Ever since that afternoon, I would hear the cruel seduction of Jacob's voice even in my dreams. Taunting me, coercing me into making good on the deal he'd lain out very plainly that day in the ice skating rink.
It was hard to hide the tension in my limbs, and to dispel the horror from my eyes every time Edward had asked me what was wrong. I didn't want to lie to him, but found I had no other choice. I couldn't have him do something rash that would put whatever relationship we had at risk. I just couldn't imagine a world that didn't revolve around him, and I was scared to even entertain the thought for more than a moment at a time.
He'd look into my eyes, and when I didn't open my mouth, he would kiss my lips, willing me to confide in him like a lover would. Which I supposed he was. I'd open my mouth, and tangle my fingers in the locks of his bronze hair, and kiss him so hard, he'd forget just how troubled I really was. At least, until the next time he noticed just how his words would fly over my head, and how I wouldn't respond to his touches like I usually did.
It had been months since Jacob had talked to me for the very first time, but I felt like I'd lived inside that memory for years. The things he had said, alluded to, refused to leave my mind. It seemed every quiet moment I got to myself became tainted with his threats, the threats I had no doubt he would act on if I kept pushing him away.
He came around every time he was sure Edward was inside, and would stay there which was usually in the early afternoon. Lately, Edward had taken it to lock himself away in his study and I would stare longingly at the door, willing him to let me inside. I was as curious as a lonely house cat, that if not entertained, would wander helplessly getting herself into trouble.
This was the case one day when I'd chosen to get some of the house work done, and thought it would be a good idea to throw the trash out in the front where I knew the garbage truck would be coming down any moment. But on my way there, I felt the oddest sensation take hold of the back of my neck, as if a long hand, with skeletal fingers had touched the very top of my spinal cord.
I glanced around for a moment, my ponytail coming to rest on the top of my breasts. The cool wind of approaching autumn made the sundress I was wearing flounder around my thighs, and I shivered, feeling as if I'd fallen into a trap.
It wasn't until I heard a low whistling begin behind me that I realized he was leaning on the edge of his porch banister. He had his hands in his pockets, and he lounged against the metal pole, his eyes never once leaving mine.
His stance reminded me of a languid wild animal, who would lay sprawled and relaxed, but become never less dangerous. It was in the relaxed appraisal of my body that I felt fear blossom in the pit of my stomach. We stood there for what felt like forever, and I could feel my muscles strain as they remained locked and tense.
"It's been too long since we last talked." He pushed off the banister, and walked slowly to where I was standing, the garbage bag long having dropped down in the plastic container. My breathing came rushed, and I fought the urge to scream. My hands become tight fists at my sides, and I had the fleeting thought that I'd never once punched someone in my entire life. I hoped I didn't injury myself if it came to that.
"What do you want?" My words came out in a whisper. I couldn't project them any louder than that, it was as if even my voice had become frightened, and decided to hide away. I flinched as a grin came suddenly over his face. It seemed as if his features had contorted and became more pinched the larger he smiled.
"You know what I want. Or should I spell it out for you once more?" He trailed a lazy finger down my sleeveless arm, watching the contrast between his skin and mine with a sort of sick fascination. It felt like a worm was crawling over me.
I pulled back from his touch as if I'd been slapped across the face. My breath came short, and I fought hard to fight the sickening feeling I felt forming in my gut. I had felt fear before, disgust even, but I had never felt such a distaste for someone as I did for Jacob Black. There was something raw, unadulterated in the way he surveyed me as a wolf might survey a weak doe in the dead of the night. There was a menacing hunger that seemed to radiate from the very hackles of his body, and I feared he would consume me the first chance he got.
"I can't." I was sure he could hear the thickness in my voice, but he didn't let on just how I was crumbling right before his very eyes. The only sign I received that he'd even heard what I said was when he looked behind his shoulder, as if looking for Edward's shadow in the foundation of the house, as if he would find his face staring back at him from the paneled wood.
When he turned back to me, I could see that he hadn't changed his mind, hadn't registered just how true my words had been. I could see a plan forming behind his eyes, even as he stared into mine. I knew I wasn't safe when he reached out once more, this time curling his fingers harshly around the hollow of my jaw. They dug deep, and I found I couldn't swallow without feeling as if he was choking me.
"You will come to me. If I have to wait weeks, or even months, I'll have you." He pulled away, drawing away from my spot in the pavement, his footsteps going backward one foot at a time, his eyes never leaving mine. "Be seeing you." And with that, he walked up the steps of his porch and opened the front door, disappearing into the black hollow of the doorway.
I didn't let out a breath until I was back inside once again, only a few feet away from Edward's study. I could feel my heartbeat pounding erratically in my chest, and when it wouldn't stop I slid down the wall, and sat with my head in my hands, waiting for him to open the door. I stared at the deep wood grain, not realizing that I was crying until I couldn't distinguish where each pattern in the mahogany ended and began. I wiped underneath my eyes to no avail, fearing any moment Edward would open the door and catch me. And I didn't want that, no matter how much I longed for him to wrap his arms around me, and comfort me in his powerful embrace.
It would devastate him to know I was in any pain, and so I tried my best to swallow up all of my fear, and anxiousness until I sat, my eyes dry but tender against the inside of my eyelids.
I waited for another half hour until I heard his chair squeak from inside, and saw the doorknob turn. When he finally emerged, he looked down at me with such admiration in his eyes, that my breath caught in my chest, and my heart felt as if it had swelled into my very stomach.
"Come here," he knelt down until he was just in front of me, and I came up on my knees, and rested my head into the crook of his neck, breathing in the smooth pleasant scent of him.
His arms came around me then, and he engulfed me into such a hug, I felt as I couldn't breathe. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. I wanted to lose myself in him, and never let go. "Edward," I whispered before I pulled back and pressed my lips to his in such a kiss that it left us both breathless.
His hand came around my head then, his fingers weaving themselves in my hair. They dug deep, as deep as Jacob's had cut into my neck, but there wasn't any sadism in his touch, only love. Where Jacob had been rough, and cruel, Edward was gentle but nonetheless passionate.