A/N: Last chapter folks… enjoy!

And if you're interested, I've got the first chapter up of my new fic in case you're interested and want to check it out.

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The months seemed to slip by so quickly when I was with Jake. We spent as much time together as possible; doing homework together, going out on Friday or Saturday nights, spending nights in curled up on the couch with a movie, making love on every possible surface we could and often.

For Halloween he thought we should dress up as characters from "The Nightmare before Christmas," so I dressed up as Sally and wore a patched dress with white make-up and black zigzags on my skin to portray stitches. He dressed as Jack Skellington in a black cape and skull mask. We both had a good laugh at dressing up; it wasn't typically something I would do but we had fun at the big sorority and fraternity Halloween bash anyway.

I had too much school work and since Charlie wasn't real big on holidays, I spent Thanksgiving at school. I talked to him on the holiday, and he promised me we would do something for Christmas instead. So Jake and I hosted Thanksgiving at his apartment. Jess, Angela, and Alex decided to stay for part of the day and eat with us and then go home for the rest of the holiday. I cooked a small turkey, I ordered Jake to make the mashed potatoes and gravy, Jess and Angela got the vegetables and cranberry sauce ready and Alex set the table and soon we were sitting in front of our feast.

Jake had a couple bottles of wine for us; bought courtesy of his twenty-one year old friend. We each had a glass and raised it in a toast. Thanks had been given and my eyes locked with Jake's, thankful he had come back into my life and lit it up again in all the best ways possible.

Now it was crunch time before the Christmas holidays. I was excited to go home and see Charlie. I had spoken with my mom and she made me promise to come to Florida to visit her for the New Year, and I agreed. I was hoping I could talk Jake into going with me. The past few months had been such a whirlwind of Jake and school that I realized I had neglected to even inform my parents we were dating.

I figured going home for Christmas would be when I told Charlie; he would be excited since he was good friends with Jake's dad, Billy.

I hurried to my Creative Writing class. Once situated, I listened to the last lecture before the holidays and then we spent the rest of the class working on our stories that had to be submitted before we left school. Once class was over, I stopped off at the cafeteria to grab a turkey wrap before heading back to my room.

I ate my lunch while I assembled what I would need for my other class. Jess came in, too, in a hurry.

"Hey, it's my usually absent roomie! How goes the couple life?" she said as she breezed in and began rifling through her desk.

"It hasn't been that long since you and I hung out," I said dryly. "And it's great, thanks."

She snickered. "So, you and Jake heading home in a couple days?"

"Yeah, we leave on Friday. I have two more classes tomorrow, though they aren't anything major." I tossed her the other half of my wrap and she gave me a grateful smile.

"Well, I'm sure we can all catch up at the holidays, but I need to run. I'll talk to you later, okay?" she said giving me a swift kiss on the cheek.

I finished up some work, picked up my bag and went straight to my next class. It was close to dinner time by the time I was finished for the day. I immediately headed straight to Jake's apartment. His roommates were heading out the door as I entered the building.

"Hey, Bella," Tom said. "You and Jacob have the place to yourselves tonight. We're heading home for the holidays. Enjoy!" They both smirked at me and I felt my cheeks warm as I wished them a nice holiday and hurried up the steps to Jake's apartment.

Inside I smelled something really good and poked my head into the kitchen. Jake was at the stove stirring something that was emitting those amazing smells. "What's all this?" I asked in surprise.

He turned his head to give me a quick kiss as I peered around his arm. "It's penne pasta with broiled tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ricotta cheese. I'll sprinkle some red pepper flakes on it, too."

My eyebrows raised in surprise. "Wow, that's fancy for you. I didn't know you could cook anything other than grilled cheese sandwiches," I said trying to stifle a giggle.

He fake-glared at me and said haughtily, "Well there are many things you don't know about me then."

I snickered. "Yeah, like how you apparently know how to turn the oven to broil."

I squealed with surprise as he began chasing after me. Laughing so hard my stomach hurt, I ended up thrown over Jake's shoulder with my backside being spanked.

"Ok, ok, uncle!" I managed to gasp between laughs.

I giggled at the look on his face, but then he caught my lips with his and my giggles turned to soft moans. "Okay, I need to finish this before I burn it. I only made it once – as practice – so I don't want to mess up."

I smiled at the sweetness of that and set the table while he finished. We talked about Christmas, about seeing our families, and New Year's while we devoured the pasta dish which was delicious. Once the dishes were cleaned up, we sprawled on the couch and watched a movie.

A little over halfway through and Jake apparently got bored; his hands were creeping under my shirt and down my pants. His hands were everywhere.

"Damn, Jake, you're like an octopus," I muttered as his hands moved around unable to decide where to land.

He laughed as his hand settled on my left breast, his fingers tweaking my nipple. "Hmmmm…" I murmured. His warm lips settled on the pulse in my neck. I arched my neck, loving the smooth glide of his lips over my neck.

He reached over and flicked the television off, scooped me up and tossed me over his shoulder as he bounded to his bedroom. "Jake!" I cried, laughing, as he dropped me onto his bed.

I had nothing more to say as his lips found mine, as his hands tugged my shirt over my head, and then moved to pull my pants off. He was naked in record time, and I reveled in the feel of his bare skin brushing against mine as his tongue circled my nipple and his thumb circled my clit. I reached down and gave him a light squeeze, eliciting a groan from him.

"Now Jake," I whispered, biting his ear gently. "I want you inside me now."

His hands slid from my hips, up my ribcage, and then my arms where he locked our fingers together; he pressed them above my head, moving between my thighs. I pressed my hips up eagerly, rubbing myself against his stiff cock. He smirked down at me, spreading my legs wider with his knees, and then he thrust himself deep inside.

"Yessss…" I sighed my pleasure.

His hips pounded against mine as I wrapped my legs tightly around his waist. It was undeniable; neither of us could get enough of each other. I couldn't move much as he continued with his fast, hard pace. All I could do was hold on, kiss every bit of skin I could reach as we rocked the bed in our desire for each other.

He leaned forward, brushing his pelvis right where I needed it, and I came with a force that left my body straining and cries spilling from my lips; his grip tightened on me and I could feel the sweat on his body melding us together as he came with a heavy groan.

He rolled off of me, pulling me over so I was sprawled on top of him. "Mmmm," he sighed. "Perfect way to end the evening."

I smiled, tracing little patterns over his chest and stomach. "Hey Jake?" I asked hesitantly. I had been thinking about things that had never been said between us that bothered me a little and decided to try and weasel some info out of him.

"Hmmm?" he murmured.

"So, how did you, um, get so good at this?" I asked a bit shyly. I felt kind of stupid, but I wanted to know and I was all about being indirect.

Jake laughed. "Good at this? Bells, are you trying to ask me how many women I've been with?"

My cheeks warmed, and I hid my face in his neck. "I guess," I mumbled.

"Do you really want to go there, Bells?" he asked. "I mean it's all in the past anyway."

I glanced up at him. "Why? Was there a lot?"

He chuckled. "No honey, not an abnormal amount. I had a relatively serious girlfriend for my first year and she was my first. I had a one-night stand, and I dated someone else for a little awhile after that. And then there was you. How about you?" he asked.

I bit my lip, wondering if I had really wanted to know that. "Well, there was Edward," I said quietly. I felt him stiffen, but he stayed quiet. "He was my first. Then I had a sort-of, and then you."

"A sort-of? What's that?" he asked laughter in his voice.

I explained to him what happened and then he was laughing hysterically. I rolled my eyes and smacked his chest, but I couldn't help giggling at the absurdity of it. "What a fool," he chuckled. "He missed out," he added, tightening his arms around me.

I smiled. "Jake, did you… did you love her?" I asked softly.

"Kat? My first? I don't think I was in love with her, but I cared a great deal about her. It could have ended up like that if we were together longer, I guess."

I nodded, unable to ask the question I really wanted. I didn't know why I felt so chicken about it. He kissed me lightly. "Night honey," he whispered his voice a little slower and deeper as sleep began overtaking him. I sighed, figuring I could work up the courage another day to ask.

My morning class dragged the next day. Once it was over, I was heading across campus to stop at the library. I tried to burrow into my jacket as I hurried, the cold weather nipping at my cheeks. Just as I neared the library, I briefly saw a guy and a girl standing nearby. His arms were around her in an embrace, and I saw him lean down and she stretched up to give him a kiss. They were grinning at each other. I turned to go into the library when I did a double-take. The couple standing nearby was a girl I didn't recognize.

My eyes widened in disbelief; the man was Jacob Black.

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I stood in the kitchen at Charlie's house, staring unseeingly into the refrigerator, trying to decide what to cook for dinner. I took out some just thawed chicken and a bunch of vegetables. Simmering the chicken, I began to chop the vegetables for stir-fry, blinking back tears.

I had arrived back at Charlie's a couple hours ago, my bags up in my old room. I was supposed to leave tomorrow evening to come back to Forks with Jake, but under the circumstances, I just went straight back to my room and packed my stuff up. The last classes I had weren't integral, and I had finished my work anyway. I spoke briefly with my teachers and neither of them had a problem with it. I talked to Jess and Angela on the phone, sniffing back tears, and they were supportive of me and promised to visit immediately when they came back to Forks.

Charlie had been ecstatic to see me if his huge hug was any indication. Charlie wasn't much of a hugger. He noticed something was wrong, and he asked me if I was okay, so I forced a smile for him. He watched me with concern after I had showered and changed into pajama pants and a t-shirt. I finally shooed him away to watch the game while I got dinner ready for the two of us.

Sniffling while I prepared the rice, I couldn't help but wonder what was going on. I had been so happy with Jake, and he seemed happy with me, but I couldn't figure out what I had seen. I had chickened out – again – and just left with no word. He had looked really cozy with that girl.

I finished dinner up so Charlie could eat; I knew he had to work the overnight shift at the station tonight. So we ate dinner together, making occasional small-talk about school, work, and what had been going on at home while I was in school.

A few hours later, and a couple more short crying jags in the privacy of my bedroom or bathroom, Charlie was upstairs getting ready for work when I heard a banging on the front door. Surprised, I stared at the clock. It was almost nine; who would be visiting now?

When I opened the door, Jacob stood there, the rain sliding in rivulets down his beautiful face. I had the overwhelming urge to leap into his arms.

"What the hell is going on, Bella?" he asked abruptly. He looked irritated, upset, and a little down-in-the-dumps. "I went back home after class expecting to find you, but then found out you left for your dad's a day early and without telling me. I was really worried."

"So… what? You decided to be a stalker and follow me?" I asked, trying to keep my voice from shaking.

For a second he almost looked like he wanted to laugh. "I live in this town, too, Bella. I wouldn't exactly call it stalking."

I wanted to kick myself for speaking without thinking. Instead I rolled my eyes, irritated, and turned to go back inside. I was afraid I would do something stupid, like kiss him and forget everything. It was what I really wanted to do.

He followed me, alternately pleasing and annoying me. "So, are you going to tell me what has your panties in a twist? I can't imagine what happened that would make you leave with no word when we had plans to come here together. And you're obviously upset about something."

I spun around to face him as we ended up in the kitchen, but I snapped my mouth shut when Charlie came downstairs. "Jacob!" he said in surprise. "What are you doing here? It's been a long time, but it's good to see you!"

"Hey Charlie," Jake said with a smile. "Good to see you, too. Just got back in town and needed to talk to Bella."

"I didn't know you two were still in contact," he said, eyeing me, as he got his snack for work out of the fridge.

"We saw each other at a wedding back in the summer," Jake said conversationally. His eyes met mine as he added, "And I ended up transferring to the University of Washington. Bella and I started dating about three months ago."

Charlie's eyes widened and he coughed. "Oh, um, really? Wow. I didn't think that would ever happen… well, again… but I'm glad. I'm sure Billy will be, too."

I just stayed quiet. Charlie seemed pleased, and I didn't feel like ruining his moment.

He eyed us again. "Well, anyway, I'm sure I'll be seeing more of you now. Maybe we can all get together on Christmas?"

"That would be great, Charlie. I'll mention it to my dad."

When Charlie left, I stared at Jake. He sighed, leaning his arms on the counter, and stared back. "So? You want to tell me what's going on?"

I fiddled with the bracelet on my arm and didn't meet his eyes. "I saw you," I said quietly. "Near the library earlier today with that girl."

I peeked up at him, and he looked confused. "What? You mean Elena?"

I shrugged. "You looked pretty damn cozy and intimate with her."

He was quiet for a minute, and then he said, "She was in school with me. She was a cheerleader for our football team, a team that I was a part of. She was here for a game. Elena is a good friend of mine, that's all."

The words sank in slowly. "You… you kiss all your friends?"

He sighed. "Bella, she's affectionate. It means nothing. I'm sorry you saw that and jumped to the wrong conclusion, but she means nothing by it. I can ask her to tone it down."

I blinked back tears. I was so stupid. "I'm… I'm sorry," I mumbled, turning away from him, feeling like a hormonal idiot.

He was quiet, as I stood facing the refrigerator and trying not to let the tears fall.

"Did you really think I would cheat on you, Bells? I mean, really?"

I bit my lip. If I had took the time to think instead of reacting, I knew I would have realized Jake was right. He wasn't like that. "No, I don't think you're like that."

He looked at me in confusion. "Then why?"

"I didn't take the time to think about it, but we never said I love you or made any commitments," I said quietly.

"I didn't realize…" he trailed off. "Bella, why on earth do you think I transferred schools? Just so I could have a steady booty call? I thought that implied just how much I love you. I fucking adore you, Bells. I guess I should have said it, I can admit that. I just thought you knew."

My cheeks warmed at the thought, and I felt a shaky smile cross my lips. He loved me. I didn't realize how much I needed to hear it. "He really did a number on you, didn't he? I didn't realize just how deep it went," he continued.

Confused, I glanced up at him. "What? What do you mean?"

He sighed, coming closer, his hands lightly cupping my shoulders and smoothing down over my arms. "Your dickhead ex, honey. I think your scars run a little deep. You know me; you know I'm not a cheater. You never used to run from me. We could talk things through. You had confidence in yourself and now some of that seems to be lost."

Having it brought to light made me realize just why I had so much trouble connecting with anyone after Edward cheated on me. Jake was right; I hadn't felt like I was worth the trouble to get to know. I had lost a part of me, my self-esteem, when it happened. Here I was running from Jake, not talking to him, making a mountain out of a molehill when I could have just talked to him or said I love you first.

A couple tears slid down my cheeks. "You're right," I whispered. "I tried so hard to bury it, to believe it was nothing to do with me, but now I'm pushing all my insecurities onto you."

He cupped my face gently, his eyes meeting mine. "I'm not your ex, honey, but I'm also not going to coddle you. You are the one that needs to work on your self-esteem, not me. You know I'm behind you completely, will support you, lend you strength, but you have to work on yourself. Don't get lost in me or behind me. I'll stand up for you, but you have to stand up for yourself, too. I'm too selfish to let you be on your own, but I believe you can do it and be with me at the same time."

It was a tough pill to swallow, but I knew he was right. I laid my head on his chest, breathing him in. "Jake?"

"Hmmm?" he murmured, his lips grazing my hair.

"You're right; I'm going to work on myself. I definitely don't want time to myself, but I won't expect you to always save me, not when I can save myself. I know I can count on you for anything, but I also know I have to let go of what happened with Edward. I do trust you, Jake. Thank you."

He kissed me. "Good. And you're welcome."

I took a step in the right direction for once. "I love you," I whispered.

I felt his smile against my lips. "I love you, too."

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Jake was sprawled on the living room couch, and I knelt between his legs, unbuckling his belt as our eyes met and held. I was taking charge for once; I had been letting Jake initiate everything, and it was time for me to do so. His pants and boxers now down at his ankles, I knelt between his legs.

I smoothed my hands up and down his bare chest, feeling every ridge of muscle, leaning down to trace them with my tongue. He sighed deep in his chest in contentment. I smiled, feeling powerful. My fingertips danced up the inside of his thighs, watching him squirm as it tickled.

I kissed the indentation of his hip, feeling his thick, hard cock brush against my cheek. I turned and nuzzled him, giving him a testing lick. I had never done this for him before, and the growling sound in his throat was proving he liked it already.

I slowly kissed along the length, ending with taking the tip into my mouth and giving a slow, experimental suck. He groaned, his hands reaching for and tangling in my hair.

"Bells…" he groaned. "Baby, that feels so good."

I lightly fisted him at the base, again teasing his tip with my tongue, taking him slowly an inch at a time. His hips were pulsing, trying to get deeper, but I could tell he was trying to restrain himself so he didn't get too rough.

The pleading, the moans, the swear words spilling from his lips had tremors shuddering through me. I tried to keep from rubbing myself on anything; I wanted him to fuck me into oblivion.

Unable to listen to his pleas and hold back on him, I took him in as far as I could. He filled my mouth and the heavy groan and muttered, "Fuck yes," turned me on as I began sliding back. I drew all the way back to his tip, just to inhale him again.

"Bella, Bella," he moaned eagerly. "Oh fuck, baby, that feels fantastic."

His words spurred me on and I moved faster, sucked a little harder, and fondled his balls until he was incoherent. I pinned his hips down and pulled back with one slow, continuous suction and he cried out, gripping my hair as he came into my mouth. His hips tried to thrust, but I held him down until I drained him.

I let him go then, and he slowly thrust his hips, pushing a little in and out until I pulled back.

"Holy shit," he gasped, the sweat beaded on his brow. "Baby, that was amazing."

I smiled; thrilled I had given him an incredible blow job, considering I wasn't overly experienced at it. He sat up and kissed me deeply, his hand sliding between my naked thighs. His thumb zeroed in on my clit, his fingers gently probing inside me.

I whimpered at the feel. He pulled me onto his lap, so we were face to face. His mouth nipped and kissed, moving in on my neck where he gently bit the skin, sucking at it. I moaned, my nails digging into his shoulder. Just as he built up some steam with his fingers probing at me, he pulled them away. I had a split second to realize he was hard again just as he pulled me down onto his cock.

He stood abruptly, and I wrapped my legs around his waist in surprise, feeling him slide even deeper as my weight shifted downward. I laughed as he hurried us up the steps to my old bedroom, smirking as I saw his eyes fixate on my bouncing breasts as he hurried us along.

We tumbled onto the bed, and he began thrusting vigorously into me. I gasped as his hips collided with mine, banging my headboard against the wall.

"Oh… God, yes… oh Jake, yes!" I screamed as my body bowed and an orgasm ripped through me. He panted and cried out my name as he emptied himself inside of me.

Exhausted, he collapsed against me, pinning me down with his weight. I tried to even out my breathing as he rolled off of me and curled his body around mine.

"Night, baby," he slurred. "I love you."

"Love you, too," I mumbled and passed out cold.

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The next morning Jake took me with him to visit his dad. His sisters arrived shortly after, having driven in from Port Angeles where there flight had arrived. Billy was thrilled to see us together and couldn't stop beaming.

He hugged me tightly. "Bella, it's good to see you again. I'm so happy for you and Jake."

I smiled, tickled at how pleased he was.

The afternoon was spent lounging at his dad's house, helping him brighten the place up with some of the old decorations his mom would put up. Later on we decided to part so we could do some Christmas preparation. His old friends were coming home, too, and I knew he would want to spend some time with them. Jess and Angela showed up, and I explained what happened to them. They both gave me a big hug, happy I was willing to try and work on things. They stayed and helped me decorate Charlie's place for him, since all he managed to do that year was put up a Christmas tree which was still bare.

Once I finished that, they left to see their families, promising we would get together the day after Christmas. I wrapped the gifts I had bought in Seattle. That night I lay in bed, a little lonely, but feeling that it was important for us to find some separation here and there. He called me, though, and we talked into the wee hours of the morning. I loved sex with Jacob, but it was nice to just be able to talk about our lives and what we hoped to do in the future.

He told me he played football on the beach with Quil and Embry and that he was thinking of joining the football team again and teased me, telling me I should become a cheerleader. I told him I was thinking of joining a creative writing group that met locally in Seattle. He talked about his mom, told me he missed her. He was happy with the invite to go to Florida to visit Renee for New Year's. I began dozing off after awhile, so he whispered a goodnight to me.

Christmas Eve we spent with our fathers. Charlie put the game on and we snacked on homemade pizza, raw veggies, and pigs-in-a-blanket. Christmas morning I cooked a ham and made a green bean casserole. I knew Jake's sisters were making pies; Sue Clearwater who would join us as well was making filling and turkey. Charlie and I exchanged gifts; he got me gift certificates to a couple bookstores, which was the main thing I wanted. I gave him a team jersey of his favorite football team.

We carted the food down to the Black's and set everything up. Quil and Embry, even thought I hadn't seen them in a few years, were happy to see me and both gave me huge hugs. While everyone was distracted getting the food ready, Jake pulled me to the side and wrapped his arms around my waist. He kissed me sweetly, touching the tip of his nose to mine.

"Merry Christmas, Bells," he whispered in my ear.

I grinned, happy as could be, and whispered back, "Merry Christmas, Jake."

He kissed me again.

When we broke apart, we realized everyone was watching us. They all pretended they were busy doing something, but I saw Billy and Charlie smirking and rolling their eyes at us. I sighed, but Jake laughed. Since we had an audience, he dipped me down and planted a doozy on me. When he pulled me back up, everyone was laughing and my cheeks were bright red.

The meal was delicious and everyone was happy. Jake gave me my gifts afterward; he had somehow managed to find a signed copy of my favorite book and got me a beautiful silver necklace with a small drop pearl on it. It was a perfect gift and I was thrilled. I gave him a leather corded bracelet to replace the worn one he had and tickets to see his favorite football team play in Seattle. He hugged me particularly hard which made me laugh.

Once dinner was cleaned up, Jake told Quil and Embry he would play football with them again, but first he wanted me to go for a walk with him. I complained that it was cold, so he bundled me up in his immense, warm coat that trailed nearly to my ankles.

His fingers would around mine as he led me down the path to First Beach where we had spent a lot of time together in high school. The drizzle had turned to a light snow and began coating the branches of the trees and our eyelashes.

His breath steaming in the cold air, he stopped near the driftwood log we had found as teenagers. "It's still here?" I said in surprise and laughed.

"Yep," he said with a grin. "I love this spot. So many memories."

I looked around, seeing the trees coated with the light dusting of snow and our driftwood log. The sky was a soft gray and the ocean looked calm and pretty as the snow swirled and danced around us. It was a perfect spot.

I looked up at Jake, the snow sparkling in his hair and eyelashes. "We'll also make a lot of new memories," I said quietly so as not to disturb the stillness.

"That we will. I love you, honey," he said.

"I love you, too," I said before his lips met mine on that cold, perfect Christmas day.

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