Summary: Jacob, Bella, and he promised her easy. This is anything but easy.
Author's Note: See profile. Unbeta-ed.
Your Heart Is An Empty Room
Jacob wakes to black. He rolls onto his side, eyes squinting against the red glow of his alarm clock. It's a quarter to three in the morning, and the pounding that woke him up continues. Shaking off the last remnants of sleep, Jacob sits up fully and digs the heels of his palms into his eyes. With a tired groan he shoves his covers aside, makes his way towards the front door. The knocking continues at a rapid pace. Jacob swings the door open, leans heavily against the frame.
"What the he—" The word get lodged in his throat as he takes in the person standing before him.
"Hi," Bella weakly greets.
Jacob's chest seizes up, and it feels as though his stomach has just fallen through to his feet. Bella's on my doorstep, Jacob thinks as a steady pulse starts at the base of his head. The thought repeats again as he takes in her appearance. She's thinner than he remembers, exhausted. The bright blue parka she's wearing is a few sizes too big, and he wants to wrap his arms around her to stop her shivering. She shifts under his intense stare, fingers the metal zipper.
"What are you doing here?"
Bella raises her shoulder in a half hearted shrug, drops her gaze down to Jacob's bare feet. "I was in the neighborhood," she answers quietly.
Jacob nods, runs a hand down the length of his face. It's obvious Bella's lying by the way she shifts her weight from foot to foot and tugs at the edge of her sleeves. He remembers clearly how she'd do the same standing at the mouth of his garage, her gaze looking anywhere but at him. A part of Jacob wants to send her away, tell her she hurt him too much for him to take her back. He wants to hurt her as much as she did him. Another part of him knows he can't let her go, that his heart isn't strong enough to take that much pain again. If Bella were to leave again Jacob's not sure he'd survive this time.
With a sigh Jacob steps back, inviting Bella into the dark interior of the house with a wave of his hand. "Are you tired?"
"Yes." Bella's voice is soft; a tiny smile graces her features as she slips past Jacob. He inhales sharply as her body slides past his. For one agonizing moment she's impossibly close. The sleeve of her parka brushes his skin, and his heart speeds up at the contact. It'd be so easy to reach out and take hold of her, but Jacob keeps his hands balled into fists at his sides. Then, Bella passes fully. Jacob turns his gaze to her, takes in her pale face hovering in the dark of the living room. With a shaky exhale, he closes the door.
They make their way towards Jacob's room, the both of them trying to be as quiet as possible. In the cramped confines of the bedroom the air feels thick and weighted down with all the questions Jacob has resting on the tip of his tongue. Why now? Is this real? Will Bella leave? What about Edward? He swallows them back, afraid to hear Bella's answers. Instead, he helps her out of her parka, watches as she crawls onto his bed with a constrained heart. She lets out a weary sigh, half buries her face into his pillow. She looks perfect there. Jacob wants to tell her how he wants her there every night for the rest of his life. He keeps his mouth closed. Lately, nothing good has come of him blurting out what he feels.
Bella's still got her shoes on, ratty looking sneakers with laces that have frayed ends. Jacob sits at the edge of the mattress, reaches out to untie them. He slips them off her cold feet and deposit them onto the carpeted floor at the foot of the bed. One of Jacob's hands slides along the socked arch of Bella's foot, and she lets out a breathy sigh that rockets straight through him. Turning to look over his shoulder, Jacob can clearly make out Bella's brown eyes locked on him. Her gaze sends a warm jolt along the curve of his spine.
Jacob swallows thickly as he shifts his body, climbs along the covers to lie beside Bella. His body curves to hers, chest to back, thighs pressed firmly against the backs of her legs. His arm slinks across her middle, pulls her even closer. He wants every part of him touching her, wants to feel the lukewarm heat of her, wants to listen to the sound of her breathing, the thump of her heart. With a sigh that ruffles the hair of Bella's head, Jacob settles into sleep, dives deep into the warm waters of it.
Hours later, Jacob blinks awake to the grey light of Washington. He turns his head towards the bedroom window. Something soft and warm is pressed against Jacob's side, a light weight resting on his leg. As his gaze comes into focus he sees first the rain spattered window, then the top of a head nestled where his arm and shoulder meet. Sucking in a deep breath, Jacob tenses as he recalls the events of last night. Bella on his doorstep, the bend of her knees through her jeans as he followed her down the dimly lit hall of Billy's house, and how he'd been half asleep when she'd twined her fingers with his, brought his hand up to her mouth, and kissed the skin stretched over his knuckles.
Jacob moves slightly, glances down the length of their touching bodies and swears. Bella is lying beside him, one of her legs thrown carelessly over his. Last night was not a dream, and he's not sure whether to be happy or sad. Uncertainty slowly fills his body, and Jacob feels as though he's standing on a tightrope, his whole body unbalanced.. Bella curls further into him, and suddenly the air is too hot to breathe. As carefully as he can, Jacob disentangles himself from Bella. He stands for a moment, watching the steady rise and fall of her chest. Her lashes are a sharp contrast to her pale skin, and there's the faintest of flushes on her cheeks. A small noise sounds from the back of her throat as she reaches out across the mattress, hand splayed against the warmth that Jacob's body has left behind. The image of her on his bed is too much to handle, and Jacob darts outside.
He stands in the cold morning air, fingers laced behind his neck as he takes in greedy gulps of air. He's barefoot, toes seeping into mud as a light rain falls over the Earth. He wants to laugh. He want to cry, and shout, and curl into a ball and never face the world again. The whole situation is just so crazy, and all he can do is wonder why Bella came back. What changed her mind? What could possibly have cha—Jacob lets out a string of curses, shakes his head. Bella left. Bella left and got married to that bloodsucker Edward; she shouldn't be here. She shouldn't be sleeping in Jacob's bed, not when she promised herself to another man. Not when she broke his heart.
He's not sure how long he stands there, arms limp at his sides. He's only vaguely aware of how his sweats, soaked through with water, hang low on his hips. Exhaling sharply though his nostrils, he pinches the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. He can feel the beginnings of a headache. He wonders if this will always be the case where Bella is concerned.
His heart jumps erratically in his chest as he turns around. Bella is standing in the doorway of his house, wrapped in the deep blue comforter of his bed. Her hair is mused, and one of her cheeks has the imprint of the pillow's crease. He wants to touch that cheek, trace the crisscrossing lines with the pads of his fingers. Bella shifts under his gaze, and Jacob's eyes drop down to her bare feet. Her toenails are painted a chipped hot pink. Funny, he doesn't remember ever having seen her bare feet before. Shaking the thought from his mind, Jacob pulls himself back to the present.
"Christ," He says, striding towards the tiny red house. "Bella, get inside, will you? It's freezing out here. With your luck you'll catch pneumonia and die. C'mon."
Her eyes widen, and she stumbles back. "I'm sorry. I just—I woke up and you weren't there. I thought you…" Bella trails off, pulls the comforter tighter around her body. Her shoulders begin to shake, and Jacob quickly ushers her back inside. "I thought you'd gone and left and I couldn't—"
"Hey," Jacob interrupts softly, one of his large hands cupping Bella's face. "I'm not going anywhere, okay?"
Bella nods, lids fluttering shut as she turns into Jacob's warm palm, breathes "Okay."
The morning sun lights the living room in a butter yellow glow. Outside the rain ceases, and Jacob pulls Bella's body fully against him. The comforter parts as his arms slip inside, wrap around Bella. She presses herself firmly to him, warm breath licking his skin as she buries her face into his chest. The comforter falls to their feet, but neither make a move to pick it up. Jacob wishes he could hold Bella, just like this, forever. He wants to chain himself to her, never leave her side.
In the back of Jacob's mind, a devious little voice whispers This is nice, but how long will it last? A much larger voice, the one that's glad Bella is in his arms and alive, shoves the stray thought down. But it's too late. A tiny seed of doubt has been planted deep within Jacob's mind, and it's only a matter of time before it begins to take root and grow. For now, the thought is merely shrugged away as he tightens his hold on the pale girl in his arms.