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The Return of Bad Timing

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."

-Oscar Wilde

I was a mess. What was I going to do? Wallowing wasn't fair to Edward, especially after I made such a point of letting him know that I was completely over it.

By my own words, I was over it- over Jacob, over being torn between two worlds, and very much over having to make a choice. I loved Edward more.

But I still hadn't really chosen. I felt like the biggest con artist of all time. I was actually going through with wedding plans with Alice, and I had actually told my father I was marrying Edward. Guilt and love can make you do fucked up things apparently.

Would all of the white lies be so bad, though, if in the end this was the outcome? Most likely it would be. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the probability of me marrying Edward and becoming a vampire to spend the rest of eternity with him was my most resolute choice. It was what I wanted for what felt like so long. Edward was my soul mate.

So why did Jacob Black have to come along and ruin everything?

Jacob wasn't to blame, I was. I let Jacob get the best of me, because he was the only one who could actually bring the best of me to the surface. Edward couldn't even sway me from my selfish ways. I was always determined to do things the way I saw fit. I know I would sometimes border on being selfless, for example- with Alice, and the wedding. But it always came back to what I thought was the right thing to do, for my own piece of mind.

Jacob changed that. Jacob was capable of persuading me to step into the wrong. He was capable of making me want to give him what he wanted. He knew how to make me see how wrong I was for wanting what I thought I needed. He made me long to be selfless.

If Edward could read my mind he'd be able to see through my façade. I was thankful that he didn't have to deal with my thought processes. They were ridiculously benevolent now, and not in his favor.

I wanted to give Jacob a fair shake. I could hear his words repeating in my mind, 'Please don't make the wrong choice Bella.'

I had to compose myself every time the vision of him lying there, broken, came into my head. I had to be fair for him. I had to give this time.

However, Edward made being selfless very difficult.

I remained his fiancé. I continued on my journey towards becoming a Cullen, always aware that I could change my mind at any time. I had promised to keep my options open right up until the 'I do's.'

That wasn't the difficult part. Living two separate lives became quite easy once I let it.

I had, after all, gone crazy on more than one occasion. Hearing voices felt like the greatest gift compared to living a double life in my mind. I became obsessed with perfecting this new persona, this new Bella that could be Edward's and Jacob's all at once.

Edward had a new obsession, as well- one that made me want to crawl into myself and never return. It was painful to the highest degree denying him.

He wanted to try to please me. He was dead set on giving me what I needed, sexually.

There was a time when I would jump for joy at the idea that I had finally broken Edward's resolve. But this wasn't the time. That was the most shocking thing I would ever come to realize.

I knew that if I let Edward in; let him consume me with his want, that I would have no chance at being fair. I would latch onto him with my entire soul and let all thoughts of Jacob crumble into the wind.

It took all I had in me to push Edward away. I knew that it was Jacob's influence causing my reprieve- his ability to make me so goddamn selfless. I wanted nothing more than to get another taste of unbridled bliss, but I was being held down by an invisible force- a force stronger than my want.

A force called Jacob.

I refused to give Edward the upper hand any longer. This was going to be a fair fight. I owed that much to my Jacob.

All I needed was time. I had to come to grips with what I really wanted from life, and death. I had until August 13th to come to a decision, and that felt like plenty of time.

I knew it was wrong to go to him. That never stopped me before.

"Jake!" I shouted to him as I opened the door to his house. He was sitting on the couch and the moment his head turned to see me, I felt my longing return.

"Long time no see, Bells!" His voice was a sound that made me feel whole again, but he was being very nonchalant. I wondered if I had waited too long to come back.

"Not that long," I answered.

"What brings you to my neck of the woods?"

"I missed you. You haven't called."

He gave me an apologetic glance, but I could see more lingering behind it.

"I know. I wanted to. I thought maybe I should give you some space."

"Maybe you should, but that doesn't mean I want you to," I insisted. I needed him to know that I never wanted him to feel like he had to keep himself from me for my benefit.

"Hey, I told you I'd be good, so I'm being good."

"Aren't you healed yet?" I asked, pointing to the crutches in the corner of the room that caught my eye.

"Those are just for show. You break as many bones as I did, and people might wonder what the hell you're doing running around without a scratch five days later."

He got up from his seat on the couch and walked towards me slowly.

"I'm in tip top shape now, ready for anything," he hinted.

He stopped in front of me and picked up my hand, holding it in his. I couldn't find words that would match the emotion that always poured out of him in my presence, the tangible love he made me feel.

"Say it, again," he told me.

I paused internally. Would this be fair to Edward? Was I supposed to be equal in my treatment of them? I knew I didn't want to give Edward an upper hand, but Jake shouldn't get the luxury of my easy persuasion, should he? Who am I kidding?

"Kiss me," I whispered.

"No not that!" he yelled, smiling at the same time. Then he looked into my eyes and his softened further, he spoke in a lower tone, "Well, that's good too."

I felt slightly confused as he grabbed me into his arms and planted his lips on mine. The warmth of his body melted me and I molded my lifeless form onto him, wrapping every part of me around him. I felt immobile, every inch of me but my lips. They moved in time with his, at a pace we set long ago. It felt like I was home again, and I didn't know why I always stayed away for so damn long. Too long.

I was sure that my stone limbs squeezing him were making me harder to hold but he showed no effort. Suddenly it occurred to me that my body could move just as much as my mouth could, and my hands sprung into action. As his tongue dipped further into my mouth, I grabbed onto his hair and pulled him closer, taking his kiss even deeper.

I ground my lower half into him and, trusting he could hold me, let my hands travel down his back. He was so hot and pliable, so unlike what I had spent the last week getting used to, Edward's cold marble skin. Before I ever pushed Edward away, making excuses for why we couldn't go too far, I would always graze his skin in reassurance. I had forgotten what real skin felt like under my touch.

Jacob was laughing into my mouth. He seemed to be trying to dislodge himself from me, so I gave in and moved my face away from his.

"You did miss me, huh?" he asked when we were finally separated.

"Yes." I let out the breath I had been holding.

"That's a good sign. Maybe I shouldn't call you more often."

"No, call me often. I like to hear your voice."

"You think Edward would like it if I called you often?"

I changed the subject. "What did you want me to say before?"

"Oh. How you feel, about me. What you said last time," he answered softly.

"That I'm in love with you?" I asked.

"Yeah, that."

"I'm in love with you," I said it again.

"I've been dying to hear that. I thought maybe staying away from you would have the opposite effect. I thought maybe you would realize-"

"No," I interrupted him briskly. "That's never going to change- no matter what."

"It might," he insisted.

"I don't think so."

"Okay, but you're getting married; it's kind of hard to be in love with someone else when you have a husband." He looked down sadly and it reminded me of him broken all over again- the way he looked the last time, expecting to be hurt, anticipating pain. I needed him to not feel that way. I needed him.

"So, do you want a soda or something?" he asked, changing the subject again.

"Make love to me, now?" I implored, unashamed.

"What?" he gasped. "Bella…"

I couldn't wait for an answer. I jumped back into his arms and he caught me without a hitch. I began kissing him again, molding myself back into his being. He pulled away for a split second to say, "Wow." Then he was kissing me with full force and carrying me to his room.

I was being brazen as I manhandled him. I was past the point of being nervous with Jacob. I knew him inside and out now. I knew where to touch him to make his eyes fall shut. I knew he liked it when I licked his bottom lip. I was intent on doing everything he liked.

"Bella," he hissed as I grabbed his hardness beneath the thin material of his pants. "I've never seen you like this. Is Edward not-"

"Don't say his name!" I didn't need him to ruin the moment by making me think. I only wanted to focus on now.

"Sorry. He's like the big elephant in the room. I don't know what I'm supposed to say," Jacob muttered.

"Say you love me," I ordered.

"You know I love you. More than anything."

"Say you want me."

"I want you so fucking badly," he breathed, his voice barely above a whisper.

I pushed him back onto the bed and climbed on top of him. "I need this Jake, I really need this."

"You know you can have it. It's yours." It wasn't news to me, but hearing him say that he was mine, made everything else disappear. The confusion, the worry, and the guilt- it was all gone.

I began to remove his clothes, starting with his tank top. As I pulled it up towards his head I started to see black. And blue, and purple, and yellow. The right side of his torso was covered in bruises.

"Jake, you said you were healed…" I worried, surprised by the image of his injured body breaking my trance.

"You found my weakness," he mused, "I am healed- it's just my skin being difficult. The bruises will fade soon. They're almost gone."

Skin- still the biggest difference between them. Jacob was human, no matter how supernatural he was. He could feel pain and he was not invincible. I was starting to believe that was why I could easily push Edward away but I was resistant to hurting Jacob. It seemed like he could feel it more. Edward would have eons to get over it, but Jacob was feeling it now, always.

"You know I might not get married. I think you might be winning me over," I teased him.

I leaned down and placed small kisses on Jacob's bruises. I licked a trail from his right hip bone to his right nipple, and back down again.

"That would be the best news ever. I've been trying hard as hell to win you over," he confessed.

I placed my hands on either side of his head, and pressed my lips against his slowly. Then again, softly. Three times, barely grazing him. He lifted a hand to stroke my face.

My hands lowered to his pants, edging them down. I glanced beneath me to see some more fading bruises traveling down his right thigh.

My gaze turned to the left and I was transfixed on his massive erection. It was just how I remembered it. Now here, in the light- not in the darkness of a freezing tent, or in the unsteady quickness of the mountain top- but here, close and slow. I had all the time in the world to enjoy him. I felt my eyes glaze over.

"Are you thinking about me being your slave for life again?" he grinned.

I knew what he was referring to. I was having the same idea. I slid my hands down his thighs lightly, barely touching him.

I was kneeling over him, my mouth level with his pulsating cock. Instinctively, my lips were drawn to him. I deeply inhaled his musky scent; the aroma started my juices flowing. I was already wet and nothing had happened yet.

My tongue made a slow lick around the head, and I tasted his familiar taste. I had only gotten to taste it once, but the memory never left me. It screamed Jacob as soon as it hit my tongue.

I glanced up through my eyelashes and his eyes were closed, his left hand gripping the sheets above him. I wondered if he would stop me this time, if it would be too much.

I lowered my mouth and licked him from the base of his cock to the head, much like I had done with his bruises. I heard him moan quietly above me.

I was determined not to gag this time. I lowered my mouth onto him at a tantalizingly slow speed- millimeter by millimeter, until I knew I could go no further. I wrapped my hand around that spot to mark it as my end point. Then I took him in faster, more eagerly.

I heard a husky groan and felt his hips buck up at me. I wanted to make him feel that again. I lowered my mouth, feeling like a professional at this point, and twisted my head on the way up. I let my tongue trail his hardness from the inside as my lips worked the outside. Once, twice, three times, four times- his hands now on my head grabbing onto pieces of my hair.

I let my hand marker drop between his legs, to feel his balls. They were large and tight against his body. I think that was his breaking point because the next thing I knew I was being pulled up the bed and rolled over onto my back.

"Too much?" I asked.

"Too good- never too much," he quipped back.

"You could have finished."

"And miss this?" he asked, pulling my clothes off now. My jeans were down around my ankles and my shirt was already off before even a second had passed. "I've been thinking about this, the whole time I was healing. I wished I could have done this when you came and saw me. I wish I could do this every day."

Me too, I thought. It enlightened me. I did want this too much for it not to count for something.

Now I was naked, Jacob's warm body was covering me from head to toe, Jacob's tongue in my ear giving me chills, Jacob's cock between my legs begging for entrance.

My mind screaming, this is what you want, this is what you need.

His eyes were on mine as he thrust himself inside of me. There was no more pain. My body was used to him, it didn't mind the intrusion- it welcomed it.

We held each other tightly, slowly making love to each other's eyes, lips, faces, necks.

I felt my internal muscles grabbing him inside, holding him there, and claiming him.

It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, making love to Jacob, somehow both intensely erotic but also special and tender and pure. I wanted it to last forever.

But it couldn't last forever. I was close. Every slow plunge he made into my wetness was lighting my nerves up. When he started to make his thrusts shallow and fast I thought I might die from the pleasure. Then he switched it up and pushed himself into me deeper, and I was so excited that I took it all. His large cock was buried to the hilt and I felt so full I could have exploded from the delight. When our pubic bones met, his warm skin kept brushing against my clit and that was all I could take. I came with a loud gasp.

I could feel myself milking him inside, his frantic thrusts becoming more frantic, needier. In my pleasure filled daze I thought back to the mountain top. I recalled the hurtful things he said.

'I don't make love to people who don't choose me.'

'I refuse to kiss you. I think kissing should be reserved for people that are in love with me.'

None of this lined up with his previous reasoning. Maybe he was just trying to hurt me back then. But maybe, maybe he knew something I didn't. Maybe I was destined to choose him after all.

"Don't stop," I pleaded.

I grabbed his body tight to me, willing him not to pull away at the last second.

He groaned in my ear, "I'm going to-"

"Do it."

I heard his previous words again, the kinder ones, the ones that weren't meant to hurt me, but instead make me feel special- make me belong to him. 'I want you to get off while I'm inside of you.'

"Do it inside of me." I insisted, still coming down from my high.

It was all I had left. I knew him in every other way, but this way. Just incase it didn't work out, incase he was wrong.

"Shit, Bella," he gasped, and he didn't try to pull away. He pulled me closer, slamming into me a few more times and then letting go. I could feel him spasm within me. I could feel his brilliant hardness grow softer, less stiff. But it was still there.

His body went limp above me, his weight growing heavier on my small frame.

"Wow," he said languidly, for the second time. It matched my feelings exactly.

I was almost sure, almost, that nothing could match this feeling.

Lying in bed with Edward felt less like home, and more like a dream.

It had been five days since I last saw Jacob, five days of torture trying to figure out what would make my decision complete. I knew that I loved Jacob, and I knew that I loved Edward. It wasn't fair that I was willing to express my love to Jacob physically- without giving Edward a chance to show me he was capable. I felt ready to give in to his new obsession. He most definitely did not have the upper hand in that department any longer.

I wasn't blinded by his beauty anymore, just appreciative of it. Still my heart skipped a beat whenever he turned his gaze towards me and looked at me with that look.

He was doing it right at that moment.

"Bella, what are you thinking now?"

"I'm thinking I'm glad you bought this bed, I'm very comfortable," I lied.

"Are you sure you're not thinking of anything else?" he countered.

I realized I might have been turned on by the fact that I was planning on giving in to Edward. Maybe I was a little too excited. Could Edward tell? He could probably smell it on me.

"Okay, I was thinking maybe I was wrong. Maybe we shouldn't wait until after we're married to…know each other."

"I'm so happy you said that. I've wanted to show you for weeks now. I've been preparing myself ever since the day with Jacob in the-"

"Don't say his name!" I felt déjà vu set in.

"I'm sorry love. I just meant to say that I think I'm ready," he answered warmly.

"I do love you Edward," I insisted, more for myself than for him.

"I know."

"And I trust you," I continued.

"You shouldn't, but I'm glad you do," he answered honestly.

"Let's take this slow, and see what happens."

Then he was on me, quick like lightening. His speed always caught me off guard, and I didn't get a chance to take a breath before his lips were on mine. Familiar, safe.

His lips moved down to my neck, and I felt goose bumps form on my skin.

He dared to snake a hand up my pajama top, and the goose bumps tripled. He was inches away from my bare breast. For someone who didn't need to breathe, he was breathing quite heavily.

Finally he made contact. My nipple hardened from his cold touch instantly. He pinched it between his finger tips and I felt wetness pool between my legs. I was sure he could smell my arousal now.

"Mmm, I want you badly," he growled.

'Say you want me,' I heard myself saying those words just days earlier- but not to Edward. I chalked it up to more déjà vu.

"I want you too," I answered, desperately trying to distract my mind from thinking about someone else.

Edward began to take my top off, slowly revealing each inch of me. When the shirt was finally removed I watched him- watching me. There was a look of longing in his eyes.

He bent his head down and took the same nipple into his mouth, rolling his tongue around it.

"Yes!" I cried out. A part of me was relieved that it felt just as good when Edward did it.

"I need you Bella, I need to have you this way," Edward whispered around my breast as his hand started to make its way down into my panties.

'I need this Jake, I really need this.'

I couldn't stop thinking about my words. My words to Jacob. It didn't feel right to have such thoughts in my head at a time like this. When I was with Jacob I couldn't even imagine what Edward looked like. It wasn't fair. I just wanted this to be fair.

I knew of a way to get Jacob off of my mind.

I took my hand off its stationary position on the bed and cautiously began to run my fingers down Edward's chest. His face left my body and rose to meet mine. He kissed me again, this time with more passion.

My hand continued down- further. Closer.

I reached my destination, the bulge in Edward's pants. I grazed my hand over his hardness mischievously.

Edward moaned and gripped the headboard above us tightly. I could hear the metal creak.

I brought my other hand up around him, and traced my fingers down his back.

Skin- cold as ice. Not pliable, not soft.

I couldn't shake the bad feelings that washed over me- the regret, the thoughts, the overwhelming feeling that this was not where I should be.

I love Edward, I thought. I needed Edward in my life.

But was it enough? Would only having Edward be enough?

'You are my life now. I'll always be there in the wings waiting for a time when you may need me.' Now I could hear Edward's assuring words distracting me from the task at hand.

He'd always be there. I could try to be with Jacob, and Edward would let me. He'd wait for me, as long as it took to realize I'd made a mistake. If I ever did realize it.

If I chose Edward I would lose Jacob forever. If I chose Jacob I still had a chance to have Edward in my life. My choice was becoming clear.

Jacob wasn't around to force me into selflessness. I felt my old selfish self step into the light. I suddenly didn't want to go through with this.

I stopped Edward's face with my hands as it made its way down to my core. He let my hands raise his face to be eye level with mine, and he smiled.

Goddamnit, it was heartbreaking to look at him like this- happy.

"I think I feel sick, Edward."

"What?" his eyes took on a more concerned look. "Was it something I did? Am I being too rough?"

"No!" I assured him, "I think it might be something I ate. My stomach hurts," I lied again.

I was starting to hate the person I'd become.

"Oh no," he sympathized. "Should I run to the store and get you something?"

"No, I think I just need to rest a minute. Hey, maybe it's a sign, from a higher power, warning us to save your soul and not have premarital sex," I joked, but I hoped he might read into what I was saying a little further.

"Maybe," he offered, although I was sure he didn't believe that.

"Speaking of marital, did Alice send out the wedding invitations yet?" I asked him slyly. Maybe it wasn't too late. I didn't have to wait until the wedding to make up my mind.

"Is that what this is all about? I had a feeling you weren't being yourself tonight."

"What do you mean?" I asked, confused.

"Jacob told you that I sent him an invitation to the wedding?"

My mind went black.

Jacob Black.

My choice.

The wedding.

August 13th was plenty of time away to make a decision, but I was closer than that. I didn't need so much time. But I felt in that moment that my time might have just run out.

"No, he didn't. Why?" I yelled. "Why would you do that Edward? Nevermind, I need to make a phone call…"

I ran out of the room and searched for the nearest phone.

I dialed the familiar number that I had avoided dialing time and time again. I had denied myself over and over, because I was being fair. I was being selfish.

It rang. Once, twice, three times, four times.

"Hello?" a familiar voice answered.

"Billy, hi. Is he there?" I asked, half out of breath from running.

"He left two days ago, Bella. He wasn't himself, if you know what I'm saying. I'm not sure when he's coming back"

"Or if he's coming back," I finished his thought.

"He's grown up now- he'll come back when he wants to," Billy replied.

I hung up the phone without saying goodbye.

There wasn't enough time anymore. I was too late.

I reached down to my wrist and undid the clasp of my bracelet, wanting to look at the wolf. My wolf.

I was so weak from the sobs racking my body that it slipped out of my hand. The big heart shaped crystal that Edward gave me made the loudest noise as it hit the floor.


Feel Your Love - Kim Sozzi (Bella)
I'm Ready For Love - The Temptations (Edward)
Give it a Try - Bonfire (Jacob)
Running Away - Midnight Hour (Jacob)