Story Title: Breathe Again by ysar
Chapter: 13. Disturbance
Genre: Twilight – Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence,
Post Word Count: 2727
Status: Work In Progress
Summary: “If Alice hadn’t seen Bella cliff-dive, what would have happened? Would Bella have given in to her feelings for Jacob? Was she even capable of moving on? Victoria’s hunting, Edward’s coming back—and that’s just the beginning!”
The next day at school was supposed to be a little better. I’d had a long talk with myself the night before, deciding that I didn’t want to be that girl, the one who was so obsessed with her boyfriend that she couldn’t function away from him. I loved Jacob, but there was no reason to be so consumed with him that I couldn’t get through a school day.
That had always been a problem with Edward. On sunny days, he’d had to ditch school, leaving me to suffer through the hours alone. I’d gotten so used to seeing him all day every day that I’d grown to dread those times when the clouds disappeared. But my relationship with Jacob was different. Even when we were just friends, we’d always made time for each other after school or work…or patrolling for vampires. We didn’t have to spend every second together…even if I really wanted to. And that was healthier, right? I would just have to keep telling myself that.
I fumbled my way through my morning classes, working hard to pay attention to the lessons, and while my thoughts often wandered to Jacob, I managed to answer correctly when called on and, more importantly, not injure myself (or anyone else) in gym. Of course, classes were a breeze when compared to lunch.
Like yesterday, Angela caught me in the hall before lunch, and this time I didn’t make any excuses. We walked together to the lunchroom, idly chatting in line about things of no consequence. It was nice, and for a few minutes, I felt like my life was actually normal. Jessica got a salad, and I grabbed some pizza and a soda. I actually managed not to trip or drop anything on my way to the table. Eric was sitting at the next table over, and he appeared to be arguing with Katie. Tyler was sitting with them, looking horribly uncomfortable. Then I looked over at our table. Of the four open seats, one was next to Ben, and the other two were directly across from Lauren and Jessica. I had the feeling I would have been better off joining Tyler. Why was it that Jessica was so easily infected by Lauren’s spitefulness?
As Angela took the seat next to Ben, I briefly considered sitting at the other table. But after barely speaking to anyone for so many months, I was lucky to still have a group to sit with. So I squared my shoulders and took a seat.
“There’s my girl,” said Mike, taking the empty chair beside me and casually throwing an arm around me. He planted a wet kiss on my temple, just as I was taking a bite of my pizza. I sputtered and coughed, but my fear having to suffer the Heimlich maneuver at his hands saved me from choking. I shrugged his arm off and gave Angela a pleading look.
“So, Lauren,” Angela said, “Have you talked to that cute boy again?”
I mouthed ‘thank you’ at her and took another bite, turning to Lauren and feigning interest.
“Of course,” she said with a smug smile. She looked at each of us, as if waiting for some kind of awed reaction, and then said “Jake is going to take me for a ride on his motorcycle this weekend.”
My breath caught sharply, sucking down the bite of pizza with it, and this time I really was choking. Jake? My Jacob?!
Mike seized the opportunity to touch me again, patting me on the back and chuckling as strained tears filled my eyes.
“I’m—okay—fine,” I gasped as I managed to take in some oxygen. All conversation had stopped, and all eyes were on my very red face.
Lauren was scowling at me again, clearly angry that my display had taken the focus off her. Angela and Ben were looking on curiously, as Mike’s patting became rubbing. Jessica was simply looking from him to me and mimicking Lauren’s glare. I awkwardly pushed Mike’s hand away, and returned Lauren’s scathing look.
“You were saying?” I prompted, my tone not nearly as light as I’d intended.
Lauren’s fuming turned into something of a sneer and she continued. “Well, some of us…,” She paused to give me another pointed look, “…had a very productive spring break.”
She’d better not mean what I think she means.
“Well, Bella and I had a productive spring break too, didn’t we?” said Mike. I winced at the collective, but at least this time he had more sense than to put his arm around me.
“Mine was okay, I guess,” I replied. I’d correct Mike’s delusional train of thought later. Right now, I just wanted Lauren to explain herself. “I didn’t do much,” I said to her, hoping she’d seize the opportunity to brag about hers.
“That’s not what it looked like at the party,” Jessica said accusingly.
“Yeah, you weren’t there when Jake and I left,” Lauren added. “What did you do?”
I should have said something. I should have at least tried to answer her. I should have slapped her. But instead, I just sat there staring with my mouth open. She left with Jake?
“Ah, Bella…,” Angela interrupted. “We should probably go. I need to get those notes from you…”
It was a nice gesture, but no one was fooled. I was sitting there slack-jawed while Angela made a rather obvious attempt to give me a graceful exit. But nothing I’d done had ever been graceful.
“Yeah…ah…notes,” I mumbled as I stood and gathered my things. My Chemistry notes went flying, stopped only by the soda can they knocked over. Good thing it was almost empty. I hastily grabbed up the wet papers and shoved them in a folder, not caring that they were still dripping.
Lauren looked too pleased with herself, and Jessica just looked confused. I didn’t say a word as I stalked off, Angela’s footsteps falling in behind my own.
“What was that?” Angela asked as soon as we were in the hallway.
“Is she talking about Jacob Black?” I asked, ignoring her question.
“I don’t know his last name,” Angela said. “He’s a Quileute, and I think he’s a lot older than us, if that helps,” she said, the confused concern on her face doing little to calm me.
“Older…because he’s so big?”
“Yeah, he’s probably at least twenty,” she said. “Bella, what’s going on?”
“I think she’s talking about my…boyfriend.”
And that’s what I loved about Angela. Instead of launching a million questions at me, she just gave me a sympathetic smile and walked silently down the hall with me.
I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything all afternoon. All I could do was watch the clock, anxious for the school day to be over so I could… do what? What was I supposed to do? Confronting Lauren was a miserable idea. She would enjoy that far too much, especially if my suspicions were correct. Then again, maybe she wasn’t talking about my Jacob. Maybe there was another Quileute named Jake. Who owned a motorcycle. And met Lauren over spring break. My Jacob and my enemy—I certainly couldn’t call her my friend—had been together at Mike’s beach party, had left together, and had done God knows what together after that.
I should have asked Angela about it. She might know something. But Angela wasn’t one to gossip, and if it were bad news, she would only try to soften it too much for me. I tried not to think about it, but that just made me think about it more. Jacob had been so…eager the first time we kissed. And Lauren had a certain reputation. When combined, it was a nauseating prospect. I finally gave up and did something I knew would come back to bite me: I skipped class.
I don’t even remember my alarm going off. All I know is that when I woke up there was a pile of smashed plastic and wires on my nightstand, and I’d probably missed my first several classes. Having all this extra strength was getting to be a problem. I rolled over and closed my eyes, trying to go back to sleep, back to my dreams of Bella. But it was no use. I got up and pulled on some shorts, and I made my way to the kitchen to scrounge up some food. Dad was sitting at the kitchen table with the sports page.
“Killed another one?” he asked. He was getting used to the short life spans my alarm clocks suffered.
“Yeah,” I mumbled.
“There’s some leftover pizza,” he said. At least he wasn’t giving me a hard time about missing school.
I dug around and found it buried at the bottom of the fridge. I grabbed the box and sat down with him at the table. One nice thing about it being just us guys was that nobody cared whether or not you used a plate.
“It’s about time you got up,” Rachel said, sitting down next to me.
Damn. Woman in the house. “Are you ever going back to school?” I asked her. She’d come home for spring break, but she should have been gone by now.
“Dad, I need to talk to you about something,” she said, completely ignoring me.
With raised eyebrows, Dad looked up over his paper.
“I’ve decided to stay in La Push,” she announced.
“What about school?” he asked, dropping the paper.
“I’m going to transfer,” she said. “All my credits are good at Peninsula College. Besides, WSU is so far away from home. If I transfer, I can be closer to Paul. And you guys.”
Like she cared about being closer to “us guys.”
“So you’re moving back in?” I asked. No. Please, no.
“Not exactly…” she said nervously.
I could almost see the wheels turning in his head.
“You are not moving in with that boy!” Dad bellowed.
“Dad, no!” she exclaimed. “Actually I thought I could move into the old house.”
The ‘old house’ was the first house my parents had after they got married. It was tiny–just one bedroom–so they had to build a bigger place when Mom found out she was pregnant with the twins. It was still there, just behind the big patch of trees in our backyard, and it was in really bad shape. Most of the shingles were missing, and all the windows were broken. Quil and I had even kicked a bunch of holes in one of the walls. Karate or something.
“That house is practically condemned,” Dad said, still a little red in the face.
I was pretty sure we’d taken off all the doors, too, although I couldn’t remember what we’d done with them.
“That’s okay,” Rachel said. “Jake can help me fix it up.”
“Oh, no! You’re not dragging me into this,” I said. “You just want it so you can sneak Paul in at night.”
Rachel gave me a death glare and I grinned back at her. I’d ruined her big plan.
“Jake’s right,” Dad said. “If you want your boyfriend to spend the night, you can pay for your own apartment in town.”
“But, Dad—” Rachel whined.
“No! You either pay for your own place or you live here. Your choice.”
Rachel huffed and pouted. For a few seconds, she even looked like she was trying to make herself cry, but Dad just picked up the paper and ignored her. A car horn punctuated the conversation, and Dad mumbled something about Sue Clearwater, then he left.
I was sitting on the sofa trying to come up with something to do. The great thing about missing school was that I didn’t have to deal with teachers. The bad part was that there was no one to talk to. I looked at the clock. Four more hours until school was out. Four more hours before I’d see Bella.
I tried calling Embry, but he said he was taking a test. I couldn’t phase, either. With my luck, Sam would be phased, and then I’d have to listen to an hour-long lecture about the importance of a good education. Not that he had any room to talk. He’d dropped out of school four years ago, when he was sixteen, and it looked like he’d done pretty well for himself in spite of no diploma. He had a good truck, a nice little house, and Emily.
“It’ll never work,” Rachel suddenly said.
“The old house,” she said. “Bella won’t do it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Face it, Jake. She’s used to nice things. She won’t want to live in a tiny house on a poor reservation,” she said.
“You’re just mad ’cause Dad won’t let you shack up with Paul. This has nothing to do with Bella,” I said.
“Oh, yes, it does.” she insisted. “You want that house for yourself so Bella can move in with you.”
“No, I don’t,” I argued. But now that she mentioned it…
“Whatever. You know she’ll hate it.”
“Bella doesn’t care about money.”
“All girls care about money, Jake. Think about it. She lives in that nice two-story house with her dad. Her mom travels around the country with her step dad–who plays professional baseball! Her dad even bought her a vehicle as a welcome home present. And she dated a Cullen. Everyone knows they’re made of money.”
“Shut up, Rach. You don’t even know her!”
“I know enough! She’s not like us, Jake. What do you think she’s gonna do when she finds out what you are?”
“She already knows what I am, and she doesn’t care,” I said smugly.
“Sure, that’s what she says now. What about when she goes off to college and meets some nice guy who doesn’t turn into a dog? You can’t even afford to take her on a real date.”
I flipped on the TV and turned the volume up uncomfortably loud, and eventually she left the room. She was wrong. Bella didn’t care about the werewolf thing. In fact, I thought she liked it. It meant I could protect her, and she didn’t have to keep the whole Cullens being vampires thing a secret anymore. And I knew Bella didn’t care about money. Yeah, Charlie had bought her a vehicle, but not a nice one. He’d bought her Dad’s old, rusty, slow truck, and Bella loved it.
But Rachel was right about one thing. Not caring about money and not having any were two completely different things. I couldn’t give Bella what she deserved. I couldn’t even afford to order a pizza and rent a movie. How was I supposed to give her the life she deserved if I couldn’t even buy her dinner? Even if Dad did give me the old house, it was too small and too falling apart for Bella. Not that it mattered. Hell, we’d barely started dating. We were nowhere near planning a future…even if I couldn’t imagine a future without her.
“Soap operas? Seriously, Jake?” Embry asked, cutting short my reflections.
Crap. I was so busy thinking I hadn’t even noticed what was on the TV.
“I must have dozed off,” I said, hoping he’d buy it.
“Or maybe you’ve gone soft on me, now that you’re all in loooooove,” he said laughing.
“Finish your test?” I asked, changing the subject.
“Yeah, it was easy. Garage?”
We spent the next few hours messing around in the garage. I’d changed the oil and spark plugs in the Rabbit, and he’d perched himself on my bike, laughing and cracking jokes every time he turned the page in one of Quil’s magazines.
“Here,” he said, throwing one at me.
“Don’t want it,” I muttered, throwing it back.
“You need it,” he laughed. “Consider it a study guide.”
“Not necessary,” I said, dropping it on top of the toolbox.
“What? You got another way to know what she wants?” he asked.
“I don’t think that’s what she wants.”
“You say that now,” he said. “Wait till you get her alone and don’t know what to do,” he teased.
“I think I can figure it out.”
“Okay, man. Don’t come crying to me when Bella’s all disappointed.”
“You screwed up again?” asked Quil, walking in with Paul and Seth on his heels.
“Not yet, but he will!” Embry said.