after all.

Charlie still wasn’t home when they left, so Bella wrote him a note. Jake read it over her shoulder. It just said: Cold cuts in the fridge. Going to La Push with Jake. He pulled her back out to the truck, smiling at her again. At least the rain had stopped.
Always ~ Chapter 2
 
 
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(Deleted comment)
Daintress: Fall Down?daintress on July 31st, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Thanks! Fortunately, like everything I post, the story is completely written, so it's just a matter of getting it proofed and uploaded. :)
macbeanermacbeaner on July 31st, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
Post more! :)
Daintress: Fall Down?daintress on July 31st, 2012 12:17 pm (UTC)
Lol! Will do. I worry that this might be a very tame and boring story for the folks used to smut, though. I was not in any good frame of mind to write smut at the time. I'm probably not any better now.
(Anonymous) on August 2nd, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
New story
I like this; can't wait to see where it's going. Great to have something new from you. Thanks for writing.
Daintress: Fall Down?daintress on August 3rd, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
Re: New story
Thanks! There will be more to come! :)
(Anonymous) on March 14th, 2015 03:59 am (UTC)
Hello,

This is enov10, I've been a huge fan of your work for years. I'm still in the fandom and am glad you are posting stories again. Loved this new take on the Twilight universe. Can't wait to read more!
Daintress: Fall Down?daintress on March 22nd, 2015 04:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad someone is able to enjoy it. :)
(Anonymous) on May 26th, 2019 11:25 pm (UTC)
Hi, this is enov10 again. I was looking for your story A Different Path. Can you let me know where I can find it? t's one of my favorites. Thanks.
Daintressdaintress on May 28th, 2019 04:01 pm (UTC)
Hi, thanks for stopping back in! You can find it here:

https://daintress.livejournal.com/238178.html