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

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It’s early afternoon when Jacob returns.

 

He has a warm smile in his face - the kind that tells Bella everything she needs to know. His cheeks are red and she's sure it has more to do with who he was just with than with the cold temperature outside.

 

She's watching him from the kitchen, but he's too caught up in himself to spot her. So he’s none the wiser that he has an audience when he decides to rest his back on the front door with his hands on his heart.

 

Usually, Bella wouldn’t let him live this one down, but today? She’s too happy for him to do anything but smile at the scene.

 

"Hey," she clears her throat, wincing when Jacob gives her a startled scream. "Guess I can assume things went alright on your date?”

 

He stares at her with narrowed eyes. “You almost gave me a heart attack. I didn’t know you were here.”

 

Bella bites her lip, trying not to laugh. “Where else would I be?”

 

“You could have gone fishing with Charlie.” He answers, shrugging.

 

“I’m going pretend you haven’t said that.” She says and he starts to slowly walk towards her way.

 

“I thought maybe you would’ve succumbed to Charlie’s pleas.”

 

“I kindly explained to him that it seemed fishing was something he did so he could relax. Me screaming every time a bug came near me would defeat that purpose.” Bella explains.

 

He pulls up a chair, sitting right next to her on the kitchen table. “And what did he say?”

 

“He agreed to go alone this time. I did have to promise him that we would join him some other time though.”

 

Jacob whines. “You know I hate fishing. Why would you say something like that?”

 

“So we could suffer together? Isn’t that like the base of our friendship?”

 

He just rolls his eyes at her, playfully giving Bella a little shove.

 

She chuckles. “So, tell me all the details. Did Edward kiss you? Was that the reason you were clutching your heart like a character in one of those stupid movies you’re so fond of?”

 

“Why are you so against romantic comedies?”

 

“Because it’s the same thing as horror movies.” She states.

 

Jacob seems offended. “No, it’s not.”

 

“People have to be dumb so the movie can work.” Bella starts. “Things happen in a way that they never would in real life. Also, they’re awfully heterosexual and damaging to women.” She finishes. “Is that enough reason for you? Because I can go all day.”

 

He sighs. “Ok. Maybe you have a point. But they’re also fun and romantic.”

 

“Jacob. Julia Roberts would never in a million years walk into a stranger’s home so she could change shirts. If any guy offered her that she would flee as fast as she could.”

 

“Are we really about to have this conversation again? It wasn’t enough for you to completely ruin the last time I tried to watch Nothing Hill? Do you have to ruin it forever?”

 

“I’m just saying he’s a stalker. That’s all.”

 

Jacob seems like he’s about to go for it, about to start this discussion again, but she sees the moment he changes his mind.

 

“You know what, I’m not doing this with you.” He says, passing a hand through his long hair.

 

“Fine. So tell me how things went with your crush.”

 

“My date went great!” Jacob says excitedly.

 

She grins. “I figured out that part. What did you guys do?”

 

“Oh, Bella, it was perfect. He took me to this place in the woods –”

 

“Isn’t it a bit ironic that you're enjoying the exact thing you were first worried Edward would do to you?”

 

Jacob just stares at her, clearly not amused at the interruption. “It’s such a beautiful place. Truly. I’ll have to show you sometime.”

 

“Please don’t.” She mumbles. Bella has zero interest in seeing Jacob and Edward make-out spot in person.

 

“I was a little anxious, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about.” He says and she nods.

 

She doesn't tell Jake that him barging in minute after minute in her room last night had already managed to cement that fact in her head.

 

“It went great. We had a picnic there – I mean, I ate and he stared. Still, it was wonderful.” He says with his eyes shining. “We talked a lot. I told him about everything that happened before, you know, with my dad. He was super supportive.”

 

“That’s.. great buddy. Really.” She says, smiling softly. “I’m happy for you.”

 

Jacob smiles back at her and Bella can't help but think that if anybody deserved this kind of happiness – it was him.

 

His smile suddenly turns to a frown and he sighs. “Do you think it’s weird that he didn’t kiss me?”

 

Bella's eyes widen. She definitely wasn't expecting him to say that. “Do you?”

 

He starts tapping one of his fingers on the table. “Yes. Maybe. I don’t know,” Jacob says. “Can't he read my mind? Shouldn't he know that’s what I’d wanted?”

 

This was way above her pay grade. Sure Bella could give the occasional relationship advice once or twice (thanks to her mom) but this here was a whole new territory.

 

“Look, Jake, I don't think it's that simple.” She starts, hoping to make some sort of sense. “Relationships are supposed to be based on communication, right?”

 

He nods and she lets out a relieved breath. Maybe this wouldn't be as hard if the person on the other side of the conversation wasn't Renée.

 

“And I know it must be hard doing that when you're with someone who can literally read your mind. But I still think the principle stands.” She points out. “If you want something you should tell him. You shouldn't assume he already knows just because you thought about it once.”

 

“Trust me, I thought about more than once.”

 

“Yeah, didn't need to know that. Super gross.” Bella makes a disgusted face. “He’s also like…ancient. Don't forget that. I think it's more likely for you to receive a marriage proposal than a steamy kiss.”

 

“Not that I would be opposed to it, but I’m just angling for a normal kiss here. Still, you're probably right - I hadn't thought about things like this.” Jacob says honestly.

 

“It's just a theory.” She shrugs. “Maybe he just hasn’t done any of this before.”

 

“Neither have I.” He states, biting his lip.

 

“It makes sense. You’re both nervous,” Bella says. “You guys should take your time. I don’t think the normal rules of dating apply here. Don't compare it to anything else buddy, just make your own thing – something that will work for the both of you.”

 

He nods, relieved. “When did you get this wise?”

 

“I’m always this wise, it's not my fault you haven't been paying attention.”

 

Jacob grins. “Maybe I haven't – but I know someone who has.” His tone is suggestive, but she can't quite catch his meaning.

 

“What?”

 

“How can you be so wise one second and so dumb in the next one is beyond me, Bella.” He shakes his head in amusement.

 

“I'm going to pretend you haven't just insulted me to my face right now. Especially after I’ve given you great advice.” She says. “And Jake?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“If you want a kiss to happen that much you should take the initiative.”

 

Jacob gulps. “Right. I can do that.” He says to himself.

 

“That’s the spirit.” She chuckles.

 

“So, what you’re doing?” He asks with his eyebrows raised, suddenly realizing there's a mess of assorted foods in front of him.

 

“Making popcorn and gathering some snacks. I’m about to watch a movie that’s longer than God knows what and I need to be prepared. You in?”

 

“Nah. I’m too tired, I didn't sleep that well last night. I was thinking of taking a nap. Do you mind?”

 

 Bella rolls her eyes. “Of course not.”

 

He smiles gratefully at her. “What movie are you going to watch? Lord of the rings?”

 

“Ha – I wish.” She says. “Titanic.”

 

Jacob winces. “Yeah, hard pass.”

 

“Not a fan?” Bella asks with a surprised voice.

 

"No," he says. "Why?"

 

"Well, I mean, it seems like your type of thing."

 

He laughs, unbothered. "I like romantic comedies, Bella. Titanic is anything but."

 

"But there's romance." She points out.

 

"No comedy, no happy ending, “ he starts. “The guy dies at the end. It's too tragic for me. I always cry like a baby."

 

“Alright,” Bella says, but inside she’s thinking Jacob’s might be a little too much sensitive for his own good.

 

 

xXx

 

 

“Promise me you’ll survive. That you won’t give up, no matter what happens. No matter how hopeless.”

 

Jack’ saying that to Rose, and Bella’s starting to think there’s a little more to this being Rosalie’s favorite movie than the fact it is a masterpiece (she’d changed her mind okay?).

 

Unfortunately, she’s in no condition to think about it further.

 

She’s too busy being a madwoman who's throwing popcorn on the TV screen while sobbing uncontrollably.

 

So when the end credits start to roll around and Celine’s Dion song is still playing, Bella’s actively cursing the whole thing.

 

Fuck you, Celine Dion, this is all your fault,” She says while wiping the tears that don’t seem to stop coming. “This is an absolutely terrible movie, I totally hated it.” She mumbles to no one.

 

Someone should've warned her this was going to happen.

 

How was she supposed to do anything else today after being completely and utterly destroyed by this thing?

 

In the end, life shows her she doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter.

 

Because before she can get up from the couch on her own volition the doorbell rings and a hysterical looking Bella is left cursing at whoever’s at the door.

 

 

xXx

 

 

Billy?” Bella asks, voice failing. Out of everyone in the world, he would be the last one she would expect to find in her doorsteps. “What are you doing here?” She asks rudely.

 

He doesn’t back down at her distrustful gaze. Instead, he stands a little taller, almost like he’s enjoying it.

 

“I came to talk to you. And Jacob, of course.”

 

She has to fight the urge not to immediately slam the door on his face.

 

Her lack of an immediate response is not enough for him to take the hint that he’s not welcomed here.

 

“Charlie isn’t here, is he?” He asks, giving her a creepy smile. The kind that real-life book owner something (she doesn't know his name) would've probably given Julia Roberts character if Hollywood had any sort of commitment to the truth.

 

Bella narrows her eyes at him, not liking the tone he’s using. “No. But you already know that, don’t you?” It all made perfect sense. Why he was here, why right now.

 

Billy must've known Charlie would be fishing in La Push today.

 

“Me? Watch out, Bella. I don't like what you’re trying to imply here.” He says.

 

“I’m sorry, did I hurt your non-existent feelings?” She says sarcastically. “If you came here because you thought there wouldn’t be anyone to stop you from seeing Jacob, you were wrong. Go home, Billy. He doesn’t want to see you, and I can't say I disagree with his choice.” She tells him, voice hard.

 

“So you won't let a father see his only son?”

 

“You stopped being that the moment you kicked him out.”

 

“If your father had half the courage I had he would've done the same thing to you Bella,” He says, eyes twitching in rage. “This is a small town, people talk. I know what you are.”

 

Bella gives him a hollow laughter. “You can’t even bring yourself to say the word can you?” She defies him. “C’mon, go ahead. Lesbian – that’s what I am. Say it. I’m not ashamed.”

 

Billy takes a step closer to her. “Such fire you have. It would be such a waste to see it fade away, wouldn’t it?”

 

“I’m not afraid of you.” She says, one hand gripping the door frame.

 

“I’m not the one you should be afraid of.” He gives her a predatory smile.

 

“What?”

 

“You think I’m not aware of how close to the Cullen's you and Jacob are?” He says. “They’re not who you think they are, Bella. Or better yet, what you think they are.”

 

Bella clenches her jaw. “They’re exactly who and what I think they are. A nice family who’ve been nothing but kind to me.”

 

His smile gets sinister. “So you already know their secret, huh? Does Jacob? Has he finally understood everything I’ve always told him?”

 

Bella scoffs. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“Oh, but you do. Don’t lie to me. It doesn’t suit you,” He says. “You should stay away from them.”

 

“You think you can show up here after everything and demand I do something? You’re out of your mind.”

 

“You think you know what you’re dealing with here Bella. You don’t. This is so much bigger than what you can imagine.” Billy speaks while staring intensely at her. “We all have a part to play in what’s to come – even you. Be careful of the choices you make now.”

 

He grabs her arm with force and Bella feels something else with the pain. Something weird. A feeling that tells her he’s more dangerous than she’d been giving him credit for.

 

“You wouldn’t want to meet your end before its time, would you?” He whispers, hard.

 

She feels his fingers pressing harder on her forearm.

 

“You should leave,” Bella says again.

 

“I won’t leave until I’ve talked with my son.”

 

“Yes, you will.” She tries taking her arm away from him, but the action only serves to make him tighten his grip.

 

“Who’s going to make me? You?” Billy raises his eyebrows in defiance.

 

“The cops.” She says, grabbing her phone from her back pocket with her free hand. “I don’t think they’ll take too kindly to you threatening a young girl – the chief’s daughter – in her own house.”

 

He suddenly lets go of her, taking a step back, but his eyes are still burning. “This doesn’t end here. Not for you and not for the Cullen's. I’m not even close to being done.”

 

“Whatever.” She says before slamming the door in his face.

 

 

xXx

 

 

“Why didn’t you called me?” Charlie asks, pacing around the living room while Bella and Jake watch him from the couch. She can from his face how concerned he is.

 

“Why didn’t you wake me up?” Jacob says almost at the same time.

 

Before she can answer them she adjusts the sleeve of the grey hoodie she'd put up right after Billy had left. If Charlie got a look at the bruise on her left arm things would escalate quickly.

 

The last thing she needed right now was for him to make a big deal out of it. For him to go confront a clearly deranged man.

 

She sighs, holding one hand up. “Guys, it wasn’t like I knew who was at the door, okay? And once I was there I was too caught up on the conversation to do anything else.” Bella explains. “When he tried to force me to let him talk to Jacob I threatened to call the cops.”

 

Her dad nods. “Do you think he knew both of you would be home alone?”

 

“I don’t know. But he didn’t want to stick around once he realized I was being serious.” She says, not letting them know she suspected just that.

 

Jacob fidgets with his hands. “Did he say anything else to you? Anything other than the fact he wanted to talk to me?”

 

“He said we should stay away from the Cullen’s,” she starts carefully. “He also didn’t look happy there was another member of the LGBTQ+ running around town. Said that if dad had enough courage he would’ve done the same thing he did to you.”

 

Her friend closes his eyes, taking a deep breath. “Do you think he knew I went on a date with Edward?” He says weakly.

 

“No buddy,” Bella answers him. She adjusts herself on the couch so she can be closer to him. “I think it’s that thing you told me; you know?” She raises her eyebrows pointedly. “The hate he has for them ever since they arrived in town. People talk, he must have heard we're all friends.”

 

Charlie shakes his head. “Your dad just too stuck on his old ways Jake. If something’s different from what he was used to it he rejects it.”

 

“His words were of someone who seemed worried about us.” She says, omitting part of the truth.

 

“But his actions didn’t really give you that impression, right?” Jacob completes. “I think he wanted to make me scared of living my life, of being happy. But I’m not going to let him.” His voice is stronger now and both Bella and Charlie stare at him proudly. “I love him, I’ll always will – but if he can’t accept who I am it’s his loss, not mine. I won’t let him take anything else from me.”

 

“I won’t either Jacob,” Charlie says. “We’re a family here. Don’t forget that. You’re not alone.”

 

“I know.” Jacob smiles gratefully at him.

 

“You did good Bella.” Her dad says, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder.

 

 

xXx

 

 

“Hey Alice,” She whispers on her phone a while later in her room.

 

After things had calmed down both Charlie and Jacob had decided to watch some basketball game that was on.

 

She had opted to go to her room instead. Her mind was still stuck on Billy’s words for her to be able to concentrate on anything else.

 

“I want to talk with you.” She says. “Alone.”

 

“I know.”

 

“Of course you do,” Bella sighs. “Do you also know where we should meet?”

 

“Yes,” Alice says. “What a silly question.”

 

“Great. Pick me up as soon as you can.” She’s almost hanging up when another thought pops into her head. “And bring Rosalie with you.”

 

“I was already going to.”

 

Bella rolls her eyes. “This can get old really fast.”

 

“Tell me about it,” Alice responds. “Be there in 10 minutes.”

 

xXx

 

 

 

“Are you sure this is the best place for this conversation?” Bella whispers, looking around the almost empty diner.

 

She'd been here once on her first week at Forks with Charlie and Jacob.

 

The irony isn't lost on her.

 

So yeah, she's a little surprised at Alice’s choice. She’d been imagining something more like an abandoned house in the wood’s scenario here.

 

“Yes,” Alice says. "We’re just three friends hanging around – nothing unusual to see here."

 

“Yeah. That's like the problem – have any of you done something like this ever?”

 

No,” Rosalie says, agreeing. She also doesn’t look that happy to be here. The fact that their waiter has been drooling all over her ever since they walked in isn't helping matters.

 

“Chillax, both of you,” Alice says. “Everything’s going according to plan.”

 

Bella doesn’t answer at first, she's too busy narrowing her eyes at Vincent (the waiter) who seemed to think that going to their table again, when they already told him they didn’t want anything, was a good idea.

 

“What’s his problem?” She asks loudly, hoping that will be enough to discourage him. It isn’t.

 

“Are you girls sure you don't want anything?” Vincent asks when he reaches them, his eyes fixated on Rosalie.

 

Yes,” Bella says, gritting her teeth.

 

“My shift’s over in thirty minutes. Do you want to go –”

 

Leave,” Rosalie says in a scary voice and the guy almost trips while running away.

 

“Ok. That was…” Hot. That’s what she wants to say. “Awesome.” Is what she says instead.

 

Rosalie gives her a feral grin and Bella gulps, suddenly feeling warm.

 

“I saw Titanic yesterday,” She blurts out, trying to compose herself. “It was a horrible, horrible movie. I had a traumatic experience watching and it's all your fault.”

 

Rosalie smirks. “Did you cry? Is that what this is about?”

 

“No. Of course not.” Bella says, offended.

 

The girl doesn't seem to buy her answer.

 

“Maybe.” She mumbles. “Okay. Fine. I sobbed. Are you happy now? You were right all along – it’s a masterpiece. Satisfied?”

 

Rosalie's golden eyes stare back at her, amused.  “Yes.”

 

“Honestly, I’m pretty convinced it’s all Celine’s Dion fault. How am I supposed to be okay when that song is playing?” She says, watching Rosalie biting her lip trying not to laugh.

 

Alice clears her throat. “Not that seeing you two bond and act like I’m not even here isn’t fun – but didn’t you called me for something Bella?”

 

“Yeah, sure. My bad,” Bella blushes, embarrassed. “Look, I know you already know everything I’m about to tell you Alice, but I’m going to say it anyway because well, if I don't you wouldn't have seen it. Right?” She says. “I saw a documentary on time travel last summer – I know how it works.”

 

“The one who doesn't see the future thanks you for your kindness.” Rosalie jokes.

 

She gives her a small smile. “Do you guys know Billy Black?”

 

“He's Jacob dad,”  Alice answers. “He's also the great-grandson of Ephraim Black – the shifter who made the treaty with us in the first place.”

 

“Yeah. I still haven't wrapped my head around that yet. Vampires? Sure. Giant wolves? Nah.” Bella states. “Isn't it weird there aren't any of them left?”

 

“Yes,” Rosalie says, agreeing with her. “But it's not like we can go there and ask them what happened.”

 

“Fair point,” Bella says. “But back to Billy. He came by the house earlier today.” She takes a deep breath. “I don’t want to go into greater detail but are you guys aware of what happened between him and Jacob right before I came to Forks?”

 

“No.” They both say.

 

“Ok. The short story is that Jacob decided to tell him he was gay, and it didn't end well. The long one? Not mine to tell.”

 

“That's horrible,” Rosalie says. “I didn't know that.”

 

“Not many people do.” She explains. “Thank god Charlie was home at the time and not at the station when it happened. Jacob called him and he drove there, picked him up, and the rest, as they say, it's history.”

 

“Your dad's a good man, Bella,” Alice tells her.

 

“Yeah, he is. Still, ever since that day, Billy hasn't tried to reach out to Jake. He hasn't even spoken to him at all.” She explains. “So you can imagine my surprise when I opened the door and there he stood.” Bella passes a hand through her hair. “I think… I think he knew Charlie wasn't home. He said he wanted to talk with me and Jacob, but I stood my ground. Said he should leave, but Billy didn't listen. He threatened me.”

 

“What??” Rosalie asks, voice loud.

 

“Get it together,” Alice nudges her sister. “We’re in public, Rose.” She states.

 

“And whose fault is that?” Rosalie says, unimpressed. “I’m sorry Bella, please continue.”

 

“It wasn't like a normal threat you know? He said some weird stuff too – like how we all had a part to play in the future and what a shame would it be if I met my end before that happened.”

 

“He said what??” The girl raises her voice again and Alice shushes her.

 

“Don't shush me.” She tells her sister.

 

“Keep quiet then.”

 

Bella bites her lip. “He grabbed my arm and he –”

 

“That's it – I’m going to kill him,” Rosalie says, furious.

 

“Please don't.” She says quickly. “I’ll spare you guys the finer details. It’s just…. It seemed like he had a bone to pick with us – you guys included. He said it was only the beginning, and I think he meant that.”

 

“Did you tell Charlie and Jacob?” Rosalie asks her.

 

Bella sighs. “No, I didn't. Jacob said he doesn't want to let his father ruin his happiness – and him worrying about it definitely would.” She says. “And if dad knew he wouldn't let things slide, I’m sure he would go confront Billy. It didn't feel like the right call, at least not yet.”

 

“So you came to us.” Alice states.

 

“Yes.” She nods. “Because whatever his plans are, you guys are involved too – and he knows your secret.”

 

“We’re more worried about the things he said to you, Bella,” Rosalie says softly. “You did the right thing telling us.”

 

“Rosalie's right. We’ll keep an eye on him, okay?” Alice tells her. “If he even thinks about doing anything we’ll know it first.”

 

“Thank you guys. I appreciate it.” She says, relieved.

 

 

xXx

 

 

 

“Your sister’s staring at us in a weird way,” Bella tells Rosalie when they both reach her front door.

 

The girl just rolls her eyes. “She does that. Please ignore her.”

 

“Alright.” Bella shrugs.

 

She knew there was a reason Rosalie had accompanied her here instead of waiting for her to enter her home from inside the car.

 

 “Whatever you want to say to me, you can. You do know that, right?” She tells her.

 

Rosalie nods. “Can you promise me you’ll call next time Billy shows up? I know Alice said she would be keeping an eye on him but she’s not infallible.”

 

“Hey,” Alice yells from the car, window opening. “I heard that.”

 

They ignore her.

 

“I.. don't have your number?” Bella says, frowning. She'd been meaning to ask Jasper for it, but she didn't want him to take it the wrong way.

 

“I can ask Alice for yours and send you a text – if that's alright with you?”

 

“Sure.”

 

 “When Billy grabbed you, did he hurt you?” Rosalie asks, worried.

 

Bella sighs. “I’m not sure I should answer that.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I don't want you to commit a homicide tonight.” She says like it's obvious.

 

Rosalie's eyes harden. “So he did hurt you.”

 

“You don't have to worry,” Bella says. “I’m sure it will fade in no time.”

 

The girl doesn't seem to buy that. “Let me see it.”

 

Her tone suggests she won't take no for an answer, so Bella takes off her grey hoodie, exposing her naked arm.

 

Rosalie gently reaches for it, her cold fingers softly tracing the bruise. “Are you sure I can't kill him?”

 

“Yes.” Bella shakes her head.

 

“Fine,” Rosalie concedes, not very happy about it. “You should put some ice on it.”

 

“Isn't that what you're doing right now?” Bella tries to joke.

 

Rosalie rolls her eyes at her before letting go of her arm. “I should go.”

 

“Alice must be getting restless huh?”

 

“Always.” Rosalie's eyes shine with fondness. “Goodnight Bella.”

 

“Night Rosalie.”