When she kisses him at the reception he knows it is different. He feels it. Something has changed in Bella since he's been gone (in the last thirty seconds if he knew the truth) and it's not just the tide, oh no, it's a tidal wave, there's a tidal wave of different about this and Jacob is a sucker for hope, but he never would have dreamed…

Jacob never would have dreamed that this would be Bella's greeting for him – no Jacob! What happened, where have you been, why are you back?, none of that, just her mouth on his as soon as he let her reach it, lips clinging, shuddering little sighs into him over and over, and her legs are locked around his waist which means that for the damn dress the only way is up, but she doesn't care, she doesn't care because she knows, finally she knows…

Bella knows what it is to be in love with Jacob Black. She realizes with each violent thrill, neck to groin, chest to the top of her head that she never really knew before this moment, she never knew what being in love with Jacob felt like, even if she told him – herself - that she did.

What is it that they say? Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Absence makes the heart grow a clue, she thinks, with the kind of smile she never dreamed she'd…

"Bells," Jacob breathes raggedly, "Jesus honey, what are we doing?"

She peels back, grins at him like he's a fool, and he can't help laughing because he's never seen her this happy and his head feels so light and he can't believe this, he can't believe she's in his arms and his hands are touching things they've never touched before, soft skin at the top of her thighs because he can't help slipping under the silk, it's gravity that's all, and he's holding her up…

Jacob can't believe that this is really happening, he can't, and he shouldn't, he knows he shouldn't, because this won't be a greeting when she wakes up to what she's doing, this will just be one big fucked-up goodbye, again, and he knows he can't trust it, but her face, that look on her face is so…

She's kissing him again, arms curling around his bare shoulders like she's digging herself into him and he wants to say Stop, stop, you're already there, you already live inside of me and it's agony as it is, please, please…

Jacob turns his head to escape, but he can't quite bring himself to unwrap his body from hers.

"Bella, please, what is this? What are you - "

"I want you, Jake." Those are the first words she has said to him and they lick at his cheek like sweet flames.

He smiles but his throat bubbles with tears when he says "I want you too, but we're at your wedding reception, Bella. We're all over each other in the hallway of your husband's house. And hey, that really doesn't bother me all that much, but the pixie will know what we're doing and - "

"Werewolves everywhere. She won't see anything. And that won't be weird."

Bella didn't stop moving when he started speaking. Her hands are still running ceaselessly over the parts of his body they can reach, she's burying her face in his neck and breathing in through her nose, mouth open to catch a taste on the way and Jacob is wondering how the hell he's going to try to reason with her again, because right now the only thing he wants to do is rip the dress off her, lick, suck, kiss, touch, have every part of her naked body…

"Bells," he chokes, eyes bulging suddenly at a slew of mental images that tie in too perfectly with what's under his fingers, "Stop. You gotta… He can hear my thoughts, remember, and if you don't stop I won't be able to - "

Bella groans and it ends in a sort of a delirious giggle. "I don't care."

Jacob frowns, thinks to himself Okay now this is just getting disturbing.

He holds his breath, clenches his teeth while he pulls her arms from round his neck, tugs at her legs till they fall, sets her down.

"You will care. You'll hate yourself and you'll hate me. And he'll…" He rolls his eyes, mostly to try to spill the tears back inside. "Let's face it, he'll probably just forgive you, but I won't. I can't Bella. You can't just - "

Bella's heart is still racing, pounding so fast and loud that she can barely see let alone think, but she might understand what she just said, she might know what's going wrong here…

She reaches for his hands, takes them both in hers, looks up at him with that smile again. "Jake, I want you."

The emphasis takes his breath away, or what little he had left of it.

"I mean I choose you and I know that I'm doing it in the worst way possible, I know this is all completely messed up and crazy, but I promise this is it, no more flip-flopping. I want you."

Bella is shining, bright and giddy, she can't contain it. She knows the reality of this will come crashing down on her later - or sooner, because she can't just disappear and she can't stay here not while all those people are... because this moment is perfect but it isn't right, she knows that... and Edward... She knows that the upheaval will bruise her heart, that it will break his… She knows that all the guilt she harboured over Jacob will tip the other way and multiply because she just married him for God's sake, but it can't be helped, it can't. There is nothing she can do but this.

Jacob is kissing her fingers, and he thinks he might be on the verge of passing out because he always knew she loved him, but this? This? This is the happy ending he never thought he'd get.