"It's the Simple Things"

A Bella and Jacob Fic
"The Rain Scene" Challenge
Disclaimer: SM owns the Twilight series. I own squat.

Notes: *Set sometime between New Moon/Eclipse. Quil has already phased and Edward hasn't returned.

*Thanks to ILuvWolves for beta-ing for me! 3 you.

Bella sat down by her window, picking up her dog-eared book to read. She tried to focus on the words of the page she was on, but she felt restless. She was bummed that Jake hadn't called to see if she wanted to hang out with him in the garage. Turning back to her book, she read a few more lines when she heard someone yell her name.

"Bells! Come on down!" Jake called up the stairs.

Bella dropped her book immediately and hurried down the steps. Right at the bottom she tripped on the steps and was caught by a pair of strong, russet arms before she did a face-first dive onto the floor.

"You are such a klutz," Jake said with a snicker.

Bella just rolled her eyes. "Sure, sure," she muttered.

"Come on, Bells. We're doing something different today." He grinned mischievously.

Bella allowed him to drag her out the door. He pulled open her truck door; apparently, he had run over here. Running was his favorite part of being a werewolf, so it didn't surprise her. In the truck, he tugged Bella over to him immediately and tucked her under his arm. Bella felt that familiar twinge of unease; that he wanted more than she was able to give.

"So what are we doing today that is so different?" Bella asked curiously.

She saw the corner of his mouth turn up, flashing that sunny smile that always warmed her to the core. "It's a surprise," he replied smugly.

"Am I going to like this?" she asked dryly. "You know I'm not fond of surprises, Jacob."

"Well, um… do you like games?" he teased.

"What kind of games?" Bella asked suspiciously.

"Sports type games," he answered and she tried to force back the ever-present sadness and pain when she remembered the baseball game with the Cullen's. Then Bella realized he was telling her they would be playing this sports game.

Nervously, she glanced up at him. "Uh, Jake, did you hit your head too hard and forget I don't play sports?"

He laughed. "Don't worry about it, Bella. Everything will be just fine."

He wouldn't answer any more of her questions, so she just rested her head on his shoulder, feeling the butterflies take flight in her stomach as she worried about what they would be doing. She watched the trees whip by in a blur and soon enough Jake was pulling into the gravel lot at First Beach.

Jake twined his fingers with hers, and Bella allowed him to lead her down the path to the beach. She heard male voices laughing and arguing over something as they came into view. Some were sitting in the sand, others perched on logs. The whole pack was there along with Emily and Kim.

"Hey man! Hey Bella," Quil called out cheerfully.

Jake went over to him and Bella hesitantly went over to Emily and Kim. They were laughing and greeted her warmly, inviting her to sit with them. Bella glanced around, unsure just what Jake had in mind. There were no bats, balls, or any type of sports paraphernalia lying around, so she had no clue just what kind of game they would be playing. She also had no idea why she had to be here for this, though she was glad to spend any time she could with Jacob.

"So, um… do you have any idea what exactly is going on here today?" Bella asked quietly.

Emily smiled. "Not really. Apparently it's something they made up on the spur-of-the-moment and said that we all needed to be here."

Jake came over and sat with her, wrapping a warm arm around her. Aware of the side-long looks she was getting, Bella gently tried to extricate herself from Jake's hold, but he was having none of it. With a sigh, she leaned against him, but kept her hands on her lap. He was just too warm and it felt too good. She was becoming addicted to the feel of him against her. Everyone chatted for awhile until Sam stood up with a stretch.

"We ready?" he asked, his usual stoic expression a little more light-hearted.

The pack all jumped up eagerly and split into teams. Sam, Paul, and Embry were one team. Jacob, Jared, and Quil were another. With that settled, Jake turned to Bella with a grin.

"You want to go first, Bells?" The whole pack began laughing.

She bit her lip. What the heck was he up to? She didn't want to go first, whatever it was that they were doing, but Jake grabbed her hand and hauled her up. The air was getting cooler, and Bella could see the rain clouds scuttling in as Jake led her toward the empty expanse of beach. Quil and Jared lined up at one end, while Jake tugged her along with him to the other end. The other team was scattered haphazardly.

Butterflies took flight in Bella's stomach, but she was swept up into Jake's arms before she could do anything. "Jake," she protested in surprise, but suddenly he was running.

Bella couldn't help her shriek as she saw three huge boys barreling toward her and Jake. Her grip tightened around his neck, holding on for dear life. She was light-headed as Jake spun to the side and ducked down, avoiding Paul's arm as he took off toward Quil. She gave a squeak of surprise as Jake dumped her into Quil's arms, and she again was flying across the beach and then over the invisible line that gave that team a point.

As Jared ran her down the beach, Sam intercepted him and stole Bella away. He swerved all over the beach until she felt as if she'd be sick. He gained a point for his side. Soon Bella couldn't help laughing as she ended up back in Jake's arms and he took a flying leap with her, catapulting them over the line.

Jake finally put her down and Bella, dizzy from all the running and jumping, made her way unsteadily to the log to gain her equilibrium back. Jared hurried over and pulled Kim behind him for her turn. Emily was laughing at her as Bella nearly tripped over her foot in an effort to sit down.

"Well, not quite what I was expecting," she managed to mutter a little breathlessly.

Emily was laughing. "But hardly surprising," she said with a grin.

The game continued like that for awhile as Emily got her turn. Bella was back out there again, laughing and feeling completely light and happy after everything that had happened. Suddenly the skies opened up and it began raining hard. The game drew to a close and Bella turned to look at Jake. She was struck silent at the sight of him.

The whole pack stood there, shirtless, as the rain poured down. She barely even noticed that she was getting soaked. They all were tall, with the same broad shoulders and chests and water cascading down their bodies, but Bella couldn't tear her eyes off of Jake. His hair was saturated, dripping little rivulets down onto his shoulders and sliding down his chest. A little shocked at her reaction, she watched the raindrops cling to his nipples and slide down the hard muscles of his abdomen and over the V that suddenly became fascinating to disappear below the waistband of his pants.

Her mouth went a bit dry as his smooth, russet skin glistened from the rain. He was indescribably beautiful. Her eyes traveled back up to his face; to his eyelashes that were beaded with rain drops. His eyes met hers and his face was intense. Bella blushed furiously at being caught so obviously checking him out. All the times she had told him she was his friend and nothing more, now she had to go and blur the lines, making the situation more confusing. Yet she had been becoming more aware of the fact that she was attracted to Jake, she just didn't want to admit it out loud. If last night's dream was any indication…

She had always thought Jake was beautiful and had even told him so, but Jake in the rain was a sight to behold. She was amazed she hadn't noticed before. She turned away awkwardly and helped Emily and Kim pick up the food and put it in the cooler. She trudged up the path and felt Jake come up behind her.

"You're shivering," he said. "Come on, lets go back to my house and we'll get you dried off."

She walked in silence and the rain began to slow down. She wasn't sure what to say after having been caught eyeing him up like a piece of meat. Bella peeked at him out of the corner of her eye, but he didn't seem too bothered; in fact he looked rather smug, which naturally began to irritate her.

At Billy's, Bella stood in the kitchen shivering as Jake got her a towel. She turned and saw Jake standing in the doorway, watching her now. Bella froze under his stare as his eyes took her in. Swallowing hard, she reached out for the towel.

"You know, you could probably enter and win a wet t-shirt contest," Jake teased.

Bella felt her whole face flame in embarrassment as she yanked the towel away from him and wrapped it around her small frame. "Shut up, Jake," she muttered.

He laughed softly. "Oh come on, you were checking me out, it's only fair," he said his eyes twinkling.

She glared at him. "I'm going home," she snapped and made to open the door. Jake's hand stopped her as he curled his fingers around hers.

"Please stay," he said softly. "Come on, Bells, you know I didn't mean to upset you. It just sort of happens accidentally. And often."

He gave her a winning smile, and a reluctant giggle escaped. "I'll stay for a little while," she said turning back to him. "But I want something to change into," she added, giving him a look.

He pretended to look affronted, but he went and got her a pair of sweats and a t-shirt from his pre-wolf days. After she changed, she sat on the couch and was immediately tucked under Jake's arm. She sighed, but leaned into his heat. She mindlessly watched some show on Discovery, but her thoughts were on Jacob as he continued to gently tug her closer or stroke his hand over her shoulder or arm.

"I'm going to get a drink," she told him, getting up and immediately feeling the loss of Jake's warmth. She was confused; it felt so good to be snuggled into Jake, but every time they were together, it seemed to move closer and closer to something else and it worried her.

As she pulled a soda from the fridge and cracked it open, she again felt that unbearable ache of sadness when Edward came to mind. She closed her eyes against the pain. It made it more difficult because while she kept insisting that she and Jacob could be nothing more than friends, she had still had that dream about him last night. In the dream she had gotten annoyed with his pushy attitude, yet she had reached up to hook her hand around his neck, pulling him down to press her lips against his. His lips had been so soft and warm, his hands moving down her back to her…

Bella was startled out of remembering her dream when the boy in question rubbed his hands up and down her arms. "You okay, Bells? You look a little strange."

"I'm fine," she mumbled, taking a sip of soda.

He followed her back into the living room and eyed her as she sank back into the worn sofa. "Bella?" he questioned softly.

When Bella looked at him, he reached out and caught a lock of her hair in his fingers, lightly stroking it. His eyes stayed glued to hers, and she lowered her gaze. "Jake, don't," Bella whispered.

He sighed. "I'm just going to come right out and say it. I think it has been obvious to both of us that I've had a crush on you since you moved back to Forks and we met again at the beach. And it was obvious I still liked you when you came to me a few months ago and we started hanging out."

He paused, and she swallowed hard, staring at the worn, but clean, brown carpet. Her eyes traced over the diamond shape patterns. She was afraid to meet his eyes, to see the emotion there.

"I know you're still hurting, Bells, but I just want you to know I love you. I'm in love with you; I think I have been for awhile now," he whispered.

Bella's stomach flipped, and she glanced up. His dark eyes were soft as they roamed her face. She stood up quickly, walking a safe distance away. "Jake," she said. "You're making this so much harder than it should be. I really wish you wouldn't."

Bella saw the hurt flash in his eyes, and she nearly ran over to him to comfort him. She knew she wasn't exactly making it easy either. Then she saw the bitterness that she hated seeing on his face. "It shouldn't be difficult, Bella. You like spending time with me, you like me, and it's not like he's coming back," he said, annoyance sparking in his eyes.

She glared at him, feeling the sting of loss that Edward's absence provided. "And you don't know how to respect boundaries, Jacob. You never did."

"Maybe you should stop saying one thing and doing the opposite. Don't even pretend you don't like when I hold your hand or put my arm around you."

Angry tears were beginning to brim in her eyes as that hit her hard. "I'm leaving," Bella managed to mutter, stomping over to the door and yanking it open. Tears dripped down her cheeks, cold as the wind blew against her face.

Just as she reached the truck, she heard Jacob come outside and put his hand on the door from behind her. Bella spun around, pissed that he was still pushing his luck, and met his dark angry eyes. The wind was blowing his messy black hair, making him look a bit feral.

"You need to stop running away Bella. We should get this out once and for all," he said irritably.

She lifted her hand to slap him, but apparently her hand had a different idea than her brain. It curled around the back of his neck, fingers spearing into his hair, urging him to lower his head just like it had in the dream. He did without hesitation and their lips met. Heat poured over Bella, coursed through her veins, as their lips brushed. She stretched up on her toes as Jake leaned further down. Their lips met and brushed, met and brushed, until they finally settled into a rhythm.

Suddenly Jake's hands were tugging Bella against him, stroking over her hips, her back, up her sides until he was cupping her face. His lips were as soft as she had dreamt and as warm. The kiss grew deeper and Bella lost herself in the taste and feel of his moist tongue rubbing against hers, gently exploring the inside of her mouth. She did the same and felt the heat pool low in her stomach, sending tingles racing over her body.

The kiss slowed and Jake rested his forehead against Bella's. They breathed each other in. She knew this wasn't going to solve anything, but she knew it had been coming. Maybe over time it could grow; Bella had no idea. She just knew that deep down she loved Jake and he loved her.

"That was amazing," he whispered, his lips caressing her cheek. Bella's eyes drifted shut. "And I'm sorry I upset you."

"I'm used to it," she mumbled. "This… I don't know what this is," she added, unsure of how she was feeling.

He laughed softly, but then his voice grew serious again. "Me neither Bells, but we'll figure it out. Together." As his lips pressed against hers again in a soft, sweet kiss Billy went rolling by them on his way home from Sue's.

"It's about damn time, you two," he grumbled, laughter in his voice as Bella continued kissing her best friend.