Truth 1, by James Orland
Slowly, so subtly she didn't see it happen, Elspeth fell in love. It started as a strange itch in her Magic. It was different from before, not quite as strong, but every bit as insistent. It remained there, though, even while she spoke the truth. After a while, she got annoyed enough that she put her hands on her face to find out what it was about.
And she was confused.
Magic looked disgruntled, and Memory was smirking. Well, actually every time Elspeth looked at Memory she remembered someone smirking, but that amounts to pretty much the same thing. Magic's facial expression was there, though, no remembering anything, and she was looking pretty annoyed.
"...What happened?" Elspeth asked both, after a while of staring contest.
"I don't know!" Magic exploded suddenly. "Memory told me we were missing something and it was true! And now I don't know what we're missing!"
Elspeth turned to Memory. "What are we missing?"
Just the smirk, followed by a shriek from Magic. "Well, once you find out, will you tell me? And stop itching, please," she asked of Magic.
Magic grimaced. "I can't! I can't just not itch when we're leaving something out!"
And so it went on itching. And the itch grew.
On a side note, she realized she spent more time with Jake. She thought more of Jake. And when she thought 'my Wolf,' the word 'my' had a slightly different tone. To Jacob, of course, she was still the center of the Universe. She was his imprint, he was her wolf, they'd discussed it already, it didn't have to look like anything else.
Still, she started swooning and sighing. And what she didn't realize was that she was also dreaming of him, quite often. Until he said, one morning:
"Last night you dreamed of me." He had his lips pursed to avoid smiling.
"...Yes? Don't I often dream of everyone I know?"
"This was... different," he said.
She had a weird feeling in her stomach. "How different?"
"Um... well... you were..." He cleared his throat. "You kissed me."
She stared at him, gaping, for ten seconds. "I-" She didn't know what to say to that. "I- I need to go to the bathroom," she decided, and she went, and closed the door behind herself.
Slowly, so subtly he didn't see it happen, Jacob fell in love. Elspeth was his imprint. Jacob was her wolf. That much he knew. She was the center of his universe, the one and only that could possibly be. Everything was about her, every smile was the sun, an undeserved gift; every frown was his fault, he'd done something wrong. And if she was so much the most important thing in the world to him and he wants to worship the ground where she walks and he would jump in front of a train for her, how would he realize when he actually fell in love with her?
It started with the dreams. He dreamt of holding her all night long, watching her dream, and just that. And he started acting on it, going to sleep later and later, trying to hold her for as long as he possibly cold before crashing, trying to wake up before she did, trying not to miss a single moment with her.
Then he started thinking about it. He felt it was somehow wrong. He knew he was hers to keep, not the other way round, but he still caught himself wishing that she would be his, that he could keep her forever, and imagining forever with her.
And during one of the nights he watched her dream, inside a little cottage in La Push, he saw them kissing. And kissing. And kissing. And it was just that. It was a simple, romantic dream, that lasted for about two hours, where they cuddled under the sun on the fjords of the place she was born. And then he fell asleep, and had exactly the same dream, which lasted all night long, until he woke up feeling her stir in his arms. And he smiled. But he had to hide the smile. It wasn't right. But it felt right, righter than it had a right to be. Once she was up, he said, "Last night you dreamed of me."
"...Yes? Don't I often dream of everyone I know?"
"This was... different," he said.
He felt a bit panicky. "How different?"
"Um... well... you were..." He cleared his throat. "You kissed me." He couldn't tell her he had had exactly the same dream, after he fell asleep, that he wanted it to be true.
She gaped at him, and he felt a sinking feeling in his stomach. He had done something wrong. "I- I- I need to go to the bathroom," she said, and he let her go, and she went to the bathroom. And despair took over him, because he had no idea what to do, no idea whether he had broken whatever it was they had, and he couldn't stand the thought of having scared her off and never being with her again and...
Elspeth sat on the floor and blinked, many times. She felt that itch again, stronger than ever, and once again put both hands on her face. Memory was smiling triumphantly, and Magic looked confused, but less annoyed than before. She looked between them, and finally asked: "What's happening?"
"I think..." Magic started, "that maybe... we... love Jacob."
Elspeth blinked once, and tried to find a way around it. "I know that. We always did, didn't we?"
"No," Magic said. "I mean, love love. As in... we are in love." That was the first time Elspeth saw Magic struggle for words. She was usually very articulate, very good in making herself understood, but this time... she was lost. And it was all the more terrifying when Memory nodded virtuously - or, rather, showed her a memory of someone doing that. That gave Magic more certainty in her statements.
"So," Elspeth said, and swallowed. "So," Magic concluded. "We are in love with Jacob."
And then it finally dawned on her. As she slowly lowered her hands from her face, her mouth hanging open, she whispered to herself: "I love Jacob." And it was true, and once that settled in, she couldn't take another minute away from him, and she stood up and opened the door behind herself.
He had both hands covering his face, thinking. How can I fix that? How could I be so STUPID to break it in the first place?! Of course, that was the general idea. Most of his thoughts were more like AAAAARRRGGHHHHH! and UUUUCK! and other inarticulate ideas. And then he finally, really asked himself why he was so stupid in the first place. And it dawned on him.
He loved Elspeth.
He loved loved Elspeth. As in, he was in love with Elspeth.
As soon as that hit him, the bathroom's door opened, and he raised his head to look at her. And she looked... what? He was usually so good at reading her face, at knowing what she was feeling. Not now. That was an expression he'd never seen her wear before.
"Elspeth..." he breathed, trying to explain himself, but no words came. Her face...
"Jacob," she stated, in that magical way she had of doing it, and he stopped short. It wasn't that he couldn't understand her expression. It was just that it was so much like his own feelings he couldn't distinguish it. The way she said his name brought to memory the dream again, what he was feeling from her then.
She walked in his direction, and sat in front of him on the bed. She just stared at him, and he felt and looked afraid, nervous, and confused. He blinked a few times while looking at her, and she didn't say a word. She was just looking at him with a certain intensity. And from her magic, he knew she had something in her mind, but she was confused. So he just waited for her to say something, and when it looked like she wasn't going to say anything, he started with "I'm..."
But then she leaned against him and kissed him.
They didn't do much talking for the next few hours.
She had to hold his hand to do that. She wasn't even sure how to do that, but she knew sooner or later her father would see it in her thoughts, so might as well be sooner. As they walked towards the compound, Jake squeezed her hand. She smiled at him, but kept thinking very hard and very loud please don't tell mom please don't tell mom please don't tell mom...
So, of course, dad told mom.
As soon as they got to the "throne room," Bella snatched her lightning fast and growled, which prompted an instinctual and instant phasing of Jacob. Edward had a weird expression on his face.
"Mom!" Elspeth cried. She'd stopped calling Bella 'Mama' a few years earlier.
"You!" she growled, looking at Jacob. "My daughter!" Oh. Of course. She forgot. La Push was within Edward's mental borders, at least when it came to familiar minds. So he would... he'd have... seen... everything...
Edward pursed his lips, looking guilty, as Elspeth slowly turned her head to look at him, horrified. Never mind that she did have the memory of their honeymoon, it was just a memory, which she tried oh so hard to suppress, she hadn't actually watched it. But then she heard Jacob bark, and floof, and her head snapped back to look at him. And... after earlier this day... looking at him naked was... different. Now it was Edward's turn to hiss. To Jacob's credit, he managed to look somewhat ashamed... or, at least, sheepish.
"Mom!" Elspeth repeated, more fiercely this time, in that magical voice. And Bella simply ignored it, possibly trying to stare a hole at Jake. Elspeth didn't see any sign between her parents, which led her to believe her mom learned how to lift her shield more reliably when Edward quietly nodded, still looking a bit angry, and bolted, returning one and a half seconds later and tossing a change of clothes in the wolf's direction.
"My little baby!" her mother hissed.
"Hold on. I'm not a baby! I haven't been a baby for a long time!"
She didn't turn around to look at Elspeth, and just said, "You told me nothing was going on between you two, and that he thought nothing like that!"
"That was fifteen years ago, mom! I'm old enough even by human standards to have a boyfriend!"
"Boyfriend?," Bella shrieked, finally spinning on her heels to stare at Elspeth. The growl in her voice made Jacob run and try to get between them, and Edward instantly put himself in front of the wolf. And to more of his credit, he managed not to phase, and instead just looked at Elspeth's father intently.
"Yes, mom, boyfriend! It was bound to happen! You knew it was going to happen eventually, I'm his imprint! He's my wolf!" Elspeth's words carried that weight of truth that forced Edward to look at her and sort of see her point. But Bella had her shield up, which meant that it had no effect.
Once again, through purely mental communication (or so Elspeth suspected), Bella asked Edward to move out of the way, and as soon as that happened Jacob didn't even have to move, because Elspeth sprinted towards him, making a point of holding his right hand. Bella was still looking menacing, but Edward was starting to look a little bit less angry, staring at Jacob with what was turning into curiosity and - was that awe?
It took another two seconds for Bella to calm down and straighten from her instinctual crouch, clearing her throat in the process. Not that it was needed. It was just a symbolic habit. "So," she said. "Boyfriend."
Elspeth held her boyfriend's - it was starting to become easier to think of Jake that way - hand tighter, and said, "Yes. Boyfriend. As in boyfriend and girlfriend. As in..."
"I know what it means," she interrupted, but then held back. "Sorry," she said. She herself hated being interrupted, so she tried not to do that.
"Good," Elspeth said, and Jacob relaxed visibly. "Now, I did come here to tell you. In fact, it was Jake's idea to come here so soon. We hadn't realized that dad would already know." She glared at Edward, who looked truly apologetic when he said, "Sorry."
Bella didn't look at him as he took a position beside her similar to how Jake was acting around Elspeth, holding her hand too. She seemed to be weighing something, pondering, except... "Mom, dad, could you please talk in a pitch we can hear?"
Dad suddenly went very still (stiller than he was, anyway), and Bella just sighed. "I'm sorry, Elspeth. I was just checking if..." She actually trailed off, to which her daughter said, "You know I can't lie. Or not convincingly anyway. I don't like lying."
Jacob cleared his throat them, to Elspeth's (and her parents') surprise, and said, "I'm sorry if it came in a bad time. I'm not sorry, though, that it had to be Elspeth. I love her, as I have since I first saw her. She's still the most important person to me. You can be sure I'll never ever let anything happen to her, never hurt her. I'm hers, for as long as she'll have me." The half-vampire looked at her wolf with awe and pride and love. She had known everything he was saying was true, but it still made her feel very good that he said it.
Bella looked between both of them, and finally sighed, resigned. "Okay. I'm sorry I reacted this way. I guess I should have seen it coming, you're a woman, and he's your wolf, and... I just wasn't prepared, that's all. My little baby..." she repeated, and it looked like she would tear up if she was capable of doing that.
Elspeth smiled, and leaned closer to her wolf, who immediately let go of her hand to wrap his right arm around her shoulders and hold her close to him. That was the happiest day he could remember in his life.
Elspeth wanted her wedding to be spectacular. And she was the daughter of the queen of the world, so that was quite easy to arrange. Everyone was invited. Literally. All of the Cullens, the Denalis, the Trafelis, the Grecos. Even Allirea went and managed to stay unfaded for the whole event.
Edward took his daughter to the altar, and Elspeth's beam could only be matched by Jacob's. She didn't pay enough attention to the fact that it was really odd that she looked older than her father. She didn't pay attention to the fact that Jacob looked older than her father. She had eyes only for her wolf. Hers.
And when she said "I do" and kissed him, she knew the world was beautiful and perfect and exactly the way it should be.