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"You seriously don't celebrate Thanksgiving?"
Jacob burst out laughing at Bella's expression. Her mouth was twisted up on one side down on the other, her brow was creased, her nose crinkled.
She looked like she might cry.
"We seriously don't."
Bella only stared, eyes wide, unblinking.
"Oppression of our people blah blah," Jacob clarified.
"But it's not like that now. It's not about… Geez, Jacob. Seriously?"
Jacob laughed again, and Bella scowled, kicked at his shin uselessly.
Finally he held up his hands. "I know it's not like that anymore, Bells. Just…" He shrugged. "It's not a tradition for us."
"Okay," she murmured and "Makes sense," before shaking her head violently and putting her hands on her hips.
"Jacob Black, Thanksgiving is an excuse for pie and obscene amounts of roasted bird. How are you not into that?"
Jacob started laughing (again), pulled her into a hug, kissed her hair with "Silly Bella. Who needs an excuse?"
Bella shrugged out of his embrace, shot him a cross look dipped in blush, cleared her throat.
"Okay. What if I made turkey and pie tonight. Would you and Billy come over and like, eat it, and be, you know, thankful?"
Jacob was waving her keys in her face immediately. "To the store!" he exclaimed with a final jingling flourish.
Bella grabbed the keys, rolled her eyes at his extreme enthusiasm.
"Okay, but you're not coming."
Jacob pouted. "What? Why not? I'll be good."
Bella sighed. "No you won't. You'll want to buy… stupid things. That aren't right for Thanks - " she caught herself, smiled sweetly. "Tonight's Random Turkey and Pie Eat-a-thon."
Jacob nodded with a sheepish grin. "True. But… come on. How are you gonna reach the top shelf without me?"
He patted her head and she groaned, acquiesced.
They returned from the store with everything they needed and, predictably, a bunch of stuff they really, really didn't.
All Jacob's doing.
Bella tried valiantly to leave the snowcaps and the chinese spinach in the truck, but Jacob cheerfully lugged all the bags into the kitchen, clapped his hands together and said "Let's get to work."
Bella frowned. "No way. I don't work with a sous-chef."
"Sous-chef?" Jacob asked skeptically. "Doesn't that mean like… I'm under you? Cos I don't think I like the…" he grinned, physically incapable of resisting the joke. "Or you know, that could be fun."
Bella sighed heavily, wiped at her floury face with floury hands.
Cooking was hard work when you had to watch someone like a hawk simultaneously.
So far the snowcaps remained untouched, but she'd noticed Jacob edging suspiciously toward the cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese? Really, what the hell is he gonna do with that?
She sighed again.
Guess I'll find out in a few minutes.
She'd needed to pee badly for a half an hour now, and it really couldn't wait a moment longer. There was nothing for it, she was going to have to leave Jacob alone with the turkey.
Bella was only gone a couple of minutes, but apparently Jacob's wolfy super-speed extended to fine motor skills.
He'd managed to chop the parsley and the chinese spinach, mush them up with the cottage cheese and god knows what else, and was already halfway through… is he shoving that stuff under the skin?!
Bella closed her eyes, breathed, opened them.
"What… are you doing?" she asked finally.
"Stuffing the bird!" Jacob replied simply.
"That's not how… It's supposed to… and cottage… and…"
Bella was beet-red.
Jacob just kept grinning and stuffing.
"Relax, Bells. It's going to be awesome."
Bella took two quick steps forward, slammed her hands down on the table so hard it sort of hurt.
"Exactly how is it going to be awesome Jacob? You're doing it completely wrong."
Jacob pulled his hands out from under the skin, surveyed his work.
"It's not wrong, Bells, it's just different. Trust me, I saw it on TV. This is totally the new thing."
Bella's lip quivered. "I don't want the new thing. I want the old thing and you've ruined it."
Jacob chuckled because she looked like she was going to cry again, stopped for the same reason.
Jacob stepped around the table toward her, swiftly, silently. "You really need to chill out."
Bella gritted her teeth, clenched her fists. "Oh I do, do I?"
"Yeah," he said gently. "Just… relax and… try something new."
"Try something… new," Bella echoed falteringly.
Jacob nodded, a subtle smile on his lips. "Yeah."
Bella wanted to look away. She wanted to take a step back. Maybe even a hundred steps back. She wanted to roll her eyes, drive to the store, buy a new turkey and damn well make Jacob pay for it.
She did none of those things.
Bella did none of those things, and suddenly Jacob's eyes were soft and full of lovely, dangerous things, things she found she couldn't escape. Suddenly his hands were lifting from his sides, slow and smooth, like a wave rolling to meet her, the sound of it rushing in her ears, wide, wet and inevitable as she stood stock-still, staring up at him, barely breathing as his body bowed over hers, his fingers closer and closer to her face and she was –
Bella stepped away at the last second.
Jacob's heart seized and twisted, his face and hands hung loose.
It sounded too loud and tight like guitar-strings.
He managed to force himself to look up at her, smile even if it was half-hearted.
Bella smiled back even though she hadn't meant to.
"Your hands are covered in turkey… parts," she said quietly, nose wrinkling.
"Oh right." Jacob's expression lightened and he waggled his fingers at her. "Gross. I get it."
Bella bit her lip, eyes at the ground, nodded. "Kinda."
She was grateful when Jacob headed for the sink. She took the opportunity to scurry out of the kitchen and into the living room, fiddle pointlessly with placemats.
Bella was feeling more or less composed thanks to the placemats, almost ready to turn, head back to the kitchen when Jacob took hold of her arm, did the turning for her, leaned down too quickly, too easily and kissed her without warning.
She nearly stumbled on the spot from the shock of it, grabbed onto his shoulders to keep steady - just to keep steady - felt him smile, open his mouth and press closer, slip a sure hand down to the small of her back, the other still at her cheek or in her hair, she wasn't sure.
When he let up Bella didn't let go. But her mouth and eyes did pop open simultaneously. They stayed that way for too long and eventually Jacob had to laugh (yes, again).
"What? My hands are clean now," he said softly, running his thumb over her cheekbone as if to prove it.
Bella nodded mutely, and her fingers trembled as they crept upward, touched the skin at his neck.
He was kissing her again, or she was kissing him, or both, when the door opened and Charlie came lumbering down the hallway, called out "Is that pumpkin pie I smell?"
Charlie eyed the placemats, muttered a quick hello to a beaming Jacob, got a too-loud, too-polite reply.
Bella was hiding pink cheeks behind her hair, wringing her hands.
Charlie raised an eyebrow, then shrugged. "So. Pie?"
"Yep, pie." Jacob said proudly. "And a turkey too. A damn fine turkey."
Charlie frowned. "It's not Thanksgiving yet though."
Jacob nudged Bella lightly, practically sang "Oh it's sure Thanksgiving for me Chief Swan!"
Bella didn't know whether to laugh, cry, hit him or run for the hills.
Charlie just gave him a weird look, shuffled over to the couch, turned on the TV.