Title: Bella's Bodyguard

Author: Lazalot_Anreads

Beta: None

Characters/Pairings: Bella/Jacob

Rating: NC-17

Challenge: None

Summary: Charlie goes away for three weeks and Bella starts receiving creepy notes and gifts. She asks Jacob to stay with her, and when he agrees, the stalker gets violent.

Notes: AH AU, New Moon AU

Chapter 001

Bella was alone in the house. Charlie had left for a three week long law enforcement conference about an hour before and she was already nervous. She really hadn't wanted to stay in the house alone, but she hadn't wanted to seem like a wimp either so she'd done it anyway. Now she was regretting her choice.

She should just call Jacob and ask him to stay with her. She knew Billy wouldn't mind. So why didn't she? Partly because she still didn't want to admit to what a wimp she was, and partly because she didn't want him to get the wrong idea. Jacob had a HUGE crush on her.

Just then, the doorbell rang, and Bella jumped a mile. "Damn it," she hissed. As she walked to the door, she called, "Coming!" But when she opened it there was nobody there. There was an envelope taped to her door, though. She took it down and opened it, pulling out a single sheet of paper with a typed message on it.

Dearest Bella,

I've been watching you and I like what I see. Maybe I'll even let YOU see ME sometime soon. Not yet, though.

Your Eternity

Okay, THAT was creepy. Forgetting all about her reasons not to call him, she was on the phone with Jake within two minutes, telling him the whole story. He was furious, of course. He told her to lock the door and wait for him, and for once she didn't argue over being ordered around. She just did as he said.

It took him thirty miserable minutes to get there. When he finally knocked and called a greeting, she swung open the door and jumped into his arms, trembling. He held her tightly for a long moment before kissing the top of her head and gently pushing her away.

"Okay. Show me the letter." He held out his hand for the piece of paper she was still clutching. She handed it over and he read it quickly. "It could just be a prank, Bells, but I'd feel better if you let me stay here with you. I already okayed it with my Dad and my stuff is in the backseat of the Rabbit. Will you let me stay?"

"Sure, sure." Bella was terribly relieved. As he went to get his things and bring them inside, she started making dinner. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, Jacob's favorite.

"Mm," he said as he came into the kitchen, "that smells really good, Bells. Thanks for making my favorite." He squeezed her hip gently and then went about setting the table. As they waited for dinner to be ready, they chatted.

They talked about how glad they each were that it was summer. Jacob congratulated Bella on her graduation again. She told him she was taking a couple of years off before college so that she could save up some real money. He told her that if she took the whole two years off, he would graduate and then they could go to college together.

Bella liked that idea a LOT. Probably more than she should, in fact, but she didn't care. "That would be so great! What are you planning to study, Jake?"

"I want to get a degree in business so that I can open my own shop. What about you?"

Bella blushed. "I haven't decided yet. I know I want to study psychology, but I'm not sure what kind of career I want to have."

Jacob just smiled at her. "Well, you have plenty of time to decide. So it's settled, then? We go to college together?"

"Definitely," Bella replied. He picked her up in a tight hug and spun her around. She laughed, delighted with his happiness. She loved making Jacob happy. When he set her down, she kept her face pressed against his chest. Quietly, she said, "We should also get an apartment together. Then we won't have to deal with roommates we hate."

"That sounds like a great idea, Bells." Jacob sighed contentedly and stroked her hair. "It'll be just you and me against the world."

By that time, dinner was ready, so they sat down to eat. They were still talking about colleges when the doorbell rang. Bella dropped her fork and looked at Jacob. "Will you answer it?"

"Sure, sure." He stood up and walked to the door, Bella right behind him, pressed up against his back. He reached back to give her a reassuring pat on the hip before opening the door.

Nobody was there, of course. But there was a box sitting innocently on the welcome mat. Bella didn't want to open it. "Just throw it out, Jake."

But he was already taking the lid off to reveal a very bloody, very dead cat. It's stomach had been cut open and the contents taken out. Now it was filled with maggot infested chocolates.

Bella fainted and Jacob just barely caught her. Swearing quietly, he took her to the couch and laid her down before returning to read the letter that had been in the box.

Dearest Bella,

I am not pleased with you. Get rid of that man, or I'll do it for you.

Your Eternity

Jacob got rid of the box and the dead cat, cursing the entire time. Bella had a stalker. He wondered if he should call the police, but then thought of Charlie and quickly banished the idea. There was no sense in worrying him, and if Jacob called the cops he'd find out for sure.

Jacob could protect Bella. He was big for his age, and strong. He could take pretty much anybody in a fight; he was sure of it. So he'd hold off on calling the cops - for now.

Jacob went back to the couch and sat beside Bella, caressing her face. Her eyes blinked open, and she smiled up at him. The smile only lasted a moment, though, as the memories came flooding back. "Oh, God, Jake! What do we do? Should we call the police? I don't want to worry Charlie but -"

"We're not going to call the police yet." Jacob cut her off. "I can protect you, Bella. Maybe once the stalker realizes that I'm sticking around, he'll get bored and leave you alone."

It sounded like a decent enough plan. "Okay, but I have one condition." Bella sat up and leaned into his side.

"Oh yeah? What's that?" Jacob asked.

"We share a bed while you're here. I get the feeling that this guy would have no qualms about climbing in my window, and I don't want you to have to sleep on the floor, so …" She trailed off, looking up at him hopefully.

Jacob rolled his eyes and grinned. "That's not a condition; that's a perk." He nudged her playfully.

Bella blushed. "Come on, we need to clean up the kitchen."

"You're not going to finish your dinner?" Jacob frowned.

"No. The dead cat kind of put me off of my appetite," Bella said sarcastically. "You know I have a weak stomach. I feel sick just thinking about it."

Jacob frowned harder. "Well, you should let me take care of kitchen duty tonight, okay? Just rest. I know how to do dishes and I know where everything goes, so it will be a piece of cake."

Bella smiled weakly. "You're too good for me, Jacob. Okay, I'll stay here and let you clean up the kitchen." She laid back down on the couch and closed her eyes.

Jacob kissed her forehead gently before getting up to finish his food and take care of the kitchen.

"Okay, so how do you want to do this?" Jacob asked, gesturing toward the bed. They'd watched a couple of movies, putting this moment off, but now it was time to sleep and they had to figure out how they were going to go about it.

Bella blushed. Even though she was wearing her usual sleep attire - a tank top and short shorts - she felt naked. "Um, I guess I'll sleep between you and the wall, if you don't mind. Just in case you have to get up really fast."

"Okay." Before she could stop him, Jacob picked her up and deposited her in the center of the bed. Irritated, she smacked his arm, but he just smiled and crawled in beside her. "So … do I get to hold you while we sleep?"

He looked so hopeful. Bella's heart melted and she found herself nodding. Jacob's grin could have lit the world when he pulled her into his hot embrace.

As they laid there holding each other, a comfortable silence fell. Bella found herself wondering what it would be like to really BE with Jacob. Not just sexually, although half the time she couldn't keep her eyes off of his glorious body, but emotionally as well. It would be bliss; she knew that Jacob would take care of her.

But she couldn't give in. For one thing, she didn't want to rock the boat with their friendship. For another thing, she knew she wasn't good enough for Jacob, no matter WHAT he thought. But mostly, she was just scared. She was terrified to love again.

After Edward left her, she'd been little more than a broken shell of her former self. She wasn't sure why she'd gone to Jacob. Maybe because they'd been such good friends when they were younger. Whatever the reason, she HAD gone to him, and he had carefully and gently put her back together.

He'd been her confidant; she'd told him things she would never have told anybody else. He'd listened when she needed to vent, taken her out when she needed a change of pace, and made her laugh even when she felt like the pain would kill her. He'd become everything to her - everything but a lover. She just couldn't take that step with him.

But maybe she should. Maybe, for once, she should stop listening to her brain and just trust her heart. Could she do that? It was for Jacob. She could do it for Jacob. For Jacob AND herself.

"What are you thinking about?" Jacob chuckled quietly near her ear. "I can practically HEAR the wheels turning. Spill, Bells."

Bella froze for a moment. She couldn't tell him what she'd been thinking! Or could she? Making a split second decision that would change her life, Bella opened her mouth. "I was just thinking about what it would be like to be your lover." She held her breath.

Jacob's entire body tensed. "I have no idea what to say to that. Why would you say that to me? You know how I feel about you!"

"You're right, I do know. What you don't know is that … I feel the same way about you, Jacob." Bella closed her eyes tightly. "I just don't think I'm good enough for you."

For a long time, he was silent. When he finally spoke, his tone was completely neutral. "You love me, but you don't think you're good enough for me." He paused for a moment, then laughed. "Bullshit, Isabella. You're just scared. What are you so afraid of?"

Well, he certainly had her pegged. He always had, though. "I'm scared that - I'm scared that my love won't be enough, and you'll leave me for someone better." There. She'd said it.

Jacob turned onto his side and tipped her face up from his chest so he could look at her. "First of all, Bella, there is NOBODY better than you. Second of all - I've stayed this long, haven't I? For six months, I've been your lover without us ever even having sex, and I've been faithful. I'm not ever going to leave you, Bella, not even if you TOLD me to go."

Bella blinked back tears and touched his cheek tenderly. "I'll never tell you to go, Jacob. I PROMISE."