This is the opening chapter to a fanfic about Billy Black, but it also fits nicely into the Quiet Lamentations series of minor character reflectives, so I have included it here as well. It is the perfect linking chapter to tie the Esme chapter in with the one that is coming soon, hopefully next week!

As always, a huge thanks to my Beta Readers ECABS and UnicornGoddess for their help and inspiration!

Spinning Wheels

The Reflections of Billy Black

"You're my friend Billy, but this is hurting my family."

I heard Charlie slam the phone down, and I reluctantly lowered my own receiver into its cradle.

This was hurting his family? I struggled unsuccessfully to keep the bitterness from my thoughts, to feel sympathy for my friend and his daughter. A part of me did ache for Bella, for the pain I had seen in her eyes this afternoon when Jacob had ended their friendship. It was obvious that she cared for my son, if in a very different way than he cared for her. I knew that she had been through a lot in the past year, but the bitterness stubbornly reminded me that it was all her own doing. If she had heeded my earliest warnings, she could have spared her heart-and Charlie's- from this ache.

I knew that my son had delivered Bella from an empty existence. Charlie had been intensely grateful to Jake for his part in Bella's "recovery", but it gave him no right to call and threaten us tonight. He hadn't the slightest idea what was really going on: not with the Cullen's, not with his own daughter, and certainly not with my son. Understandably, with Jacob's departure from her life, Bella may have felt that she had lost her savior. I sympathized with that, because mine was lost to me as well. Jake had been the one and only constant ray of light in my life. When his mother passed, it was he, not I, that held our family together. When the illness overcame me and confined me to this chair, Jacob saved my spirit from being as broken as my body. Then, his sisters had moved away and we were alone. The house still felt full and alive even if it was only the two of us.

It did not feel alive now, or full of anything but bitterness and loss.

Jacob hated what he had become; again and again he called himself a monster.H1 I tried countless times to point out the silver linings of this storm cloud: he was stronger, faster, resilient to disease or injury, and he could truly help others now—especially Bella, even if he could no longer be present in her life. The arguments sounded good in my head, but my false optimism did not win Jacob over. He had been the optimist, but that Jake was long gone; I missed my son. The young man who lived in this house with me was not my Jake: he was now just a shadow, the smoky remains of an extinguished light.

Jacob loathed H2 the vampires, he missed Bella, and he resented me. He accused me and said that I should have warned him that this might happen; that it would happen when the bloodsuckers moved back to town. I argued that I had attempted to warn him, but he ignored me, thinking me just a superstitious old loon. Even when he saw Bella and that leech at the prom—saw up close how unnatural he was—Jacob still did not believe. That had been one of my primary motivations in sending Jake to Bella with that warning: for him to see. I had not really expected Bella to listen to my pleas. If her stint in the hospital had not scared her away from those demons, what hope did an old man in a wheelchair have? But, I had hoped to open Jacob's eyes to the reality of her situation, the reality of ourH3 situation. He chose to keep his eyes tightly shut. His choice, but I still felt guilty.

The creak of the front door startled me from my reverie. Jacob walked dejectedly to the fridge, sniffed a carton of Orange Juice, and emptied its contents in one large gulp.

"Find her yet?" I asked cautiously.

It was bad enough that the Cullens were responsible for what was happening to Jacob, without the added stress of the additional mess they left behind. There had been two new vampires in town since their unexpected departure. We were not certain if these new arrivals had been friends of the Cullens, but the pack discovered the male about to kill Bella Swan, so it was likely they were not. Still, their arrival here could not have been a coincidence, and it added to the deep hatred I felt for the Cullen clan. The pack had killed the male, but his mate was still somewhere out there preying on innocent people. Hikers were disappearing from the woods, and my son was out all hours of the night in the line of fire. However mature Jacob was, he was still just a kid. He should be working on his car, or getting into mischief with his friends. Instead, when I waited up late for Jacob to return home, it was not with the idle concern of your typical father, it was with the hollow terror of a man whose son had gone off to war. I believed in Jacob's abilities and I trusted in the pack to keep him safe. Rationally I knew that Jacob had every weapon in his arsenal necessary to keep him safe. Even so, it was hard not to let my mind conjure the worst possible scenarios when the cruel night stripped away my façade of strength.

Charlie had referred to the pack as a "gang." That statement alone had irritated me more than any of his other angry accusations. These boys were far from a gang; they were an army: soldiers conscripted against their will and forced to fight a battle that should have never been their own. They accepted that responsibility with little complaint. They fought, they sacrificed, and they suffered. I suffered with them.

"Any trace of her?" I questioned again. Jake still had not answered me.

"Nah." He was barely audible. "We're going to try again. Search a different area this time. I probably won't be back till morning…" He looked up at me then with hollow eyes that should not havebelonged to him. Something that he perceived on my face must have looked as wrong to him as he did to me.

"What happened, Dad? You look like Hell."

"So do you," I countered.

"Seriously. What's happened now?"

I gave up. There was no use in lying to Jake. "I just got off the phone with Charlie Swan. He informed me that law enforcement would be watching for your 'gang' to act up."

"Bella." He winced.

"She thinks you're in a gang?"

"I thought it was a gang, too, Dad…before. She's just worried about me. I hate this! Did you see her today? I did that to her, I did it!" Jacob's entire body shook with convulsions. He burst out the front door before he could lose control and obliterate our tiny home.

It was already too late, though. He had not phased within the walls of the house or broken any of our possessions, but our home was wrecked already; it had been wrecked from the moment Carlisle Cullen and his lot of leeches decided that Forks looked like a good place to settle down.

"This is hurting my family," Charlie had said. Maybe so, but it was destroying mine.