Snowed In Summary: Bella returns to Forks every Christmas season. It's difficult for her as she longs to be with her family, yet no longer has that as an option. Having been married for 20 years, she runs into an old friend and begins to question her past decisions and ends up feeling a bit snowed in. Based on canon, ignores Breaking Dawn, Bella POV, Angst, T.
Author's Note: Written by Purelyamuse for the JBNP All I Want For Christmas Is challenge. This one shot is special to me as I just had a baby (11/29/10), so some of Bella's feelings are my own. I owe a thank you to Enjoyyourjacob for the amazing banner and an even greater thanks for giving it a personal touch by using my own pregnant belly in the artwork. Thank you!
This story tied for 3rd place in the contest! Hooray!
Primary Beta: Missus Robinson
Secondary Beta: jul5857
I laid my head back, closed my eyes and relaxed, breathing in slowly. My mind wandered thinking about my current circumstances and how they couldn't be changed. And then I freed myself and just let my mind run wild, surrendering to something new and different and good. As I did so, a young, distinct female voice invaded my mind as clear as could be and I could not ignore it...
"No, Dad! Stop. Stop it! Mooooom!"
I heard the loud commotion and lifted my head up, my relaxation over. Sighing, I somehow managed to get myself off of the couch and waddle toward the main window in the living room. I was blinded for a moment from the bright white snow, but once my eyes adjusted I could see Haley holding her hands up defensively. Jacob stood about twenty feet away from her methodically compacting his massive snowball, making it ready for impact.
"What's she gonna do? Come and rescue you? By the time she gets out here, it'll be too late. And you deserve it, picking on Kevin like that. He spent a lot of time on that snowman and you nearly took it out."
"I was just playing," said Haley with a pleading look in her eyes.
"I'm just playing too. Huh, Kevin? We're just playing."
"Yes," said Kevin, though it sounded more like 'yesh' since his two front teeth were missing. He stood beside Jacob, proudly working on a snowball of his own.
Jacob leaned down to Kevin and whispered something in his ear. I watched the whole scene play out entirely enthralled in the matter. Within seconds, Haley made a run for it and Jacob and Kevin were on her tail pelting her mercilessly with snowball after snowball.
Jacob caught up to her and pulled her down with him in the snow and proceeded to roll around in it with her covering her new snowsuit. "Moooom!" Haley shrieked.
I rolled my eyes and waddled back over to the couch rubbing my belly again. Jacob was right. What could I do? At 37 weeks pregnant, there wasn't much I was capable of. And, getting Jacob to back off on teasing our oldest wasn't going to happen anyway.
Haley had gotten more and more fussy about her hair and outfits lately. You'd think she was 14 with the way she went on and on about it, but she was a mere 9 years old. There was something to say about this whole tween business I kept hearing about. I blame it on her iPod. I knew we shouldn't have gotten it for her. It made her feel older and more mature. Jacob had insisted that she have one on her last birthday and I gave in, like I always did. Like I had the night we conceived this child.
I was done. Haley and Kevin were enough for me. And at 9 and 5 I felt pretty finished with the whole baby thing. But Jacob insisted that we needed one more. He wasn't done and in a moment of passion and lust and stupidity – whatever you want to call it – we made love without protection when I knew I was ovulating. I always knew, because when I was I couldn't keep my hands off of Jacob.
He would walk in the door covered in grease and sweat, his massive shoes making my pristine floor filthy and I couldn't care less. And once he lowered his jumpsuit and it hung loosely around his hips, all I could think about was the way that his back muscles moved under his wife beater as he searched the fridge for something cold to drink. Within minutes he would be prying his shoes off and I would be pushing down his jumpsuit as we fumbled and tripped our way to the bedroom yelling at the kids that they could watch a movie. I just couldn't get into the bedroom fast enough to get my hands on Jake and get him inside of me. And once we were there – heaven. Making love to Jake was always good. It didn't matter whether we were tired, or being silly, or sexy, or rough, or even lazy – it was always good. But as I said, when I was ovulating there was that something extra there that made me crave him and made me willing to do anything – and damn him – he knew it and took advantage of me. Thus, the third baby growing in my womb.
It's not like I didn't love my baby, I did. I just hadn't really planned on a third and it took some getting used to. But, good ol' Jacob knowing how I would react once I realized I was pregnant (and didn't want to be) made my life so unbelievably easy that even I couldn't complain. He doted on me something fierce.
He did the dishes, made dinner often, made sure the kids were bathed and put to bed at a proper time and then somehow found the energy to rub my feet or my back or make sweet love to me – always mentioning how beautiful I was as he kissed down my growing belly.
What could I say? I loved the man through and through, and therefore I loved his baby.
I was pulled out of my musings by a shouting Haley dripping in front of me. "Mom! Look what Dad did. He got me all dirty."
I just sighed and rolled my eyes. Jacob walked in and grinned mischievously while retorting like a child, "Did not."
"You two…" I muttered, but stopped short as the baby gave me a rather large kick in the ribs. Ouch!
"Ooh, is he kicking?" asked Kevin, his eyes bright.
I nodded and he ran over to the couch sitting beside me and lifting my shirt. I howled in surprise as his hands were freezing. Jacob picked up Kevin's hands and blew on them and warmed them up in his big, hot hands. I was amazed that even after all of these years of not phasing he had retained some of his wolfishness – a heat (though less intense) still radiated throughout his body. And it kept me delightfully warm at night.
Kevin placed his now warm hands on my belly and his eyes grew wide with each kick. He giggled and looked up at me looking so proud of himself, for what I'm not sure. I knew he was excited to be a big brother and he'd be amazing at it.
Just as I was tucking my massive belly back in my shirt Jacob eyed me curiously and knelt down between my legs giving my belly a few smooches and talking to his son or daughter. I couldn't make out what he was saying but I'm sure it was sweet. He leaned up, over my exposed belly to kiss me when the door opened and a gust of cold wind shocked my senses causing me to stop mid-pucker.
"Ew! Can't you two give it a rest? Bella's already knocked up," said Seth as he carried two sacks of groceries through the house.
"Can it, Seth…" said Jacob and then continued, "…you need any help?"
"Nah," Seth shouted from the kitchen. "Charlie's got the rest."
Just then, Charlie, Sue and Leah came tromping through the house carrying bags of groceries as well.
Sue had insisted that we have Christmas dinner at Charlie's this year. She wouldn't hear a word about me cooking in my condition. And while I knew I could do it, I was grateful for the break. In fact, I was just grateful for Sue period. She was such a good mom to her kids and took me under her wing once she and Charlie started dating. She was actually more motherly than my own mother, which was nice for a change, though it didn't change the way that I felt about Renee at all. In fact, she and I had grown closer since Jacob and I had married as she was finally able to give me advice in the love/relationship department. And she was always a willing and able ear to whine to when Jacob's irritating habits got under my skin. She was exceptionally understanding and sympathetic once Jacob discovered that he did, in fact, enjoy fishing and decided to buy $300.00 worth of fishing gear in one weekend without talking to me about it. That resulted in a fun trip to the grocery store where my two young kids at the time and I had to leave the store with only 4 of the items from our overflowing cart because our account had insufficient funds. Yeah, I still needed Renee. She understood.
Before long, dinner was ready and we were all sitting at the table enjoying our small family. It was strange not to hear Billy's booming laughter over dinner, but he had opted out this year as both of his daughters were in town with their significant others. He promised to make it next year.
Sue was an excellent cook and always made enough for an army. Sure enough when we said our goodbyes and the kids kissed Grandma Sue and Grandpa Charlie goodbye Seth came out of the kitchen with a bag full of leftovers for us. Jacob grabbed the bag and we both thanked her profusely.
In bed later that night I couldn't help but feel so lucky. Here I was living the life I never knew would be perfect for me. I rarely thought about the Cullens anymore unless I got an email from Alice giving me the rundown on everyone's lives. We had parted amicably and I had simply moved on with my life, with my Jacob, and I never once regretted it. He gave me things that Edward never could. And while I missed Edward's friendship at times, I didn't miss my relationship with him. It was all too-consuming when I was young. What I had with Jacob was natural and normal and beautiful.
"What are you thinking about?" asked Jacob as he propped up his head on his elbow and began to draw patterns over my bare belly.
"Us," I said sighing.
"And how well everything worked out. It's pretty amazing."
"It is, isn't it?" he said leaning forward to place a kiss on my belly. His hands ran up my back and he maneuvered himself over me bringing his lips to mine.
"It is," I said sitting up and removing my shirt fully. I shivered due to the cold.
He brought his lips to mine again and warmed me up with his hands. He pulled back and kissed my neck softly. "Bells," he called softly.
"Maybe we'll get lucky and get snowed in this year. We would have to stay in our bed warming each other for days."
"What would we do with the kids?" I chuckled as he continued to press his lips over my chest.
"They'd be snowed in at your dad's place, duh. It's a fantasy, just go with it." He whispered the last part sending a shiver down my spine.
"Okay, snowed in it is," I said as he raised himself again and kissed my lips claiming me as his own.
"So, that was weird. We haven't seen him in forever."
"Yeah, I haven't seen him in what? 20 years, maybe?
"That means he's around 36. I wonder if all the wolves look that good at 36. I mean, he was still ripped and that patch of grey above his ears… a bit sexy if I do say so myself."
"Alice, are you ogling a werewolf?"
"Why not? They're cute. And though I'd never admit it to Edward, Jacob was always the cutest."
I didn't say anything. I kept my mouth closed.
"Come on, Bella. It's okay to admit that he's cute. That he's still cute. That he's kinda even hotter now than when he was 16."
I shook my head laughing as I continued to drive us home.
"You know he's probably still got that 8 pack under that tight shirt of his."
"Will you stop it? Besides, Edward has a washboard stomach too. I like his. It's tasty. Especially when I lick…."
"Okay, gross. Mission accomplished. You got me to shut up."
I knew I did. Anytime I mentioned her brother and sex, it would shut her right up. It was hard for Alice, seeing as her ability would sometimes give her glimpses into private moments between Edward and I. I knew that was hard for her, but damn if it didn't help me to know how to get her to shut up. And I really needed her to shut up because Jacob looked good. Damn good. And it didn't help that he was there with his perfect wife, his perfect kids, hell, even his perfect dog that was waiting in the truck for him.
I had tried to remain calm when I saw him, but I'm sure I just ended up looking insane or like I had peed myself (which was impossible). I really wanted to just run. I was fast, I should've bolted. But I couldn't, shock or some heinous cosmic something or other held me in place to torture me.
I had done so well the past 10 or so years forgetting about Jacob Black. Forgetting about the way that he looked at me. The way that his eyes had burned into my soul or something. The way that his warm hands had made me tremble when he held me in an embrace. I had forgotten and gotten over all of that. I had embraced my life as Edward's wife, as Edward's period. I suppose you could say that I was his as he made me. I was one of them now, a vampire, for eternity. There was no turning back. All I could do was make my situation work for me. And it was fine. I was fine. And I loved Edward and his family. But, had I a chance to do it over again, to change my mind, I can't say with certainty that I had made the right choice. Sometimes I felt bogged down by the weight of my decision, like right now. Like Christmas time.
Christmas time was difficult for me. I had always enjoyed making a big meal, whether at my mother's or at Charlie's. I enjoyed a big Christmas feast. But everything had changed. No more feasts, no more Charlie, and no more Renee. A few years back had been my last encounter with the both of them. It was one of the most difficult days of my life. Edward was beside himself with guilt and didn't know what to do with me. I spent a few days on my own hunting and running and thinking and trying not to regret my decision, but the truth was I did. At times, I just did. And I couldn't deny it. And Jacob had brought all of that up again today when I saw him. And it just got worse the more I talked with him.
"So, I heard about your, er, accident," he said warily looking at the ground and back up at me.
"Yeah, a few years ago Edward noticed Charlie was starting to suspect something and it was just time. I had no choice."
"I'm, I'm surprised to see you here though, out in the open, and in Forks. Isn't that a bit… I mean, if you're supposed to be… ya know?"
"Um, Alice's abilities help us to move around at ease."
"Yeah, except that I'm here."
"Well, you and your friends are an exception I suppose. And I don't imagine that you'll feel the need to tell Charlie you saw my ghost today at the Thriftway."
"No, I don't think I will. Though, uh, Thriftway? Are you looking for a bloody steak?" He laughed lightly and I hit him on the arm.
"Every year we make up goodies for Charlie and drop them off as though they were shipped from us – well the rest of us."
"Why don't you just send them then?" He looked nervously at me and scratched his neck.
"I just like being in Forks during Christmas time. It just feels like home. I want to be here, I guess you could say." Near my family, near you, I thought and then chastised myself immediately for my internal admission.
"I, uh, better go. The kids look kinda squirrelly in the cab of the truck." He threw his thumb casually over his shoulder pointing it at his truck. "My wife's probably going insane right now."
"It was good to see you, Jake," I said quietly.
"Yeah." He turned awkwardly and began walking away. He stopped abruptly and spun around heading back to me. "I don't know if you know, but she, Sadie my wife, we met in college. I never, er… imprinting never happened for me."
"So true love led the way for Jacob Black," I said smiling.
"Something like that. Though, it's hard. Marriage is hard. Although, she lets me get away with a lot of stuff. She doesn't challenge me on… I mean, it's not like what we…" He broke off his sentence and ran his hand through his hair looking a bit frazzled.
I simply smiled and he sighed, his eyes burning into mine as they used to.
"Are you happy?" he asked, the words rolling off of his tongue quickly.
"Yeah," I said a bit too fast as though trying to convince him, to convince myself.
I motioned my hand for him to answer the same question.
"Sure, sure," he said cocking his head to the side and grinning at me. And in an instant I was there again, back in Jacob's garage talking with a young boy about my life, my future…
"Bells, you can't unmake this decision. This is permanent. Do you get that, do you understand that?"
"I know, but I, I just can't be without him and this is the only way."
"It's not the only way. He doesn't even want to change you. Can't you just be with him and see if it works? And then if it doesn't, you've just had a failed relationship and not a lifetime of regret."
"I don't think I'll ever regret it. When I see my future I see him."
"With stars in your eyes," he said with a bit of irritability. "You're too young to make this decision. You think people will judge you and wonder if you're pregnant, and they will because that's how you're acting, like you have no choice. You have a choice."
"Ugh. Not this again. Jake, you promised."
"Well, I lied, okay? I guess I just can't let my best friend and the love of my life make such a stupid mistake: one that will change her life and mine forever. Although, you know I will be okay. I'm not worried about me. I survived losing my mother and I can survive losing you. I don't believe that you can only love one person. I'm sure that I will find someone that will be worth my time. Although, it may not be the same. I may never find this, what I have with you, again. But like I said, I'll be fine. But you…there's no going back from this. And you and I… once you do this Bella, once you become… I can't even say it. Once you are like him, that's it for us. We'll probably never see each other again. What we have, this…" he said motioning between us and giving me a pleading look, "…it's over. Friendship, relationship, whatever you want to call it - over. We'll be natural enemies."
"We'll never be enemies."
"Yeah, well tell that to Sam and Leah and the rest, 'cause that's what they'll see you as, regardless of your name or your beautiful face, or whatever. I'm just… I just want you to think about it. Think about it. Think about me. About you and me and what I can give you. Of how we can be together and do things together that you can never do with him. Think about my heat, my blood, my life. Think about… this..."
Jacob leaned in and for once I didn't pull away; I didn't hesitate. I surrendered to it. I even leaned into it myself. Jacob's soft, full lips melted into mine and we enjoyed our first agreed-upon kiss. There was no tension between us. It was natural, fitting and warm, so warm. My body molded to his side as he pulled me closer to him on his old tattered couch that Quil had discovered in an alley. It wasn't the stuff of fairytales, or even the stuff of my mystical-filled life. There were no flowers in a meadow, no sparking beautiful boys dazzling me. There was just me and Jake embracing our relationship for once, acknowledging the love that we had for each other.
For one mere moment, just a few minutes everything was perfect. We were perfect, together.
We moved well together, our lips staying connected and saying the things that we couldn't bear to say. His saying, 'I love you, please don't do this.' And mine saying, 'I do love you, but I'm sorry and I'll miss you.'
Our lips slowed gradually and when it was over he held my face close to his own and ran his nose over my cheek whispering "Bells." I looked up as he called my name and found the strongest man I'd ever known crying over me, over his loss, over the loss of my life, as he would see it.
I gave him one last kiss and told him not to worry about me, that I'd be fine, that I'd be loved and cared for.
He simply sniffed, nodded and whispered, "Love you, always, Bells." And I left.
It was the last time I saw Jacob Black. Until today. He pulled me from my memories as he eyed me with curiosity.
"Can I hold you, uh, hug you?" he asked quietly.
I nodded slightly and he closed the distance between us wrapping his big, strong arms around me. I followed suit and melted into him, pulling his wide shoulders closer to me. He didn't flinch when he felt my hard, cold body against his. I furrowed my brow as I too realized that this seemed natural, right even. And he smelled the same to me – like damp earth and the beach. I wondered idly if he was still a wolf, but turned the thought away as I was missing my moment. I held him close to me and squeezed him a bit and he returned the gesture sighing into my neck, his warm breath making me shudder. "Bells," he whispered into my skin and then promptly pulled away.
He wiped at his eyes, though there were no tears that I could see. He grinned at me and chuckled. "Now, I'm happy," he said. I cocked my eyebrow at him and he laughed loudly, his shoulders shaking with his exuberance. He shrugged his shoulders, rocked himself onto the heels of his feet and said, "Bye, Bells," as he turned himself and retreated to his family slowly.
"Bye, Jake," I said as I watched him walk away.
"So, what do you really want for Christmas?" asked Alice pulling me from the memory of my recent encounter.
I couldn't think of anything appropriate to say. So I said nothing.
"I already know what he got you. I'm just curious what you really want."
"All I want for Christmas is to be with my family." My family, I thought, Charlie, Renee and my Jacob. That's what I really want. But I would never say that. Admitting it out loud would bring my whole world crashing down. And I certainly couldn't have that. This was my life. I chose this. And I really had no right to complain. My life was good. Edward was good to me and we loved each other. It was just missing something. Something or someone.
When we drove up to the Cullen house, my house (I had to remind myself at times), Edward was already waiting for us outside. He opened my door for me and embraced me. "I missed you, love. Emmett's done nothing but tell bad reindeer jokes since you left. You want to take a run with me, or hunt, or do something, anything away from him? Please. I'm begging you," he said as he grinned at me. I couldn't say no to that crooked smile, the one that won my heart so many years ago.
"Okay," I agreed. He smiled and helped me bring the groceries into the house. We would bake for Charlie later.
We returned from our run before nightfall. He must have sensed that my mood was off because he was extremely attentive to me. He kept a hand on me always either stroking my neck, my thigh or my back to keep me relaxed.
"You want to talk about it?" he asked after some time had passed. He was being so patient with me as I had been staring off into space lost in my thoughts.
"No. Christmas is just hard for me. Especially now since I can't see my dad. I miss my family."
"We're your family, love."
"Thank you," I said as I kissed him softly.
"I promise it'll get easier," said Edward stroking my cheek and giving me another sweet kiss on the lips.
"I hope so," I said sighing.
"Do you want to bake or go upstairs?" he asked hesitantly, but letting his smile shine through.
I laughed at him and nodded toward the stairs.
We got ready for bed together: a silly tradition I forced myself to keep even though I didn't actually sleep anymore. Edward and I crawled into bed together and snuggled under the covers. We kissed each other slowly, sweetly for a while just enjoying languid touches and warm embraces, our legs tangling together.
"Maybe we'll get lucky and get snowed in this year," said Edward chuckling.
"Oh no," I whined, "Emmett was so ornery since he was due for a hunting trip."
"Sure, he was grumpy, but I remember us enjoying ourselves. Right here in fact. For two weeks," he said, his eyes smoldering into mine as he kissed me passionately and pulled my body on top of his.
"Mmmm. To being snowed in," I whispered into his neck and kissed him there softly.
My body took over: loving Edward as it was used to doing, responding at all the right moments and enjoying itself.
He pulled my body into his, spooning me after we had made love. He sighed and told me he loved me. I repeated the words, meaning them, yet all the while my mind couldn't focus on the man behind me: the supposed love of my life, the man that I married and literally gave myself to for eternity. All I could think about were those simple words, 'Maybe we'll get lucky and get snowed in this year.'
It sounded good. It sounded like a fun idea, yet somehow, I just couldn't picture being snowed in with Edward again. My mind, my ever-working mind, wrestled with a few ideas and I let it go. I couldn't sleep and therefore couldn't dream but I could imagine things differently and on occasion I allowed myself that freedom. This was one such occasion. With self approval, my mind took off on its own creating an alternate reality, a scenario of a family with Jacob that would/could never happen. And sadly, somehow I continued to long for it even though it made me feel trapped and snowed in.