I wrote this as a birthday present for Majesta Moniet. This is not beta-ed, because I was running out of time. I tried including the three best things about Jake & bells in this: the garage, Quil and Embry and babies xD I think I failed...
S o d a. C a n s. a n d. L u l l a b i e s.
Send a wish upon a star
Do the work and you'll go far
Send a wish upon a star
Make a map and there you are
Send a question in the wind
It's hard to know where to begin
Place your past into a book
Put in everything you ever took
The air smelled of salt, calmness, pine and something unique, something that I would – for the rest of my life, whether I wanted to or not – associate with twilight. Just as indescribable as the smell of rain and snow, or the feeling of a flat palm against a completely peaceful water surface or the echo of waves in a seashell.
Light was starting to dim outside, the first lamps flickering behind closed windows down the street, occasional cars that passed by rushing rays of light against the fences and house fronts, painting pictures like fire burning down a torch.
Every step I made on the damp lawn was made with extreme caution, my feet digging deep into the ground to find purchase. With every step, the dangling of two tiny feet against my abdomen kept reminding me of the treasure I was carrying, and I pressed my hands more firmly, yet still softly, around the tiny bundle that was practically one with my chest. The only thing I could really see was the curly, raven black fluff of hair covering the small head which rested peacefully against my breasts.
My index finger drew a heart on back of the beige blanket that was wrapped and knotted around me, feeling the soft heartbeat beneath my touch.
I had walked this muddy path countless times, and still… Walking it now, with the weight I was literally carrying, felt different. More important. It still looked the same; car parts scattered across the lawn, the makeshift garage approaching with each step, the clinging sounds of metal in the air.
But I felt different. It was what I imagined coming into your hometown after many years, only had my absence not been more than a few weeks. Driving into the town you used to know like the inside of your pocket, streets and people you used to see every day. And then you eventually leave and grow up and forget about what used to be. And maybe, if fate decided so, you would return again. Mature. Changed. But the place might still be the same. It only means something very different. You return to a place you used to call home and it becomes nothing but a reminder of the past, a temple of old, treasured memories.
That was what I felt walking down the muddy path to Jacob's garage, holding my daughter close to me, craving to feel her warmth against me. The softness of her. The fragility.
"Look who's working late," I said with a smile as I stepped into the relatively warm garage. The change of temperature caused my cheeks to flush bright red, a wave of heat cascading over my body.
"Hey, Bella!" Quil and Embry cheered simultaneously, waving brightly from their position in the bed of my old, beloved truck.
"Hey, guys," I smiled, looking around for Jacob. It only took me a second to make out the bare soles of his feet underneath the heavy car.
"Be right there, Bells," his muffled voice sounded from underneath all the metal and car parts.
"And look who we got here," Quil said almost sweetly as he pushed himself off my car and took three huge steps towards me. I turned on my side, granting Quil a better angle at my daughter's sleeping face.
"Hey there," he whispered, reaching out to press his index finger against her tiny nose, like usual. But before he even reached her face, I slapped away his hand playfully, knowing very well that I would only end up hurting myself if I actually tried to keep him at bay. "You have dirty fingers," I reminded him, pointing toward the greasy smears all over his massive hands.
"Sorry," he mumbled, clearly not in my direction. "Your mom is being a party pooper, you know."
I snorted. The movement caused a shift inside the blanket, tiny fingers clutching against the material of my shirt.
"There, you woke her," Quil accused me, leaning in closer. Although I could not see what he was seeing from my angle, I knew exactly what image was now shown to Quil. I had admired and memorized it so often over the past few weeks that I could paint a picture that would look just like it. The slight twitch of her nose, the tiny fists wandering through the air, the rosy, pointy lips opening and closing and finally, the slow flutter of eyelids. And then the most captivating sight I had ever seen in my life. Big, round, deep and sleepy brown eyes looking at you with nothing but curiosity.
"Good evening," Quil said with a smile and I caught Embry rolling his eyes as he stood up and started strolling over toward us.
"You know my opinion, Bella," he said with a wide grin on his face. "I wouldn't trust the guy near my baby. Even if it was a boy. You can never know."
Quil had turned around and slapped Embry´s head before I could start laughing at Embry's repetitive joke.
"Hey, no violence in front of my girls," Jacob's voice suddenly interrupted the small cat fight between his best friends. I smiled as I saw him clean his hands with a fresh towel, standing in front of my car with only his cut-off jeans.
"You could just tell him to stop, man," Quil complained and I muffled my laughter as I saw Embry making a mock pouting face behind Quil´s back.
"I agree with him," Jacob said seriously before laughing at the dumb expression on Quil's face.
A quiet, squeaky whimper interrupted the deep, husky laugh and I looked down my body, turning my head to see my daughter staring at Jacob with wide eyes.
"There's Daddy," I whispered to her, pressing my lips gently on the fluff of dark hair.
"We'll leave, then," Embry said, winking at me, before grabbing Quil's arm and dragging him outside. "See you tomorrow!"
I waved them goodbye, laughing at the muffled echo of their voices fighting on their way down the muddy path to the street.
The familiar feeling of soft lips brushing against my forehead brought me back to reality. I looked up into Jacob's smiling face.
"You okay?" he asked, kneeling down so he was on eyelevel with our daughter.
"We're very fine," I whispered, captivated by the scene in front of me. Jacob whispered into our daughter's ear, the worlds inaudible for me. Still, I could see the quiver in her lips and I knew she was laughing when he pressed his too big nose against her too small one, his lips sealing the deal with a soft touch that almost swallowed the tiny nub in the middle of her perfect face. Jacob's right hand caught one of her dangling feet, drawing his fingertip up and down her short calf and circling her feet which were not even half the length of his palm.
I shivered as his unoccupied hand circled around my lower thigh, just above my knee, fingertips tickling me through the rough denim of my jeans.
"I just thought we could pick you up, you know. Surprise you," I said calmly, closing my eyes. The familiar scent of motor oil, grease and old, dusty cars mixed with the new scent that dominated my world. Powder, freshness, soft baby skin.
"I love you," a soft breath whispered against my ear, sending a shiver down my spine and when I felt soft lips press gently against my lips I realized that the hand on my thigh was long gone. I responded carefully, slowly moving my lips against Jacob's. He stood before me, his left hand playing with the fluffy hair between us, his right cradling my face.
"Want a soda?" Jacob asked against my lips when we parted, if only a few inches. I nodded, eyes still closed, shivering at each outtake of breath that washed over my skin.
Jacob stepped back a little and I opened my eyes, looking down at my daughter playing with the hem of my shirt. Careful not to stumble over an ancient car part, I walked over to my truck which had decided to retire a few days ago. Sitting down on the bed of the truck, I let my fingers trace along the red paint on the sides, watching Jacob rummage through boxes and drawers.
"Is the old man going to survive?" I asked, starting to untie the knot that held the blanket together behind my back, careful to cradle the wriggling, excited bundle close to my chest.
"It looks good so far," Jacob said enthusiastically as he walked over to us, two cans of warm soda in his hands. "Let me help you with that."
He placed the cans next to me and circled his arms around me, his fingertips tickling my spine on the way. I giggled, holding my hand against the back of my daughter's head to support her weight.
"There we go," Jacob said, slowly beginning to loose the blanket and free our baby. Her tiny legs kicked, eager to get out. It took a few minutes until the blanket lay forgotten behind us, my head buried in the crook of Jacob's neck, watching our daughter punch her tiny fists against his bare chest.
The taste of warm soda prickling on my tongue reminded me of my anxiousness on my way here. But as I let my eyes wander around the messy garage, I knew one thing: although many things had changed and neither of us were teenagers anymore (not to mention it would never be just the two of us again), this place would always be our place. We belonged here. And so did the changes, the mass of new responsibilities. The heavy pull on my eyelids, the extra pounds on my waist, the red numbers on our bank account, the broken front porch steps, the leaky backdoor. The sodas. Jake without a shirt and shoes. The bikes leaning against the back wall.
I pressed my lips against Jacob's neck, drawing my fingertip against the shell of our daughter's ear.
"Promise to tell me if the everlasting rules of imprinting suddenly change. I'll need to go abroad with her before Quil comes anywhere near her."
Jake snorted, while wide, curious baby eyes followed every sway of his body.
"He wouldn't dare," he assured me, resting his cheek against the top of my head, my feet intertwining with his bare calves, light raindrops starting to drum against the roof like a lullaby.