I've been working on this fan fiction for about a month I suppose and I've been posting it on Fan Fiction.Net. It's called The Twilight Saga - Solar Flare. It's basically the story of what would have happened if Jacob and Bella had kissed in New Moon without that phone call interrupting them. It's the story of what would happen if Jacob and Edward's roles were reversed. I've already got 3 chapters made and I'm working on chapter 4 now. I thought I might as well post them here as well.
The story begins right when they're about to kiss.
"Bella," Jacob whispered.
I was frozen.
No! I hadn't made this decision yet. I didn't know if I could do this, and now I was out of time to think. But I would have been a fool if I thought rejecting him now would have no consequences.
Maybe it would feel nice. Maybe it wouldn't feel like a betrayal. True love was forever lost, so who was I betraying? Only myself.
Keeping his eyes on mine, Jacob began to bend his face toward me. The closer he got, the more unsure I became. Was I really going to do this? How badly would this end up? Would this end badly? He held my face still and closed his eyes as his lips met mine, my eyes shut as well, a little too tight.
As his mouth had discovered my passive resistance, he moved his right hand to the back of my head and his left gently around my waist, pulling me closer now. The closer I became, the more my lips would resist. I wasn't trying to pull away, but wouldn't respond back, I couldn't. Jacob could see this now, he started to rub the back of neck trying to get a response out of me; I just couldn't.
That's when Jacob stopped, his right hand slowly releasing my neck, his left unwrapping around my waist, and his lips fading away. I didn't need to look at Jacob to see the hurt, I could feel it, and his pain was my pain. Something in me broke free just then and I couldn't hold it back. My hands reacted before I could realize it, my left arm wrapping around his waist, my right hand grabbing the back of his head, pulling him closer to me now. Just as I could feel his pain, I could feel his joy now too. Jacob responded almost instantly; he wrapped his arms around me and began kissing me back, his warm lips gentle. I couldn't tell how long we were kissing, it felt like forever, and I didn't want it to stop.
That's when it hit me; I'd been wrong all this time, I'd been lying to myself. Jacob was more than just my friend, he was more than someone I could rely on to make me feel better. I knew I needed him more than I needed most people, but I had no idea just how much until now. I've never felt happier before, after being so abnormal for so long, it's like a breath of air after being underwater for hours. The hole in my chest is completely gone now, I didn't think it were possible, but Jacob cured everything. He is everything to me, I was in love with him. I'd loved him all this time, but I was too afraid to get it through my thick skull. I was too afraid of betrayal, too afraid of him. I wonder if I'll ever hear his voice again, not that it mattered anymore.
Suddenly I felt Jacob stiffen up, he jerked away from me and released his arms. I opened my eyes, ready to pull him back, but he was shaking again. The expression on his face was half angry and half horrified.
He jetted for the front door, grabbing the handle with a little too much force. I stumbled after him with my arm out in front of me.
"No!" I shouted. It was a reflex.
Jacob stopped then, releasing the handle. He looked at me distraught, still standing right next to the door. He took a quick glance at the door handle and back at me, like he was deciding something. I didn't want him to leave, now more than ever. Did he have to leave now? If he did leave, would I go with him? What about Alice?
Jacob turned his entire body in my direction. He slowly walked toward me, wrapped his one arm around my waist, and positioned himself in front of me, as if trying to protect me.
Protect me from what, was Victoria nearby? Did she get past Embry and Jared? Was she attracted her by Alice? That's when it hit me, Alice, of course. Alice came through the back door and walked gracefully into the kitchen, resting her arms onto the kitchen table. Jacob backed us away toward the sink, he was shaking again and his teeth were clenched. Alice's face did not look approving either.
"I see you two get along well," Alice judged, staring directly at Jacob.
I nodded gently, a little embarrassed. Jacob pulled me closer to him.
"Alice this is Jacob. Jacob, Alice," I said, blushing now.
Jacob stabbed me a disgusted look and growled. Alice rolled her eyes at me.
"Bella, I think it's time I left."
Jacob gave a brief sigh of relief, while still holding me tight.
"No!" I shouted. Jacob stabbed another look at me, a look of betrayal.
"Really though, Bella, I think it's time I left. If Edward finds out I'm here…" Alice explained, looking a bit nervous, "He can get really angry sometimes."
I flinched a little and Jacob growled again.
"Do you have to go now? Just a few more weeks, please?" I begged.
"I'm really sorry Bella, but it has to be tonight," She said, looking truly sorry.
"Tonight. Good," Jacob muttered under his breath. Alice seemed to hear that and glared at him again. She looked back at me, suddenly cheerful.
"How about we spend the entire day doing whatever you want together. We could drive around, catch a movie, go to the mall, I'll buy you whatever you want. We won't separate for a second," She said, smiling wide.
I nodded sadly. "Yeah, that sounds good."
"You don't look very happy."
"No, I am. Really."
Alice pouted. "It's the best I can do. All the clothes you want, on me."
Jacob's shaking began to increase, his teeth clenched, and his eyes shut tight. I embraced him, it was almost instinctual.
"Jake, please. Calm," I whispered.
"Right…calm," He whispered back, his body going stiff now with only his hands shaking.
"We can go as soon as you put the dog out," Alice said critically. Jacob began to shake again.
"Calm," I reminded. His shaking only slowed down this time. He released me and started to back away.
"Don't worry, leech. I was just going," He hissed. He looked at me, his expression broken, "Bye, Bella."
Jacob began to walk towards the front door. I wrapped me arms around him, trying to get him to stop. "No, please. Stay. Please," I begged.
Jacob turned to look at me. "Bella, I have to go. I was only supposed to come here and get information. I have to report back."
My face fell, of course he was right. He was a werewolf, she was a vampire, and Jacob had responsibilities. But I didn't want to let him go, it was either go with Jacob and abandon Alice or go with Alice and leave Jacob betrayed. Stupid conflict. Why couldn't they just get along?
"Can't you just tell Embry and Jared, and then come back?" I insisted.
Jacob made a disgusted sound. "I don't think so, Bella. Besides, we've been neglecting treaty lines enough as it is."
Alice sighed. "Well, I'm the only Cullen here. So I guess if I say it's okay for now, than there shouldn't be a problem. For now." She grumbled.
My face lit up giving Alice a look of thanks. Jacob looked at her half angry, half confused, and back at me.
"You seriously want me around her? Remember what I said earlier, Bella."
I hadn't forgotten. This could end badly, very badly. By the end of the day, both of them might end up… I couldn't even think about it. I'm not going to let my selfishness hurt them both. I had to choose.
Before I could say a thing, Jacob wiped a tear from my eye. I was crying, I hadn't realized. He stood there for a few seconds, once again distraught. He then grabbed my arms and freed himself from my embrace. He stomped out the front, slamming the door behind him. My legs started to shake.
Alice made her way next to me and put her arm around my shoulder. "Sorry." She mouthed the word.
I rested my cheek on her head trying to fight back the tears that were welling up. This was for the best, right? I can manage to be away from Jacob for today, couldn't I? Just then, Alice groaned and released her arm from around me, folding them over her chest.
"Great. Just wonderful," She said with heavy sarcasm.
"What? What's wrong?" I asked, my voice breaking.
"The dog's tagging along."
I gasped, my eyes widened at the thought. I then heard a shout coming from outside, followed by angry and irritated voices. Were they arguing? My eyes were locked on the front door now. After a minute, I heard the sound of an engine starting up, followed by the squeal of the tires driving off, all a little too quickly. My eyes were still locked onto the door, my heart was racing.
The door slowly opened and Jacob came through. He looked at me and smiled, I smiled back wiping the tears that had escaped my efforts. Jacob glared at Alice, eyes very distrustful. Alice stared back at him with the same eyes.
"You better watch yourself," Jacob warned.
"Oh please, I should be saying that to you." Alice turned toward me, changing her expression to cheerful again. "So, where to first?"
"Really, you should decide. I'm sure you have better ideas than me."
"Oh, but I'm doing this for you."
"I think your last day here," I grimaced at the words, "Should be exactly what you want."
"Hmm…" Alice looked far off in concentration. Jacob put his arm around me again and backed away from Alice.
"It's okay," I whispered to him.
"Don't wanna take any chances," He whispered back through his teeth.
Alice groaned loudly, suddenly very irritated. She glared at Jacob.
"This would be so much easier if I could see our plans and go by those." She put extra emphasis on 'see'.
Jacob raised one eyebrow in confusion, but his face quickly lightened into one of understanding. He laughed once mockingly. "What? The future to blurry for you?"
Alice's mouth fell open for a split second, she gave me an accusing look. I let my head fall, looking up at her with apologetic eyes.
Alice sighed. "Yes, because you're around."
Jacob's eyes widened in surprise. "You can't see the future when I'm around?" That's great!"
Alice let a growl escape her teeth. I changed the subject. "Why don't we go see a movie first? Sound like a plan?"
"Sure," Alice agreed, "As long as we take Carlisle's car."
Alice headed out the front door leaving it wide open. Jacob hesitated to move, I tried nudging him with my elbow, no effect. Alice came back into view, seeing her clearly through the open door, she gave Jacob a mocking smile.
"Scared?" She called back.
Jacob rolled his eyes, but it seemed to do the trick. Jacob kept his arm securely around me and headed out the door slowly. Alice had already gotten in the driver's seat and the car door to the backseats was already open. Alice must have guessed that we'd want to sit together. Jacob walked up to the car at the same pace and hesitantly got in with me alongside him. I closed the door.
"Ugh, it stinks," Jacob groaned silently.
Alice turned the keys in the ignition and drove off immediately. Alice drove fast, almost as fast as Edward did; to think that I was frightened by the speed of the motorcycles. Jacob was very restless the whole way. He fidgeted, shifting his body from side to side and re-adjusted his arm around me. This was ridiculous, the point of this was to have fun with Alice, have fun while she's still here. How are we suppose to have fun when she and Jacob will be at each other's throats the whole time, it defeats the purpose. Maybe this is what I deserve, for being so selfish.
We were almost there, took no time at all, Jacob groaned and started staring at the car floor. He then, to my surprise, started to laugh.
"I cannot believe I'm doing this," Jacob laughed at himself, "Not only am I tagging along for your girl time, but with a bloodsucker as well. I've really lost it."
I hung my head down, slightly turning to look at his face. I was about to apologize, but Alice caught me off guard.
"We're here!" Alice sang, "So, what're we going to see?"
My head snapped up at her voice, that was a good question. I suggested the movies, but had no idea what to go see. I just wanted to get out of the house before Alice and Jake killed each other. My past experiences going to the movies were not entirely pleasant ones, I hoped that this wouldn't be the worst.
Alice waited for my answer; I grimaced at having to be the one to decide. Jacob raised his head and sighed.
"I hear Tomorrow and Forever's pretty popular," He suggested, looking directly at me, ignoring Alice.
I nodded my head, eager to agree, I was up for anything. Then it came back to me, I remember I'd turned down this movie before, back when Mike asked me. It was back when I was too broken to handle a romance. How would I feel now? I truly believe that the hole in my chest is somewhat gone at least, plus I have Jacob and Alice, for the moment. Maybe it won't be so bad.
"Bella," Alice looked at me doubtfully, "Is that what you want?"
Alice got out and opened the door on my side. She reached out and took my hand, a warm smile lit up her face. Jacob, with his arm still securely around my waist, pulled me back. Alice grabbed my hand again and yanked, while Jacob firmly resisted. It was a brief match of tug-of-war with me as the rope, both competitors glaring each other down.
"Jake!" I snapped at him.
Jacob grimaced but gave up, releasing me hesitantly. Alice yanked me from my seat, causing me to stumble, but she caught me before I could cause any damage to myself.
"Sorry," She apologized, "Forgot how fragile you were."
"You sound like Edward."
Jacob got out on his side and made his way next to me, Alice to my right and Jacob to my left. We headed toward the theater; Alice bought two tickets for herself and me, leaving Jacob to pay for his own.
There weren't that many people in the theater, I'm assuming everyone had seen the movie already. It had been out for a while, this might be it's last week in theaters. We sat down, Alice to my right and Jacob to my left like before. I kept my eyes on them both cautiously; they wouldn't fight in here would they?
Alice suddenly started giggling, I looked up at the screen and a man was coming up with every excuse in the book to keep from getting fired. I was so occupied with watching Alice and Jake that I hadn't realized that the movie started already, for who knows how long.
I actually began to watch now; the man that got fired meets a rich woman who enjoys working with children. They fall in love and the man begins to help out with the children too, while still jobless. The man is secretly involved in some shady business involving loans and dangerous favors. The woman finds out what he's up to and the man confesses all that he's done, which in turn gets the woman involved.
So far the movie was pretty good; I wasn't feeling any pain from what I've seen up until now. Unfortunately, I'd spoken too soon. The man felt terrible for burdening the woman in his problems and decides to leave her.
I winced at the words "I don't want you to come." The man had spoken the same words as his. My head sank, I didn't want to look up at the screen anymore, I felt tense.
Jacob saw this; he put his arm around my shoulder and leaned his head against mine. I rested my head on his shoulder and shifted closer to him. Normally, something like this would set me off. I could see myself breaking into tears, screaming, and running out of the theater after witnessing this. But Jacob made everything so much better, he was my own personal sun again, but something else radiated from him besides the usual happiness and comfort. Love.
I let out a deep sigh of relief and looked up at the screen. Apparently I had missed a lot; the man was already begging the woman to take him back, saying that they can work something out as long as they're together. The woman all too happily takes him back and they agree to start a new life together somewhere far away.
The credits started rolling and the lights came back on. Alice eagerly got up and started toward the exit, Jacob and I followed.
Back in the car, Alice started the engine immediately but left it in park for a few minutes.
"Mmm, cliché ending," Alice said, looking thoughtful. Jacob nodded his head, looking past Alice.
"Yeah," Jacob looked at me now, "It's better than that other movie you took me to, though."
He laughed and I joined in; comparing it to Tomorrow and Forever just makes Crosshairs seem even more ridiculous. Alice looked back at me, a wide smile across her face.
"Shopping now?" Alice asked, delighted. I rolled my eyes.
"Of course, Alice."
"I'll make sure you have the most beautiful clothes in the store."
"Don't overdo it."
Alice pouted; she started driving straight for the mall which wasn't far from the movie theater at all. It took only two minutes to get there.
I told her not to overdo it, but in the end she ignored me. We went to every clothing store the mall had to offer, buying at least three things from each one. Every so often Alice would find something that she wanted for herself and get me the same one in my size. Jacob was enjoying the ordeal even less than I was; Alice was making him carry all the clothes. I could tell Jake was trying very hard not to lose his temper, I had to tell Alice to ease up a little. Alice was having the time of her life however, at least she was happy.
By the time we were done, it was dark out. The bright headlights of cars were passing by, avoiding people as they walked out of the mall and varies other stores around us.
"Well, I'd better get you home," Alice reminded.
I nodded slowly, knowing what will happen afterwards. The drive home felt longer, either Alice wasn't driving as fast as before or I was just trying to cling onto this moment for as long as I could.
Charlie wasn't there when we walked in. He must still be at the Clearwater's, probably doing whatever he can to help out. I felt bad that I wasn't there too, felt even worse that I was keeping Jacob away. I sat down on the sofa and Jacob joined me. Alice was arranging the clothes she bought in one pile and the clothes for me in another on the kitchen table. In a flash, she darted upstairs and my new clothes disappeared. The next second she was back, looking as cheerful as before.
"Hope you don't mind, but I'm sure you'll find your new beautiful clothes in perfect order," Alice said confidently.
Alice started to stare off into the distance, her expression lost. Jacob shifted himself closer to me in a protective position. Alice let out a gasp, her cheerful expression didn't return.
"It's time for me to go."
I couldn't speak, I just let my head fall.
"I'm sorry Bella, but it's time. I can't stay any longer."
I just nodded. I was starting to feel the pain come back to me.
"Come on." Alice grabbed my hand and lifted me off the sofa. She led me outside to her car, Jacob followed quickly.
She let go of my hand to give me a hug. Her hard cold skin felt strangely soft and gentle when her arms wrapped around me. The wind blew her sweet clean scent toward me, I'd remember it for a while. I embraced her back, trying very hard to fight back tears. It seemed to last for a lifetime.
"Bye Bella," She said quietly in my ear, "I promise I'll be back."
She nodded, "Promise."
OHMYGOSH! I love it!! NGAWW Jake and Bella have their own little meadow now! And I loved this quote,
'Well Charlie said that he would come after me with his shot gun if I took advantage of you... in bed.' haha, something like that. :) love it very much, keep me posted please!
10. Family (Part 1 of 2)
"Guys, wait up!" Jacob shouted as we got closer to them.
Quil and Embry both turned around to look at us with grins already plastered on their faces.
"I knew you'd give in if I mentioned racing," Embry said smugly.
"Yeah, yeah. So, where are we going to do this?"
"How about we do one lap around the reservation? This place can be our starting and ending point," Quil suggested.
"Right here?" Jacob asked a little concerned. He looked around the area and then at the circle of leaves where he and I once were, kissing in the middle. "How about a little ways left of here?"
Quil shrugged. "Sure, I guess."
"Alright, let's change real quick and we can make that tree our starting point." He pointed at a tree far to our left that had a large oval hole in the middle.
"Awesome!" Embry shouted in excitement.
"Wait, what about Bella?" Quil wondered, "We'll be going crazy fast and she'll be sent flying if she rides one of us."
"I can hold on tight," I insisted.
Jacob looked at me and shook his head. "No way, Bella, better safe than sorry. You'll have to wait here and one of you guys will stay with her."
"What?" they both said at the same time.
"What do you mean 'what'? I don't want to leave her here alone. Keep her company."
"When it's not my turn, I kind of wanted to watch you guys race too," Quil complained.
"You'll get a live broadcast of it."
Quil chuckled. "Oh, right. Plus, I wouldn't wanna ware myself out by running before my turn."
"Exactly. Do I really need to remind you of this stuff?"
"Who's going first anyway?" Embry asked.
They were all silent for a second as they eyed each other down.
"Call first!" Jacob and Quil both shouted.
"Call fir…, ugh, dammit," Embry groaned.
Jacob and Quil both laughed and so did I. Quil and Embry ran behind two separate trees to change into their wolf forms. Jacob was about to go and change too, but I grabbed his arm reflexively and he looked at me in confusion.
"Not that racing isn't exciting, but you seem more eager now than you've been before. How come?" I asked.
He smiled. "Well, to be honest, I can beat these guys in a race no problem. But Embry claims that he's been practicing and from what I've seen, I believe him. He almost beat Leah recently. He was thisclose."
"Really? Isn't Leah the fastest in the pack?"
"Yeah, she is, but maybe that'll change. If Embry can almost beat Leah and I can still beat him, then maybe I might have a shot at her."
"Or maybe Leah was just having an off day," Embry called from behind the tree.
"Aren't all of her days a little off?" Quil commented.
Jacob shrugged. "Anyway, I've been kind of eager to test out what I can do. I guess Quil will be more of a warm up."
I smiled and gave him a quick hug. "Good luck."
He grinned and ran behind another tree to change. In no time at all, just seconds, he emerged on all fours along with Quil and Embry. They faced each other and started conversing through a series of grumbles and barks. Embry seemed to laugh about something and Quil rolled his eyes at it. They began to walk toward the tree with the hole and Jacob looked at me, gesturing his head for me to follow them. They walked slowly, so I was able to keep up pretty easily. Once they got there, Embry stood by my side as Jacob and Quil got in position to start.
They stood side by side and stared at the path they were going to take. It was quite and the atmosphere was kind of tense. I could easily hear birds chirping in the distance, but it only added to the suspense of when they'll start. Suddenly, Embry let out a loud bark that made me jump and the two wolves rocketed off into the trees. I was amazed at how fast they just moved; they were out of sight in an instant. Jacob was right to have me stay here, there's no way I could've held on. Embry was making low grumbles, coughs, and barks probably in reaction to what was going on. For once, I wished I could share minds too.
"Who's winning?" I asked, "Um…one bark for Jacob and two barks for Quil."
He looked at me amused and barked once. It was nice to know that Jacob was winning, but I still wished I could watch. The wind blew once in our direction and it got chilly for a moment. I leaned my left shoulder on Embry's side and placed my hand on the back of his neck to share some of his warmth. I immediately noticed how Embry's fur felt different from Jacob's. It wasn't just because Embry's fur was shorter, but it had a different level of roughness to it. Curiously, I started moving my hand up and down across his neck. The difference was definitely there, Embry's fur had more fuzziness to it than Jake's. As I felt the texture of Embry's fur, I heard a deep purr come from his chest. Like an alarm clock, it made me jump back and I removed my hand from his neck. Embry looked at me from the corner of his eye and grinned. I glared at him in warning, but he just coughed a laugh in response.
After a few minutes passed, Embry perked his head up and turned all the way around. I turned to look too.
"Are they coming?" I asked.
Embry nodded his head and I tried searching them out. I couldn't see anything at first, but that didn't last long. The two wolves zoomed past us and the starting point tree, slowing to a stop a little ways ahead of it. They moved so fast that I wasn't sure who pasted the tree first, but judging by the way Jacob was dancing around in a circle and let out a victorious howl that echoed through the trees, I assumed he won. I smiled wide and clapped for him while he smiled back at me. I heard a low groan come from Quil as he made his way over to me. Embry nodded once at Jacob and walked over to the starting point tree; not wasting anytime. Jacob walked over to him and took his position. This would be the race that really mattered for Jacob, so I was especially hoping he'd win this one. The atmosphere was quiet and tense like before as they crouched to get ready to dash forward once Quil gave the signal. I covered my ears this time, but it didn't make much of a difference. Quil's loud bark still made me jumped and the two wolves dashed into the distance at incredible speed.
Once again, I was blind to what was going on. Quil was fidgeting and making low barks similar to the way Embry was in response to the race; it made me fidgety too.
"Who's winning? Is it Jacob?" I asked, eagerly.
He looked at me without answering for a second, but then he shook his head causing me to gasp. Quil chuckled at my response, but I just grimaced and started tapping my hand at my side in concern.
"Tell him I said he can do it!"
Quil chuckled again and stared into the distance. Then, he just laughed again, much louder this time. I wish I knew what was so funny, but more than that, I wish I knew if Jacob was still losing.
A minute past and I wanted an update on what was going on. But before I could ask, Quil edged closer to me and lowered his head in front of me. He then rubbed his fur against the back of my hand that was at my side. I looked at him confused and he grinned mischievously in response. Did he want me to pet him?
"No," I said nervously and backed away from him.
Like he didn't hear what I said, he stalked me as I backed off with that grin still clear on his face. I glared back at him like he should know better, but he just kept following and matched my pace almost perfectly.
"Okay, Quil, that's really creepy," I complained, which he just coughed a laugh in response.
I had to admit, I was curious to know how his fur felt. I wondered if every wolf's fur had its own unique texture and feel to it or if it really was simply because Jake's fur was longer. Suddenly, Quil paused in place and looked up. A strange expression crossed his face and it was hard to decipher since I wasn't used to a wolf's emotions. Then he let out a huff and backed away from me as if in defeat. I was confused why he suddenly gave up, but I guessed it was something Jacob or Embry said to him; which reminded me.
"Who's winning now?" I asked.
Instead of answering, he turned to look behind him. I did the same, knowing that they must've been coming. I was even more anxious, since the last update I got was Jacob losing. I knew my eyes wouldn't be able to keep up with their speed, but I tried to concentrate on judging who passed by us first. Quil barked loudly, surprising me and ruining my concentration, as the two wolves zoomed past us and stopped in the same way as before while a gust of wind trailed behind them. The look on Jacob's face was very smug while Embry was laughing to himself. I had no idea what either action meant. Jacob looked at me from across the field and trotted over to my side.
"Um, did you…?" I began to ask.
In response, he smiled triumphantly and nodded his head. My face lit up in excitement and I hugged him tight. I rubbed his fur roughly with both hands and laid my head onto his neck. There was something about Jacob's fur and warmth that I loved so much, though I wasn't sure if it was because of how shaggy he was. Did I like that best?
Jake looked over at Quil and smirked. Quil rolled his eyes and stood into position at the starting point with Embry. I guess it was their turn to race now, though I honestly wouldn't be as interested this time. They both dashed off into the trees before Jake could even tell them to start. Jacob and I were alone again…for now.
"Hey, Jake," I began, "You were inside Quil's head. What was up with him?"
Jacob chuckled and started to walk toward a nearby tree. I tried holding on, but he looked back at me, prompting me to let go. I frowned as I saw him walk behind the tree, but I quickly felt better when he came out on two feet, smiling. He walked to my side, looked into my eyes, and wrapped an arm around my shoulder.
"That was just Quil and Embry trying to play dirty, which they failed at," he said amused.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"They thought they could distract me from the race if I saw you petting one of them."
I gasped. "Oh! Jake, I'm sorry."
"Save it, Bella. You actually sort of helped me. Instead of it being a distraction, I just ran faster so I could be by your side."
I nodded, though I was still embarrassed. "I was just…curious."
He nodded as well. "Understandable."
"I like petting you the best though."
"Yeah, I figured that. I knew you liked it better long."
"Actually, I don't know if that's it. I might like it just as well short."
"Well, I'll have to cut it eventually, so we'll find out then."
It was quiet for a minute before I spoke again.
"So, you won both races. Do you think you can beat Leah now?" I asked.
He thought about it for a bit. "Not sure. Leah is still crazy fast and maybe she was just having an off day that one time." He shrugged. "Though, maybe if you were there petting other werewolves, it might encourage me to run faster."
He said it jokingly, but it still made me grimace, which seemed to surprise him. I turned away from him in guilt, but he pulled me into his warm embrace and rubbed my back in comfort.
"Kidding, Bella, just relax," he said.
I hid my face into his chest, but he removed one hand from around me and brought it under my chin, lifting it up so I could look at him. He smiled and kissed me lightly for a brief moment.
"They can't get that from you, can they?" he whispered, keeping his mouth close to mine.
"No," I sighed and brought my lips back to his.
We kissed for another minute when Jacob suddenly lifted his head and turned in the direction of the racing trail.
"Huh, that was quicker than I thought," he muttered.
"They're coming back?" I asked.
"Yep, I can hear them."
"Sorry I made you miss the race."
He smiled. "I prefer the kisses. Besides, I'm more interested in the result."
In that moment they zoomed past us and stopped a little ways past the starting tree. Embry was smiling at Quil while Quil had his head to the ground.
"Quil, you should really practice more," Jacob called to him.
Quil made a face that looked annoyed, but not in a way that said he disagreed. The two wolves went behind their own trees and came out human, walking toward us. Embry jabbed Quil in the shoulder playfully and Quil chuckled a little embarrassed.
"So I guess it's safe to say that I'm the fastest here," Jake said smugly.
"Sure, Mr. Black, but I still doubt you can beat Leah," Embry noted.
Jake shrugged. "Won't stop me from trying at least."
"And hear her endless bragging just for the sake of annoying everyone if you lose?" Quil groaned.
"Okay, point," Jake said, echoing his groan.
"By the way, Bella," Embry said to me, his tone sounding flirtatious, "That felt really good. You've got some magic fingers."
He started rubbing his own hair as an example and looked at me with the eyes of an obvious charmer. I stared back at him defensively.
"You can pet me any day," he said in a low voice.
Jacob glared him down, but Embry only chuckled in response.
"First of all, since when the hell do you talk like that?" Jake asked with clear annoyance.
Embry pointed his thumb at Quil. "Got it from him."
"Y'know, Bella, I feel really left out. How come I never got pet? I demand to be pet!" Quil said with exaggerated authority.
"Sorry, guys," I said with a smirk and started stroking Jacob's hair, "I prefer it long."
"I knew it!" Jake shouted.
I flinched slightly, surprised at what I said. "Well…I meant…"
"No no no, you already said it."
"So, discriminating against the short-haired guys, eh? I see how it is," Quil said teasingly.
I sighed. "Fine, sure, short hair disgusts me."
Embry shook his head in mock disappointment. "That's not right, Bella. You should be ashamed. Ashamed."
I shrugged unconcerned and they both laughed. They obviously knew I was only kidding, though I wasn't sure if I delivered my sarcasm very well.
"ANYWAY, what are we doing now?" Jacob asked, trying to change the subject.
"I was thinking we could hang at my place. My mom doesn't get off from work until a few hours after school ends," Quil suggested.
Embry nodded in anticipation. "Sounds good."
Jacob looked at me for confirmation. "Bella?"
"Sure, let's go," I agreed.
Quil grinned. "It's not so far from here. I'm sure we can make it on two feet."
I grimaced. "How far is 'not so far'?"
"If you're worried, I can carry you," Jacob offered.
I shook my head. "I think I can manage."
Quil's house was a little over a mile north of First Beach. I ended up tiring myself more than I wanted, not from the distance, but from trying to keep up with the guys. They seemed to walk at a steady pace, but they were always getting ahead of me. About a quarter of the way there, Jacob held my hand and matched my slow pace. But I still tried walking faster so I didn't hold him back.
When we made it to Quil's house, Quil got out a key from his shorts pocket to open the side door. I'd been to Quil's house once before, during the early days that Jake and I officially became a couple, and the one thing about his house that I remember the most is how small it looked on the outside. It was pretty much a cabin; a lot of it was built around wood with a few bricks mixed in. There was a shack that hugged the right side of the house, that I assumed stored various tools, and I could see a basket ball hoop stationed around the back.
Despite the outside looking so small, the inside was surprisingly spacious. As we walked in, the first thing I noticed was the wide open living room. There was a large sofa and a few chairs placed in front of a TV that had a big screen, but still looked old fashioned. There was also a round wooden table placed on the other end of the living room next to a window with the curtains opened. There were no chairs by the table, so I assumed the ones in front of the TV belonged there.
Quil and Embry both sat down on the sofa first as Jacob and I joined them. It was big enough to fit four people, maybe even five.
"Quil, first thing we should do is eat. I'm starving," Embry said as he rubbed his stomach.
"Yeah, me too," Quil agreed.
"What've you got to eat?"
Quil thought about it for a second. "Well, we don't have anything premade, unless Pringles count. Everything has to be cooked."
And with that, I knew what was coming. They both slowly turned their heads in my direction and grinned widely.
"You guys want me to cook?" I asked, though I knew the answer.
They both nodded while keeping their grins. Jacob groaned.
"You don't have to cook for them, Bella. They're just being lazy," he accused.
"Aw come on," Quil responded, "We know Bella's a really good cook. She could probably work with what we've got better than I could."
"I don't mind. I haven't eaten anything, so I'm pretty hungry too," I admitted.
Jacob chuckled once. "We're all hungry then. But you don't have to do everything, we'll help out."
"Sure, but first let's see what we have."
Quil led the way to the kitchen which was just around the corner. It wasn't too much smaller than my kitchen and everything looked like it was kept clean. Quil opened the fridge and got out a large container of ground beef that hadn't been opened, while Embry checked the pantry and found a sack of fresh potatoes. I knew that I could do a lot with the potatoes, so I checked the pantry after Embry and gathered a bunch of seasonings that would work wonders. The boys decided to make the ground beef into hamburgers while I cooked the potatoes. I rinsed all the potatoes off at the sink and began slicing them into even pieces. I found a baking dish along with some olive oil in a cabinet by the fridge and thoroughly greased the dish. I placed the potatoes in overlapping rows on the dish and added all the seasonings I found. I noticed Quil getting out some shredded cheese from the fridge for their burgers and decided to add that to the potatoes as well. Finally, I covered the potatoes in foil and placed them in the oven.
The burgers got ready much faster than the potatoes and the boys used every bit of the beef. They ended up making sixteen burgers and each of them were very large. We all grabbed a chair and sat at the table to eat. The boys started talking about each of the races they had today and Embry filled Jacob in on what he missed. Though I was hungry, the burgers were so huge that I only managed to eat one and a quarter of my second.
"Are you gonna eat the rest of that?" Jacob asked.
I sighed. "No."
Jacob smiled and ate the rest of my burger. These guys were animals…well, I guess that was true. It didn't take long at all for them to devour every last one. I wondered how long it would take for me to notbe surprised by everyone's insane appetite.
"Whew, that was good," Quil said, rubbing his stomach, "Hey, Bella, when will the potatoes be ready?"
My eyes widened. "You're still hungry?"
"Of course," Embry said with a chuckle, "We can already smell it and that aroma cannot be ignored."
"Um, it should be ready in about twenty minutes."
"What should we do 'til then?" Jacob asked.
"We could put on a movie," Quil suggested as he pointed to his collection of DVDs racked next to the TV.
"Sounds good," Jake and Embry both said at once and I nodded in agreement.
Jake, Embry, and I went over to sit on the large sofa while Quil checked his DVDs.
"What do you want to watch?" Quil asked us.
"I'm in the mood for something nostalgic," Embry suggested, "Y'know, from those good old days when we used to run home from school to catch the newest episode of whatever show was coming on."
Jacob smiled and sighed like he remembered something pleasant. "Dragon Ball Z."
"Oh, I've got nostalgia," Quil said confidently as he held up a DVD case, "The Lion King anyone?"
"Why are you even asking? Put it in," Embry said eagerly.
Quil turned the TV on and put the DVD into its player. He joined us on the sofa and the movie began. It'd been a long time since I saw this movie, not since I was a kid. But as we watched, all the scenes started coming back to me. Embry quoted some of the lines that he remembered as we watched and the guys all attempted to sing some of the songs. It was pretty funny watching them try.
After twenty minutes passed, I got up and went to the kitchen to check on the potatoes. I took them out of the oven and I could tell they were ready to eat. I was going to call the guys to tell them the food was ready, but when I turned around, they were already right behind me with mouths watering. I didn't even hear them follow me. How was it that these giant boys could walk around without making a sound? The guys each grabbed a fork along with a plate and filled it with potatoes. Judging by how much they ate, I wasn't sure if I made enough, though I used the whole bag.
"Jeez, guys! Are you going to leave any for Bella?" Jacob complained as Quil took the last bunch.
"Well, sorry but…" Quil muttered, not sure if he should put some back.
"It's okay. Just tell me what you guys think," I said.
Jacob sighed. "Bella, you can have some of mine, okay?"
"Really, I'm not that hungry anymore. That burger filled me up."
He shrugged. "If you say so."
They all went back into the living room and sat on the sofa. We continued to watch the movie as the boys ate their food, and judging by their facial expressions, they really liked the potatoes.
"Oh my god, Bella, these are fantastic!" Embry complimented.
I smiled wide. "Thank you."
"Seriously, Bella, try one. Just one," Jacob offered, holding one out to me on a fork.
"Fine." I had to admit, I was curious on how well I did.
Jake held the piece closer to my mouth and I ate it off. It was really good; I guess I could be rightfully proud.
"See?" Jake said, grinning, "You do good work."
"I sure do."
"Man, Jake, I'm jealous," Embry said with a chuckle, "You're probably going to get food like this every day when you marry her."
I nearly choked on the piece I was eating as I flinched in shock at what he said. Jacob's eyes also widened in surprise and then narrowed as he looked at Embry critically. Embry's expression turned awkward and diverted his attention away from us to eat the rest of his food. Jacob noticed my reaction and looked at me a little startled, but I tried not to meet his eyes. Why, oh why did Embry have to bring up marriage? I did love Jacob, more than anything, and I'd always want to spend my life with him; especially now that I know I will. But was marriage really necessary? Why do we need to bring that up now when we're so young?
I tried to push the marriage thing out of my mind and just watch the rest of the movie. Jacob turned his attention back to the movie too, much to my relief. Once it was over, Quil took the DVD out and put it back in its case.
"So, what now?" Quil asked us.
"We could watch something else," Embry suggested, "Something a little more mature. Like, The Room."
Embry looked over at Jacob and smirked while Jacob scowled at him more so annoyed than angry.
"No," Jacob said sternly.
Both Embry and Quil started laughing and Jacob just rolled his eyes. I wish I understood whatever joke that was supposed to be.
"Okay, okay, we could just play a game then," Quil suggested, "Up for some Mario Kart?"
"What about Bella? Is she just going to watch?" Embry asked.
I shrugged. "I'll play. I won't know what I'm doing, but I could learn."
Jake looked at me, smiling at my willingness and I smiled back.
"Alright then," Quil said as he got up to get the game from his room.
Before Quil could make it to his room, the phone rang loudly from the kitchen and startled me a little. Quil turned back around to head for the phone posted on the wall; he picked it up before its third ring.
10. Family (Part 2 of 2)
"Hello?" we heard him answer, "Oh hey, what's up...you're where...oh…uh…I'm at my place with Jacob, Embry, and Bella…yep…wait, I thought…"
There was a long pause that lasted about ten seconds.
He laughed. "I guess everybody's ditching…huh…uh, I don't know…well my mom usually doesn't mind guests but…who else…seriously?" His toned sounded annoyed. "Ugh, he's gonna make a mess…true, true…alright…okay…see ya then."
Quil hung the phone back up and came back in to stand in front of us.
"You heard that, right?" he asked us.
"Yeah," Jacob and Embry answered.
"I didn't," I noted.
Jacob put one arm around me and half smiled, which looked slightly concerned. "Jared, Kim, Seth, and Paul are all coming over."
"Yeah, it'll be a party," Embry said with excitement, which I grimaced at. A party is not something I'd look forward to.
"When will they be here?"
"Since they have Kim along, it'll probably take about an hour," Quil estimated.
"This'll be your first time meeting Kim, won't it," Jacob asked me, though I'm sure he knew the answer.
I nodded. "Yeah."
Embry chuckled. "Good luck with her."
"Kim can be pretty excitable," Quil added, "By the way, I'm going to go put on a shirt, I think you guys should do the same so I'll bring you something."
"Thanks," Jake and Embry said at once.
Quil went down a hallway leading to five doors and entered one on the left. It didn't take long for him to come back out wearing a red sleeveless shirt and carrying two more similar shirts in one hand and the game he was talking about in the other. He tossed the shirts to Jake and Embry and they put them on, while Quil put the game into whatever system was hooked up to the TV.
Everyone grabbed a controller and Jake handed one to me. Jake told me the basic controls and rules on how to play, but I was still confused. The game started up and everyone chose their characters and cars. It was a racing game, that much I could figure out, but I was still lost on what to do. I had to constantly ask Jake which buttons to press and where to go. In the end, Embry got first place, Quil second, Jake third, and I got dead last. I'm pretty sure Jake could've done better if he wasn't so busy helping me out. They began another race and Jake suggested that we team up. Quil and Embry would be on one team while Jake and I would be together. He told me that he would do the driving while I only had to press a certain button when needed. I liked this a lot better because I was working with Jacob instead of against him, not to mention I was given the much easier job.
We had a few more races; Jake and I won a few and they won some too. I wasn't paying attention to the time, so I didn't know how long we were playing for. The sudden ring of the door bell caught me off guard, though it didn't seem to surprise anyone else. Quil got up and headed for the door, while we all looked on to see who it was. No surprises though. As Quil opened the door, the first person I saw was Jared wearing a dark green muscle shirt, with his one arm wrapped around a girl with flat black hair in a bright yellow blouse. They both stepped inside as the girl looked at all of us and hid her face in Jared's side shyly. That must've been Kim. Next came in Paul and Seth at about the same time. Paul was wearing a black leather jacket which seemed odd for him to wear, while Seth had on a white t-shirt with blue ocean waves designed on it. Jacob and Embry smiled at everyone in greeting and they smiled back.
"S'up, guys? You kind of already missed the food," Embry informed.
"We already ate at Emily's place, so it's cool," Jared said.
Paul smiled smugly. "Yep, we got Emily's food. What did you guys have to settle for?"
Jake raised a brow at him. "Bella cooked and it was delicious."
Paul looked at me doubtfully and I smiled, very proud of myself.
"It was delicious, right guys?" Jake asked Quil and Embry to back him up.
"Oh yeah, she can cook," Embry confirmed.
"You missed the best potatoes ever," Quil added.
Paul just shrugged unconcerned and I could hear Kim giggle under Jared's embrace. Jared, Kim, and Paul all grabbed a chair from the table and placed them near the TV and sofa to sit. Jake, Embry, Quil, and I still sat on the sofa, but Seth decided to join us as he squeezed in next to me and Jake. He looked at me and grinned so cheerfully that I couldn't help but smile back.
"Hey, Bella. I haven't seen you in a while," Seth greeted.
"Yeah, it's nice to see you again," I said, still smiling.
"Did Jake already tell you what I'll be doing?"
"This Friday, when you guys leave."
"Oh right, you're going to take over for Jacob?"
He smiled even wider. "Yep! I'll make sure to do just as good a job as he would do."
Jacob snickered. "It's just patrolling, Seth. No biggie."
"But what if a vampire shows up?"
"I doubt it. The red-headed leech hasn't shown her face in a while."
"It's still cool to actually be doing something."
"Like patrols? Trust me, Seth, you'll get bored."
Seth shrugged, but continued to smile. Seth had grown a lot since I last saw him, but he still had such an innocence to him. His eagerness to do whatever he could to help out was kind of cute in a way. He reminded me so much of a younger Jacob.
"Hey, Seth, how's your sister? Is she coming?" I asked.
He shook his head. "She's okay, but no, she's not coming."
"Thank God," Paul said under his breath.
Seth laughed once and turned his attention to the TV. I hadn't noticed, but they already started another team race. Quil and Embry were up against Jared and Kim. From the looks of it, Kim was given the easier job of just pressing a certain button like I was. I couldn't seem to keep my eyes off of the pair. Even while playing video games, their eyes would often drift from the screen to look at each other. Every glance was filled with adoration, so much like the way Jacob would look at me. You didn't need to question that they were in love, it was clear as day.
As I first saw Kim, I thought she was pretty plain looking. She had a wide face, mostly cheekbones, with eyes too small to balance them out, and her nose and mouth were too broad for traditional beauty. But as I saw Jared look at her with such love and adoration, with each glance, I noticed her true beauty. I noticed how smooth her skin was and the way it matched Jared's beautifully, the perfect shape of her lips and how white her teeth were against them, and how her long eyelashes brushed her cheek as she looked down.
I already knew just how powerful imprinting could be, but I could see a lot of me and Jacob in them. Part of me was afraid that Jake and I might not be able to love as much as an imprinted couple could, but this similarity gave me the comfort of knowing that that might not be entirely true. Right then, I wrapped my arms around Jacob's waist and smiled at him, taking in all of his warmth and beauty of his black eyes. In response, he wrapped both arms around me and smiled that loving smile that I wanted to see.
"Oooo, so close, but we win," Quil jeered, as the race on screen ended.
Jared shrugged. "Oh well, I was using a character that I usually don't play with so…"
"Sounds like an excuse to me," Embry taunted.
"Next time we'll win."
"Wanna put money on it?"
Jared grinned with anticipation. "Sure."
"Um, Jared," Kim said in a soft voice, "I kind of wanted to talk with Bella for a bit."
My head immediately snapped up and Jared looked at her a little surprised.
"You do?" he asked.
Jared looked over at Jacob and back to her. "Alright, I'll be right here."
Kim smiled softly as she gave Jared a quick kiss and made her way over to me. She had her hands behind her back and looked at Jacob like she was waiting for him to do something.
"You want me to get up?" Jake asked.
She smiled in slight embarrassment. "It's kind of a girls only thing."
"Say no more," he sighed as he got up to sit where she had been, next to Jared.
Not only did Jacob move, but so did the other guys. They all gathered together where Jared sat, away from us, and it looked like they were having their own private conversation. Kim sat next to me and smiled a lot wider than she had before.
"Hi, I'm Kim, and you're Bella, right?" she introduced.
I nodded. "Yep, that's me."
She reached an arm out, and I thought she wanted to shake my hand, but instead she pulled me in for a hug.
"It's nice to meet you," she said gleefully.
"Uh…yeah, you too."
She giggled and let go of me. She looked so excitable, like Quil had said, though just a minute ago she seemed like such a shy girl.
"When I heard that there was another wolf girl, I knew I had to meet her. How are things with you and Jacob?" she asked, still excited.
I smiled. "Everything's great. How about you?"
She swooned. "Wonderful."
I couldn't help but giggle at that and she joined me.
"Um, Bella, can I ask you something kind of personal?"
"Uh…I guess so."
She took a deep breath, preparing herself. "Does it worry you sometimes that Jacob didn't imprint on you?"
I thought about it for a second. "It used to, but not so much anymore."
She seemed surprised by my willingness to answer. "How come? Do you worry that he might…" She made an awkward face. "…on someone else?"
I shook my head. "Not anymore."
"Anymore? Why doesn't it worry you that-?" She suddenly stopped. "I mean, I'm sorry. If I'm prying too much, you don't have to answer."
"No, it's okay. I…" I wasn't sure if I should continue. Would it be okay to tell her about the Cullens when she already knew about werewolves? Would she think badly of me? "I just have a really strong feeling. I think Jake can agree."
"I know that imprinting is pretty rare, Sam told me all about it. I guess there's no use in worrying, right?"
I nodded. "Right…um, do you mind if I ask you something?"
"Well…" I paused, trying to figure out how to ask lightly. "Does it sometimes bother you that, maybe, Jared's feelings are only because of imprinting?"
She grimaced at my question and I immediately felt bad for asking. This was something I was curious about for quite some time, but I was always worried about how to ask it. I tried asking Emily a few times, but I'd always chicken out. It wasn't an easy question.
"I'm sorry," I said immediately.
"No, no, it's okay," she assured, "I've actually been thinking about it myself."
"Mm-hmm, that's why in some ways, I envy what you and Jacob have."
My eyes widened. "Really?"
"Yeah, there's nothing forced about you two. I can see how much you love each other and it's all…natural."
"WHAT!" I heard the boys shout from across the room.
Kim and I immediately looked back at them and they glanced at us for a second in slight panic. They turned back around so we couldn't see their faces and continued whispering whatever they were whispering. Kim and I both looked at each other confused and Kim just shrugged it off.
"Anyway, this is kind of how I see it," she began, "Jared and I are soul mates, we're meant for each other. Some werewolves have a perfect match in this world and I guess imprinting just helps them find it. It speeds up the process, y'know."
I nodded and she continued.
"But some werewolves don't get it that easy. They don't have perfect matches already made for them, so they have to seek them out themselves." She smiled. "However, when they do find what they were looking for, it just makes the love they create all the more wonderful."
I smiled happily; that sounded like the perfect answer to me. "Thank you, Kim."
We both just looked at each other smiling for a brief moment, as if to take in this new friendship that we created. She really was a nice girl and I was surprised at how easily I could talk to her; I could see myself talking to her a lot.
"Can I ask you something else? It may or may not be as personal," she asked.
I sighed. "Go ahead."
"Well, you and Jacob have…you know?"
I tilted my head to the side. "Huh?"
"You know…um, sometimes in your bed, sometimes in his?"
It took me a minute to realize what she was saying, but when I did, my face turned bright red and I couldn't seem to control the franticness in my voice.
"Oh! N-no, no, we haven't!"
Her eyes widened. "You haven't?"
"But I thought…oh my god, I'm sorry." She seemed to glare over at the boys.
I shook my head. "It's okay."
I put my head down to avoid eye contact, but my face refused to turn back to its normal color. Kim turned her head to try and see my face, but I just kept looking down.
"Bella…do you want to?"
I kept my head down, not sure whether to answer for the first time. Somehow, she could read me like a book.
"If it's too personal, then you don't have to say anything. But, just to let you know, this is just between you and me."
I still kept my head down, but finally took a deep breath and let it out. "Yes."
She nodded in understanding. "Have you asked Jacob?"
"Because…I don't know if he's ready yet. I don't know if I'm ready yet."
She nodded again. "Well, the first step is understanding each other. Ask him how he feels."
I finally looked back up. "Have you and Jared…you know?"
She giggled. "Yes."
My face was starting to turn back to its regular color, but that progress restarted.
"It's okay, Bella. I wasn't sure at first either, but all I had to do was ask. I don't know, maybe the imprinting helped me out, but we've never been happier."
"You girls done yet?" I heard Paul ask.
We both turned around to see the boys already looking at us. The look on both Jacob and Jared's faces were apologetic.
Kim sighed. "Yeah, I guess we are."
With that, everyone started moving back to their original spots. But before Kim went back to sit with Jared, she whispered one last thing in my ear.
"Don't forget what I said, okay?"
Jacob and Seth both sat next to me again and Jacob put one arm around me. He looked at me and smiled for a second before his eyebrows raised in slight surprise.
"You're face is all red," he noted.
"Still?" I said in panic.
"Oh god, what did Kim say? Did she bother you?"
"N-no, it's nothing. Kim is really nice."
He looked at me suspiciously. "You sure it's nothing?"
I obviously wasn't fooling him, he still looked suspicious. But I guess he didn't want to know right now as he sighed and turned his attention on the TV screen.
The rest of the afternoon was very enjoyable. We all took turns playing the game and each team won a good number of races, though Quil and Embry ultimately won the most. Later we all played a game of 'Would You Rather'. At first, I was nervous to play, but surprisingly no one asked any embarrassing questions. Most of them were pretty ridiculous, like 'Would you rather be eaten alive or explode?' We laughed and had fun with everyone's answers and reactions for a while, and the whole time I thought of how special this scene was. These were the people that I'd want to keep in my life for a long time. The people that make me smile; the people I could laugh with, have conversations, and relate to in many ways. They were my family, different from the other, but still very much family.
Eventually, Quil's mother called to tell Quil she was on her way home and pretty exhausted from work. Quil suggested that we all leave so her mom could get some rest. Jacob gave me a ride home in his wolf form and licked my face before sprinting off into the trees. I wiped my face off and groaned as I headed for the front door. When I went inside, I saw that Charlie was already home, sitting on the coach watching ESPN.
"Hey, honey," he greeted.
"How was school?"
He had to ask that. "Pretty boring."
That seemed to work enough as he nodded his head. "Did Jacob take you?"
"Yes." I tried changing the subject. "Um, are you hungry?"
He chuckled. "You know me."
"Right, I'll see what I can find."
I put my school bag on the kitchen table temporally as I checked to see what there was to make. I saw that we had some ground beef, dried pasta, and pasta sauce, so the obvious thing to make would be spaghetti with meat sauce. I cooked the beef and pasta separately and neither took very long. I finally added the pasta sauce to the beef and let it heat up, adding salt, pepper, and grated parmesan to it. When everything was done, I called Charlie in to eat at the table.
We both ate our food in comfortable silence, though as I looked at Charlie, the expression on his face was a little unusual. He looked a little awkward or like he was preparing for something unpleasant. When I was done with my meal, I began to get it to rinse my plate off, but…
"Um, Bella," he suddenly said, reaching an arm out to get me to sit down, "Can I talk to you for a second?"
I sat back down and looked at him confused. "Uh, sure."
That awkward expression was still clear on his face, making me a bit nervous. "I'm…not good at this sort of thing. I'm not sure where to start."
Now I was really getting nervous.
"Okay, Jacob's a really nice guy and you two are pretty serious; you see each other pretty much every day. And…I know that you're an adult, but you're still young, and there are things you need to know when you're…um…physically involved with -"
"Oh god, please, no!" I shouted in panic, "Please, not the talk."
"I'm just as embarrassed as you are, but I am your father. I have responsibilities."
"Dad, seriously, you don't need to. Mom beat you to the punch like ten years ago."
"Ten years ago, you didn't have a boyfriend."
"I think the essentials are still the same."
"Just…please tell me you two are being responsible. It's not that I don't trust you guys, but I know you don't want to tell me these things. I'll try to be open-minded, though. I know times have changed."
"Dad, please! Don't worry…we haven't…"
He held his hand out to stop me. "Okay, okay."
I sighed. "Can I go upstairs now?"
I got up, all too eagerly, rinsed my plate off, and headed upstairs to my room. First Kim and now Charlie, what was with today? Was something somewhere trying to tell me something through the people I know?
I looked out my window and saw that it was already getting pretty dark. For some reason, I was still pretty sleepy like I was last night. Maybe today took more out of me than I thought, though I couldn't figure out why. I went into the bathroom to wash my face and change into my pajamas. Before going to bed, I went to check my ancient computer and see if I got any e-mail from Renee. I got one, asking the usual statues update questions. I replied by telling her that I was fine and also informed her of Jake and me visiting this Friday. Surprisingly, I got a reply back in mere minutes; she must've been on her computer at the time. She said she was thrilled and couldn't wait to see me and meet Jacob again after such a long time.
As I began to type another reply, confirming that we'll be there, I heard a loud tap on my window. I jumped and turned to look at what it was, but nothing was there. Another loud tap came from the window and this time I could see that it was a small rock hitting against it. I went and opened the window to check what was going on, and there Jacob stood two stories below me, smiling.
"Bella," he called.
I smiled back. "Hey, Jake."
"Back up, I'm coming in."
I took his advice and backed away from the window as he climbed up the tree right next to it. He then catapulted himself into my room, landing perfectly on his feet, making less noise than I thought possible.
Simply out of habit, I wrapped my arms tightly around him, letting his heat warm me. He embraced me back and rubbed the back of my head comfortably.
"Not that I don't want you here, but what are you doing here?" I asked. He wasn't wearing a shirt, just his usual cut-off jeans, so I assumed he was with the pack.
"I just wanted to ask you something real quick."
He let me go and sat down on the edge of my bed as I joined him. He looked at me like he was unsure of something and took a deep breath.
"How come you reacted so panicked when Embry mentioned marriage?"
I flinched and that seemed to bother him more. It took me a minute to respond, because I knew I wouldn't be able to control my voice easily. Marriage was not a topic I wanted to discuss right now, the word itself made me cringe.
I let out an uneasy breath. "I've never really been too fond of…marriage."
He tilted his head to the side. "Why?"
"Well…don't you think we're too young to be thinking about it?"
"Well of course we're too young, but…" He paused for a second, like he was afraid to say the next part. "You do want to stay with me, right?"
He smiled, thrilled that I said that. "Then what's wrong with marriage?"
I grimaced. "It's just that…my parents married early and…"
He nodded in understanding. "I get it."
"Yeah. Renee always told me that marrying when she did was the biggest mistake she or anyone could make."
"Do you think we're like your parents?"
"No!" I shouted immediately.
He nodded again. "Like I said, Bella, definitely not now, only when you feel you're ready…if you'll ever be."
I knew he was talking about marriage, but my mind drifted to something else when he asked about me being ready. "Did you have anything in mind?"
He thought about it for a second. "Well, once I graduate high school, I doubt I'll be going anywhere anytime soon. I wouldn't mind having a wife to keep me company." I cringed at the word, which he noticed. "Then again, marriage is just a piece of paper."
"Exactly," I said in eager agreement.
"Well, I guess it's up to you then."
"So, you want me to propose to you?"
He snickered. "Maaaaybe. Something like that."
I sighed heavily and lay down on my bed, looking up at the ceiling. It was a little bit more comforting knowing that there was absolutely no rush in marriage, but the idea of it still made me uneasy. I guess I just couldn't help it. Marriage was just one of those things that was implanted in my brain as something bad. I wasn't sure if I could ever get over it.
I looked over at Jacob and noticed that he was looking at me…differently. His eyes weren't locked on my face, but assessing my entire body. The pajama bottoms I wore were pretty short so my legs were mostly bare. The pajama top I had on was fairly thin, small, and wafted easily with a simple breeze from the window. Jacob was well aware of this. As his eyes met mine, he immediately looked away in embarrassment. Shouldn't I have been the embarrassed one?
"S-sorry," he muttered.
I shook my head and blushed. "It's okay. I mean, I see you half-naked all the time, right now even, it's only fair."
"I guess you're right about that."
As if responding to some unknown force, I started looking at Jacob in a new way. I noticed how well built his arms were, as well as the perfect shape of his abs and his toned chest that I always planted my face in as we hugged. Immediately, I thought of the conversation Kim and I had today. Should I ask? How am I going to put it into words?
"Hey, Bella, I should go. They're probably waiting for me," Jacob announced.
I sighed sadly. "Okay."
"Were you about to go to sleep?"
"Yeah, is it that easy to tell?"
"You do look pretty tired."
"Right, could you turn my computer off?"
He got up and walked over to my computer as I got myself settled in bed. I saw him try to turn it off from the Start menu, though it wouldn't respond.
"It'll turn off eventually, my computer is really slow," I told him.
"It sure is."
He left the computer as it was and came back over to me. He smiled that loving smile I adore, held my face gently, and kissed my forehead softly. I wasn't satisfied with that though, so I reached up to pull his face in closer and kiss his lips. We kissed for about a minute before he backed away towards the window.
He kept smiling. "Goodnight, Bells. Tomorrow after school, we'll prepare our stuff. Alright?"
He then climbed out the window and even managed to close it on his way out. I turned my lamp off and easily drifted to sleep. That night, I dreamt of Jacob in a new way that I never have before.
Author's Note: So, I said the next chapter would come sooner and it did...sorta. Thing is, I expected this chapter to be super short...but it ended up longer than the last one. But right now, I'm free for the summer, so I have a lot more spare time. My goal is to release two chapters a month. So expect the next chapter around the end of May.