I crumpled up the paper from the bagel and cream cheese I had just inhaled and tossed it into the wastebasket in the corner of my bedroom. I missed, of course.
"Shut up." I responded to the snort that emanated from my best friend sitting on the opposite side of the bed from me.
"What?" he said, putting his hands up innocently.
I couldn't resist a small smile. What could I say? I was a klutz with insanely bad hand-eye coordination. But fortunately Jacob seemed to find my ineptness endearing.
I got up from my bed and picked up the wrapper from the floor.
"Two out of three?" Jacob said before I had a chance to place it in the garbage.
I backed up, sitting on the bed and poised for another shot at the garbage can. "What do I win?"
"My respect," he teased.
I shook my head. "You're gonna have to do better than that."
As he put his head down to think for a moment, my gaze flowed over him sitting opposite me. Every once in a while when I least expected it, I really saw him. Not as the one person who knew me better than anyone else without even trying, not as the guy who was the son of my dad's best friend, not even as the master mechanic with mad skills that impressed me no end.
But really saw him. Through my girl eyes. Like a girl looks at a guy she's never seen before: with a clean slate, with no past, no boundaries real or imagined, with no preconceived dynamics. Like Eve seeing Adam for the first time. Fresh.
And it scared me. Because seeing Jacob how other girls must have seen him frightened the hell out of me. There was something so... sexual, which was scary enough - but it was such a primal thing. I didn't know what to do with it.
So I did what I usually did when Jacob Black stirred those feelings in me.
"I'm gonna go take a shower," I told him, standing up and throwing the wad of paper at him instead.
"Hey!" He laughed. "Afraid to take my dare?" He cocked an eyebrow at me.
"What dare? I thought that was a bet."
"Okay. I make two out of three, and you have to let me braid your hair and fasten it with my pink satin ribbon, which you have to wear for the whole day."
He threw his head back and laughed. I loved when I made him laugh like that.
He rolled his eyes. "Like I have to worry, Bells. You won't even make one in, let alone two. Okay, I'll take your bet. But what if you lose?"
"Then you can join me in the shower," I told him. I was going for another one of his head-thrown-back laughs, but he got a funny look on his face instead, which he quickly covered up with a smirk.
"Yeah, right." He snorted.
My stomach did a funny, coiled roll when our eyes met, and we both had a hard time maintaining a nonchalant gaze at each other.
I raised the wrapper over my head, breaking our stare and threw it at him again.
"Yeah, right," I mimicked him.
I felt his eyes burning into my back as I jokingly sashayed out of the room. I was nothing if not the master of keeping things light. With Jacob Black, anyway.
There was a part of me that got stronger every day that wondered what if...? What if I crossed that line with Jake? I think I knew it wasn't so much that I was afraid of changing our relationship to a slow courtship, but that I knew that if things changed that way for us, it would be anything but a slow courtship. There was something between Jake and I that had nothing to do with slow and sweet. The words hot, pounding and frenzied were the first three that came to my mind. The smolder underneath our friendly façade was getting harder and harder to ignore. And frankly, I wasn't sure I wanted to ignore it anymore.
I pulled my t-shirt off over my head and unclasped the bra I was wearing, sliding it down and off my arms. I caught my reflection in the full-length bathroom mirror and slowly lowered my pajama bottoms down, watching myself as if I were watching a movie. I forced myself to stand completely naked before the mirror, which by the way, was extremely hard when your self-esteem (from parents who were nominally involved in your life and an ex-boyfriend who dumped you in a forest after informing you they really didn't love you), was pretty non-existent.
I'm not fat, at least, I told myself, attempting a compliment. Yay me. My breasts were a nice size - not too big and not too small. I personally liked the way my hip bones jutted out just a little, and my stomach was nice and flat. My legs were probably my best asset: long and thin. I could have used a little more junk in the trunk, but at least it was tight and perky.
I was getting good at this now. I had no cellulite, and my skin was pale, but it was a rich, creamy, peachy tone, like porcelain. I had nice hair - thick, wavy and long. And I had big dark eyes, which really could look kind of sexy when I let someone like Jessica or Alice play them up all smoky with make-up.
I realized I had just wasted ten minutes staring at myself naked, and still felt pretty good about myself. In fact, I felt better about myself than I had in a long, long time. I took one last look from head to toe before I decided if I didn't turn on the water and get in the shower soon, Jake was going to wonder what the hell I was doing in here.
What would Jake think of me with no clothes on? I rolled my eyes at myself as I saw just the thought made my cheeks blush. I felt the blood rushing to my chest at the thought too.
Would he...? Would he want to touch me? My fingers were resting on my abdomen, just above my belly button. I very self-consciously let them drop to the V between my legs. There was that coiled heat in my belly again as I imagined my fingers were Jacob's fingers barely brushing against the soft hair between my thighs.
I jumped twenty feet and pulled my hand away as I shrieked a high, panicked, "What?"
"I saw there were a couple donuts downstairs that no one ate. Do you think I could have one?"
"Sure, sure," I mumbled, reaching in to turn on the water.
"Haven't you got in the shower yet?"
"I am right now. I was... shaving my legs."
"Don't you do that in the shower?"
"Not when you have an electric razor!" I yelled, exasperated. "Go eat your donut! But leave the chocolate one – those are Charlie's favorite, and he's been known to shoot people for less."
"Sure, sure." I heard him laugh, as he walked away.
I hesitated before stepping under the hot water, and for some strange reason I reached over and unlocked the bathroom door.
I'd be lying if I told you I didn't think of Jake's hands gliding over me while I soaped up in the shower, and I'd be lying again if I said it didn't take me a long time to thoroughly, with light teasing strokes of the washcloth, clean down there. But I stopped myself in disgust before taking it all the way.
What was I doing? Jacob would be disgusted with me if he'd known.
What if I called him in right now? Would he be shocked? Would he shake his head and leave? Or would he take off his clothes and get in with me? Then what? Okay, I wasn't stupid. I guess we'd start with some kissing and rubbing up against each other and ooooh, if we used some soap we could slide against each – stop it!
I was getting out now. I put on the clean underwear I'd brought in with me. Yeah, yeah, they were my good, black lacy ones. I pulled a comb through my wet hair before pulling on my gray yoga pants. So they were the ones that hugged my rear end and accentuated its perkiness. So what? Might as well bring up now that I was also going to wear the black satin lace bra that matched the pretty panties, and pulled on a stretchy thin tank.
"So what?" I yelled at myself in the mirror before opening the door, and the cold air flowed in, clearing up the steam on the mirror in a rush.
"Who are you talking to, Bells?" Jacob was leaning back against my pillows, looking through my old Phoenix yearbook.
"Nobody." I threw my PJ's in the hamper.
Shoot, I was gonna have to grab a sweatshirt to put over my tank top; it was too chilly for me. I looked down and noticed the hard nubs breaking through the thin fabric of my shirt. Whoops. I looked back up at the exact moment Jacob looked up from the same sight. Our eyes locked in the second uncomfortable silence of the day.
And neither of us looked away.
I took a deep breath and forced a grin. Like I was kidding. Just in case. But really, really I wanted to know.
"What would you have done if I, uh..." I had to swallow again. "If I really had asked you to come into the shower with me?"
He wasn't smiling back at me.
Should I pretend I was kidding now? Haha, yeah right, in your dreams Jake, just kidding!
He swung his legs over the side of the bed, so he was sitting on the edge closest to me.
"I'd have joined you," he answered with a hint of a smile.
My heart beat just a little faster, but enough that I could tell. And if I could tell, I knew he could tell.
"No, really. Seriously. Would you really have taken your clothes off and gotten in with me?"
I made sure to pose it as a question and not exactly an invitation. I think. I was getting in a little deep and feeling more than a little confused. But I was a little proud of myself for standing my ground.
He didn't come any closer to me, but he stood up. I think he knew I was on tenuous ground, and my track record had proven in the past that I would bolt at any sudden movement.
But I had crossed a line. And I wasn't backing down.
He nodded and took a step closer. "I would have taken my clothes off and gotten in with you. Would you?" He softened the question with the hint of a smile and another small step toward me.
"Yeah." I nodded.
"Really?" There was the slightest tone of disbelief, which for some reason annoyed me.
"Really," I assured him, my voice coming out in a breathless rush. "So let's do it now." I grinned with false bravado and lifted my eyebrow. "But you first."
"Okay." He laughed breathily, playing along. I definitely had Mr. Black's curiosity piqued.
He pulled his shirt off over his head and held it in his hand hesitantly, like he expected me to run. When I didn't, he threw it onto the bed.
I had to laugh. What the hell were we doing? The game itself was so us, but at the same time, we both were testing the other to see how far we were willing to really go. The dangerous undercurrent was overplayed by the trust we both had in the other so that if one of us wanted it to stop - it would stop.
"My turn." I giggled nervously. I saw Jake's hand reach out and the 'are you sure?' look on his face before I pulled my tank top up over my head and tossed it onto the bed next to Jake's shirt.
The mad pulse of Jake's carotid artery betrayed his casual smile as he slid his sweat pants down his legs and over his feet, and they landed on top of my tank top.
I sucked in a breath when I saw through his boxer-briefs what his baggy sweatpants had hidden. He was excited and hard. And very large. Not that I had much experience, but proportionately Jake was a huge guy, and as far as I could see everything on him was... proportioned.
"Bells? We don't have to play anymore."
I was breathing quickly. I hoped I wouldn't start hyperventilating. That would be memorable. The coiled heat that had started in my belly was now a hot tingle right between my legs. The more I tried to keep my focus away from the bulge in Jacob's boxers, the more demanding the tingle became.
"No, I want to." My voice became a faint but determined whisper.
I pulled my sweats down quickly and threw them on top of his. I straightened up, and our eyes met.
He hooked his hands into the elastic of his boxers, and I shoved them away, a little panicked. He looked back at me in surprise. I shook my head.
"It's not fair. I have more clothes than you. So I'll let you forfeit a turn, and I'll go next."
"You don't have to do that, Bells."
"No. I want to." And I did. I really did.
I reached behind my back and unclasped my black satin bra that I had only worn once before - underneath a black dress with thin straps that I had bought for a Christmas party at Jessica's house junior year.
I swallowed for the hundredth time that day and removed the bra.
Jacob made a strangled noise. I felt a surge of something at his reaction; was it power? Whatever it was, it emboldened me and brought a fearlessness I'd never felt before.
The game was over. Or had it just begun?
Jacob waited a long time before he again grasped the elastic of his underwear. I'm sure his pause was to give me time to protest or change my mind.
I surprised myself by again knocking his hands away. But this time it was for a different reason. Staring in fascination at what the thought of me did to his anatomy, I placed my hands on his hips over his boxers and ran my hands down over his thighs. Kneeling slightly, I slipped my hands up underneath the fabric to feel the tip-tops of his thighs with my bare hands, and then softly along the junction where his legs met his torso. I felt him shiver as my fingertips glazed along the seam of his crotch. I pulled one hand free and gently cupped his balls through the material. His knees started to give out before he caught himself and tried to stifle a moan. I ran my hands once again over his thickly muscled legs, down to his knees and back up to his hips again slowly, once, twice, three times. I stood again and pulled back and down on the elastic; freeing what I had avoided in my handlings from touching.
I had never felt so hot and wanting in my life. Ever. Even with Edward. But then I knew there would be no halfway with Jacob.
He slipped them completely off and dropped them.
Okay. My turn again.
I shut my eyes and hooked my shaking fingers into my panties. I gasped slightly as I felt my hands get slapped away this time.
"I want to do it." His voice came out in a growl.
I nodded almost imperceptively. I vaguely realized at that point that we were playing the grown-up version of you-show-me-yours-and-I'll-show-you-mine. Grown-ups always had so much more fun.
He kneeled in front of me, and I got a little nervous because I knew I was wet. I mean wet to the point where I could feel the moisture in my panties. And knowing what a strong sense of smell Jacob had made me a little self-conscious, to say the least. But I couldn't put together a legible sentence when his hands - his strong muscular hands - so gently stroked my thighs. An embarrassing noise escaped from my throat, a cross between a groan and a nonsense string of consonants.
It was all I could do to shut my eyes and remain standing. I felt my silk panties slowly lower over my hips and down my legs. I stepped out of them, and God only knows how he disposed of them from there. Because the next thing I knew, the world shook and my body turned to Jell-o as Jake swiped his tongue right along the exact spot that had been begging for something that I had no idea how to give it. But apparently Jake did.
My brain said, oh my god, don't let him do that! But my body spread wider for him. His hands were on my rear end, and he was trying to get farther in and farther back and more, more, more, but this position was not conducive to what he wanted. So I felt myself nudged to the side and pushed to a seated position on the edge of my bed. I fell back, and in a very unladylike fashion, I spread my legs wider for him.
Now he had complete access that he took full advantage of.
I could hear a whimpering noise and realized it was coming from me.
What he was doing was so good. But I wanted him to move his head up slightly, just a little more to the north. That was where something was begging for Jake's attention. As if reading my mind - which Jacob so often seemed to do effortlessly - he took a few long swipes, like a cat lapping at milk, before finding the hard nub that he circled and gently sucked at with his lips and tongue.
Oh God. Don't ever stop, was the only thing that swept through my mind.
My legs were hanging over the edge of the bed - my tippy-toes pointed and touching the floor, somehow grounding me, while both my legs shook.
I could hear gaspy moans through my haze, and Jacob's tongue sped up, and his head made lazy circles and moved back and forth between my legs.
"That's so good."
Did I say that out loud?
That spot - that spot that had been heated and wanting all morning - he just kept circling it and flicking it and working it.
I would never think of that spot again without thinking of Jacob.
I gasped as I felt something poke me, and then I felt his whole finger glided inside of me. He moved it in and out at just the right pace while he continued to swirl his tongue over that spot.
Was I talking out loud again?
But I didn't care as the world tilted at an angle and exploded, and the only thing that mattered was Jacob Black and what he was doing right then. My body spasmed in waves over and over and over again, until finally I had to push him away. It was too much.
I just lay there, the panting quieting slowly. I couldn't even move.
Until I felt someone hovering over me, his face so close to mine I could smell my scent on him. And it smelled good. It smelled right. Like it belonged on him.
Holy crow! My eyes flew open and there he was, right above me.
We hadn't even kissed!
We locked eyes, and my insides melted again at the intimacy we shared that hadn't been there before.
I took his face in both my hands and felt him lower himself down on top of me.
Holy crow! I forgot we were naked!
It felt amazing: his warmth along my whole body, warming me completely. He was better than any department store electric blanket.
But right now, I wanted this:
A kiss that was such a long time in coming. Jacob and I had never kissed. Well, there was that one awkward time last Christmas when he kissed me on the cheek when we caught ourselves under the mistletoe that Quil's mom had hung up over their door. But then Quil and Embry had gotten into it too, and Jake had shoved Quil, and Embry pretended he was going to punch Jake when they all pretended they were going to kiss each other. I ended up being the only one that all three actually put their lips on.
But this was different.
We held eye contact until it was impossible to anymore. For some reason this felt even bigger than what had just happened a few minutes before.
It was soft and hesitant at first. Our breath mingling, lips touching, mouths closed. Jacob peppered little kisses over my mouth, gradually parting my lips more and more, finally slipping his tongue over mine. I reciprocated by sliding mine along his.
Then his hands glided along my sides and gripped my waist. I clung to his shoulders, his strength so obvious under my hand. I slid them around his back and up to his neck, grasping his hair in my hands.
My whole body warmed and thrummed. We had done things backwards, but that was okay. Next time we could switch things up and do them in the proper order.
This was better than what we had been doing with our time thus far. Better than riding the motorcycles. Better than warm sodas and working on cars in the garage. Better than talking together, holding hands and walking along First Beach, even. This could be the new Jake and Bells pastime.
I felt something like silk sweep across my shoulders and tickle over my chest. My eyes drowsily opened halfway, and I saw that Jake's hair had come undone and was strewn over me.
I understood why this was the first step. Even though I'd been satiated already, this felt like an awakening. Or in my case, a re-awakening. I'd never been aware of how sensitive and receptive my body was to someone's touch.
I wanted his hands everywhere on me.
But he was preoccupied. His mouth had discovered mine. And that could almost be enough. I could do that all day. Maybe we would. New Jake and Bells pastime, remember?
But I was selfish. Couldn't I have it all? His mouth hungrily on mine, tongues dancing intermittently, and his hands encouraging my new discovery of skin to skin pleasure?
I reached down to my waist and took hold of his wrist, pulling it away from it's frantic grasp there. It's okay Jake, I wanted to say, I'm not going anywhere. Relax. I entwined my fingers through his and held on for a moment, feeling the strength in that hand, yet also feeling the gentleness in that hand. And the sheer size of that hand - engulfing mine, dwarfing it. Protecting it.
Protecting me. Sometimes from myself. Mostly from myself. I'd endured a relationship with a vampire and his family of blood drinkers - who by the way, found my blood to be the most tempting and alluring blood in the world. And yet surviving the agony of losing Edward and his family was nothing compared to the way I beat myself up with guilt and insecurity.
But I didn't want to think of that right now.
I took Jacob's hand and brought it to my hip, guiding it back up across my waist, over my ribs, and let go of it, leaving it along the side of my breast.
I pulled away from his lips just long enough to take a much-needed breath and make a small request.
"Put your hands on me, Jake."
Put your hands everywhere Jake.
But I didn't say that.
He pulled back and looked almost puzzled at how his hand had found its way there, and then pulled back farther again and just... enjoyed the view.
I could almost see the thought-bubble over his head, like in comic books. My hand is on Bella's breast.
But then his mouth quickly followed, and I temporarily lost the ability to think coherent thoughts again.
That was happening a lot today.
Wet heat from his tongue and then his teeth, as he sucked and nibbled on me.
And I liked it.
It was like a direct line to that spot again. The tingling again. The wanting was back in full force. Such a strong force it was directing my hips to move. To touch, to rub, to pump against Jake.
The world was starting to tilt a little again with sensory overload. His hair was tickling my neck and my shoulders, and my arms. And as if that wasn't enough, his mouth, his tongue and his teeth were doing things to my breasts that I didn't even know words for, and my hips rose up to meet his subtly - trying to appease that spot.
And now I'll mention that I was very conscious of something hard and insistent moving and poking against my belly with every thrust of our hips.
I felt I should do something about that. I wanted to do something about that.
My hands kept running up and down Jake's back, pulling him against me. Trying to bring him closer. But if he'd been any closer, he'd end up on the other side of me. I experienced a moment of surrealism as my hands ran down to his butt and squeezed, and then helped him pump against me.
My legs had found their way open again. This time with Jacob's body cradled between them.
Jacob's spot and my spot must have felt they could help each other out. Like they had some unfinished business together. Because unbeknownst to us, they were slowly making their way closer and closer. And before I knew it, they were sliding against each other.
"Bells?" Jacob's voice was husky and tight, pleading ringing through it.
I knew what he was asking. All it would take was a nod or a shake of my head. That was all. No lengthy conversations.
And he knew it was a confirmation.
His moist tongue slid inside my mouth at the same moment his head met my wet opening - like a preview for my virgin imagination.
We stayed poised in this moment for what felt like a long time, but was probably only sixty seconds.
But in that moment I became aware of the sounds we were making: the noises screaming at me. The quick, ragged gasps escaping from both of our chests, the wet smacking of our kisses, the sound of my heartbeat pounding in my ears.
"You know I love you, Bells, right?"
"I know, Jake. I know. I love you too."
"You're all I've ever wanted."
And then he entered me.
And all the nerve endings were still sensitive and engorged, and it felt so good. And he must have liked it too, because he made the deepest, sexiest moan I'd ever heard.
And I wanted him deeper.
But all that came out was a whimper. But Jacob - he knew what I wanted. He always knew what I wanted. He thrust a little harder.
"I don't want to hurt you, honey."
I just whimpered again. Then I held on tight to him and tried to push him deeper into me.
That worked. He gave a hard thrust, and I felt a sharp pain that made me gasp. I clenched my teeth and kept meeting him, thrust for thrust, through the pain anyway. And gradually after a few strokes, it eased to a feeling of fullness.
Very full, in fact.
And very deep. As if Jacob himself was at my very core. Touching parts of me I didn't even know existed and had never been acquainted with.
"Are you okay, honey?" he rasped.
I nodded my head against his chest, which was slick with sweat. He found my lips again, and we moved our tongues together in rhythm with our bodies. And his tongue in sequence with him pumping in and out of me down there ignited the memory of what he had done there earlier. And the warmth spread through my groin again. I locked onto his lips and my arms gripped him as tightly to me as I could, and I bucked against him with a frenzied purpose.
And the universe exploded again for the second time that day. Only this time was better. Because Jacob inside me propelled that good feeling through my whole body - deep, deep inside me.
I wasn't complaining. The first one had been good. But this one was profound.
Jacob. Was. Inside. Me.
I heard my name being said from what sounded like far, far away. And I think I might have said a few things out loud myself. Like his name. And maybe stating out loud to no one in particular how good it felt. But I couldn't be sure.
We were both still then, our breath slowly becoming even again. I vaguely wondered if all this breathlessness in one day could possibly be good for us.
Both our bodies were slick with sweat, and it was making me chilly as it cooled. I reached to the side and silently pulled my comforter over us. We lay there quietly for a long time, just exhausted and fulfilled. My room was getting dark as the sun went down outside. I was starting to wonder if he'd fallen asleep.
"So what would I have gotten if you'd missed three out of five?"
I smiled against his neck. Smartass.
"I'd have let Quil and Embry join us."
"Sure, sure," he snorted into the pillow.
"Maybe I'd be kicking you and Quil out now and letting Embry stay and shower with me," I teased, kissing his neck to soften the joke.
Jacob threw his head back and laughed.
"Aw, honey, I don't think so. Don't you know what they say?" He pulled his face up and looked at me.
I shook my head, frowning.
"Once you go Black, you never go back."
He lay his cheek back on the pillow, and I nestled into the spot between his neck and his shoulder, making a note to remember that it felt like it'd been designed just for me.
Our bodies were still joined. Our breath matching in sequence. In. Out. In. Out.
"Are you sorry we did it?" he whispered.
And I repeated to him the thought I'd had before.
This was better than what we had been doing with our time thus far. Better than riding the motorcycles. Better than warm sodas and working on cars in the garage. Better than talking together, holding hands and walking along First Beach even. This could be the new Jake and Bells pastime.
He got very quiet. I opened my eyes and peeked at him. His dark eyes looked shiny. But when he saw me looking at him, he smiled. He gave me a quick kiss. Then I felt a sweet ache in my heart when he threw his head back and laughed.
He kissed me yet again and repeated in a whisper:
"This could be the new Jake and Bells pastime."