I woke up overheated and straightened, looking around the room. "Edward?"
Jacob stirred beside me. "Hunting," he grumbled before rolling away from me, understanding that his heat was probably what woke me. Jacob and I both enjoyed sleeping late whenever our schedules allowed it.
Knowing I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep without Edward's cool body against mine I got out of bed, leaving Jake to sleep more if he could. I grabbed my robe from the back of the door before leaving the bedroom.
I started to grab a bowl of cereal before deciding to make a real breakfast. Jacob wouldn't sleep much longer with the bed to himself and he would appreciate my trouble.
For three months I was forced to alternate day-by-day from Edward's Bella to Jacob's Bella. I saw one or the other every day, on an alternating basis. The two men in my life couldn't be more different and the person I was when I was with each of them fit well with the man of the day.
The only constant – the only thing present every day, no matter who I spent my free time with – was love. Overwhelming, consuming and unchangeable love.
Every day it became more and more clear to me that I would never be able to choose one over the other.
But I couldn't keep living my life in fits and starts as two different Bella's.
Just as I was putting the first pieces of French toast and bacon on a plate Jake wandered into the kitchen wearing only his boxer-briefs. He would have preferred to wear nothing at all around the house but Edward insisted he wear something "for the sake of the furniture." I didn't complain; the sight was breathtaking.
Jacob gave me a lazy smile and rubbed his eyes. "I smelled food." He flopped into a chair at the kitchen table.
"Morning." I smiled at him and kissed his cheek as I placed the plate of food in front of him.
"Thanks, Bells, honey." His mouth was already full of food when he spoke.
"Don't thank me yet. I get the next plate," I warned him, watching the food cook.
I chuckled lightly when he obviously slowed down the pace he'd been eating at, trying to make his first plateful last till his next would be done.
When my breakfast was ready, I set it on the table prepared to sit and eat before cooking more for Jake. I heard the front door open and I stopped myself before sitting and moved to greet Edward.
"Bella," he sighed when he saw me and I beamed up at him.
I tried to come up with a solution on my own. I couldn't come up with anything that I thought I could live with.
Alternating every two or three days might help but I knew it would be only a matter of another few months before I began to feel the stress of being two different Bella's again.
Instead of alternating days we could try alternating on a weekly basis but I hated the idea of going a whole week without seeing either one. And how long would that last before I felt like a divided Bella again?
Giving them both up seemed like the most obvious choice and while I knew that only one Bella would be left behind I also knew that she would be more catatonic than I had been when Edward left me.
The only thing I could think to do was to talk to Edward and Jacob about it. I was confidant that I knew what they would advise. Choose.
What would they say when I made it clear how much more impossible than ever that had become?
Edward wrapped me in his arms and kissed me softly. "I need to shower, love."
I sighed. "I should eat before Jacob steals it all anyway."
"Too late!" Jake called from the kitchen.
Edward chuckled. "I suppose you have more cooking to do now."
I gave him one more kiss before heading back into the kitchen as Edward headed to the bathroom.
"You know, Jacob, I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you," I teased.
"I'm not offended by what you say, Bells. I'm just glad you're stringing words into sentences now." Jake shoveled the last bite from my plate into his mouth with a smile.
"You kill me, O.J.," I retorted as I started more food cooking.
Jacob went to the fridge and pulled out the orange juice and then grabbed two glasses. After filling both, he brought one over to me.
"O.J. from O.J.?" he offered in an apologetic tone.
I took the juice from him with a smile. "I should have known better than to leave my food alone with a hungry werewolf," I conceded.
I was supposed to be Edward's Bella that day so I called him first to tell him that the three of us needed to talk.
He understood without a lot of explanation; Edward had probably known this was coming.
Which made calling Jacob a little easier too. If Edward had been able to notice that something was wrong with me, Jacob would have noticed it too – possibly before Edward had.
A few minutes later, after laughing at Jake for being happy that I'd chosen an Edward day to talk, I jumped in the shower and thought about what I was going to say.
By the time I got out I was glad that I'd called them before actually planning how to start this conversation. My stomach was in a knot and I would back out of this if I still could. But they both knew something was wrong and that I was ready – or had been earlier – to talk about it and I knew they wouldn't let it go.
I dressed in a daze and went downstairs to have a bowl of cereal and wait for my men – ha! – to arrive.
Jacob spun me away from the stove to face him and kissed me thoroughly before spinning me back around. He kept his arms around my waist and rested his chin on the top of my head, watching me cook.
"If I promise to be a nice wolf will you still make me more after yours?"
"What will you do for me?" I asked in a sultry voice.
Pressed against my back I felt Jake begin to harden at only the sound of my voice. "Anything," he breathed into my ear.
"Don't forget it and I'll keep cooking till you're full," I promised. And that would be no small feat; a werewolf takes a lot to fill up.
"You'll be in the kitchen all day," Edward complained, entering the kitchen with one towel wrapped around his waist while he rubbed another on his hair.
I drank in the sight of him until a crooked smile spread across his face. There are times when a supernatural gift for mind-reading isn't needed to read a mind.
With a smile and only the slightest of blushes I turned my attention back to my breakfast.
After I'd eaten my cereal and washed my bowl and spoon and returned them to the cupboard I sat back down at the kitchen table, knowing Edward and Jacob would arrive at any moment.
When the doorbell rang I didn't stop to wonder who had arrived first but went to get the door.
I opened it to find both Edward and Jacob waiting on the porch. Both began to lean in to kiss me in greeting at the same time and both froze when they noticed the other doing the same thing.
"Just come in," I muttered, leaving the door open and heading into the living room.
As before, I sat in Charlie's chair across from the couch.
And, as before, Edward and Jacob took seats at opposite ends of the couch from each other.
I sat down with my plate of food while Edward and Jacob each took a seat beside me. As I ate I thought about how many women had fantasies that started this way. Not even counting the women I knew lusted after one or both of my loves, the number of women who fantasized about any two gorgeous men must be staggering.
I smiled around a bite. I couldn't blame them. I knew firsthand how truly rapturous the experience was.
"What are you thinking, love?" Edward asked with a smile in his voice.
"Seriously?" Jake asked before I could respond. "That smile is ours."
Edward looked at him with a questioning expression. After a moment his crooked smile bloomed.
"I suppose you'll want her to finish cooking your breakfast first," Edward complained.
"Actually," I interrupted, "that wasn't exactly what I was thinking about."
"Bella, will you share then?" Edward pleaded. After all this time he'd never tired of wishing to know my every thought.
"What will you do for me?" I asked in the same sultry tone I'd used on Jacob earlier.
"She's up to something," Jacob grumbled.
"Anything," Edward replied, raising his hand to brush it along my cheek.
"You starting this one, Bells?" Jacob asked after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence.
I shrugged. "If you know what to say, Jake, I'd be more than happy to let someone else do this."
Jacob turned toward Edward. "Bella's not happy with the way things are anymore."
"Yes, I'm aware of that," Edward replied dryly.
"What now?" I asked them both.
They both turned their attention back to me.
"You haven't-" Edward started.
"I thought you'd-" Jacob said at the same time.
I shook my head. "I haven't come up with any solution that makes me happy… or even one that I think I can live with."
"Why don't you tell us the ideas you've already ruled out?" Edward suggested.
Edward nodded slightly at each of my failed ideas. Jacob looked thoughtful.
I finished and slumped back into the chair. I watched them, these men that held my heart – my poor torn heart – as they tried to come up with a way to keep me happy.
I didn't deserve one of them and through some impossible turn of destiny I had two.
"I was trying to estimate how many women would give just about anything to be in my shoe-" I changed the word I was going to use with a smile, "bathrobe."
Smiles spread across the faces of Edward and Jacob. "A lot," they said in unison and then glared at each other.
I laughed. I poked Jacob and said, "I didn't mean just how many women want you." I turned to poke Edward and added, "Or you. I was thinking about women who like the idea of two beautiful men adoring her in general."
Edward thought for a moment before speaking. "20-25%."
Jacob chuckled. "Not nearly as many women fantasize about that as men."
"Not even close," Edward agreed.
Finishing my breakfast I put my dishes in the sink and put another round of French toast in the oil to cook.
"You poor guys. Stuck with just me and each other."
"Bella, you're the only one here that's stuck," Jake chuckled.
I spun to look at him but it was Edward who finished his thought.
"Jacob and I are exactly where we want to be. You are stuck with us."
I flipped the French toast with a smile. "I'm exactly where I want to be too."
Abruptly Edward's eyes flashed to Jacob. "L'anno del mai e il mese del poi!" His voice was full of anger and shock though he kept his volume low.
"I'll take that as a no?" Jake asked, looking at Edward.
"Not only are you two having another conversation that excludes me but you're speaking… Italian?" I didn't have it in me to be as angry as I should have been.
Edward turned to look at me. "Yes, Italian. L'anno del mai e il mese del poi. It means the year of never and the month of then."
I shook my head at him with raised eyebrows, making it clear he still made no sense to me.
"It's akin to pigs having wings or hell freezing over," he explained.
Jacob chuckled. "Only you can't just say 'when pigs fly.'"
"And what is it that'll be happening when hell is frozen?" I asked.
Edward looked to Jacob, obviously waiting for him to explain his own thought.
Jacob blushed and mumbled.
"Human ears," I said and pointed to my ears.
"What if we just all hung out?" Jake blurted out, glaring at Edward.
As the French toast finished I put it on a plate and carried it to the table for Jacob.
"Should I start more?" I asked with a smile.
Edward groaned, "Can't we get on with our day?"
Jacob glared at Edward before smiling at me. "Nah, Bells, this'll be fine."
"And what do you propose we do today?" I asked, starting to do the dishes.
Jake choked on the bite in his mouth and Edward thumped him on the back with a chuckle.
"If Jacob survives," Edward said, "I thought the three of us could spend the day at home doing absolutely nothing."
"Sounds good to me," I smiled. "But Jake's the one out of clean socks."
Jacob put the last bite in his mouth and brought the plate to me. "I don't need socks to hang out at home."
"All settled then." Edward wandered into the bedroom, presumably to finally put something other than a towel on.
"Threesome is the word you used, Jacob," Edward said in an exasperated tone.
"Threesome?!" I screeched.
"God, Bella, you have no idea how annoying it is to have someone in your head!" Jacob put his head in his hands.
"Threesome, Jake?" I asked again, incredulous but at a more normal volume.
"I didn't mean it in the intimate sense, Bells. And Edward knows that." Jacob said "Edward" like it tasted bad on his tongue.
I glanced at Edward who was keeping his face carefully blank.
"How did you mean it then, Jake?" I asked, turning back to him.
"I just thought it might help you to be around us both at the same time."
A full day of rest with the two loves of my life was exactly what I needed. Not that my daily life was all that crammed full of stress or anything. But having a day specifically set aside to do nothing was still perfect. No worrying about the laundry. No homework. We ordered pizza for lunch and Edward insisted he wanted to cook dinner. Jake and I sat on the counter near Edward's cooking and he rewarded us with samples to help him compensate for his own lack of taste buds. I really really loved my life.
I thought it over before answering. Could Edward's Bella and Jacob's Bella be just Bella again if I forced them to? And what would happen if that succeeded? Would seeing them around each other help me to realize that I didn't really love them both? That didn't seem likely.
What would the downfalls be? Well, as Edward had already done, people would probably think we were a threesome or something. And obviously neither one of them really enjoyed the company of the other. If they were both willing though, I shouldn't really let that affect my choice.
I realized that I didn't even know what they thought of the idea. Jacob had suggested it but would he really want to follow through with it? Edward had said it wouldn't happen until the year of never or something like that. But he'd said that about the threesome part, not just the three of us hanging out, right?
After dinner I got up to do the dishes and Edward and Jacob wandered into the living room. I put the last dish in the dishwasher and started it before turning around.
"Guys?" I asked, confused. Edward was just inside the kitchen, down on one knee. Jacob was in the doorway, leaning against the doorjamb.
"Catch." Jacob tossed me a small box.
I caught it, barely.
As I flipped open the box they both spoke at the same time.
"Isabella Swan, will you marry us?" Edward asked.
"We're getting married," Jacob smiled with confidence.
"Edward?" I asked.
With a sigh he nodded.
Jacob smiled wickedly. "So we're going to be a threesome?"
Edward rolled his eyes.
A/N: I don't like this chapter as much as the first. It's all still up there in my head but I'm having a hard time getting it out. Lemme know what you thought of this chapter (even if you didn't like it, it'll help me) and I'll see if I can wring any more out of myself. No lemons this chapter but if there is a next chapter, it has one. : )