A/N: So, this is the last chapter of Return to Sender. Sob! I can't quite believe it's over... but writing it has been such a great experience for me, not least because it's meant I've been able to spend lots of time in the company of the lovely and ridiculously talented MeraNaamJoker. I heart her like woah. Thank you to everyone who read, reviewed, tweeted, linked or featured our little story on email, twitter, blogs, or here. Every time that happens, it pretty much makes my day. And finally huge thank yous to Audreyii-fic and WolfGirlAtHeart for pre-reading, and also to the incomparable HoochieMomma for beta-ing. Her nit comb of grammar tugged the itches from our, uh, hair of, um... This metaphor is failing. Anyway, without further ado...
Chapter 10 - Bella's POV
Four Years Later
As I pulled up in front of the small red house in the pouring rain, I caught sight of suitcases on the front porch and rolled my eyes with a smile. So typical. The boy drove home from his own college graduation ceremony and couldn't wait long enough to unpack before heading to the garage. I stared at the door, trying to steel myself for the conversation ahead. This was going to be hard. As I got out, I debated whether or not I should go inside and say hi to Billy first, but in the end I couldn't wait. It had been six hours since the last time I kissed him. I was having withdrawal pains.
"Jake?" I called, picking my way over patches of mud and fallen branches from the last wind storm. My clothes clung to my body by the time I got to the door. "What are you - " I turned the corner and stopped dead, then started laughing in disbelief. "Are you serious? I thought you just bought that shirt!" Jake lay under his truck, still in his graduation outfit of button-down white shirt and suit pants, although the shirt was unbuttoned all the way from what I could see. Holy shit. I've got to get my hands on him.
He slid out from under the chassis and sat up with a grin. "I'm being careful."
"Yeah, right." I shook my head as I walked toward him. "Just keep telling yourself that." With one thumb, I rubbed the grease mark on his cheek and pulled it away to show him the evidence.
"Whoops," he muttered, and rose to his feet. "I'd better go change. Do you want - "
"No way are you changing." I slid my hands under his shirttails to spread across the small of his back. "You know how seeing you in a button-down shirt makes me. God. You're so - " I kissed his chest, " - damn - " another kiss, "hot. How long has it been since the last time I got you naked?"
He buried his hands in my hair and tilted my head back. My heart clenched a little when I saw the unguarded emotion on his face. "Way too damn long, even if it was ten minutes ago. Want to go inside? Dad's at Harry's."
I smirked at him and pulled away. He made a little noise of protest as I stepped out of his grasp, but then his eyes lit up as I said, "I need to get out of these wet clothes now. I can't wait." He started to take off his shirt too, and I gave him a stern look. "What did I tell you? The shirt stays on, mister."
"It's gonna be hard to do anything if you make me keep my pants on too - oh my God and holy fuck, B. Is that new?"
I looked down at the nearly transparent red lace of my push-up bra. "Yup. You like?"
"'Like' doesn't begin to cover it - hey, hey, why are you taking it - never mind, I don't know what I'm complaining about," as I drew the straps down and dropped it to the floor on top of my shirt. "Come here."
I shook my head and put one hand on his chest, pushing him against the wall. "No, I've got plans for you. It's not every day that a guy earns his diploma. You get a freebie."
"A freebie? Really? It looks like a two-for-one - " His voice cut off in a strangled yelp. I'd dropped my pants to the floor and kicked them off. "Oh. Wow. Matching."
I giggled. "Yeah, it was a set. You want them on or off?"
"I think that means 'on' in Turned-On Jakespeak, so okay." I dropped to my knees in front of him, working at his zipper and then taking his cock out of his pants. Jake gaped down.
"B, what - but we're in the garage and you said we - oh fuuuuuck."
I licked him again and then said, "This is a special occasion, so I can break my own rules. It's my right as your girlfriend. Just like when you said we weren't going to do it in the back seat anymore because of your knees and then one week later you had my ankles over my head."
"And it was fucking hot, too."
I grinned up at him and took him back into my mouth, drawing him in as deeply as I could and using my hand to take care of the rest. Jake's head fell back against the wall as his eyes drifted shut. One of his hands came to rest on my shoulder; the other moved across the back of my head, stroking my hair. I hummed my approval against him and he groaned.
"Holy shit, B, your mouth is so... oh God, your tongue is gonna make me lose my goddamn mind."
One thing I loved about Jake, even after four years of dating him, was how much he talked during sex. It sent a rush of arousal shooting straight down between my legs. I moaned in response, sliding my free hand under my panties to rub my clit. His hips started to move in tiny little jerks as he tried, I could tell, not to shove himself down my throat. I picked up the pace, following his rhythm and throating him as deeply as I could while he mumbled and gasped disjointed praise above me.
"Fuck, yes, oh fuck, honey, that's so good, you're so fucking good at this, you're so damn sexy, I love to watch you do that - I can't..."
I whimpered and rubbed myself harder as I pumped and sucked him. Finally his hand clenched a fistful of my hair. He gritted out, "You're making me - oh shit, I'm coming, honey - " I swallowed around him as he came, loving the way he shook and dug his fingers into my skin. Jake barely caught his breath before he knelt beside me and kissed me fiercely, shoving his hand inside my underwear to join mine. He'd had plenty of practice in getting me off by now, and it wasn't long before I cried out, writhing under his touch. He slowed his fingers, then pulled away just enough to wrap me in an embrace. For a minute, we clung to each other and swayed back and forth a little, trying to keep our balance in the post-orgasmic dizziness.
Finally he kissed my forehead, cheeks, and nose. "I love you so much."
I nuzzled the crook of his neck. "I love you too. You're amazing, Mr. Graduate."
We both sighed and reached for my clothes. As I dressed, I asked, "Have you heard back from any of the apartments we called yesterday?" Before I could put my sopping-wet shirt back on, he handed me his own.
"One, but it was the bottom of the list. I think we might need to go and visit them in person. I don't even know how often the managers check their voicemail."
"That's cool. One way or another, we're getting into a bigger place. I want to have our dads and friends over for dinner and a studio won't cut it."
"Now that I've got a job finally we can swing a two-bedroom." He grinned. "Not too much demand for non-lumberjacks in Forks. You sure you don't want to live in Port Angeles? Since we'll both be working there..."
He stopped because I was shaking my head. "I don't want to live that far away from Billy. Halfway there is as far as I'm willing to go."
Jake pulled me back into his arms and kissed the top of my head. "You're the best son's girlfriend a cranky old bastard could ask for."
His words sent a lurch of sick nervousness through my stomach. Okay. No more holding back. I'd been planning this for weeks and this was the moment I'd been waiting for. "Yeah, about that..."
"Look, I've told you before we're not keeping Billy in a cupboard under the stairs. Just saying."
I laughed at that, smacking him a little as I turned to walk to the truck. "No, moron, I already told you he's going to stay in the broom closet. I just..." Taking deep breaths, I lifted myself onto the lowered truck gate and stared at him for a moment.
Jake quirked his eyebrows. "You just... what, honey?"
I was going to pass out. "I-don't-want-to-be-your-girlfriend-anymore," I blurted.
He laughed. "Uh-huh. Well, it was nice of you to end it with a bang. Wanna go inside and find something to drink?"
"Jake! I'm serious. Come here."
Now he looked a little nervous himself. Walking over to me, he took my hand and said, "Yeah?"
"I don't want to be your girlfriend anymore because..." I lifted his hand to my lips, kissing his knuckles. "I want to be your fiancée."
Silence. When I looked up, his throat muscles were working as he swallowed convulsively.
"Hey." I raised my free hand to his face, pressing against his cheek. "Hey, if this is too much, too soon, don't feel bad. You're only twenty-one. If you don't want to get engaged right now I'm happy just to, you know, live in sin with you." To my horror, I saw tears pooling in his eyes. "Oh Jake, don't, it's okay." I went up on my knees and hugged his neck.
He hugged me back so hard all the breath left my lungs in an undignified whoop. "I can't believe you asked me." His voice came out shaky as he spoke into my shoulder. "Yes."
A bolt of pure joy electrified me from head to toe. "Yes? Really?" He didn't lift his head as he nodded confirmation. "Oh my God! I'm so happy!" I kissed him all over his head, then leaned back so I could get his face too. "You're such a sweet guy. I love you love you love you."
"I love you too, B."
"Oh! Oh wait! I have to go get something out of the car. Hold on." I dashed out into the rain, grabbed what I needed out of the glove box, and then dashed back. He stood at the door waiting eagerly. "Look what I got! I saw this set and I just paid off one of my loans so I had some extra cash and I just had to get them." Flipping open the box, I displayed the matching wedding rings.
"Wow." Jake took the box from me and pulled out the man's ring. "I like the weight of it. This is really nice, B. You have to let me give you half though."
I shrugged. "With your first paycheck or whatever. Or we could just let it be my engagement present to you. I don't want to buy a ring so - "
"We don't have to!" he interrupted eagerly. "I've been trying to figure out when would be a good time to ask you if you wanted to get engaged - "
"Oh shit. Are you mad? I should've waited." I bit my lip in remorse.
"Do I look mad?" he demanded. "Shut up and listen." I laughed and he continued, "I asked Dad for my mom's engagement ring. Neither of my sisters want it. It makes them too sad, but it makes me happy because I know she would've loved you, B. Plus I might, uh, possibly have gotten it re-sized. Just, you know, in case. C'mon." He grabbed my hand and dragged me into the house. After a moment of digging around in his dresser drawer, he pulled out an old velvet-covered jewelry box. "Check it out. And if you hate it, it's okay."
It was a simple square-cut diamond in a four-prong setting. "I love it," I assured him. "Is it - can I -"
"Let me," he replied, and slid it onto my fourth left finger. We both laughed from sheer excitement once it was in its place. "That's awesome. I wish guys had engagement rings. I can't believe I'm engaged to Bella Swan."
I frowned a little in thought. One thing I'd learned about Jake over the years was that he loved physical representation of feelings. The boy was always carving charms for me and giving me tiny gifts that "reminded me of you." "Do you remember that leather cord you used to use to tie back your hair? Do you still have it?"
"Sure, sure." He walked to the closet and pulled it off a hook where it hung with neckties and other things he rarely used.
Taking it from him, I threaded the cord through his wedding ring, looped it securely, and then tied it into a necklace. "Put your head down." Obediently, Jake lowered his head. I hung the cord over his neck. "There you go. You can wear it like that till the ceremony. It's probably safer anyway since you've always got your hands in engines and stuff like that."
"I'd rather have my hands on you," he said, voice gone low as he pulled me against him.
I laughed at his punning and shivered at his touch. For some primitive reason, having his ring on me - and mine on him - was turning me on. "Absolutely. I'm pretty sure it's a tradition. Get engaged, get busy."
"Good thing for you I'm a traditional guy. And good thing for me you're wearing that bra because I have got to get another look at your tits in that thing. Take this shirt off."
"Lock the door in case Billy comes home!" I remonstrated, even as I complied with the order. Billy had no problem busting in on us if he happened to come home in the middle of extracurricular activities. He claimed it was our own faults for not bothering to make sure he couldn't get in. Jake hurried to flip the lock and then grasped my waist, looking at my boobs in admiration.
"Seriously, B. Fucking amazing." He bent to run his tongue over the underwire-enhanced dip of my cleavage. I shuddered and grabbed his belt loops. "Hey, wait - this time I'm taking off my clothes too. I want to feel all of you." Accordingly, he unzipped and stepped out of his pants and boxers while I stripped down to my lingerie. "No, take off the underwear. I just want the bra."
Ooh. I liked it when he got all bossy. It hardly ever happened but it was hot as fuck when it did. I took off the underwear.
As if he could read my mind, Jake suddenly asked, "Wait, is this... Should I be more..."
I knew what he meant and leaned up to kiss him. "Any way you want to do this is good with me. There aren't any rules."
He gently pushed me down on the old twin bed and then knelt between my legs, sucking my nipples through my bra while his hands caressed my thighs. I grabbed his shoulders to keep myself upright. "God, Jake... that feels so good." He groaned his agreement and slid his hands up to brush across my breasts and ribcage.
"Lie back, B." I settled on the mattress and proceeded to slowly lose my mind as he directed all his attention to my breasts, sucking and licking and nipping while he stroked my belly and the tops of my legs. He worked me into a panting, moaning mess, but every time I tried to shove his hand where I wanted (or lower my own to do the job for him) he wouldn't allow it. "No. Not yet," he told me again and again, until at last I hit his shoulder and begged.
"Come on Jake! Please!"
"Yeah?" His low-voiced question sent shivers through me. He rested one hand lightly between my legs. I groaned and arched up but he didn't return the pressure. "Is this what you want?"
I reached down and pushed his fingers where I needed them. "I want you."
He licked my neck, and I whimpered. Sometimes when we made love, he would do that over and over. It felt good - it felt right - but it was a funny just-Jake thing all the same. "I want you too, Bells."
Aaww. My insides turned into mush with the old nickname. "I'm yours, honey," I whispered. I knew he loved it when I called him that.
I could feel his smile against my shoulder as he answered, "I'm all yours, too." He pulled me down to my knees on the floor and bent me over the bed. On the rare occasions when we slept together at his house, this was the only way we'd figured out how to do it without rug burns on one of our backs or his bed falling to very loud pieces. "God, I love you."
"I love you too..." He leaned over me and kissed my back, one shoulder blade to the other, while he moved my legs farther apart. I whimpered again and fisted my hands in the bedclothes as he slowly, slowly slid inside me. "You all right, B?"
I nodded emphatically, squeezing my eyes shut to concentrate on the feeling as he just as slowly slid almost all the way out. "So.. all right... oh fuck, Jake, I... you're..." He started to thrust a little more quickly once I adjusted, and I moved one hand to stroke my clit and the place where he and I came together. I knew that got him excited like almost nothing else. Sure enough, he practically growled as he sped up even more. His hand closed over mine, and he rocked me into our fingers until finally I came in a whining, gasping rush. He only lasted a few seconds after me before clutching me in his arms and groaning against my hair as he pulsed deep inside.
I was going to melt into the bed beneath me. My body had gone boneless with satisfaction. "God, you're good at that."
"You too." He tightened his grip a little and kissed my back again while we both caught our breath. After a second he asked, "So... you want to break the news to our dads that you decided to make an honest man out of me?"
"I'll tell Billy, you tell Charlie."
"Hell, no, I'm not telling Charlie. Well, maybe after he's had a few beers and I've sneaked his gun holster into the trunk of his car. Why do you get the easy dad?"
"Because I have to tell Renée and listen to her lecture about the evils of early marriage for the next year and a half, or however long it'll be till we get married."
"Good point." Jake brushed his lips across the top of my head and moved. I made a dissatisfied noise as he slipped away, but accepted his offered hand to rise to my feet.
After we cleaned up, and he got me into an old t-shirt of his - I had to put back on the wet jeans - Jake pulled me into his arms once again and looked down. "You're the best thing that ever happened to me, B. I'm so fucking glad I sent that letter to you."
I leaned up and kissed his chin. "Me too. And I'm even more glad that you'll never have to send me another one, because I have every intention of keeping you within a twenty-minute drive at all times for the rest of our lives."
"That's totally fair."
He bent to kiss me, but before he could make contact the front door slammed and Billy groused at the top of his lungs, "You two better not be naked back there! I'm an old man and my eyesight's failing but I want to keep what little I've got!"
I burst into giggles and said to Jake, "Come on. Let's go make the old guy the happiest man on earth." He'd been bugging us to make it official for months.
"Second happiest," Jake corrected me, and opened the door to lead the way out.