Bella sat beside her brother, she would never admit it, but she was definitely pouting. “I don’t want to be here.”
Stiles laughed, “Yeah, I can see that. You got what you wanted though, you spent a year away from town, and found yourself. Now it’s time to come back home.” Stiles responded as he drove his sister home. “How was Forks by the way? You get over the heartbreak that is Scott McCall.”
Bella frowned turning her head and looking out the window of the car. “You didn’t tell him that I left because of him, right?”
“You mean, did I tell my best friend that the reason that my sister left town was because he kissed her and told her he loved her. But then the next week began to date a girl that wasn’t her?” Stiles questioned in distaste. “No, upon your wish I didn’t say anything, though I did make Allisson feel unwelcome. If it makes you feel better, he chose her over me too, I barely see Scott anymore.”
Bella turned to look at her brother before answering the question that was probably most important for him. “I got over it. You know what Aunt Renee used to say, the best way to move on from someone is to find someone else. I had my first boyfriend in Forks.”
Stiles gaped at his sister as she hadn’t mentioned at any point to him in the last year. “What do you mean you got a boyfriend? Like an actual boyfriend? Someone you dated for an extended period?”
“Yeah, Stiles, a boyfriend.” Bella smiled rolling her eyes at her brother. “Do you remember when you let it slip that Scott was a werewolf? Well, the boy I dated happened to be a vampire, he was supernaturally pretty. Uncle Charlie wasn’t happy about the relationship, he was even more upset when I accidentally got hurt. Apparently, the vampires had a deal that no one in Forks or La Push would get hurt, and when I got hurt Uncle Charlie kicked them out of town.” Bella said with a frown remembering the searing pain that went through her arm from her accident. “It was not fun healing up, but Uncle Charlie showed me how to fight, so you know upside.”
“Why did he never try and teach me how to fight?” Stiles questioned his brows furrowed as he drove. “You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve gotten my ass kicked since Scott became a wolf.”
Bella shrugged, “Guess he thought I needed it more. I mean, I was almost turned into a vampire.”
“Wait….” Stiles paused, just barely registering what Bella had been saying. “I completely glanced over the whole vampire thing, start over.”
Bella smiled at the silver Porsche that pulled up beside her. “Hey, Jackson.” She greeted with a small wave of her hand.
“Isabella.” Jackson greeted with a nod of his head. “Didn’t realize you were back in town.”
Before Bella could answer Stiles appeared grabbing his sister’s arm and leading her away. “We do not talk to werewolves, B. Especially not one who has a restraining order on me.
Bella smiled and waved Jackson off as Stiles practically sat her down in the car. “I thought you said he lifted the restraining order?”
“He did, but I’m not over it.” Stiles responded as he began to pull out of the driveway. “So here is an update on what is going on, Scott and Allison are in a cycle of off and on again in their relationship. Lydia has made it clear I’m stuck in the friendzone as she is now dating Isaac Lahey, another werewolf. The alpha of this area is Derek Hale and he is a cranky asshole who hates being around people. Oh, and Jackson was this kanima thing but then became a werewolf, he’s a bit more tolerable now, but still an overall asshole.”
Bella smiled, “Okay. Thanks for the information.” She smiled as she put on her seatbelt. “Also, thanks for this.” She commented holding up her wrist to show the set of bracelets her brother had gotten her.
Stiles shrugged, “They were going to be a gift to Lydia, but I have lost all hope with her. Better that you have them, and it’ll help cover up that scar you don’t want anyone to see.”
Bella laughed, “Still, as a secondhand gift, it is amazing.”
Stiles shrugged and turned looking at his sister for a moment before turning his eyes back at the road. “Please don’t date, Jackson.”
Bella froze and looked at her brother stunned at the request. “Why would you say that?”
“Because Jackson has had a crush on you since Grade school, and now you’re single and over Scotty, it just… Jackson’s going to try and I think despite his bad qualities you’re going to fall for him. And if you fall for his charm and you start dating, you’ll do the same thing Scotty did and ignore me and pretend I don’t exist. You’ve already been gone for a year and I don’t want it to feel like you’ve been gone for two years.”
“I promise that if I date anyone, I won’t ignore you. I missed you too this last year, don’t forget we’re twins, you are literally my other half.” Bella responded with a smile.
Stiles sighed, “You didn’t say no to dating Jackson, are you open to it?”
Bella laughed turning away to hide the blush on her cheeks. “We’re so not talking about this, Sty.”
Bella grabbed her lunch from her bag and found a tree outside to sit down under and eat. Sitting inside a stuffy cafeteria with Stiles’ friends seemed to be a bit too much for her, it was the end of the first week and she was more than ready for it to be over so she can spend the weekend doing anything but schoolwork.
“Mind if we join you?” Lydia questioned standing in front of Bella.
Bella set her book down and nodded, “Of course, please, have a seat.” Bella smiled as Isaac lay his sweater on the ground so Lydia wouldn’t stain her dress. “Any reason you two are going to sit outside with me today?”
“Isaac doesn’t like the noise of the cafeteria, and at least with you around I have someone to talk to.” Lydia responded leaning comfortably against Isaac. “Honestly, Scott and Allison are beginning to get on my nerves, their relationship status changes every few minutes.” Lydia paused and looked at Bella. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned Scott…. Stiles told me what happened.”
Isaac turned to Lydia curiously. “What happened?”
Bella smiled at the young boy, “A week before Scott even met Allison, he had kissed me and told me that he loved me, and then on the first day of school he met Allison and it was like I never existed. To make it worst, Scott and I were best friends since we were kids and I had loved him for so long it hurt when he chose Allison.”
Isaac frowned; he didn’t really suspect that Scott would be capable of doing such a thing. “I’m sorry.”
Bella shrugged her shoulders not entirely sure what to do with the apology. “I’m over it, so nothing to be sorry about. As it turns out it wasn’t that hard to get over Scott McCall once I realized he wasn’t who I made him out to be.
Lydia raised a brow, “You’re really over him? You wouldn’t go back to him if he came to you first.”
Bella scoffed at the idea of dating Scott, that wasn’t something she’d ever feel happy to do. “No offense to Scott, but I deserve better.”
Lydia smirked, and grabbed her lunch. “So, how was Washington?”
“Not as interesting as Beacon Hills, obviously.” Bella replied with a smile. “Stiles was telling me all about the werewolf problem in the town. He also told me he almost died, which worried me over my brother’s well-being…”
“What exactly did Stiles tell you?” Isaac questioned nervously shifting about.
“Honestly, everything.” Bella responded with a shrug. “Stiles can’t really keep anything from me, it’s a twin thing. I wouldn’t worry though; I have no reason to go about screaming about werewolves and other things.”
Lydia hummed and stared at the other girl, after a few moments she rested her hand against Isaac’s and smiled. “So, tell me about Washington? Was it nicer than here?”
Bella smiled, “Nothing can be nicer than home, but the people were nice. I made some good friends while I was there, so I say it was a success.”
Lydia smirked, “Any boyfriends? That would explain how you got over Scott so quickly.”
“Lyds.” Isaac sighed in fake agitation. “That’s a bit invasive.”
Lydia rolled her eyes, “No, it’s not. It’s me trying to make a female friend because hanging around a bunch of male werewolves is getting on my nerves.”
Bella laughed lightly at the couple’s interaction. “It’s fine, I wouldn’t answer the question if I didn’t want to, and to your question, it wasn’t anything that lasted long, but it did help get rid of any feelings towards Scott.”
Lydia hummed acknowledging the answer. “Are you interested in dating again? Now that you’re in the market and no longer after Scott, you’ll be the most eligible senior at Beacon Hills.”
Isaac looked at his girlfriend for a second trying to understand what she was thinking of in her head, there was always a good reason Lydia sought after information. He turned his head as Bella went to answer.
“It’s not a priority right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to it.” Bella replied with a shrug not sure if there was anyone in that moment she wanted to date.
Lydia’s grin widened at the news. “You are starting to shape up to be my new Bestie.”
Bella shifted slightly but smiled, “You’re terrifying, you know?”
Lydia approached Jackson, “Bella needs a pool to practice in for her upcoming competitions.”
Jackson frowned, “Why tell me this?”
“Because we were friends before, and I want to be friends now.” Lydia responded with a shrug. “This is a peace offering. I want you to have a chance with the girl you always wanted, so I’m trying to help you.”
Jackson’s frown deepened, “I don’t… I never… Bella isn’t the girl I always wanted.”
Lydia laughed lightly, she knew already how Jackson always felt about Bella, everyone knew. “Jackson, everyone except her, knows that you’ve always had a thing for her. It was always the reason you picked on Scott and why you never during our time together said you loved me. Your heart has never been openly available you’ve been holding out for her. Bella has begun to become a close friend of mine, and I know that she’s completely over McCall, so now’s your chance.”
Lydia handed Jackson a folded piece of paper, “You’re a good coach, so help her out. Be that person she wants to be around, and you’ll have your chance. Just don’t be an asshole like your usual act, try and act like the decent honest guy you always try to hide. Trust me, you have an opportunity to finally get the girl.”
Jackson took the note from Lydia, opening it once she had walked away and seeing the 10-digit number that belonged to Bella. He folded the paper back up and placed it inside of his pockets for him to think about later.
Later, Jackson listened idly as Danny spoke about something as they both made their way to the locker room for practice. Jackson paused his walking as Danny placed an arm in front of him to stall his walking. “What are you doing? We have practice in 10.”
Danny gestured over his shoulder as Jackson’s name was called again.
Jackson turned and noticed Bella walking hurriedly over to him. “Hey, Bella. Everything okay?”
Bella smiled pausing to catch her breath. “Yeah, I just wanted to catch you before practice.” Bella replied she shifted nervously for a moment before continuing. “I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind helping me out. I’m trying to improve my swimming for college applications, and I just need someone to help me train. Lydia, Isaac and even Stiles have been telling me that you’d be the best for that, so I was hoping you wouldn’t mind.”
Danny nudged Jackson in the shoulder, trying to get the young werewolf to answer. “Sure, I wouldn’t mind. You can stop by tomorrow morning at my house I have a pool and we can get started on getting you ready.”
Bella beamed at the answer, she rushed forward and hugged Jackson. “Thank you! Lydia gave me your number, so I’ll text you later! Have fun at practice guys!” Bella said hurriedly as she made her way to her own practice.
Danny patted Jackson on the shoulder, “Don’t fuck this up, man. It’s starting to look like you might have a chance.”
Jackson nodded, but was more than distracted by the overwhelming chaos his senses had been put in when Bella hugged him. The wolf in him was howling at the scent, and it was starting to make Jackson feel a bit dizzy. “We have to get to practice.”
Bella followed Jackson to his pool, “Thank you for doing this.”
Jackson shrugged, “You really shouldn’t keep thanking me.” He gestured to the pool. “It’s heated, so it won’t be like the one at school. There is a bathroom in the corner where you can change and shower after. No one ever uses it, so I don’t think there’s any towels inside.”
Bella nodded, “Okay. Are your parents’ home?”
Jackson scoffed, “No, they’re never really home. You should get ready to get started we have a bit to get through.” Jackson watched as Bella went to the bathroom and could hear the humming of Bella’s heart as she prepared for her first round of training.
Bella walked out of the bathroom and frowned at Jackson as she held her swim cap. “I dislike wearing these things, I feel like they make me look like Stiles.”
Jackson laughed as Bella put the cap on but the frown on her face didn’t go away. “You look good, like always.” He coughed lightly and turned to the pool to hide the slow reddening of his cheeks. “I want to see how fast you are in the water, so we’re going to start off with some of the basic swimming techniques.”
Bella nodded, “Alright.” She waited as Jackson gave the signal and he started timing her and analyzing her movements. After what felt like hours to Bella, she poked her head out from the water and looked at Jackson.
“Not bad.” He commented with a smirk. “But your form is a bit stiff and I think that’s causing you to slow down. You’re not bad, but there’s room for improvement, if you’re serious about this you’re going to have to train daily to get into shape before your first competition.”
Bella pulled herself out of the pool, “Swim practice is only on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the Girls, after that the pool is saved for the boys team.”
Jackson handed Bella her towel and shrugged his shoulders. “That’s fine. No one uses this pool so you can come here, I usually get up around 5 to do a workout before school, so you’ll just have to meet me here and we can train at the same time.”
Bella smiled, “Okay.” She responded with a nod. “You don’t mind me crashing in on your training time?”
Jackson shrugged, “I’m already amazing in Lacrosse so you won’t hurt my game.”
Bella laughed, feeling at ease with how polite and calm Jackson was being with her. “Thanks, Jackson.”
Jackson set up his treadmill in the pool area and smiled as Bella arrived, “Morning.”
Bella smiled warmly. “Morning.” Bella responded as she set her bag down and stripped off her jacket and removed her sweatpants deciding yesterday that it was just faster for her to have her swimsuit already on. Jackson watched curiously as Bella had her wrist wrapped with some sort of gauze. “Are you really always up this early?”
“Everyday.” Jackson responded with a shrug of his shoulders. “I try to keep a strict daily routine.” Jackson gestured to the pool and gave Bella the plan for the day. He started on the treadmill and mentally kept time of her laps.
It was 7:45am when they both stopped their workouts. Jackson extended a hand to Bella and helped her out of the pool, “Better.” He remarked with a smirk, as Bella smiled.
“I feel exhausted.” Bella responded with a sigh. “But I felt faster.” She grabbed her swim bag and headed for the bathroom to wash up before going to school. It didn’t take her more than fifteen minutes to get dressed and head outside to search for Jackson.
“Protein shake and a granola bar, should replenish your energy.” Jackson said extending the shake and the bar to her. “Hop in, we have to get to class.”
Bella smiled and sipped the shake slowly as Jackson drove to school. “Do you drink this every morning?”
“No. I don’t really need to anymore, being a werewolf has certain perks.” Jackson responded with a shrug. “Unfortunately, I have so many protein shakes and bars that I thought it would go to waste. Now you get to finish off my supply.”
Bella laughed, “Thanks, I’m glad to be of service.” She reached into her bag and grabbed a small silver box, she opened it and grabbed one of the pills inside, she placed it in her mouth before washing it down with her protein shake.
“Didn’t know you started doing drugs in Washington.” Jackson commented with a smirk.
Bella laughed lightly. “It’s nothing illegal.” She promised she turned to Jackson and smiled. “If I tell you it stays between us, right?”
“Of course.” Jackson responded feeling better at the thought of Bella trusting with him with a secret.
“When I was in Washington, I had an accident and I broke my ankle.” Bella commented with a frown. “I guess I really damaged my muscle, so I take a Ibuprofen to help bring the pain and swelling down.”
“Doesn’t swimming just aggravate the injury?” Jackson questioned, already contemplating easing her training so not to aggravate her ankle. “Especially this sort of training we’re doing.”
“My Doc said that swimming was actually helping, it works out that muscle and it’s making it stronger.” Bella responded with a sigh. “Though he did warn that if I break my ankle or cause any damage to that muscle I’ll probably be limping for the rest of my life.”
“How did you break it in the first place?” Jackson questioned curiously; he did suspect that she ended up falling that was after all the normal thing for Bella to do.
Bella smiled as they pulled into the school parking lot. “That is a story for another day.”
Bella smiled as Lydia was planning a trip to the city and due to being her new best friend Bella was tagging along. “Lydia, I don’t think we need this much planning for a day.”
“You’re wrong. I need to have the most efficient way to get to and from all the stores while having sufficient time to shop and get everything I want.” Lydia responded returning to her work on the map.
Bella nodded, “Okay, but I’m not carrying all your stuff.”
Lydia smiled and gestured to Isaac who was sitting beside her but talking lowly to Erica and Boyd. “My super strong werewolf boyfriend will do that.”
Isaac glanced over at Lydia and smiled, he leaned over and kissed her temple before returning to his conversation with Erica and Boyd. Lydia smirked at Bella before returning to her planning, Bella picked at her fruit salad something about the syrup made her stomach churn. She blamed Jackson and the diet he had set up for her to keep her healthy and strong.
“Hey, Bella.” Scott interrupted causing all that table to look up at him and then to Bella.
“Hey, Scott. Something up?” Bella questioned curiously, she glanced over at the able where Scott was previously sitting with Stiles. Her brother looked worried and Bella was beginning to feel that worry herself.
“Yeah, can I talk to you for a second?” He paused looking at the others at the able. “In private.”
Bella sighed but nodded, “Yeah, sure.” She glanced at Lydia making a silent promise to tell her what would be said. She was quite happy to finally have a female to discuss these things with. Bella followed Scott out of hearing range from all the werewolves in the cafeteria.
Scott stopped and looked at Bella, “I know these last couple of weeks have been weird, and I just want to talk to you about it.” Scott began with a frown. “I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, I just want to be friends.”
Bella smiled and laughed lightly, “Yeah, me too, Scott. Look, what happened has passed and I’m over it and it looks like you are too, so nothing should be weird between us. Honestly, we’re good.”
Scott paused, “I… okay. We’re still friends?”
Bella shrugged, “Sure Scott.” She looked over her shoulder as the bell rang. “No worries Scott, your friendship with Stiles is still there and I guess with me too.”
Bella sighed and got into Jackson’s car as Lydia’s had been filled with Erica, Boyd, Stiles, Isaac and herself. “She talked you into coming too?”
Jackson nodded taking a sip of his coffee. “I felt it was too early in the morning, but Derek suggested I need more pack bonding time and this counts as bonding time.”
Bella smiled, she buckled herself in and rested her bag on the floor of the car. “Thanks for letting me come with you in your car.”
Jackson nodded and began to drive behind Lydia. “Do you have any plans to buy anything today?”
Bella looked down at her wrist and saw the already fraying of the bracelets from their constant use. “I guess just a new set of bracelets. These are getting a bit frayed and I don’t’ want them to fall apart.”
“Is there a reason you’re always wearing them?” Jackson questioned curiously.
Bella frowned and looked at her wrist. “I…” She slowly removed all the bracelets and showed Jackson the scar on her wrist. Jackson kept one hand on the wheel and grabbed Bella’s wrist looking at the scar that was there.
“How did this happen?” Jackson asked worriedly, glancing between the road and Bella as she placed the bracelets back on.
“I did something stupid in Washington.” Bella replied quietly, “I got into this very bad relationship with a boy who was a vampire, and due to this relationship, I was a target to the bad vampires. There was this vampire who attacked me at night while I was at home. I tried running away, but it was dark and I was scared and I fell down the stairs before I could make my escape.”
“Which is how you broke your ankle.” Jackson interrupted with a frown.
Bella smiled, “Exactly. Well, apparently to vampires my blood smells delicious, the guy I was with at the time had told me it was sort of an aphrodisiac. This bad guy he; he bit me and had all the intentions of drinking me dry, but fortunately that was not the outcome.”
“How did you get away?” Jackson questioned quietly.
“My uncle Charlie got home…” Bella responded with a frown, “And you know how the Argents are werewolf hunters, well my uncle is vampire hunter.”
“He scared the guy away?” Jackson responded looking over at Bella who was staring at her wrist.
“No, he shot him to weaken him and then with a venom-soaked bullet shot him in the head.” Bella responded with a frown. “Which is around the time the guy I was dating came in, and his dad patched up my wound and Uncle Charlie told them if they ever came near me again, he’d do a lot more than kill them.”
“I’m assuming no one knows about this?” Jackson responded with a frown feeling his body grow cold in anger.
“Stiles and my dad know bits, but…” Bella sighed, “They both know I fell down the stairs and stiles knows I got bit, but they don’t know about what came afterwards.”
“You don’t have to tell me, Bella.” Jackson interrupted, the last thing he wanted was to Force Bella into revealing anything that made her uncomfortable.
“I trust you.” Bella responded quietly. “It isn’t too bad, it’s just…” She held out her hand and slowly a blue sheen began to come over her skin. “Uncle Charlie says it happens to humans who survive a vampire bite, the bite activates any magic that is dormant. He assured me that as long as I stayed focus, I could control this.”
“You should tell Stiles.” Jackson responded sincerely. “He’s your brother, he’d help you.”
Bella shook her head, “I can’t put this on Stiles, he’s already stressed as it is. I figure that as long as I keep it in check it shouldn’t be a problem, and Uncle Charlie gave me a few books on the subject, so I should be okay.”
“I’m always here if you need to talk about it.” Jackson responded with a soft smile.
Bella returned the smile. “I know, Jackson.” Bella whispered, resting her head against the seat. “Overall, Washington was really eye opening. Vampires are assholes, and my uncle is a total badass with a gun, also stairs are my worst enemies.”
Jackson smiled, “Stairs have always been your worst enemy, you didn’t need to go to Washington to learn that.”
Bella laughed, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” She turned to look at Jackson and smiled, he looked good when he was relaxed. They talked on and off for the remainder of the car ride, Bella telling Jackson snippets of what it was like to be in Washington, and Jackson admitting how much help being a part of the pack was to him.
Bella walked beside Jackson as they walked in and out of the stores, Lydia had gathered more bags than Isaac could carry, they had begun to overflow onto Erica and Boyd’s arms. Stiles on the other hand had run off upon arriving at the city and no one had really seen him. Though Bella suspected he went to buy some books for his research.
Bella sighed, “I’m thinking I might just have to go to amazon to find some new bracelets.” Bella commented with a yawn as they approached another store.
“Haven’t seen anything you like?” Jackson remarked looking around at the store windows.
“Not really. It just all feels too much for me.” Bella replied. “Flashy things are not my style, I might just wear this till they fall apart.”
Jackson smiled, “You’ll find something eventually.”
Bella nodded, but was more concerned about her growing hunger. “I’m starving.” She whispered quietly to Jackson. “Want to ditch them and go have lunch? I don’t think Lydia has any plans of taking a break any time soon.”
“Anything but Sushi.” Jackson responded leading Bella across the street and away from the others. “Raw fish is where I draw the line.”
Bella laughed and walked beside Jackson as they tried to find a place to eat that would satisfy them both.
Bella yawned as she walked into the Whittemore residence. “Hey, J.” Bella greeted stifling another yawn.
“Couldn’t sleep?” Jackson questioned as he watched Bella throw her bags on the ground.
“Stiles was up all night.” Bella responded with a sigh. “He’s been playing Pokémon Go and he made me download it, and we spent the night slowly driving around town trying to catch em all.” Bella said with a laugh.
“Today is your first competition.” Jackson scolded. “You should have slept better.”
Bella nodded, “Yeah, but Stiles really needed the sibling time. No one ever take’s notice how much all this supernatural stuff stresses him out. He worries about everyone all the time, and he just needed some normalcy last night. Stiles has always had that big brother mentality; he wants to protect everyone he cares about.”
Jackson sighed, “You can miss first period, right?”
“Yeah, I have Study hall.” Bella responded with a yawn. “Why?”
Jackson moved and took Bella’s hand and led her into his home, they made the walk up the stairs and Jackson stopped at his room. “Take a nap, I’ll wake you when we should be getting to school. You need to be well rested if you want to win this competition.”
Bella smiled, “Okay, coach.” Bella mumbled not really having the energy to argue with Jackson. She rested her head on his pillows and was instantly surrounded by the smell of Jackson. “Thanks, J.”
Jackson watched for a moment as Bella almost instantly fell asleep, he swore to himself that after this competition he would finally make his move.
Jackson approached the girl’s locker room and waited outside for Bella to appear. He smiled as she appeared and he could hear the rapid beating of her heart and how she seemed to be trying her best to hide her nerves. “You’re going to do great out there.”
Bella nodded, “I’m starting to get nervous.” Bella admitted quietly. “I feel like I’m going to get up there and I’m going to fall or do something stupid. I’m scared I’m going to fail.”
Jackson approached Bella slowly and wrapped his arms around her and gave her a tight embrace. “You’re going to do great out there. You’ve worked hard for this, Bella, so when you go out there it’s going to show.”
Bella smiled into the embrace. “You never hug anyone.” Bella mumbled quietly.
“I made an exception for you.” Jackson replied honestly. “I’ll be in the stands cheering you on, okay?”
Bella nodded, “Hey, Jackson.” Bella said grabbing his hand before he could walk away. “I…”
Jackson smirked as he looked at Bella her heart practically beating out of her chest. “I’m planning on asking you out on a date once your competition is over, so win or lose you and I are going to end up having dinner together.”
Bella smiled her cheeks reddening as she looked at Jackson. “Okay.” Bella responded with a grin, as she watched Jackson walk off to join the audience.
Jackson moved through the audience and sat between Lydia and Stiles, both watching him curiously. “What?” He questioned keeping his eyes forward.
“You asked her out.” They both said in unison.
Jackson smirked, “Not yet.”
Stiles glared at Jackson noting the way the blonde wolf looked so content and happy. “I hate how smug and happy you look.”
“I think happiness suits you.” Lydia interrupted with a smile. “Makes you look young again.”
“I knew this was going to happen.” Stiles murmured to himself, he went to argue with Jackson but shut up when the announcer started the competition. Stiles pulled out his phone and began recording making sure to get everything he could for his dad.
Jackson leaned forward and watched Bella approach the pool, her heart was beating fast and he knew she was close to panicking. Stiles and Lydia were cheering for Bella, but Jackson was watching her form and hoping she remembered everything they had been practicing.
Lydia glanced at Jackson as he was on the edge of his seat and was holding his breath, his hands were shaking and for a moment she felt envious. This was a side of Jackson she had never been able to bring out, he cared about the things Bella cared about. The feeling slipped away as she understood she had never seen this part of him because they weren’t meant to be, they were always supposed to just stay friends.
Lydia smiled as Jackson stood cheering for Bella, “That was her best time yet!” He whistled and clapped as Bella glanced over at him, cheering her on and keeping her hopes high. “She’s doing great, so far.” Jackson said taking a seat feeling proud for Bella and her work.
Lydia glanced at Stiles with a smug smirk, as now the boy couldn’t argue that Jackson didn’t really care about Bella. It was so obvious how invested Jackson was into Bella, how much he actually cared for her.
Bella smiled at the trio that awaited her outside of the locker room. She laughed lightly at the bear hug her brother gave her in congratulations. “Thanks, Sty.”
Lydia approached Bella, “Proud of you, babe.” Lydia commented with a grin. “You looked really good out there, and your muscles are making me a bit jealous. Good job tonight.”
Bella laughed, “Thank you.” She turned to Jackson and grinned brightly at him. “I’m exhausted.”
Jackson smiled and approached Bella giving her a soft hug, “You did good out there.”
“Well…” Stiles coughed uncomfortable. “I’m hungry.”
“When aren’t you?” Lydia snapped back annoyed he had obviously interrupted a moment between the two.
“The diner on 5th is still open.” Jackson responded, “Let’s go get a bite, my treat.”
Stiles grinned, “Unlimited curly fries!”
Lydia rolled her eyes and followed after Stiles preferring to get a ride with him and let Jackson and Bella be on their own.
Jackson held out his hand to Bella. “Ready?”
Bella smiled, her cheeks reddening as she took his hand in hers. “Yes, but you don’t have to pay, I can do that.”
Jackson rolled his eyes, “I want to date you, and unfortunately your brother hates me, so I have to get on his good side. Feeding him seems to be the best way to do that.”
Bella smiled as Jackson took her hand in his and led her into the fairgrounds, they had come to be a part of some sort of pack bonding experience. “I’m going to have to carry Stiles home after tonight, he’s going to get so full on fried food.”
Jackson smiled, “I can drag him home for you if you want.”
Bella laughed, she leaned against Jackson and looked on as everyone in the pack went off on their own. “So, what’s first?”
Jackson looked around and his eyes zeroed in on the Ferris Wheel, “Want to go for a ride?”
Bella followed his line of sight and smiled widely at the look of the Ferris wheel. “I’ve never actually been on one of those.”
“It’ll be fun.” Jackson promised as he led Bella to the attraction, knowing that his girlfriend was nervous over heights. “Nothing bad will happen.”
Bella grinned, leaning into Jackson’s side as they walked. “Will you kiss me at the top like in all the movies?”
“That’s the plan.” Jackson responded placing his arm around her shoulders. “After that, I’ll win you something from one of the games.”
Bella smiled and waited in the line beside Jackson to get on the ride. She glanced up at him and blushed lightly when he saw him string back at her. Standing on the tips of her toes Bella leaned forward and brushed her lips against Jackson’s. Overall, their night at the fair was going to be great.
Stiles walked with is best friend ready to try at least one of everything on the menu. “Scotty, should we begin with the sweet or the salty stuff?” Getting no answer, he turned his head to see Scott staring intently into the crowd of people. “What are you staring at?”
“Jackson took Bella on the Ferris wheel; he’s going to kiss her.” Scott responded with a frown. “Doesn’t that bother you?”
Stiles shrugged, “Not really.” He returned to look at the menu ignoring his best friend in order to choose what was going to be the first thing he ordered.
“Why are they even together?” Scott continued, crossing his arms over his chest. “They don’t have anything in common, and Jackson is a total jerk.”
Stiles frowned, “Not really, or at least not t Bells.” Stiles interrupted deciding he needed to try the iconic fried twinkie first.
“He tormented us throughout school, and he has a restraining order on you!” Scott argued his frown deepening as he forced his ears to pick up the sound of Bella and Jackson getting onto the Ferris wheel. “He’s just using her! Like he used Lydia, he’ll get bored and he’ll break her heart.”
Stiles did his best to bite his tongue instead of arguing with his best friend and ruining his night. “I’m going to order a twinkie. I’ll be in line if you need me.”
Later Stiles saw his sister walking with Jackson, a stuffed animal in her hand. “How long did you try and win that, bells?”
Bella smiled and leaned against Jackson, “Jackson won it for me, it’s cute.” She looked down at the small plush bear in her hands.
Stiles glanced at Jackson and smirked. “Not werewolf enough to win one of the big ones?”
Jackson smirked, his free arm moving to lay over Bella’s shoulders. “Jealous no one has won you a stuffed animal, Stiles?”
Bella rolled her eyes and sat across from her brother on the table. “He won me one of those huge Pokémon ones already, but we had to go put it in the car because I refuse to walk around with it all night. What have you spent the last two hours on?”
“Trying everything on the fried menu.” Stiles responded he pushed the basket of curly fries towards his sister. “Taking a break.”
Jackson laughed lightly as he could not only see but smell how eating so much was starting to affect Stiles. “You know there’s an entirely different one of these fried stands on the other side of the fair, right? They have an entirely different menu too…”
Stiles groaned his head hitting the table, he had a mission to finish before the end of the night. “If you need me….” He trailed off as he stood and ran to find the stand that Jackson was talking about.
Bella smiled and held up a fry to Jackson to eat. “Come on, try some.”
Jackson smiled and leaned forward and ate the fry Bella was holding out for him. “So, what do you want to do now?”
Bella smiled, “Finish these fries.” She responded placing another one in Jackson’s mouth. “And maybe then I’ll win you a stuffed bear just for fun.”
“I hate to tell you this, babe, but you suck at carnival games.” Jackson responded draping his arm over Bella and taking another fry. “But I’m happy to see you try.”
“I’m not good at throwing, but eventually I’m sure I’ll win you something.” Bella responded laughing as Jackson grabbed the last fry from the basket. “I’m so ordering something off the menu before we leave.”
Jackson chuckled and pressed a kiss to Bella’s temple. “Be careful, babe, the fried food might irritate your stomach. You haven’t eaten anything so bad since you started training for swimming.”
Bella nodded in agreement she knew Jackson had a point, but it would be worth it. “I’ll be fine… I think.” She wrapped her arms around Jackson pressing her head into the crook of his neck and taking in the comforting smell of his cologne. “You’re warm.”
Jackson smiled, “I told you to bring a coat, babe.” He slipped his off and wrapped it around Bella.
“Yeah, but you always bring one and I like wearing your coats.” Bella said pushing her arms through the sleeves. She leaned forward and kissed Jackson, wrapping her hands around Jackson and holding him close to her.
Both pulled apart at the loud clearing of a throat. Jackson scowled at the boy in front of him, “Something we can help you with, McCall?”
“I’m looking for Stiles, I lost him somewhere between here and the house of mirrors.” Scott replied with a frown. “Can you help me find him, Bells.”
“He went to the other food station.” Bella responded with a smile, pulling Jackson’s coat tighter around her body. “You’ll probably find him there face deep in a basket of something fried.”
“You want to come with me and look for him?” Scott offered his puppy eyes shining through as he looked at Bella and ignored Jackson.
“Not really, Jackson and I were about to go play some more games.” Bella responded standing with Jackson, she placed her arm around his waist as his went around her shoulders. “But good luck finding my brother, Scott.”
Bella and Jackson headed off leaving behind a confused Scott, Jackson turned around and smirked at the look on Scott’s face. “He’s trying to win you back.” Jackson murmured with a frown once he was sure the other werewolf could hear him.
“It’s useless, I quite like you.” Bella respond with a smile, sensing the insecurity in Jackson. “I’d choose you over anyone any day, J.” She leaned her head against Jackson’s shoulder and together they walked towards one of the games. “I want to try that ring toss one, that one might be my best chance at winning something.”
Jackson stood behind Bella and watched as her shoulders tensed and she was focused on winning the game. He smiled fondly as Bella tossed the ring and got it on the bottle, he smiled as she turned and grinned at him. Bella took in a deep breath and tossed the last ring onto the bottle, she shouted in glee as she had made it. Jackson grinned as Bella jumped towards him wrapping her arms and legs around him with happiness.
“I won!” Bella said with glee leaning and kissing his jaw. “I actually won!” She grabbed the plush bear from the attendant and handed it to Jackson. “I told you I’d win you something.”
Jackson smiled, he leaned down and lightly kissed her. “Thanks, babe.” Bella stood on the tips of her toes and wrapped her arm around Jackson’s shoulder, her fingers caressing the hair on the back of his neck.
“You look beautiful when you smile.” Bella whispered taking a good look at Jackson. “You should keep doing it.”
Jackson smiled and leaned forward pushing their lips together, his hands kept her close.
“MY EYES!” Stiles shouted between Scott and Isaac; he dramatically fell against Isaac only to be pushed away.
“You look awful, Sty.” Bella responded pulling away from Jackson and looking at her older brother.
“I think it’s time to head home. Stiles practically threw up half his weight just a minute ago.” Isaac responded with a frown as he looked at the boy as he grew paler by the minute.
Jackson sighed and walked beside Bella as she went to help her brother. “Maybe you got food poisoning, Sty.” Bella said looking at her brother. “I got him, guys.” Bella replied wrapping her arm around her brother as he looked ready to fall over.
Scott went to reply before Jackson helped Bella and lifted Stiles up over his shoulder. “He’s going to be horrible tonight.”
Bella nodded looking at her brother and knowing she would most likely be up all night with his stomach pains. “Yeah. Mind taking us home?” Bella questioned looking up at Jackson.
Jackson smiled, “Yeah, of course, babe.”
Bella looked at the others and smiled. “We’ll see you guys tomorrow, hopefully.” Bella followed Jackson to his car, hoping that the drive home wouldn’t make Stiles sick.
Bella paused and stood as the door bell was ringing endlessly. “J, I think the food is here.”
Bella approached the door with cash in hand, “Hi.” Bella greeted, opening the door, but paused seeing Scott there. “Hey, Scott, what are you doing here?”
“Stiles hasn’t been answering his phone all day.” Scott questioned shifting nervously. “I figured he might be sick and you would need some help taking care of him. I know you don’t drive so I figured I could take him to the doctor with you.”
Bella smiled, “It’s fine, really, Jackson took us to the doctor’s and Stiles is upstairs resting, he didn’t have a good night. I’ll tell him to give you a call when he wakes up, but for right now he’s out cold.”
Scott frowned, trying to peer over Bella to get a look into the house. “So, Jackson is here?”
Bella looked over her shoulder and gestured to Jackson who was coming down the stairs. “Yeah, he stayed the night actually, he helped me out with Stiles through the night.”
“Oh, um…” Scott shifted nervously. “Do you mind if I just come in to check on Stiles myself?”
Bella nodded and stepped aside letting Scott in, she ignored the glares he and Jackson shared. Instead she stepped outside to greet the delivery man that was pulling into her driveway.
Jackson smiled as Bella set the food down on the coffee table. “Why did you order so much?”
“I couldn’t decide what I wanted so…” Bella gestured to the abundance of Chinese food. “Whatever is left over I’m sure Stiles will eat when he’s better.”
Jackson smiled and sat down beside Bella. “He woke your brother up.” He commented, tilting his head and hearing the rustling as Scott continue to wake Stiles.
Bella groaned, and sat beside Jackson. “I’ll never be able to look at my brother the same way again.” Bella said as she opened up a box of rice handing it to Jackson. “What movie are we watching?”
“The new Conjuring movie.” Jackson responded smiling as Bella leaned into him on the couch.
“We need to turn the lights off and close the curtains for that type of movie.” Bella responded yawning slightly.
Jackson paused and turned his head as he heard shouting coming from Stiles’ room. He didn’t want to eavesdrop, but he didn’t want to make sure Stiles was going to be okay.
Bella sat up straight trying to strain her ears to pick anything up that was going on upstairs. “What’s going on?”
“Stiles is defending me…” Jackson said with a frown as he had never head the other boy speak so well about him. “He must be really sick.”
Bella’s brows furrowed as she looked as Stiles came fumbling down the stairs. “Everything alright, Sty?”
“Scott was just being an ass.” Stiles responded moving and sitting on the floor in front of the couch. “What are we watching?”
“Conjuring.” Bella replied watching her brother carefully. “You okay, sty?”
Stiles nodded, “Hand me some noodles, I’m starving.”
“Don’t puke, I can’t see that again.” Jackson responded handing over the noodles.
“Make no promises, jerkoff.” Stiles responded digging into the noodles.
Bella leaned back against Jackson, but constantly looked at her brother, it wasn’t common for Stiles and Scott to get into an argument.
Jackson smiled proudly as Bella was in the stands and wearing his old Lacrosse shirt with his number on it. Jackson turned his head as Stiles bumped into him. “Problem, loser?”
“You guys are sickeningly sweet together.” Stiles commented with a shrug. “Good luck out there, Jerkoff.”
Jackson rolled his eyes and turned back to catch one last glimpse of Bella in the stands.
Lydia glanced at Bella and smirked, “So… You and Jackson, how’s that going?”
“Good.” Bella responded as she took her seat next to Lydia. “Why do you ask?”
“Winter break is coming and I was curious as to where you guys stand.” Lydia responded with a sigh. “After winter break it’s when its time to start thinking about college and the future.”
Bella frowned. “I don’t want to let him go.” Bella responded softly. “Would you let Isaac go?”
“No.” Lydia replied honestly. “We’ve been working to get into schools near each other. He can’t be away from the pack and I can’t be away from him.”
“To be honest, I haven’t given much thought to college. I mean I know what I want to study, but I don’t know what school I’ll be going to. It all depends if I can get admitted into a swim team and have a full ride.” Bella replied shifting her hands in her lap. “I know it’s soon, but…”
“You love him and he loves you.” Lydia interrupted with a grin. “It’s written all over your faces, you two are so in sync with each other it’s weird. You act like you’ve been together for years.”
Bella looked to Lydia and blushed. “I’ve never felt like this before, it’s kind of… terrifying.” Bella smiled as Jackson made the first goal of the game. “But then I’m with him and it’s like everything just clicks into place. He’s my best friend, I can do everything with him, he’s the Chandler to my Monica.”
Lydia rolled her eyes at the reference. “I hate that I know that reference. You and Isaac need to stop with Friends.” Lydia smiled and leaned against Bella. “You guys are cute together, I’m happy for you both. I’m glad he finally found his happiness, especially since it’s with you.”
Bella smiled keepig her eyes on Jackson as he was on the field. “I’m glad he’s happy too.”
At the end of the game Bella leaned against Jackson’s car, waiting for him to appear so she could congratulate him on the win. Lydia, Isaac and Stiles had already gone off but had let her know Jackson was just speaking to the coach.
Bella froze as she felt someone press her against Jackson’s car and kiss her. Bella pushed on the shoulders of whoever it was, but they wouldn’t move.
Jackson froze as he saw what was going on in his car. His irrational mind instantly believed Bella was cheating on him, but his wolf believed else. He could sense Bella’s fear and her anger, and his own anger began to grow as he realized what was REALLY occurring. Just as he rushed forward a blue light stopped him in his track.
“Bella!” Jackson called out, as the light dimmed and he could finally see Bella again.
“I didn’t want to…” Bella mumbled out as she looked down at her hands. “He came at me, and I…”
Jackson nodded approaching Bella carefully. “Hey, babe, just breathe.” Jackson said quietly, his hands coming up to cup her face to make sure she was looking at him. “Are you feeling okay?”
Bella nodded her heart rate going down as she calmed herself down. “I don’t know who that was, I was just standing here and they came out of nowhere.”
Jackson nodded, “It was McCall.” He growled out as he knew Scott was gone. “I’m sorry, babe.”
“It wasn’t you, J.” Bella whispered, she leaned forward and embraced Jackson in a tight hug. “Let’s just get out of here, please.”
Jackson nodded, opening the door for Bella and helped her in. He placed his gear in the back before moving to get into the driver’s seat. “Tell me what to do, Bella.”
“I love you.” Bella whispered turning to face Jackson.
Jackson paused his key still in the ignition, Bella had never said that to him. “What?”
“I love you.” Bella stated with a smile. “It’s fine if you don’t say it back, I just want you to know.”
Jackson smiled and leaned over in the seat, his hand coming to cup Bella’s neck, as he leaned in and kissed her. “I love you.” Jackson breathed, his heart beating out of his chest. “I’ve never told anyone that before.”
Bella smiled leaning her forehead against Jackson’s. “I don’t ever want to kiss anyone that’s not you.” Bella admitted softly. “I just want you, for as long as you’ll have me, I just want you.”
Jackson nodded a wide smile coming onto his face as he looked into Bella’s eyes. “I’m going to marry you one day.” Jackson promised.
Bella paced back and forth in front of her couch, her hands nervously wringing together as she walked. “He’s going to hate me.” Bella whispered her heart started racing at the thought. “He’s never going to forgive me.”
“Babe, he’s Stiles.” He spoke softly trying his best to comfort his girlfriend as her worry only grew by the second. “There is no one Stiles finds more important than you. There is no one Stiles loves more than you, so I think he’d understand why you kept this from him. I’m sure there’s a reason he’s not home yet.”
“Yeah, that reason is that he hates me because I hurt his best friend and have been lying to him about something so major.” Bella responded moving to sit next to Jackson. “I’m scared, J.”
“I know, babe.” Jackson replied placing his arm around her and tugging her close to him and letting her twist his shirt in her hands as she tried to calm down before she saw Stiles.
“Gross.” Stiles stated coming into the house and placing his bag on the floor. “Get away from each other, I will not be harassed under my own roof.”
Jackson and Bella stood as Stiles entered the room. Jackson took in a breath getting the hint that he should leave the two alone. “Just call and I’ll come running back.” He whispered to Bella before kissing her temple and moving to walk out the front door. He paused as Stiles grabbed his arm and stopped him from leaving.
“I can’t beat the shit out of Scott, but he’s hurt my sister too much to just get away with it.” Stiles whispered. “I’m asking as her brother to please go and hit Scott on my behalf.”
Jackson smiled and nodded his head. “I’ll add an extra hit on your behalf.” He responded before casting one final look to Bella and offering her a warm smile to help keep her calm.
“Sty…” Bella began once Jackson was out the door. “I’m sorry, I should’ve told you, and I know you must hate me…”
Bella paused as her brother had engulfed her in a tight embrace, she moved and wrapped her arms around him and pressed her head into his chest. “I’m sorry.” She whispered as tears came to her face as her guilt was taking over.
“I should be apologizing, Bells.” Stiles responded holding his sister tight. “I shouldn’t have listened to you; I should’ve stopped being friends Scott when he hurt you the first time. I should’ve noticed how weird he’s been lately, how fixated on you and Jackson he’s been. I should’ve been a better brother to you. I don’t want you to ever think that I would choose Scott over you, tonight was the last straw, Bells, I’m done with Scott and I left the pack. I don’t want anything to do with a pack that supports Scott’s behavior.”
“You love your friends.” Bella whispered. “You shouldn’t push them away.”
“My real friends will stand with me.” Stiles responded with a shrug. “I’m done with just following blindly behind Derek and Scott. You’re more important than anyone, Bells. I’m your brother and I’m not letting you down again.”
“You’ve never let me down.” Bella replied she stepped back and her face fell slightly. “Sty, I should’ve told you about my abilities, I just didn’t want you to worry about me.”
Stiles nodded and a bright smile lit up his face. “So, what exactly can you do?”
Jackson entered the loft and his senses were fuming as it seemed that everyone was divided in two. Those who stood by Scott and those who stood by Stiles and Bella. He wasn’t surprised to see Lydia and Isaac fighting on Stiles and Bella’s behalf. “I’m going to kick your ass, McCall!” JAckson shouted lunging towards Scott, he got a few good hits in before Derek was throwing him away from Scott. “You can’t really be supporting him attacking my girlfriend!”
“He kissed her and from what Scott says she’s always been crushing him.” Derek replied flatly rolling his eyes at what he believed to be nothing more than teenage drama that would pass in a week or so.
Jackson scoffed not believing what he was hearing. “He cornered her outside when she was by herself, he has werewolf strength and Bella doesn’t. He attacked her, and if she didn’t have her abilities, she wouldn’t have been able to fight him off! What he did wasn’t right, Derek, as alpha you have to do something. You can’t let him get away with this!”
“I’m not going to take part in a bunch of teenage drama.” Derek replied heading for the living room.
Jackson felt his anger swell; his own alpha wouldn’t do anything to protect Bella. “I’m DONE!” He shouted in anger. “I’m done with this pack. I’m out.”
Derek laughed pausing and turning back around. “You’ll go crazy by yourself and without an alpha, stop being dramatic and just get over this. If you have such a problem with him kissing your girlfriend maybe you should take it up with your girlfriend. She is the one cheating on you.”
Jackson’s body shook and he growled out at Derek in warning, his face transforming as he did so. “I’M DONE.” Jackson turned in the silence of the pack moving to leave the loft before he decided to attack Scott and Derek again. His body was shaking, but he knew he had done the right thing, he couldn’t’ stay in a pack that disrespected Bella.
Jackson reached his car and turned around to find Isaac standing behind him. “Don’t worry, we’ll still be friends.”
Isaac smirked taking notice at the look on Jackson’s face. “You don’t know what just happened, do you?”
“I just left Derek’s pack?” Jackson responded confused.
“No, you flashed your eyes and instead of the usual beta color they were an alpha red.” Isaac replied crossing his arms over his chest. “You took the Alpha mantle, Jackson.”
Jackson froze shaking his head in confusion. “That’s not possible.”
“It is.” Lydia spoke approaching Isaac and Jackson. “It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it means that a true alpha has stepped up to the plate. Derek wasn’t the alpha you, Stiles, or Bella needed, so your wolf decided to take that place.”
Jackson turned his head and flashed his eyes at his car and was surprised to see the red that clouded his eyes. “SHIT!”
Lydia rolled her eyes. “As a new alpha you’ll need to start taking on the role that comes with the title. I’m sure that Derek won’t try and kick you out of the territory. He’s smart enough to know that your pack is already at an advantage.”
“My pack?” Jackson responded with a frown. “What?”
“Stiles and Bella.” Isaac replied shifting nervously he continued. “And Lydia and I if you would allow us.”
“You don’t have to do this, if you want to stay with Derek, then you should. We can still be friends.” Jackson replied sternly. “I don’t want you to do something you’ll regret; Derek was the one to give you the bite.”
Isaac nodded, he knew he would always owe Derek for turning him, but he needed to be with those he and his wolf truly considered his pack. “He was, and I’m grateful, but I don’t agree with his choices. Bella is my friend and so are you, I would rather be with those I can trust.”
Lydia smiled at Isaac before turning back to Jackson. “You can’t say no; I’m not a wolf and I already feel the pack bond with you. You’re stuck with us, Whittemore. Don’t worry we’ll make a good pack the five of us.”
Jackson nodded his head a soft smile on his lips. “Thank you.” He moved to get into his car. “I’m going to go and see Bella and try to get a grasp on this.”
“We’ll come with you.” Lydia responded taking Isaac’s hand in hers and moving to her car. She continued to speak knowing Jackson could still hear her with his enhanced hearing. “We should probably tell Stiles so he can look into what our next move is.”
Jackson got into his car and took off to Bella’s house, the drive was shorter than he expected as his mind wasn’t really focused on his driving. Arriving at the home he smiled as he could hear Bella’s heartbeat and the soft rhythm let him know she was feeling better. As he stepped closer to the home, he heard the sound of Stiles’ laughter that was followed by Bella’s tired sigh. He followed the voices into the backyard where Stiles and Bella were gathered. Stiles was actively trying to see how far Bella could push this magic of hers.
Jackson moved closer and watched the two, trying not to disturb them, he turned his head as Isaac and Lydia turned up as well. Jackson took in a breath as his wolf calmed, he was sure that things would be rocky for a while, having two packs in the same area wasn’t going to be easy. Eventually, things would work out for them. Afterall, now that he focused, he could sense the pack bond he had with the others and if it meant keeping Bella safe and happy he would be the best Alpha to their pack.