Author: Ironic Twist PM
A one shot based on Howie Day's song of the same name. He says their relationship is 'comfortable.' She doesn't agree. See what happens when the final straw breaks the camel's back.Rated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - Bella - Words: 4,506 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 6 - Published: 11-02-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5485474
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Inspired by Howie Day's "Be There." Many thanks to Kristi_28 who read and betad this in just a few short hours. Thanks, bb!
I could still feel the tension in my shoulders as I got into my truck. It had been a long day, longer than usual. It wasn't often that I had to put in extra hours, but my boss, Mr. McCarty, was really concerned about this case. The son of one of his friend's was in serious trouble, but Emmett was convinced he was innocent. All of the paras were working overtime on this one.
I glanced at my watch – 7:00. Driving home would seem endless. It was a good hour from Port Angeles to Forks, but what else could I do? Jake would be waiting at home, probably expecting dinner. We usually went out with his friends from La Push on Friday nights after eating. I tried calling his cell and the house earlier, but he didn't answer. He knew this case was taking a lot out of me. Maybe he was planning something sweet and romantic to help me deal with my stress like he used to when we were just dating, before we started living together and became "comfortable."
"Comfortable" was the word Jake liked to use when I mentioned how things had changed. When he lived with his dad his room was always picked up and the tiny house was always spotless. Billy later told me that Jake started cleaning regularly when he and I started dating. It made me feel good to know he cared so much about my opinion. But now that he was convinced I was all but guaranteed, he was reverting to form. I had to pick up his dirty clothes daily. It wasn't unusual for his greasy coveralls from the garage to be lying on the floor in our bedroom. He hadn't washed a dish in what seemed like a year. He no longer cared for my truck the way he did when we were dating. I actually had to get an oil change in Port Angeles a few weeks ago! Other women complained about the men in their lives leaving the seat up. I wish I had that problem! I'd practically begged Jake to put the seat up when he used the toilet. It's gotten to the point where I reflexively wiped down every toilet seat I used before sitting down.
The ride home was longer than usual. The road was flooded and traffic had backed up. I saw some smaller cars with water up to their windows, stalled out. The police were out in full force, rescuing those who didn't make it through the worst of it. Thankfully, my tank of a truck had no problems.
Pulling up to the house, I was a little surprised to see no lights on. I made my way through the mud and up the stairs to the porch. My hands were full and I was dripping wet. I tapped the door with my foot hoping that Jake would open it for me. I waited for the lights to come on, but that didn't happen. Sighing, I put down the bag I was holding in my hands and dug out my keys. Unlocking the door, I swung it wide and quickly grabbed my bag before finally heading inside.
The foyer was as dark as the rest of the house seemed to be. I fumbled along the wall until I found the light switch. Flipping on the light seemed to solidify for me the fact that Jake wasn't here. I walked around the house turning on lights and surveying the rooms. I could practically trace Jake's route through the house from the path of destruction. I almost tripped over his shoes sitting on the floor between the living room and kitchen. The pile of dishes in the sink let me know that he had at least attempted to feed himself. Had the dishes not given it away, the mess on the counter did. A torn box of elbow macaroni sat next to a jar of premade spaghetti sauce. Spatters of sauce were spread on the counter along with scattered dried noodles. Two pots sat in the sink. The first one had a lump of congealed noodles adhered to the bottom, alerting me to the fact that he put the macaroni in before the water boiled. The second attempt seemed to have been more successful. I noticed the microwave door was open. A quick glance inside let me know that he had not covered the sauce when he heated it up.
Shaking my head, I made my way upstairs. The computer monitor was on in the small office, but I walked past the door and into our bedroom. Sure enough, his coveralls were balled up on the floor near his side of the bed. Ignoring them for now, I went straight to the bathroom. Turning on the water in the shower I set it as hot as I could stand before undressing and getting in, letting the steam and hot water ease the strain from my muscles.
Twenty minutes later I was downstairs making myself a cup of tea. While I waited for the water to boil, I straightened the mess in the kitchen, throwing away the torn box and loose noodles and recapping the jar of sauce before sliding it into the fridge. Dampening a sponge, I wiped out the inside of the microwave and then attacked the cleaner pot. I filled the pot with the congealed noodles full with hot, soapy water, planning on letting it soak overnight before dealing with it in the morning.
Making my cup of tea I went back upstairs, planning on checking my email before going to bed early. The screen was on, but dark. Jiggling the mouse, the monitor came to life and I found myself staring at Jake's Facebook page. He had tried to get me to create one many times, but I didn't see the point. I spoke with everyone I wanted to keep in touch with. We lived in the town I grew up in. I still saw most of my friends from high school.
Glancing at the page I read a few comments from his friends:
KIM: Jake, need my engine tuned! You going to be around anytime soon?
CLAIRE: Miss you, TD&H! Stop by when you can.
There was another message. "You have one invite." I only hesitated a moment before clicking the link to see the invitation.
WHERE: in my pants
I was tempted to hit the decline button, but knew that Jake still talked with his ex-girlfriend, Leah, from time to time. I didn't want him to know I was snooping through his stuff when she mentioned the invite to him the next time they saw one another.
Minimizing the page, I clicked on the shortcut to my email. I watched the progress bar as Outlook went through its Send/Receive. I had three new emails. The first was from Alice, she wanted to go shopping this weekend. I replied back that I didn't think I'd be up for it. The second was from Rose, my boss' wife. She was thanking me for the extra hours I put in this week. I liked Rose, she was always thoughtful. The third email made me smile. It was from my best friend, Edward.
Subject: Let the "told you so's" commence
You were right, but when are you wrong? Tanya and I split up last night. At least this one was quick, right? HAHA! Anyway, I'll be around all weekend if you want to get together for coffee or whatever.
I shook my head lightly and chuckled. Edward was the best friend a person could have, but he was unlucky in love. I'd told him many times it was like he didn't want to be in a relationship. It wasn't that he was a bad boyfriend, quite the opposite, but he always found some unforgiveable fault in the women he dated after a few weeks, or months at the most.
I'd text him in the morning and make plans to get together. Right now I was heading to bed.
I closed my email and clicked on Jake's minimized Facebook page so it would come up on the screen again. This is when I noticed his "status." Under relationship it said, "It's complicated."
Complicated? What! The! Fuck?
We'd been dating for three years and living together for the past 14 months. How complicated was that?
If he wanted complicated I'd give him complicated.
Huffing with anger and indignation, I stomped off to bed. Pulling the comforter over my head I closed my eyes and waited for sleep to find me.
I glanced at the clock for the 15th time in as many minutes. Where the hell was Bella? It was Friday night, for cryin' out loud! We were always out the door by seven on Friday nights. Why wasn't she home yet? I knew that she was putting in extra hours this week, but it was Friday! We had standing plans. She should be home by now.
I had made myself something to eat a half hour ago. I don't know why she didn't already have something made. She always had something ready for me if she wasn't going to be home for dinner.
My cell phone buzzed letting me know I had a text. Embry. "where r u, man? new waitresses – twins! nice!" Fuck! I was missing all the fun. I didn't hesitate before texting back, "on my way." Slipping my wallet into my jeans I headed out. Bella could catch up when she got home.
A loud crash from downstairs woke me from my deep sleep. Sitting up, I first glanced at the clock, 2:43 AM, and then at the other side of the bed. Jake wasn't here.
I slid out of bed and made my way to the door. My heart was pounding as I crept down the hall to the top of the stairs. I strained to see in the darkness, but couldn't make out anything. Quietly, I proceeded down the stairs, wishing I had some sort of weapon. When I reached the bottom of the stairs I sighed in relief. It was just Jacob. He was sprawled out on the floor in the kitchen, having tripped over the shoes he'd left there earlier.
"Jake, are you okay?"
"Jake?" I could feel concern creeping up my spine and I moved quickly to his side. When I got there all concern left me. I could smell the alcohol on him from my position near his head. He wasn't hurt, he was dead drunk. I shook my head.
He must have had his cell phone in his hand when he fell. It had skittered across the floor and was shining a few feet away. I picked it up and saw he'd been sending a text when he dropped it.
"u wdre" was all he had typed before passing out. I closed the phone before opening it again to see who he was replying to. Someone named Nessie. We didn't know any Nessies. I read her incoming text. "it was magic meeting u 2nite jake."
I went to his phone book to find Nessie's number. I had a few questions for this new friend of his. Scrolling through his contacts, I was shocked: Bessie, Bree, Carmen, Charlotte, Chelsea, Claire, Emily, Gianna, Heidi, Irina, Jane, Kate, Kim, Lauren, Leah, Lucy, Maggie, Maria, Nessie, Sue, Tia. I didn't know half these girls.
Flipping the phone shut I acted quickly before I could change my mind. I ran upstairs and pulled the comforter over the bed. I quickly got undressed and pulled my overnight bag out of the closet. Stuffing in the pjs I had been wearing, I grabbed enough clean clothes for the weekend and work on Monday and put them in, too. Finally, I threw my travel toiletries bag on top. Zipping it shut I pulled on my sneakers, grabbed my purse and bolted back downstairs. I glanced over at Jacob to see that he hadn't moved. Opening the door I dashed to my truck and started it up. Before pulling away I quickly dialed Edward's number.
It rang three times before he answered groggily.
"Bella?" His voice was thick with sleep.
"Oh, Edward…," I wailed.
"Bella! Bella? What's wrong? What— Is— Did— ?" I could hear his mounting panic.
"Where are you?" he finally got out.
"In my truck." I sniffed loudly. "Can I come over?"
"Of course. Are you sure you're okay to drive? Should I come get you?"
"I'm okay," I squeaked. "I'll be right there."
A quick glance over my shoulder told me that the house was quiet. I pulled out of the driveway, maneuvering around Jake's poorly parked Rabbit, before heading to Edward's house, near the edge of town.
The buzzing was annoying me.
"Bella," I croaked. "Bella." Ugh! My mouth tasted like shit and my head was pounding. My arm was asleep as I tried to reach for my phone, and only succeeding in pushing it further away from me.
Slowly, I picked myself up from the floor and stumbled a few steps to pick it up. Leaning over sent a wave of nausea crashing through me, and I barely made it to the sink before puking my guts up. That last drink had definitely been a mistake. Maybe the last three. I smirked a bit as I remembered the previous evening.
The new waitress twins at the bar had been fun. They weren't like the others, and squealed with delight at the prospect of letting us drink body shots off of them. The first one, Bessie, had reminded me of Bella a bit, soft and curvy with wavy brown hair. Her sister, Nessie, was more angular. Her hair was shorter and more blonde than brown. Embry and Seth played with Bessie, while Paul and I enjoyed Nessie. He had already done two shots off her neck. Deciding I didn't want to lick her neck after Paul already had, I rubbed the lime on her wrist before sprinkling her with salt, licking her wrist and downing the tequila. I took the lime wedge from between her perky breasts and sucked hard, letting the sour juice cause my lips to pucker. I repeated this with her other wrist before she asked if I'd like another.
I blinked at her as she dragged the lime wedge down her chest into the valley between her breasts. She held out the salt shaker for me. Who was I to refuse her request? I lightly sprinkled the salt over her wet skin before she tucked the shot glass in between her breasts. Licking her thoroughly on my way down, I could feel her shiver. When I reached the shot glass I picked it up in my mouth without touching it with my hands, threw my head back and swallowed the burning liquid. Putting the glass down I looked for my lime wedge only to see it peeking out from between her grinning lips.
I smiled at the memory. Last night was a good night, even if I was paying for it now.
I stumbled up the stairs and made my way to the bathroom. My bloodshot eyes stared back at me in the mirror. I splashed some water on my face before brushing my teeth and taking four Tylenol. I was starting to feel human again as I walked into the bedroom intent on sleeping until noon. The clock on the bedside table read 6:03 AM. No wonder it was still dark. I was about to fall on the bed when I realized something was wrong.
The bed was made. Bella was not in it. What the fuck?
I quickly made my way back downstairs and went back to the kitchen. Nope, definitely clean. She had been here. I walked back into the living room and saw her workbag lying next to the door. She'd come home from work, but where was she now?
My phone! I suddenly remembered the insistent buzzing that had awoken me earlier. Dashing back to the kitchen I scooped up the phone I'd left on counter when I vomited. Scrolling through the texts I smirked when I saw two from Nessie timestamped late last night. Bella had texted me a short time later, almost 4 AM.
"Jake, need a break. Went to Edward's. Will call u next week."
An icy feeling stabbed through me. What happened?
I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins as I bolted from the house. I could barely see the grey light of false dawn as I jumped into my Rabbit and tore down the road. My mind was a jumble of confused thoughts and overwhelming concern.
Fuckin' Cullen. Best friend, my ass. He wants her so badly that a blind man can see it. The only person oblivious to his infatuation was Bella, herself. He was a respectful asshole and never pushed it, which is why I didn't object to them spending time together, but her running to him now, that wasn't good.
And why? Why had she run to him? What was wrong? What did she mean, 'need a break?' Gah!
I came to an abrupt stop in front of his house as soon as I saw her truck parked in his wide driveway and ran straight up the lawn, completely ignoring the pretty path that led to the porch.
Throwing open the screen I start banging on the white wooden door.
"Bella! Bella!" Nothing.
I pounded some more. "Bella! Bella, baby, please! Please baby, open the door! Bella!"
I don't know how long I stood there, pounding on the door and calling for her to talk to me. It was at least five minutes before I gave up and sat on the top step.
Damn. Was she going to completely ignore me? Wouldn't she even tell me what I'd done to deserve this? Everything was going so well, I thought.
I heard the door open slowly behind me and I stiffened before spinning around. Bella stood in the doorway with nothing but the screen door closed between us. She had obviously been crying. I stood up quickly and grabbed the handle, planning on wrenching the door open and pulling her to me. I jiggled the handle. Locked. Not a problem, I could punch my way straight through the screen, I'd buy Cullen a new door. I was about to pull my arm back to do just that when she spoke.
"What do you want, Jake?" Her voice was quiet, broken. She didn't look at my face when she spoke.
"What do I want?" I was bewildered. "I want to know what the hell is going on, Bella. Why are you here and not at home? What's wrong? What do you mean you need a break?"
Fresh tears started pouring from her eyes. I'd kill Cullen if he'd done anything to upset her or plant wild ideas in her head.
Wiping her hands across her cheeks she sighed.
"I think we need some time apart, to think. To decide if being together is really what we want. You want," she paused, "I want." This last was almost a whisper.
"What do you mean? Of course I want to be with you, baby. What brought this on?" Panic was coursing through me. She was rethinking being with me? Why? I sank to my knees on the welcome mat in front of the door.
"Where were you last night, Jake?"
Where was I? Where did she think I was?
"At the bar with the guys. The same place we always go on Friday nights. You knew where I was. Why didn't you come when you got home?"
"I'd had a long day. It took forever to get home because the road was flooded. I was tired and came home to a disaster. The kitchen was a disgusting mess, your shoes were on the floor in the living room, and your dirty clothes were on the floor of our bedroom. That's not being comfortable Jake, that's taking advantage of me. You, on the other hand, were nowhere to be found. I'd had a long and tiring day and all I wanted was to do was decompress. I didn't even expect you to stay with me, but it would have been nice if you'd been there when I got home."
"You should have called, Bella, I would have waited."
"I did call, Jake. I called the house and your cell."
I glanced at my cell phone but stopped myself from checking my missed calls. I didn't want her to think that I didn't believe her.
"And don't think that I don't know what going on last night. How's Nessie? And who are all those girls on your cell phone, anyway?"
I opened my mouth to answer. I wasn't thrilled to find out that she'd been looking through my cell phone. She must have checked it when after I came home last night if she knew who Nessie was.
"You know what, Jake? It doesn't matter. I don't care. I'm telling you that I need some time to think. I'm not coming home this weekend. I'll call you next week, when I'm not so angry and can talk to you civilly. You might want to think long and hard about what you really want from our relationship, because it can't continue the way it's been going."
She moved to close the door and I sprang back to my feet.
"Bella, pleasepleaseplease come home with me now? Please! I know what I want. I want you. Only you. Please, baby, don't be mad! Come home with me and let me show you how much I want you. I'll do better, I promise. No more going to the bar without you. I'll wash the dishes and pick up after myself. You'll see. I can be better for you."
She shook her head slowly.
"Not today, Jake. Not today and not tomorrow. I'll call you next week."
She closed the heavy wooden door and I knew it was useless to try to get her to talk to me again right now. I turned and took two steps before hearing a car pull up the driveway. Looking up, I froze--Cullen. My eyes narrowed. I have no doubt he was feeding into whatever delusions she was currently having. I'm sure he saw me, but he didn't acknowledge that I was there. I watched him as he parked his sissy ass Volvo and popped the trunk. He got out and went to the back of the car, removing two bags of groceries. Slamming the trunk, he looked up at me for the first time. I saw a shadow pass across his face as he considered me.
Before he could come up the path I walked over to him. I didn't want this confrontation to happen where Bella could see it out the window.
"You must be thrilled, eh Cullen?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Jacob."
"I bet. She's all upset with me and goes running to you for comfort. Well, she doesn't love you, you know. She loves me. She'll come back to me and you'll have to go back to playing the poor, pathetic "best friend" pining away for a girl he'll never have."
"How little you know me, Jacob. The idea that I'd be happy about anything that hurts Bella this much is absurd. All I want is her happiness. And, until now, you've given that to her. But that's changing now, isn't it?" He smiled at me, cockily.
"You don't appreciate what you've got. She told me about last night. She told me about the last year. You know what? She's been telling me about you all along. You've been the perfect example of what not to do if I want her. Thank you."
"I have no doubt she'll forgive you, Jacob, she's too nice to hold a grudge. But this time, I don't think she'll forget. You can fight for her, but I'll be fighting for her, too. You should know that. I'm not taking anything for granted, and I'll be fighting twice as hard as you will."
His challenge got me riled up.
"Good," I spat. "It's no fun beating someone who forfeits."
"She will be mine." Edward didn't sound as composed as he did before, he was more intense. "I didn't say I would fight fair."
"Neither did I."
"Best of luck." His voice dripped insincerity.
I nodded, "Yes, may the best man win."
"Sounds about right…boy." With that he spun on his heel and climbed the stairs to the front door. He unlocked the door with a key he pulled from his pocket and went inside, shutting it tight behind him.
That's it, folks. There will be no second chapter. If you want to know how it ends just remember that I'm a canon h00r. If you're a reader who is Team Jacob :shudder: you can imagine whatever ridiculous scenario makes you happy.
Sorry that this isn't a chapter of The Harder they Fall. But don't despair. Chapter 13 is back from the betas and will be going up later tonight. I'm working through some style and pacing issues by working on one shots, like this one.
Also, an evil plot bunny took up residence in my head after I heard an interview with Howie Day. This story is the result. I seem to have slaughtered the bunny and should be able to move back to The Harder they Fall distraction-free.
As always, I'd love to read some reviews. They are truly crack to writers. When the reviews started pouring in for THTF I wrote feverishly. The kids are home all week for Fall Recess so I have lots of free time to write. Send me some love to keep me going!
I'm on twitter – IronicTwist67.
Visit thefandomgivesback (dot) com, to read about the amazing efforts being made to kick cancer's ass!