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i'm chasing fire (when I'm running after you)

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“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Jacob's voice is amused, and Bella jerks up to glare at him in surprised outrage.

 

“Jacob, It’s six in the morning. I’m tired and cold and if what you’re doing right now it’s insulting Carol's ability to get us to school; you’re going to regret it.” She says, crinkling her eyes, threatening him to say something else about her truck.

 

Jacob snorts. “How can people still think you’re straight after taking one good look at you I won’t ever understand.”

 

He’s not necessarily wrong. It’s a mystery that still amazes her to this day, but alas, it continues. Straight people have an annoying habit of thinking everyone is the same as them unless they tell them so.

 

With words.

 

Her array of flannel shirts doesn’t seem to do the trick, somehow.

 

“This would mean a lot more if I hadn’t been forced to listen to Lady Gaga's new album on repeat these last few days.” She says, adjusting her black sunglasses and turning the engine of her truck on. “If you’re trying to imply that I’m a bigger stereotype than you – I’m afraid you’re going to lose that battle buddy.”

 

“I was trying to pass on valuable life-changing music knowledge to you and Charlie, you know.” Jacob points out. “If both of you can’t appreciate it then it’s not my fault. At least the universe knows that I’ve tried.”

 

Bella rolls her eyes at him.

 

Drama queen.

 

“Do you think It will be much different?” Jacob asks and Bella sees from the corner of her eyes how he’s fidgeting with the zipper of his black hoodie. “You know, from what I was used to?”

 

“I think all schools are pretty much the same Jake,“ she says, shrugging. “You’ll settle in no time. We both will.” She squeezes his hand with her free one, trying to offer him some comfort.

 

He smiles warmly at her and she tries not to let her worry for him show.

 

It’s not a surprise he’s nervous – or unsure of himself in a way Bella had never seen before when they were younger. Not after everything. Not after what Billy had done to him.

 

It’s a good thing she hasn’t had the pleasure to see him around town ever since she came back.

 

She’s not sure what she would have done if she had.

 

“I don’t want you to think that this right here will be something we’ll do every day from now on.” She says, voice serious. “But today, because I’m feeling generous, I’ll let you choose the music, okay?”

 

“What?”

 

“Don’t make me regret it, Jacob,” Bella says, focusing on the cloudy road in front of her. “No Gaga.”

 

 

xXx

 

 

It’s not like Bella didn’t know that this could happen.

 

Still, a part of her had been naïve to hope that three weeks would’ve been enough for her to be old news in Forks.

 

Spoiler alert? It hadn’t.

 

So when she and Jacob are ambushed by an eager student with a camera on his neck she’s a little surprised, to say the least.

 

“Hey!” He says too cheerfully for someone awake at 7 am on a monday. “I’m Eric Yorkie, you’re Isabella Swan and you’re Jacob Black, right?”

 

“Just Bella is fine,” she says while Jacob keeps looking at Eric like he’s going to punch him any minute now.

 

“Do you guys need some help getting to your first class?”

 

It’s not like she wants his help, but it’s becoming painfully clear that Bella has no idea whatsoever how to navigate this new place and Jacob doesn’t seem like he’s fairing any better if the look of concentration on his face is any sort of indication.

 

“Hmm – sure Eric, lead the way.”

 

She snatches Jacob's schedule from his hand with more effort than she would like (he more than anyone doesn’t look pleased with this turn of events), giving it to Eric with her own on top of it.

 

“Okay. The first stop is English for you Jacob, then it's History for me and Bella.” Eric says after glancing at both timetables.

 

 

xXx

 

 

“Okay, so let me get this right. They don’t serve coffee here because it’s bad for our health, but pizza is fine?” Bella says, suddenly outraged.

 

“Are we supposed to answer that?” Angela, a nice girl Eric had introduced her to in their history class, asks Jacob.

 

“Not if you want to live, you don’t.” He says, chewing on his apple.

 

“I kept my cool waking up on an ungodly hour this morning, yes I did. I gave Ms. Vinet the benefit of the doubt when she made me introduce myself in history like I was a five-year-old. Didn’t even complain about it after. All because I kept dreaming about this moment here.” Bella says, wistfully. “The moment where life would reward me with a nice cup of coffee for my efforts. And now I learn that this pleasure will be taken for me forever?”

 

“You do know you can have one before we leave home every day, right?”

 

“This is not the point Jacob,” she says, without really knowing what her point is.

 

“The point is that…” she trails off, trying to think about something.

 

“First day’s sucks?” A girl who has just joined the table says to her.

 

“Exactly!” Bella points her way. “That’s exactly my point…”

 

“Jessica,” The girl – Jessica says.

 

“That's exactly my point, Jessica. The universe is here trying to tell me something, and I’m not liking it.” Bella says, matter-of-factly.

 

Eric looks at her, interested. “What is the universe trying to tell you, Bella?”

 

Jacob just rolls his eyes at her antics. After living together with her for the past few weeks he seems more than used to it by now.

 

“I don’t know yet – but if it's starting by denying me coffee I’m sure it's nothing good.”

 

“Hey, I’m not trying to interrupt or anything, but I think the Cullens might be staring at us guys.” A blonde guy that looks exactly like a labradoodle says, ironically interrupting what he said he didn’t want to.

 

“What?” Jessica exclaims, her eyes almost popping out of her head.

 

Bella, who’s not understanding anything that's happening right now simply follows the direction everyone is looking.

 

Whatever she expected to be staring back at her is nothing close to what is.

 

A group of five people – who seem more fitting to be the leading cast of any CW show about high school than actually be in one – are staring back at her.

 

Bella won’t deny she’s impressed by all of them – or that her heart hadn’t started beating faster when she’d locked eyes with the tall gorgeous blonde who for all intents and purpose shouldn’t be walking among humans.

 

But even if her mother hadn’t been all that interested in teaching young Bella any type of manners, her grandmother Marie had. So she looks away, eyes back on the group in front of her.

 

“And?” She asks, trying to extend the courtesy that everyone here today hadn't given her.

 

She won't stare at people she doesn't know. No matter how much an invisible force (she suspects it’s called being a raging lesbian) it’s telling her to take another glance at those beautiful golden eyes.

 

“They’re the Cullen’s,” Eric says like that answers everything. “They don’t interact with anyone here like ever. Not if they can’t help it.”

 

“That’s because they don’t think none of us are good enough.” Another girl that Bella can’t be bothered to learn the name says, tone bitter.

 

“Geez, I wonder why.” She whispers, low enough that they don’t hear it, but Jacob who’s right beside her gives her a small chuckle.

 

And Bella’s a little impressed that he has somehow managed to pick his jaw out of the floor and stop staring at the bronze haired boy for long enough to acknowledge her existence.

 

“They’re the children of Dr. Cullen, Bella. Charlie mentioned him yesterday, remember?” Jacob says.

 

Bella hums. “Oh, the nice doctor? The one dad’s glad he’s working here in Forks and not in some hotshot hospital somewhere else?”

 

Jacob just nods.

 

“It’s weird. That’s what it is.” The same annoying girl from before says.

 

“Lauren…” Jessica says warningly.

 

“What? We all know I’m not the only one who thinks it’s weird that Jasper and Alice are a couple. They live together. They’re brother and sister.” Lauren states.

 

“You know that the only ones who are related are Rosalie and Jasper, Lauren,” Angela says, voice timid but sure. ”I think it’s nice that Dr. Cullen and his wife take care of all of them.”

 

Jessica nods, agreeing. “Angela’s right. Also, there’s nothing wrong with Jasper and Alice’s relationship. It might be a little unusual? Sure. But you can’t choose when love’s going to happen.”

 

“Nice said girls,” Jacob says, impressed. And he’s not wrong. But Bella has no intention of continuing this conversation, so she changes the subject.

 

“Okay, whatever. Love is awesome, we can all agree on that,” she starts, hoping is enough to let it rest. “Now can someone please tell me why there's a hole on the right side of the wall on Ms. Vinet's class? The one next to the bulletin board?” She asks.

 

Labradoodle (who later in the day she’ll learn is named Mike) just starts laughing like a crazy person before launching into a crazy story involving the football team, a baseball bat, and two people who were into each other.

 

 

xXx

 

 

“Bella, are you listening to me?”

 

She sighs, for the tenth time in the last twenty minutes. “Jacob, for the last time. I’m not going with you to the house of somebody I don't know just because you have a biology project with them.”

 

“Please Bella, there's something with this Edward guy. He just ignored me for weeks, and then he's super nice all of the sudden.”

 

She fights the urge to tell Jacob that she knows – that he hasn’t stopped talking about anything other than Edward ever since that first day of school.

 

Instead, she gives up on trying to do any homework when it’s clear he’s going to go on another rant about the guy. “Jacob, what am I supposed to do while you two work on your project? Don't you think it will be weird?”

 

“What if he and his family kill me and bury my body in the woods?”

 

“Explain to me how me going and having my body buried too will make things better for you, please?”

 

“C’mon Bella. I’ll owe you one.” Jacob says. “It's just – my father doesn't like the Cullens. Much of the old council down at the Rez doesn't either. And you know how I get anxious around people that I don’t know if I’m alone. His whole family will be there. Without you, I’m sure I’ll make a fool out of myself.”

 

“You’re giving me too much credit here Jake,” Bella says, smirk in place. ”I’m sure you’ll be able to do that just as well with me there.” She states.

 

He just looks at her with his best puppy dog face. “Please, Bella.”

 

Fine,” Bella says, already regretting everything. “But you’ll owe me big.”

 

 

xXx

 

 

It's a longer drive than Bella was expecting.

 

There's green all around and suddenly she's convinced Jacob had the right idea bringing her along. This is starting to look too much like a horror movie already, and that’s not good because she hates them with a passion.

 

“Are you sure this is the right path?” Bella asks, looking worriedly at the road in front of her.

 

This would be the perfect time for a masked killer with a chainsaw to pop out of the trees and start hunting them down.

 

She can picture it all so clear in her head.

 

She and Jacob finding out that there’s a creepy basement in the Cullen house when they finally get there after escaping said killer. The surprise in Jacob’s face when they realize that the masked killer is none other than Edward Cullen himself – the object of his crush.

 

That he and his wonderful family are actually devil worship cannibals who are going to kill them and eat their flesh to make them look even more beautiful than they already are.

 

She would be the first do die, surely.

 

The lesbian. They never last.

 

Jacob, who's too busy with his phone to realize she has stopped for a longer amount of time than necessary, suddenly looks up at where Bella’s suspicious eyes are staring. “Yes. Edward just said we have to follow it, then at the end of it we turn left and we'll be there.”

 

And we’re trusting this guy why exactly?” She asks, suddenly unsure of this course of action.

 

Jacob just looks at her like she’s grown a second head. “Hm, because it’s his house?”

 

“If I die because you have a crush on a guy, I swear I’ll haunt you forever Jacob,” Bella says, pressing the gas pedal on her baby and finally moving her truck along the road.

 

“What?” Jacob’s scoff of indignation is already enough evidence that she has hit a nerve.

 

“I don't have a crush on him. I don't even… like… like him Bella, that's crazy.” He says, protesting too much to make it believable.

 

“Jacob, the first time you saw him I almost had to pick your jaw out of the floor buddy. You didn't even pay attention to Mike's hilarious story.”

 

He huffs. “You're saying that like I was the only one who was impressed by them. I saw you; you’re forgetting that.”

 

“I didn't stare,” she says. Because she didn't – she made sure of that. She’d even gone out of her way to not show any type of interest in any of them at all.

 

“That's exactly my point. You went out of your way to not stare at any of them – you still do that by the way. That's not normal.”

 

So what if she hadn’t enjoyed how her treacherous mind seemed to be replaying over and over again the first time she had seen her. So what if she was a bit mad at the girl for that exact same reason. So what if she couldn’t survive another second of Jacob complaining about how Edward Cullen was avoiding him or something.

 

In her book, she had a lot of valid reasons for not liking the Cullen’s right now. Especially if they were indeed devil worship cannibals.

 

“It's called human decency Jacob. It's not my fault most people at school seem to be missing this valuable trait.” She says instead because she’s sure as hell isn’t telling Jacob anything that is going through her mind right now.

 

If she did she would never hear the end of it.

 

“Ok. So we're supposed to pretend you don't think Edward’s sister, Rosalie Hale, is smoking hot?”

 

Rosalie Hale.

 

She fights hard to not let him see just how much hearing her name can affect her even the slightest bit.

 

Now it's her time to scoff. ”I’ve seen Cate Blanchett up-close one-time Jake. Up close.” Her eyes shimmer with the recollection of it. “Now that's an angel. My future wife. The one who I chose to name my truck after. There’s no place in my heart for anyone else Jacob. I thought you already knew and respected that.”

 

“You're too good at lying to yourself, you know that right?” He says, shaking his head. ”You should get that checked out.”

 

Bella just ignores him.

 

 

xXx

 

 

 

“Wow,” Jacob says beside her when they see the Cullen house for the first time. “That’s an awesome house.”

 

She can’t help but agree with the statement.

 

Wow indeed.

 

“Hmm – maybe I’m having second thoughts about this. Can’t we say Charlie needs us home for something?” Jacob mumbles, suddenly nervous.

 

Bella just rolls her eyes at him. “Jacob let’s go. If we’re going to get murdered I would like it for it to happen before this day it’s over. The sooner the better.”

 

“I’m not sure that’s the spirit.” He says.

 

“Why prolong the inevitable?” Bella shrugs.

 

“This seems a little hypocritical coming from the one who spent thirty minutes this morning trying to install the new curtains on your bedroom window with no success before finally admitting defeat and letting me and Charlie help.”

 

“Jacob, let me remind you that insulting me right now it’s not in your best interest. Since I’m doing this here in the name of friendship it would be wise for you to try and maintain the friendship.”

 

“Did you have coffee this morning?”

 

“Yes. I’m not an animal.” Bella grumbles, arms crossed.

 

“Okay. So I’m having some trouble trying to understand why you seem so irritable right now,” Jacob says. “Care to share?”

 

“No.” She says. Because she doesn’t want to share anything.

 

She doesn’t want to be here.

She just wants to watch some stupid movie on TV, curl up with a blanket on the couch and a bag of popcorn on her hand.

 

“Ready?” She asks Jacob, before opening her own door.

 

“Not even a little bit.” He says, grimacing, before opening his own.

 

The walk to the porch is quick, and with every step, Bella feels Jacob shoulders tensing beside her.

 

“You should ring it,” Bella says, nudging him. “The doorbell.” She points out.

 

Jacob passes a hand through his white shirt, trying to unmake the new crinkles that had formed where his seatbelt had been on, to no success.

 

“You look fine,” she says, trying to be supportive. “Chill out buddy.”

 

He takes another deep breath before ringing the doorbell.