The Jukebox contest
Song choice: Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
Word Count: 13, 255
Summary: Jake stumbles upon a vampire's victim, then dates her much to Bella's chagrin. She has just started admitting her feelings for him. Can she get her man back with the help of Quembry? BPOV, Acknowledges Canon, New Moon, T.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight.
Just My Luck
My luck has always been crappy. That's just the way it is, but I'm starting to think that my luck is changing. That change just might be due to one best friend named Jacob Black.
Tonight, I lay in my bed contemplating this very thing while simultaneously running over my insane day. I jumped. I can't believe I jumped. Jake was calling out my name as soon as I left the cliff's edge. He was in the water with me seconds after I crash landed. The current was strong and took me away from him. My luck, or lack thereof, caused the current to thrash me around, mashing me into a rock. Jake was there; he had found me. He pulled me out of the ocean and brought me out of my state of excessive-water-inhalation. I drowned for all intents and purposes and should be dead, but I'm not because of Jake. I don't know what I would've done without him. I was so stupid.
When I came to, I was told not only that Harry Clearwater died of a heart attack, but also that Victoria was in the water waiting for me. The pack cornered her when she emerged from the water and ripped her to shreds.
Jake drove me home and let me steal some of his warmth. He's always so warm and comforting - comfortable. That's it. He's just comfortable, until he isn't. Once we got home, he ranted and raved about what a basket case he was once he saw me jump into the water. He told me how freaked out he was and how he felt like he was going to die if I didn't make it. He was really scared. I've never seen him so scared. He was near tears as he told me all of this, and I couldn't understand. Then he told me just how much he cared about me. His arm was around me; he was gazing into my eyes. He leaned in, and I just couldn't do it. I couldn't kiss him. I couldn't do that to him when I couldn't reciprocate those feelings. It wasn't right. I didn't want to hurt him, so I turned my head at the last second. I felt terrible, and I felt even worse once I saw the look in his eyes. He was devastated. He looked so forlorn and distraught.
I said 'thank you' and 'goodnight'. I gave him a hug and went inside, then I cried. I cried and cried and cried. I couldn't figure out why I was crying so hard over not being able to reciprocate feelings for my best friend – my best friend who meant more to me than anyone else. Jake is amazing in every way. He's so gorgeous and funny and sweet and down to earth. He's loyal and trustworthy and would be a prize for any girl. So why couldn't I just, for the love of all that is holy, reciprocate?
So here I lay - in my bed, post-tears, trying to figure out the mess that is my head. I like Jake, I do. I love him even, just not like that. But can I? Someday? Someday can I love him that way? Reason tells me that Yes, I can. With time and a bit of soul searching I can love him. I can be in love with him. I just have to try – try in earnest to get over Edward.
I must stop attempting to hear him, stop thinking about him incessantly, and I must give Jake a chance. I owe him and myself, and I'm going to try. Tomorrow I will wake up with new eyes, and I will see what I have not yet allowed myself to see – Jake as a man I can be attracted to, Jake as a possible boyfriend, Jake as someone I can fall in love with.
I wake up feeling happy, though I look like garbage. My hair is a disaster, and I'm a little battered from my unfortunate decision to jump off a cliff yesterday. Geez, I feel ridiculous. What a terrible idea. Regardless of my appearance, I have a bounce in my step because I'm going to see Jake today. Not just see him, but see him. Sure, he won't know the difference, but I will and it will be different and good. I'm going to try, and I hope I can make him happy – us happy.
After a quick breakfast of a Poptart and juice I head over to Jake's. I'm a bit nervous because he's probably still feeling sad about last night, but I hope that my lighter attitude and willing heart can make him feel better.
As I close my heavy truck door I can hear him laughing. He's in the garage regaling someone, Quil and Embry no doubt, about his adventure yesterday. He's really talking it up, making it sound fantastical. Though, I guess it is, given the fact that a vampire was torn apart by werewolves. The way he's telling his story sounds false. It just doesn't seem like Jake, but I shrug it off. I enter the garage to see his sparkling eyes and his brilliant smile directed at a girl - a girl I've never seen, a girl with beautiful long brown hair and blunt bangs, a girl wearing ridiculously cute cat-eye framed glasses, a girl with a petite figure with breasts that aren't quite proportionate to her body, in the best way possible, a girl that is hearing about vampires and wolves, a girl that is gazing at Jake like she's in love with him, a girl that should be me but isn't. Damn that girl.
This is just my luck.
"Oh hey, Bella," says Jake, and I'm wondering why he's calling me Bella. He rarely does that. I get Bells and honey; rarely Bella. What gives?
I nod noncommittally.
"Uh, this is Jules," says Jake, pointing at my enemy and the first girl I've ever wanted to shank. And boy do I want to shank her hard. What the hell? Where did he find this trollop?
"Hey. Julia," she says, correcting Jake.
"Hi, Julia," I say, trying to keep the disdain out of my voice. I look at Jake and ask, "Uh, what's going on?" I point to Julia and frown.
"I ran home last night. Phased."
And . . . I want to scream but don't. I shift my weight uncomfortably instead.
"This young vamp was prowling around the edge of the woods. I think he may have been in cahoots with Victoria. I recognized his scent. Anyway, he was just about to take out Jules, and I stopped him. I had no choice. She woulda died. So, she saw me and everything and was really freaked out, so I had to phase and explain. Sam wasn't phased, and I had no directives so I just told her everything and here she is."
"Here she is," I mutter, then inwardly cringe at the fact that she had seen him – my Jacob- naked because he had to phase on the fly. This is not good.
"I would've died if it weren't for Jake," Julia says looking stupid and swoony and using his nickname - my nickname. Okay so really every one of his friends calls him Jake but still. Not her, not some stupid swoony girl I want to shank. She can't call him that.
"So, you know everything?" I ask Stupid Swoony Julie. Ha! Take that trollop!
"Yeah, sorry to hear about your vampire boyfriend that left you all alone. Jake told me how depressed you've been."
I glare at Jake. I want to kill him. Why? Why would he tell her such things? I feel like my nemesis just learned about my kryptonite, and I don't even know how to fly yet. How ever will I defeat her if I can't fly? I came here to learn how to fly. Jake was going to teach me how to fly, but by the looks of it, he's flying with her. He's flirting with her. Oh my word, he's with her. Is he with her?
"It's all right," I say, rounding my shoulders and trying not to look pathetic and pretend that I feel stronger than I actually do.
"Hey, so what's up? I thought you'd be resting today," says Jake.
I get brave then and summon all of the gumption within me and walk towards Jake. "I just wanted to thank you for last night. You really saved me, in more ways than one." I eye him seriously, trying to show him what I'm feeling – trying to show him that I care and I could love him now. I wrap my arms around Jake's massive form and squeeze him to me. "Thanks, Jake," I whisper in his ear and give him a lingering peck on his cheek. I draw back enough to see his expression. He's all smiles and seems to even look a bit shy by my uncharacteristic affection.
"Sure, sure. It was nothing, honey. I'd do it again in a heartbeat."
I sigh at his use of 'honey', feeling relieved and somewhat smug that I'm still his honey – that is until Stupid Swoony Julie ruins our moment with her unnecessary words. Will she ruin everything?
"It's in his nature. He's a hero."
"I'm no hero," he says and loosens his grip on me. He's never pulled away first before. Never. What the hell is happening here? Am I being replaced? Is he really with her?
"Yes, you are," says Stupid Swoony Julie while she's, well, swooning. I want to barf.
"I'm not," he protests, walking towards her and she flirts back with a "Yes, you are", and I'm pretty sure this time I do barf. A little. In my mouth. And I hope I choke on it so I can just die and be put out of my misery.
I watch the tennis match of I'm Not versus Yes, You Are until I'm blue in the face. Probably literally because I'm holding my breath. Ugh!
I end up staying at Jake's much longer than I intended because there was no way in hell I was going to let her outlast me. This is survivor here. I will outwit, outplay and outlast. Game on!
For the rest of the week I hang at Jake's and nearly every time I get there she's already there. Tuesday when I show up she's making him a sandwich while he's doing homework. Wednesday I find them in the garage –she's sitting on my milk crate drinking my warn soda, and I bolt feigning some homework crisis I need to tend to. I pump myself up and return the next day, Thursday, to find them kissing in the back seat of his Rabbit. I leave immediately, even after Jake shyly said 'hi' to me while dipping his head. I cry all night long, taking one small break when Jake calls.
"Hey," says Jake.
"Uh, hi," I say, my voice thick from my tears.
"You sound sick. You okay, honey?"
I lie telling him I'm fine.
"I just wanted to apologize for what you, er, saw today. She asked me out, and I said yes. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you or made you feel uncomfortable. I didn't know you were coming over. I didn't mean to do that in front of you. I know that kind of stuff makes you think about him. So I, um, I'm sorry."
"That's . . . it's your life, Jake. You should do what you want to do. Is that what you want to do? Kiss Stu . . . Julia?"
"I guess," he says. "But I don't have to do it if it makes you uncomfortable for any reason. Does it make you uncomfortable?"
Say yes, say yes, say yes. "No, it's fine. She's . . . cool." And trollop-y. Geez, I sound like Gran.
"Oh good. I think so too. She's pretty awesome. She's so smart, and she's got such a funky sense of style. I really like her."
"Good," I say. It's barely a whisper. I want to hang up so I can cry some more. So much for trying, now I can't even do that. Only trouble is, my head has already decided. And though I haven't spent time with Jake alone since my cliff diving experience, I've been able to run over the last several months in my mind and truth is, I don't really need to try. I just need to do. It's done. I've decided. I want Jake – like that. And now it's too late.
My luck is a jerk.
Jake invites me to a bonfire the following night, and I reluctantly agree to go. What am I going to do there while Jake is playing tonsil hockey with Stupid Swoony Julie? Hang out with Quil and Embry? Yeah, that'll be a fun bonfire.
I walk down the beach carrying my secret weapon, peach cobbler - Jake's favorite. I'm hoping to stay under his skin as long as I can. Or at least remind him that just a little over a week ago it was me he was trying to kiss. Why doesn't he want me anymore?
On my way over to the food table I'm flanked by Quil and Embry.
"Looking good, Bella," says Embry, giving me a small smile.
"Shoulda worn something sluttier," adds Quil.
"Er, no thanks," I say, taking in my outfit of jeans and a simple green tee. It isn't amazingly stylish, but it isn't ugly either. It's a nice, soft cotton top. I like it.
"Well, how else are you going to Jake's attention now?" says Quil, shaking his head in disgust.
"I don't . . . I'm not sure if . . ."
Quil points to the tree line, and I can just make out two figures leaning against a tree. It looks like they're in a close embrace, kissing. I don't need to think twice about who it is. I know who it is.
"Look, we don't like his girlfriend. We think he needs a new one," announces Embry bluntly. I startle and stop walking, looking between the two of them.
"Yeah, she's so . . . whatever," says Quil. He sticks his thumb out, turns it over, and blows a raspberry. Quil is such a child.
"We want you to be his girlfriend." Embry folds his arms over his chest and stares me down.
I am so shocked by their bold words I don't really know what to say and start sputtering nonsense. "I . . . I could be his girlfriend. If . . . I mean, if he wants . . . if he . . . she's so pretty."
"She's boring," corrects Quil. "Plus, look at her. She's you with a tan, only you're not boring. The girl thinks it's the sixties and dresses like a moron, too. She showed up here on her beach cruiser, honking her little meep meep horn at Jake. He faked a laugh. It was the stupidest I've ever seen him look, other than when I caught him drooling over you, which was like all the time. You know he thinks you're like precious, like a damn princess or some shit, right?" Embry hits him. I'm not sure why. Maybe because he said the 's' word. These boys are so silly.
"Okay, but he's . . . he seems happy and-"
"He's happy because he's getting kissed." Quil throws his hands out in front of him as if he's actually producing evidence. "He should be kissing you."
"We know he likes you, and you know I'm right," says Embry.
I nod weakly, then say, "I used to think so, but now I'm not so sure."
"We are. Trusts us. Hang with me tonight and watch him." I agree and bring my dish to the card table and greet the wolf-girls. They're kind, and we share a brief conversation before Embry steals me away.
We sit in front of the fire and chat for a good hour. I'm having a good time, actually, despite the fact that I haven't seen Jake. Quil and Embry regale me with tales from Jake's childhood. Apparently he was a paste eater and liked to flip girls' skirts in elementary school. He could flip my skirt. What? Wait, no. I don't . . . I'm not like . . . well maybe . . .
I've eaten dinner and the sun has set. It's really starting to get cold and instead of making a bigger fire, which is weird because Quil is all kinds of pyro, he wraps his arm around me and rubs his hand up and down my bicep. It's actually pretty nice. His heat is just like Jake's. If I close my eyes I can imagine it's him. He pulls me in, and I rest my head on his shoulder. I actually feel pretty comfortable in his arms and wrap my own around him, snuggling into his chest. I sigh, imagining I'm with Jake but am pulled from my little fantasy with a loud burp of Quil's. He pounds his chest like it's no big deal. Ugh. What did he eat? It smells so gross.
"Dude, your burps are always so freaking stank," complains Embry and Seth snickers from nearby.
"You're just jealous because mine are always louder than yours."
"They are not," says Embry, taking the bait.
I try to wiggle away from him, but he pulls me back in abruptly. "Oh shit, he's coming over. I knew it would work. Pretend you're into me."
"I don't think-"
"Shh, it's okay, baby. I know you don't have to pretend too much." I give him my best what- the-hell-are-you-talking-about? look and he snickers. "We'll make him jealous. He's gotta see that you could move on too. It'll make him crazy. Hey, can I grab your butt?"
"What?" I all but shout.
"All right. Fine. Just. . . he needs to be reminded how great it is. Her boobs are confusing him. He's got to see that her butt ain't got nothin' on yours. I mean, a guy's gotta have something to grab onto, ya know?" I look at him like he's gone insane, then check Embry to see if he agrees with me. He simply shrugs and adds, "S'true. You've got junk in your trunk, and Jake likes it."
"We all like it," says Quil, without batting an eye. I cannot believe they are saying such things. Junk in my trunk?
Jake sits next to me and takes in my position - under Quil's arm. He doesn't really respond to it but says 'hey' in a rather bored tone.
"Hey, where's your girl?"
"Jules is just getting something to eat and drink. Looks like Emily's caught her ear though."
"She's probably dying of thirst since you stole all of her spit. It's disgusting how you're all over her. There are children here." Quil's voice is stern like he means business.
"Claire's not here," says Jake, looking around.
"Seth," says Quil to explain himself.
"Seth is fourteen," Jake grumbles.
"And you're his someday alpha. Don't you think you should set an example for him?"
"Are you kidding me with this nonsense? Before Claire you were making out with anything that walked and had a-"
"I think we get the picture," I say, not wanting to hear what Jake was going to say. I think if he used the 'p' word I would have to jump him right here. There's something so raw about that word and though I've never actually used it myself, I certainly wouldn't mind if Jake used it if we were having a moment - a super-sexy-naked-in-a-bed kind of moment. And speaking of naked, he's kind of naked now. Well, his shirt is off and he is looking better than I've ever seen him. Then again, I haven't seen him shirtless after I had my 'I want to try' epiphany. His current state of hot shirtlessness is really, really, really making me want to try. Trollop. Crap!
"What are you thinking, man? She's as interesting as a stink bug. She says nothing except, 'Jake this and Jake that'. How can you stand it? Don't you want to know anything about her besides the size of her most-likely padded and pushed up boobs? They're nice and all, but shouldn't you two be having actual conversations? You know, ones in which you talk about something other than you?"
"Not this again, Embry." Jake looks over at me and tries an apologetic smile. "These guys have been on my case all week with the 'We don't like your girlfriend' garbage and-"
"Well, we don't," says Quil, pulling me in tighter and stroking my arm. Jake glances at it momentarily before speaking up again.
"I don't need your permission. Geez, at least you're on my side."
"Um, no actually, Bells is on my side," says Quil, emphasizing my nickname while pulling me into his lap. I feel very awkward, and Jake looks a bit more red than usual. I try to stand up, but Quil pulls me down. "Sit your fine ass down. I want to rub up on it." I'm completely horrified by what he just said and make to move, but before I do Jake is lifting me out of Quil's lap while Quil yanks on my arm. I feel like a rag doll.
"Get your hands off her," seethes Jake.
"Well, if your not gonna." Quil shrugs and rolls one finger down my arm giving me the heebie jeebies. I shiver. Jake smacks his hand away. Jake's breath is right by my ear, and he's rubbing his hand down my arm. This action replaces the heebie jeebies shiver with another kind of shiver. It feels really nice. I'm about to close my eyes and relax into his arms when Embry pipes up.
"Make up your mind, Jake," he says, not elaborating.
"You shut up," says Jake and tucks me into his side, wrapping his arms around me. I relax completely in his embrace and feel like I haven't been this calm in forever.
Embry and Quil get up to give us some privacy, I think. They're actually being quite thoughtful when I think about it. Well, except for trying to grab my butt and rub it with unmentionables. Ew. Quil can be so gross. I shiver at the thought of Quil touching my butt, and Jake leans in.
His breath is warm and smells like fruit salad. "Bells, honey, you okay? I haven't seen you at all tonight."
"You were busy. I didn't want to disturb you."
"You'll never disturb me. I like hanging out with you."
"Okay," I say, growing brave and running a hand through his hair. "I kinda miss your hair."
"You do?" he asks, dipping his head and rolling it into my hand so that I can play with it. He makes the nicest sound as I lightly scratch his scalp, and I have the sudden urge to lick his neck.
"Mmhm," I manage. My mouth is really close to his neck. If I just stick out my tongue, I know I'll make contact. I'm so tempted when he starts to rub my waist lightly with his large hand. It feels so good. This whole scenario feels good – me, Jake, sitting by the bonfire, talking, touching, licking. Well, almost.
"What do you miss about it?" He practically sighs when I move my hand to the nape of his neck and start caressing there.
"It always looked so pretty even when it was tangled and in knots lying on your back. And it was so long," I say, running my hand down his back to where it used to end. I can't be sure, but I think Jake squeaked.
I hear a scuffle behind me and a loud thud, followed by Seth crying out to Quil and Embry. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he shouts.
"What is that about?" I ask, turning my head and laughing at how ridiculous they all look tangled up in each other's limbs.
"Who knows? Those two are always causing problems."
"You didn't hear them?" I ask, still watching them and shaking with my giggle.
"I wasn't paying attention."
I ask why as I turn and am shocked by the look on Jake's face which is directly in front of me. He looks very serious and kind of hungry? "I was distracted," he says, darting his eyes to my lips. I swallow hard and really want to kiss him, but the jerk has a girlfriend and I will not be the other woman.
My luck sucks.
"Oh," I say, stupidly. He lowers his eyes from mine, and my hand is automatically back in his hair. "I should have braided it when I had the chance."
"You wanted to braid it? What else did you want to do with it?"
"You mean, what else did I do with it," I say, giving his hair a little tug. He groans quietly, then pops his head up.
"Wait. What do you mean?"
"I played with your hair all the time."
He gives me a lopsided closed-mouth grin. "No you didn't." He's challenging me.
"Yes, I did. You slept like the dead after each patrol when you were first getting used to this wolf business. Although, at that point there wasn't much hair to play with."
"Really, you just, like, ran your hands through my hair and whispered sweet nothings in my ear."
"You'll never know, will you?"
"What? Well you better do it when I'm awake now 'cause this shit feels good. Oh, sorry." Why are these boys so afraid to cuss in front of me? Jake slumps down, forcing his head into my hand, then lies flat on his back so his head in my lap. "Go ahead. Stroke it."
I hear some loud wolf whistles coming from behind me, and Jake grins at his double entendre. I grin right back because he's just so damn cute, and I can't help it.
"I brought you some dessert," says Stupid Swoony Julie as she approaches us.
"Thanks, you can just set it down."
Yeah, he's busy being molested and having dirty thoughts about me.
She didn't seem to be affected by our position until Jake didn't get up. Then she gave him a look that even made me a bit worried for him, and he could totally take her.
He seems perfectly content in my lap, but I don't want to cause him problems so I coax him up with, "It's peach cobbler."
"Sweet!" He bounces up and plops right next to me, grabbing the plate from Stupid Swoony Julie's hand. "How'd you know?" he asks, looking up at her, mystified.
"Know what?" Clearly she didn't know.
"It's his favorite," I say, feeling proud that I know such things. "Although, he really prefers it with vanilla, sorry, French vanilla ice cream on the top."
"Straight out of the Swan oven," he adds, then smiles at me. My heart stutters in my chest, and I feel weak. I so want to be with this boy. I want to be your girlfriend.
"This is yours?" Stupid Swoony Julie asks.
Jake answers for me. "Bella's cooking is so freaking awesome. I'm a total manwhore for her peach cobbler." He stuffs a massive bite into his mouth and licks his lips. I'd really like to do that for him. As I'm thinking it, Stupid Swoony Julie leans in and does it for me – for him. Dammit!
"Well, I'm gonna go now." I bolt upright and head directly to my truck in the parking lot. I refuse to sit and watch this play out in front of me.
As I walk up the sandy hill I imagine Jake chasing after me, turning me around and crashing his lips to mine. No such thing happens. Instead, I hear Stupid Swoony Julie laughing. Jake's laughing too. I'm crying. Again.
Embry caught up with me before I reached my truck but he knew better than to say anything once he saw the look on my face and the tears in my eyes. He gave me a hug and said, "Hang in there. We'll kick his ass for you." I shrugged and hopped into my Chevy.
I sit in bed now, playing with the comforter, wondering what my Saturday will bring me. I usually spend Saturdays with Jake, but I don't really feel like it much today. I'm too depressed.
I do some light cleaning and sit on the couch to read an assignment for English when the phone rings.
I pick it up and before I can even say hello Quil is shouting at me. "What are you doing at home? Getchur ass over here! He's with her. She's so boring. I can't take it anymore. All she talks about is how great Jake is. She never makes fun of him like you do. It's nauseating. Wear those black skinny jeans. Oh . . . and . . . wait, what?"
I hear some mumbling in the background and a scuffle.
"What is going on?" I say quietly, wondering if he'll even answer me.
"Right, yeah. So there's no gentlemanly way to say this, uh, so . . . you should wear that top with the buttons - the red one that the buttons pop open when you move around. It makes your tits look good, and Jake can see your cleavage every time you pick up his tool."
"Tools." I hear Embry shout, and the two boys howl with laughter.
"Are you finished?"
"Yeah, you comin'?"
"I don't think so." I hang up and head back over the couch to read. I don't even get one sentence read before the phone rings again.
I ignore it, and the machine picks up. Quil's rattling off inappropriate things about my body parts that apparently Jake loves, and Embry is snickering in the background. Boys.
I get another call, and all I hear are pleas of "Bella, just make it stop!" I can't help it and start to laugh. These guys are a riot. I see why Jake likes them so much. They're fun.
Though I have a new appreciation for them, I can't stomach Jake and Stupid Swoony Julie today, so I stay put and listen to no less than ten phone messages from Quil. They range from yelling, laughing, singing to begging. It's getting ridiculous, and I'm tempted to unplug my phone when Embry walks through my door unannounced.
"Up you get. Shower. Now. You look fugly."
"Hey," I say in protest, but nothing else comes out because, yeah, fugly would do it when describing ratty old sweats and my dad's flannel.
I don't move, and Embry lurches forward with a "Sorry", and I'm in the air being hauled upstairs.
I'm standing in my bathroom and not budging. Who does Embry think he is? If Jake wants Julie, then that's what he'll have. I can't really stop him. It's his choice.
"Don't force my hand, Bella. He was posing for her and flexing on purpose. It's the lamest I've seen Jake act, and I have known him a long time and he is all kinds of lame. I just can't take it anymore."
"It's been one week."
"One week too many," he mutters.
"I'm not going."
"You are." We have a stare off and neither one of us budges until Embry does the unthinkable. He grabs my sweats by the waist and yanks them down, then swiftly pops open a button on my flannel, grazing my breast. He's squinting through one eye trying not to look at me but trying to see the buttons. At least, that's what I imagine he's doing. Nothing's too clear because the sounds of my own huffing and screeching for him to "Get out!" are clouding my brain.
He reaches into the shower and flips it on, then turns on his heel. He exits and slams the door shouting, "Make it quick. Poor Quil is on his own with them."
Partway through my shower I hear some rustling and realize I'm not alone. I scream. "What are you doing in here?"
"I'm looking for that smell - the one that makes him go crazy and think about you naked. Where's your perfume? It's not in your room?.
"I don't wear perfume."
"Well, where is it?"
"Where is what? Get out, or I'll tell Jake."
"Good, you should; he'll be jealous. I got to be in a room with Bella Swan, and she was naked. He'll really like that."
"No, you need that smell."
"Well, what's it like?"
"I don't know. It's kind of flowery? Fruity?"
"That's like every hair product I have."
I hear a commotion and stick my head out of the shower. Embry is going through my hair products and sniffing them one at a time before throwing them in the sink. "A-ha!" He turns and grins at me, and I duck back into the shower, mortified.
"Can you get out now?"
"Oh shit, yeah sorry. You're cute all wet and bothered."
"Oh my word," I grumble as I hear the door close. This time I reach out and lock it.
I show up with Embry at Jake's and, sure enough, Jake is chatting it up with Stupid Swoony Julie. They're in the back yard, and she's sitting on an old, rusty, metal chair. He's telling her another 'I run with wolves' story, and I wonder if they ever talk about anything else. Stupid Swoony Julie is gaping at his arms as he's flying them about, gesturing with his hands. She's obviously into him but, it seems to me, only for one reason, maybe two – his body and his wolf. I wonder if she would've found stumbling-over-his-massive-feet-while-telling-lame-jokes Jake hot. I mean, I can't judge because I didn't find that hot, per se, but I did enjoy it. He was adorable in a dorky way that I found endearing. And remarkably, amongst all of the recent turmoil in his life, he's managed to keep some of that adorable dorkishness. The muscles are just a bonus.
"Bella, I didn't know you were coming over," says Jake, turning to speak to me.
There's that 'Bella' again. Damn him. "I wasn't planning on it, but Embry shoved me into the shower, literally," I mumble the last word.
"Literally?" says Jake, narrowing his eyes at Embry. Embry twitches a bit in fear, then jumps right in unfazed. "She was wearing sweats, plus I wanted to see her all wet and angry."
"That's a good image," pipes in Quil, then he adds, "Mmm, you smell good, Bells."
He leans in and breathes in my hair, sighing in exaggeration. "Doesn't she smell good, Julia?"
Okay, first of all, what's with the Quil calling me Bells? It's seriously starting to piss me off. And second, what the hell? I don't want Stupid Swoony Julie smelling my hair. Jerk! Both of them are jerks. I wish I had a nickname like Julie's for Quil but nothing really rhymes well with Quil. Pill Quil? Not good enough.
Stupid Swoony Julie actually leans forward and smells me. "It's nice," she says. I feel bad because she's nice, and I'm a jerk, trying to steal her boyfriend. She slides up to Jake, pushes him down, and sits on his lap. "It reminds me of my grandma," she says, stroking Jake's cheek, and I want to maim her. Like seriously to damage.
"Hey, Bells, will you get me some water?" asks Quil. I scowl at him.
"Get your own damn water," barks Jake, stealing the words I would never say myself.
"Bella loves me, she'll get it. Won't you?" Quil asks, then winks. I head inside and begin filling a glass with water. I use the tiniest one I can find just to irritate him. This was a terrible idea. Why am I here? It's painful seeing him with her, and I just want to go home and get back into my sweats.
I turn to head back outside, and Quil and Embry are in the kitchen with me. "Are you just going to take that?" asks Quil, feeling me out.
"What am I supposed to say? Maybe her grandma had a flower garden or-"
"Maybe Julia's a bitch," says Embry, looking at me like I'm crazy.
"A boring bitch." Quil's always so helpful and clarifies everything.
"A boring bitch that's obviously threatened by you."
"How is she threatened? She's out there sitting on his lap, kissing him on whims, and I'm stuck in here getting you water and being insulted." I hand Quil his water, and he sets it down immediately, rendering my work in the kitchen useless, just like me. That's how I feel - useless. Maybe even helpless. Yep, that works.
"How is she threatened? Oh honey . . ." starts Embry and suddenly I feel sad. No one but Jake should be calling me honey. "Look at you. You are in all, well technically not all, of Jake's favorite Bella things, and you do smell really good. He's going crazy out there, trust me. I bet if you bend over he'll propose."
"What?" I say, laughing.
"Face him or not, it won't matter. This top, like I said, showcases the, uh, goods. And those jeans, when you bend over, show your coin slot."
"They do?" I say in a gasp, horrified. Oh my goodness, I had no clue. How embarrassing!
"Totally," says Embry, nodding his head.
"You weren't doing it on purpose?" asks Quil. "I knew you didn't know about the buttons popping on this shirt, but you can't feel the breeze running across your-"
"What are you guys doing in here?" asks Jake, barging in with Stupid Swoony Julie. They're holding hands. Really? The kitchen's not far from where they were sitting. Was she afraid she'd get lost? Then again, Jake used to hold my hand for short distances. Maybe he initiated it. That's just depressing. My feelings of melancholy settle over me when Quil pulls me out of my depths of despair.
"We're just talking about Bella's butt."
"Quil!" I can't believe he just said that.
Jake looks over at Embry who nods his head. "We can't help it, Jake, it's those damn skinny jeans again."
"Again? What's that supposed to mean?" asks Stupid Swoony Julie.
Jake looks over at me and gives me a once over. It's exhilarating and nerve wracking at the same time. I've never seen him do that before, and I quite like it. The way he's looking at me is, um . . . yeah.
"I don't know, honey."
I am dead. I think . . . I mean . . . I'm pretty sure I just died. Or maybe hell has frozen over because Jake has just called someone else honey. It's one thing for Quil and Embry to call me Bells and honey, but for Jake to call her honey . . . it's debilitating.
"I gotta go," I say and head towards the back door.
"You just got here," says Embry, giving me a 'don't you dare leave' look.
"Uh, date. Newton," I lie, then try to improve it by adding, "He's relentless, you know how he is." I direct my words at Jake. He looks at me with a blank expression I can't read.
"Well, shit. At least he gets to enjoy those pants," says Quil. Jake looks me over again and wipes his face with his hand. He looks mildly irritated, I think. I can't handle anymore of this obvious ogling and Quil bringing attention to my body anymore. It's really uncomfortable, so I head towards the door. I have to get out of here. In my haste, I drop my keys as I open the door. Without thinking, I bend over to get them and hear a very audible exhale from Jake. I know it's him because I heard that exhale so many times when he was getting frustrated while fixing up the bikes. Why would he do that? Oh my word! I totally just bent over and – Ack! My butt was on display and my crack. This is no good. Must. Get. Home. Now!
"Um, bye!" I say and literally run to my truck.
Later that night Jake calls and asks to see me after my date. Crap. I really want to see him, but I hate lying to him. I hate lying period, so in order to make myself feel better I turn the lie into not a lie and call up Mike. Dammit! Why am I so dumb, and why do I have such a guilty conscience?
Mike and I are sitting in his car that is parked at my curb. Yeah, parked. Why did he stop the car, and why is he looking at me like that? Oh no. oh no. Oh no. He's leaning. He's coming towards me. What the hell do I do? I can't . . . I don't want . . . ugh. In my panic. I turn my cheek and get a slobbery kiss there. Ew. Glad I dodged that bullet.
I say my awkward goodbye and am happy that I decided on a dinner and not a movie. Who knows what he would've tried in a theater without Jake there to buffer me. Why does that sound dirty? Mmm. Buffer me, Jake. Ha ha.
I'm giggling internally and smiling to myself when I enter my bedroom and then I scream! There's a massive man crawling in my window, and my dad is not home. "Rape!" I scream, and I hear laughter - Embry's laughter and Quil's laughter.
"Rape? You're funny as hell, Bella," says Quil, joining the 'breaking and entering' party in my room
"It's not funny. You scared the daylights out of me. Holy crow! I was about to mace you." I lift up my hand to show them that I do, in fact, have mace.
"It's not like no one's ever crawled through your window before."
"That's not the point."
"Please, the bloodsucker was always here. Jake told us. And Jake's crawled through here before, too."
"Only once," I say, surprising even myself with the sadness of my tone. Embry smiles at me in a sympathetic way.
"That's what we're trying to change," says Quil. He actually sounds sincere and a bit thoughtful. It seems these guys really care about Jake and want him to be happy.
Embry explains that they don't have much time because Jake's on his way. They all wolfed out earlier, and it seems that my "key-dropping stunt", as Quil called it, was just what Jake needed to take notice of what he could have. They all suffered through a meal that Boring Bitch made. Quil admitted that even he cooked better than Boring Bitch, and that was saying something. I know this is true because I once took a bite of a turkey sandwich he made that was awful. How do you mess up a turkey sandwich? Miracle Whip. That's how. Gross.
The boys give me some clothing options for the night, literally riffling through my drawers unashamed and force me to take out my hair tie so the "sexy scent would be more potent". They are worse than Alice.
Although I veto the tiny sleep shorts and Victoria's Secret underwear they request I wear, I do put on a tank top. I don't mind that so much. I sit on my bed reading in my tank and flannel froggy pj bottoms waiting for Jake.
He walks in the front door without knocking and heads upstairs. The only reason I know he's here is because our front door needs to be oiled. It's rather squeaky. I'm reminded of a movie wherein Johnny Depp says quite lusciously, "I'll come 'round sometime and get that squeak out of your door." I can imagine Jake saying something like that and me standing there wanting to take him up on the offer in any way he'd like. I'm such a pervert.
He knocks on my door disrupting my dirty thoughts, and I answer with a "Come in, Jake" from my bed. He enters and plops down on the bed next to me, checking out my book. He yanks on my pjs and wiggles his eyebrows, "Hot," he comments. See? Adorable dork.
"I thought you'd like them," I tell him, and we smile at each other. I feel relief as I realize it's just us - no games, no lurking Quil and Embry, and no Boring Bitch. Woops. Sorry, Gran. Didn't mean to cuss.
"They're just my style: cute, a little goofy, and modest." He looks at me seriously, and I wonder if he's talking about my pj bottoms or me. I kind of like the description either way.
"So . . ." Jake says breaking the silence ". . . how's Mike? He try to hold your hand like he did the last time?"
"Nope, but he tried to kiss me." Jake narrows his eyes at me. "Tell me about it," I say in response to his expression. "I hate unwanted advances. They're so uncomfortable."
"I'm sorry. I never really apologized for that, but we seem okay. We're okay, right?"
"Oh, no, Jake, that's not . . . we're okay. We're okay. Don't even worry about it. I just . . . the timing seemed . . . and I didn't know if . . . I'm sorry, too." Can I sound any more like an idiot? I wish I can just keep some of my dignity and speak with some articulation, but alas, I cannot.
The air in the room seems thick suddenly, and I notice Jake staring at a stretch of bare skin between my tank top and my pjs. A tiny hint of pink, cotton underwear is showing. I pull my shirt down and clear my throat. "You just wanted to hang out tonight, or . . ."
Jake sits up and stares directly into my eyes but not before looking over my body. I'm kind of liking this being noticed by Jake business. Or, well I guess according to Quil it's more like me noticing Jake noticing me. I'm not making any sense.
He inhales deeply. "I was hoping to get some advice." He rubs the back of his neck.
I sit up too and wonder what he wants. I motion with my hand for him to continue.
"Well, Jules thinks that maybe we should . . . you know."
Oh no, oh no, oh my word. I can't even. What if he . . .? What if they . . .? That's not right. It should be me. Dammit! Why didn't I just kiss him? He saved my life for Pete's sake. What is wrong with me?
Edward, my subconscious says to me.
Edward nothing! I gripe back.
And just like that, I'm free. Free of Edward. I get serious. I'm all business, ready to do what needs to be done. This cannot happen to me. I can't lose Jake.
I summon some courage as I've never talked to Jake before about sex, in fact, I've never really talked to anyone about sex before. I don't really feel comfortable talking about it. Even when Mom wanted to tell me about the birds and the bees I did not feel comfortable. I felt like I would die from all of the blood that rushed to my face that day. But not today: today I would be brave, I would be mature, and I would do everything it took to keep Stupid Swoony Slutty Julie off my Jacob.
"I think that's a terrible idea," I tell him. "You're too young, and you don't love her, and it will be bad for both of you. You'll regret it forever."
"Well, she's already . . . and so I won't hurt her or anything."
"Oh," I say lamely, losing my steam, then picking right back up again. "Do you really want to waste your first time on someone you barely know who's already done it? Wouldn't you rather it be with someone you're not being pressured to be with? Someone who you can laugh about it with, so it's not scary? Someone who's not going to make you feel bad if she doesn't get hers?"
"So basically you're telling me I should wait and have sex with my best friend?"
"Yes," I say without thinking, and I can't take it back, so I let it linger in the air between us.
There's a bit of an awkward silence. Neither one of us can look away from the other, and I start imaging it – sex with Jake. And it's kind of . . . it's . . . mmhm . . . yeah, I wouldn't mind doing that. Not right away or anything, but I can see the appeal, and everything that I said to him makes perfect sense. Why wouldn't I want to have sex with Jake? He's my best friend. There would be no judgment at all, just love and mutual sexual retardation. Sort of like the blind leading the blind. I smile at the thought and Jake gives me a strange expression, one I've never seen before, then he darts his eyes to my feet. Not sure what that's about, but whatever.
"Jake, according to Quil and Embry, who seem to be stalking me as of late, by the way, sex is, like, all guys think about, and I'm glad you are happy with your girlfriend, but you haven't known her for long. Just take your time, and don't do it unless you really want to. Don't do it just because you're curious or because she's an easy lay." Did I just say that?
Jake looks at me like I've grown two heads and says about as much with his comment. "Who are you and what have you done with Bella Swan?" I shrug and pull out my hair tie, then readjust my ponytail.
"I guess I'm all growed up." We laugh and then our conversation moves on from sex and girlfriends to much simpler things like school, friends and Jake's Rabbitt. I realize just how comfortable I feel around him and wonder if he feels the same around me. I worry though that our comfort level, and the fact that he now has a girlfriend, will ultimately label me as 'best friend' forever. I continue to wonder if and when, God willing, Jake gets bored of Boring Bleep if I will be a viable option again. I hope so. I can be patient, but knowing my luck, just because I want him, he'll not want me. That's just how my life is. It's a big pile of poo.
A week passes, then two, then three. I am bombarded daily by Quil and Embry with phone calls, texts and visits to make sure that I'm working on the "I could be your girlfriend" project. Initially, I am game and do my best to keep hanging out with Jake and Stupid Swoony Slutty Julie so that they don't have much time alone, but I soon realize that I just can't commit to it. I have too much to do. Between studying, homework, housework and making dinner for Charlie I just can't be there all the time. But she can. She's there night and day, it seems. I learned pretty early on that Stupid Swoony Slutty Julie comes from a Stepford family. Her parents are married and madly in love. Her mother stays home and waits on her and her brother (who's equally as cute and stylish as she is) hand and foot. Essentially, Stupid Swoony Slutty Stepford-y Julie has no obligations other than Jake and getting Jake to sleep with her. Sigh. There's not much I can do, so I try not to dwell on the crummy situation.
Monday after school I get a desperate call from Quil who tells me he's going to throw up because he saw Jake doing something he shouldn't have. Before he really gets into his story I ask him to stop. I really don't want to know. Quil pulls out all the stops begging me to just get naked, paint myself red, and stomp around Jake to get his attention. We settle on a nightly phone conversation.
Jake and I talked on the phone before but never regularly. It's nice. We talk every night before we go to bed, and I quite look forward to it now. I love hearing the sound of his deep laugh over the phone and especially love it when he gets slap happy and his voice goes up an octave and he giggles like a girl. It makes me feel so good to make him happy for once. I feel like I'm no longer a parasite sucking away all of his cheerfulness for my own selfish needs. I feel like I'm contributing to the relationship and am so proud of myself.
Friday evening I get a late night call from Jake. He sounds sad and little disappointed. I'm not sure why, and I don't want to pry, but he seems like he really needs some attention. He's not offering anything up, and I'm not digging so we chat about nonsense and somehow end up talking about myself and Edward. He asks me loads of questions about our relationship and the mechanics of our physical relationship. It should be awkward, but it's not because it's Jake. I speak openly with him, and when I relay that Edward treated me very delicately he gets upset. I can hear him mumbling over the phone and cursing under his breath.
"Bells, I can't believe he never even . . . I mean, you haven't even been kissed like . . . that's just crap, pure, crap. Vampire or not, it's crap!" He says it with such force, and if it weren't for his incessant use of the word 'crap' I'd feel very flattered, but I mostly end up feeling enamored of Jake. He's so damn cute when he acts this way. It makes me miss him and feel lonelier than ever.
He mistakes my silence for me being upset and tries to back pedal. "I know you loved him or whatever, love him still, but-"
"I don't think I do," I say. It comes out much stronger than I expect.
"You don't? You don't." He says it again as a statement as though he's wrapping his brain around the thought. He exhales heavily and says, "The point is a beautiful, amazing girl like you deserves to be kissed in a certain way. And if that's what you wanted that's what he should have provided, and he didn't so . . . yeah. It's crap."
"And do you provide what Julie wants?"
Jake waits one beat before speaking again and completely ignores what I've asked and moves on to talk about some disgusting meal his dad made him eat.
I'm left wondering what his pretending not to hear me means. Then I continue down that same vein of thoughts and wonder what it means that Edward didn't meet my needs. Does that mean he didn't care? That he didn't want to? Or that he just didn't want to do that with me? Was I not good enough? Am I good enough? Will anyone ever want me?
I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth once I'm done mulling all of that over and feel bad that I'm not listening to Jake. He stops speaking, and I tell him that I'm tired and want to sleep.
"All right. Night, Bells."
Neither one of us hangs up the phone.
"For the record, I would have done whatever you wanted. Goodnight, honey."
The line goes dead, and I spend the rest of my night reeling in the sexiest words anyone has ever spoken to me. It is the first night I dream of Jacob Black completely naked in my bed whispering "Whatever you want". He whispers it to me again and again as he roves his rough hands over my body, and I come apart in pieces.
It's been two months since Jake started dating Julie. I've given up on her nickname because it doesn't seem to do any good. He's still with her and doesn't seem to be heading toward a break up. I should spend more time researching voodoo dolls than coming up with lame nicknames to curse someone in my head.
I still call Jake every night. And every night I fall a little more in love with him. Our relationship is shifting. I can feel it. We talk about very private things – things we've never told anyone before. We cry talking about our heartaches, we laugh about ridiculous junior high antics until our sides hurt, and we discuss our wildest dreams. Things could not be more perfect between us except that he has a girlfriend. I try not to think about it and dwell on the positive instead. I ultimately fail because six out of seven nights a week I cry myself to sleep.
It's late on a Saturday night and I'm getting ready for bed. My phone rings and it's Jake. I smile and pick up the phone only to hear giggling - Julie giggling to be precise. Then I hear instructions. "Put your finger . . . mmhm." "Like that?" I hear Jake's voice. Julie pants and sighs in a low tone. I feel like I'm going to die. My heart is constricting in my chest, and I feel like I might hyperventilate. "Jules . . . mm . . . baby," I hear from the phone in my hand, and I can't hold it in. I start to whimper and cry. I hang up the phone immediately and throw it out my window.
Jake doesn't call me back, not that he ever really called me to begin with, not on purpose at least.
The following day I gather my phone and it's kaputz. The moisture from the morning rain has ruined it. I can't tell Charlie what happened, so I drop it in the toilet and fish it back out so I have a good cover story. It's not until I hand it over to Charlie that I realize I could have just dropped it into a sink full of soapy dishwater. That would've been less disgusting. Oh well. Hindsight is always twenty/twenty. I am too distraught to think clearly.
I don't hear too much from Quil and Embry. They seem to have given up on me and are not happy that I'm not being more aggressive about this. I tell them about my phone and they both shrug it off as if to say, "Your phone calls weren't making any headway anyway." I feel sad that they've put up the white flag and feel like such a loser.
I'm at Jake's for Billy's birthday dinner and the usual suspects are there to celebrate with him. Quil and Embry are keeping me company and trying to distract me from watching Jake and Julie who are shamelessly groping each other against a tree near the forest. I guess it's technically in the forest, but it's not secluded by any means. I mean, if I can see it, then they're really out in the open. Even my dad makes a tsking noise and shakes his head when he sees.
When my dad is gone, Quil and Embry start talking about Jake and Julie as though I'm not even there. I get some details about their forest romps that I would rather not have and excuse myself to get another drink. As I'm digging in the fridge I hear the front door open and close. Julie and Jake are arguing. "I said I'd think about it. Why are you pushing this?"
"I don't see what the big deal is. Any guy would want-"
"I'm not any guy," he says boldly, then lowers his voice to a whisper, and I faintly make out "first" and "big deal" and know that Jake knows I'm in the house. He's trying to be discreet, but I'm really interested in their argument. The fact that they're arguing gives me hope.
"Is this about-"
"No," says Jake quickly, cutting her off.
"But you talk about her so much and she-"
"She's my friend."
"Fine, Jake. Just forget about it, okay? We'll just go back to working in your garage. It'll be so much fun." I can hear the mockery in her voice, and I want to slap her. How dare she speak to Jake that way. Quil is right. She is a 'b' word. Yeesh! Poor Jake.
"I'm tired. I'm gonna go to bed."
I hear Jake exhale, and his door creaks open, then closes. The front door does the same, and I'm left sort of shell-shocked in the kitchen. What the hell kind of crazy conversation was that?
I give Jake a minute and sit at the kitchen table, sipping my bottled water. I finish it and make my way to Jake's room. I tap on the door with my knuckles. Jake tells me to come in.
I open the door and look around, not wanting to embarrass him, but wanting to talk openly like we have been over the phone. I wrack my brain trying to come up with a conversation opener but find I don't need one.
"Have you ever wanted a guy just 'cause he's hot?"
"Matt Damon count?" I still don't look at him. I sit on a chair that's crammed in the corner and covered in clothes. They're kind of stinky.
"No. No actors."
"I didn't think so. I just feel like a piece of meat sometimes, you know? Like when she introduced me to all of her girlfriends and lifted up my shirt to show them my stomach. I mean, who does that? So rude. If a guy did that to a girl - flashed her tits for his friends, she'd go crazy on him, right?"
"I think so."
"Sorry I said tit. That was rude."
"It's fine, you're upset. Standard rules of conduct don't apply when you're upset."
"Good, 'cause what I really want to say is why am I dating a bitch?"
"Oh, well . . ."
"I should have listened to Quil and Embry eons ago. They kept telling me that they didn't like her, that they wanted me to get a new girlfriend. Hell, they were advertising you against your own will."
"No they weren't."
"Yes, they were."
"It wasn't against my will."
He doesn't seem to register what I've said, or he's so upset he just can't process it. He continues on his tirade. "I mean, it was like they were parading around all of your best traits like it was some dating service. Why can't Julie just be nice? She wants me and that's flattering, but she's kind of . . . I dunno. Then I keep thinking about what they said, and I about killed Embry when I phased and realized that he really did see you in the shower. Well, not in in but in. You know what I mean. And then you smelled all Bells-y and dropped your keys, and geez, Bells, you really do have a nice butt."
I can't help it, and I giggle. He's totally got verbal vomit going on. So cute.
He looks up and smiles at me, and we both laugh. "I'm totaling rambling." He throws himself onto the bed and covers his eyes with his forearm. "Just put me out of my misery."
That's it. That's my in, my segue, my line, well, his line. "Okay."
"Good. Do you have a silver bullet or something 'cause I really nee-"
"I think I'm in love with you." Now who's got verbal vomit?
Jake shoots upright in his bed, and his eyes lock with mine. He looks like a deer caught in headlights. His lips part, and he's about to say something. I hold up my hand to stop him because I've got to get this out.
"The day I met Julie was the day I came over here to tell you I wanted to be your girlfriend. Well, to try to be your girlfriend, but you basically already had one. And Jake, she's not . . . no I'm not gonna, I just . . . I think you need a new one. I could be your girlfriend." I stand up and straighten out my shirt. I walk towards him, and he swings his long legs over the side of his bed so that he's facing me. I stand between his legs, reach out and run a hand through his hair. He closes his eyes, and I brush my fingers across his hairline. My fingers flow down his cheek and over his bottom lip. "I'm not going to be her – the other woman, but Jake . . . you have to know. I miss you and I . . . I want to be your girlfriend."
His eyelids flutter open, and his intense stare makes me feel really uncomfortable. I realize that I'm trying to break up a couple, and it feels so wrong, but I can't imagine doing anything more right. I need to do this. He leans in towards me, and I take a step back and drop my hand from his face. He grips my waist and draws me in between his legs again. He intertwines his fingers with mine and holds our hands against his heart. He looks down at our hands and back up into my eyes. It's the most beautiful I've ever seen him look.
I really want to kiss him. I've been dying to kiss him - to see how my dreams compare, but I can't. Not tonight, not under these circumstance. I can't have our first kiss tainted by Julie. As I'm trying to relay all of this through telepathy he's leaning in, his eyes darting from my own to my lips and back again.
"Jake, I can't. Not like this." He drops his head in defeat, and I rest my hands on top of it weaving my fingers into his hair. He wraps his arms around my lower back and drops his head lower onto my chest with a groan. We stay that way for a few minutes – me running my hands through his hair and he, flexing and unflexing his hands on my hips. An occasional thumb reaches up to swipe across my flesh.
A timid knock sounds at the door and Jake barks out a mumbled "Go away" into my shirt. The door opens anyway; in walks Julie. I inhale sharply and try to step away from Jake, but his grip only tightens.
"I can't believe you," says Julie. Tears are forming in her eyes, and her lips tremble. She's about to cry, and I feel really terrible. Trollop.
Jake doesn't move. I tug on his hair gently to raise his head up. "Jake, maybe you should."
"Oh, that's rich. Yeah, just tell him what to do so you can have him all to yourself."
"Shut up, Julia." Her trap closes with a slap, and it's reminiscent of the time I saw Sam order Paul to be quiet in his alpha tone. I wonder idly if Jake has somehow tapped into his alpha and it's worked on Julie.
"Go talk to her, okay? I'm gonna head home." I extricate myself from Jake's grasp and tiptoe past Julie. She's shooting daggers at me with her eyes. I take one last glance at Jake, and his eyes are so sad. I smile softly at him and head home.
I don't hear from Jake for an entire week. I'm starting to think that his looks and the way he touched me didn't mean what I thought it meant. But then that didn't make sense especially with what Quil and Embry have been saying to me all along – that Jake loved me and if I just told him how I felt he'd jump at the chance. I'm so confused.
I sit at the dinner table picking at my casserole, trying not to be grumpy. "You all right, Bells?" asks Charlie.
"Fine," I mumble through my chicken and rice. I'm most certainly not fine; nothing about this situation is fine. I threw myself at Jake – well in the 'I want to be your girlfriend' sense, and he's done nothing about it. Where is he already?
The night is dull. Charlie's conversation is dull. I am dull.
I lay in bed thinking about my latest dream, ahem, about Jake and try desperately not to go to his house and just jump him already. But we're simply not ready for that. Hell, we're apparently not even ready for a relationship yet. I drift off to sleep and dream of Jake. We're in my bed this time. And if there's anything I've learned from my dreams it's that one of us needs a bigger bed.
I wake in the morning to find a note on the kitchen table. It reads, Jake says meet him at the beach as soon as you can.
I shower, dress and head to La Push as quickly as I can. I can't wait to see Jake despite the fact that I'm nervous. Jake's sitting on our driftwood tree, staring into the open ocean. He looks tired, almost as though he's been overworked.
I sit next to him and look out into the ocean too. He doesn't say anything, he doesn't look at me, he does, however, take my hand in his. He runs his fingers all over mine, then settles our hands in his lap.
"It's beautiful this time of day," I say, trying to break the ice - trying to just get back to being us. Something feels off. Why won't you look at me?
"How do you feel about Edward?" I did not see that one coming. I'm not sure what I should say. Should I lie to make him feel better? No. Honesty is the best policy.
"I still love him." The words sound small and false, but I can't bring myself to say different.
"Do you think you'll ever get over him?" He's still staring out into the ocean.
"I think I'll get there. I'm already on my way. I don't think about him as much. Mostly I think about his family, on the whole. I miss his sister, Alice. She was kind of my only real friend simply because she knew everything. I felt free to be myself around them – the Cullens."
"Do you think you can love two people at once?"
"Yeah. Do you think you love her? Is that why you won't be with me?"
Jake snaps his head to the side and looks directly at me. "I don't love her. I was talking about you. Are you in love with Edward and me?"
"I never said I was in love with Edward. I said I love Edward. There's a difference."
"What does that mean? I don't think I can be in a relationship where I'm second choice. If we do this . . . if we . . . I can't wonder all the time if you'd want him instead if there was a choice."
"Do you think I would do that? Be your girlfriend and run back to him if he were here? I have more integrity than that. That's why I gave you time to make a choice. I don't believe in cheating; it hurts everyone. But, no, Jake. I don't think I'd go back to him. He hurt me in a way that will always be with me. He'll always be a part of me, but I can't change that just like you can't change the fact that you and Julie dated. It's just a part of who we are."
"That's because I'm older than you. I know better." I nudge him with my shoulder, and a small smile plays on his lips.
"If you know so much, o'wise one, what should we do? And you should know I broke up with Julie that night."
"Oh, well in that case I think you should say yes when I say Jacob black will you go out with me?"
"Are you asking?"
"In a chicken poo kind of way, yeah."
"And what else should we do?" He looks at me with concern in his eyes; his thumb runs back and forth over my knuckles.
"I think after you say yes, you should kiss me. If you want."
"If I want?" Jake shakes his head like I'm being absurd. Maybe I am. Maybe he doesn't want to kiss me. Maybe we should go on a date first. Maybe we should - Jake's large hands cup my face and tilt it up, making me lose my train of thought. He leans in slowly. The sounds of the ocean cease to exist. All I hear is Jake's even breathing. He closes his eyes and covers my mouth with his own softly. His lips are smooth and more commanding than I expected. He moves my lips with his own and leads the way. Good gravy can he kiss. I will follow these lips anywhere.
He slides one of his hands into my hair and another behind my back, pulling me closer to him. We're kissing really slowly, like we have all the time in the world and hopefully we do. Jake's tongue slips over my bottom lip, and I about have a coronary. No one has ever kissed me with their tongue before. I'm eager to try and tentatively open my mouth to his. A tiny sound of all-man escapes his throat when our tongues finally touch.
I'm dead. No, really. I think I am because my body is on fire. Maybe I'm burning in hell but nothing this good would be in hell. Am I in heaven?
Jake's hand slips under the hem of my shirt, his other joins it and he rubs his thumbs over the bare flesh of my back. I do not mind that one bit.
His tongue works against mine, and I try to keep up but I can't. Jake knows some serious tricks with his tongue.
Oh. My. Word. He's sucking on my tongue. Heaven. Definitely. I'm in heaven.
I whimper in his mouth, and Jake pulls back, laughing. No, no. Don't pull away.
"Mmph," I murmur and look up at him. He's totally laughing at me. That jerk. I'll show him. Without warning, I climb onto Jake's lap and fist his shirt in my hands, getting his attention. He looks at me as though he's not sure what to think of me. I answer his unspoken question of 'What are you doing?' "I'm older; I know better."
I crash my lips to his and am devoured whole. The beast in him is released, and I've never felt more alive. His kiss in one hundred times more aggressive, more passionate, more mmmm, than any kiss I've ever had. He should win awards or something for his kissing expertise.
We kiss on the beach for a good ten minutes, never letting up. He takes my hands into his and slows his kiss. Boo! I'm not done kissing you, silly Jake.
His lips glide over mine two more times softly, and he rests his forehead on my own. "Yes." It's a tiny whisper and I'm not sure what he's saying yes to, but I don't really care just as long as it's directed at me. "I want to be your boyfriend."
I nod and kiss him again. I'm not done yet.
We kiss again, and I can feel a lightheartedness in Jake's movements. I move my hands into his hair and give it a little tug simply because I can't get enough. He responds by pulling me closer and kissing me harder. So good.
His hands are on the move, going from my shoulder blades down my back and onto – oh hello there Jake's hands, that would be my butt.
Jake runs both of his hands over my butt, and I quite like it. I didn't think I'd let him do such a thing so early but okay. His hands squeeze me there and continue to move over the tops of my thighs. I'm panting. It's embarrassing. He runs his thumbs over my inner thighs, and it's the best feeling ever. I feel like I'm coming undone on the spot. I don't want to stop, but I know I'm no where near ready for this yet.
I break our kiss and slide my hands over the top of his, halting his movements. "I think maybe we need to, um, how do I even say this?"
"Go to my place?" Jake asks, and I'm in complete shock. Did he just proposition me? I give the boy one kiss and suddenly he thinks I will sleep with him? No way. I mean I want to, but I'm not ready. We haven't even said I love you yet. Well I have. Sort of. But anyway, shouldn't that be a prerequisite?
"I love you, Bella," says Jake and places another kiss on my lips - one full of the truthfulness of those words. Well crap.
"I . . . Jake, you know I love you but-"
"I'm not really ready to-"
"Oh, Bells, honey, I just . . . I think we'll be more comfortable kissing on my couch. This log is digging into my butt. I didn't mean that we should-"
"Okay," I say and stand. He grimaces and adjusts himself discreetly. Did I do that? I can't help but stare. He catches me. I cover my face in shame and turn around.
"You are so cute."
"I'm such a nerd. I'm sorry I looked at-"
"It's fine. I don't want you to be repulsed or anything, but it's bound to happen if you're sitting on me and letting me suck on your tongue."
"I feel like I need to be clear about something, Jake. I'm not ready for that." I'm so much braver when I'm not looking at him.
"Figures," he sighs. "I throw away a girl that will sleep with me only to get a new one that won't. It's just my luck."
I can't believe he just said that. I round on him in anger. He's smiling at me. Jerk. I hate his teasing. Two can play at that game.
I frown and run straight for my truck. Jake calls after me and runs to catch up.
"Bells, what?" he says when we're both standing by my truck.
"My house," I say, smiling. "My dad's at work."
Jake hops in and we're off to visit my couch where I get to make the rules because I'm older, because I know better, and because Jake has wandering hands. Who knows how long it will take for us to get there. Who cares? The great thing is that we get to get there together. Maybe I was right that day that I jumped off the cliff. My luck was changing and it had everything to do with my best friend, now boyfriend, Jacob Black.
Author's End Note: Reviews are better than getting butt dialed while Jake making out with someone other than you.
This fic was inspired by the funky song "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne. You can check it out here http:/www . youtube . com/watch?v=JK0e95rKjCA, and be sure to check out the hysterical lyrics.
The Johnny Depp quote was from the movie Chocolate.
I blatantly stole the idea of Bella saying, "Say yes, say yes, say yes" from Majesta Moniet. She does something similar in For I Am Captured Straight to You. It's amazing. Read it.