Jacob hauled the case of canned goods out of the back of the cargo van and made his way to the loading dock door of the southern side of the Forks Community Senior Home. Emily had rounded up Jacob and a few of their friends to help her with her fundraising drive for the local retirement home, and they had raised so much that they were transporting the extra goods to the nearby town outside the small tribal village they lived in. Jacob wanted to hurry and finish so he could get back to his current project waiting in his garage – a rusted out 1978 Toyota Supra that he’d gotten a hell of a deal on at an auction 2 months ago. With the alternating patrols he was responsible for running along with Emily’s fundraising efforts, he hadn’t been able to give it much attention as of late.
“Jared! Hurry up. I don’t want to be here all day.” Jacob called back to his friend since grade school, hoping to rush him along. He knew Jared would want to get back to his imprint Kim soon anyway, so between the two of them, this shouldn’t take long.
“Just a few more and that should be the last of it.” Jared noted. They had been at this since early this morning and it was now nearly 2 o’clock.
“If I had known this was what Emily had in mind a few weeks ago I would have told her no.” Jacob groaned as he lifted another case of food out of the back of the van.
“Yeah, like Sam would have allowed that.” Jared laughed as he passed Jacob and returned to the back of the van for another load.
“Ri…” Jacob couldn’t finish his sentence. He had stopped in his tracks and was openly staring at a redheaded woman through the window of the cafeteria she was standing across. She was beautiful. Breathtakingly so, though that wasn’t what caused Jacob to stop. No, it was the earth tilting on its axis as he had caught her eye as he passed by. The case of four huge cans of chili dropped out of his hands and landed on the ground with a clatter.
“What the hell?” Jared came around the end of the van just in time to see Jacob drop it. He was about to make another comment when he followed Jacobs gaze into the building. The redheaded woman seemed to be staring back in confusion, her amber eyes locked on him as her face twisted in distress. Just then, someone must have said her name because she turned away and broke her gaze with Jacob.
The absence physically hurt.
He watched her walk away and before he even knew what he was doing, he began making his way towards the door to the kitchen that the staff had been going back and forth through while they unloaded. He could faintly hear Jared calling after him but he paid him no mind. He had to get to her. He had to know if this was what he thought it was. Maybe she felt it too.
The staff called out to him as he made his way hastily through the kitchen and out to the cafeteria. He could see her copper ponytail as she rounded a corner and he meant to follow her, until a large figure he hadn’t noticed before blocked his way and he nearly tumbled over him.
“Sir! You cannot be in here. Unless you are a visiting a resident this area is off limits. You need to leave.” The stern guard meant business, but Jacob was bigger than him, towering over him by nearly a foot. He was just about to take the issue into his own hands when Jared appeared beside him, pulling him back towards the kitchens he had just come through.
“Sorry. My friend here was just looking for a bathroom. C’mon Jake, we gotta go.”
It was no small effort on Jared’s part as he dragged the 6’7” tower that was Jacob Black out of the building and back to the open doors of the cargo van. Jacob was about ready to throttle Jared, and Jared knew it.
“Relax. I’ve called Sam. We need to get back. He’ll know what to do.”
Jacob shook his head and began to get up again when Jared pushed him down again.
“What are you gonna do, go in there all caveman style and carry her over your shoulder out of there?” Jared laughed and cocked an eyebrow at Jacob. He was right. Jacob couldn’t just go in there and demand she leave with him. He didn’t even know her name. Oh what was her name? He longed to know. He longed to know everything about her. His brain felt like a muddled mess as Jared pushed him back down into the seat of the van and closed the doors behind him.
They drove off in the direction of the reservation and Jacob felt a chasm in his heart open wide as they drove further and further away from his imprint.
Carolyn Bryfield made her way down to the end of hall 3 and into Mrs. Jensen’s room. She had been working at the Forks Community Senior Home for five months as an aid, and for the last five months Annabelle Jensen had never missed an opportunity for Carolyn to escort her to her evening meal. Carolyn wasn’t about to let her down now.
“Annabelle? It’s taco night. You don’t want to miss it.”
Carolyn called out to her as she made her way into the small space that was Mrs. Jensen’s private room. Small nick knacks and various pictures of smiling faces that Carolyn knew to be Annabelle’s grandchildren and great grandchildren surrounded her.
“I’m right here dearie. Just give me a moment.”
The frail woman emerged out of the adjoining bathroom and made her way to the small wheelchair that sat beside Carolyn. Covering her up with a small lap quilt, they made their way back down the narrow hallway and into the open expanse of the cafeteria. Annabelle was very particular about where she sat, and Carolyn shook her head, smiling at the small group of gossiping ladies as she got Mrs. Jensen settled at the end of the table. Who knew there were cliques even in a nursing home?
“Bill Compton is asking for you. You know he thinks no one else makes coffee the way you do.”
“Thanks Blythe. I’ll be right there.” The tall nurse smiled back at Carolyn as she waved and passed her. Blythe had been one of her first friends since she had moved to the small corner of Washington from the heat and humidity of Texas that she had grown up in. She was one of the only other staff members that was around Carolyn’s young age of 22, and they had bonded immediately over grumpy charge nurses and even grumpier residents.
Carolyn was about to make her way back down to hall to Mr. Compton’s room with a fresh cup of coffee when she felt a strange tingling down the back of her neck. She turned towards the windows on the southern side of the cafeteria and locked eyes with the biggest man she had ever seen. He was openly staring at her, and she couldn’t help but stare back. His dark eyes drew her in and she found herself wanting to go to him, which was confusing as hell because she had no idea who this man was.
A loud bed alarm shook her out of her stupor, and she looked away.
“Mr. Compton! Don’t get up, I’m coming!” She turned back to Blythe and they both shared an exasperated look before Carolyn rushed back down the hall towards room number 8.
As she hurried into the resident’s room she shook off the strangers haunting gaze, though she couldn’t explain the emptiness that filled her chest as she settled Mr. Compton back into his bed.
What the hell was that about?
Carolyn stumbled through the rest of her shift, quieter than she usually was. The dark strangers eyes seemed to follow her wherever she went, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that she would be seeing him again soon.