The waves continued to ferociously toss me around. I could hear Edward screaming in my head. He sounded so perfect. I was immensely glad that his voice would be the last thing I heard. It was a nice way to die, far better than the countless suicide plans I had senselessly thought up in the few weeks after he left. It occurred to me that drowning would be a lot less painful if I stopped struggling. I relaxed, and let the water swill me around like a soggy tea bag. I concentrated on Edward's furious, velvet voice echoing in my mind. It slowly, horribly began to fade. I wondered if this meant that I was leaving. Panicking, I tried to cling to the voice, but it was getting fainter and fainter. I began to wave my arms wildly, trying to propel myself upward. I wasn't going to die if I couldn't go hearing his voice. I randomly plunged my face upward, hoping desperately that it would emerge from the many-armed ocean thrashing around me. Suddenly, one of the arms tightened around my waist. It was pulling me down, towards the black bottom of the sea, a place where no secrets or souls could ever escape. I wasted my last breath screaming, "No!" A cloud of silver bubbles enveloped me, and I tried to pry the arm off of me. It just clutched me tighter, dragging me deeper and deeper into the water.
My first instinct when my body registered that I was out of the ocean was to take a deep breath. Then, my mind began to work. I opened my eyes, instantly realizing where I was and what had happened. The arm, apparently, had been dragging me towards the surface. I'd been so confused that I hadn't known. The arm, as I'd somehow known all along, belonged to Jacob Black. I took another deep breath and looked up at him. "Sorry," I whispered, the word cutting at my throat. He grimaced.
"Bella, do you have any sense of self-preservation at all?" he asked angrily. I prepared to wince, to curl back in awful sorrow at these words, because he was not the first person to say those exact words to me. How many times had Edward said these words, as I displayed my complete acceptance for him and his family? Amazingly, the words didn't hurt me. The hole in my heart didn't ache. Remembering it, I tried to find it, knowing that I must be holding in the pain. Nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, as that was what had formerly occupied the space. My heart was beating, well and whole inside my chest. Slightly urgently now, I gasped for breath, hoping that the wound would reappear as my lungs expanded. I desperately thought through every memory of Edward that I could retain. I felt nothing. No sadness, no need, not even a twinge of regret that he had left me.
I looked up at Jacob's face again, and the newly intact portion of my heart came rushing up at me. Without thinking, without considering the fact that my heart would dissolve in a second, I leaned up and kissed him. He was surprised at first, and then, roughly, he kissed me back. Setting me on my feet, he cautiously began working his fingers through my sopping hair. I could tell that I was up to my waist in the churning water, but I didn't care. I wrapped my arms around Jacob's neck, surprised at how little strength they had. I broke the kiss suddenly, worried about how I would probably miss Edward more than ever now. But his name was just a word to me; it meant nearly nothing. Of course, he was so great, and smart, and gorgeous, and wonderful…but we were over. He was never coming back. This was my life now, and I had to start living it. My heart beat healthier than ever. Jacob cocked his head at me. I stood on my toes and kissed him again, backing up out of the water. He was the one that broke the kiss now, laughing and cradling my back. "This could work," he said lightly. I smiled, genuinely happy for the first time in months.
He agreed to drive me home, nearly glowing with happiness. I wondered idly how long he'd been waiting for me to get over Edward. The words were a strange relief to think. I never had to feel the cavity in my chest again, never had to hold myself together at the mention of anything Edward-related. I could get on with my life, as he'd clearly wanted me to. I was free. I smiled at Jacob, but stopped when I realized he was looking at me rather than the road. "Jake, watch out," I warned. He returned his gaze to the dirt road in front of him. I sighed happily and relaxed against my seat. I supposed that it took drowning to get over the person who had left you to this. I frowned, because I really wanted my lasting memories of Edward to be happy ones. Also, I wanted to be completely sure that I had moved on. I had kissed Jacob, though, so I decided that was proof enough. I had moved on. A little late, maybe, but I had, even when I'd thought it impossible. I was in the same place as Edward. It was a healthy place. I knew that everything would work out now. It was as if every worry I had had been magically wiped away.
Of course, I only knew what I was feeling. I had no idea that Edward wasn't over me at all, and was waiting at my house to beg and plead for me back.