Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, or any characters recognisable within. I do, however, own a shiny red record player that rocks my socks off.
Go on, jump.
Just do it.
You know you want to.
The sea spreads out before me, miles and miles to the horizon, the water tumultuous, tortured. Grey and blue is swirls dramatically at my feet.
I'm the King of the World.
Or, so says Jack.
The waves break on the rocks tens of feet below, white foam spilling over hard, unyielding slate. It's harsh and painful to look at, and yet I can't take my eyes off of it. My arms are spread out wide, legs together, head tilted to the wind. My hair is streaming behind me, around me, whipping around my head and stinging my eyes, but I make no move to tie it back.
I like it like this, wild, free.
I like feeling like this.
With a light laugh I take a few steps back, get a running start and fling myself over the edge.
The words whispers through my mind as I freefall through the air, contorting my body into a dive as I approach the water. My stomach had been left behind somewhere above me, along with any trepidation.
I am fearless.
I am a Swan.
My hands enter the water first, extended above my head, slipping into the cool ocean and making way for the rest of me. The rest of my body follows with little fanfare. I have executed the perfect swan dive.
I go deep into the water, feeling it still and calm around me as bubbles float towards the surface. The storm is not yet so bad that I am being pushed and pulled by the current, and there is even some weak early spring sunlight streaming through the surface of the water, filtering down to where I am, a meter or two below.
My eyes are open, stinging, but seeing in this underwater haven. Blue, green, I am surrounded by colour.
But ohmygod is it cold. It takes a minute for it to set in, but soon there are spikes of cold passing up and down my limbs, pricking and pinning me.
It is not an unwelcome feeling.
I stay under for as long as I can, but soon I am desperate for air. I kick my legs, pull my arms, move towards the surface and break the water with a dramatic flourish, feeling very much like Ariel, the little mermaid.
I draw deep lungfuls of air into my chest, revelling in the almost sweet sensation as I fill my oxygen-deprived lungs. I am panting heavily, but nonetheless am grinning like a madwoman.
I feel alive.
I'm still revelling in my freefall and kick back so I'm floating, my face warmed by the sun filtering through the grey clouds that seem to permeate the sky here constantly. It is weak, and barely there, but is nonetheless a welcome respite from the freezing cold of the water. My legs are covered in goosebumps, my nipples straining. I feel both numb and filled with sensation.
The closest I can get to high without consuming actual drugs.
I kick around for a bit, but a faint noise above draws my attention. I peer up towards the cliff edge and I see a blonde head of shaggy hair peering over, looking down at me. I see his mouth open again, but can't separate actual words from just faint noise. A string of words follows but I am only able to distinguish my name, along with the angry tone of his words.
I sigh and move onto my front, only now noticing that I'm much closer to the rocks than I intended. Luckily the current isn't too strong yet for me to fight against and I begin freecrawling my way back to shore. I begin the long trek up the cliff, dreading the bollocking I'm about to receive, but still giddy from the high of my dive. It's an odd combination and I feel raw and anxious by the time I get to the top.
I jump up the last ledge, shivering in the now almost brutal cold. The wind has picked up considerably and I know there isn't going to be time for one more before it becomes too dangerous. Looking down now, I realise that even now, the waves are crashing with much more severe intensity and I probably shouldn't have done that jump when I did.
But still, I stare Jasper down stubbornly as I approach him.
He's likewise staring me down, arms folded over his chest, eyes narrowed at my form as I get closer.
"Before you say it," I begin, raising my hands in protest, "I know that was probably stupid. But I'm fine."
Jasper isn't calmed by my words, and is in fact seemingly angered.
"You're fine? You're freezing, Bella. Look at you." I look down at myself, wet and cold, shivering violently in the wind.
"Well if you'd move, I'd grad my change of clothes from the truck." Jasper rolls his eyes at my words and moves out of the way, stepping aside so that I can reach into the cab of my truck and grab the extra set of clothing there.
First though, I reach for my towel and bring it to my body, rubbing my self down.
It's not very effective.
Jasper audibly sighs and comes up to me, taking the towel gently from me. As angry as he might be, I know that Jasper would never hurt me, and so I let him rub me down, his strong arms and hands doing a much better job than I ever could.
I don't even feel it in me to be embarrassed as his eyes rake over me, eyes darkening at my pebbled nipples and see-through shirt. All I'm wearing is a thin grey t-shirt and extremely short shorts, and it's all I've brought to change into. I haven't even brought any shoes. The weather is getting to me and I'm shaking violently, my teeth chattering. I'm sure my lips are blue.
"How did you get here?" I ask him as he finishes me off, passing me the towel followed by my clothes. His car was nowhere to be seen.
"I was out for a walk when I saw you jump. Jesus, Bella, do you have any idea how stupid that was? Look at the weather. You could have died. You didn't come up for ages… I was this close to jumping in after you," he said, and I felt a twinge of remorse at the tortured tone in his voice.
I finish getting changed in silence, suddenly glad for the modesty of the towel. I feel scolded, like a child. I don't like it, and it's making me defensive.
Instead of yelling at him, I take a deep breath and nod towards the truck. He gets my meaning and we hop in, the engine starting with a deep rumble at my turn of the ignition. Desperate for some warmth, I turn the heat on full blast and try to warm my hands.
It works okay.
My attention turns to the man-boy in the seat next to me. My best friend for years, we'd recently been straying into the will-we-won't-we zone, with a few stolen glances promising more. There had been more touching than usual, more affectionate swipes of the hand, longer hugs.
I wasn't sure where it was leading but I knew that if it was with Jasper, I was completely ready for that.
Even now, when he's still scared that something could have happened to me (always the worrier that one - he had frown lines before he was two) and he's probably angry at me for being so reckless, he's beautiful. His grey-blue eyes are reflecting the stormy sky above us, swirling with emotion as he looks straight ahead, avoiding my gaze.
A crack of lightning and a deep rumble of thunder tell me that it's minutes away from pouring. I'd better get us home.
"I'm sorry, Jasper. I just needed to fit one in today," I shrug, not really being able to explain it. I'd tried telling him before - about that feeling that grips me sometimes, so much that I can't breathe. That feeling of insufficiency, of suffocation, of being stuck in this small town forever.
Claustrophobia, on a larger scale.
Sometimes it's so severe that I am physically unable to breathe, I pant and inhale desperately, but never seem to get enough oxygen.
The only thing that helps is alcohol, weed, and cliff diving.
Today, I had been out of the former two, and the third was free.
I tell him this, but he just looks at me gravely, his voice deadly serious. "It's not free if it costs you your life."
I can't help myself rolling my eyes at his melodrama.
"It didn't even come close to that, Jas," I say it as softly as possible, trying not to anger him further, but it seems today he's up for a fight.
He explodes as the sky bottoms out.
"Didn't come close? Bella are you serious? You've got to stop this shit. You're being reckless with your life. You're scared of being stuck here forever, of not getting the chance to live life to the fullest? Well how about you try living past graduation. That might give you a better shot." His words are fury, and fear, rolled into a mess of sputtering sentences, and I try to focus both on him and on the road in front of me.
The muddy path is almost washed out with the force of the torrential rain, my windscreen wipers working double time just so that I can get a glimpse of the road in front of me.
I'm forming my reply carefully, about to respond, when the front wheels become stuck in the mud, spinning uselessly, unable to get any traction.
"Fuck," I exclaim, smacking my hand on the dashboard. It hurts something awful, so I let out another string of expletives. When I look up Jasper is grimacing.
I smile at her tender question. Even when mad at me, he still takes the time to take care of me.
And that's why I want to take the next step.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Come on," I say, moving to get out of the cab.
"Are you crazy?" he asks me. "You want to walk back in this?"
I nod, smiling, having made a decision. I'm going for what I want.
Living life to the full, and all that jazz.
"Come on. It'll be an adventure."
He rolls his eyes at me but follows when I step out of the truck. Within seconds I'm drenched again, but the pounding of the rain on my skin is welcome, thrilling. I tilt my face towards the sky for a moment before locking up and moving on.
"Why are you bothering to lock it?" he asks me, falling into step beside me.
I give him a look that says, isn't it obvious?
He just shakes his head. "Who is going to steal this piece of crap? Even if they could get it to run, no one would want it for that godawful noise it makes."
I stick my tongue out at him.
He wiggles his fingers in front of his nose.
We both laugh.
I sigh and we continue to walk in silence for a while as I work up the courage to say what I'm going to say.
I stop abruptly. "Jasper."
He whirls around when he realises I'm not next to him.
"Bella? Come on, you're going to catch pneumonia."
"Jasper," I say again, trying to get his attention, but he's too busy being a mother hen to look t me properly. If he would just look at me, he would see everything written, plain as day, on my face.
"Bella, seriously, Charlie is already going to kill me and-"
"Jasper!" I say it more firmly, so much so that it snaps his attention to me. Any protest dies on his lips as he takes in my expression.
"Bella?" My name on his lips is soft, so soft, a whisper of things to come.
"God, you make me crazy," I say bluntly. "I came here today because I needed to think. About you. About this," I motion to the space between us, which I notice has gotten considerably smaller. "Sometimes I feel like we're moving towards something - something that could be great, even better than great. Spectacular. But then you retreat and it seems like all you want is 'little sister Bella'. I don't want to be sidelined any more," I say all this in a rush, the words tumbling out of me one after the other with little to no pacing.
He looks at me, stunned for a moment, before his eyes ignite.
"I make you crazy? Are you kidding me with this? You're the one jumping off cliffs and riding motorcycles with that behemoth Jacob Black, flirting like it's a fucking Olympic sport or something. You're the one making me feel all these things when you've only ever been my sister. It's wrong to think about you the way I have been Bella. Especially when you wear those skimpy little outfits. I swear, you were designed to make me mad. I make you crazy? You drive me insane," his words hit me and I realise that what he's telling me is what I want to hear.
In a backhanded sort of way.
I scoff at him though, riled up by some of his words.
"Flirting like it's an Olympic sport?" I repeat, my hands gesturing wildly, sending sprays of water out around us. "Are you fucking kidding me? I was being friendly, he fixed up my bike for free, what was I supposed to do? Spit in his face? Plus, you were the one that had Maria all over your lap at lunch the other day. It was bordering on obscene, Jasper."
"I think you need to look up your definition of 'friendly'," he insisted, glaring at me.
I glared right back. "Yeah, I'll just go and do that. Thanks, Jasper," I spit at him, wondering how the hell this went so wrong as I stomp off.
I only get so far when I feel his hand gripping my arm, turning me back to him. He brings me close, so close that I can feel his breath hitting my face, smell him despite all the rain. Our noses are almost touching we're so close.
"What?" I breathe out. His eyes are burning into mine, intense and unyielding, and I realise we're on the edge of a cliff. We're looking over the precipice, deciding whether or not to take the plunge.
Should we do it?
Should we jump?
Looking into his eyes, I realise that he's all I want. Sarcastic, over-protective, hot-tempered and all. I want him. His stormy eyes are asking me a question and I'm supposed to answer.
Go for it.
"Bella," he whispers out before my lips capture his, swallowing any more words he had to say. The kiss is not soft or sweet, it's desperate and rough. It's lips and tongues and teeth and nips and sucking and claiming each other because I'msoinlove with him and he better be with me or else this is going to end in heartache.
But as he kisses me back just as roughly, igniting a fire in the pit of my belly, my arms automatically threading through his hair and pulling him forcefully closer, up on tiptoes, more, I realise that he's in this as deep as I am.
His tongue takes control of my mouth, swirling and running along my teeth until I'm gasping for breath and have to pull away. We stand there, foreheads pressed against each other, panting for breath as the rain pounds on around us.
His arms are tight around my waist, pressing me up against him. My arms are now wound around his neck, tugging on the soft hairs at the back of his neck, desperate for purchase.
"So?" I ask him, knowing I'm taking the shitty way out by making him take the next step.
"So?" He isn't letting me get away with that.
I meet his gaze, feeling content just being in his arms. Around us the rain starts to let up.
"What does this mean?"
He clutches me closer, if that's possible, we're completely flush with each other. "I'm gonna say this means you're my girl."
I nod, completely okay with that. "I think I can live with that."
He kisses me again, his lips softer this time, relenting. After a few more pecks he pulls back again, leaving me wanting more. Always more.
"This also means you can't go around sitting on Jacob Black's lap all the time. I don't care that he fixed your bike for free. The guy has a major hard on for you." I cock an eyebrow at him, a little turned on by his show of possessiveness.
"Really, really," he says. Suddenly he looks down at me, the inches of space between us allowing him to look at my legs.
"Did you pop a foot?"
I look down and am chagrined to find that I have, indeed, popped a foot out behind me.
"How very Princess Diaries of you," he teases, and I squirm to get out of his grasp.
"Shut up," I say. I can't even tease him about knowing that reference since I was the one that made him watch that stupid movie.
"Aww, come on, don't be like that. You just really like me," he continued his jibes, trying to get his arm around my waist. I struggled for a moment, annoyed at his teasing, but he pulls me back to him roughly, spinning me so we're facing again.
"I think it's cute," he says seriously, before his lips are on mine again.
I try desperately to keep my foot down… but I'm pretty sure it pops up of it's own accord.
What the hell - you only live once, right?
I surprise Jasper by jumping up, forcing him to catch my legs underneath the thigh as I wrap them around his waist.
I deepen the kiss, aroused by the increased contact and needy for more, always wanting more.
We stay like that for a while, making out like the teenagers that we are in the brightening sunlight of an early spring in Forks. Later, we will both be debilitated from being so ill from being out in the rain, but it won't matter, because we'll be sick together.