"So what was that all about?" Jacob breathed, more like panted. We were still trying to catch our breath from the kissing spell.
I decided to be totally honest, or in other words I didn't think before I blurted, "Honestly, Jake, I just get tired of holding back when I'm around you. Sometimes, you're just too damn irresistible."
His eyes widened, whether at my loose use of profanity (which he really shouldn't be astounded by, with the way him and his brothers talked, not that Jake swears in front of me, but I know that he has quite a set of lungs on him), or at the profound honesty of what I had said, I didn't know.
"I love you, too," he whispered, brushing my cheek with his big, warm hand. I closed my eyes and reveled at his touch, reaching my hand up to hold his other one.
I brushed my other hand up his arm and to his cheek, lightly tracing familiar patterns over it. While doing this, I imagined us hand in hand in a million different places. Paris, Moscow, London, Rio, Barcelona, Greece, a bright, vibrant, colorful island off the coast of South America where many of my bedtime stories had taken place. All places I had always longed to go, but never had.
I opened my eyes and Jake had his closed, his face still and peaceful, dreaming the same dreams that I was.
Suddenly, a deep howl broke through the silence, piercing our ears. Jake's eyes flew open at the sound of Sam's call, and in the same second he was on his feet, facing away from me with his arms out protectively. I was instantly and swiftly up too, standing behind his arms.
We stood there, not moving, not breathing, waiting for the sound of a second howl, the signal that their was immediate danger and that the wolves were on the hunt.
After standing still as a statue for 3 and a half minutes, Jake relaxed. You could see the muscles in his shoulders loosen and flex, and I marveled at the many contours of muscles that were just in his back alone. I reached my hands out towards him, to stroke and feel the powerful planes, but stopped myself just before my fingers brushed against his back. I needed to stay focused.
He turned around and grinned at me, "It's okay. Must be another meeting."
"Sam seems to be calling those a lot lately. Any reason?" I asked nonchalantly. I loved my wolf family. They were just as important to me as my birth family, and if there was anything up I wanted to be informed.
"Just more strategy," he answered, taking a step closer to me, "I'd better get going Ness. You know how cranky Sam gets when he realizes that I would rather spend time with you than him," he joked.
I was so proud of him and Sam for working out their differences. Since the pack split up a few years ago, they've learned to work together. They do everything like they did before, running patrol, meetings. The only difference was that now half the pack heard each others thoughts and the other half heard their thoughts. And, of course, the two alpha gave their orders separately but since Jake and Sam could talk to each other they would agree on one thing and give the same order.
"I'll fight him for you!" I joked back, sinking into a crouch and pulling my lips back over my teeth. I even threw in a growl for Jake's entertainment.
He laughed and pulled me up into his arms by my elbow. I buried my face into his flaming chest, inhaling deeply.
"I'll miss you, Ness," he whispered, his sweet, hot breath tickling my ear, and nuzzling his nose into my ear.
"Mmmmm," I sighed happily, pulling my face from out of his chest, resting my chin on it instead, and looked up at him. "I'll miss you too," I exclaimed back.
He then reached down to give me a kiss on the forehead and let go of me, much to my dismay. He turned around and walked backwards slowly to the edge of the forest.
I pushed my lower lip out into a perfect pout, then let my head fall toward my shoulder, and looked up at him from under my eyelashes. A look I knew drove him absolutely crazy.
He reached the edge and gave me a pained look before turning around and running into the trees, tremors shaking his spine. I heard the tearing of flesh for the second time that day and the significant sound of one foot leaving the ground human and returning as a padded paw.
I breathed out a sigh of unhappiness and sank to the sand covered ground, just before another swell came in. I laid back and the water slid underneath me, taking some of the sand beneath me with it. As I counted the times the water repeated this motion underneath me, my mind wandered.
I couldn't keep myself from thinking of Jake. He was all I ever thought about, and it made my heart swell with pride at the thought that he was mine forever.
This thought reminded me of the talk of our wedding just a few weeks ago. I had been in Emily's kitchen looking through Bridal magazines, bookmarking pages with dresses I could see Emily in, or decorations I liked, and toying with a fork, when Paul, Jared, and Embry walked in, laughing loudly, punching each other, and complaining about how hungry they were, as usual. Paul entered the kitchen first.
"Hey, bloodsucker!" he called.
I replied by simply throwing my fork at him with enough force and speed to go through a wall.
He caught it agilely before throwing it in the sink instead of throwing it back at me. Surely, Paul knew me well enough to know that taking my first line of defense away from me wouldn't stop me. Then again, it was Paul.
The other two boys had come into the kitchen and were already sitting beside me at the table. Paul walked over behind me and grabbed my magazine from me.
I made a few feeble attempts to retrieve it, but gave up quickly. I adopted a bored look, and stared at him as he looked at the magazine and a wicked recognition flashed in his eyes.
"What're you looking at wedding magazines for? Huh, Nessie?!" he teased. "Are you and Jake tying the knot?" he asked, pretending to tighten the knot of a noose around his neck. I would have loved to be the one to tighten that knot.
"What if we are, Paul?" I said, looking him straight in the eye, my face serious, my voice cold and indifferent. He chuckled loudly at first, but as I continued to stare it faded and his mouth fell open in disbelief.
"No. Way." he said, enunciating each word. I sighed for effect, and his eyes widened. He turned and ran from the house, hollering, "Jake! Jake, man, where are you?!"
I turned to Embry and Jared, their faces confused, not sure whether to believe it or not. I flashed them a wide grin and the three of us burst into laughter.
Emily came in then, towel-drying her hair from the shower she had been taking.
"What's so funny?" she asked while simultaneously throwing her towel in the hamper in the next room and reaching over to turn on the oven. When we didn't answer she just shrugged and continued around the kitchen.
I pushed back my chair, rising out of it, and swiftly ran to the fridge, grabbing the ingredients for supper, and raced to the counter beside Emily in under five seconds. She smiled at me as I began cooking, falling into the regular routine of us preparing another massive meal for our wolf family.
I heard a car pull up, and a few minutes later Rachel walked in holding her car keys.
She looked at everyone in the kitchen and asked, "Have any of you seen Paul?"
I gave her the most innocent look I could muster and said, "Yeah just a few minutes ago. He was looking at wedding magazines," before Embry or Jared could say anything.
Her eyes widened greatly and her mouth dropped open the way Paul's had. She turned and walked from the house back to her car and sped out of the driveway, no doubt going to Paul to demand what thoughts were going through his thick skull.
We all laughed again, Jared and Embry shaking they were laughing so hard.
I chuckled to myself at the memory. I loved teasing Paul and I was glad he had said that. It made me realized that I would marry Jacob someday, which instantly brought tons of questions to my mind. When? Where? Should we be planning? Should we go away and elope, or have the wedding here? Who will we invite?
All the questions made my head hurt, so I had decided that I would put off answering them until Jake proposed.
The thought brought a fresh blush to my cheeks and an image to my mind. I could see me and Jake in the moonlight at the cove, him down on one knee in the sand, and me standing with a wide grin on my face. I instantly stored the picture in my mind for later.
I rose then, knowing I'd better get back to Billy's, completely soaked from the water that had been washing the sand out from underneath me.
"Nothing that a quick run won't fix," I thought to myself, a grin stretching across my face. I launched myself at the edge of the woods, the way that Jake had went. I could smell his scent that the trail was saturated with.
I ran straight to the little red house I loved so much, and went in too find my parents saying goodbye to Billy. I sighed and walked over to them. I walked up and hugged Dad first.
"I'm sorry Dad," I whispered to him, "I know you care. I love you, too." He nodded in understanding and gave me a look that said he was sorry too.
Then I hugged Mom, and when I pulled away she asked, "Are you coming home or are you going to wait here for Jake?"
"Oh," I said, having forgotten I had yet to tell them of my plans for the afternoon, "Um, I'm going to the bonfire with him," I answered.
"It's time for this months already?" she asked.
Billy answered this time. "Yup, and Nessie hasn't missed one yet. That's better than I can say for most of the boys. You wouldn't believe how many Jared and Kim have skipped," he said, before rolling away muttering something about stupid kids being otherwise occupied. I laughed quietly at him, then waved goodbye to my parents before slipping back to Jakes room.
When I walked through the small doorframe and dropped myself onto the bed, rolling myself in the sheets and inhaling Jake's powerful scent. When I was satisfied I jumped back up and walked over to the closet. Jake would be here soon, starving no doubt, and ready to go, so I needed to be ready, and my clothes were still damp. His closet consisted of about 15 black sweatpants cut off at the knee, a few, very few, jeans and black t-shirts. Next to these were an excessive amount of clothes hangers with a varied wardrobe hanging from them. My clothes. Since I spend so much time here, including nights, everyone thought it only necessary for me to have clothes here too. Alice and I went out and bought all these new clothes that were perfectly suited for La Push, not touching my humongous closet at home. Alice was always saying how I was her favorite niece (duh ???) because I understood fashion unlike my mother ever had.
I picked through a few clothes, then decided on a simple spaghetti-strap, jacket, and blue jean shorts.
I slipped off my wet clothes, putting them in a neat pile on the floor, and put my dry clothes on. I grabbed the dirty clothes off the floor, along with a couple of t-shirts of Jake's, and stopped by Billy's hamper to get those, too, before putting them all in the washer and starting it.
Next, I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror at my soaked copper hair. I scrunched it a few times, then just gave up altogether and left it like it was.
I went back to Jake's room and was slipping on a pair of flip-flops when I heard the door open and someone step in.
I smiled. Jake was home.
"You ready, dad?" I heard his husky voice ask Billy.
I turned and walked through the door, into the living room. As I did Billy replied, "Sue is coming by to pick me up so you and Ness can go on."
Jake turned and grinned hugely at me, taking my breath away. The whole world disappeared and all I could see was Jake and that stunning smile. I couldn't think of I time Jake had looked more beautiful, standing there with his hair barely brushing his shoulders, shirtless so I could see how his russet skin fit perfectly over his muscles, and that look on his face of pure adoration and love. He was -what was that word Mom always used to describe Dad? Oh yeah…- dazzling. He dazzled me. There was no other way to explain it.
It seemed like I was moving in slow motion as I walked forward to take Jake's hand, returning his smile.
We ran out the door to the rabbit, and Jake held the door open for me while I slipped in. Soon after he closed my door he was sitting next to me revving the engine. My heart sped as we pulled out of the driveway, excited for tonight's events.