"You should go with them, Edward." Bella said with a smile.
"It's alright I can stay here with you," he frowned as she reached into her pocket for her vibrating phone.
Bella, I've done a stupid guy-thing, need help! Can you meet me at the Push? Jake
Bella held up her phone and shook it with a rye smile, "I have girl problems to fix, you go, don't let Emmet ruin his shoes and I'll see you tonight!" She kissed him lightly on the lips then turned and hurried away before he could argue.
"You coming Eddie?" Nyssa called from the garden edge.
Edward shuddered, he hated being called that but for some reason didn't have the heart to tell her. "Yeah, yeah I'm coming. Emmet, change your shoes!"
Bella smiled as she drove, she hadn't been able to see Jacob for weeks really, at least nothing more satisfying that a hug while they passed each other on the street. She knew that Jacob and Edward made each other uncomfortable and desperately unhappy, though for the life of her there was no workable solution she could find. She loved Edward, loved him to distraction and the loss of all usable mental faculty, but she couldn't give up Jacob... Her doe-eyed friend with his sorrowful sighs and the concrete reassurance she could get from no one else that, should everything come crashing apart tomorrow, someone would always be there for her.
When she pulled into the car park he was sitting on the wooden fence in his ratty old denim shorts frowning seriously, his face didn't even pick up when he saw her as it usually would.
"Jake? What's wrong? You look like someone died. Wait, no one died did they?"
"What? No, no nothing like that." He stood, hugged her, then sat again leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. "I think... I mean I'm pretty sure that somewhere out there, right now, is a girl telling everyone she knows how shit I am..."
"Jesus, what did you do exactly?"
"Can we get off the beach? Just... in the car or something?" He looked embarrassed and grumpy so she opened up the passenger door and climbed in, letting him go round to the driver's side... Jacob liked to drive.
"Just talk to me Jake. You can't have done anything that bad, I know you."
"Ahhhh... I did something really stupid," he dropped his head onto the steering wheel with a thud.
"Something or someone?" Bella said flippantly, stopping cold when he lifted his face and stared hard at her. "Oh my GOD! Jake! Was it good? Oh, was it bad? Is that it? It was bad?" She babbled.
Jake blushed and leaned back in his seat, "Wow..."
"Wow? That's all I get is wow? JAKE!" She punched him in the arm and he feigned pain. "Come ON, I have to live vicariously here!"
"Really?" he looked down at his lap, then back over at her, "I just thought... I mean you and Edward,"
"Long, sexually frustrated story which I WILL share with you if you spill! Now!"
"OK,OK, God... Never get between a girl and her gossip." He took a deep breath and lent forward again, pressing his forehead against the steering wheel. "I hardly know her really. I mean I've seen her a few times and we've hung out a little I guess."
"You're being really vague here Jake, make with the name." A terrible suspicion was building in her throat, making it tight and hot and dry.
"Nyssa, alright it was... ah shit this is bad."
"I've never heard you swear before," she said softly, "You're right though. I was at the house when she came home and... she's pretty upset. I don't think she'll tell anyone though, Jasper tried to get it out of her and if she wont tell him she wont tell anyone. Jake, what happened?"
"You know... the one thing leading to another thing."
"I don't mean that you big lump! What upset her?"
"Oh... that..." he fought to look at her, to meet her eyes defiantly, but the conviction he held less than an hour before, that he hadn't actually done anything wrong had since slipped away to be replaced by a guilt that was reaching crippling levels. "We destroyed the beach... seriously the place looked like a twister had gone through it. I hadn't... you know," he glanced at her and for just a minute he was seventeen and just a boy who'd never really known a girl, then he looked away and it was gone. "She was sitting up next to me and, I remember brushing sand of her shoulder, we were laughing. She leaned down and then... her face was in my neck and I panicked."
"What do you mean, 'you panicked'? What was there to panic about?" She was frowning now and Jacob was afraid he wouldn't be able to make her understand.
"Bella! I'm a werewolf damn it and a vampire had her teeth ON MY NECK! I just... I panicked and pushed her off and stood up. Then she was angry, really angry she started talking and I just couldn't get my damn mouth to work! I wanted to explain, I wanted to say I hadn't meant it but nothing would work! I just stood there like a big naked idiot and then she called me a dog and she left."
Bella just looked at him, working it through in me mind as best she could. If she was ever honest enough with herself to really examine it, she'd have to admit she was intrigued and interested in the mental image of a naked Jacob. Pulling her mind away from that though, she had to help him with his problem before the Cullen's worked out what had happened!
"OK, so, some sort of wolfish instinct gave you a freak out because she was too close to your neck?" She looked at him and he nodded. "Right. You wanted to explain, but you got post-sex-mouth and couldn't seem to make it happen, then she ran off upset and you stood there tackle out wondering how all that had happened. That about it?"
"You make it sound like a kids book, Bella."
"Look, on the 'stupid man' scale of one to ten, what you've got here is really only about a three, assuming you actually WANT to fix it."
"What do you mean assuming I want to?" He frowned at her across the cab of the truck.
"Well... she's a vampire, you're a werewolf, your families hate each other. This is an out, if you want it. If you do nothing, she'll get over it and everything can just sort of go on..."
"And just let her hate me, you mean?" He didn't like the sound of that at all. "I don't want her to hate me Bella,"
"Do you want her to like you?" She asked, her eyes averted, unsure if she really wanted to know the answer to that.
"I..." He bit his lip looking around aimlessly for a moment, "I don't know, but I don't want this. I want us to work it out between us not... not just do something stupid and screw everything up."
"You think you two could be like..."
"I don't know!" he stopped and looked at her, then more calmly "I don't know, Bella. But right now, I feel like crap."
"OK..." she wriggled across and hugged him tightly, "then we'll fix it."
"How?" He let his cheek rest against her head and for the first time he felt a niggle of guilt in the action.
"The same way guys have been fixing their mistakes since the dawn of time, dummy. You bring her flowers and throw yourself on her mercy..." She tilted her head back and looked up at him, Jacob was surprised to find that the ever present urge to kiss her was somewhat less. "Nyssa's a nice girl,"
"Yeah, I think so too."
Three hours later, armed with a posy of pale pink roses wrapped in darker pink paper and sitting beside Bella on the Cullen's front steps, Jacob fidgeted madly. Bella put her hand firmly on his arm "you'll ruin the flowers, Jake. Just stop."
"A family of vampires is about to eat me, Bella." He hissed.
"They wont, stop being a wuss."
"Jacob." Edward was at the foot of the stairs, damn he was fast.
"Edward." Jacob said carefully.
Edward eyed off the flowers, then Bella, then Jacob and then his mind put it all together. "Please, Edward. Be nice, OK?" Bella asked softly.
To Jacob's surprise, Edward gave a short nod, "I'll take the others inside," and then he was gone.
"Here goes," Jacob mumbled, standing up.
Nyssa was unnaturally fast too, and she was standing half way up the drive before Jacob really had the chance to marshal this arguments or even take that breath he had planned, the one that was meant to carry him through the entire business seeing as the ability to breathe was likely to abandon him. He stood awkwardly, holding the flowers loosely in one hand as though not really sure what to do with them.
"You look ridiculous," she said coolly.
Jacob looked down at himself. He was wearing beat-up old trainers without socks, ratty denim shorts and an old t-shirt that might have been on the verge of falling apart. "I feel ridiculous."
"What are you doing here Jacob?" She asked with a sigh.
He frowned deeply, he didn't like having her call him that for some reason. It was unnatural, distant and cold. He looked at the flowers in his hand and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "I'm sorry Nys..." Nyssa shook her head and refused to look at him in the eye. "You wont even look at me?"
"You can't just turn up with, what are they? Roses? And expect everything to be alright, I don't even know why you bothered coming. What's the point?"
"What's the... Nys, the point is I hurt you and I'm sorry! I have NO idea what I'm doing, I just couldn't leave it like that and," he looked at the flowers he was holding, "this seems like a stupid idea. I can't work out what a vampire would do with a vase of flowers anyway? I can't really work out what anyone would do with a vase of flowers... Bella said my mistake was only like a three out of ten on the stupid boy-o-meter and I should just come throw myself on your mercy... I could do with some of that now."
He let the flowers lower until her was holding them by the stems and the blooms were pointing to the ground. Nyssa scooted forward and pulled them up, her hands brushing his in the process. "You'll damage them," she mumbled, looking down into the cluster of pink. "I'm not really a pink person."
"I know, but they didn't have any dark purple ones," he said softly and Nyssa looked up at him shocked.
"How did you...?"
"Nyssa, pretty much everything I've ever seen you wear was purple." She smiled slightly and made to step back but he put one hand on her arm gently. "Please. I want to fix this."
"Why?" she sighed and let her hands fall from the flowers. "I mean, I know you're a nice guy. Bella sings your praises from the rooftops and I can tell you hate that you've done something that upset someone but... you're a werewolf. I'm a vampire. We are ACTUALLY separate species! What do you think is going to happen now?"
"I don't know," he admitted, but he took a step closer and lent down until his face was very close to hers, "but whatever it is, I want us to decide on it. Not just... just have me screw it up because of a stupid reflex I couldn't control."
"I would never have bitten you puppy," She sighed, allowing herself to lean into the warmth he radiated.
"I know that," he had to bend his knees to rest his forehead against hers. "I swear. I never thought you were a monster," he grinned just a little, his boyishness shining through his eyes, "'cept maybe that part where you threw me around like a ragdoll... that was a little hard on the ego, you know?"
Nyssa laughed in spite of herself and let him draw her in closer. "I knew you could take it."
"I'm not sure how much longer I can take having three little vampire faces staring at me through the curtains though..." He didn't need to look, he could FEEL them looking at him.
Nyssa went up on tip toe to look over his shoulder and giggled at the sight of Alice, Rose and Emmet's faces disappearing quickly from a gap in the lace curtains. "Honestly they're like children," she smiled. "Christ puppy, what are we doing?"
"Whatever we want." He replied firmly, "Just whatever we want. God, I'm so sick of stupid hoops and all this crap. Lets just do what we want, whatever that is and they can just learn to live with it!"
"You're having some sort of mid-teen crisis aren't you, puppy." She asked, smiling.
"Ha, something like that. I stayed on the reservation because everyone wanted me too, and I've had so few friends I could lose three fingers and still count them on one hand. So screw it," He grinned at her, his boyish mischievousness deployed to devastating effect, "I don't wanna be third wheel guy anymore, and I don't want you to be like, ninth wheel girl either."
"You are a really nice kisser," Nyssa smiled shyly and gave in, leaning against his chest letting her head flop forward onto his shoulder. "Puppy, are you blushing?"
"Indian men don't blush," he said with an absolutly straight face. "We just have really good circulation, in the face area."
Bella stood in the doorway running interference as best she could, but the reality was that eventually the vampires would get sick of playing with her and simply pick her up and move her. Emmet in particular wanted out to stick his nose in where it would no doubt make a mess.
"She's a big girl, Emmet. Hey stop no tickling!" She laughed as he picked her up, flung her over his shoulder so she could pound ineffectually against his back and ass while he trotted down the stairs.
"Nyssie? You alright baby-girl?" Emmet had a big box-head and everyone always thought he was pretty slow. He didn't have Edward's brain or Alice's talent, Jasper's history or Rosalie's sharp wit but he wasn't completely without his wiles...
"I'm fine Emmy," Nyssa sighed, looking up at Jacob, her eyes asking him if he really thought this was something they should be doing. He let his hand slip down her arm and gripped her fingers gently.
"Emmy?" Jacob asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Dude, you wanna get called puppy by anyone else?" Emmet growled.
Jacob held up his free hand with the palm open "point taken."
"Emmet! Put me down!" Bella was kicking madly over his shoulder right up until he deposited her on the driveway. "Oh!"
"See. All you're dancin', I'm here and no one exploded."
"Some chemical reactions take time," she grumbled, straightening her clothes. "Emmet, this is Jacob. I don't think you guys ever actually met."
"No, but we've glared across a few car parks, that brings guys closer." Emmet may not have been particularly smart, but he was heart-smart. He'd worked out the deal with Jasper and Nyssa long before even Edward had managed to catch its edges and if this was what she needed to be OK, then that was cool. "If you hurt my sister, I'll let my wife kill you."
Jacob stood blinking for a moment, but Nyssa slid between them, "Em, I know you're trying to help, I do, and I love you... but I'm more than capable of fucking this up on my own, OK? Please. Stop helping."
"What? I'd invite him in but you know what's going on in there right now don't you?"
"Course I do. Edward's brooding, Rosie's snarking, Alice is bitching she can't see what's going to happen and as usual everyone's forgotten that Jasper can feel everything and he's trying real hard not to let his head explode." With an angry stomp of her foot Nyssa raised her voice slightly "cut it out! All of you!"