Author's Note: Oh, my, my. I'm back! I'm so thrilled. I'm excited for you guys to read this chapter. I love it. I don't know how in the world it ended up being so long, but the words just kept coming out. I didn't want it to end where it ended still since it would have been too long. So I saved the last part for the next chapter.

Let me know what you think. Let me know how much you have missed me. Or let me know how much you hate me for making you guys wait so long. I've been getting such nice reviews that it made me want to cry. Lol. I'm a very emotional person. Anyhow! Have fun reading this very long chapter. The next chapter won't at least take . . . I don't know . . . two months? I haven't replied to the reviews yet, sorry, but if you have any questions, let me know and I will try my best to answer them.

I love you guys and I missed you!

If you're wondering, Jacob being nosy and taking advantage of Nessie's innocence was intentional. See how he always tries to question her . . .?

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. Only the chapters.


7. Breakout


I wonder if you know I'm trying so hard not to get caught up now
But you're just so cool, run your hand through your hair
Absent-mindedly making me want you

- Taylor Swift, Fearless


Jacob awoke at late afternoon then, precisely at four-twenty-two P.M.—not that I'd been staring impatiently at the clock the entire time.

I didn't mind a tiny bit since he needed his precious sleep.

Though what I did mind was the enormous distraction that his uncovered, copper torso was. The blistery temperature of it to top off my body's absurd reaction felt so nice that it frightened me. His broad chest was roped with brawn, rising and falling not so far from my breasts. His heavy arm tossed around my waist while he dreamt was pure torture.

A delightful kind of torture. A kind that was extreme mental distress yet an unbearable sweet physical ache.

The whole time, I stroked his shaggy hair back. I'd struggled to fixate my gaze on his dreaming face when all I wished to do was lower them and capitalize the situation.

How would've that made me any better than the peeping tom? It wouldn't have mattered anyway. Jacob was shirtless half the time he was wide awake and it wouldn't have counted if I'd have allowed myself one long look at his chest. Still, my relatives had taught me a thing or two about respect.

So I'd hummed to him until the time he woke up. I had to keep myself distracted. It turned out to be beneficial, too. Fresh musical notes worked themselves through my head as I'd sung quietly, harmonizing tones to form a calm, pleasant chain of melody. I'd made a mental note to sit on the piano tonight and finish with dad's assistance. He loved to play with me as much as I did.

Jacob was more of a listener and a close spectator. I loved it when he sat with me on the bench while I played him the soft melodies I composed overnight, usually with him in my mind. I never let him know that part, though. But Jake was very aware of the fact that they were of and for him.

It was impossible to pretend that he didn't send my mind to overdrive. Mind, body and soul, all the elements that made me his Nessie. It wasn't hard for me to believe that I was crazy about Jacob. I'd known I was before I'd even spoken my first word.

But that was then; today I believed I was really insane. With the way my body had been acting, I didn't doubt that for a minute. Especially when the heat of Jacob's body had been undulating in thick electric currents between us. I tried rather fiercely to ignore it. It was very hard, though. As if the waves among us were urging me to do something.

Something really, really stupid—something I believed was not proper.

For instance, I had wished to slither so close that if I could slide any more closer, I'd be buried into him. No. It definitely wasn't proper.

I had no clue what was happening to me. I'd suspected a long time ago that I was changing but . . .

If these eerie feelings were simply a part of growing up, I didn't think I liked it very much. Not yet, anyway. Not until I knew how to tone them down. The erratic sensations were nice, though most of the times they were frustrating and somehow falling short. I always wished for more of them, at the same time, I hated them for not quenching the unknowing need in my stomach.

Sometimes, I thought I needed Jacob's kiss to extinguish the burning in the lower part of my body. But what would a kiss really do? I'd never known how kissing someone as beautiful as Jacob would feel. I disbelieved it would feel gross, however. People didn't do that for no reason whatsoever. Nevertheless, a kiss motivated by selfishness was never how I'd imagined my first kiss to be.

I could wait. I had forever for first kiss for crying out loud.

Whilst asleep, Jacob had slipped down the tiny bed a little. He had tightened his arm around my waist, his burning body so near that if I could sweat, I would have been soaked then. My heart had almost bolted out of my ribs when he had budged his massive thigh in between my legs like couple of times before, his warm lips unwittingly brushing the sensitive spot of my collarbone.

I'd shivered from head to toe when he'd been snoring against me. The vibrations from him had shimmied down my spine and into my tummy.

I'd very seriously needed to pull him closer as much as I had wanted to push him away. And the blended emotions had angered me, also terrorized me. Not knowing what I actually wanted to do was tormenting.

I hoped to God my body would get better. But what if it worsened over the coming days? Would it ever stop? I wouldn't ever want to end up being selfish and, in fact, kiss Jacob—use him to test the waters and my body's feedback. Would it be because I'd always wanted to or because I needed to?

Judging by what he'd almost done last night, it was obvious Jacob wanted to kiss me. But I wouldn't let that happen. I wouldn't let myself kiss him, too. I had more self-control than that. I could control my impulses. For how long, I didn't know.

Too soon. It was too soon to be even thinking about kissing, to be thinking about Jacob in that sort of way. He was my best friend, yesterday he was close to my . . . not brother, but as close as he could get to that.

I loved Jacob dearly, with all my heart, although I didn't want to us to be exclusive lovers. Now wasn't the time. I didn't know what I was waiting for. I didn't understand what I was waiting to happen. But I knew Jacob wasn't going anywhere. It wasn't as if he was going to run away, and I had endless time to be in love with him. To call him mine. Besides, he was already mine.

Did all of this meant I now wanted Jacob that way . . . the way a boyfriend or a husband is wanted? Could I consider Jacob as my future boyfriend now?

I warm shiver ran down my stomach. No. That would be strange. I dismissed all the thoughts of Jacob as my lover aside. They were too enticing.

I loved him now. I would love him forever. I wasn't going anywhere and neither was Jacob disappearing—I prayed. Last night, he himself had clarified that he doesn't date, so I wasn't afraid. And therefore, I could wait and hoped Jacob would, too.

The clinking of crockery diverted my train of deep thoughts.

Instantly, I struggled to resist my grin and a shake of head as I watched Jacob shoveling in the chicken dish I'd fixed for him not too long ago for late lunch. Poor Jacob must be hungry, the greedy wolf that he was. They were known for their devouring appetite for food.

The breakfast Billy must have prepared earlier wasn't going to be satisfactory, I'd known, so I'd prepared him another dish. I loved to cook for Jacob. It made me feel special to think he was eating and loved something I cooked.

I smiled and mentally thanked Grandma Esme and mom for teaching me. You tend to learn things a lot when you have all the free time in the world. Faster, as well. Not that I ever went to school or was ever going to attend. My family and Jacob always kept me occupied, teaching me new things every day.

"Is it good?"

Jacob looked up from his plate and frowned. His expression was priceless. Eating was almost certainly one of the few things he did without staring at me too intimately, even if it happened less often.

"Are you kidding me?" he said, though the words were muffled for the food stuffing his mouth. He lifted his eyebrows and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Adorable. "I love it."

I laughed, feeling my chest swell up a bit. "Thank you."

He swallowed. "I love anything and everything you cook. I love you cooking for me."

A blush surfaced my cheeks, and I bit my lip as if it was going to make it fade away. "Thanks . . . I love to cook for you, too."

"You do?"

"Uh-huh."

He grinned, exhibiting his ultra-white set of teeth. "You sure you don't want more?"

"There's no more left," I said to him and leant back against the back of my chair.

"Come here." He motioned with his hand. "You can share with me. I swear I won't bite."

I chortled. "No, but I will." Quickly, I cleared my throat and shook my head with embarrassment as I realized how tempting that sounded. "I'm not hungry anymore, Jake. But thanks."

"No wonder you're so skinny. Look at you," he mumbled as he went back to eating.

I scowled and looked down to examine my body apprehensively. "Oh, please. There's nothing wrong with my body. Look at yours." I nodded once towards his brown t-shirt clad chest.

"I never said there's something wrong with it. You're perfect." His dark eyes flittered to my blouse for a short second. "And what's wrong with mine?"

"You're huge."

"You scared I'm going to hurt you or something?"

"No." I shook my head.

"I'm monstrous?"

"No!"

A look of despondency arrogated his handsome, rugged face. He lightly dropped the piece of chicken he held onto the plate. "You don't think I'm good-looking enough for you, right? That's why you don't want to be with me."

"No, no, no." I should have known this was where Jacob was going to bring it. Didn't he know how attractive or—as I've heard in the movies—sexy he was. If only I were courageous enough to tell him that. "You said I was skinny so I said something about you, too. You're huge but I like it. It's umm . . ."

I quickly went through the record of things I loved about Jacob's body in my head to rationalize and avoid making him feel worse. It was hard to pick only one. Every fiber of his body had made it to my personal inventory of the things I loved.

Jacob waited.

"I, umm, I really like it when you pick something up or even walk or run," I wondered if I was going too far, "the muscles in your arms – your biceps flex. I think it's nice. I like how tall and dark and brawny you are. I love your eyes and your hair." I blushed. Was it too much to confess?

Jacob lips twitched. If I looked closely, I could sense he was biting the inside of his lip. "What else?" He attempted to sound disheartened. I knew he wasn't anymore. Amusement and surprise and arrogance lied under his features.

Was he serious, though? Admitting what I said earlier took a lot out of me.

I sighed and straightened my posture on the chair. "You know how you have those . . . six pack of muscles – hard as. Here—" I glided my hand against my stomach. "I love them, too."

"Eight."

"What?"

He grinned. "There's two more," he elucidated. "You can't see those since they're pretty low on my pelvis."

"Oh" was all I could say. I swallowed and sucked my bottom lip at the perverted image in my head. The inconsistent tightness in my stomach returned.

Jacob spoke something, and I quickly but reluctantly erased the mental picture.

"Huh?"

"What else do you like about my body?" he repeated.

Everything. "I'm not telling you more."

"Why?"

I laughed nervously. "Why would I embarrass myself?"

"There's nothing to be embarrassed about. I want to know."

"I don't think so."

"Tell me now, Nessie."

"No."

"Is that all you like about me? There are possibly billion things I like about you."

"Tsk," I uttered in slight annoyance. "I know what you're trying to do, Jake. Don't give me that. Close your mouth and finish your food."

"How do you expect me to eat with my mouth closed?" He grinned and chuckled.

"God . . ." I whispered and rolled my eyes.

After Jacob had finished eating, which didn't take long, I took our dishes away to the sink and washed them under warm water quickly. I was rather enthusiastic to get out and have some fun with Jacob. Whatever he wanted to do today, I'd be happy with that.

On every occasion, while I was at Jacob's place, we always either went for a walk or drove to the beach. We'd sometimes visit Sam and Emily's home where most of the pack at all times frequented. Emily was famous for her food. Everybody loved her. But most of the times, Jacob and I would spend time in his garage, playing around. Jacob played mostly, with the tools and his bike, while I watched, and I loved to.

Jacob took my hand in his large one when I was done cleaning up the table. He'd demanded me many times not to bother about it, but I ignored him. I was very fond of taking care of his home since he never did. He was always too engaged in wolfing around in the trees. Billy couldn't. Sue always visited and provided a helping hand. However, she was aging and I wondered for how long she could keep that up.

We walked outside in the brightness of the gray clouds and wet gravel. It had rained. Typical. Jacob sauntered me toward the garage.

"What do you want to do today?" he asked me as he let go of my hand and opened the big, wooden garage doors.

I shrugged. "I don't know. What were you going to do if I weren't here?"

He turned around after he let one of the doors squeak open and clicked the lights on. He grasped my hand once again and pulled me in a few strides as if I needed guidance.

"I would have come looking for you, obviously," he answered, leaning against the side of his rabbit. It made a dull thud noise as he pressed his backside against one of the door. The heavy metal dented under his weight.

"What if I didn't want to come?" Highly impossible.

"Then I would have stayed with you."

"What if I hadn't wanted you to stay with me?" I smiled and said with a hint of teasing tone so he knew I was only playing around. I didn't want to upset him another time.

"Then I would have stayed outside your house."

I laughed. "You sound like a stalker, Jacob."

He shrugged his massive shoulders. "I don't care."

"Seriously, tell me. What did you plan to do? We can do whatever you like. Your house, you rule." I shuffled closer to his body heat and picked up our twined hands. Carelessly, I played, linking and unlinking my pale fingers with his darker ones. They were excessively contrasted.

Silence filled the room for a while. I realized Jacob was gazing at our hands with too much enchantment.

Hauling his hand up slowly, I pressed it against my collarbone to heat the patch of skin there. The pleasant heat emanating from him seeped through my figure, primarily inside my belly. Intermittently, tissues commenced clenching and unclenching in the pit of my stomach, and I quickly but gently withdrew his hand from my body.

"This is your place, too, you know," he explained after clearing his throat. His voice sounded thick and huskier than usual. "I was going to wash my car but we don't have to do that."

"No, I want to. We could do that." I nodded fervently.

He leaned off the car. "Will you be okay with that?"

"Yup, yup."

Strangely, Jacob forced me back inside the house with him to obtain the car keys while he could have just left me in the garage. I questioned to myself if he thought I was going to fly the coop. Maybe he didn't want to let go of my hand? The thought made me ecstatic.

As soon as we got back out-of-door, Jacob revved up his car and drove it few meters outside the gigantic shed, close to the hosepipe where he'd be able to wash it.

Back in the garage, I helped him to search out sponges and car-washing material.

"You don't really have to do this, you know," Jacob let loose as he poured large dribbles of car-washing detergent into a bucket of water. I watched—a dry sponge in hand—as he sank his hand in the water and shook it until it lathered. "You could just sit back. It's only gonna take a few minutes."

I approached the bucket so I could get to work. "No. That's fine. You know I wash mom and dad's car. To kill time. It's kind of fun," I dipped the sponge into the saponaceous liquid and looked up at him. "I'll . . . umm . . . uh . . ."

I trailed off absently, too mesmerized. Attentively, I watched Jacob grasp the hem of his shirt and pull it over his head in a fluid motion. The tendons on his abdomen clustered and rolled like ruffling waves of russet sea. A tingle rooted in my tummy at the view of Jacob's veins snaking and pulsing in sync with his heartbeat on his bulging arms.

They were so thick. I had an unfamiliar urge to glide my hands along his wide shoulders to his forearms. I wished to feel the twitch of his muscles beneath my palm. I battled and struggled to control myself. This shouldn't happen to me. I touched Jacob all the time.

So why? Why did I unexpectedly desire to feel Jacob up now? I wanted, no, needed very badly for somebody to tie my hands back with thick, heavy chains. I could hardly defend against the urge.

He snapped his shirt and opened the car's door to throw it in.

I lowered my eyes and shuffled my feet on the ground.

Jacob turned his head to look at me after he shut the door. "The shirt was probably going to get wet. Why bother? What were you saying, Ness?"

I had already forgotten.

No. I remembered. I shifted my gaze from the gravel and to his chest then his to face. "I was saying that there is no need to worry about me. I want to help watch the car."

His eyebrows wrinkled beautifully in confusion.

"I-I mean, I'll watch you wash the car."

He grinned.

I groaned. "I meant I would love to wash you as you wash the car, and that sounds even more stupid so I should probably just shut my mouth now." I obeyed my words before frowning at my inanity. "Dang it, Jacob. Just put your shirt back on!"

He ran his hand through his shaggy, shoulder length hair, intentionally causing the muscles of his biceps, triceps and every other 'cep' to bulge and contract. Then he approached me. The exertion needed for me not to focus on the muscles of Jacob's abdomen nearly had me swooning.

When tiny, clenching sensations prickled my belly again, I shuffled my feet on the asphalt for diversion. I had to concentrate on something besides the body of Adonis nearing me.

He stopped in front of me. "Why do you want me to cover my body? I thought you liked it." His lips twitched, as though he was attempting not to beam.

"I do . . ." I sighed. "You said you liked my body, too. But you don't see me walking around half-naked, do you?"

I heard his heartbeat quicken.

He didn't answer, though an audibly low sound between a growl and a groan emitted from his chest.

The next instant, Jacob's warm hand surrounded my wrist, and he hauled me slowly toward his rabbit until my back pressed against the side of one of the doors. For an unknown reason, my heart was already smashing against my ribs, threatening to burst into flames as Jacob's exposed torso drew close.

Jacob's nearness did strange and unexpected things to my body.

I closed my eyes for a brief moment and swallowed before looking back between us once more. I noticed my chest heaving an inch or so from his. My heartbeat sped further—from frustration of my body's reaction or fear, I wasn't certain. Though, what I was certain of was that the heat on jaunt between us felt oddly nice.

I felt the muscled in my stomach do the tightening over again—was that a warning? Should I have moved away? I wish I could try. I didn't want to move away and it wasn't as if I could with the car behind me. Well, not without destroying and possibly defacing it. I wouldn't do it for I knew how hard Jacob worked on it. He loved his rabbit and so did I.

I attempted to move another time. It was futile. Still the magnetic attraction didn't release. My feet stayed braced as if thousands of strong, thick iron strings held me there. Jacob's heavy musky scent didn't assist either. He smelt rather sweet, too—detergent? I liked it.

"You want me to wet my shirt so you can see through it," he teased. "This is much better, don't you think?" The ruggedness of his voice didn't go neglected. He placed both of his hands against his car behind, beside my arms.

It took me a second to realize I was cornered in the embrace of his heat and scent. Mostly, I was trapped under the strange stare of his.

Jacob stared at me all the time, though this was different. Intense and . . . ravenous? If it hadn't been me but an ordinary human, he or she would have ran away a long ago. It was as if Jacob planned to devour me alive, as if he was a predator a fleeting second away from attacking his prey.

I shivered.

Jacob furrowed his dark brows slightly in question. "Cold?" he whispered.

Didn't he realize I was anything but cold? I was hot, in fact. He was so close to me—only one teeny step and he would be pressed against my breasts—, he was his own warm beam of sun. No one could ever feel cold by him.

"No." I shook my head so frantically that it felt awkward. "Just, uh, we should probably start the washing now before it gets dark, Jacob."

"My bare chest isn't bothering you anymore?" He smirked.

I looked up, literally looked up to really meet his eyes. I narrowed my stare. "I don't care. Don't cover it if you don't want to. I didn't want you to get cold, though. It's chilly today." That was one lame explanation.

His snigger was whispered. "I never get cold and you know that."

"Yeah," I murmured, glancing at the thick cord snaking up the side of his neck.

"Then, why did you bring it up?" he teased again.

"I-I don't know." I balled my hands into fist to recuperate some of my control and realized I had dropped the sponge on the ground. Through the peripheral vision, I observed the bulges on Jacob's arms twitch. I swallowed. They appeared menacing and made my body react in an odd way.

I had a peculiar wish to squeeze my thighs together, however if I did, I'd have to move a little and there wouldn't be any distance left between me and the tease in front of me. I was starting to believe he enjoyed flaunting his tall, dark and heavily muscled body. Who wouldn't, if they had a body like Jacob's?

"Jake, you're making me kind of . . . nervous," I admitted and sighed. "We should start now."

"Going out? As if officially?" Judging by the expression on his face, he knew I didn't mean it like that. He was testing.

"No. I meant washing your car. I have to be at the main house in a couple of hours. Grandma's teaching me some new recipes. Then I have a guitar lesson tonight, too, with daddy. I have to wake up early at about three in the morning if I want to leave with Aunt Alice and mom to hunt." I recognized the blabbering issuing from my mouth.

Jacob exhaled slowly—it wasn't quite a sigh. His hot breath made me woozy when it hit my face, and I took a deep breath as if I would be able to taste his hot air on my tongue.

"Are you scared?"

I frowned. "Of hunting?"

"Me."

"No . . ." Why? I wish I could touch him and ask him that. However, I was in no position for it. If I'd touched him then, I didn't know what could have happened to my body. It was near collapsing being as close as it was already.

"Good." Even his whisper was pleasantly rasping.

He simpered. I started to sigh when I thought the most awkward conversation of today was over.

I was wrong.

The sigh altered into a surprised gasp followed by a small moan when Jacob took the final step forward. He squeezed every bit of air from between us, along with a certain part of my body that now compacted against the top of the warm, hard plains of his ribs.

Lord . . .

Something happened. Unusual. Against the lace of the bra, my nipples hardened, which was strange. That typically happened when I was cold. And I wasn't anywhere near cold then.

What should I have done? Shoved him back? I was perfectly capable of deracinating a full grown tree that stood a hundred feet taller than me. But Jacob? I knew I wasn't powerful enough to even budge him. Not that I had ever attempted to.

Jitteriness unfolded in the pit of my stomach as Jacob moved his large hand from the car and to the nape of my neck.

My breathing accelerated. "Jacob. What —?"

"Shh." His other hand came to lie softly on my waist. My tummy flipped—what that anticipation I was feeling or anxiety? "Have you ever been kissed, Nessie?"

In warning, I tried to shift my head back, but Jacob's hand prevented me from doing so. "Y-you know I haven't," I spoke softly then gulped.

"Last night when you rejected me, you don't know what you missed."

"I thought we were passed that?"

"I never promised I wouldn't try again," Jacob acknowledged, and my heartbeat picked up another notch. "Are you ready?"

I opened my mouth, and then closed it when my breath hitched before giving it another try. "Jacob. I'm nervous."

I tensed when his sturdy looking face leaned down and close.

I closed my eyes. The lax and relaxation soon followed when Jake nuzzled my cheek. His body pressed harder against mine and backed me further into the car when Jacob carefully jerked nearer and skimmed his warm lips across the side of my face.

A shiver ran through me for a completely different reason. I wasn't familiar with the reason, though. It seemed new. Something I'd never felt this close to before.

"Don't be," Jacob spoke through a sigh. "It's me. Your Jacob. And it's going to feel good, I swear."

"Jacob?"

"Hmm?" His hand glided up my side then down to my waist again before squeezing gently.

My eyes opened. "Are you about to do it now?"

He pulled back a little, not enough to let me breathe fresh air. His strong musky scent filled my nose, flowing down my clenching throat and settling in my abdomen to present me with the tightening feeling once more.

"Do you want me to?" Hope shimmered silently in his darkened eyes.

"You . . . you said the day before yesterday that we don't have to kiss if that's what I want if we ever get together . . . in a different way. Then, why do you still keep trying to kiss me?" It came out breathless when it was meant to be forthright.

"When you know how good I can make you feel, you'd want me, too. Then we'll decide if you still want me to keep kissing you. You can't know unless you've never tried it, Ness. Tell me,"—Jacob slithered his hand from my waist and around it to pull my lower body closer to him. I sighed at the contact. It was rather blissful yet still unconventional—"How good does this feel? And don't even try and lie about it. I'd know."

I opened my mouth to protest but something incoherent and embarrassing emerged out.

"Feels good? Yes or no?" Jacob cupped the back of my neck more securely, as if training me and preparing himself for something.

I suspected I knew what that something was. My hands slightly shook at the thought of not having space to budge even a single millimeter. I was cornered. I couldn't escape. But did I want to?

As Jacob kissed my forehead and I tilted my head back, it was as though my body was screaming, 'ready!' It felt like my body had already adjudicated and was determined to catch what Jacob was initiating. My brain, on the other hand, yelled that it was too soon. And it confused me.

My body wished for something, my brain wanted me to do something completely opposite. What did my heart desire, though?

It trashed in my chest—from fright maybe? So it might want me to stop Jacob. Or did I confuse it with anticipation since it wasn't much different that fright?

"Yes or no?" Jacob repeated.

"Yes. It, um, it feels nice." My voice was shaky.

Jacob's deep-set eyes flickered between mine, searching. "I love you, Nessie, and I want to give you everything. But I can't if you don't let me. Let me love you like I'm meant to."

"Why are you so impatient to have me? I thought you only wanted to see me happy? I want you to be happy, too, but . . ." I trailed and sighed a long breath out, not knowing what to say.

"I think you'll be happier with me. You have no clue how happy that'd make me, too."

"I am already with you," I reminded.

His eyes as well as tone hardened abruptly. "You don't know what I've been through."

"Then, let's talk. Tell me, Jake."

He frowned and shook his head. "I don't think you'd like it very much."

"Just tell me."

"Later." With a determined stare in my eyes, Jacob began to lean his face down toward mine. "Let me kiss you now."

"Jake!" I figured my brain must have won since I attempted to protest one last time. Jacob's action halted a few inches away from my mouth. His jaw ticked as he clenched it with a click and tilted away. "What is wrong with you? You can't go around throwing yourself at people and force them to kiss you? Do you know what this means? I don't want this. Not now."

He glowered sullenly. "I don't buy it."

"What?" I shrugged my shoulders, a jerky act. "Jacob, you're making me angry."

He ignored me. "I hear it when your heart speeds up when I'm close to you. I know what I do to you." He grunted brusquely before softening his husky voice down a level with an intake of oxygen. "You do that to me, too, Nessie. Can't you see? You want me. I want you. We were made for each other. What the hell are you waiting for anyway? I still don't understand."

I exhaled, frustrated. "Do you have any idea how awkward it would be?"

"No, it wouldn't."

"Yes! It would. You're like my . . ." No, not brother. "You're my best friend."

"But you love me."

"I do."

"Then, just give up, Nessie. 'Cause I won't. Not now, not ever."

I rolled my eyes and shook my head at his agitation. "I'm so sick of this!" I gasped, exasperated now. "I'm so sick of you, Jake. I'm so sick of you telling me what to do – forcing me every single day when I'm not even ready. Who do you think I am? I'm not a pet of yours that you can order around." For the first time in a long while, I placed my hand against his chest and jostled him backwards.

Jacob withdrew, his rugged features forming a wounded and shocked expression. The same feeling went through me. It hurt me to see Jacob like that, and shocked me to realize what was coming from my mouth. I'd never talked to Jacob like this. Not Jacob, not anyone.

"You're sick of me?"

With a huff, I turned. I should've known where over-sensitive Jacob was going to take this—he let himself be a victim to make me feel worse than I already felt. Nice defense. "I'm leaving."

I prepared myself to take flight but Jacob's hand caught my wrist. "The hell you are."

Glaring at him, I yanked myself free. "You don't ever tell me what to do. And don't touch me!"

"I can touch you whenever I want. You're mine." He gripped my upper arm.

Again, I jerked myself free. "Says who?"

Growl vibrated through Jacob chest before he grasped my shoulders and pressed my back against the side of his car. It was gentle, though alarming. When Jacob strode forward and constricted me between him and the vehicle behind, the door of the car dented with a thud as I tried to escape.

I placed my hands against his hard chest to hinder him from moving forward. He was already too close. If he moved any closer, I wouldn't have been able to breathe.

"You were mine the day you were born."

I clenched my teeth together when I had an urge to bare them. "Jake, seriously. I'm extremely close to punching that beautiful face of yours. If you still want to keep it, move away and let me go."

Surprisingly, he didn't appear to be struck with shock or fear. His eyes glittered in amusement. That angered me further.

"The heck I'm letting you go."

"Back off, Jacob!" I snarled.

Applying a little pressure on his chest with my hands, I shoved him and, to my amazement, he retreated. Only a few inches, however. His strapping arms on either sides of me blocked my means to escape. That was fine with me. I had enough space to dip down and shoot out.

And that was exactly what I did. Until Jacob grasped my waist with both of his hands from behind and turned me around to face him once more.

"What're you doing?" I snapped when he pressed me against his car yet again. I groaned. "Let me go. You can't imprison me at your house, Jake. I'm going to tell momma to have some words with you!"

"And how exactly do you plan on tell her if I don't let you go?" He smiled contemptuously, and I wished very badly to punch it off his handsome face.

I narrowed my eyes in challenge. "You wouldn't dare."

"Try me."

"I just want to go home! I don't want to be here anymore. And don't talk to me!"

"Fine." Jacob sighed, all signs of amusement gone. He moved back a little, sliding his hands from my upper arms to my forearms soothingly. "Calm down, Nessie, honey. I'll take you home."

A thrill charged in my veins at the endearment. "I don't want to go home with you," I gasped. I attempted my hardest to ignore the way my heart was beginning to speed up again at the feel of Jacob's hand skating up and down my skin. "I'll run. Alone."

He released me completely from his body heat and grasped my hand to shift me a bit so he could open the passenger side door of the vehicle behind me.

"Get in."

"I'll get home in seconds if I run."

His features tightened in admonition. "Are you crazy? I'm not letting you run through the forest alone."

"I do it all the time!" I yelled. There was no point in running away, I believed. He was going to catch me again anyway. He was too near. If he moved further back maybe . . .

"Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever." He gestured toward the open car door. "Get in now."

"Why?" I huffed and folded my arms under my breasts. "Even mom and dad didn't let me run here today. Why is everyone treating me like a baby all of a sudden?"

"You need protection."

"I don't. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."

"You don't know who's out there," he informed softly and quickly but in a gruff manner. He was trying to stay calm. "Get in the car now, Nessie. Don't make me force you. If you don't, I'll flip you over my shoulder and take you to my room. It's either I take you home or you stay here. No running around alone anywhere."

"You're so annoying and demanding! I don't know why I love you. I don't know why I'm friends with you!"

"And you're acting like a brat today," he said. My jaws dropped as I gasped. "You know what brats deserve when they act naughty?"

"What?" I frowned, both in confusion and infuriation.

He shook his head simply, ignoring my demand. "Get in the car." He nodded over my back at the vacant seat.

I growled, factually growled at him. With a sudden movement, I turned around and seated myself in the passenger seat before Jacob could blink. Jacob closed the door and walked around the front of the car to claim the driver's side.

I bit my lip and waited.

He touched his door's handle and I made a snap decision.

I still didn't want to ride with him. Alone in the car with Jacob—I trembled. He always held my hand with one of his own and touched me everywhere whenever he drove. And that usually drove me to insanity. All the time, I actually loved it, but I wasn't it the mood for that now.

Just as Jacob opened his door and the natural musk that was his scent filled my nose, I flee out of the car and into the lush woods.


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