His girlfriend! My mouth was slightly hanging open as I took her in. She was beautiful, long dark hair, a perfect tan complexion, and very expressive, dark brown eyes. A perfect compliment to Jacob. I looked at him and he was beaming at her with his arm wrapped around her slim waist. They were a cute couple, but I was still shocked.
"Um, hi Ashni. It’s nice to meet you," I fumbled.
"Likewise," she said to me with a tight smile. "Jake, what do you think you are doing? Why did you phase in front of her? You know that you aren’t supposed to do that. What were you thinking?"
Jake being Jake just rolled his eyes and said, "Well, I had to make a point to Bella that things aren’t always what they seem. There are some fairy tales that do exist."
"Fairy tales! That’s what you think you are? Part of a fairy tale?" I asked him. What was his warped mind thinking?
"Sure, what else?"
"Jacob Black I don’t understand you at all sometimes. I knew that you were crazy before, but you just confirmed it for me," I said with a smile. "But what is going on? You have me so lost and confused. In your room you were asking me about the "Cold Ones" and asking if I knew any and now you showed me that can change yourself into a wolf? How am I supposed to think any of this is real and I am not dreaming?"
"Bella, I am telling you the truth. I am a werewolf and I can only tell you because you are my best friend. We usually don’t tell anyone, which is why Ashni was so mad at me. She knows that we can’t tell anyone about us," he said motioning to her once again.
"Yeah, and I thought that meant not even anyone outside of the tribe, Jacob," she said, still angry over what is going on.
"I think I need to sit down," I said as I slumped to the ground. I sat pretzel legged on the ground and soon Jacob followed suit. He held his hand up to Ashni to join us sitting on the ground. She took his hand and slid down right next to him. I could tell that they loved each other very much and that she was worried what would happen to Jake.
"Ashni, I can tell that you love Jake and I wanted to tell you that no matter what he is, I will never tell anyone about him. I wouldn’t betray him like that. I know that you must have been upset over seeing him change like he did, but I can tell you honestly that I was more shocked than anything."
"I really hope I can believe and trust you on that. Jacob knows you more than I do, obviously, so I hope that I can trust his judgment too."
"Ashni, I promise you that I will never tell anyone about Jake. You can trust me," I pleaded with her.
"I will wait and see, that is all I can do for now."
"Okay. Fair enough. Now Jake, you want to tell me how you and Ashni met? I have to admit that I am curious," I said, but what I wanted to say was: I have to admit that I am surprised since you were all but obsessed with me for years but I didn’t.
"Oh right. Well that is another one of those wolf things. It is really rare actually, what happened to me. There have only been a handful of the tribe protectors that this has happened to. What the tribal elders called it is imprinting. I don’t know if I explain it right, but when we see the person that we are destined to be with, nothing else matters. The reason that the world goes around is because of that person. Ashni is that person for me."
He leaned over to kiss her gently on the mouth as she brought up her hand to cup his cheek. I looked away to give them their moment. When I looked back I could see what he was talking about. They were definitely made for each other.
"Okay, then. I should be going anyway before Edward and Alice start to worry about me and come looking," I said standing up.
Jacob and Ashni stood up as well and Jacob said, "They won’t come here, Bella."
"Why not? There isn’t anything stopping them. If they got worried enough I’m sure that they would come looking for me."
"No, Bella. That is what I have been trying to get through to you. There has been a pact that none of their kind comes onto our land."
I shook my head. "I don’t get it. What do you have against the Cullen’s? What have they ever done to you?" I said angrily.
"What have they done to me? They made me turn into what I am. Granted, it was in my blood to become what I’ve become but if they hadn’t come I would have had a normal life. Then again," he said looking over to Ashni, "I may never have imprinted on Ashni. Then where would we have been?"
She smiled up into his face. She was tiny compared to him, barely reaching his shoulders. "You would be lost, that’s where you’d be," she said jokingly.
"Whatever, Jacob. I have to leave. I am going home, I’m getting tired. It’s been a long and hard day today and I would like to just sit for a bit. I’ll talk to you later." I started walking away when Jacob grabbed my arm and turned me around.
He bent close to my face and said, "Just be careful with them Bella. If I could have it my way, you would be staying here in La Push. But I know that your little friends wouldn’t like that very much, would they?" He said it like there was a bad taste in his mouth.
"No. I’m sure that my friends wouldn’t like it. But Jake, really, try and be nicer when it comes to them. They have helped me out when I needed them most. They have taken me into their homes and are treating me like I am one of the family. I will give you a call sometime okay. Ashni, it was nice to have met you."
I turned around to leave again and I heard, "Watch your back Bella. Watch for the signs from the story and see if your own eyes can tell you the truth that I’ve told you." I didn’t look back but just waved my hand. I walked back towards Jake’s house where the car was still sitting. Once I got in I sat there for a minute to take in all that I just witnessed and what I had been told. But I didn’t want to stay too long that I would have to see Jake and Ashni walk back together, so I started the car and pulled away towards the Cullen’s house.
When I got further out of La Push, I pulled out the phone to call Edward when the phone in my hand rang. I answered it and it was Alice. Surprise, surprise.
"Good, you are on your way back. Now you have to expect this, but you have to tell me what happened when you were there," she said really fast in the normal Alice way.
I laughed into the phone. "Of course. Do you want to meet me at the garage or will you wait long enough for me to get into your house?"
"Smartass," she laughed. "I’ll wait, but hurry."
Then she hung up. I put the phone down and continued to drive. What Jake said was really starting to annoy me. What did he mean, "Watch your back." Who was I supposed to have to watch out for? I hadn’t talked to him in years and all of a sudden he thinks he is my protector because he can change into a wolf, a big wolf? And I was supposed to "watch for the signs to see if my eyes could convince me."
I turned into the driveway to the Cullen’s house and drove to the garage. I noticed that Alice was on the steps to the house bouncing up and down a little. I know that she was anxious to hear what was going on with my other friend. I got into the garage, turned off the car, and got out slowly. I knew that she was going to be pelting me with questions.
I barely got to the steps before I saw Alice make one last jump and she landed ever so softly onto the grass in the front yard. I was always so jealous that she was so graceful, while I tripped over air most times. Well, I would if I tried to jump like she did. Sports are completely out for me; I am dangerous in any sport.
"Bella! It’s about time. What took you so long? No, forget that. What happened there? Tell me everything," she said, barely containing herself. For someone so small, she was an opposing figure when she wanted to be. She always let you know that she was around you.
"Okay. Want to stay outside while I tell you?"
"Sure, let’s sit on the steps. Now go!"
"Alright. It was actually the strangest visit I’ve ever had with anyone. I got to see Billy and talked to him briefly, he is sad about mom and dad being gone, but I think he will be okay. Then Jake and I went to his room to talk. He tried to convince me that one of their tribal legends or stories was real." I took a breath and when I stopped to do that Alice butted in.
"What story did he say was real?" she asked pulling herself into a straighter sitting position.
"Well they have a story about the "Cold Ones" who came to their lands and hunted off people. I heard the story when I was a young girl and never thought of it more than a ghost story," I laughed. But the look on Alice’s face showed that she thought something different.
"What else, Bella?"
"Nothing, he just said that I needed to open my eyes and watch out for the signs that could convince me that he was right and that there are vampires. I think he was losing it, but what do I know?"
"Yeah. Right, well let’s go share this with Edward. Wanna?" She stood up and looked at me. I guess I didn’t have a choice, but I am sure that he already heard it from Alice’s mind.
"But I also met his girlfriend, Ashni. She was very protective of him, but she is a sweet girl. They obviously love each other and are totally meant to be together," I said. Alice turned to look at me with this new statement.
"It sounds like you don’t like that he has a girlfriend, Miss Bella. Are you jealous?"
"No, of course not. Well, it’s just that growing up Jake thought that I was the only girl for him and I always turned him down and now that he is with Ashni, I feel a little… I don’t know." I huffed.
"Jealous. That is what you are feeling. But you still like Edward, right?"
"Of course I do. Don’t be silly, you know that I’ve been head over heels for him since I first saw him." Looking back to when I first saw the Cullen’s at school, how could I ever doubt that I wouldn’t be in love with him?
She smiled. "Okay then. In we go."
Edward was there as we went in. Of course and he probably heard what we had said. Great! What else did I have to expect from a day like today.
"Edward, good. I’m glad you’re here. Bella has something to tell you about her visit with her friend… Jake, right?"
"Yes, Alice. I heard, remember?" He said tapping his temples. "Interesting." He said with a smile.
"You think so?" Alice asked. "What does this mean?"
"I think it means that I need to talk to Bella. Alone. For a little bit, if you don’t mind Alice?" He said, but his topaz eyes never left mine and I felt the heat rise to my face again.
"Sure. I guess so, but you aren’t making this any fun." With that she stalked away.
"Bella, can to take a seat with me. I think we need to talk." He moved to the couch. The same couch where I fell asleep on him. Oh god! How embarrassing.
"So, I heard what you told Alice."
"Yes, what do you think he meant when he said that I needed to keep my eyes open?"
He gave me his famous crooked smile and looked down. "That isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about. That part I think we need to share with dad. What I wanted to talk to you about it the part where you said that you loved me. Is that true?"
Oh my god! Did I really have to talk about this? How could I have forgotten that he could not hear me, but he could hear Alice! I started to panic, not knowing what to say to him. I dared to look up at him and that was a bad idea, now I couldn’t look away from him or that fierce gaze of his. I was hooked.
"Uh… yeah… uh… it is," was all I managed to get out. But I still couldn’t break my gaze from his. What was it about him that made me completely weak? Why did I become so weak around him? I lost all ability to talk it seemed.
"Well, then. I guess we need to do something about that, don’t we?"
"We need to figure out what to do about this little problem of ours. Since I take it that we are going to be seeing quite a bit of each other. What would you propose?"
"Me? I… uh… I don’t know. You?"
"Well, I could throw out a couple of suggestions if you can’t think of anything. Like," he said as he leaned in closer to me, "we could…" closer still, "see what happens…" so close I couldn’t breathe, "when I…" and he kissed me. And my breath was gone. I melted into him, closing the little bit of distance that we had between us. I put my hand up to his face and cupped his cheek in my hand.
When he broke away from me, I didn’t remember my name or where I was. Oh yeah, breathe Bella. I shook my head to clear some of the cobwebs that formed in that brief moment.
"Um… thank you," I said. Oh my god! Did I just say thank you to him?
He laughed and said, "You’re welcome. Now what do you say?"
"I can’t say anything. I think you took all word from my mouth for the next year."
He laughed and kissed me again this time not delaying the moment at all. He put his hand behind my head and wound his fingers in my hair, slightly pulling my face closer to his. I reached up to put my arms around him and kissed him back. This time I wasn’t as blown away. I could think a little more, but I was kissing Edward Cullen! This was too much.
"Oh man! You guess need to get a room!" Emmett said as he walked into the room. "I wanted to get into the game.
We broke away from each other and I was beet red. Edward rolled his eyes. "Like you can talk. Anyway, Bella needs to talk to dad, do you know where he is?"
Emmett pointed upstairs and said, "Up in his study." We got up from the couch and he took it and turned on the big plasma screen television.
"Alice, wanna join us?" Edward asked. I didn’t know where she was but she came up to us and was grinning something horrible.
"Of course. Congrats you guys. It’s about time!" She laughed and slapped her brother on the back. "Now, let’s go talk to dad about this visit and story of Bella’s." We walked up the stairs to Carlisle’s study. The door was open and Carlisle was sitting behind the desk with an open book on it. He was hunched over it reading when we came in.
"Hey guys, what’s going on?" Carlisle asked.
"Bella needs to tell you something. Go ahead Bella." Edward said.
I retold my visit to Carlisle and he sat there listening to the story nodding every once in awhile. When I finished, he simply stated, "The pact has been compromised."
What? What did that mean? What pact? I was so lost. I really shouldn’t have gotten out of Alice’s bed this morning.
"Yes, that is what I thought too. What do we do? And more important, what do we need to explain to Bella?" Edward said putting his arm around me protectively.
"Yes. I see. Now that is going to be more complicated," Carlisle said noting the gesture too. Then I saw that Edward nodded at him. I couldn’t even guess what passed between them. I didn’t want to try anymore today.
"Well, I guess we need to let her into the loop now that she is going to be staying here. How?" Carlisle said.
Edward looked down at me and I must be looking like I was in shock because he said, "I think we need to wait a bit. I’ll bring her to Alice’s room and talk to her a little bit. It may be easier there."
He guided me out of the study and into Alice’s room, which I saw gained a bed in my absence. My bed, I assumed. He had me sit down on the new bed, crouched down in front of me, and lightly kissed my forehead.
"Bella, what I have to say may not be easy to handle, but keep in mind that you are completely safe here, okay?"
"Uh huh," I said. I didn’t know what more to think today.
"Well we, my family and I, are the "Cold Ones" that your friend Jacob told you about. But unlike the stories you’ve heard, we do not hunt or attack humans. Do you understand?"
"I don’t know… I don’t know. I am tired, Edward." And I passed out.