Disclaimer: The one and only Stephenie Meyers owns all things Twilight. That includes Dream Edward, lovingly featured here. The other characters in When Two Worlds Collide – Maggie, Sarah and this particular Jacob, belong to me. When Two Worlds Collide and its author (moi) are in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Okay, gang, we're at the end!!

17. I had a dream…

Where…am I?

It was still night time, or at least it appeared that way. My view of the sky was obscured with the familiar forested canopy, and the fat rain drops pelting me made it impossible to look up for more than a few seconds. I was in the woods again; the air was charged with electricity and the wind whipped around me, tugging at my clothes. A storm threatened; off in the distance I heard ominous rumbles of thunder.

My feet were bare, cold and covered in mud and pine needles, and my t-shirt was ripped and my skin scratched from running through underbrush and low branches. I had fallen often; my hands and exposed knees were dirty and scraped. Not knowing where I was or in which direction I needed to turn, I kept running, tripping now and then on an uncovered root or rock. Tears blinded me and stung my eyes, and I was alone – absolutely on my own. This I knew in the deepest recesses of my psyche. And it terrified me.

As I continued to stumble through the woods, hopefully to find a clearing or a way out, all I could do was whimper and sob, praying silently that this was simply another dream.

Please don't let this be real. It's too painful. No Jacob; not even Edward is here anymore. Why? Maybe I'm not wanted – by either of them.

The idea crippled me, and I dropped to the ground, gasping for air and choking on my tears. I was rooted to where I fell, and despair crushed me, turning me numb to the wetness and chill all around. Well, maybe I'll just stay here.

"Get up Maggie."

This voice was not mine, and it seemed like part of the wind as it battered me, like it was pushing me to rise.

"Get up."

It, too, stuck a familiar chord in my mind, but I couldn't quite detect its owner over the other noises assaulting my ears. Spurred on, I staggered to my feet and bent over to catch my breath. Ok, ok, I'm listening. With a slightly renewed sense of my own well-being, I trudged onward and soon I could see a sunny break in the mass of green. Inhaling deeply, I plunged through it, ignorant of what was on the other side.

The momentum was entirely unnecessary, and I landed with a muffled thump, sprawled out on the sand. I got up slowly and dusted myself off, and relief washed over me as I took in the sights and sounds of the beach.

Jacob's beach.

A smile automatically spread across my face, and in an instant I felt warm and a bit more at ease. The cerulean surf and clear, cobalt sky were inviting and calming, and I ran toward the water's edge. As the waves gurgled happily over my toes, some of the panic retreated with the swells, and I tipped my head back to soak up the sun's rays. I leaned over to wash the dirt from my knees and hands, and then said, Oh, the hell with it; might as well and dove into the water, surfacing a short distance from the shore.

The salt water cleansed and rejuvenated me, and I laughed aloud, slightly giddy. Feeling worlds better, I body-surfed back to the beach and rung out my sopping t-shirt, my heart thudding in my chest. But where's Jacob? Why isn't he here? Considering the possibilities, I dropped onto the sand and then lay on my back to let the sun work its magic on my wet shirt. Husky laughter startled me, and I bolted upright and looked around nervously, searching for him.

"Where are you?" I asked.

Nothing.

"Hello? Anyone there? Jake?"

There was that chuckle again, and I jumped to my feet, determined to find it. I ran like an idiot, back and forth along the stretch of beach, but the voice eluded me, like it was teasing. Quickly the tears started again, and I pleaded for a respite.

"Please, come back! Jake, please! Where are you? I can't find you!" Sobbing yet again, I thrashed back and forth with my face in my hands in disbelief. Then I heard him again, only this time, he sounded closer.

"Maggie, I'm right here. I'm here!"

Snap. And then I was awake, and in my bed, and Jacob's face was all I could see through my tears.

"Baby, it's ok," he said, soothing me. "It was just a dream. I'm here. Shh, it's going to be fine."

He smoothed my tangled, damp hair away from my face, and kissed my wet eyelashes as I struggled to breathe.

"J-Jake, I couldn't f-f-find you anywhere," I stuttered. "I was s-s-so scared."

"I know honey, I know," he whispered. "You were tossing back and forth like you were putting up one hell of a fight. You were so distraught; I couldn't bear to see you cry."

Relieved it was over, I threw my arms around him and peppered his face and neck with kisses. Jacob's lips caught mine in a deep kiss, and then he wiped the tears from my eyes with the pads of his thumbs, before placing kisses there too. Then he pulled back to look at me, and a serious expression flickered across his face.

"Maggie, I want you to know that I'm not going to leave you. I don't know what happened in your past that has you so panicked, but I'm not like all the rest, ok?" I nodded stupidly. "Look, I know this could be interpreted as rushing things a bit, but we both know how we feel.

"I don't want to be separated from you again," he said resolutely.

The mental image of the two of us connected at the hip like Siamese twins popped into my head, and I stifled a guffaw. Jacob scowled at me, so I explained the silly picture.

"Geez, you're so literal. You know that's not what I meant," he scoffed, rolling his eyes. I kissed him, however, and he smiled. "I'm being serious, though, Maggie." Once again, he trained his warm brown eyes on mine. "I love you, and I want to be with you. Always."

My heart melted at the vulnerability and naked honesty in his voice, and I kissed him again and again in thanks.

"Jacob, I love you too. And nothing would make me happier than to be with you-always."

And just like that it was settled.

Jacob's kisses became more insistent and my body responded in turn to his. He rolled me over so I was straddling him, and then gently pulled my t-shirt over my head. Still in his jeans, he made quick work of them and kicked them off once they were at his ankles.

I sat back for a moment, taking it all in – this beautiful, caring man beneath me, and what we meant to each other – and at that moment I wanted to show Jacob just how much I felt for him. I trailed hot, urgent kisses down his neck and across his chest, paying special attention to his nipples, which I flicked with my tongue. His body shuddered each time and his hands wove through my hair. Moving down to his abdomen, I nibbled and sucked the skin and muscles there until he moaned, and then continued my descent.

First I caressed the tender skin where his legs joined his torso and again Jacob quivered and groaned as my tongue tasted his skin. Then I gently bit the inside of each thigh, and I thought he might jump off the bed. Soothing the spots with my thumbs, I smirked to myself, and moved up to finally taste him. I quickly licked the wetness that had collected there, and Jacob convulsed as the air left his lungs in a loud whoosh. I felt his hand on my shoulder and looked up at him through my lashes.

His hooded eyes struggled to focus, and he said, "You don't have to…"

"Shut up, Jake. I want to."

And with that, I took him into my mouth and Jacob's head dropped back heavily on the pillow. I took immense pleasure in giving this to him, and even more pleasure in watching his reaction: head tilted up, eyes rolled back, mouth open. The sighs and moans just added to my own arousal and my mouth watered with anticipation. I gave him everything I had, and he took it.

After a while, I felt him grow even more, and I knew he was close. When I released him from my mouth, lightly dragging my teeth along his length, he growled and pulled me up by the shoulders.

"I need to be inside you now, Maggie."

Damn, I love it when he gets needy.

And then he grabbed me roughly around the waist and impaled me on him, and we came together in a unified gasp. Using my hands on his chest to steady me, I poured everything out – the fear, the doubt, the insecurity; the love, passion and tenderness – until there was nothing left. With my tears dripping onto Jacob's chest, we both hurtled over the edge, together. Exhausted, I collapsed onto him, my ear over his pounding heart.

We lay in that position until my legs fell asleep and then he lifted me off his chest and onto the bed beside him. After a few minutes I managed to drag myself out of bed to use the bathroom and brush my teeth. Then I checked my reflection in the mirror, attempted to smooth out my sex-hair and gave up, going back to Jacob. He was lying on his side, his head resting on his propped-up hand, the sheet just barely covering his lower half. Hot damn. I am one lucky bitch.

He took note of my expression as I leaned against the doorframe and half-teasing asked, "You like?" I giggled and scooted back into bed with him after pulling on my t-shirt and undies.

"You know, I think you've spent half your time here naked, Jake," I quipped, and then quickly added, "Not that I mind in the least."

"Well, I gotta give my lady what she wants, and if that means being naked, I'm willing to make the sacrifice," he replied with a grin. Suddenly it occurred to me that Jacob hadn't been home in almost two whole days, and I apologized for keeping him prisoner.

"Silly girl," he said, swatting my bum. "I'm a guy – I don't need much to get by and you've been so graciously providing the warm showers, food and sleeping quarters. So I'm great!"

I snuggled back against him and glanced at the clock – almost midnight. Man, both of our internal clocks are going to be really messed up if we don't get some sleep. After setting the alarm an hour-and-a-half earlier than usual for Jacob, I reached back and planted a kiss on his lips and then we both quickly fell asleep again. And this time, there was no dream.

***********

It felt like I had just put my head on the pillow, but six hours later my alarm was buzzing and absentmindedly I swatted at it at few times before finding the button. Jacob's nose tickled my neck and he kissed me quickly on that spot before I rolled over.

"Good morning."

"Mmm…it is a good morning," he said in between kisses. "I'm here with you."

Jacob kissed me once more and rolled out of bed, pulling on his boots and throwing his fleece over his head. I offered him coffee and breakfast before he left – he wanted to stop at home and change before work – but he took me up on the coffee and went downstairs to make a pot. I scrambled out of bed and ran to the bathroom. I hurriedly brushed my teeth, ran a brush through my hair and then put it in a ponytail. After pulling on a pair of sweats, I dashed downstairs to find coffee made and Jacob opening the paper.

"Hope you don't mind," he said. "I thought I'd save you the trip outside – it's chilly this morning."

With a hot mug of coffee in my hands, I woke up a little more, and stretched like a cat.

"I hate to do this to you honey, but I gotta go," he said, pressing himself against me. "And you look so damn edible in your sweats and ponytail, I could just forget about work altogether."

We hugged and kissed for a few minutes, and then I reluctantly pushed him away and kissed his chin.

"Right, but then where would we be?" I asked playfully. "Two hermits living here, me with my books and you with no clothes. What a pair."

He smiled as if he could picture it, and on his way out the door, he promised to call me when he got home from work that evening. Jacob wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me in for a dramatic good-bye kiss, bending me backwards and all.

"Have a great day, my little sex goddess. I'll talk to you when I get home, ok?" I nodded, and he before he closed the door behind him, he added, "Love you."

"I love you too Jacob."

Once the door closed, I stood there in the kitchen with my coffee, dazed and staring out the kitchen window, until the buzzing of my cell phone snapped me out of my stupor. Looking down at the display I saw a new text message and three missed calls – all from Sarah. Oh my God! I didn't speak to her all weekend! She must be beside herself at the lack of information. I chuckled when I realized how she'd react to my re-telling of the last two days and opened the text.

M-where the hell r u? Dyin over here! Text me back ASAP. I decided to tease her a little and responded, S-Srry. Finished books-phew! J stopped by. Call me lunch. Then I closed my phone and poured myself a bowl of cereal with a smile from ear-to-ear.

After breakfast I showered and called my mom to let her know I was still alive, that I was finishing my review and that things between me and Jacob were ok. She asked me over for dinner later that week to celebrate (all of these things, she explained) and since I figured I'd be done with the review by that time, I accepted. We said our goodbyes and then I walked into my office.

The book Jacob had been reading was lying face down, open to the page he had left off on, and I smiled again as I dog-eared the page and put it back on the shelf.

He'll want to finish it at some point, I'm sure. Time to finish this series and put it behind me.

I sat down at my desk and turned on the computer, and then re-read what I had done so far. The hours flew by as my fingers worked; by noon I had finished the review and had emailed it to my boss. Here it is, with a big red bow on it, I had typed in the body of the email.

Done! It was a well-written and detailed review, and I was pleased with it. Shutting the computer off, I pushed back my desk chair and stretched my legs out, just as my cell phone started ringing.

"Em, oh my God girl, what the heck happened to you? I was starting to worry! Sheesh! What's going on? And Jacob stopped by? Spill it!"

"Hi to you too, Sarah."

I gave her a play-by-play of the weekend, complete with embarrassing moments and tales of his burger-making prowess.

"My God, Sarah, that man can make a mean onion burger!"

While I relayed all of this to her, Sarah was mostly silent, apart from squeals, sighs and laughter where appropriate.

"Holy crap, Em. That's awesome. I'm so glad you two were able to um…work things out." Giggle. "And that's completely bizarre about your dreams, but I guess that shouldn't surprise us at this point. You're not normal! It's actually pretty cool – the idea that you and Jake are 'linked' in a special way. I'm wicked jealous."

We laughed and talked for a few more minutes, and then Sarah's lunch period was over and we promised we'd talk more tonight when she got home from school.

"Thanks Sarah, for sticking by me through this whole mess. I've been a real disaster, but things are going to change now. I just feel…different." She laughed.

"Em, don't mention it. That's what best friends do. We weather the storms and the shitshows, and we persevere. And honey, that's what love does to you – it is life-altering."

"You are such a sage best friend."

I could imagine her shrugging and pretending to polish her fingernails against her chest in mock self-adoration.

"I know. It's a gift."

Talking to Sarah and retelling the last two days to her helped me put it all in perspective. Slightly nutty or not, I had been through something exceptional, and in the end, astonishing. Yes, it had been traumatic and maddening and at times made me doubt myself and the world I thought I knew. But re-evaluation is a good thing.

Was it all because of these books? I doubted it. They had most certainly played a role, though. Maybe I should send Meyer a thank you letter. Standing in my office, I let my fingers skim the covers of the books one more time, silently thanking the mysterious forces that had so altered my life. And then I gathered them in my arms and put them away on my bookshelf.