When Love Was New Contest

Title of Entry: If You're Mine

Your pen name: independenceindividuality

If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit: When Love Was New C2 Community

A/N: Hello, girls! This is my very, very close-cutting entry for the When Love Was New Contest. I just couldn't pass the opportunity up once I found out about it! An idea stuck and I couldn't shake it, so here we are! I did my best to meet the requirements, and I hope I don't shame the challenge's name! The contest is not open for public vote, but I'd still absolutely adore to hear all of your thoughts. You girls really do rock my world.

Disclaimer: I in no way claim ownership of anything recognizable. If you don't recognize it, though, consider it mine (whether it really is or not). :)

Dedication: This dedication is split in two very different directions - to my friend Katie, who went over and over this with me and without whom I most likely would not have made this deadline. And to MJ, the King. Inserted here is my little homage to him and his legendary moves. Music will never be the same.

If You're Mine

. + .

"Can we go to the beach tomorrow?" Nessie asked, rolling onto her stomach and bouncing a little on her bed even though her Momma always told her not to. Jacob never told. "And can we jump from the cliff - the high one this time?"

"Whatever you want, Nessie," Jacob told her, like she knew he would. She bounced again in happiness and Jacob smiled, looking up from his notepad. They were drawing. "But you have to do it with me holding you - you know that's the rules."

"I know that," Nessie said, rolling her eyes. It was true, she did. Besides, she would be too scared to jump from that high without Jacob holding her anyway. He made her feel safe. "But last time you would only jump from the top with me once!"

Jacob looked at her from over his pad with wide eyes and an exaggerated expression and Nessie couldn't help but laugh.

"That's because you started wriggling around like a little snake as soon as we hit the water and I was scared to death I was going to lose you!"

"I was only trying to help you swim back up to the top," Nessie reminded him, but her smiled faded a little when she remembered how worried Jacob had been once they broke the surface.

"Yeah, well, you scared me, little girl," Jacob retorted, but he was smiling, so Nessie didn't feel so bad.

She sat on the bed and Jacob was on his stomach on the floor. Nessie watched quietly for a minute as Jacob sat up and put down his black pencil, then studied the rest of them lying on her mattress. He picked up brown and red, then laid back down.

Nessie looked down at the picture she was drawing. It was a picture of Jacob's house, but it couldn't hold her attention - she wanted to be at Jacob's house. He had so many cool video games that he let her play and Billy and Rachel were there and Rachel made her cookies and Jacob let her eat as many as she wanted and let her stay up later. Sometimes even an hour later than her bedtime.

But that wasn't even the best part about Jacob's house - it was just that it was Jacob's. She liked taking naps with Jacob in his bed; he was always so warm and snuggly, even if he did snore. She didn't even need covers when she slept with him.

Tomorrow she would get to go to Jacob's house though - she didn't have lessons! It was Saturday and those were the days Nessie got to spend the whole day with Jacob. They were her favorite. She spent all week thinking about what they would do. They spent time together on other days too, but never the whole day like Saturday.

"What about a bonfire?" She asked, remembering when Jake took her to to one of the bonfires on the beach a few months ago. The colors were really pretty. "Can we make one - just a small one for me and you?"

She always had to be home by eight (she was only allowed to spend two nights at Jacob's house a month, which she thought was really unfair), but it had started getting darker earlier now, so they might have time.

Jacob just smiled. "We can if you want."

Nessie grinned in triumph. She was so excited about this Saturday! What else could they do?

"First - in the morning, can we go see Claire?" Nessie asked, bouncing again at the idea. Jacob was the only one who could take her to see Claire at Aunt Emily's. She knew she should wait for Jacob to answer, but she already had more ideas. "Then we can go to your house and Rachel can help me make cookies for you - we can even take them with us to the cliff!"

Jacob was still smiling, but a little bit like he was thinking about something else. He was biting on his lip, something Rachel told him not to do, and he kept looking up at her, but not saying anything.

"Sure, sure."

Jacob put the red down and picked up the orange.

"And I can bring a book with me and I'll read it to you while you make the fire!" Her head was spinning with ideas - this was going be their best Saturday ever. She already knew what book she was going to bring. "You liked hearing Robinson Crusoe, right? And we still have a few chapters left."

Nessie was a little disappointed when he didn't respond. She knew Jacob didn't like reading as much as she did, but he said he always liked it when she read to him and it seemed like he really liked Robinson Crusoe. He kept stopping her to ask questions and talk about it and then when she would stop on her own, Jacob would poke her and tell her to keep going.

She thought he would like the idea. Nessie loved doing stuff with Jacob, but she felt bad sometimes about making him take her everywhere and do everything for her. She wanted to do something Jacob would like too - that's why she mentioned Robinson Crusoe and the cookies.

"Jacob?" She asked quietly, but he only mmm'd. He was hunched over his paper. He set down the orange and picked up brown again. Nessie sat silently, thinking of what she could say while Jacob put down the brown once more and got the blue. "We . . . we don't have to do that stuff. We can just go to your house and watch . . . watch football or something. Or a movie that you like."

Jacob stayed silent, making long strokes with her blue pencil.

Nessie bit back the tears of rejection that wanted to well up in her eyes. Was Jacob angry with her?

She jumped a little in surprise at the knock on the door. A second later, Momma peeked her head around.

"It's eight-fifty, Renesmee," Momma reminded her, nodding to the clock on the wall. "You know what that means - time to start getting ready for bed."

Nessie wanted to groan, but she knew better. She didn't want Jacob to leave now, especially if he was mad at her. What if he didn't come tomorrow?

"Five more minutes, Bells," Jacob asked from the ground, still drawing with the blue.

Her Momma's name was Isabella, but everyone just called her Bella - sometimes Jacob called her Bells. Like her real name was Renesmee, but Jacob called her Nessie. He said he gave her that name the day she was born.

Or like how she called Jacob Jake sometimes.

Momma looked down at Jacob on the ground and laughed.

"You can take your crayons with you, Jacob," she teased, even though they were colored pencils and not crayons. She knew her Momma said it like that to make it sound like Jacob was a little kid. Nessie knew Jacob was a grown up, but he was the coolest grown up because he liked doing kid stuff too. "You don't have a bedtime."

And she knew her Momma said it like that to make it clear that she, Nessie, did. Bedtimes, as Jacob would say (but Nessie wasn't allowed to), sucked.

When Jacob didn't move from his place on the ground, didn't even look up, Momma sighed. Jacob was always really good at getting more time from her Momma - but Nessie did best when it came to Daddy.

The rest of them were easy - all Nessie had to do was look like she was sad, but with Momma and Daddy it was work.

"Five minutes, Jacob, seriously," Momma said, and Nessie tried not to smile. Jacob didn't, he was smiling straight down at his paper. "In five minutes, you had better be on your way to La Push. Nessie still needs time to get changed and into bed."

"Sure, sure," Jacob said, still not looking up from his paper, and Momma rolled her eyes. "Thanks, Bells."

Momma looked at her and her eyes got a little softer - they weren't the same color as Nessie's now, but she knew that they used to be. Her eyes were like her Momma's back when she was human. Now she was a vampire.

"I'll be back to tuck you in at nine, Renesmee," she reminded clearly. Nessie knew that meant Jacob had better be gone and she better be in her pajamas with her teeth brushed by then.

Nessie blew her a kiss, and she shut the door with a smile.

Once her Momma was gone though, her attention went straight back to Jacob. She had been happy when he asked for five more minutes, thinking that meant he wasn't upset anymore, but he still hadn't said anything to her.

Suddenly, he stood up, not looking angry or anything. Nessie felt very confused.

"All right, honey, give me my hug so I can go and you can get to bed before your Momma comes back in here and gets me," he said, holding his hands out.

Nessie stood up like he said, but she still felt kind of sad that he was leaving after acting so weird. She walked to the edge of her big bed and stretched up so she could wrap her arms around Jacob's shoulders.

"I wouldn't let her get you, Jake," Nessie said, since she wasn't sure what else to say. Jacob hugged her tight and she pressed her face into his neck since she liked the way he smelled. Like the woods.

"Aw, I know you wouldn't," Jake said, setting her back down so her feet were touching the mattress again. He looked down at her and brushed some hair out of her face. "But you should get some sleep so you're all rested up for tomorrow."

Tomorrow? But Jake hadn't even been listening - had he? Jacob leaned down and kissed her forehead. Nessie knew that meant he was about to leave.

"Well . . . " Nessie thought about the best way to find out what she wanted to know. "W-what are we doing tomorrow?"

Jacob chuckled and took her hand, putting his notepad in it.

"Whatever you want, Nessie," he told her, his other hand reaching up to tuck another curl behind her ear. "I'm yours, honey, you know that."

Yours? Meaning . . . hers? Jacob?

"Mine?" Nessie asked, confused.

"'Course I am," Jacob said, like it was something Nessie should have known already. "Who else's would I be? Now get some sleep because I want to hear at least three chapters of Robinson Crusoe tomorrow."

Nessie wanted to jump for joy. He had been listening! But why hadn't he said anything? Maybe he was just thinking about important pack stuff . . . sometimes Jake had to take her home in a hurry or leave sometimes if there was important pack stuff. One time she and Claire got left with Emily and Nessie had gotten home late - Daddy hadn't been happy.

"Okay," she answered back, quiet even though she was excited. "I will."

Jacob kissed her forehead one more time and then left through the window. Momma always asked him why he didn't use the door, but he said the window was more fun.

Right after Nessie heard Jake's footsteps disappear, Momma came through the door.

"About ready?"

Nessie glanced at the clock quickly and was relieved to see that she still had time, so she just shook her head. Her Momma came in behind her and shut the door - that meant she was going to help her get ready for bed. Nessie was more than capable of getting herself ready for bed, but she liked the time she got to spend with her momma when she helped her.

Momma walked over and stood in front of her where Jake had been and she wanted to laugh at the height difference. Jacob was so tall . . . her Jacob.

Right? Hers?

"What are you holding?" Momma asked curiously, and when Nessie looked down she realized she was still holding Jacob's notepad in her hand.

Suddenly, she was very interested to see what he'd been drawing that whole time he'd been hunched over that paper, not paying any attention to her.

Nessie looked.

It took her a second to even process what she was seeing. It was . . . her. She knew Jake was good at drawing, but she didn't know he was thatgood. It looked just like her - even the color of her hair was exactly the same, and Nessie knew she didn't have that color pencil.

That's what Jake had been doing with the the brown and red and orange; he'd been making the exact same shade of her hair.

That must have been hard. Nessie suddenly felt very special, and very, very silly at getting upset at Jake for not listening to her.

Jacob left her skin uncolored, since it was almost the same color as the paper, but he had filled in the entire background with blue so Nessie's face stood out. Nessie thought she actually looked more pretty in Jacob's picture than she did in real life.

At the very bottom, Jacob had written the date and 'For Nessie - Love, Jacob'. For some reason, Nessie felt like she wanted to cry. She wasn't sure why, because she wasn't sad. She wished Jacob was here so she could give him a wolf hug for making her something so sweet.

"Momma," she said quietly once she finally remembered she was there. "Look what Jacob made me. Isn't it so pretty?"

Her Momma took the pad from her hands and looked at it for what felt like a long time, or maybe just to Nessie because she wanted to be holding it again. Then she smiled.

"It's very pretty, Nessie," Momma said, sitting the notepad on the mattress. Then she lifted Nessie easily and set her on the floor. "I'll buy a frame for it tomorrow so you can hang it in here. Make sure you tell Jacob thank you when you see him."

Oh, she would. When Nessie saw Jacob, she was going to give him the biggest wolf hug ever.

Because he was hers.


Nessie felt hot lips on her forehead and opened her eyes a second later in her bed. She was still in her clothes, but her shoes were off so that meant Jacob put her in bed. That and the warm lips - Jacob was the only warm person Nessie ever was around.

She was kind of upset with herself for falling asleep early on her and Jacob's day, but also a little too tired to be properly upset. Last week was their best Saturday yet - they saw Claire and made cookies and cliff dived and made the bonfire, all like Nessie wanted.

And she read Jake the rest of Robin Crusoe - as soon as she was done, Jake hopped up, grabbed a stick left over from their bonfire and started a play sword fight. Nessie won, but she knew Jake let her. She had never laughed so hard or had so much fun. She was very, very sad when it was time to go home.

Today was fun too, but in a different way. They mostly stayed at Jacob's house and ate cookies and watched the Discovery Channel. It was her favorite - she told Jake they could watch one of his crime shows, but he said he didn't want her seeing that kind of stuff. So he just watched Nessie's documentaries with her.

Once it started getting dark, not moving much made Nessie sleepy, so she snuggled up under Jacob's arm as they watched TV and that was the last thing she remembered until now.

She turned over onto her back, trying to get comfortable. She felt too sleepy to get up and change into her pajamas, but she pulled her tights off from under her dress, throwing them in the floor.

Then she heard voices in the living room. Jacob's voice - her Jacob's voice.

"What's this Nessie keeps thinking about you being hers?" Nessie recognized her Daddy's voice. She also realized they were talking about her. "Did you tell her that?"

"Well, yeah." That was her Jacob's voice, she knew it anywhere. "It's the truth."

"You told her that you belonged to her?" Why did Daddy seem upset by that? It made her so happy, knowing Jacob was hers. "Did you really think that was wise?"

"Why wouldn't it be?"

"She's a child, Jacob." Right now it sounded like her Daddy was talking to Jacob like he was a child. She knew Jacob didn't like that - she'd heard him say it. "You can't give her that sort of power - telling her that she owns you - "

"Don't say it like that," she heard Jacob's voice say. Nessie unburrowed herself from her covers to hear better. "Like it's slavery or something - Nessie's not a tyrant, she's my best friend . . . I'm just hers."

"Your best friend. So do you have to be hers just yet?"

"I was hers from the second I saw her."

"You haven't told her that, have you?"

Why did Daddy seem so angry? What was it that she shouldn't be told?

"Of course not, Edward, why are you acting like this?" Nessie thought Jacob was right, whatever they were talking about. She didn't like it when her Daddy got mad at Jacob for silly things. "All I said was 'I'm yours, Nessie' - that's it. It's true, and there's nothing wrong with it - it's a fact. And it makes her happy, obviously, if she's thinking about it, so I don't see why you have an issue."

It did make Nessie very happy, knowing that Jacob was hers. He was her absolute best friend and they did everything together, but when he told Nessie that he was hers . . . well, that just made her a whole new special kind of happy. Like he was only for her, and no one else.

Jacob was hers, but she wanted to be his too.

"I have an issue because you're tying yourself to her more than is normal."

Then she heard a deep, scary sound. A growl that she recognized as Jacob.

"Don't you dare insinuate - "

"I'm not, Jacob, calm down. I - " Her Daddy cut off, then Nessie heard a low, shushing noise. "Nessie's listening."

Nessie felt nervous. Was she in trouble for listening?

"I could've told you that, Edward. Maybe you ought to pay a little more attention to your daughter instead of worrying about how much I'm paying her." Then louder, much more clearly, "Goodnight, Nessie honey. I love you and I'll see you in the morning."

Nessie wanted to call back out to Jacob that she loved him too, but she wasn't sure if she was allowed. He said he would see her in the morning, though - she already couldn't wait.

The next day when Jacob picked her up to go hunting, she waited until they were safely away from where she knew her Momma and Daddy could hear. Then she climbed up into Jacob's arms and pressed her hand to his cheek, playing him all she heard last night. She didn't like the way Jacob's eyebrows came together, like he was angry.

"Are you still mine?" She asked quietly when she was done, the question she'd been dying to know since she heard Jacob leave last night. She wasn't sure what the conversation she heard had meant.

Jacob sighed and leaned down, pressing his lips against her forehead. Nessie liked when he did that, but right now she just wanted him to answer her question. She felt very anxious.

"'Course I am, Nessie," he said finally, and Nessie let out a deep breath she didn't even know she had been holding. She hugged Jacob's neck tight, but let go to look at him when she remembered her other question.

"Can I be yours?"

She started to feel nervous when all Jacob did was look at her. His eyes looked very . . . strong.

"You're the best girl in the world, you know that, right?" He asked suddenly, and Nessie nodded shyly. Jake always told her she was the best girl in the world.

Jacob just looked at her again with his strong eyes. Like he had something important inside of him that his eyes knew how to say, but his mouth didn't.

Then he kissed the very tip of her nose and set her down.

"I'm going to get to that elk before you this time," he said next, bracing himself to take off running. Nessie noticed that he hadn't answered her question, but was too shy to ask again.

Maybe Jacob didn't want her to be his. That thought made her very sad.

But maybe Jacob's head was just busy, like the last time she thought he was upset with her but he was really drawing her a pretty picture.

"No, you won't," Nessie challenged back, even though she knew Jacob could if he wanted to. It just made it more fun.

Then she took off ahead of him. Her Jacob always let her have a head start.


Nessie sat, almost hypnotized, watching the beautiful colored flames leap and jump through the driftwood. The deep pounding of drums thudded in her chest and the smell of food and beach air and La Push helped comfort her.

It was a much different experience than the ones she had before. Her other bonfire experiences ended shortly after the sun set, with Jacob having to take her home before "things got too crazy", but now Jacob agreed that she was finally old enough to stay. The whole night!

It was really nice to be a part of something that belonged to Jacob, even if she did stick out like a sore thumb. You could probably see her white skin from a mile away on the beach.

When a big black wall crossed Nessie's path, blocking her sight of the fire, she looked up. Jacob was standing over her, two hotdogs in each hand.

"Look at you," he accused, smiling. "You bug me and bug me to take you to one of these things and then I leave you for three seconds to go get food, and I come back to find you sitting here all depressed."

"I am not depressed!" Nessie argued, scooting over on her log so Jacob, who was much bigger, would have the most room. "I was watching the fire, thank you very much, and waiting for you to get back - excuse me if I missed you."

Nessie blushed when she realized how that sounded, but Jacob just smirked. He handed her a hotdog, covered with what appeared to be - judging by the rank odor - ketchup and mustard.

"Well, I missed you too - sorry for taking so long," Jacob apologized, mollifying Nessie just enough to keep her from dumping the foul-smelling food in her hand to the sand. Why had Jacob given it to her? But then he leaned in closer, his scent covering up the stench of the meat. "I'll eat yours, just hold it for the normals."

Nessie's mouth fell into a perfect 'o' as she realized. There were many, many more people than just the pack - she had to at least pretend to be somewhat normal. She never had to before. Besides, Jacob would look pretty rude to sit there with four hotdogs in his lap while she had nothing.

"Oh, okay," she said quickly, feeling herself turn pink. "Sorry, Jacob."

"Hush with you and your sorry's," Jacob said, already on his second hotdog. Nessie tried to hold hers as far away from her face as she could without looking strange - she knew most humans didn't appear to be disgusted by their own food.

A few minutes later, when Jacob was swallowing the last of his third hotdog, she held hers out.

"Want mine?" She said, deciding to play along. "I'm not hungry."

Jacob looked around exaggeratedly to see if someone was behind them and then grinned when no one was. "Was that for my benefit?"

"If I'm going to do it, I might as well do it right," Nessie said, shrugging.

Jacob took her hotdog, Nessie's stomach jumping when their fingers brushed. He downed it in two bites, brushing his hands off on his jeans when he was done. Then he just turned to her and grinned.


"So?" Nessie asked back, feeling self-conscious.

"What do you think?" Jacob clarified, gesturing around to the groups of people spread along the beach. "Was it all you thought it'd be? Judging by the look on your face, I'd say not."

"No, no," she said, rushing to assure Jake. It wasn't that she wasn't having fun or didn't want to be here, she just felt so out of place. When she was around the pack, everyone was different. But here, the pack blended in so seamlessly and she stuck out as strange. "I just feel . . . "

"What, honey?" Jacob asked, his brow knitting together, worried now. Nessie kicked herself for doing that. Jacob wrapped his arm around her and pulled her a little closer and Nessie's stomach flipped. "Do you not feel good? Did - did somebody say something to you when I was gone?"

She heard the anger building in his voice so she shook her head quickly, dispelling that notion. Nessie continued to cast her eyes around and realized that her . . . weirdness wasn't really even the source of it at all.

She watched a couple, attached at the lips, heading into the woods and she blushed. All around them on the logs facing the fire, people were snuggling together or dancing or . . .

"Do you want to go home?" Jacob asked in her ear. Nessie shook her head, barely restraining the shiver that slid down her spine at the sensation of Jacob's breath against her ear. "Then what's wrong?"

Nessie's head felt muddled. A long, long time ago Jacob had told her he was hers. She accepted it as a fact, a given, but now the past few months had her rethinking things. It didn't feel like Jacob was hers like he used to be anymore and she couldn't understand why.

She felt herself wanting to do strange things. When Jacob gave her hugs, she wanted to hold herself there, feel his body against hers in a way she never had before. When Jacob touched her, even easy, normal touches - it made her stomach jump and her cheeks go pink.

And there was this one incident last week where they were racing through the forest, she and Jake, and when he caught her, he grabbed her from around her waist, pulling her body hard back against him. And he'd done it before hundreds of times, but this time . . . it felt so good, good in a kind of way she'd never felt before and she . . . she made a noise. That she'd definitely never made before.

Jacob immediately released her, spinning her around and asking her if she was okay and she promised that she was, even though she wasn't sure. All she wanted to do then was ask him to hold her against him like that again, but she was scared. Not only to ask, because of course she'd never do that, but at what reaction her body might have.

Until a few months ago, Nessie thought there was only one kind of good, but now apparently there were two. What was the difference?

"I just feel . . . " Nessie repeated, wondering how else she could possible end that sentence. "Like there's nothing for us to do. Everyone else is . . . " Coupled up. "Busy."

Nessie thought her eyes were messing with her when Jake's cheeks . . . got darker. Just a little.

"I didn't bring you to the bonfire so we can hang out with other people, Nessie," Jacob told her, making her stomach go tight again. "I came to show you what it was like because you wanted to see . . . do you want to do something together, since everybody's - busy?"

Nessie felt her cheeks flush, but ducked her head so hopefully her curls would fall forward and cover her embarrassment. She nodded.

"Do you want to dance?"

Nessie's stomach dropped. In a really scary, horrible, really good kind of way. Her - dance with Jacob? Close, pressed together like all those other people? She . . . she wanted to, desperately, without even understand why - but at the same time was terribly shy. She might be half-vampire, but she didn't know how to dance - and in front of all these people . . .

She nodded.

Jacob immediately stood up, grinning, and pulled her to her feet.

"I'm going to teach you how to do the traditional Quileute wolf dance," Jacob informed her, drawing her around to the side of the fire facing the beach where the least people were due to the nipping breeze coming in from the sea. "Wanna learn?"

"There's a traditional Quileute wolf dance?" Nessie asked skeptically. She'd never heard anything about any kind of dance. "How come you've never mentioned it before?"

"I've just now decided I can trust you with the secret," Jacob improvised, and Nessie just rolled her eyes. Jacob dropped her hand and stepped back. "Okay, Nessie, are you ready to learn the scared Quileute wolf dance?"

"So it's sacred now?"

"Yes," Jacob said, fixing her with a serious gaze. "If you're going to make a mockery of this, Nessie, I'm not going to be able to teach you."

Nessie immediately felt horrible. Maybe there was a real wolf dance after all, and now she just seemed like she was dumping on Jacob's culture. She would never want to do that - she loved everything about La Push and the Quileutes. It was all parts of Jacob, and she loved all the parts that made him up.

"I'm sorry, Jacob," she said honestly. "I'll take it seriously - I though you were joking. Teach me your dance."

"It's okay, Nessie," he absolved her, stepping out of his shoes. Nessie slid out of her own flats and set them aside, following his lead. The damp sand was soft beneath her toes. "Now, stand like me."

Nessie mimicked Jacob's stance, standing with her feet spread parallel to her shoulders and her arms at her sides.

"Okay, now, follow my lead." Nessie mimicked Jacob's actions as he lifted his hands and gave one deliberate clap before letting them drop. "Good, Nessie, again."

Nessie shifted her weight like Jacob did, from foot to foot, not sinking into the sand nearly as much as he did as they clapped again. They did this for a few more motions, Jacob timing them by the beat of the drum, slowing speeding up.

"Okay, Nessie, you ready?"

She nodded, preparing herself for what Jacob would do next. She still stalled unconfidently when Jacob took a huge step towards her, his arms held stiffly out in front of him, wrists dangling. She half-attempted to mimic him for a few movements, until Jacob was just in front of her, then abruptly began to moonslide back across the sand.

Nessie's jaw dropped as she placed the moves.

"Jacob Black, you are doing thriller!"

A grin broke out onto Jacob's face, but he just kept moonwalking. Not very well, Nessie might add.

"I don't see the big deal - MJ was the king!"


Surprisingly, Nessie felt tears well up in her eyes. She glanced around carefully, trying to see who else has witnessed her humiliaton. At first glance, it seemed like no one had, but that didn't make her feel much better.

She wasn't sure why she was reacting like this - maybe the surface reason was embarrassment, but Nessie was smart enough to know it went deeper than that. Maybe it was because for a second she thought Jacob was actually doing something special with her, sharing something - or that, the stupidest of all stupid thoughts - that he actually had wanted to dance with her.

Like grown ups, like everyone around them. Not goof around and make fun of her like she was a child.

Nessie was disappointed in a way that she'd never been before and she didn't even understand it. So what was the big deal if Jacob danced with her like everyone else or the way they always had, playful and fun? What did it matter?

All she knew was that it did. That she was upset, and that she didn't want to be here anymore.

Leaving an oblivious Jacob moonwalking dangerously close to the fire, Nessie snatched up her shoes and started walking. In the direction of the car, she hoped, but she wasn't really thinking about that now.

She only got a few dozen yards before she heard Jacob call after her. For some reason, this only made her feel worse - what did he want, for her to go back there so he could make fun of her again?

She sniffled and tried to hold the tears back as she kept going. She didn't even care if she got in trouble for wandering off in the dark alone. When she smelled Jacob's scent approaching, she couldn't force her legs to go any faster, although they wouldn't stop either.

Suddenly, Jacob's hot hand closed around her arm. Why was she just suddenly ready to forget everything if Jacob would just pull her into her arms? What did that mean?

"Nessie - what the hell?"

But Jacob didn't pull her into his arms. He was angry with her.

"Why did you trick me like that?" Nessie demanded, pulling her arm out of his even though she didn't want to and spinning around to face him. "You made me feel bad for not taking you seriously, and I thought you were going to show me something important, but you just made fun of me in front of everybody!"

Jacob just looked shocked, like he didn't even get why she was upset. That he didn't even get that he embarrassed her in front of everyone. Nessie tried to turn away again, march off before Jacob could see the tears in her eyes, but she didn't get more than three steps before his hand closed around her arm again.

"Hey, now," he said, pulling her gently around to face him. Nessie fought furiously to push her tears back - she would not cry like a baby in front of Jacob. "Hey, hey, Nessie . . . I wasn't making fun of you, honey."

"You were!" Nessie argued back, feeling childish and hating herself for it. "Why didn't you - I thought . . . "

Nessie reeled herself back in. She was dangerously close to saying thoughts that she knew were supposed to stay in her head.

"You just weren't having a good time!" Jacob exclaimed, and Nessie looked at what she was faced with, his broad chest, instead of his face. "I knew you had been looking forward to this and I hated to see you so disappointed - I was just trying to make you laugh, Ness."

Nessie couldn't be mad at Jacob anymore - she knew she had overreacted. Especially when he explained everything to her so sweetly, but . . . it still didn't kill the confusion and - and something gnawing away at her gut.

What was this? This thing that made her so unhappy with things the way they always had been, so wanting for . . . whatever it was?

"Listen, Nessie honey, listen to me," Jacob said, and Nessie didn't move away, her acquisition. Then Jacob grasped her chin gently in his hot hands and tilted her face up towards his. He sucked in a deep breath when he saw her tears. "I never meant to make you cry, Ness, you have to know that. I never meant to embarrass you or make you feel bad, I swear it - nobody was even paying attention to us, and if they were, they'd be looking at me being stupid, not you."

But that didn't even faze Nessie anymore. She recognized the real reason now hadn't had anything to do with whether or not all those strangers at the bonfire saw her looking silly.

"I'm sorry you didn't like it, Nessie, I haven't been to one of these things in a long time and I didn't . . . I didn't know it would be like that. I'm yours, honey, you know that."

She knew what Jacob meant. All the people coupled up, boys and girls kissing in corners or out in the open, whispering to each other, dancing together. But the fact that Jacob said that somehow just made Nessie feel worse.

And hearing him say those words - those exact same words he told her so, so long ago - well, it just made her feel horrible. Because he wasn't hers. He used to be, but now he wasn't - not all the way. Like something was missing, and - and if she wasn't hers . . . then whose was he?

Nessie couldn't stand the thought of Jacob, even a small part of him, being someone else's.

What part though? What was missing? Nothing had changed!

"Are you mine, Jacob?"

She couldn't really believe that she asked him - neither one of them had mentioned it for a long time, but . . . she wasn't sure anymore.

Jacob looked shocked, again.

"Of - of course I am."

"What does that mean?"

"What are you talking about?"

Nessie pulled away, stepped back from Jacob so she could feel a little more in control.

"What does that mean?" She asked again, louder, hating the way her voice cracked. "You say you're mine - but what does that mean, Jacob?"

"I don't understand what you're asking me, Nessie," Jacob said, honestly confused, shaking his head. The fact that he didn't understand only made it worse. He didn't feel the missing piece like she did. "It means that I love you, and that I'll . . . always be there. That I'll always give you what you want and what you need . . . what do you want it to mean, Nessie?"

What did she want it to mean?

She wanted it to mean that he loved her the most of anyone else in the world . . . she wanted it to mean that he really thought she was the best girl in the whole world. She wanted it to mean that he like being with her and doing things with her like she did.

But that was what it had always meant . . . and now there was more.

She wanted it to mean that he thought she was . . . beautiful. Not like a little girl, not pretty, but beautiful like a grown up. She wanted it to mean that his stomach flipped when he saw her like hers did when she saw him. She wanted it to mean that he felt that different kind of good when they touched too.

She wanted it to mean that he wanted . . . that he wanted . . .


And like a thousand bricks, it crushed down on her. She wanted it to mean that he wanted her too.

To be his. Not his friend, not his playmate. She wanted to be his like . . . Emily was Sam's and Rachel was Paul's. Like her mother was her father's.

She loved Jacob, she had always loved him, and nothing about that had changed, which must have been why she hadn't noticed it. It had to have been the only reason.

She wanted to . . . be with him like . . . like everyone else here, the way everyone else in her life was.

She loved him. Like, like in every movie she'd ever watched and every book that had ever been written. She loved him with her whole body - a shaky, trembly, need to touch you kind of love. A heart-pounding kind of love. Like they'd always been before, but more. Everything else.

She still wanted to bake Jacob cookies like she always did, but now she wanted him to taste the dough from her fingers. She still wanted to read to him, but she wanted him to lie his head on her stomach while she did it. She still never wanted to leave when she was at his house, but not to stay up as late as possible, just to curl up in his bed with him and sleep.

She wanted everything. She loved him, loved him and she needed to be near and around him to be breathe. She needed to touch him to be happy. Jacob was no longer just her brother or her best friend or her playmate, even though he was all of that still . . . he was the . . . man that she loved.

And that was really, really scary.

"Nessie." She jumped as Jacob reached out and took her hand, her eyes falling to his bare feet. He had left his shoes behind when he ran after her. She let him pull her a few steps closer until she was looking at both of their bare toes, inches apart. He reached up and grasped her chin again, pulling her face back up to his. "What do you want it to mean?"

She was going to say it. She might ruin everything - but she told herself she wouldn't, because Jacob was hers. He might not want . . . what she wanted, but he was still hers.

"I want . . . " Nessie squeezed her eyes tight because Jacob's strong eyes, different from the one time she had seen them before, were back. "I want you to want me to be yours too."

Jacob was silent for a long time, and Nessie felt her heart begin to break. She'd had her feelings hurt before, but that was nothing like this. Instead of running or leaving like she probably should have, she just leaned forward into Jacob's strong chest. She felt the tears well up in her eyes again as she realized how good it felt when he wrapped her in his arms, knowing now it didn't feel that same way for him.

"If you were really mine," Nessie mumbled into his chest, knowing she was sacrificing her dignity even more, but unable to stop. "You would want me to be yours too."

When Jacob still didn't say anything, she couldn't hold back the tears any longer and she gave a quiet little sob into his shirt. He smelled so good, but that only made her feel worse, like somehow it was something she could never fully enjoy. She was being silly and she knew it - if Jacob didn't want her, she should leave. She should be angry and stomp away and wait until she was alone in her bed to cry, but she didn't want to.

She wanted to be here, with him, because even though he was the one that made her feel bad, he was also the only one that could make her feel better. Nessie wrapped her arms around Jacob's back and tried to muffled her cries into his chest, surprised when she felt herself being lowered.

Jacob lowered them to the ground until they were both sitting in the cool sand. Jacob knelt back on his heels and pulled Nessie between his knees and she went. She pressed her face into Jacob's warm neck, his soft hair tickling her cheek, and her stomach tightened. She found herself wanting to press a kiss there, but she knew she wasn't allowed.

She understood now, what these knew desires were and how they worked. And it hurt her that she couldn't give into them - that something she wanted to do so badly, Jacob wouldn't want.

There had never been anything like that before. Jacob had always wanted what she did.

Then finally Jacob reached down and grasped her jaw once more, ignoring her resistance, and pulled her face back to look at him. Nessie didn't want to look at him with her teary eyes, but he wasn't giving her a choice. She blinked rapidly to try and dispel them, but it only made them run down her cheeks and probably look even sillier.

She watched Jacob bite his lip, and then his thumb reached up and brushed her tears away. Nessie still didn't feel any better though. She felt like everything she had ever known had come crashing down around her, like now that she knew there could be another way, she could never go back to the way they were before.

With his free hand, he reached down and pulled one of hers gently from his waist and brought it up to his cheek. She automatically cupped it with her palm, having done it so many times before. Nessie loved how soft Jacob's skin always was against her hand, even when he was so strong and tough.

"Show me what it means to you, Nessie . . . to be mine," Jacob said quietly, watching her with his strong eyes. Nessie's stomach felt weak. "Can you do that?"

She knew it would do no good, only embarrass her even worse, but he asked it of her and she had to give it to him.

So she used her gift, opened her mind to him, and showed him what it meant.

She showed him the things from before, the things they always did with the slight differences. She showed him lying with his cheek against her stomach while she read him Robinson Crusoe which, five years later, was still his favorite. She showed him them sleeping like she imagined, next to each other in Jacob's small bed, her leg drawn up over his.

It might have been her imagination, but it felt like Jacob's hand around her back held her a little tighter.

She forced herself to keep showing him. She would let him see everything, everything she thought really, truly being his would mean. She showed him them dancing - like she actually thought he was asking to dance with her tonight, their bodies close, his scent enveloping her and the heat from his body warming every inch of her. Swaying back and forth with him to the beat of the drums, close.

She showed herself baking cookies, Jacob hovering over her like he always did, trying to stick his fingers in the bowl. In her imagination, Nessie lifted her fingers, covered in dough, to his mouth. He took her wrist and brought it closer, taking the dough from her fingers with his tongue. He smiled wickedly when he was done, like he always did after a stolen taste, but his eyes were different.

There was no doubting it, Jacob was definitely holder her harder than before now. Was she making him angry?

So - so only one more image then. The last one, and then she would let him go.

She showed him them hurtling through the forest, catching her, and them tumbling to the ground. Jacob above her, both of them panting. Then something she'd found herself wishing would happen the past few times they found themselves in this situation - Jacob leaning down, closer until she could feel his breath. Maybe reach up and touch her cheek. His beautiful, beautiful face above her - so close, closer than he'd ever been . . .

And then Nessie, unsure if she was actually capable of closing their connection right now, loosely curled her hand into a fist against his cheek. There, that was it. She had shown him enough. She would keep the last moment for herself.

Jacob was breathing hard, like in her imagination, and then Nessie realized she was too. Jacob's hand was still over her fist, pressing lightly into his cheek.

"Is that . . . what it means for you?"

Nessie's voice felt like it was stuck in her throat, but she forced herself to nod. "Y-yes."

"You said . . . " Jacob took a deep breath, licked his lips, and Nessie found herself watching them. "You said that . . . you wanted me to want you to be mine. Do you . . . is that - what you want, Nessie?"

"I - " In one short second, Nessie thought of everything. How it all was, and how it could be. How it could never be. And she knew what she wanted, whether it was possible or not. "I . . . want to be yours, Jacob."

Jacob breathed out hard through his nose and then the hand that was covering Nessie's lifted. He pressed it to her cheek and tilted her face up towards him and Nessie was having a hard time breathing. His scent was everywhere, filtering in to her brain and turning everything incomprehensible.

Because Nessie definitely couldn't comprehend how close Jacob was to her now, or how it was making her feel, although she could comprehend how much closer she wanted to be. She lifted her chin, the smallest amount, and then Jacob was there.

His lips, smooth and full and hot, against hers. Her bottom lip trapped gently between them - Nessie couldn't think. Her body was on fire, all generating from the place where she and Jacob were connected. Her fist uncurled until she was cupping Jacob cheek again and then suddenly, she was urging him closer.

His breath was hot and like home against her face and he was holding her so tight and she could almost taste him. Then, without her body's complete permission, her tongue reached out and she was tasting him.

Like La Push air and the way a cedar wood smelled and cloves and . . . then it was gone. Jacob was looking at her, lips parted, breath panting, eyes strong.

"You always have been, Nessie."

And then, the bonfire crackling and the beat of music a thousand years old pounding behind them, Jacob pulled her lips back to his.