I've been MIA for a while, I apologize. But here I am back. This is the last chapter before the epilogue. In my wishful thinking mind, I want to update soon, I have some ideas for it in my mind. But I don't promise anything.

I hope you are keeping safe and sound in these challenging times.

My following fics are going t be wolf/Bella. I felt inspired. But I won't abandon my Edward/Bella fics.


An unexpected change of events.


Chapter five: One step forward.

Bella was the first to wake up the next morning. She ached in the right places. They had sex -made love, as he had said- just that one time. There was no waking the other several times at night. He slept like a rock. She guessed he was very tired from patrolling and being on the verge of graduation. She watched him for a few minutes until her stomach started making hungry sounds. She got up quickly before it got any louder. She smiled amusedly to herself.

A quick glance around the room and she realized she had no idea where the rest of her clothes were. She could only find her pantys. She put them on and slid Jared's shirt over her body. It was big enough so it reached mid-thigh. She washed her mouth and discharge herself before going to the kitchen to find something to eat. She debated between preparing a big breakfast and waking up her boyfriend or waiting for him to wake up on his own. She decided on the latter, especially because she didn't know where everything was. She poured herself some cereal with milk and a glass of water and sat in front of the tv, flipping through the channels trying to find something mildly interesting in the meantime.

It took Jared a whole hour and a half more to wake up. She heard him in the bathroom and his fast steps approaching the living room. He sighed relieved when he saw her sitting there. He was wearing a gray t-shirt, gym shorts, and bare feet. Handsome as always.

"I thought you had done the walk of shame on me." He sat down next to her and kissed her cheek.

Bella smiled shaking her head. "I wouldn't do that to you." She kissed his cheek back. He was so cute.

"How long have you been up?" He asked noting the empty plate and glass on the coffee table.

"About two hours, I think. I didn't want to wake you up. I assumed you were tired." She smiled at him shrugging.

His smile was wicked and just then she realized about the innuendo in her words. "From patrolling, you perv." He laughed, swinging his arm around her shoulders and bringing her into him.

"Are you disappointed because we only did it one time?" She raised her head looking at him seriously.

"Are you?" She hadn't thought of that until he brought it up. She had loved their sexy time and she also loved them just sleeping together.

He caressed her cheek and she unconsciously leaned into him. "Not at all. I did expect to love you more than one time but I'm not disappointed at all." She giggled at his declaration.

She leaned over his face and leaned down as well, their lips meeting in the middle. "I love you" she mumbled against his lips.

His smile was so wide that it made his eyes crinkle on the sides. She giggled and pecked his lips one more time. Was she ever going to get over this goofy feeling? She hoped not. She really liked this feeling, and she wanted to feel it forever. Jared had said she was it for him, and she had said it back, so that rounds things up, right? She watched him get up from the couch and walk towards the kitchen, he exuded confidence, his head held high, his pace sure, shoulders relaxed. He was all sweet; all smiles. He was such a great guy. How could she ever doubt anything they did together? People meet all the time in weird circumstances. So what if this time there was a bit of a supernatural element to it? She actually loved it.

She stood up and walked towards him, he was standing in front of the stove stirring something. She wrapped her arms around his torso from behind and dropped a kiss between his shoulder blades, the highest point she reached without standing on her tiptoes. She could suddenly see into the future. Him standing in the kitchen, she helping him. Living together and having steady jobs in Forks or the Rez. Jared wanted to stay here, he loved being a wolf and the good things he had done with it. The tribe elders -Knowing the secret- have the deepest respect for the wolves. She could also see their kids, running around, creating mischief.

Jared patted her hands but quickly removed them to keep stirring something on the stove. She didn't take it personally. She broke the embrace and stood next to him, watching him intently. He had a breadstick on his mouth and he looked so silly that it made her laugh.

"You're in a good mood today." He pointed out smiling.

She shrugged not ready to share her epiphany. Instead she decided to focus the topic on whatever he was cooking. "What are you doing there?"

"Mom seems to think I am useless in the kitchen and left food on the fridge. I'm heating up some ground beef sauce for pasta. I figured we could eat later and watch a movie or something now?" He was nervous. Why was he nervous?

Bella nodded and smiled. Pasta sounded good. "Do you mind If I take a shower in your bathroom? I feel kinda sticky." She just really wanted to avoid jumping him in his parents' kitchen.

"Only if I can join you." He said conspiratorially turning off the stove and putting a lid to the pot.

Her confidence suddenly had a boost. "Then, let's go mister." He laughed leaning down and capturing her lips with his. This time she took the initiative. She jumped and wrapped her legs around his hips while he kissed her and walked towards the bathroom.

The shower was hotter than last night. They both assured the other that there was no risk of an std or a pregnancy, and decided to make it an unforgettable shower. He went down on her, licking and gently nipping everything on his way, making her a writhing mess. When she couldn't take it anymore she returned the favor, watching him come undone from her mouth and her touch. She loved to explore their bodies together. She had never felt this burning desire with Edward.

On the other hand, they were together officially only two weeks. She had seen Angela fall in love with Paul in that time frame, so it wasn't exactly the time that matter but the person you spent that time with, and how the made you feel, and how you feel with that person. She really couldn't see her life without him. And she was gonna miss the hell out of him while he was at community college. She knew his schedule was going to be tight. He decided to continue to live at home to save money on groceries and find a job. She thought it was a good plan. She had talked to Charlie and he had said he was happy as long as she was happy. If she wanted to apply for college on Mars and she was happy, he would be too. Just as long as she did it for her and not for anybody else.

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They were sitting on the couch eating the pasta with lots of cheese. Jared prepared two glasses of soda and brought them to the coffee table. They decided to just watch whatever on the tv and then make themselves comfortable and out on a movie. But a Bella was thinking on the news she wanted to share with Jared about college. She still had a whole year of high school to get through and she might be only seventeen, with a lot of experiences ahead of her, but she wanted those experiences with him.

"I have to tell you something." She blurted out without thinking first.

He nodded putting his empty plate on the coffee table in front of them. She did the same and turned lightly so that they were facing each other.

"It's about college."

"Have you decided where you want to go?" He asked carefully. He had promised himself that he was going to be supportive of whatever she wanted to do. She knew he couldn't and wouldn't abandon the tribe or the pack, and honestly, he didn't want it either. He just didn't know what they were going to do if she wanted to move away. He would always love her, and she would always be the love of his life, of that he was sure.

"Actually I do. And that's what I want to talk to you about." He nodded encouraging her to speak up. "I want to stay close to Charlie. I've liked living with him, and I'm not ready to leave him, even though I still have a whole year of high school." Jared felt himself smile, if she was talking about staying close to her dad, she couldn't be saying that to then move away, so that could mean she was staying. "I want to go to community college. They actually have a great program about preschool education. I reviewed it with Charlie and he agrees that it's a really good one and it's exactly with I like." She finished rambling. He didn't have any words for her. He just didn't. "Please say something."

"You're not doing it just because of me, right?" She shook her head vehemently and almost as soon as he started the question. So there was no doubt that she was doing this for herself. "Then, I have a question for you." She nodded. "After you finish high school and graduate, would you move in with me?"

"Into your parents' house?" She asked with a high-pitched voice. She didn't mean to sound like that.

He laughed and shook his head. "No, idiot. We find our own place. It might be small at first, but it's a start. And if we're both staying for collegeā€¦ What do you say?"

"I'd love to." She agreed smiling widely. "But before that, Charlie and your parents would want to meet" she laughed. He joined in the laughter.

"I love you. I don't care what other people say about moving fast or not. I know you're it for me and I won't love anyone else. And most kids move out when they start college, so we'll be basically doing that." She nodded in agreement.

"I know what you mean. I love you too. And you're it for me too. I'm sorry if I ever came across as if I was having second thoughts about us. I didn't mean to. I cannot envision my life without you in it, as my friend, boyfriend, partner or any other capacity. I wasn't very good at imagining things as a child. And this will sound soo cheesy, but I swear it's true. When I met you, I started wondering about the coming days. I was no longer living the moment, going with the flow. It's like you woke me up from a slumber. I don't care if people gossip, or say I'm pregnant and that's why I'm moving in with my boyfriend right after school. Let them talk. I know the truth. And the truth is that I can't wait to graduate and start our lives together. It's going to be hard, but so worth it."

He could only kiss her senseless. He didn't have any words to answer. When he imprinted on her, despite the fact that his wolf had immediately recognized her as someone permanent in his life, or as his mate, his human side took longer. However, he had to admit that she had him that first night at her house. She was sweet, accommodating, and respectful. He could admit now that he had flirted a little with her, perhaps trying to gauge her reaction, but she battled that like a pro, subtly reminding him that she was spoken for, at least for the time being. She never did anything that could compromise her values. And he respected that. That's why he had been all formal at the bonfire. She had arrived with Angela, but he knew that Jacob had invited her. What Jacob didn't see, was that by her arriving with a friend and not with him, she showed that she wasn't interested romantically in him. Her accepting the invitation to go with him and walk further proved that. He liked her, a lot, and he had thought a lot about her those first two days. What he never expected was to fall so hard, fast and deep for her, or for her to fall in equal measure for him.

Bella broke the kiss breathless but rested her forehead on his. "Are you sure you want us to be living together 24/7?" The still had a year until that. A year to learn each other's quirks and preferences.

"I'm sure. I'm looking forward to it. And to fall asleep hearing you sleep talk."

Bella gasped and blushed, farthering herself from Jared. He laughed. "Oh yeah. You sleep talk. I wonder if you also sleepwalk. Should I tie you to the bed, just in case?" She pushed his shoulder.

"Shut up."

He shook his head looking all serious, but the quirk of his mouth betrayed his facade. "Nope. That won't do. I tried telling you that last night, and it only made you talk more." He teased. It wasn't true at all and she knew it, but she found it funny that it hadn't bothered him and that he was teasing her with it.

"I'm surprised you heard anything. You sleep like the dead."

"Only because I had two shifts in a row. But trust me, there won't be any sleeping tonight." He leaned closer to her and kissed her cheek sweetly, a complete contradiction to the heat on his voice.

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Jared's phone came alive with a text message. He wanted to ignore it but it could be from the pack. He checked and indeed it was from them. He huffed and pocketed his phone.

Bella got alert after his huff. "Do you have to go?" She couldn't keep the disappointment out of her voice. She had thought she had him for the whole weekend.

"Sam wants us to go to his place. Apparently he has some news he has to share."

"Us?" He nodded. She thought it was strange but not uncommon. Judging by Jared's smile it was nothing bad.

An hour later they were sitting at Leah and Sam's place. Jared seemed unusually clingy that afternoon. He had her sitting on his lap and he kept pressing kisses on her shoulder. Angela was in a similar position. She was on Paul's lap but he wasn't being as affectionate as Jared. She wondered what was that about. Jared was a very affectionate guy, but he was not that keen on PDA, his affection was usually shown in different ways: a smile, a gesture. But she liked this version of him. None of the guys seemed to care, and the girls didn't either. Angela crossed stares with Bella and winked, to which Bella smiled.

"Are we waiting for someone else?"Asked Paul. Impatient as always. Angela patted his knee in warning.

Sam shook his head. "I have some news for you. And I wanted you all to be present." Leah stood next to him and grabbed his hand. The guys were now paying full attention to his alfa and his imprint. He looked at Leah for reassurance and she nodded smiling. "Leah and I are getting married, and we'll be having a new pack member in about eight months."

There was complete silence for a whole minute before hell broke loose. The guys all howled together in congratulations to the couple and future parents.

"I knew there was something going on with you two." Said Jared to which Bella laughed.

While the guys celebrated and congratulated Sam, the girls all hugged Leah and took turns patting her still flat belly. They were all excited. The first married couple of the pack and the first baby as well. It was happy news.

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After the celebrations were done, Jared and Bella went back to his place. She had been quiet on the way, pensive. Honestly, it was worrying him. She got off the car in auto-pilot, almost tripping with the steps on the front porch. He caught her in time, which seemed to bring her out of her stupor.

"Are you alright?" She nodded but he wasn't convinced. "What are you thinking about so hard?"

She took his hands on hers and guided him to the couch. "It's nothing bad. I was simply wondering what has you being so affectionate."

"What do you mean? I've always been affectionate to you." He looked offended.

"I know, but you're not overly demonstrative in public. Normally your PDA is a gesture or a smile or something like that. Tonight, at Sam's you sat me on your lap, and kept kissing my shoulder, or kept wanting some sort of contact. I wondered why was that."

He thought about it, knowing she was right. In private he always held her hand, or kissed her, or hugged her, but he wasn't always very comfortable doing it in public. But tonight it felt good like he needed it. No, his wolf needed it. "The wolf needed some sort of reassurance. I don't know for sure. Probably after last night and this morning, he felt the need to reassure himself. I took over completely and he was submissive? I don't know, it's what makes sense for me."

Bella thought about it. "Have your wolf been needed to be reassured with your past conquests?" She didn't know why that upset her but it did. She didn't want him to be like this with any other girl.

He moved her so that she was straddling him. She needed to readjust herself due to the sudden movement. They were at the same level. He stared into her eyes, those eyes that caught him that night at her house. "My past conquests, as you put it, don't hold a candle to what you are to me. They had nothing to with the wolf. I might have cared about some of them, but the wolf was never there. So, no. Neither I nor the wolf have ever felt that need before." She smiled cockily. Damn straight. He washers, and no one else's.

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A few weeks later she was finishing her make up. Today was Jared's graduation from high school. She was so proud of him. People obviously didn't know. But it was a huge step for him and all the wolves for that matter to graduate high school and go to college. She wasn't versed in the educational history of the tribe, so she didn't know if this generation was the first to go to college. Nonetheless, she was proud. She wore a royal blue dress accompanied by black heels and accessories. Jared had managed to get her a seat next to his parents, as each graduating student was to have only two companions on the parents' seats.

However, a simple gathering was going to be happening that afternoon at his house with the rest of the pack, imprints, parents, elders, etc.

Charlie was home that day, for some strange reason. He took one look at his daughter and his throat closed. When had she grown up? She was a beautiful woman, and not a little girl anymore.

"You look beautiful, Bells." On cue, she blushed but smiled timidly.

"Thanks, dad." She hugged him briefly.

"I have something for you." He walked to the coats' closet and retrieved a knee-length black coat. Bella's eyes opened wide, brown staring directly to her dad's brown eyes. He slipped it on her, fixing an imaginary wrinkle. "I thought you could use it for nice occasions. Like graduations and such." He shrugged somewhat embarrassed. He wasn't good at demonstrating his affection, Bella knew that. She had inherited that trait from him. But Jared made that different.

"Thank you, Dad. I love it." They smiled shyly but warmly to each other before Bella had to leave for the Reservation.

The ceremony was short but sentimental. She had to abstain from cheering loudly, but she applauded as hard as his mother did. When the ceremony ended, he came straight to them. She allowed his mother to smother him with kisses and hugs and tears. Jared's dad laughed at his wife and told her to allow him to congratulate his son. She stepped aside still wiping her tears while Jared and his dad hugged, he said something in his ear to Jared to which he nodded and smiled. His dad clapped him on the shoulder and now it was her turn to congratulate him.

She pecked his lips (albeit a little embarrassed to do it in front of his parents) "Congratulations."

He smiled her special smile. That one that told her he wished they were alone. "Thank you pale face." He kissed her forehead. "Now, let's celebrate."