Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chapter 4 - Stealing Forever - Left to Be Here


For the rest of his life, he'd remember everything that happened that night with near inhuman, excruciatingly perfect detail.
He'd later think bitterly how he couldn't remember his first day of junior high school, or the first boy-girl party he'd ever attended or even what the topic of the first university lecture he'd ever sat through was.
But he could always remember this.

He had spent a little longer than was needed getting ready.
Hell, what does someone wear after their girlfriend cheats on them and he's attempting to hide the fact that he's dying a slow, wrenching death inside? Jacob remembered sadly how Rosalie would always lay out his clothing, so he'd never really have to think about such things.
Quil had commented hesitantly how much of a girl he was being.
Just enough to make Jacob smile and select a t-shirt and jeans quickly. He had seen Jacob's mood increasingly decline and being the only person to really understand the gravity of the night and what transpired with Rosalie, he felt it almost his duty to be there and support his friend until he got his arms around such a fucked up situation.
It had rained briefly that night.
In spite of the weather, Jacob was in good spirits considering the crap month he'd been having. Quil had tried his hardest, and was beginning to see the small cracks in the shell of sadness covering his friend. It would be all about beers and wings and the game that night, and that was just fine with him.
Jacob walked to Quil's car, noticing how the deep gray paint gleamed in the moonlight.
He climbed into the vehicle and Quil turned up the volume of his satellite radio to an upbeat song.
Despite himself, Jacob leaned his head against the headrest and got lost with his thoughts. He was hurting, and he knew that time would really be the only thing to add the salve to the wounds around his heart. He wished he could step inside a time machine and fast forward to a year from now, to when he knew he'd be away from the raw emotions consuming him.
Everything reminded him of her. Everything.
He'd made his way days later to his home. The house still smelled like her – like honeysuckle and fresh breeze. He couldn't sleep and had a maid come in to clean top to bottom because he smelled her everywhere, and just couldn't deal.
He dropped his bag near the doorway and glanced around, looking for the changes, what would be or wouldn't be left of her. She'd begun clearing out her clothing, but not nearly fast enough, considering the last conversation the two had had.
Part of him didn't want her to go at all. A large part.
But then, the vivid scene replayed in his mind, like an all-consuming, carnivorous being, eating away at his compassion, his forgiveness, replacing both with a bitterness that he'd never felt before.
He wondered where she was. If she was alone or with him.
The thought of her running into his arms was enough to make Jacob call her and forgive all transgressions, if for nothing else, his own stubborn pride. He didn't want her at the moment, but, he couldn't stand for her to be with anyone other than him. It just wasn't fair. How did she get to cheat on him, ruin all his plans for the future, then ride off into the sunset with the man she'd broken Jacob's heart with?
He tried and managed quite successfully not to talk to his friends about the situation, and definitely not about how it made him feel.
He had cried silently the entire car ride to Claire and Quil's home, angry with himself for letting his friend see him that recklessly emotional. He knew that his intuitive, empathic friend would never judge his show of pain, would never speak about it, would never tell others anything about it at length. That brought some measure of comfort to Jacob, however small.
He wandered around in a daze for the following two weeks. Barely making it into work, and, if he hadn't already planned his lectures for the semester, he was sure he would have been fired for lack of actual teaching. Even as he tried his hardest to remain professional, Jacob was sure his classes sensed the change in his usual upbeat demeanor, especially his student aide, Colin.
"Dude," Quil said glancing at Jacob from the corner of his eye, "get out of your brain for a second, will you? I can hear you thinking," he said with a smile.
He was in a sickeningly-sweet, but infectiously good, mood that night.
Never one to pass up the opportunity to bring about his friend's laughter though, even in his depression, Jacob mentioned something particularly funny about their friend Paul, and as usual, Quil belted out his booming laughter as they approached the stop light.
It was particularly muggy that night for Philadelphia.
They always had warm summers, but coupled with the recent rain, the onset of night did little to rid them of the heat.
He wiped a bead of sweat forming on his brow, happy he put on an undershirt, fiddling with the knobs of air conditioning, all the while Quil chattered on. He intentionally didn't mention Claire or the wedding, dancing around both subjects for Jacob's benefit. The last thing his friend needed to hear was how in love he was or how excited he was about his upcoming nuptials.
Jacob continued, chuckling almost too hard to complete his sentence and review the punch-line as the stoplight ahead turned green. The duo pulled out into the street, as they had the right of way.
There were lights everywhere, really.
Lit restaurant and bar signs. Dozens of pairs of headlights sprinkling the intersection with beams illuminating the road ahead.
But those didn't matter. Not really.
The ones that caught Jacob's attention were the ones gradually becoming larger to his left.
Bright white lights- two of them- tinged in an arctic blue.
Quil had eyes straight ahead on the road.
Bright red and blazing.
A Jeep, heading directly for them on the driver's side.
Quil's side.
The sound of his own heartbeat thumping in his ears.
"Quil, st----!" The words spilled from his lips instinctively, somehow attempting to prevent the movie that played itself out in front of them.
The deafening crunch as the vehicle was rocked with earth-shattering force.
Then, he was sliding, hydroplaning across the large intersection.
The confusion set in, and his stomach was tossed with unrelenting impact. His equilibrium completely jostled though, that could only compare to the wind being knocked from his lungs.
The crushing pressure against his chest, and a cloud of blinding white powder.
Jacob let out an involuntary loud yell, holding onto the handle of the door as the car was thrown several feet, flipping, then landing on its side.
Pounding in his head.
Silence in return.
smell. Like… pennies. Old pennies...
Then, he was sucked into the darkness.

After what seemed like both days and mere seconds of sleepless dreaming, he awoke to a pin of light that grew into a much larger beam shining brilliantly into his eyes. He shook his head out of the path of the bright ray, squinting, then squeezing his eyes closed.
The crisp white shirt of the well-built older man with white hair standing to the left of him. He was the cause of that irritating light.
"He looks good," he murmured, clicking the pen and sliding it into his breast pocket. "I'll be back in a bit, once he's gotten his bearings. I'll send the nurse in," he said with a small polite smile in the direction of the blurry figures seated in front of him.
The sounds around him reminded him of being underwater, or after a shower before he shook the water from his ears: garbled and distorted.
He squinted again, then, through bleary vision, he saw his stepmom. And his father.
Rosalie was there. So was his sister, Rachel, now smiling at him.
"Quil…" he croaked.
Bad move.
His throat was dry as the Sahara, and burned just as badly. And scratchy.
"Hey dude," his older sister said with an even larger smile, "glad to see you."
Jacob swallowed unsuccessfully, nothing but air and the smallest portion of saliva made its way down his esophagus. He would try once more, "Quil…"
Where was his friend? He was sure his car was totaled. Too bad, he loved that thing like his own child. If he had one.
"Well?" he continued, awaiting his answer impatiently. He was growing more exasperated; he didn't know where he was or what was going on. Jacob did know, however, that his head was pounding. Shit.
Why was everyone looking at each other? He needed someone to answer him, damnit!
"Hey, why don't we get you some food, huh?" his father, Billy, said with a sad smile. "I'm sure you're thirsty, here." He handed Jacob a cup with ice water brimming at the top.
Score! Jacob took it greedily and gulped down the cold liquid in one swig.
"I don't want any food," he swallowed. "Where's Quil?"
He had a broken arm.
He had scratches and bruises.
Nothing a couple Advil and a cast couldn't take care of.
"Honey," his stepmother said slowly, like she was attempting to explain complex mathematical equations to a seven-year-old. "Jake, Quil… he... He didn't make it."
He looked at her like she was speaking in ancient Greek. That's what it sounded like to him, anyway.
"What?" he whispered, looking around the room to the faces of everyone, each pair of eyes on him, watching for his reaction.
He looked to each of them, waiting, willing any one of them to disagree with his her words. No, no, that can't be right. He had just been with Quil.
No, that isn't true. He's only twenty-eight; people that young don't die.
"Jake, he..." his father attempted to clarify, sensing his son's confusion. He was sure the concussion wasn't helping his cognitive function. "Jake, they got the guy, he was drunk… Quil, he…"
Jacob immediately clenched his fists, then lifted both hands to his ears, attempting to muffle the words. No. No!
"No..." he said, sitting up in the small hospital bed, the doctor silently leaving the room and closing the door with a soft click.
It was too fucking quiet in that room. He needed to get out.
"Jake, don't!" Rosalie wanted to go to him so badly, to touch his face, to kiss his swollen jaw. When his stepmother awoke her last night telling her that Jake had been in a pretty bad car accident, she didn't hesitate to jump into her car and fly to St. Catherine's in half the time it would have normally taken. He was unconscious when she finally arrived at the emergency room and didn't look as bad as she had feared. And he was alive. That was the fact that she delighted in and was relieved by. She still loved him, and she knew she couldn't live if anything had ever happened to her Jake. Even in light of all the issues they were currently having.
Jacob ignored her plead and attempted to get out of the bed, swinging his bare feet onto the concrete hospital room floor.
He had to find Quil, he had to see him. Why were they all telling him these lies? He had to find Claire, she'd tell him the truth. Jacob felt his heart beating more rapidly in his chest, anxiety crawling its way over his body,.
He had to find Ms. Atera. He was sure she was worried sick, especially with all these lies about her son floating around. He had to get out of this room; the walls were closing in on him.
"Where are my clothes?" he said. Jacob was becoming more and more annoyed with his confusion as he glanced around the hospital room. "What time is it?"
He couldn't have been here longer than a few hours. He'd check on Quil, then he could head home.
"Jake…." Rachel began with a furrowed brow, bringing her wrist watch up and glancing down. "It's, it's 9:18 in the morning. But you can't leave. The doctor wants to watch you for a while longer to make sure the concussion didn't do more damage."
Wait, concussion? 9:18? He had been there for almost 16 hours? That didn't sound right.
His father stood first, wrapping a steadying arm around Jacob's shoulders as he began searching the small drawers for his clothing, catching sight of his face in the mirror.
He glanced harder at himself, turning his head side-to-side, trying to take in the full extent of the injuries to his face and upper body. He was pretty banged up, but not anything some ice couldn't get rid of. He had a few bruises, a split lip, and his chest ached like a motherfucker, but besides that, he'd be okay.
"Baby," his stepmother's concern spread further across her sharp features, "Jake, honey, I… we brought you some new clothes, they… they had to cut… they had to get rid of the ones you were wearing."
Cut them off? Uncertainty washed over him again, as he took the bag she held out to him and silently walked into the restroom to change.
Jacob slid the nondescript red t-shirt over his head carefully, painfully aware with each move of his physical discomfort, most acutely in his chest. After sliding into the jeans and flip flops from the pile, he exited, taking one last look into the concerned faces of his family and ex-girlfriend.
He walked out into the hallway and caught sight of Claire first.
Deep blue bruises shadowed under her blood shot eyes. Her face was flushed and wet from crying as she held frantically onto Leah's waist in the chair next to hers. Her white-knuckled hands clasped desperately at a black scrap of fabric.
Jacob looked away quickly, eyes widening after realizing it was the dress shirt Quil had been wearing the night before.
Leah's sobs, loud and filled with pain, overflowed into the air as her face contorted in despair and disbelief. Ms. Atera sat opposite her, clinging onto her husband who was trying desperately to not fall apart in front of his family. Sensing his presence in the small waiting area, the pair turned eyes up at Jacob, as did most of the people in the room.
"Jake!" Claire flew to him, wrapping her arms around his waist and burying her face in his abdomen, causing him to wince slightly, then wrap an arm around her.
"What are we gonna do…Quil!" Her sobs shook her feminine frame to the core, her tears dampening his t-shirt. She was slowly losing her grip on reality, feeling her mind begin to float away, and talking to him about the only thing securing her to the ground.
"What?" he said, instinctively wrapping his other arm around her, still glancing around, not sure where to rest his gaze.
Jacob was afraid.
He took a step back, attempting to gain his bearings, taking Claire with him against the wall.
"I don't… I don't understand. I just… he was just here. What…what happened?"
"It just happened about an hour ago. They worked on him all night. It was pretty bad, Jake. Are you… are you okay?" Claire hiccupped, her brown eyes softening in her sorrow.
This couldn't be happening. Everything was fuzzy and blurred around its edges, like a dream. He furrowed his brow, refusing to believe this was occurring.
He was just with him.
He just saw him.
His friend was getting married next month. Embry and he were supposed to be his best men.
What about their vacation planned for next summer?
What about…
What about…
…and Seth…and Sam.
They were all here.
"Oh no," Jake moaned, breaking away from her and finding Embry sitting alone against a solitary wall with his head hidden in his forearms across his knees. His friend looked up at him with the most painful, excruciating expression.
He had never seen him cry before.
"No, no, no, no, no," he chanted, shaking his head and feeling his legs weaken.
He felt hands on his shoulders, strong and comforting.
"Where's Quil!?" Jacob shouted to his father. "Where is he?!"
A single tear escaped Billy's saddened eyes as he wordlessly attempted to pull Jacob into an embrace.
Jacob mumbled as he lost his footing and almost stumbled into the wall, attempting to escape what he already knew.
No longer able to hold himself standing, he rested his back against the wall and slid into a sitting position, the sobs wracking his body.
The tears didn't stop. Not that day.
Or the day after.
Jacob willed them to cease. Or, he'd take the tears, if the pain would go.
He felt himself falling, falling into the darkness.
He was afraid, the blackness clawing at his heart, the unrest threatening his sanity.
The bleak abyss he wasn't sure he'd ever find a way out of. He was drowning.
He couldn't breathe.

A/N - This was extremely difficult for me to write, as I've become rather attached to each of the characters, and damnit if Jake isnt going through enough right now to deal with this shit. Read on though, again, there is something so much larger than this coming in the future.
And, in case you were wondering, the title of this chapter came from the Alicia Keys song, Like You'll Never See Me Again:
If I had no more time
No more time left to be here
Would you cherish what we had?
Was it everything that you were looking for?
If I couldn't feel your touch
And no longer were you with me
I'd be wishing you were here
To be everything that I'd be looking for
I don't wanna forget the present is a gift
And I don't wanna take for granted the time you may have here with me
'Cause Lord only knows another day is not really guaranteed
So every time you hold me
Hold me like this is the last time
Every time you kiss me
Kiss me like you'll never see me again
Every time you touch me
Touch me like this is the last time
Promise that you'll love me
Love me like you'll never see me again...

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music enthusiast, burgeoning fic writer, lover of indian food, art and random oddities. jacob stan, fanfic-natic, shapeshifter enthusiast, obsessed with all things twi.

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