Title: Surviving You
Disclaimer: "Twilight" and all related characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
Word Count: 1,848
Summary: Jacob has found out about Bella’s engagement to Edward and is determined to show her that he can offer her a better life outside of Edward.
Warnings: Post-Eclipse, no Breaking Dawn Spoilers, AU.
Author's Notes: Not sure if this is exactly what the request prompted, but here’s hoping you like it! Angsty, Edward/Bella, Jacob/Bella. Beta’d by the amazing jacyevans.
I knew things were going to be bad as soon as I heard the roar of the bike speeding into the driveway, gravel spraying as the tires carved to a sudden stop.
There was palpable tension in the house. They had all heard him coming before I could, that was obvious. Various activities had halted and they all became still – cold, marble statues in the white house, frozen in time. They waited motionless, but I ran to the door when I recognized the sound.
While they were ice, he was fire. His anger was tangible - visible in every movement, audible in every sound. His gestures were sharp and fierce, his jaw firm as he clenched his teeth, his eyes dark and narrowed.
He opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by a hard, cool voice from the entrance behind me.
“We’ll talk about it. She needs to hear this too. Wait one moment.”
I turned around, but Edward had already gone.
Jacob fumed in silence and refused to meet my gaze. What had prompted such fury?
Edward’s silver Volvo appeared from the garage - so quiet compared to the roar of the bike. He got out of the vehicle calmly and walked to the passenger side, opening the doors.
“Bella, get in the back; Jacob take the passenger seat. We’re going for a drive.”
Though his voice was calm, it was commanding. I could see that even Jacob felt a need to obey, and he did so grudgingly as we both walked toward the vehicle. I sat silently, my gaze flickering back and forth between the two scowling men.
There was a fierce but silent battle for power as Jacob stepped towards the Volvo but didn’t get in. His feet planted firmly on the gravel, and his fists clenched, but he stood his ground.
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” the russet skinned giant muttered, fists clenching tighter, muscles bulging with tension.
“Get in the vehicle, Jacob,” Edward commanded once more, an edge of icy finality in his tone. He was done with arguing. Jacob seemed to sense this as well because he sat in the car.
Edward raced out of the driveway before Jacob had even settled in his seat, and I hurried to buckle my seat belt. I trusted Edward’s driving whole-heartedly when it was just the two of us, but the additional element of Jacob made Edward’s speedy driving style riskier than normal.
“Is someone going to tell me what’s going on or what?” I asked, trying to break the hostile silence between the two creatures at the front of the vehicle.
“Jacob has come to provide you with a counter offer to my marriage proposal,” Edward said, a hint of a smile curling the corner of his mouth. “I felt it to be my responsibility to give him a chance to enlighten you on all of your options.”
Jacob scowled at the patronizing tone in Edward’s voice but continued to glare out the glass window in silence.
“A counter offer?” The suspicion and disapproval were clear in my voice, and my heart started to pound faster in my chest as I saw Jacob’s face flush slightly. I suddenly felt queasy. What was Edward playing at, and what exactly was Jacob ‘offering’ that had him blushing so easily? Jacob rarely blushed.
“Shall I tell her your plan or would you rather tell her?” Edward asked Jacob without taking his eyes off of the road.
“Stay out of my head, you telepathic freak,” Jacob muttered. “What I do and what I talk to Bella about is none of your business.”
“Isn’t it?” Edward asked.
“Stop it, Edward,” I said through clenched teeth. The car was starting to feel cramped and oppressive as Jacob’s anger seemed to spread throughout the tiny space.
“Jacob, will you please tell me what’s going on here?” I pleaded, “I’m tired of being left out of whatever battle it is you have going on in Edward’s head.”
“You can’t marry him, Bella,” Jacob blurted out, and I was surprised at the look on his face as he turned around in the seat to look at me. His large eyes, so dark their chocolate depths were almost black, were filled with sadness. They were the eyes of my Jacob, the Jacob I thought I’d lost. “Even he knows it’s not what would be best for you. He’s a monster.”
“As if you should talk,” I spat back, regretting my words instantly as his face crumpled, immediately re-hardening as Edward’s light chuckle rang through the car.
Jacob glared at him, and suddenly, Edward swerved the car onto the shoulder of the road, the stop so sudden that I felt my forehead crash into the seat in front of me.
I looked questioningly at Edward, but his eyes were closed tight, his face contorted in pain.
“Still too hard to stomach isn’t it? Still can’t forgive yourself for what you’ve done to her?” Jacob’s voice was harsh and mocking. “What? Are you gonna sulk now?”
“That will never happen again,” Edward replied as he pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers. It was as if Jacob’s thoughts were no more than a pesky tension headache he could cast off by relieving the pressure. At least now I knew exactly what was going on.
“It’s not like that anymore, Jake,” I muttered, resting a reassuring hand on his feverishly warm arm. “He wouldn’t do that again. He’ll never leave me.”
“That’s the problem,” Jacob growled, pulling back from my touch. “He won’t leave you, Bella. He shouldn’t be near you and now he won’t back away. He’ll hurt you again. I know it. He’ll kill you.”
“He couldn’t.” My voice was strong with conviction. I knew it was the truth. Edward would not and could not physically hurt me. Not anymore.
“Stop thinking like that. If you keep picturing it like that, I will arrange it so you’re unable to do so ever again,” Edward threatened, a low growl in his chest. I glanced at Jacob and wondered what exactly he’d thought. It didn’t take much to guess.
“Both of you, stop it!” I yelled. I could feel my face flushing with my fury as I struggled to unbuckle myself. “I’m not going to sit here and listen to you two bicker.”
Finally freeing myself from my seatbelt, I opened the door and climbed out, stomping clumsily through the tall grass at the edge of the woods. It would almost be beautiful here, the forest threatening to consume the tiny sliver of road that carved through it. That is, it would have been beautiful if I were not trying to escape the two men I loved. I was thankful that Edward could not read my mind. Knowing that I did love Jacob was one thing, but Edward knowing, truly knowing, would be excruciating. Jacob knew, and though the memories were there, Edward would most likely assume that Jacob was just distorting the truth to fit his own desires and needs.
Both Jake and Edward had gotten out of the car when I stormed off, but I was suddenly aware that they were no longer following me. I turned around to see where they had gone but only saw Jacob looking back to Edward, two steps in front of him.
They spoke no words, but I knew they were communicating silently, through their minds. I couldn’t tell what Jacob was thinking but Edward was making tiny gestures - a nod here, a shake of the head no there, the clenching of a fist.
With a sigh of frustration, I stomped further away from the car. Why could there never be peace between the two of them?
“Bella, hold up!” Jacob called out to me but was already by my side in a few effortless bounds.
Instead of glancing at him, I looked back at Edward, but he was gone.
“He’s gone for a walk,” Jacob clarified for me as he saw my searching eyes. “His way of discussing this didn’t work so we’re trying it my way.”
“Your way? And what are we discussing exactly?”
“And why is my life up to you two and not me?” I replied, angered by Jacob’s blunt reply.
“Because you’ve decided to end your life and neither one of us think that’s what is best for you. Obviously, you’re too careless to be responsible for your own life.”
He looked at me sheepishly, taking my hand into his own giant, warm one. It didn’t feel altogether unappealing. “I have to save you from yourself.”
“Save me from myself!?”
“You’re in such a rush to end your life, Bella,” his eyes softened and his pain was visible in his features. He looked above my head now and into the trees beyond. “I can’t let you kill yourself. I won’t stand by idly and watch you die.”
“I’m not going to actually die, Jake,” I murmured, uneasy at seeing his perspective of things. “I’m just going to start a new life.”
“A new life full of death and secrets, always hiding who you are from everyone else,” he pointed out, looking into my eyes once more.
“And the life you’re offering me is exactly the same, Jake.”
His brow furrowed, and he scowled at the idea.
“The life I’m offering you is nothing like that. You can stay human, don’t you see? I could make you happy. I can offer you a life in the warmth of the sun. All he can give you is a life of cold and death.”
“I can’t survive without him.” The words sounded dramatic, but they were the truth. I couldn’t survive without Edward. We’d tried it once, and it had nearly killed us both.
“But you can survive without me?”
The accusation and hurt in his voice struck my heart like a dagger, ripping through my heart and soul. The tears welled in my eyes and then fell freely.
“I need you both, but… yes. I don’t want to survive without you, but if it was between you and Edward…”
He choked, and I could see him crumble within. I had broken him.
“That’s all I needed to hear then,” he gasped. I reached my hand towards him, but he pulled away, backing away from me into the woods beyond.
“Have a nice life, Bells,” he whispered, his voice husky with emotion. It caused the pit of my stomach to feel like there was an icy lump in it. “What’s left of it.”
With that, he ran away, leaving me alone at the edge of the forest. My knees buckled and hit the ground hard, but I didn’t even notice.
I don’t know how long I sat there, drowning in my own sense of loss and helplessness. The tears dried up at some point, but I couldn’t remember when. I don’t even know how long Edward had stood silently watching me before he picked me up in his arms. I was broken inside, and I wished that I could feel empty. That I could put all of my feelings for Jacob in a box and bury it forever, never to feel the pain that he had left – never to feel the guilt that consumed me for what I had done to him.
“He’ll forgive you. One day,” Edward whispered as he kissed my hair.
I nodded, wanting to be comforted, but I felt no truth in his words.