Jake drives in silence, taking me down several backroads that I never even knew existed. Since we left the party, I haven't been able to bring myself to say anything. I haven't even asked where we're going, mostly because I don't care but partly because he seems to be lost in thought himself. Though Jake's eyes stay focused on his driving and his expression remains impassive, the little muscle in his jaw twitches, giving him away. But of course this observation stems from my excessive focus on his injury. I've spent the last ten minutes just staring at his profile. I still feel guilty about his bruised jaw. I may not have been the one to physically hurt him or Embry, but I feel responsible somehow.

My hand reaches out for him, my fingertips barely grazing along his jawbone.

"Does it hurt?" The question slips out in a whisper without my conscious thought. Jake's hand comes up to grasp mine; interlocking our fingers, he gives me a sideways glance and a half smile, shaking his head no. His earlier words echo in my mind, It's not like I haven't taken a hit to the jaw before. What did he mean by that? Does he get into fights often?

Thinking back on it, Jake was the first one to throw a punch - not that it wasn't justified, but I guess, in a way, he did start it. Though, that's all it was: a single punch. He walked away right after. An eye for an eye, I suppose. Peter tried to hurt me, so Jake hurt him.

Jake steers the Mustang around several sharp corners, leading us further into the forest until finally he pulls onto a trail so heavily shrouded in tree branches and weeds I'm not sure that we'll be able to get through. The limbs scrape across my car like nails on a chalkboard, sending a shiver up my spine.

"Don't worry. It won't scratch the paint," he remarks in a patronizing way. As if I really care if the Mustang gets a few scratches on it. I would reply, but my words are caught in my throat as we pass through the brush to a clear, open space.

The tree line and gravel road end here, but we're sitting on top of a cliff, facing the ocean. The thick grass is surprisingly short throughout, covering the expanse of the open space except near the rocky ledge. I'm amazed; it's such a beautiful place. How did Jake know it was here?

"Wow," is the only thing I can think to say.

While I'm admiring the view, Jake's busy in the driver's seat; he rolls down the windows and lowers the convertible top. He turns off the ignition but leaves the radio playing as he leans down to release the trunk. Shooting me a devilish smile, he gets out of the car, and I scramble to follow, meeting him at the rear.

Jake pulls out the blanket from the emergency kit. "It's a good thing you have this, Princess. It'll be better than lying on the grass."

"Uh, glad I could help?"

Jake just laughs at me. Putting his arm around my shoulders, he guides us to a soft spot of grass overlooking the ocean and under the stars. Laying out the blanket, he quickly takes a seat, but I hesitate a moment before I finally consent to sit next to him, trying to keep myself at a safe distance. I can't help but feel like I've been placed in a scene in some movie; like I should be looking out at the city lights, and we should be in a line up of parked cars full of couples groping each other in their backseats. In movies, don't kids usually go to these kinds of places to have sex? Oh God, did Jake bring me here to have sex? To win the bet?

"I won't bite, Princess," he comments on the distance between us. Easily wrapping his arm around my middle, he pulls me into his side. I feel his nose brush against my cheek as his teeth nip at my ear, causing me to jump a little. "Okay, maybe I will. But you'll like it."

His lips fall down my neck, and I want to say something to him. I want to assert myself, to shake my head and tell him that if he brought me here to sleep with me then he's got another thing coming. I swear I start to, but oh my, what he's doing feels so good!

One hand has moved up to my hair, helping tilt my head back so he can kiss along my throat while his other hand tickles at my waist. His nose brushes across the shell of my ear, his hot breath descending down my neck. Fluidly, he trails his lips to mine, taking them in a gentle kiss, and I don't have the heart to fight it. The next thing I know, his hands are on my shoulders, his fingers sliding under the fabric of my cardigan and pushing it down. Rolling my shoulders, I help him. The cold air bites at my bare arms as I slide the garment off, refusing to think of the consequences. I don't want to think… I don't want to stop.

It's that last thought that makes my blood run cold. My body stiffens as I suck in a sharp breath. I don't want to stop?

I shove myself back from him, the surprise and confusion evident on his face as I do. What the hell was I thinking? Why did I say I didn't want to stop? How far would I have allowed us to go?

"What happened?"

"I, um…" What am I supposed to say? I can't very well tell him the truth, so I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. "I really don't care if the Mustang got scratched."

His confusion shifts into something like disbelief and anger. "You're worried about your precious car?"

"No! Of course not! That's not what I meant-"

"I should fucking hope not."

Quickly, I grip his knee, shifting slightly to face him. "I'm sorry. I just meant that I don't care about the Mustang."

"You stopped what we're doing to tell me that?" Jake cocks his eyebrow.

"Well, I thought earlier you seemed kind of worried that I'd be upset if you scratched it, and that's just not the case."

"Yeah, 'cause if it gets scratched, Daddy'll just buy you a new one, right?"

Indignation rises up within me as I rip my hand away. "For your information, I never wanted my dad to buy me that car! In fact, I hate it! I hate that I couldn't keep the truck that I bought with my own money just because it was cheap!"

My cheeks flame while I fight for composure, crossing my arms tightly to my chest.

How dare he say something like that to me! He thinks I'm just another spoiled brat, but he doesn't really know me! He's never even tried to get to know me! He's just tried to get into my pants.

Jake looks at me sideways, his mouth pressed into a hard line before he takes a deep breath and says, "How cheap?"

I can't stop the small, disbelieving laugh. "Three hundred dollars."

His eyes stay on the ocean, but he cracks a grin. "What kind of truck was it?"

"A sixty-three Chevy, complete with cracked leather seats and a rusty bumper."

His smile widens, and I feel the tension start to ease out of me.

"And you'd rather have an old rusty bumper than that chrome-plated heap over there?" His head nods toward the Mustang.

"Yeah, I would."

He huffs out a laugh and shakes his head. "I wouldn't."

Slowly, I unfold my arms, my earlier anger forgotten.

"Don't get me wrong, the Mustang's great, but it doesn't have the same meaning." A small, wistful smile spreads across my face. "I loved that truck. I drove it around for hours, feeling so proud of myself." My words quickly harden. "But I should've known better. I was stupid for even buying it."

"Why?"

"If you knew my dad, you'd understand why." I kind of laugh, intending my answer to be a sort of joke, but Jake continues to watch me. His dark, penetrating eyes hold mine, waiting for me to elaborate.

I'm actually surprised by all of his questions. For the first time, he's genuinely talking to me; though, I can't help but wonder if it's me or the talk about cars that has him interested.

"My dad's kind of a…social climber, I guess. I don't know if that's really the best way to describe him. He's kind of obsessed with looking good in the public eye, and he's always trying to show up his country club buddies." Jake's gaze never wavers, intently focusing on me as though he's hanging onto every word. "So, when I drove that old truck into the driveway, you can imagine his reaction."

I pause, looking out to the ocean; deciding whether I should continue.

I can still see the look on Charlie's face that day. I was so excited to show him; I really thought he'd be proud of me. But he just walked around the truck with a look of contempt on his face. He said, 'That's really something, Bells,' patted me on the back, and went inside.

"Anyway, a few days later, I walked outside and found the Mustang in place of my truck… with a big red bow and everything. I shouldn't have been surprised. That truck was an embarrassment for him, though he wouldn't say that. He just said he was so happy that I took the initiative to buy my own car that he upgraded it for me.

"What was I supposed to do? Any other girl my age would've been jumping up and down, screaming and thanking her father for such an extraordinary gift, but there I was, just feeling devastated." I look back at Jake curiously. "That's crazy, right? I mean, who wouldn't want a brand new car?" Jake didn't reply, so I went on musing. "I don't even know what happened to my truck. I couldn't bring myself to ask him."

After a beat, Jake finally breaks the silence. "Why didn't you fight for it?"

"What?"

"You loved it, right? You bought it. But you let it go. Why?"

I let out a defeated sigh. "It was too late. He'd already bought the car. What could I do?"

Jake's eyebrows furrow together, incredulous. "Tell him to shove it up his ass."

"I couldn't do that."

"Why not? It's better than giving up."

"He special-ordered the car, Jake. It's not like he could've sent it back."

"That's his fucking problem."

I shake my head, dumbfounded. "You'd rather I throw a fit? Have a temper tantrum because he bought me a twenty-five thousand dollar car?"

"If it meant standing up for what you wanted, then yes."

"But that's the thing, Jake. I should have wanted the Mustang. Any normal person would've been thrilled to have it."

"So you sacrificed your happiness because you thought it's what you should do?"

"You said yourself that you'd take the Mustang over an old crappy truck."

"Not if the truck meant something to me. I would've fought for it." He said it with such conviction that I actually envy him. He's such a strong person - physically, mentally, emotionally. It's like he's ready to take on the world at a moment's notice. I'm the complete opposite of that.

My words sound as weak as I feel. "I'm not like you."

"I know." He sighs; his fingers come up to brush back a lock of my hair. "You're a good girl."

Why does he always make that sound like a bad thing?

I frown, staring up into his intense gaze. Is it so wrong to be the good girl? Or is it just wrong for the good girl to want the bad boy?

I want so badly to know what he's thinking. But his dark, ebony eyes are always so distant and guarded. I wonder if I'll ever learn the secrets he has lurking behind them.

His fingers graze my temple while his thumb gently soothes over my furrowed brow, smoothing it out.

"Why are you pouting?" The corner of his mouth lifts into a half grin, like he thinks my pouting is cute.

Of all the ridiculous things, I blush.

This earns an even greater smile as Jake leans forward, his eyes closing and his lips taking mine. The fuzziness immediately forms in my head – as it always does with him – clouding my thoughts so I'm no longer thinking about anything but this kiss. His lips part, and I allow my instincts to take over. My hands slide down his chest to his waist, slipping between his shirt and jacket.

He starts to pull away from me, but I'm not ready for this to end. Keeping my eyes tightly shut, my fingers fist into the thin material at his hips, attempting to hold him to me. His mouth presses harder to mine in response, and I swear I feel a slight smile before he resumes with a deeper kiss. His body jerks slightly beneath my touch, and his hands disappear momentarily, though I refuse to open my eyes to find out why. A second later, his hands return to my body, coming back with a vengeance. Roughly, they grip at my sides and back, roaming the expanse of my torso.

Taking his lead, I allow myself to search his chest, my hands trailing up to his shoulders and down his bare arms. Bare? His leather jacket is gone. I didn't even notice that he took it off, but that must be what he did a moment ago. Honestly, I don't even care that it's gone. I'm relishing in the feel of his smooth skin, my palms slowly gliding over his hard biceps and up to his shoulders, where they meet his shirt again. A small whine escapes me. I want to feel more skin.

My hands descend to the hem of his shirt. Using slightly more courage than I knew I possessed, I allowed them to slip underneath. My fingers immediately find each ripple of his abs, exploring every divot and curve. Images of Jake's naked chest at the beach flood my mind, and I picture the parts of him that I can only feel at this moment. The warmth emitting off his body only serves to remind me of how phenomenal it felt to have his bare skin pressed against mine. Heat rushes to my cheeks at the memory.

I want his shirt to meet the same fate as his leather jacket.

Without much further thought than that, I grip onto the bunched fabric and tug up. Jake pulls back, and my eyes open as he does. If he's surprised by my brazen actions, he doesn't show it. Swiftly, using both hands, he grasps onto his shirt behind his neck and begins pulling it over his head.

No, stop! He'll be half naked now! And you encouraged it! my inner voice screams at me. Oh God, what the hell is wrong with me? Why do I keep allowing clothes to be taken off?

"Wait!" I shout, a little too loudly and too late. Both my hands are splayed out in a stopping motion, but Jake's already removed his shirt. Quickly, I close my eyes and turn my head, as if looking at him would be indecent. I realize this is irrational - I've already seen him shirtless - but I can't seem to help myself.

"I'm sorry." I press my palm to my forehead, my thoughts and emotions running in circles. "I just…"

"Freaked out? Yeah, you do that a lot." His tone isn't angry, but it definitely has an irritated quality to it.

Keeping my eyes averted, I nod.

I don't blame him for being annoyed. One minute, I'm pushing for more, and the next, I completely shut down. He probably thinks I'm crazy because earlier today we were making out with a lot less clothes on then we have now.

But that was different. At the beach, that's standard attire and completely normal, but here…taking off our clothing in a secluded place while making out... It's so much more intimate. It has an entirely different meaning.

My stomach turns with a sick, nervous feeling. I don't want him to be mad, but what does he expect from me?

Sex. My inner voice is quick to reply, as if I need to be reminded.

"Why did you bring me here?" I still won't look at him, my gaze focusing solely on the blanket.

"I thought you'd appreciate the view." I can't tell from his tone if he's being serious or goading me with his half-naked form. Judging by what I know of him, I'm assuming the latter, though I'm going to pretend he's serious.

"It is beautiful here. I've never been on these cliffs before."

"No, you couldn't anyway. It's part of the reservation's private property. That's Second Beach right over there, though you can't really see it in the dark."

My eyes search for the beach anyway. "Is it okay that we're here? Could we get in trouble?"

"Only if we get caught."

Alarmed, I finally look back at him. My eyes travel down from his famous smirk to his gorgeous chest, illuminated only by the moonlight, its shadows making each rippling muscle more prominent than ever. The black swirls of his tattoo are also half hidden in the dark, making them look less menacing than usual.

Somehow, I manage to keep my train of thought. "Should we leave?"

"Do you think anyone's going to catch us out here?"

Considering the heavily-shrouded entrance and all the backroads we took to get here, it's unlikely that anyone will find us. I don't know if that thought is liberating or terrifying.

"Come here." Without warning, Jake grips my arms, pulling me backwards until I'm leaning with my back to his chest. He wraps his arms around my middle and whispers into my ear, "Its cold."

"You could put your shirt back on." I say it, but I don't really mean it. I'm enjoying the feel of this too much.

"Now why would I do that when I have you to keep me warm?" Contrary to his words, he picks up his jacket and throws it around the two of us like a blanket. Closing my eyes, I listen to the sound of the waves below while Jake's fingers absentmindedly rub circles on my arms. He brushes his lips against my temple, and I smile, thinking about how sweet he is when he wants to be.

After a moment, I break the silence. "Jake, you live on the reservation, right?"

He throws me a confused look but answers, "Yeah."

"Then why don't you go to school here?"

"Are you saying you don't want me at Forks High? That hurts, Princess."

"No, that's not it" I answer sincerely. "I just don't understand. Why don't you go to school with Embry and the other guys - where all your friends go?"

"I did until freshman year. I transferred after-" He stiffens a moment. With my head cocked on his shoulder, I watch his facial expression harden.

His demeanor is a huge clue for me to stop talking, but I can't. I prod, carefully. "After what?"

He looks down at me, his dark eyes conflicted and swimming with some kind of vulnerability I've never seen before. "After my mom died."

I gasp. "I'm so sorry."

"Not your fault." I feel horrible for him, knowing his mother died only a few short years ago. His Adam's apple bobs as he swallows thickly. "It was a car accident."

"Oh, Jake." Taking his hand in mine, I give it a gentle squeeze.

"She would've liked you, Princess." He barely forces a smile. "Good girl like you, who never misses a homework assignment or a day of class. You would've been her favorite."

"What did she teach?"

"English. The Rez only has a handful of teachers, so she taught sixth through twelfth grade." Jake stares straight ahead as I continue to watch him, too afraid that if I even move he'll stop talking. His guard has finally come down, allowing me a view at the real him. "It fucking sucked having her as a teacher. But dammit, I got so used to her being there that once she was gone-" He shakes his head, and his arms tighten around me slightly. "The school replaced her in a week. Can you believe that? A fucking week. I couldn't stand it. The idea of her being replaceable…it fucked with my head."

"Your mom could never be replaced, Jake."

His eyes find mine, the pain and anger still shining within them quickly shifts to something different – something like surprise. Almost as if he forgot I was sitting here.

He moves quickly, shifting me upright. I'm still wrapped in his arms, and he kisses me hard, desperately pressing his lips to mine. Knowing that he's hurting, I give in and allow him to take full control. I recognize what he's doing all too well. My mother is gone too. Whenever she's brought up, I do whatever I can to change the subject. I don't like to see the pity behind someone's eyes when I tell them she's gone. I don't want to be reminded of the hurt when she left.

So that's what Jake is doing now: changing the subject. I don't know him well, but I've learned that he's not the emotion-sharing type, and he's especially not the type to get personal. The fact that he just unwittingly told me about his past – about the pain of losing his mother - means he has to distract himself, or me, before he accidentally divulges more.

For a moment, I wonder which of our situations is worse: having a mother who left by choice…or one who didn't?

Maybe it's my own form of distraction, but I don't want to think about it anymore. Instead, I permit the hazy fog to engulf me as we continue our kiss. Jake's desperation eases slightly as his hands run up my sides, his thumbs precariously close to the underside of my breast. I let out a soft moan, unable to contain it.

Again, I find myself wanting more - more of this, more of him, more…just more.

He continues to kiss me, one hand wrapped around the back of my neck and the other placed on my waist as he slowly begins to tilt us back. Trusting his strength, I let him ease us down onto the blanket. Lying with his chest pressed against mine, he holds his weight on his elbows and hovers over me while trailing kisses down my jaw and neck.

His hand slides up my waist to my breast, kneading it gently, while his opposite hand reaches for the zipper of my dress.

For a split second, my whole body lustfully urges, Yes.

But a soft tug on my zipper shoots a small semblance of my control forward.

"Don't."

"Relax, Princess." Lifting his head, he gazes down at me, his expression earnest and sincere. "I'm not trying to have sex with you…" he smirks, "yet."

"Why not?" I close my mouth with an audible snap. Why did I just ask that?

"Do you want me to?"

"No, I just-"

"Then don't worry about it." His mouth falls back to my throat, his lips and tongue tracing the curves. He murmurs into my skin, "No sex. I just want to feel you the same way you can feel me. I want this." Taking my hand, he places my palm on his bare stomach. "Is that okay?"

"No sex?"

He shakes his head and repeats, "No sex."

His fingers slowly find their way to the zipper again, and my breathing stalls. I swear I can hear each click of the zipper's teeth as he peels it down, but I don't stop him. He slides his fingers under the fabric, lightly caressing my ribs and waist.

"Trust me," he says.

He doesn't seem to realize that's my biggest problem. I don't trust him. He's never given me reason to. He's only given me reasons not to. But right now, that's really not my concern.

"I'm scared," I breathe.

His movements cease; his eyes snap to mine. "Of me?"

I shake my head. "Of me."

His serious features stare down at me for a second and then slowly spread into a smile as he chuckles.

"Don't laugh."

"Sorry, Princess, but you seem pretty harmless to me."

"I'm being serious."

"I'm sure you are," he appeases me, but it feels somewhat condescending. "So what's scaring you? This?" He brushes his fingers over the front of my abdomen, barely beneath my bra. It almost tickles, but the touch is so light that it sends little electric shockwaves throughout my entire body. My breathing spikes in response, and I have to bite my lip to keep from panting.

His low, husky voice continues, "Because this feels so good?"

I can't tell if he's stating that as a fact or a question. I nod because, let's face it, he's right. His fingertips haven't stopped trailing circles over my stomach, and it does feel good, too good.

"That's the problem…" I know it's not the smartest thing to admit this, but my nerves seem to have taken over my mouth. "I don't know if I can stop…"

"Shouldn't be too hard; you've already stopped us - several times."

"But not fast enough! Look at us! We're lying down, you're shirtless, my dress is unzipped, and we're in a secluded area in the middle of nowhere! Not that this isn't a beautiful spot; as far as places to lose your virginity go, I'd say this is a pretty nice one!" Oh God, Bella! Shut up, shut up, shut up! "I'm sure that was all part of your plan though, right? Get the girl alone in the perfect setting so you can seduce her under the stars with the ocean waves for background music. You'll be sure win the bet in record time!"

With my cheeks burning in embarrassment, my nervous-rambling outrage finally stops.

Jake's hand stills on my side, his jaw tightens, and his eyes narrow slightly. Great, I've managed to piss him off again.

"Regardless of what you believe, I didn't bring you here to fuck you. I'm also getting pretty tired of having to repeat that, so listen closely this time. I'm not fucking you until you beg me to."

My mouth opens and shuts. I feel slightly berated and even more confused. What exactly does he mean?

His signature smirk returns while his eyes hold a devilish mirth. "Now we have that all cleared up, you can relax and we can finish what we started."

I know I give him an incredulous look. How does he ever expect me to relax? Especially while fooling around. It's only been a week, and I'm already letting him round second base!

"Do something for me, Princess?" Jake tries a different tactic, his voice taking on a gentler tone. "Take a deep breath."

My skeptical gaze locks with his as I follow through with his request, sucking the brisk night air deep within my lungs and letting it out slowly.

"Now close your eyes."

I raise a suspicious eyebrow instead.

"Can't you trust me?" My immediate answer is no, but the hopeless note in his voice and the pleading look in his eyes cause my skepticism to waver. "Please?"

Slowly, I abide by closing my eyes.

"Good, now clear your mind. Just listen and feel."

His fingers begin making those torturously slow patterns on my stomach again, eliciting a shiver from me. I almost stop him, but his magic touch and husky voice distract me.

"You're vulnerable right now, and as fucking sexy as that is, I know it can be scary." I sense him shifting his weight above me as his hot fingers trail up my bare side, following the curve of my breast so that they're slowly dancing over the swells of them.

"But you don't have to worry about telling me to stop. I know when you're uncomfortable; I can feel it in your body's reactions. I know when to stop…" His fingers glide down the valley between my breasts, one finger dipping just beneath my bra as it descends. "And when you want more." His fingers uncurl, fully cupping one mound. "I want you to trust me, to be comfortable with me, so you can relax and enjoy the…" He lightly pinches my clothed nipple, eliciting a surprised gasp from me. "…pleasures I can give you."

His head lowers to whisper in my ear, his smug smile evident in his voice. "Submit yourself to me, and I promise I'll always stop us – no matter how heated things get – from having sex. Okay?"

I turn my head to look into his dark eyes. "You can't make a promise like that and keep the bet too."

"Sure I can." He kisses me briefly, as though our close proximity is too much of a temptation not to. His fingers trace over the lace of my bra. "Think about it my way. I can make you all hot, always wanting more and expecting more, yet always stopping it. You'll be begging me to fuck you in no time."

"Let me get this straight. You're not going to have sex with me until I…"

"Beg for it," he finishes for me.

"Well…I'm not going to beg you."

"We'll see."

"I won't." Jutting out my jaw, I try to look as resolute as possible.

His head dips down, nipping at my jaw, and his fingers slide under the cup of my bra, touching my bare breast for the first time as he presses his groin into my thigh.

"After a few weeks of this, Princess… you'll be begging." He pulls back to get a better look at my shocked and yet fully aroused face. "I'd bet my bike on it."

Then his mouth is on mine, swallowing any retort that I could've come up with. Not that I mind. Right now my head is spinning. It's filled with lust and urges I didn't know I even had. Things that only Jake has ever been able to bring out in me.

Something unleashes inside me. I'm mindlessly kissing him back, passionately clutching at his shoulders and fisting his hair. Perhaps all I really needed was to be free of the fear, to throw caution to the wind and let myself enjoy it without worrying.

Jake pulls my strapless bra down, freeing both my breasts for his full use. My lips detach from his but only to find their way to his jaw, kissing up to his neck and tasting his skin. He lets out a satisfied breath, and I realize that I've never done this before with him. All the times that he's kissed me, and I'm just now returning the favor.

He shifts; the arm that has been supporting his weight is now free to roam. His hand trails down my neck to my waist, descending further to my hip and thigh until it reaches my knee. Then it rises, slipping beneath hem of my skirt. His progression slows, and I think maybe he was telling me the truth that he really does read my body and that he's currently testing to see if this is okay.

His hand feels hot on my thigh, and even though I'm fully aware of its location, I'm not stopping it. My hips rise up slightly, my body reacting instinctively, out of my control. His hand falls a little lower in response, allowing his fingertips to brush against my cotton panties. Part of me is terrified that I'm permitting this - it's further than I've ever tolerated before - and yet, the other, devilish part of me is eager, wanting to experience it.

As if he can tell my mind has wandered, Jake kisses me firmly and bites at my lower lip to show his disapproval. I can't help but smile a little and pull his face back to mine.

My fingers twist nervously in his hair as his slide over my panties, gripping at my hip bone and slowly moving closer to my inner thigh. My breath catches in my throat as they inch closer to my center, the heat of them easily seeping through the thin cotton. My heart is pounding frantically in my chest; the tips of his fingers are almost there–

A loud guitar cuts through the quiet night, a drum beat quickly following with obnoxious lyrics.

"Fuck!" Jake's head falls to my shoulder. His hand removes itself from under my dress and digs into his pocket, pulling out his ringing cell phone.

"Fuck off, Quil. I'm busy." Jake kisses me chastely to prove his point. I can barely hear Quil's deep, mumbling voice through the phone. I'm unable to make out what he's saying, but Jake grits his teeth in response. "None of your fucking business, asshole."

The staccato voice fires back. Jake sits up quickly, and I scramble to right my dress and bra, suddenly uncomfortable with the state I'm in.

"Shit… Tell him I'm– Yeah. Bye." Jake's eyebrows pinch together as he shoves his phone back into his pocket. Looking at me remorsefully, he sighs, "Time to go, Princess."

Jake swiftly pulls me to my feet, and as I'm zipping up my dress, he folds the blanket, taking it back to the trunk. I follow out of sheer docility.

The fog that typically dissipates after I regain my space from Jake clings around, clouding my head. My thoughts are all muddled, trying to make sense of these last two minutes, but more than anything, they're trying to figure out what came over me. If it wasn't for that phone call, we would have… Crap, I don't even know how to finish that thought! What would we have done exactly? And why does the fact that we were interrupted make me feel so…disappointed?

On the ride home, I find that I'm sinking further into my seat while my eyes are drifting closed. My already-disoriented thoughts refuse to cooperate; they keep rearranging themselves, scattering from one to the other and some not even able to finish. The more I concentrate on a single thought, the easier it seems to slip away from me until the next thing I know, I'm being jostled awake.

"C'mon, Princess, let's get you to bed."

I feel his hands underneath my arms, assisting me as I climb out of my too-small car, and for a split-second, I think how much easier this would be if I still had my old truck.

In my half-sleep state, I stumble up the driveway to the front porch. I'm about to step up the stairs when a warm hand encircles my arm. "Whoa, there. Do you wanna wake the Chief?"

I shake my head. I can hear him chuckling next to me, but my eyes refuse to stay fully open. Jake practically hauls me up the side of the privacy fence; he keeps me steady as I crawl onto the roof and through the open window.

I barely have time to kick my shoes off before I'm collapsing onto my bed, curling up into a ball and snuggling deeper into my pillow. I feel the gentle weight of a blanket being pulled up around me and a soft kiss being pressed to my temple as I finally succumb to unconsciousness.

-~~BoM~~-

My room is already filled with the bright, early morning sunlight rousing me from my much needed sleep. My eyes take a few moments to adjust, but once they do, I realize how wrong my assumption was. Not early morning – it's afternoon! Crap, I may not be an early riser, but I never sleep in this late.

I force myself out of bed regardless of the incessant pounding that asks me to lie back down and get some more sleep. My wobbly legs lead me straight downstairs to the kitchen, passing Charlie as he slaps together a sandwich on the counter.

"Get enough sleep, Bells?"

I roll my eyes at his sarcasm and drain my glass of juice. "Yeah, first week of school wore me out, I guess."

His eyes narrow slightly as he looks at me, and for a moment, my breath stills. Can he see right through me?

But then he walks away, carrying his sandwich on a plate to the living room, and I'm able to breathe again.

Since I missed breakfast, I start putting together a sandwich of my own; I've gotten so far as to place two pieces of bread down when Charlie's voice rings from around the corner.

"Bella?"

"Yeah?"

"What the hell did you do to Edward Cullen?"

My heart stammers in my chest. I mean to call out, but my words come out more as a whisper. "What?"

Charlie's tone is much more accusing. "Can you tell me why that boy is pacing on our front lawn?"

I drop everything and run to the living room. Charlie's standing by the window. He looks pointedly at me then back outside.

My thoughts briefly flutter over the worst possible scenarios first: What if someone from school was at that party last night? What if they saw me with Jake and called Edward? What if they took a picture of me with Jake and called Edward? What if Edward drove by here and saw Jake dropping me off?

The panic starts to spread throughout my body in a cold chill. Before I know it, I'm flying out the front door - barefoot, ready to drop to my knees and beg for forgiveness.

Edward's pacing ceases the moment he hears the door. His head snaps up, and all I can register is his pain-filled eyes before I stop cold in my tracks, suddenly too afraid to go any further.

His gaze travels from my head to my feet. I look down and realize that I never changed from last night. I'm still wearing the sundress from yesterday, though now it's wrinkled, probably smells like smoke from the party, and is the most incriminating thing I could possibly be wearing.

Edward hesitantly closes the short distance between us, and I briefly wonder if I beg – if I pour my heart out to him - will he forgive me?

I wouldn't.


A/N: Whew! I thought I was never going to get this chapter done! I know it's been forever since I've updated and I'm very sorry, however I do have some great excuses. I won't go into details about my ups and many downs of real life, however, I will say that when the Joplin Tornado disaster struck and I was very devastated and busy from that. My thoughts and prayers go out to Joplin and its survivors. Please if you have the means to, I ask that you donate to the Joplin Relief Effort. They are still recovering.

Acknowledgments: Huge thanks go out to my favorite peeps, Jkane180 for betaing (she's a lifesaver!), Wordslinger, BellaBBblack, Evermine, and MeraNaamJoker for pre-reading and supporting me through these past few months. Real life became difficult there for a while but they were all there for me, holding my hand and even making me some wonderful birthday presents! (Evermine's Flow into You is a must read and a wonderful birthday one-shot written for yours truly! If you haven't read her Ride It fic and experienced Surfer!Jake, then you are missing out! Also MeraNaamJoker wrote Moon River, a one-shot based off the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's and I still cannot thank her enough for that!)

Now I'm just dying to know what you thought of this latest chapter! Please let me know! *Hugs!*