Jacob stopped the truck in front of my dark house, cutting the engine so it was suddenly silent.

Like so many other times, he seemed to be in tune with my thoughts now.

He threw his other arm around me, crushing me against his chest, binding me to him.

Again, this felt nice. Almost like being a whole person again.

I thought he would be thinking of Harry, but then he spoke and his tone was apologetic.

"Sorry. I know you don't feel exactly the way I do, Bells. I swear, I don't mind. I'm just so glad you're okay that I could sing, and that's something no one wants to hear." He laughed his throaty laugh in my ear.

My breathing kicked up a notch, sanding the walls of my throat.

Wouldn't Edward, as indifferent as he might be, want me to be as happy as possible under the circumstances? Wouldn't enough friendly emotion linger for him to want that much for me?

I thought he would. He wouldn't begrudge me this. Giving just a small bit of the love he didn't want to my friend Jacob. After all, it wasn't the same love at all.

Jake pressed his warm cheek against the top of my hair.

If I turned my face to the side, if I pressed my lips against his bare shoulder, I knew without any doubt exactly what would follow. It would be very easy. There would be no need for explanations tonight.

But could I do it? Could I betray by absent heart to save my pathetic life?

Butterflies assaulted my stomach as I thought about turning my head.

And then, before I could even make my decision, my head was turning, like it was responding to its own secret mind, instead of mine.

Slowly, slowly, I brought my lips around to Jake's shoulder, pressed them against his warm skin.

I felt his heartbeat leap dramatically but he didn't move.

I waited a moment, just as still.

Then I pulled my face slowly upward, pressed my lips into the sharp, strong angle of his jaw.

A sort of a shudder ran through Jacob's body, then echoed in mine. He pulled away from me, brought his hands to my face, and the hope, the frightened longing in his eyes as they locked on mine was unbearable.

I reached out and put one of my hands on his face too, leaned toward him just a little and it was done. I had done it.

Jacob was kissing me. And I was kissing him back.

It was soft at first, warm and comforting like I had expected it to be.

But then he brought his hands around to my back and dragged me to him and the heat, God the heat, was overwhelming.

My arms seemed to have their own personal mind too, or they shared one with my head. They reached up, circled around Jake's neck, lifted me higher into the kiss and the impossible heat that was spreading through me like liquid fire.

Jacob's arms tightened around me, like we weren't already close enough, it needed to be more, and he was drawing me closer still when his lips broke away and I brought my hands down to his warm, heavily veined wrists, pressed my forehead to his, a series of little gasping breaths filling the small space between us.

"Oh man," Jacob breathed huskily, pulling back and gazing at me with an intensity that made me blush and look away.

"Oh man," he repeated, grinned ruefully, fell back into his seat and brought a hand to his head. "How am I supposed to concentrate on vampires now."

"I'm sorry," I said, but almost before the words were out of my mouth, Jake's hands were on my face.

"Don't be," he said, staring into my eyes, half anxious, half elated. "God, don't be."

I was still blushing a little and his hot hands on my cheeks weren't exactly helping to calm my blood.

"Ok then..." I smiled slowly, suddenly feeling shy. "I won't be."

Jacob grinned, almost laughed really, and leaned in to kiss me again, breathing in as he did and holding it, like he was trying to seal the feeling into him. When he pulled away again it was with a kind of agonized groan, but also a smile, a brilliant Jacob-smile that made the butterflies in my stomach go crazy.

"Ok," he said, opening the truck door. "Let's get you inside before I actually do start singing."

By the time I was out of the truck he was by my side, taking my hand in his and leading me up to my dark house.

I looked over at his face, so alive now, so awake despite his total exhaustion, and something in my chest thrilled at the knowledge that I had made him look like that. And it had been easy, as easy as breathing.

Seconds later we were at the door, and Jacob leaned down to kiss me again. The difference in our heights was almost comical I realized, as I stretched up on tip-toes to meet his lips.

It was swift and gentle and he looked down at me afterward, his eyes shining in spite of the purple circles that tried to drag him down, stroked my cheek for a moment, whispered, "Get some sleep, Bells."

I smiled. "You need to sleep too, you know."

"Nah, I don't need anything anymore." Jake laughed a little and jumped all five stairs that led up to the porch in one go, turned around to face me again, throwing his arms out theatrically. "My life is now complete."

I giggled and shook my head and then all of a sudden the night was filled with the roar of an engine starting up, close, very close.

Jake spun around instantly.

Headlights dazzled us both for a couple of seconds.

Then the car was gone, disappearing at a terrifying speed.

"Holy crap," Jake wheezed, like someone had just knocked the air out of him.

I ran down the stairs and grabbed his hand. "What? What is it? Who was it?"

"Vampire," he spat out.