Summary: For seven years I watched and waited. But there was only so much that I could put my heart through, and the night I finally told him, was the night I let him go.
Inspiration: Leah's seemingly bitter nature
"Can you pass me that bag?" he asked quietly, the low pitch of his voice immediately engulfing my senses and thought patterns. His lips were close to my ear – too close for me to think coherently, and his hands were resting inches away from my waist. He lent across towards me, gesturing with his eyes at the can on the top shelf. There was a thin layer of sweat covering his forehead, and his cheeks were red and warm.
"Come on Leah, it's not fucking rocket science. Now pass me the damn bag."
Right. The bag.
I jumped up suddenly to my feet, my thoughts whirring in confusion. Having been so focused on Jacob, coming back to reality wasn't always the easiest of things.
But then again, reality was never easy.
He was staring at her from across the car parking lot, his hands glued firmly to the handles of his bike. I was leaning against the corner of the building, watching him.
I was always watching.
The loud, guttural roar of a truck alerted us both of the presence he was listening for. Bella fucking Swan. The girl who didn't even want his attention; she pushed him away.
I wished every single day, just for a chance to hold him, or lock my hand in his. He would give her these in a heartbeat – except for the simple fact that she wouldn't take them.
"Introduce yourself," I hissed towards him as his gaze flashed towards mine. His forehead crumpled, his eyebrows knitting together as he stared back at me. In that one moment, he looked lost, and I struggled hard to keep the bitterness in my voice.
I kicked backwards, pushing myself away from the wall. I stalked towards him, my hands on my hips. "It's not hard Jake," I taunted, my voice void of compassion. "You go up to her, tell her your name and ask her if she wants to go out."
"That sounds… abrupt."
"Abrupt defines you in one word – you're hardly going to change who you are just for a girl." I laughed wryly as he continued to stare blankly back at me.
"You don't understand what she means to me Leah."
"Don't start with the fucking love story again Jake."
"Like I said," he growled, his hands clenching around the handlebars. "You don't understand." His muscles locked and his gaze whipped round to face her, never straying towards me again.
It wasn't a question of understanding. I did understand. I knew what it felt like to want someone so badly that it was all you could think of – to want someone, and for them to not want you back. It was merely a simple concept of me not wanting to listen to the man I wanted most, telling me how incredible Bella Swan was.
"You're being pathetic."
"You're being insensitive."
I shook my head, trying to hide the cold smile that was spreading across my lips. "I honestly don't know why I'm like that Jake," I said sarcastically. "Someone must have caused me to be like this, but I can't seem to put my finger on it."
Before he could reply, I pushed the starter on his bike, sending it choking to life. Bella Swan's gaze snapped up towards ours from the car park, her wide brown eyes full of nothing but fear.
I glared coldly back at her, hoping to put everything I felt towards her into that one gaze before I left.
There, I thought bitterly to myself. Jake got the introduction he wanted.
"Jared won't shut up about Kim," Jake groaned as he slumped against the sofa, a can of soda held tightly in his hands. We'd spent the day at La Push beach together, him ranting occasionally about Jared and then about Bella Swan. More so about Bella Swan…
"Sure," I agreed solemnly, taking a long gulp from the can in my own hands. It was late afternoon, the sun already beginning to fade behind the trees. "But he loves her, so he has the right to talk about her all he wants. They're happy together."
"It's getting on my nerves."
I sighed in frustration, his ignorance pushing through my self-control. "Bella Swan has beautiful eyes. I love her hair. Oh, can't you see the way she bites her lip?" I imitated and his eyes turned black with anger at my attack.
"She's what I fucking want Leah," he snapped resentfully.
"So I've noticed," I drawled obviously, pursing my lips in distaste. What really got to me wasn't the way he constantly talked about her night and day.
It was just the way he looked at her.
When he was standing by the edge of the woods, staring down at her in the car park, you could see the way his eyes lit up. Or how he followed her all the way until she entered the small high school building.
There were times when I'd almost told him how I truly felt, because I would have given anything for him to look at me the way he looked at her.
"If you weren't so bitter all the time then maybe you'd find someone you wanted that much and then you'd realise what the hell we're talking about."
"Maybe I don't want to find someone." I already had someone.
"God knows, they have to have some guts to put up with you."
I stood up abruptly, my teeth digging into my bottom lip sharply to stop it from trembling. "You know, I don't know why I put up with you. All you ever do is talk about Bella Swan or moan about your day. And then you're such an ass towards me!" I threw my empty can of soda into the bin beside him, before turning on my heel and leaving.
He didn't call after me.
There's a moment in everyone's life when you leave the company of that one person you truly care about and as you're walking away, all you can do is scream in your head and beg for them to run after you.
That never happened.
Even after three months, he hadn't tried. Jake had become sullen and quiet, sulking from the sudden disappearance of the person he chose to get things off his chest too. That was all I was to him.
I'd tried being a friend to him and damn it, putting aside my own wants for his had been one of the best acts of friendship I'd done for him. But it had come to the stage where it had gone too far.
Maybe if I moved states, I'd learn over time to forget him.
Or maybe not.
"Leah, can we talk?" Jake asked quietly from behind me and I closed my eyes at the sound of his voice. I took in a deep breath, not turning around to face him as I kept myself turned towards the sea.
After a short minute, I heard him sit down on the log beside me. "I'm sorry I was such a jerk."
"You're forgiven," I whispered against the wind, the breeze washing through my hair as I clutched my jacket tighter around me. I imagined a different set of arms around me than my own, and that helped to warm me.
"Jared's stopped talking about Kim."
I smiled sadly, "I'm assuming that's a good thing?"
That was all it took. Those few exchanged words and we were back to how we always had been; me as the listener, the watching and waiting, and him as the forbidden fruit that would never love me back.
He was standing by the edge of the woods again, his eyes trained on the small, fragile girl in the car park. His own eyes were burning with terror and anguish, his hands outstretched into the open air in want. I'd tried to move him, but he was frozen.
"Jake, snap out of it," I begged quietly, my own eyes flickering back towards the car park. She was there as always, but she wasn't alone. A tall man with bronze curls and pale skin stood placidly beside her, his arm wrapped protectively around her waist. He couldn't have been her brother.
The man leaned down towards her slowly, his lips curling up into a smile as he pressed them against hers. Definitely not her brother.
"She-" he broke off, unable to speak anymore.
"I told you that you should have introduced yourself sooner," I pointed out, yanking back on his arm forcefully. He unfroze briefly and I was able to pull him into the shadows of the trees.
"She has… him."
"Jake you needed to accept that by being hesitant someone could take your opportunity whilst you were waiting."
"I couldn't talk to her Leah," he breathed sadly, his face pale and washed out. "You know that."
"You could have tried?" This was what I hated. Here I was, giving advice to Jake about chasing after the woman he loved. When all I wanted to do was to tell him that he already had her heart and she was standing right in front of him.
"Tried and lost her in the process?"
"At least you wouldn't now be saying what if!" My angered gaze dropped suddenly when I took in his own expression. He looked as though he was on the brink of tears. "Jake?"
He fell forward, his knees buckling underneath him and I sprang forward to catch his weight.
"She doesn't want me," he whispered into my shoulder and I managed to lower us both onto the ground. Jake crumpled against me, wrapping his arms tightly around my waist as he buried his face into my hair.
"There'll be other people out there for you Jake," I soothed as I hugged him back just as fiercely.
"Not like her."
"Of course not," I agreed and he lifted his face up from my shoulder in confusion. "You'll find someone that appreciates you and doesn't ignore you. You'll find someone that is willing to wait for you and give you the time you need to sort out yourself."
"People like that don't exist."
"You're wrong." I taunted and he lowered his face back into my hair.
"I don't think so."
I laughed wryly to myself, "Trust me, you're wrong."
"Hey Paul, can you pass me the ketchup?" Seth called across the fire beside me, as Paul threw the bottle towards Seth, who caught it in his outstretched hand. "So Leah, let me get this straight. You're practically in love with Jake, who's practically in love with Bella, who's practically in love with Edward?"
"It's not practically Seth. It's just love."
"How can you be so sure?"
My gaze flickered across the fire to where Jake was currently wading in the sea and he turned around briefly towards the group, waving once at me. Just at the simple gesture, my lips curled upwards into a smile, my fingers tingling in excitement.
"I just know Seth…"
"If you're positive it's that, then you should tell him."
"It's not so easy."
"Yes it is," he said simply. "You go up to him, tell him that you love him and wait for him to tell you he loves you back."
The déjà vu was killing me. "Don't you mean, wait for him to walk away from me and out of my life?"
"Don't be so melodramatic."
"Don't be so idealistic."
I pulled a face, taking a bite out of my sandwich. "For now."
"Go and talk to him," Seth offered, gesturing towards where Jake was still wading knee deep in the sea. "You never know… you might suddenly blurt out those three little words."
"Doubtful," I smirked as I stood up and brushed off the back of my jeans. "Have fun taunting someone else about their love life."
"I will do." Seth beamed back, before moving to sit beside Quill.
It was dusk, the only light found from the fire on the beach or from the moonlight trickling through the dark clouds. He was shirtless, the light highlighting the taunt muscles on his back as the water washed over his knees and then his thighs. As he turned to me, his chin raised defiantly up towards the light. I thought that right there; I had never seen a more perfect picture.
I kicked off my shoes, leaving them a little way back from the water's edge before dipping my toes slowly into the sea. It was tepid, the temperature neither inviting nor dissuading.
"I'm not interrupting am I?" I asked quietly as I rolled up my trousers.
"No," he sighed contentedly, his body still angled towards mine as he waited for me to join him in the water.
"What have you been thinking about?"
"Deep shit," he offered casually with a laugh. His expression was warm and calm. His eyes were quiet. "Just life... I guess."
Say it. Go on. I love you. It's not hard. The worst thing he could do was to reject me but I was a coward. That much I couldn't deny.
"Dad wants me to stay on the reservation and start up a mechanics shop here."
"What do you want?"
He looked out towards the sea, his fingers trailing lightly through the water. "To travel."
"I'd never labelled you as the type of person that would want to stray too far away from home." Jake and I had grown up together and our previous generations had all originated from La Push. Someone leaving their home town was seen as odd and unnecessary.
"I'd never labelled you as a listener, and yet that's what you've done for the past seven years of your life." He murmured gently and a warm smile spread across my lips.
"It's nice to know that my efforts hadn't gone unnoticed."
He smiled back towards me. "Your efforts will never go unnoticed."
"It's nice to know that I'm so valued."
He laughed quietly to himself, his chest shaking slightly as the moonlight continued to pour over his chest.
"You've listened for far too long." He shook his head. "Let me listen."
"What do you mean?"
"Anything you want to get off your chest? Anything you want to talk about?"
I love you? "No…"
"Any recent love interest that I've been ignorant of?"
He laughed again to himself. "If you're so unwilling to tell me anything, we should go eat. I don't know about you, but I'm starved."
"Always the blunt one," I teased, as I turned my back on the moonlight. I picked up my shoes, not bothering to put them on as I walked barefoot back towards the group. Jake moved beside me, the steady breathing of his chest acting as my only guide to his presence.
"Is he someone on the reservation?" Jake pressed, eager to find out whether I really did have someone I cared about.
"Jake, stop asking," I said firmly.
"Is he someone at school?"
I stopped suddenly in my tracks, my eyebrows sloping forward into a frown. The more he asked about who it was, the more ignorance he put himself in, and the more that hurt. "I said, stop asking."
"Leah, I just want to know who-"
"Yeah, and there's no one, I told you. There never has been and there never will be. Now let's leave it at that, alright?"
He paused at the harshness of my tone before continuing to walk back towards the campfire, his steps more hesitant and wary now. "I'm sorry I said anything."
"Thanks," I muttered back as I took my seat beside Seth, not answering back to his curious and probing glances.
It took just over two hours for the majority of the people to leave the campfire and walk slowly back home. Most were together, their arms linked in a silent assurance of each other. It was touching to know that the people around me who I'd grown up with had found someone they wanted to be with. But disheartening to realise – all too soon – that I was left out of that equation.
"I'll see you tomorrow Leah," Seth called lightly as he stifled a yawn. "Mom said she wanted you home before one."
"I got it Seth. I won't stay out too long." I smiled briefly and he smiled back, before leaving through the small gap in the trees.
Jake was asleep by my side, his fingers clinging onto the hem of my trousers. His eyes were closed shut and his lips curled upwards into a warm, tender smile.
I reached out slowly to run my hand through his hair, the soft brown locks tickling the ends of my finger. His smile widened at the sensation and he pressed himself closer to my side.
For one fleeting second, I'd though he was awake and finally reacting the way that I'd dreamed he would. But his breath passed evenly from his lips again and with a defeated sigh, I realised that he was asleep.
I'd watched him from the sidelines for seven years, wishing for him to look at me the way he looked at her. When she turned away from him and chose someone else, I'd wished that I could hold him when he cried out of love and not as a friend. I wanted to feel him next to me when I slept, and hear him walking beside me when I did, or just to see him in the morning and watch his face light up when he saw me.
Before I knew it, I was crying.
My hands moved from his hair to his face and I stroked his cheek softly, admiring the smooth curve of his jaw beneath my fingertips. "I love you," I whispered to myself, not caring that he couldn't hear. I couldn't force myself through this heartache another day longer, knowing that each time he was only shunning me away as a labelled friend.
"You know," I breathed heavily, a tear slipping down my face. I ran the pad of my thumb slowly over his lips. "For a guy that drinks shit loads of beer, you're sort of beautiful." I admitted to him in a whisper as I closed my eyes slowly. He breathed into the print of my finger, his lips warm and soft against my skin.
I drew my fingers away from him sharply, a sharp stabbing sensation running through my hand; almost as if I'd been electrocuted. His painful unspoken rejection hurt me more than the actual words could and I stood up suddenly before the feeling of never wanting to leave his side set in. I'd let myself get too complacent with that before.
I took one long lasting look at him before I left, ingraining the memory of him asleep by the fire in my thoughts. Out to sea, I saw Sam throwing stones and I knew he wouldn't be alone when he awoke.
"Goodbye Jake," I choked out quietly, pulling his jacket over his shoulders in one last gesture.
As I turned to leave, I couldn't bear to look back.
AN – Whether Jake is awake when she tells him or still asleep is up to you.
Thank you to everyone who reviews. Cheesy lines aside, your input means the world to me.
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