Authors' Note:

Marcy: Dude Roo…we are going to get flamed.

Roo: (ducks head) Er…yeah.

Marcy: We are so going to incur the wrath of Team Edward.

Roo: (ducks head) Er…yeah.

Marcy: At least Jake is having a good time.

Roo: (cringes) Oh God is he ever.

Marcy: This story is on crack.

Roo: Oh God…is it EVER!

Both: BAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Chapter 4: Doggy Style

During the winter semester of my junior year, Mr. Banner showed a BBC film called The Trials of Life: Continuing the Line in Biology. The film detailed the courtship and mating rituals of several wild animals, including (but not limited to) tarantulas, chinchillas, elephants, crabs, barnacles, and tortoises. Had I been paying attention in class that day, I would have learned a thing or two about the reproductive cycle of North American wolves. For example, I would have learned that when the Alpha male and the Alpha female in a pack are courting, the male shows his affection by rubbing his muzzle against his mate's. I would have learned that when the male bows to the female, tosses his head, and lays his front paws over her neck, it is his way of flirting with her. Likewise, I would have learned that when the female whips her tail in the male's face during the peak of her heat cycle, it releases a burst of pheromones so potent that every male in the pack (including the cubs) becomes aroused by the scent. Most alarmingly, I would have learned that after the male mounts the female and does his thing, his genitals swell, causing the two of them remain connected, physically unable to separate, for an average of thirty minutes, as they awkwardly stumble around, butt to butt. In the wild, this is apparently a good thing: it ensures that the male's sperm reaches the female's eggs, impregnating her before any other male can mate with her and compete for the fatherhood of the one to fourteen pups she will give birth to sixty days later.

Unfortunately, I didn't learn any of these fascinating wolf facts during that biology class, because it took place the day after the incident in Port Angeles. Edward and I had just come to class after an enlightening lunchroom conversation revolving around the topic of mountain lion hunting, and all my thoughts were bent on him. That day, the topic of the movie didn't even register in my mind. I was caught up with my own courtship process, as the first twinges of romantic chemistry buzzed between my glorious lab partner and I. I'd been overwhelmed that day by a crazy impulse to reach over and touch Edward, to stroke his perfect face in the darkness of that classroom, and to kiss those alabaster lips, which is why not one word of the nature documentary penetrated my long-term memory on that fateful afternoon. This is unfortunate, for had I been prepared, things may have gone very differently with Jake in those woods that night. Had I been prepared, I could have avoided the pull of the full moon, which forced us to do things that I never would have agreed to under normal circumstances. A lot of pain and discomfort could have been avoided, if only I'd chosen to pay attention in Biology.

Jake once told me that you keep your human mind when you phase. This is true—but incomplete. Though I was furry, I was still—inarguably—Bella Swan: daughter, fiancée, and soon to be vampire (though that thought now gave me unnatural chills). My higher reasoning skills—as well as my sarcasm—seemed to be in order, as well. Well, actually they were probably in better shape as a werewolf than when Edward's presence made my head swim. I had no sudden desire to chomp down on yummy townsfolk. I wasn't an animal. What Jacob omitted in his explanation to me was forgivable. I would never have been able to understand without actually experiencing it.

Yes, I was still Bella, but I was Bella uninhibited. There was a new, primal coating to every fiber of me. Every thought, every emotion, every sensation was peaked with a raw edge. It was exhilarating. Intoxicating.

When I heard Jacob taunt Edward on the phone, leaping at him had been an instinctual reaction, a reflex that—like my sudden coordination—had everything to do with my new fur coat. (Alright, fine. My fur coat amped the reaction up…I can't claim that physically assaulting Jacob was something I wouldn't have done, anyway…after all, I'd been perfectly human when I punched him in the face.) Unable to give voice to my anger and frustration, I'd given it physical outlet. That turned out to be a big mistake.

Jake—having the same instinctive reflexes that I currently possessed—did the only natural thing. He phased, and met me mid assault. The instant that out bodies collided, a new—if not wholly unfamiliar—need filled me. Oh, crap.

This could only happen to me. I hadn't paid much better attention in Statistics than I had in Biology, but even so, I knew the odds of so many factors aligning were infinitesimal. Only I could have luck this splendiferously horrid. It was simple, really, to understand what was happening. The first two shots the doctor had given me must have really been Follicle Stimulating Hormone. They must have really provoked my body and prepared it to house a life. That was the simple, logical explanation for what my body was screaming at me. I tried to fight off the strange pull that I was beginning to feel. The unexpected want. I was no Alpha female, only a temporary guest of the La Push pack. I was in love with a vampire. An absurdly moral vampire. We were keeping ourselves pure for our wedding night. I reminded myself that I really didn't want Jacob that way. There was no reason for me to cave into the sudden animalistic desire. I was still a rational creature. Logic. Reason.

Jacob still held me pinned to the damp earth. Why oh why does the mental link have to be down now! Even without hearing his thoughts, I could see his two natures warring behind his eyes. His eyes. Such powerful eyes. I shook my canine head, a very human reaction. Rational creature. I reminded myself. Stand up. I attempted to wriggle out from underneath the weight of his body, but my attempt succeeded only in stirring up a new, musky scent. Jacob pressed more of himself down on me, and my whole body vibrated with the sound of the low growl that escaped his muzzle.

Higher thinking ceased to exist.

When it was over, and we were both human again, I sent an unrepentant Jacob back to La Push to get clothing and provisions for us. I knew Edward wouldn't like me sending Jake off, since he wouldn't want me alone in the woods with the Volturi guard so nearby. But after our recent Discovery Channel-esqe experience, I doubted he would much prefer Jacob to Aro. I had to send Jake away though. I needed time to think, and I wanted privacy for the phone call I desperately didn't want to make. Half blinded by my own tears, I searched out the phone that Jacob had tossed to the ground. I had to explain everything to Edward. I had to tell him before he found out from someone else. But how can I possibly explain this?

I said a silent prayer that Edward would understand. He would understand. He had to. I would just explain to him, and he would realize that we had no choice. We weren't ourselves. Logically he would understand that, and he wouldn't fly off the handle and do anything rash and murderous...or suicidal. It'll be fine, I silently assured myself. Logic is on your side.

But that's the problem with rational thinking. In a head to head battle, instincts will kick logic's butt any day.

I dialed the number, and steeled myself to do what I must. The phone rang only once before a cold, musical voice answered.

"Hello, Bella. We've been expecting your call." Jane. A shudder ran down my body, all the way to my toes, and I was surprised to find that there was no fear in me. Huh. Must be a wolf thing. Or maybe just a "woot! I'm not so weak anymore" thing.

"Hello Pane," I said, struggling to keep my tone even.

"Pain, you say?" She sniggered at my Freudian slip. "It is your brooding and depressingly angsty fiancé who is currently in pain."

"Leave him be," I growled. She laughed, mockingly.

"But…he's so handsome when he writhes. Aren't you, pretty boy?"

" Stop that!" I howled (at the moon no less. How cliché).

"Who's going to make me…you?"

"You better believe it," I snarled. Furious, I started to run in the direction I'd come, determined to tear every member of the Volturi limb from limb. Before I'd even gotten fifty feet, however, I heard a pair of hands clapping in the background, through the phone.

"Excellent! Most excellent! Bravo, dear Jane, you have played your part beautifully! She fell right into our little trap. We now know what we came to learn: she is alive, she is capable of nullifying our abilities, and that capability is limited by distance." I froze on the spot. Shoot! I must be transmitting again. So much for playing dead. Well, I guess this is the part of the plan where we "wing it and hope for the best." There was a shuffling noise as the phone exchanged hands.

"Aro?" I breathed.

He guffawed. "Bella, you rascally furball you! You've upset Jane again. I don't think the two of you are off to a very good start."

"If she wants to make new friends, she should lay off on the Cruciatus Curse…don'tcha think?" I said.

Aro made a noise that sounded like hmmmm as he tried to place the term, than one that sounded like oooooh as it clicked."The Boy Wizard! Of course! How I so dearly love pop culture references. They make me feel young again! Like a toddler watching…Teletubbies! Hee hee! Ho ho! Shall I cut to the chase?"

"Cut to the chase isn't a pop culture reference!" I said, rolling my eyes. "It's not even slang. Earth to old guy: action movies have been around for nearly a hundred years."

"Forgive me. My age has betrayed me. I must be a…a…oh drat. What is that disrespectful word you teenagers like to use to address your elders?"

"Geezer?"

"Yes! Ha ha! That's the word. I love new words. Boxcar, for instance. It has such a lovely ring to it. The buh sound at the beginning is just so punchy."

Punchy, huh? I punched a tree in frustration, growing weary of Aro's quirkiness. It fell down with a snap. "Can we just get to the point where you release my hostage lover in exchange for a lifetime of my servitude?" Aro sighed.

"If only it were that easy, darling. If only it were that easy. You see, Edward here, has 'told' me all about his plans to nibble on your neck on your wedding night."

"Lots of couples give each other hickies." I said nonchalantly. "I don't really like it, but hey, if that's what turns him on…"

"Hickies?" Aro muttered, confused.

"Sorry, more slang."

"Ah."

"Back on track," I said. "What do you want from me?"

"Ah, I would have thought that part would be obvious. I don't want your servitude, Bella. I have plenty of servants already. The only thing I want from you is your blood, well, your blood and your boyfriend."

"Sorry, Aro. Edward doesn't swing that way," I taunted.

"Swing?" He sounded both confused, and intrigued. Ew.

"Yeah. He's not interested in having sex with men." Wow. As a werewolf I was kind of a badass. Or maybe I was just a smartass. Either way, my sarcasm was definitely still in order. I could get used to this.

"Well, dear, before you came along he wasn't particularly interested in having sex with women, either."

I smiled in spite of myself. "He is absurdly moral for a vampire." How much longer can I stall? Surely Jake will find me soon.

Aro snorted, an actual honest to goodness snort. So much for the sophisticated royalty of the vampire society. "That's what I've been saying all along," he chided. "All this nonsense with animal blood. It's ridiculous."

"Yeah, I can see where you might find abstaining from murder an inconvenience."

As Aro's answering laughter haunted my ear, I caught sight of a giant red brown wolf barreling towards me. Jacob. And he wasn't alone. Following closely behind him were three other giant killer beasts. I had never been so happy to see my friends from La Push in my entire (and almost over) life.

Jake ran behind a tree (why he was being modest now was beyond me) to phase and put on a pair of tattered denim shorts. I placed my pointer finger over my lips, the universal gesture for "shut your yap." The last thing I needed was for Aro to hear the pound puppies. I didn't have even the tiniest drop of a plan, but I knew better than to tip my hand (Aro would have enjoyed that reference) too soon. As the shirtless, bronzed skin men (most of whom were really boys) vacated the shelter of the trees and came to stand next to me, they were absolutely silent. Small blessings, I thought quietly.

Aro's skin crawling laughter finally subsided, and there was silence on both ends of the line. I turned away from the guys and started pacing slowly back and forth. After only a moment of the irksome quiet, I caved.

"So what exactly am I supposed to do, here Aro? You have something I want, and I am what you're after. I assume you called to offer me a trade. My life for Edward's?"

Behind me, I heard the sharp intake of several breaths, but I couldn't bear to turn around and face them. I couldn't watch Jake's eyes again as I ran off for the second time to my own death to save the one I'd chosen over him.

"Well, I guess I overestimated you Miss Swan."

"I doubt that." Unfortunately, I didn't doubt that. "How so?"

"I rather thought you would have tried to bargain to save the rest of your boyfriend's little coven, too."

No! No, no, no! I might not have had a plan, but whatever it was would have surely hinged on having the help of the rest of the Cullens. I couldn't ask the wolves to help me save them, not knowing that they would only get themselves killed. A handful of young werewolves against an army of ancient vampires? It would be no contest.

"Fine then. My life for theirs. I want them all released. I want you to leave here, and never come back. I'll go quietly to you. Do what you want with me, I don't care. Just let them go."

"Well. It seems that you are as foolishly noble as I'd heard. Pity. I need to confer with my brothers to outline the terms of your surrender. Sit tight. I'll ring you again within the hour." Aro abruptly hung up.

Well. This was it. I was going to die. I wouldn't even get to say goodbye to Edward. I could leave him a note, I'd done that once already. He will be furious at me for this. The thought made me laugh, a sort of hysterical-on-the-edge-of-madness laugh. Charlie and Renee deserved some sort of explanation, too, but there would be none that I could give them. Goodbye. But there was at least one goodbye I would have to make in person. I turned back around to meet the haunted gaze of my best friend.

The instant I faced them, Jared, Quil and Embry made embarrassed faces and stared at their feet. Hmm. Guess they aren't big on emotional meltdowns.

Jacob was staring incredulously at me. "Bella. No. You can't…"

I cut him off quickly. "I know what you're going to say, Jake. But you can't change my mind. I have to do this. I love him, I love them. I can't let them die."

His features distorted, turning angry. I felt my own rage begin to churn within me. We stared at each other, neither of us blinking. The tension manifesting so strongly between us, that I thought my heart might prematurely explode, wrecking my plans.

"Hey, Bella?" Quil tentatively interrupted the loud silence.

"WHAT?" Jacob and I said in unison and spun to face him.

"I…er. Did you realize you're still naked?"