Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: This little moment is my first foray into creative writing in about four years. I wanted to try my hand at writing Twilight fic, I found a writing prompt online, and this story was born.
The prompt was "broken pottery."
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Today, I just couldn't get warm. As I walked out of the math building into Forks's perpetual drizzle, I shivered against the February chill and wrapped my arms around my empty chest. My truck was cold, my hands were cold. My heart was cold. Seeing Mr. Banner's biology class projects on display—the project I'd done with my lab partner in junior biology last spring—had made the hole in my chest ache. I was once again grateful for tonight's homework session with Jacob, my own personal sun.
I put my school things in my room and went to make dinner. Baked potato soup sounded good to me on this cold day, so I washed several potatoes and placed them in the oven to bake. Moving slowly (and thus keeping myself busy longer), I set the milk and cheese on low heat and carefully diced the onion.
Out of tasks for the moment, I started dusting in the kitchen. I was reaching to take down my kindergarten handprint plaque when the door slammed behind me and Jake's voice called, "Mmm. Smells good, Bells. What's for dinner?"
I jumped at the sudden noise, and, of course, the plaster handprint fell to the floor and shattered into hundreds of pieces. I sighed. "Hey, Jake."
Jacob smiled, and I felt warm for the first time all day. Not whole, of course, but warm. Jake's hair fell over his eyes as he bent down to pick up the tiny pieces of plaster.
"Don't worry about that," I said as I stirred the melting cheese. "I'll sweep it up in a minute."
"No, no. I can fix it," he said, still bent over the mess.
"Why?" I chuckled as I pulled potatoes out of the oven. It felt so good to be near Jacob. "Some things aren't worth trying to fix."
His head snapped up. "Yes, they are," he said, and his voice was suddenly intense.
My eyebrows wrinkled, and I looked back to the potatoes I was dicing. What was with him, I wondered. I added the potatoes to the pot and stirred again. Jacob placed the bowl of plaster shards on the kitchen table and started fitting them together.
"Got any homework, Jake?"
"Sure, sure," he said, not looking up. "Bells, you got any glue?"
I turned the burner down and joined him, grabbing the glue from the cupboard on the way.
We worked in silence, he on the broken handprint and me on Mrs. Foster's King Lear essay. When Charlie came home and I started clearing the table, Jake took a cardboard box from the recycling bin and put the plaque pieces into it. Charlie was glad to see Jake, and I listened as they traded news about La Push and talked about some sport—basketball, maybe?
Jake took the handprint when he left for the night. As I walked him to the door, I asked, "Why are you working so hard on that, Jake? It's broken into a million pieces. It'll never be right. Don't worry about it."
He pulled the box from my reach. "I can fix it," he said, and the determination in his eyes made me wonder if he was talking about the handprint or about something else entirely.
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I saw the box in Jacob's garage, but he never brought it out, so I never mentioned it. Several days later, I walked in and saw the white plaster handprint propped on top of a toolbox. It was nearly unrecognizable for all the lines, cracks and pock-marks on its surface.
"Be right there, Bella," Jake called from the house. Moments later, he came in with a shallow pan balanced on one wide palm. He cleared a spot on a table and set it down. I stepped closer and saw what the pan held—it was a plaster mold.
"Jake, what…" I started, but stopped when he grabbed my hand. His big hand felt warm—too warm. I tensed.
"Just relax, Bells." His voice was warm, too. He pressed my hand lightly into the wet plaster and drew it back. He handed me a towel from his back pocket and I wiped the plaster from my hand. He walked over to retrieve the old handprint and came back to stand facing me. I couldn't read his eyes; they seemed older somehow.
"You were right," he said, glancing down at the mangled plaque he held.
I had to lighten the mood before I needed an escape from my La Push escape. "I usually am right, what with me being so much older and all." I tried to chuckle.
Jacob's expression softened but remained serious. "You were right, but you were wrong, too. Sometimes things can't be fixed." He put the first print down and took my hand. "Sometimes," he said, looking now to the drying print in the pan, "you have to just start over."
A new kind of ache pulsed through me as I realized how badly my hurt was going to hurt Jacob.