Notes: This was one of two entries I did for the second round of the 500-word drabble contest at the J/B LiveJournal community. I guess this one is part movieverse because it's based on the idea Bella brings up in the New Moon movie that she and Jacob run away together. The title is from the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Road Trippin."
The tall, unfamiliar figure walking through Forks High in the afternoon draws everyone's attention. Bella's eyes widen when he appears out of nowhere, walking right up to her at her locker and ignoring that Mike is speaking to her.
"What you said about running away," Jacob says. "Did you mean that?"
She blinks, disoriented. "You said..."
"I know. Screw what I said. Will you still go?"
She looks around briefly. "Now?"
Bella barely thinks, then turns to Mike's confounded face and kisses his cheek. "Bye, Mike."
She takes Jacob's hand and they go, leaving him staring incredulously.
They head to the lower west coast, away from the rain, toward the sun. There will be no vampires there.
On the third day of traveling and hotels, Jake drives wearing some aviator sunglasses he found left on a bench, the lenses reflecting the midday brightness outside. Bella does a crossword puzzle.
"What's a name of an animal meaning 'little armored one'?" she asks. "Fifth letter is—"
"Armadillo?" he says.
"Oh. Duh." She fills it in.
"What else don't you have?"
"Um...Country with a high suicide rate. Six letters."
He clicks his tongue, thinking. "Sweden, probably."
"The winters. They don't get much daylight."
She smiles faintly. Of course.
They stop to switch places. Jacob puts the sunglasses on her, laughing at how huge they look on her face.
While she drives, he works on the puzzle. "Dammit, what is seven across? You sure you spelled this other one right? Rosencrantz?"
He holds it up, but she doesn't even check before saying, "Yes." Then she shakes her head, smiling. "I don't even like crosswords."
He laughs. "Me neither."
They stop at a grocery store. Bella laughs as he throws her bags of chips to add to their cart from where he stands several feet away. In the checkout line, a little girl stares at Jacob, who grins and winks at her.
Bella realizes she's holding his hand with their fingers intertwined. They hold hands all the time, easily, naturally, but never this way before.
It's incredible how easily it lifts her spirits a little just to be where the sun shines. When Charlie suggested she leave Forks, she was desperate to stay where Edward still haunted. But somehow this was easy. Every day the sense of purpose in getting where they're going makes it more effortless for her to get up in the morning.
Every room they stay in gets messier than the last.
They sleep in until ten-thirty. Until eleven. Until twelve-thirty.
At the L.A. shore, the ocean looks entirely different than in La Push, shining like reflective glass under a robin-egg blue sky. All they do there at first is lie on their backs in the sand, eyes closed, feeling the touch of the sunlight on them. Bella seems hardly aware of it as the backs of her fingers brush lightly against Jacob's where their hands rest near each other. Keeping his eyes shut, he smiles.
They can't leave everything behind. He still can't always keep the wolf inside, and sometimes Edward Cullen still hides behind her silence.
Usually, though, their biggest problems now are twelve down and nine across.