It was weeks and weeks of the same exact behavior. Edward had slowly immersed himself within a boy he felt passionate hate – maybe even passionate love – for and lost himself within arms that he never thought would bring him comfort. Those arms did, though, and every time he heard Jacob's heart race, another piece of him fell away. It didn't matter that his entire family didn't approve – although most of them denied they even knew – or that Jacob constantly worried if his pack would notice – and parts of him knew they had. All that mattered was the short hours they devoted to deceit, to the worst kind of betrayal either of them could commit.

On this day, the rain was beating against the windshield of Edward's car as he rushed to yet another meeting place. He was late and knew if he wasn't there within the next ten minutes, Jacob would leave and he wouldn't have the fix he so desperately needed. He pumped the gas pedal, watching the odometer climb to the hundreds as others took their time on the slick streets.

Please don't leave, he thought. Please, please wait for me.

Edward was in the parking lot of the nicest hotel that Forks could offer – nice in a small northwest city meaning art on the walls of ships and sheets that were washed twice a month. He climbed the stairs in twos, hearing Jacob's heart begin to race and his thoughts beginning to jumble into a clusterfuck of unhappiness and excitement. Edward knocked on the door he knew Jacob was behind and restrained himself from smiling at how pleased he was that Jacob remained in the room, that he'd waited like he said he never would do.

"I was about to leave, asshole," Jacob spat at him as he opened the door. Edward walked in calmly, his hands at his side, waiting for Jacob to make a move, any move that made this okay. "You're lucky there was a new episode of CSI on. I lost track of time." Edward smiled, knowing that this was a cover for Jacob's real internal monologue. I can't believe I waited an hour for him. I can't believe I still come here. God, why does he smell good? He's not supposed to smell good. Rotting flowers. Think rotting flowers. Fuck. His hands. Why isn't he holding his middle like a girl? He knows. He has to know. Fuck!

Edward crossed the room, his jacket thrown onto the ground beside them. He didn't blink, his eyes staring into Jacob's intently without hesitation. Jacob's own screamed for something he never admitted he wanted. Edward took the last step forward, his hand going to Jacob's waist. "Do you want to talk? We can talk if you want," he said softly as he pushed himself closer. Edward eyed Jacob's mouth as his tongue came out to lick his chapped lips. It was like a game of chess; Edward advanced, bluffing and boasting confidence until Jacob finally conceded and kissed him first. It was a dance they did every time but it always felt renewed when it happened. Nothing they did was more than touch; everything revolved about just feeling better, just feeling good for once. Somehow within each other's arms everything seemed better for both of them.

Jacob's lips covered Edward's, his hands pulling at Edward's clothes like he wanted them off. Edward wasn't sure if this was what Jacob really wanted, or if he was only doing what he was sure he'd seen in movies. Edward let him; he let Jacob pull his shirt off, breaking their kiss for a moment while it was thrown to the ground. Edward began to walk backwards with Jacob in tow until his legs hit the bed and Jacob pushed him down on it. Edward looked up at him as Jacob crawled on top of him, his legs on each side and his breath completely ragged. Jacob's hands pulled his own shirt off and pressed every bit of his warm skin against Edward's ice cold flesh. Edward moaned as Jacob descended upon him again, his lips covering Edward's again until his tongue forced its way into Edward's mouth. Edward's arm went around Jacob's frame, pulling him closer and tighter against him, as if he would leave at any moment.

Edward couldn't focus; he was too intent on trying to see what Jacob's intentions were. Jacob's mind was a scattered puzzle of thoughts, every single one racing through his head too quickly to pin down. One single thought was repeating over and over and every time Edward heard it, he kissed Jacob harder, wanting what he didn't know could happen.

I don't love him. I don't love him. I could love him. No, I don't love him.

"This means nothing."

Edward turned to look at Jacob, seeing only the broad back that he wished still held the bruises he'd left on it. Edward reached his hand out but took it back, knowing that after what had happened, after what they had done, nothing was going to make this better. Instead Edward sighed and mumbled an okay in Jacob's direction. Jacob didn't move, just sat nude on the edge of the bed trying to gather everything that had happened in the last hour.


"What, leech?"

"We don't have to see each other again. I'll understand," Edward said softly, unsure if it would even be heard. The room was loud with the air conditioner blaring, and the rain pouring down all around the small hotel.

Jacob turned, looking over his shoulder but not meeting Edward's eyes. "I don't know... I can't make that decision right now."

Edward looked up at him, suddenly feeling vulnerable in his nude state. He rose from the bed, finding his jeans and pulling them on. "I'll leave you to your thoughts." He searched the room and saw his shirt at Jacob's feet, picking it up quickly. When he stood, Jacob's large hand went around his bicep. Edward halted, looking down at Jacob's hand and then to Jacob's face. He saw so much there that he didn't want to.

"Don't go yet," Jacob whispered.

Edward turned as much as he could as Jacob held his arm. Jacob released it and looked down at the floor, afraid or unsure of looking into Edward's eyes. "I'll stay as long as you want me to," Edward reassured him.

This is the biggest fucking mistake I've ever made. This is worse than letting myself fall for Bella. Worse than trying to save Leah. Worse than any horrible thing I've ever done. I'll never be forgiven; the pack will never talk to me. My father will disown me. I might as well disappear.

Jacob looked back up at the vampire as he crouched down in front of him. "We aren't a mistake, Jacob. Don't think that way, please." Edward's hand hesitantly rested on one of Jacob's knees as he looked up into the wolf's dark brown eyes. "We aren't worth much, but we aren't a mistake."

Jacob started to laugh, the sound of it startling Edward. "We? We?! Really? You think there's a we?"

"I didn't mean it like that," Edward said quickly.

Jacob laughed again. "Sure you didn't. You are so pathetic. I'm not Bella. I'm not going to fall for all your plots and tricks."

Edward stood, pulling his shirt on, instantly regretting the entire past hour. "Fuck you, Black."

Jacob only laughed more. "You already did, dumbass."

Edward looked back at him as he slipped his shoes on, feeling like the adulterer in a relationship where they couldn't be one. "Guess it wasn't that memorable." Edward said hastily before slamming the door behind him. He rushed down to his car, sure that it wasn't a pace he should use outside of his home or the woods. He didn't care. His only concern was getting as far away from the wolf as he could. His chest started to tighten as if something was swelling inside it and fermenting. He held his middle as he started his car, ripping out of the parking lot and speeding the entire way home.

Edward sat and stared at his cell phone, wondering what Jacob was doing, if he was still sitting in that hotel room, or if he went home to stare at his own phone, willing Edward to call. He wasn't sure how long he'd been stagnant in his room, but it had been at least an hour. He ignored knocks on his door, and his family cursing his decisions in their heads. He didn't much care if he never came out, all that seemed to matter was the boy he'd left naked and scorned in a cramped hotel room outside of Forks.

As if Jacob could hear his thoughts, his cell phone rang, the name on the caller ID the same one he couldn't stop thinking about. He hesitantly answered, his voice raspy. "Jacob?"

"Don't say anything. Just listen." Edward wasn't certain how to respond, so he gave a slow okay. "I have no intentions of seeing you again, unless you happen to stalk me in the woods again. You know where the treaty line is, and the agreement from before still stands. I don't want you anywhere near my land, and I won't come near yours." Jacob took a deep breath and continued. "Nothing happened. Everything was nothing. Nothing. I don't want anything to do with you. And if Bella comes back, you can have her. I'm done with both of you."

Edward had stopped breathing the second Jacob's voice was in his ear, sounding more remorseful than upset. Jacob coughed and cleared his throat; something Edward assumed was a way of signaling he was through with his rant and strict orders. "Is that it?" Edward asked.

"For now, yes. I don't want you to call me, and I won't be calling you. As far as I'm concerned, you don't fucking exist."

Edward closed his eyes. "If that's what you want."

"Don't patronize me. You have no idea what this is like for me. You sweep in and fuck everything up and then tell me 'As you wish' like this is some romantic movie with an all-star cast. This is my life, and I refuse to let you mess it up any more than you have already." Jacob's voice boomed in Edward's ears, making him miss the fury within his dark eyes already.

"Does it matter what I want?"

"No, it doesn't matter what you want! You have no say. I want nothing to do with you."

"Then, why are we still talking? Why did you call? You could have easily never spoken to me again, and I would have figured things out for my own. I'm not an idiot," Edward said condescendingly.

Jacob sighed out of anger. "I wanted to make things clear. Stop complicating this! It's not complicated. It's very simple. Just… go away."

"Do you really want that? You want me to disappear? I can, but only if you are sure that's what you want."

The seconds ticked by slowly as Edward waited, anticipating Jacob's answer, but already knowing what it would be. Finally, Jacob cleared his throat and Edward leaned back against the couch, his eyes closing again.

"I can't want you, or this, or… us. There is no us. There can't be. We'll never be more than outcasts and secrets," Jacob whispered.

Edward finally took a breath. "What if I said I was okay with that?"

"I'd say you are more of a moron than I thought," Jacob said lightly, chuckling under his breath. "We'd both have no one."

"We'd have each other," Edward said softly.

There was a scuffle on the other end of the line, and then it went dead. Edward pulled the phone from his ear and closed it. At the least, he had tried to make Jacob feel like he meant something to someone, even if he'd never believe that person could be a vampire – his competitor and mortal enemy.

"We can't do this again," Jacob said, although he never meant it. His skin seemed to stretch for miles on the bed they lay upon, his warmth soaking into every thread of the sheets. "We're treading a fine line, Edward."

Edward's fingers traced down Jacob's chest, his eyes watching the invisible frigid lines left along Jacob's fire-hot skin. "You don't mean that."

"Yes, I do. This is it, the last time." Jacob's eyes closed as Edward's lips brushed across his chest, his lips pursing to kiss where Jacob's heart beats wildly. "Don't do that," Jacob said meekly, but Edward didn't listen – he never does. Jacob breathed in, his chest sinking in and rising to control himself. "Please don't."

Edward lifted himself and looked down at Jacob, his eyes showing all of the desperation he tried his best to never reveal. "I could love you," Edward said as he looked away. "I could try."

Jacob sat up, pushing Edward aside. "Don't say that. Just… don't. That doesn't matter. None of this matters. This never happened. There is no us. You need to get that through your head."

Edward sat up and placed his hand on Jacob's knee. "You love me. I see it in your head every day. I want you to know that I want to try to love you back."

"But, you won't. You're incapable of loving anyone. Look at you. You're so pathetic. It doesn't matter what I feel, I'm realistic and know better than to give into what is wrong." Jacob stood, pacing the floor in front of the bed with his head down. "I won't. I meant it. This was the last time."

"If that's what you want," Edward whispered.

Jacob shook his head and began to throw his clothes back on, not caring that his shirt was inside out. "I want to forget you, forget every single thing we've ever done together, and most of all I want to forget…" Jacob hesitated and turned, pulling his shoes on and never finishing his sentence. Edward stared at the door after it was slammed closed, hoping it would open again and it would all be taken back. Then, Jacob finished his sentence in his head, cursing himself the entire way to his car.

…that I love you.