I pulled into my driveway and rested my head on the steering wheel. It was two in the fucking morning. Why? Why did I do this to myself? I was bone tired and felt like I was ready to drop dead. That had some appeal to it, since then I wouldn't have to go to work anymore.
I grabbed my purse and swung out of the car, freezing when I saw a dark shape on my porch swing. Who the hell was on my porch at two in the morning?
I climbed back into my car and shut the door, locking it as I rummaged around in my purse for my phone. My heart was hammering in my chest and my exhaustion was immediately forgotten as adrenaline kicked in. I stared at the shape for a long moment after my fingers wrapped around my phone. It didn't move but I knew it hadn't been there before I left for work.
I punched the speed dial for my best friend and bit my lip, my heart pounding in my chest. I hoped he was alone tonight. Leah slept over a lot these days and I'd hate to wake her up. She scared the shit out of me.
"Jake," I whispered, terrified, "oh thank God. Jake, there's someone or something on my porch."
I squeaked, terrified when I saw the shape start to move. I grabbed the release lever and flattened my seat so whatever it was couldn't see me. "Jake, there's something on my porch and I'm terrified to get out of the car. Can I come to your house and crash or is Leah there?"
"Why the hell are you just now getting home?" His voice was gruff from sleep. "Its two in the damn morning, Bells."
"I know but there was an emergency at the hotel with this Japanese guest and then people were late and I'm so tired and I don't know what to do." I stopped, fighting down terrified exhausted tears.
"Bells, look out your window."
There was a tap on my car window and I screamed at the top of my lungs and nearly wet my pants. Jake was standing at my window, a grin on his face. I reached up, my hand shaking, and unlocked the door. He knelt by the car and pulled the lever, adjusting my seat as I suddenly dissolved into tears.
I could hear Jake laughing softly as he pulled me into his chest. "Shit, I'm sorry Bells. I really didn't mean to scare you."
"Why didn't you just let yourself in?" I sniffled, pulling back and wiping my eyes with the hem of his t-shirt.
He smoothed my loose hair back and kissed my forehead. "I got here a little before 11 and figured you'd be home any minute. I must have fallen asleep at some point. It's really nice out."
I nodded and hiccupped softly. I sighed and stood up, grabbing my purse again and locking the car behind me. Jake stood too and smiled at me hesitantly.
"Are you ok?"
I glared at him and swung my purse around, hitting him squarely in the chest. "No, you fucker, I thought I was about to be attacked by some creepy psycho hobo or something."
He rolled his eyes. "You were in your car. Why didn't you just leave?"
"I didn't know where to go."
"You can always come to my apartment."
"Well, you weren't there now were you?" I was starting to get annoyed. Jake pulled his key out and unlocked the front door, pushing it open and stepping back to let me in first. "Besides, Leah isn't exactly my biggest fan."
He sighed. "Well, that's not something you have to worry about anymore. We broke up."
I froze in the middle of unbuttoning my jacket. "Shit, I'm sorry. When?"
"Is that why you came over?" I asked, kicking off my heels.
He nodded. "Among other things." He ran his fingers through his hair, studying me tiredly.
I sighed and hung my jacket up on the hook by the door then turned and wrapped my arms around his waist. "I'm sorry."
He laughed softly and kissed my hair, his arms wrapping around me. "Why are you sorry? You didn't like her and I just scared the shit out of you…almost literally."
I playfully swatted his arm as I pulled back. "I know but you liked her. You were with her for what, two years? I figured you'd marry her."
He followed me down the hall to my bedroom and settled in the small armchair while I ducked into my bathroom to change. "I may have but I realized a few things today and…I don't know. It doesn't seem like a good idea to marry someone who all my friends and family don't like."
I grinned to myself when I heard the TV flip on and settle on a game of some kind. I got ready for bed quickly, washing my face and brushing my teeth before grabbing my hair brush and heading into the bedroom. I settled on Jake's knee and handed him my brush. He rolled his eyes but started to brush my hair for me. He'd never admit it and probably call me a liar if I told others, but he secretly loved brushing my hair.
"So what'd you realize today?" I asked, closing my eyes sleepily as he gathered my hair in his hand and carefully brushed out the tangles.
"I realized I don't love Leah."
"That's a good thing to figure out before marrying someone," I agreed.
He hummed his agreement. We sat in silence, the game the only sound other than the soft whispering of the brush tines through my hair. Jake finally set the brush down on the table next to the chair and kissed the back of my neck. "Done."
I nodded and stood up. "So you want to crash here tonight?" I asked needlessly. He'd already toed out of his shoes and was in the middle of pulling off his shirt.
He laughed softly as I cracked the windows to let in the warm night air. Yet another part of living in South Carolina that I loved: balmy summer nights that meant I could sleep with the windows open. "Of course. Do I need to go to the guest room?"
I shook my head. "No, we're both single at the moment so there's no significant other to worry about pissing off."
I folded back the quilt and crawled under the sheet, staying on the side of the bed so Jake could have the majority of it. He flipped off the lights once I was situated and a moment later I felt the mattress sag under his weight. I was drifting off quickly but still rolled over to snuggle against Jake. Being best friends for nearly twenty-five years created a level of comfort neither of us had really been able to establish with anyone else. He wrapped his arms around me and I sighed contentedly.
"So am I your wing woman again?" I slurred.
"No, I think I'm done with looking."
"Celibacy doesn't suit you, Jake. You get mean."
"I'm not planning on celibacy either, Bells. I'm planning on you."
"Me?" I must be asleep already. Jake and I had danced around this for years now, no way was he going to just leap in there now. It was like we had some sort of unspoken agreement to pretend that the drunken confessions a few years ago hadn't happened.
"You." He kissed my forehead again and it was a little different this time. "I realized today that it's always been you and it's always going to be you. I compare every woman I meet to you and hold her up to impossible standards. Today I realized I should just be with you."
"Shit, is this a dream?" I laughed softly. "No way are we already admitting our feelings."
"Bella." Jake pushed me back from him slightly, tipping my chin up. "This is not a dream. I'm being honest here." He lowered his mouth and covered mine with it. His lips were warm and soft and perfect. Better than I'd thought it would be. "But we'll talk more in the morning. For now, sleep."
I stared at him in shock, then nodded dumbly. Whatever had just happened, I'd figure it out in the morning.
I woke up the next morning to Jake's hot breath on the back of my neck. He was snoring loudly, his breath moving my hair in a way it tickled my ear. His arm was wrapped securely around my waist, anchoring me to the mattress and his chest. I rolled my eyes and started to wriggle out of his grasp carefully. Nature was calling and I was not one to ignore her. I managed to get to a point where my butt was free and my lower half was somewhat off the edge of the bed, but my face was now pressed against Jake's chest.
His skin was warm and smooth. I always teased him about waxing or shaving, but was secretly envious my Native American friend seemingly had less body hair than I did. Jake responded once that as a race, the Native Americans were just sexy that way.
"What are you doing, Bells?" his raspy morning voice startled me and I jerked away from him, landing hard on my butt.
"I have to pee," I said in a small voice.
He laughed as he pulled himself over to the edge of the bed and looked down at me affectionately. "So go."
I pushed myself up awkwardly and made my way into the bathroom. "So what time are you working today?" he called after me.
"I'm taking today off," I called back, the irony of the situation striking me. I'd never been to the point where I really felt comfortable with any of my exes hearing me pee and yet, I'd actually peed in front of Jake a time or two on camping trips as kids.
"I figure working from 7 am until 2 am yesterday warrants it, don't you?" I flushed and turned on the water to wash my hands and brush my face.
"Works for me."
"What about you?" I asked, poking my head into the bedroom with my toothbrush in hand.
He grunted. "I have to find an apartment. Since Leah and I broke up, she wants me to move out. Go figure."
I made a sympathetic face at him as I brushed.
"Think you could go with me?" he looked hopeful.
I grinned and nodded, returning to the bathroom to spit and rinse. "Ooo, or better yet, move in with me," I exclaimed, coming back into the room and crawling into bed next to him. "You always said you'd live with me if you could. Just do it. We're not in college anymore so it's not like Dad or Billy can really complain too much."
He looked at me with surprise as I practically bounced on the mattress in my excitement. I loved my little house, I really did, but if I were going to be really honest, I hated living alone. It was downright creepy at times. And there was that whole safety factor. Charlie had given me a little gun that was in my nightstand drawer but I was afraid to use it. In fact, the bullets were in the bathroom medicine cabinet. I was pretty sure I'd get murdered before I had a chance to load the gun and fire it.
"You want me to move in? Isn't that a little fast?"
I frowned. "Twenty-five years is not fast, Jacob Black. Fast would be if we met twenty-five minutes ago."
He pushed me lightly, catching me off balance and making me lose my balance and topple backwards, doing a summersault off the bed. I landed with a whump on my back.
"Maybe I should live alone," I grumbled when his shocked face appeared over the side of the bed.
"I didn't realize you were so easy to knock down," he teased. I grabbed his jeans off the floor and tossed them at him, draping them over his head.
"Yeah yeah," I muttered, climbing back into the bed. "You're just a fucking giant with super strength and I'm a little midget or something."
He was laughing now and I pushed him, doing absolutely nothing. This turned into a small wrestling match, which Jake, as usual, won. He was sitting on my thighs, my hands pinned above my head in his. I stuck my tongue out at him and started to tug lightly against his grip. He grinned and leaned down, his lips stopping centimeters from mine. My breath caught in my throat.
"So you don't think me moving in with you after only really admitting I love you last night is too soon?"
"Were you for real about that?" I asked softly.
"Fuck yes." He brushed his lips against mine. "I'm done looking for the wrong women, especially when I've got the right one right where I want her." He kissed the juncture of my jaw and my neck and I sighed softly.
"What if I don't feel the same?" I asked, forcing myself to tease since I couldn't move my body and wrap my legs around him like I really wanted.
"Oh you do. I know you Bells." He grinned at me and released me, sitting back, his legs on either side of me.
I propped myself up on my elbows and grinned at him. "Oh you do, do you?"
He nodded and stretched out beside me, trailing his fingers along the bare skin between the top of my panties and where my night shirt had ridden up. "I do. You're a little flushed, which means you're turned on. You're about to start blushing like crazy because I just said I know when you're turned on."
I hit him with a pillow as I felt my face heating up. He laughed and grabbed my forearms, pulling me against his chest. "I know when you're upset because you won't look me in the eye. If you do, you burst into tears. When you're scared, you call me and let me come rescue you, even if you're seeing someone. When you're happy, really happy, you have this great belly laugh that is incredibly infectious and I can't help but join in.
"I know that you hate coffee but drink it anyway because you need the pick-me-up it gives you every morning.
"You hate fishing but you go with me and the dads every time because you love all of us so much."
"This is all information you got from knowing me for 20 years," I protested "not because you love me."
"But because I know you I love you. I know you so well, Bells. I know when you're grumpy and when you're pissed and everything. No one knows you like I do."
I pushed up and studied him. "I know you pretty well, Jacob. I know that when you're plotting something from the gleam you get in your eyes. I know when you've been around people too long because you get snippy, even with me. I know the best way to fix that is to send you out into nature by yourself for a while.
"I know that you want kids more than anything in the world and that you want to raise them on the res like you were raised. I know that you've already got names picked out and that you secretly buy little baby items you don't want anyone to know about." His eyes widened at that one and I grinned. "You're such a girl sometimes."
He pinched me lightly. "You're wrong. There's something I want more than kids."
"Yes really. I want you more than anything in the world. You're going to be the mother to Annessa and Molly and Lucas and Bill."
I laughed. "Bill huh?"
"Bill." He pulled me down and kissed me again, a real lover's kiss this time. I sighed against his mouth and let myself melt against him.
"So what are we waiting for?" I asked softly.
"What do you mean?"
I grinned. "Let's just do it. Let's have a baby."
His eyes widened and I felt another part of him wake up. "Are you serious?"
I shrugged and shifted my arms so they were around his neck. "Sure. We love each other, we know each other. Let's have a baby."
"Oh yeah. We could do that first if you want."
He laughed and pulled me against him for another kiss. "Sure sure, but can we practice the baby stuff first?"
Tali: I know, this is weird. Sorry. I kinda liked it. It was another dream I had. Let me know what you think!