Fire Becomes Ice

3. Secret

"What the hell…was that?" Jacob's mind was still reeling from the unreasonable allure of Bella's scent as he met Edward at the end of the block.

"That was why I was telling you to stay away from her," Edward told him. Although, now I wish I hadn't mentioned the thirst.

Jacob turned toward him, his eyebrows arching. "Ya think?"

Would you have stayed away from her if I hadn't said anything?

"Well, no, but still," Jacob shot back, running fingers through his tousled mop of hair. "How do you stand it? Being around her, feeling like that?" It was a beastly urge - he had felt possessed, driven by an unyielding thirst. Even though they were a safe distance from the house, Jacob felt like his control was paper thin, and the impulse to run back could return all too easily.

It's difficult, but I've learned to live with it. I love Bella very much.

"That's dangerous. Maybe you shouldn't be around her."

Do you really think you're the best judge of who should be around Bella and who shouldn't? Bella and I have been together for over a year without my hurting her once.

Jacob looked at him, not quite fully understanding. "So, if it's so bad…." He couldn't believe he was going to ask this question. "Why do you hesitate?"

Hesitate?

"You know," he urged, not wanting to say the words, "turn her into a bloodsucker like you."

Frankly, it's not my desire to, Jacob. And if you don't mind, I'd rather not talk about it.

Shrugging his shoulders, Jacob pushed away that curiosity. "Whatever." He could still recall that feeling, sitting up in the tree just moments before…and that mouthwatering smell…

He clutched one hand to his throat, and his brows drew together. "So when is it going to stop?"

Jacob was still amazed by the heightened senses, the ability to see in the dark, the acuity of sounds all around him. However, his advanced perceptions had taken a backseat to the flame that felt as though it was burning through the lining in his throat.

That was one thing that Edward would not have wished upon anyone. His head tipped downward, eyes facing the gravel. "It doesn't."

"What do you mean, it doesn't?!"

"Well, not fully, but being around Bella merely intensified it," he told him. "However, you can feed."

"Feed. Yeah. Okay." Jacob nodded, seeming to accept this and followed Edward in the direction of the forest. He had hunted animals before in wolf form – rabbits, deer… No problemo, but then a thought occurred to him, stopping him in his tracks. "Wait…do you mean, as in drink blood?"

Edward faced him. "Yes. Of course."

"Nope, not gonna do it." Jacob spun on his heel, turning away from Edward and then headed in the opposite direction.

"You are inside the body of a vampire. I don't think you have much of a choice."

Jacob shook his head as he spoke, unconsciously picking up speed. "I have a choice alright, and I'm choosing not to be a vicious leech. And by the way, Edward, being stuck in each other's bodies does not make us friends."

Agreed. Edward thought, deciding it best to ignore Jacob's snide vampire remark. He was grateful not to have the ability to read his mind, and though Jacob could read his, Edward was speaking his feelings out of habit. Suddenly, he was struck by a tiny stinging sensation that began causing his eyes to blink. He could not remember how long it had been since he felt it and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand in response. Rushing to keep up with Jacob was proving to be an impossible feat, and Edward was caught by surprise not only by the bulkiness of his body, but by the cloud of fatigue that had draped him like a blanket.

And, unexpectedly, Edward's mouth fell open, and a long yawn that seemingly started in his lungs pushed its way out full force.

"I just yawned," Edward remarked, impressed.

Jacob's pace slowed so that Edward could catch up. "Congratulations."

"And I'm tired." A silly laugh slipped from Edward's lips as he continued to walk. "I'm actually tired." His lips were now plastered with a silly grin. Edward marveled at the miracle of these typical human tendencies. Though, he still wasn't used to the fact that his senses felt like they were covered by a veil, dimming the moonlight and quieting the crunch of the gravel beneath his feet.

Agitated, Jacob continued forward. "Where are we going? What are we going to do? If I'm not up in the morning, my dad will be suspicious."

Edward headed north onto the next street, squinting to locate his car and realizing again how his eyesight was riddled by human limitations. "My car is down the next street. Do you see it?"

Jacob sneered. "Your Volvo? What were you planning on doing? Driving it onto the res?"

I suppose not. But since we have it, we might as well use it. Edward could hardly suppress the yawn that was overtaking him and smiled again.

"Oh. Tired, are you?"

Yes, actually. He found that he was actually looking forward to the idea of lying down and resting.

"Not me," Jacob bragged, "I can go all night. I feel great!" Except for the burning in the throat. In a flash, he was halfway down the next block, still amazed by how weightlessly he moved as though his feet barely made contact with the ground. Before he knew it he was standing beside his motorcycle.

When Edward finally caught up, he eyed the bike tentatively. This is what you're driving?

Jacob smiled. "No, this is what you're driving."

With a sigh, Edward considered his options. No matter how much he preferred the enclosed comfort of his vehicle, he couldn't very well sit in it while occupying Jacob's body. The doggy smell would linger for days. But as an immortal, he had never truly considered the danger of riding a motorcycle.

The best thing, they agreed, was to assume each other's roles for the night – at least until Edward could confront Emily's neighbor and question her about the pendant. After retrieving a scrap piece of paper from the car and exchanging pertinent details on directions and names of family members, Edward reluctantly handed Jacob his car keys and cell phone.

Dread poured over Jacob like a cloudburst; he realized he was loath to greet a houseful of hateful demons. "Wait. Why don't we tell Bella?"

Edward took a seat on the motorcycle and gripped the handles. "Well, besides the fact that she may not believe us, you can hardly control yourself around her. In fact, I think it might be best for you to stay away from humans until we get this figured out."

"I can call her." Jacob held up Edward's cell phone.

"And tell her you're me?"

"Sure."

"And why should she believe you?"

"Bella already believes in vampires and werewolves, why not this?"

She might believe both of us. Sure. Let's try it. Edward took the cell phone and dialed the Swans' number.

"Hello?"

"Yes, hi, Chief Swan. May I speak to Bella?" Edward asked.

Chief Swan? That was a little formal, Charlie thought. "Yeah, hi Jake. Listen, you're just going to have give her some time."

Edward exhaled, remembering now that his voice was not his own. Darn imperfect human memory…

Jacob rolled his eyes. He had really blown it with Bella, and for the hundredth time he wished he hadn't said that to her.

"Sir, if you could just tell her that it's very im…."

He was cut off by the sound of Bella's voice.

Bella was fed up. It was bad enough that Charlie was on Jacob's side, trying to force her to make amends before she was ready, but this constant calling was wearing on her. "I don't want to talk to you, Jake. So stop calling."

Jacob took the phone from Edward, but before he could say a word, he found nothing but silence on the other end of the line. "Bella? Hello? Bella?" He pressed down on the end button causing the device to crack under his grip as though he had been handling nothing more than a box of crackers. Wide eyed, Jacob dropped the phone in disbelief, watching as it fell to the ground in several pieces. "Crap! I broke it!"

"Okay, I have an idea." Edward took his keys back and retrieved a spare phone from the glove box in his car, used only for emergencies. Be careful with this one, please. Edward dialed and then handed Jacob the phone. The two waited as the phone rang…and rang…and rang…

"She's not answering!"

Great. Okay, I have another idea.

From Bella's tree, Edward sat on the branch, gesturing for Jacob to move further back. They couldn't afford to take the chance that he might be tempted by her intoxicating scent again. To Edward's dismay, the window was closed, and he called out her name, but she didn't hear him…or was ignoring him. He then separated a twig from a branch and threw it to her window; there was a small clink as the wood touched the glass. Bella appeared at the window then, frowning at him and pulled shut her drapes.

With a disheartened sigh, Edward jumped down, landing on his feet, happy that at least there was some durability to Jacob's body.

At the end of the driveway, Jacob paced. "Maybe we could write her a note, telling her what happened."

As Edward considered this, he realized that the only paper he had was a tiny gas receipt.

Wallet.

Jacob removed Edward's wallet from his jeans' pocket, trying not to gawk at the amount of green contained inside and found the small receipt. "Pen?"

I'm a vampire, not a magician.

The two headed back to the Volvo, Edward yawning as he jogged far behind Jacob. When he reached the car, Jacob was already inside, sitting and searching for something to write with.

Leaning on the hood of the car with pen in hand, Jacob looked to Edward. "What do I write? It's going to sound kooky."

My dearest Bella…write it.

My dearest Bella? Jacob's brows drew together as he considered it. "I don't have that much room," he told him, showing him the tiny piece of paper. My dearest Bella…ugh! he thought.

Fine. Bella then…

Jacob put pen to paper and began writing, amazed that the script pouring from his fingers was Edward's. He looked to Edward to continue.

Something strange has happened, and now Jacob and I are in each other's bodies.

"Wow. That sounds perfectly believable."

Just write it!

Complying, Jacob spoke the words as he wrote them,

"Something…strange…has…happened." He stopped, puzzled. "That's weird. I wrote the word "strange," and it doesn't show here on the paper." Angling it toward Edward, he hoped that what this meant couldn't possibly be true.

"Just keep writing," Edward urged.

With a sigh, Jacob adjusted the paper and read the words aloud, "Okay…something has happened." He pressed the pen against the paper once again. "And now…and now…and now…." Jacob stopped, breathing a heavy sigh. "This is just perfect."

What?

"It won't let me write the words."

Edward shook his head, confused. "What won't let you?"

"I don't know- the spell, the curse, the charm, whatever it is…."

Here, let me try.

Jacob had a sinking feeling that it wouldn't make a difference, but handed Edward the small paper and pen anyway, and then after three attempts, Edward finally gave up.

So, we can't write it, he thought, tucking the receipt and pen into the door's side pocket. But, maybe we can say it. You can tell Carlisle, and he can help think of a way…

Feeling hopeless, Jacob simply shook his head. It felt like he was living in a nightmare. "Somehow I doubt it."

Another yawn passed Edward's lips, long and heavy. "Looks like we're stuck for now." I'm tired and I'm thirsty.

"Shut up."

"I didn't say anything."

"Right. Whatever." Jacob was having a hard time feeling sympathy for Edward's simple human frailties when the parched tissues in his throat threatened to burst into flames.

"Are you sure you don't want to hunt?" Edward asked, sensing Jacob's discomfort.

"I am sure."

"You know, let's think about this reasonably for a second. Why is it okay to use an animal for its meat, but leave behind its blood?"

"Because the blood is gross!" Jacob shivered, although, he didn't like to admit that the idea of warm red liquid sliding down his throat and dousing the fire sounded very appealing.

"Go to my house and skip school," Edward directed. "After I speak to Emily's neighbor, I'll call you, and then we will meet at the treaty line tomorrow." Resolved to this plan, he hopped onto the seat of the bike.

Seated in the driver's seat of the Volvo, Jacob really did not want to do this. Perhaps instead he could wander the forest and curl up on some leaves and take a nap…yet he felt disturbingly wide awake. Or maybe he could drive to Canada...

Edward had to blink back the stinging feeling in his eyes, and he yawned again. He plugged the key into the ignition and pressed the throttle, prompting a loud roar from the motorcycle. The vibration throbbed inside the palms of his hands.

"Keep that phone with you," Edward told him as he pulled up alongside his vehicle. And be nice to my car…and stay away from humans.

Jacob wanted to tell Edward to drop dead, but that wouldn't do. He still needed his body.

Do you have any suggestions for me?

"Yeah. Just be me."

A small covering of clouds moved in as Edward rode off, and Jacob sighed again as fat raindrops drummed against the windshield.


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