A/N: Big thanks to my lovely beta MadeleineJade
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All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer
I was woken from my dreams by a loud banging on the door followed by yelling that I could only assume to be Jake's roommates and friends.
"Jakeypoo, Hells Bells, time to wake upppp!" yelled the group
I growled at the door and climbed over Jacob's sleeping form. I stomped my feet all the way to the door and flung it open, making sure to display my annoyance and anger across my face. "If you don't shut the hell up, I WILL be forced to hurt you!"
I was met by a chorus of howling laughter and chuckling. "WHAT is so funny?!" I yelled.
"Nice outfit there Bella!" replied Quil as he looked me up and down followed by a nod.
"What are you…" mid-sentence, I glanced down to realize I was only wearing my underwear and one of Jake's T-shirts which showed off much more leg than I would have liked. The only reaction I could muster was a growl as I slammed the door in their faces. As I turned around, strong, warm arms wrapped around my waist.
"Your friends suck," I mumbled into his chest.
"Oh come on honey, they're just messin'," he replied as he placed a soft kiss on my forehead.
"Well they just got quite the show since they saw me like this!" I said as I pushed Jake away and made a sweeping hand motion up and down my body.
Jacob growled and stalked towards the door. He flung it open and I caught a glimpse of the worried looks on the boys' faces.
Oh they were so going to get it now!
He slammed the door closed and I could hear Quil yelling something about "Just kidding," before I heard a loud crash, which I presumed to be the start of a wrestling match. I chuckled to myself for the indirect payback that I had inflicted as I pulled on a pair of shorts and sandals.
Today was the end of summer bonfire down at First Beach, which I learned was a Quileute tradition, not the end of summer part but the bonfires. Every time something began or ended there was a bonfire, if someone got a new job, graduated school, got a new car, there was a bonfire. In my year with Jake I had been to more bonfires then I liked but every time I'd protest, Jake would mention something about wanting me to take part in the traditions of his tribe which would work on me every time. What could I say? I was a sucker for guilt trips.
After arriving on the beach I grabbed my blanket and trusty copy of Pride and Prejudice and made my way to the fallen tree that kept me company on most of my trips here since the activities usually consisted of things Chief Swan would have a heart attack if I participated in (which would also result in a hospital trip). I laid the blanket down and removed my shoes before I sat down with my back against the tree. I must have gotten lost in the world of Elizabeth Bennett because I was up to the part of Mr. Collins' arrival when a large amount of sand found its way onto my blanket. I looked up to see Jake standing before me with an irritated look upon his face.
"Are you going to join us or are you just going to sit on your ass reading that book?" he asked.
I rolled my eyes at his apparent frustration. "I'm sorry I don't feel like diving off a cliff to my death or going surfing in freezing water," I replied.
"You know Bells, I don't even know why you bother coming. All my friends think you're stuck up because all you ever do is separate yourselves from us."
I threw my book down beside me and stood up as tall as I could. "Listen, Jacob, I come to these things because YOU always give me some damn guilt trip about tribe pride and all that bullshit!" I yelled.
"Shut up, Bella! You KNOW that this is important to me! It's not just some bullshit! I don't even know why I bother trying to explain things to you!" he yelled back.
By this time some of the boys had started to make their way towards us, unaware of the heated argument we were in.
"Why don't you just find yourself a Quileute girl to fuck then! Then you won't have to explain anything! As a matter of fact, I think Leah is single!" I ground out through my teeth as I gathered up my things. I pushed passed Jacob and was met with the curious eyes of five boys. "Sorry, boys, I just don't feel welcome here right now," I explained as I glared back at Jake.
"Aw, don't be like that Bella! Jake may be a dick but we love you!" Seth replied.
"S'okay Seth, I need my sleep tonight anyway since I start work early tomorrow." I gave him an apologetic smile before making my way to my truck. Once settled into the cab I let out a frustrated scream and banged my head against the steering wheel causing the horn to honk. "Great," I mumbled as I noticed most heads on the beach turned to stare at me. I started the car and pulled out of the parking lot as fast as I could.
By the time I got home I wasn't even mad at Jake anymore. I expected his reaction because it was the same thing every time. In the year we were together, he never seemed to get the fact that I was not a risk-taker, I did not do anything where the outcome was uncertain. Call me a coward, but I always liked to have all of my ducks in a row. When Jacob arrived home that night we didn't discuss the fight or even talk much, he made me dinner and we sat and ate while we watched reruns of CSI. We crawled into bed that night, and as we exchanged I love you's, I wondered if this is what the rest of my life would be like and if it was going to be, would I be happy? Not just okay with it but truly happy.
I awoke earlier than normal and immediately felt a twinge of guilt for the thoughts I had before I fell asleep, Jacob loved me more than anyone ever had, and I'd be a fool to let that go. The alarm went off and I decided that now was as good a time as any to get out of bed. Before I could roll to my side, Jacob had curled up to me and pressed his head on my chest; he wiggled into my side and let out a small content sigh.
"Good morning, lady," he mumbled.
I put my arm around him and took a deep breath appreciating his scent and the feeling of complete bliss and comfort I was feeling despite the doubts I fell asleep to. I gingerly pushed him off and climbed out of bed to begin preparing for my least favorite task of the day, leaving him.
Ever since I got my associates degree, Charlie had backed off on the rules, finally realizing that at twenty years old, I had a pretty good handle on life. Well, that and he found my birth control. I shuddered at the thought of that horribly awkward conversation, but Charlie decided that if we were being responsible then it made no sense to try and prevent us from being alone because with or without his permission we'd find a way. Thus, was the reason why I slept at Jacob's last night, just like I had done almost every night since Charlie gave his blessing. At this point I had more clothes here than at Charlie's.
I got dressed in my uniform that I laid out the night before so I could wait until the last minute to wake up. I made my way to the kitchen to make some coffee and was startled to find one of Jake's roommates, Embry, already in the kitchen, absentmindedly staring into the fridge.
"You're up early!" I commented as I went through the motions of making coffee, making sure to make extra for Embry because he looked like he needed it.
"Yeah, long night," he muttered while grabbing a carton of eggs out of the fridge.
I turned to Embry with an apologetic smile on my face. "About yesterday…I'm sorry if I was a bitch."
"Nah. Jake was a dick, Bells, I would never be mad at you for wanting to keep yourself out of danger. It's bad enough that you're prone to accidents in normal day to day situations, I would hate to think what could happen to you were cliff diving," he laughed.
"Thanks for understanding, Embry," I said as I patted him on the back.
After putting my coffee in my thermos, I grabbed my bag and headed back to Jacob's room. Opening the door slightly, I smiled at his half awake state.
"Jake, I'm leaving for work. I'm going to stay at Charlie's tonight, but I'll call you later," I said as I made my way into his room.
"Hug?" He held up his arms for me, and I walked over to him and leaned over him and gave him as much of a hug as this awkward position would allow.
"Smooch?" He puckered his lips and I gave him a quick kiss.
This was our routine, and every time, it would make me want to jump back into bed and just call in sick on the world. But today my boss so kindly scheduled me for an 8am shift and as much as I hated to admit it, I loved my job.
Thirty minutes later, I arrived at The Daily Grind, the coffee shop that was my home away from home as well as my place of employment. My cousin Rosalie had gotten me the job through the owner(her husband), Emmett Cullen, who had moved to New York City to expand the business. This was a bold move since his only other location was the one in Forks, but according to Rose, business was booming in New York.
Rose and I had been as thick as thieves growing up. Her mom was Renee's older sister and let's just say that Rose and I had a deep understanding of what it meant to be raised by a Dwyer woman. Rose would visit us from New York for 2 weeks every summer. It was my secret dream to move to New York City and live with Rose while living out every small town girl's big city dreams. That was why, on a whim, I decided to apply for my Bachelors Degree at NYU for the upcoming spring semester. Honestly, the chances of my getting in were slim, but if it happened then I could just work at The Daily Grind there and get a small apartment with Rosalie. I had addressed the application so that my rejection letter would arrive at TDG instead of Charlie's or Jake's because I didn't want to have to explain why I was receiving mail from NYU and cause unnecessary drama.
The morning shift was always slow and I began to revisit my commitment thoughts from the previous night. Being only twenty, it was a little premature to think about marrying Jacob, but we'd been together for a year and if I planned on being with him any longer then we had better be going somewhere. These were the best years of my life and if I was going to give them up to be in a relationship with Jacob then I'd rather know I wasn't wasting my time. Sometimes I wondered what my life would be like if I hadn't let Jessica drag me to LaPush that fateful night.
Jessica had convinced me against my better judgment to accompany her to La Push to hang out with a good friend of mine, Seth Clearwater. For god knows what reason, I had decided to push the two together. They were both single and in want of a significant other. I had just come out of a bad relationship and the last thing I wanted was another stupid boyfriend. Seth's friend had his own apartment and they wanted us to hang out with them.
Seth greeted us at the front door and led us to the second floor of the two-family house. The man standing against the sink with a beer in hand, which I assumed was Seth's friend, smiled at me.
"Hi, I'm Bella," I introduced myself as I reached my hand out to shake his.
"Hey Bella, I'm Jacob," he responded as he grasped my tiny hand in his giant one and shook once.
Seth and Jessica had taken off some time during the night to do god knows what while Jacob and I sat on his front porch, we talked for a few hours about nothing and everything and mutually agreed that the best way to learn about someone was through their iPod and choices in music. We huddled together, an earphone in my right and one in his left as we scrolled through my iPod together.
"Fenix Tx? Really, Bella?!" he asked as his body shook with laughter.
"Threesome is a good song, Jake," I replied as I furrowed my brows.
"If you say so…"
Once Jessica and Seth reappeared out of thin air, she yet again convinced me to do something I didn't want to, make me spend the night. I had told Charlie that I'd be at her place, and her parents honestly didn't care what she did with her time. Somehow Jacob and I ended up having to share a futon. We laid awake next to each other on top of the blanket, fully clothed with Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap on repeat in the background.
"If I have to listen to this song one more time," Jake let out a frustrated sigh.
"I don't mind but you can get up and change it," I offered
"Nah s'not so bad," he replied as he turned on his side to face me. "So tell me more about yourself, Bella."
I turned on my side to bring us face to face but kept as much distance as I could between us as I told him my life story. Only child to Renee and Charlie, stepdaughter to Phil. Moved to Forks to get out of the lonely routine that I had developed in Arizona, only to have the same lonely routine in Forks except in this one I actually had a parent around at all times. Right when I was about to go into detail about my first, only, and bad relationship, Jacob interrupted me.
"Yeah?" I responded.
"Can I kiss you?" he asked as he bought his face closer to mine. I didn't trust my words so I nodded. Before I knew it, his lips were on mine. We spent the rest of the night talking and kissing until the sun came up, Hide and Seek had been playing the entire time.
I was being nostalgic and decided to revisit the first time I had talked to Jacob after the night we had spent together. I actually still had the AIM conversation saved in an email. It was creepy, but at times like these I was grateful for the days when I was a giddy sixteen year old who wanted to document everything.
ungracefulSwan: Hey Jake, this is Bella. We met like 2 weeks ago, just thought I'd say hi.
furryJake108: HEY BELLS! I'm glad you messaged me, I've been thinking about you!
furryJake108: I haven't stopped thinking about you since that night. I've been asking my friends if they'd think I was a creep for dating you.
ungracefulSwan: Oh… is it because I'm 16 and you're 21? I'll be 17 in a month, which would make us dating legal
ungracefulSwan: I looked it up haha
furryJake108: Yeah but I decided that I like you and that age shouldn't mean anything because in reality you are far more mature than I am. lol
ungracefulSwan: Well I'm free Friday if you want to hang out J
furryJake108: yeah sure, sounds great!
furryJake108: We shouldn't have planned this.
ungracefulSwan: Planned what?
furryJake108: When we are going to hang out because now I can't wait till Friday comes ;)
I quickly closed out the window when I noticed the mailman arrive.
"Good Morning!" I greeted him cheerfully as he handed me the stack of letters. Once he was gone I began to flip through the pile of letters and let out a whoosh of air as I found a letter addressed to Isabella M Swan with the NYU logo in the corner. I took a deep breath and decided now was as good a time as any. I opened the letter as fast as humanly possible and unfolded the paper with my eyes closed. "You can do this Bella just...breath," I reminded myself. I opened my eyes and immediately began searching for the words that would determine my future.
The way I saw it this could go two ways:
Dear Isabella Swan,
We regret to inform you..
or the least likely option
Dear Isabella Swan,
It is our pleasure to inform you...
I let out the breath of air I was holding as I read the words.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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