DISCLAIMER: The Twilight books belong to Stephenie Meyer; Little, Brown and Company; and Summit. Not me . . . sigh.
A/N: This is my first Twilight fanfic. There are several things in the Twilight saga that annoy me. This section is one of them – so I decided to tweak it just a little. A warning: This is not a complete story; for that matter, it's not even a complete chapter (I'm too lazy to tackle the whole thing). Also, I've kept much of SM's original text because I love the way she writes – I just don't necessarily agree with what she's written. So, anyway, let me know what you think.
This starts during the events in the Eclipse chapter "Wager," after Bella slugs Jacob for forcibly kissing her, and breaks her hand.
* * *
"Go home, Jacob." Careful of my hand, I climbed out of the car awkwardly, heading for the house. The engine cut off behind me, so I was more annoyed than surprised to find Jacob beside me again.
"What are you going to do?" he asked. "Since you refuse to go to the hospital."
"I'm going to put some ice on my hand, and then I am going to call Edward and ask him to come get me and take me to Carlisle so that he can fix my hand. And then, if you're still here, I'm going to go hunt up a crowbar."
He didn't answer, just opened the front door and held it for me, but I knew his eyes were rolling. We walked silently past the front room where Charlie was lying on the sofa.
"Hey, kids," he said, sitting forward. "Nice to see you here, Jake."
I gritted my teeth, shooting him a dark glare over my shoulder. His bias for Jacob, in comparison with Edward, had never irritated me more.
"Hey, Charlie," Jacob answered casually, pausing. I stalked on to the kitchen.
"What's wrong with her?" Charlie wondered.
"She thinks she broke her hand," I heard Jacob tell him. I went to the freezer and pulled out a tray of ice cubes.
"How did she do that?" As my father, I thought Charlie ought to sound a bit less amused and a bit more concerned.
Jacob laughed. "She hit me." I gritted my teeth. Again.
Charlie laughed, too, and I scowled while I beat the tray against the edge of the sink, awkwardly because I was having to use my left hand. The ice scattered inside the basin, and I grabbed a handful and wrapped the cubes in the dishcloth on the counter. A hiss of pain escaped my lips as I wound the compress around my fingers.
"Why did she hit you?" I heard Charlie ask. He still sounded too amused to suit my frame of mind, but I smiled grimly, anticipating his reaction to Jacob's answer. Assuming the mongrel told the truth, of course.
"Because I kissed her," Jacob said, unashamed.
"Good for you, kid," Charlie congratulated him.
My jaw dropped. Shock froze me in place for a moment. This was unbelievable. No. I must have heard wrong. Turning, I marched into the living room and stared at my father. "What did you say?"
Charlie had the grace to look a little uncomfortable; Jacob, lounging on the sofa, only grinned and said, "He said good for me."
I ignored him, keeping my disbelieving gaze on my dad's face. "You're praising him for forcing himself on me?"
"Come on, Bells, it was only a kiss," Charlie cajoled.
"Only a kiss?" I still couldn't believe my ears. "He grabbed me and wouldn't let go, even when I was trying to push him away!" A small part of my mind pointed out that I was acting childishly, tattling to my father like a kid who'd been pushed on the playground, but the hurt and outrage I was feeling easily overpowered that tiny voice.
Charlie straightened with a jerk. "You were struggling?" He turned a much cooler look on Jacob, who also sat up, less confident now.
"I was trying to," I said bitterly, "but Jacob's a lot bigger than I am, you might have noticed."
"Hey, you kissed me back," Jacob asserted, just as he had in the car. He sent a defensive glance toward Charlie.
"Like hell I did!" I ground out from between my teeth. Angry tears formed in my eyes.
"Calm down, Bella," Charlie told me, and looked sternly at Jacob. "Jake, you know I'd like nothing better than for Bella to leave Cullen and hook up with you, but I'm telling you now, you ever touch her again without her consent and you'll be in a world of trouble."
It was Jacob's turn to grind his teeth. Feeling slightly mollified, I returned to the kitchen and went for the phone. I dialed Edward's cell.
"Bella?" Edward answered on the first ring. He sounded more than relieved – he was delighted. I could hear the Volvo's engine in the background; he was already in the car – that was good. "You left the phone . . . I'm sorry, did Jacob drive you home?"
"Yes," I grumbled. "Will you come and get me, please?"
"I'm on my way," he said at once. "What's wrong?"
"I want Carlisle to look at my hand. I think it's broken."
It had gone quiet in the front room, and I wondered when Jacob would bolt. I smiled, imagining his discomfort.
"What happened?" Edward demanded, his voice going flat.
"I punched Jacob," I admitted. My anger was ebbing a bit, leaving mostly chagrin in its place. The throbbing in my knuckles wasn't getting any better, though.
"Good," Edward said, a trace of surprise in his voice. "Though I'm sorry you're hurt."
"I wish I'd hurt him," I sighed in frustration. "I didn't do any damage at all."
"I can fix that," he offered. He intended it as a joke, I knew, but in my present mood it sounded . . . inviting.
"I may take you up on that."
There was a slight pause. "That doesn't sound like you," he said, wary now. "What did he do?"
"He kissed me," I growled.
On the other end of the line I heard the noise of an engine accelerating. It wasn't quite loud enough to drown out Edward's snarl.
In the other room, Charlie spoke again. "Maybe you ought to take off, Jake," he suggested.
"I think I'll hang out here, if you don't mind."
"Your funeral," Charlie muttered.
"Is the dog still there?" Edward finally spoke again, his voice bleak.
"I'm around the corner," he said darkly, and the line disconnected.
As I hung up the phone, smiling, I heard the sound of his car racing down the street. The brakes protested loudly as he slammed to a stop out front. I went to get the door.
"How's your hand?" Charlie asked as I walked by. He looked concerned, finally. I was glad to see that Jacob didn't seem as relaxed as he had earlier. I lifted the ice pack to show Charlie my hand.
"It's swelling," I told him, as if he couldn't see for himself.
"Maybe you should pick on people your own size," Charlie suggested, trying to lighten the atmosphere, I supposed.
"Maybe I should've used my knee!" I muttered. I glared at Jacob in time to see him wince, and walked on to open the door. Edward was waiting, his mouth curving up at one corner . . . he'd overheard my comment, of course.
"Let me see," he murmured. I gave him my hand. He examined it gently, so carefully that it caused me no pain at all. His hands were almost as cold as the ice, and they soothed the throbbing.
"That feels good," I breathed, resting my head on his chest. I felt the touch of his lips on my hair.
"I think you're right about the break," he said. "I'm proud of you. You must have put some force behind this."
"As much as I have." Then I sighed. "Not enough, apparently."
He kissed my hand softly. "I'll take care of it," he promised. And then he called, "Jacob," his voice still quiet and even.
"Now, now," Charlie cautioned.
I heard him heave himself off the sofa. Jacob got to the hall first, and much more quietly, but Charlie was not far behind him. Jacob's expression was alert and eager. Smug, really.
"I don't want any fighting, do you understand?" Charlie looked only at Edward when he spoke, which galled me. "I can go put my badge on if that makes my request more official."
"That won't be necessary," Edward said in a restrained tone.
"Why don't you arrest me, Dad?" I suggested tartly. "I'm the one throwing punches."
Charlie raised a sardonic eyebrow. "Do you want to press charges, Jake?"
"No." Jacob grinned, incorrigible. "I'll take the trade any day."
Edward grimaced. Charlie rolled his eyes and sighed. Apparently Jacob's cocky attitude was beginning to bug him too.
"Dad, don't you have a baseball bat somewhere in your room? I want to borrow it for a minute."
Charlie looked at me evenly. "Enough, Bella."
Edward's lips twitched. "Let's go have Carlisle look at your hand before you wind up in a jail cell," he said. He put his arm around me and pulled me toward the door.
"Fine," I said, leaning against him. My anger had faded again, now that Edward was with me. I felt comforted, and my hand didn't bother me as much.
We walked down the sidewalk to Edward's car. He started to open the door for me, but I stopped him, sliding my good hand up his chest to rest on his neck. "Thank you for coming to get me."
His reproachful smile stopped my breath with its beauty. "Did you doubt that I would?" His cold fingers caressed my cheek; his sweet breath wafted over me.
"No," I smiled, "but thank you anyway." I lifted my face, exerting pressure on his neck, and he bent toward me. His mouth hovered over mine.
"You don't need to prove anything to me, Bella," he murmured.
"I know," I assured him. "But I do need to prove something to Jake." I'd heard him move to the window as we left the house, and was pretty sure he was watching us.
"He doesn't believe that I like kissing you," I murmured, thinking of his earlier remark, in the car: "That had to be better than kissing a rock."
Edward's mouth curved up at the corners. "In that case," he whispered, "let's give him something to remember." And then he kissed me. His lips were gentle, as always, but within a few seconds I was on tiptoe and my arms were curled around his neck, pulling him closer.
To my surprise and delight, he let the kiss go on much longer than usual; and when he finally ended it, I had to cling to him until the dizziness faded and my heart stopped racing. My face against his marble chest, I breathed in his scent and savored the feel of his arms around me, the touch of his lips on my hair. I was vaguely aware of the front door opening and of Charlie and Jacob talking, but it was a minute before I could think of anything except Edward.
Taking a deep breath, I looked back and Jacob was closing the door in Charlie's uneasy face. He strode aggressively down the path. My irritation returned in an instant.
Edward ignored him at first. He opened my car door and started to help me inside, but I shook my head and he closed the door again. We turned to face Jacob on the sidewalk, Edward holding me close to his side. I could see Charlie in the house, peeking through the drapes in the front room.
Jacob's stance was casual, his arms folded across his chest, but the muscles in his jaw were flexing tightly. Apparently my demonstration with Edward had had some effect. Good.
Edward spoke in a voice so peaceful and gentle that it made the words strangely more threatening. "I'm not going to kill you now, because it would upset Bella."
"Maybe," I growled. "Maybe not."
Edward turned slightly to throw me a quick smile. His face was still calm. "It would bother you in the morning," he said, brushing a kiss on my temple.
Then he turned back to Jacob. "But if you ever bring her back damaged again – and I don't care whose fault it is; I don't care if she merely trips, or if a meteor falls out of the sky and hits her in the head – if you return her to me in less than the perfect condition that I left her in, you will be running with three legs. Do you understand that, mongrel?"
Jacob rolled his eyes.
"Who's going back?" I muttered.
Edward continued as if he hadn't heard me. "And if you ever kiss her again, I will break your jaw for her," he promised, his voice still gentle and velvet and deadly. A touch of disquiet ran down my spine. Angry as I was with Jacob, I didn't want Edward to hurt him. Well. Not really.
"What if she wants me to?" Jacob drawled, arrogant.
"Hah!" I snorted.
"If that's what she wants, then I won't object." Edward shrugged, untroubled. "You might want to wait for her to say it, rather than trust your interpretation of body language – but it's your face."
"You wish," I snapped
"Yes, he does," Edward murmured.
"Well, if you're done snooping through my head," Jacob said with a thick edge of annoyance, "why don't you go take care of her hand?"
"One more thing," Edward said slowly. "I'll be fighting for her, too. You should know that. I'm not taking anything for granted, and I'll be fighting twice as hard as you will."
"Good," Jacob growled. "It's no fun beating someone who forfeits."
"She is mine." Edward's low voice was suddenly dark, not as composed as before. "I didn't say I would fight fair."
"Neither did I."
"Best of luck."
Jacob nodded. "Yes, may the best man win."
"That sounds about right . . . pup."
Jacob grimaced briefly, then he composed his face and smiled at me. "I hope your hand feels better soon. I'm really sorry you're hurt."
I just stared at him. "Really? 'Cause you don't look very sorry and you're sure not acting like you're sorry. You seem to think it's a game – or a big joke."
"A joke?" He frowned. "You think I think it's funny that you got hurt?"
"Come off it, Jake," I said, coldly. "You think it's hilarious that I hurt myself trying to get back at you for kissing me. You're glad you kissed me, never mind that I didn't want you to and that I'll probably have bruises on my chin tomorrow from where you were holding me so I couldn't turn my face away!"
In my anger I might have said more, but Edward's furious hiss brought me to my senses. "You hurt her?" His face was tense, his lips drawn back, exposing the white gleam of his sharp teeth. Cursing my stupid temper, I put my hand against his hard chest.
"Edward, it's all right. He didn't hurt me, I'm fine," I said soothingly. I saw Charlie's figure disappear from the front window and knew he'd be outside in a moment. "Come on, you need to take me to Carlisle; my hand is really starting to throb now."
"Bella – " Jacob stretched one hand toward me, a shamefaced look on his face.
In a flash, Edward angled himself between us. "Don't touch her!" he warned in a fierce whisper. The front door thudded open.
Giving Edward a hard stare, Jacob drew his hand back, then craned his neck to see me. "Bella, you're right, and I'm sorry. Sorry that I forced you to kiss me – "
"I didn't kiss you!" I glared at him.
He held up both hands in appeasement. "Sorry, sorry. You're right – again."
"What's going on out here?" It was Charlie, of course, coming down the steps. "Edward, I thought you were taking Bella to see Carlisle." He reached the sidewalk and just stood there, watching us all.
"I am." Edward had himself under control now, although his eyes still burned. I turned toward the car and he helped me carefully inside.
As Edward walked around the car, Jacob came closer. "Bella, I really am sorry about your hand."
"Good," I mumbled, fumbling one-handed with the seat belt and not looking at him. Edward slid into the driver's side then reached over to help me, pressing a quick kiss on my temple. I didn't look up again so I don't know if Jacob went back into the house or continued to stand there, watching me.
"How do you feel?" Edward asked as we drove away.
He chuckled. "I meant your hand."
I shrugged. "I've had worse."
"True," he agreed, and frowned, undoubtedly remembering my numerous injuries from the encounter with James the previous year. As the car flew down the highway, he sent several sidelong glances my way.
"You're awfully quiet," he finally observed. "Does your hand hurt a lot?"
I shook my head. "It's not too bad."
"Then what's bothering you?" When I didn't immediately answer, he asked quietly, "Did I upset you?"
"What?" I turned to stare at him. "Why would you think that?"
"Well, I did sort of lose it back there with Jacob," he replied. "When I realized that . . . mongrel . . . had put his hands on you . . . had actually caused you pain – "
He broke off, hands gripping the steering wheel, knuckles white, and took a deep, ragged breath.
I sighed and admitted, "He really didn't hurt me, Edward. I just lost my temper."
Edward remained grim. "You said you would have bruises."
I made a face. "Probably I will, but you should know by now that my stupid skin bruises if someone even looks at it. I was just mad because Jacob was acting like such a jerk about everything."
Without thinking, I reached over and rested my left hand on his thigh. I only meant to reassure him, but suddenly the car jolted to a halt. Luckily we'd already made the turn onto the Cullens' long driveway, because he was staring at my hand and not at the road. Oops.
"I'm sorry." I started to draw my hand away, but Edward stopped me. Slowly he raised his eyes to my face.
"Don't be sorry," he whispered. "I like it." His hand slid upward along my arm and he leaned toward me.
With his golden eyes burning into mine, my thoughts scattered like confetti in a wind. He kissed me, softly at first, his hard lips gentle on mine; then, as my heart went into overdrive, he cupped my face with his other hand and moved closer. His lips became more urgent; his breaths, as uneven as mine. Instinctively I reached for him.
Ow! That was a mistake. I couldn't suppress a little gasp of pain. Edward immediately pulled back.
"I'm sorry," he breathed. "I forgot about your hand."
"So did I," I said unsteadily. "That's okay; let's forget about it again."
He chuckled, though it sounded a little forced. "Tempting, but let's make sure there's nothing seriously wrong with your hand first."
He kissed me again, quickly, before sliding back behind the wheel. I needed the few minutes it took him to drive to the house, and then around to the garage, to get my head together.
It took so little when I was with him for me to lose focus. Edward had told me once that I was like his own personal brand of heroin, targeted only for him. Of course I had no actual experience with heroin, or any other drug for that matter, but if its effects were anything like the euphoria I felt when we kissed, I could totally understand the appeal.
It turned out that my hand was broken, but there wasn't any serious damage, just a tiny crack in one knuckle. Carlisle said I'd be fine with a brace instead of a cast if I promised to keep the brace on, which of course I did.
I was quiet as Carlisle worked to fit the brace to my hand. Edward could tell I was out of it and kept casting worried glances at my face.
"Are you in pain?" he asked more than once. Each time I assured him I wasn't, which was almost true.
It wasn't the slight pain that kept me preoccupied. I was thinking. Not about Jacob and his outrageous behavior – that wasn't even a concern now. No, I was worrying about something much more important.
A comment from Rosalie – "Jasper's going to win the bet" - as Edward and I had walked from the garage to the house had pretty much forced Edward to tell me about the wager between Jasper and Emmett.
They were betting on how many times I'd "slip up" during my first year as a newborn vampire – on how many people I would kill. And suddenly all Jasper's stories about newborns jumped into sharp focus.
I'd always known that I would be different. I hoped that I would be as strong and fast as Edward said I would be, and, most of all, beautiful. Someone who could stand next to Edward and feel like she belonged there.
I'd been trying not to think too much about the other things that I would be: Wild. Bloodthirsty. But honestly I wasn't too worried about that, because I trusted Edward, trusted him absolutely, to keep me from doing anything I would regret, later. I knew he'd take me to Antarctica and hunt penguins if I asked him to. And I would do whatever it took to be a good person. A good vampire. That thought would have made me giggle, if not for this new worry.
Because, if I really were like the nightmare images of newborns that Jasper had painted in my head – how could I possibly be me? If all I wanted was to kill anyone I happened upon – strangers . . . friends . . . even Charlie - what would happen to the things I wanted now?
Usually Edward's obsession with me not missing anything while I was human seemed kind of silly. There weren't many human experiences that I worried about missing. As long as I got to be with him, what else could I ask for?
I stared at his angel's face while he watched Carlisle fix my hand. There was nothing in this world that I wanted more than him. Would that – could that – possibly change?
Was there a human experience I was not willing to give up?
So here it is. Comments? Should I bother with my other "fixers"? (Oh, btw, I don't hate Jacob - he just irritates the hell out of me a lot of the time. *g*)