He looks at her like How could you drag me into this mess, and she looks back like Oh please, you begged for it, you still do.

Out loud Bella says "Maybe you should have just kept running. I never asked you to come back in the first place, Jacob."

(Wanting, wishing, hoping, those don't count, those aren't the –

He kills her parenthesis with a smirk. "Only cos you couldn't find me to do the asking."

Some things never change. Jacob Black is still too sure of himself, too sure of her, too sure of them, and Bella Swa- Cullen still hates it.

She lunges at him, grabs at his elbows, upper arms, shoulders, pinches him with arched palms and a hissing sound and "It's not like I was really looking. I was busy getting married and all."

Jacob's breath hitches over that and he catches the air in his throat, throws it back at her. "Right. My mistake. You really were a selfish bitch."


Bella is pretty sure he would never have spoken to her like that when she was still human, and a tiny voice in the back of her mind whispers cross-mournful Maybe he should have.

She doesn't hear it, she won't.

Her lips curl up but it's not pretty, it's all tooth and gum and menace. She draws closer still, tightens her grip on him, spits "Take that back."

Jacob keeps his mouth shut, shoots for stony, hates that her iced fingers slip so easily into his flesh now.

They are stock-still while she waits for a retraction, an answer of any kind, considers counting to three.

One, two, two and a half…

When she speaks her voice is so low even he can barely hear it. "Take that back or the shield comes down and all your dirty little secrets come out."

There's a beat before Jacob dips his head with a subtle shake of it, pushes instead of pulling away, and his mouth is too hot, too open at her cheek when he says "All my dirty little secrets are you, Bells."

Bella's insides ripple upward, drag her breath along too, and she wonders briefly how that works since she's dead now, it's all supposed to be dead, gut, heart, lung, how the hell does anything work?

She sighs when she feels his hand skate over her thigh, smiles even though she's still smarting. He presses himself to her cold body, wonders how long it takes for unfamiliar to become familiar, lowers his lips to her too-smooth neck, tastes her skin even though the sweetness burns.

They peel each other's clothes off in this dark glade, make careful love on a bed of dirt, moss, dead leaves.

They're in love now just like he always said they were. He was right. Jacob was always right about them, always right about how Bella felt.

Now eternity stretches before them, and maybe that means he always will be.

Maybe Jacob will always be right about them, he likes that idea.

But he knows too well that this tangled mess they have made is wrong.

Not because Bella is married, not because she loves her husband, not because she always will.

Not because he's tearing at an imprint every second of every day, not because – Jesus fucking Christ, he will never get over this part – the wolf wants him to fall in love with Bella's child, when she should have been the mother of his.

Not because there's no amount of bathing that can make him smell good to her like he used to – earth, rain, pine-needles, warm as toast, not because he can barely stand the touch, taste, sight, sound, smell of this woman he adores.

This is only wrong because those three words apply.

dirty, little, secret

That was never how JacobandBella was supposed to be.