Note: These characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. I own nothing. The things I have them do, Ms. Meyer would surely never approve of.
A small section of the dialogue (Jacob's apology for the kiss) was directly lifted from Eclipse the movie.
"Alright Alice, that's good enough." She'd been fussing over me for the last half-hour.
"Just let me put a little more mascara on your lashes, Bella." She came at my face again with the black wand.
"No," I turned my head away. "There's plenty."
"Alright," she sighed, screwing the wand back into the tube and setting it among the shadows and blushes and lipsticks on the dresser. She looked toward the window and shut her eyes. "The caterers will be pulling up to the drive in about 2 minutes. I'm going downstairs to let them in and help them lay the food out. Rosalie is useless. Are you coming?"
"I'll be right down."
She nodded and left me alone in her bedroom. It was starting to get dark outside, so I went to her dresser and switched the lamp on. I really wanted to be alone because I intended to wipe some of the dark make-up off around my eyes, but as I studied myself in the mirror, I realized it didn't look half bad.
With the dark smoky eye makeup and the pale pink lips, I looked a little like one of those weird, creepy Blythe dolls. Sort of goth. Even stranger was the fact I liked it.
I had absolutely refused to wear a dress, but Alice had gotten me a pair of tight designer jeans with some Italian name I couldn't pronounce. She insisted you were supposed to have to lie on the bed to zip them up.
I really liked the sweater though, it was a deep charcoal gray and the long sleeves had a cutout section, so the material covered my bra straps, but my shoulders were bare. I mostly loved the material; it was soft and fuzzy. I think it was angora or something.
All this for my graduation party. It was Edward's and Alice's party too, but they'd already graduated high school a hundred times.
I sighed. Graduation.
For my friends the word meant freedom. For me the word was synonymous with my death.
I shook my head. My rebirth, I corrected myself. I had told Edward I would wait till after graduation for him to change me so I'd have a little more time with my father and Jacob and my friends. I'd been anticipating this day for so long and now that it was here…
You won't ever have to sleep again, I thought, looking at myself in the mirror.
Wait a minute, I like to sleep, I frowned.
No more eating.
But not only was I a really good cook, I enjoyed eating. Especially with Charlie and Jacob who appreciated everything I whipped up.
Now you can drink blood.
Just the thought of blood made me cringe and bile rose up in my throat. I looked away from my reflection in the mirror.
Edward. Think of Edward.
I could have sex with Edward and be with him forever.
There. I took a deep breath. That was my 'go-to' thought. My happy place.
But somehow it just wasn't working for me the way it had a few months ago, when Edward was all I thought of at the idea of being changed.
This last week as graduation drew closer, the thought of changing made my heart beat frantically and it became hard to catch my breath.
And now my 'go-to' thought that calmed me down became Jacob. I had to talk to Jacob.
But I don't think Jacob was planning on coming today. I had invited him, but last week he had to go and kiss me, and I'd been so surprised and…
Hell, if I was being honest with myself, I'd punched him because stupid Jacob was always making me face things about myself that I didn't want to deal with. And the warm flush I'd felt when he kissed me; well, I didn't want to deal with that.
So I'd punched him.
And now he probably wasn't coming and I really needed to talk to him. Because now everything I'd asked for was going to become mine.
Maybe I should have worn a dress. I hated dresses, but I hated standing out even more. And I think I was the only one wearing jeans. Not that it stopped Mike Newton from staring. Every time I turned around, his eyes were on my butt or my bare shoulders.
Edward was extra attentive too. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs when I'd come down, that cute lopsided grin on his face, shaking his head at me.
"You have no idea the effect you have, do you?" he'd said.
He kissed my cheek and put a protective arm around me. "If you only knew the thoughts going through half the boy's minds in this room," he whispered to me.
"Edward," Alice trilled from the other side of the living room.
Some of the furniture had been moved to the music room, freeing up a large, open area for dancing. "Help me with the CD's, please. I can't find the ones I want; I think Emmett was going through these." She was barely audible through the bass pumping on the stereo system, but of course Edward could hear her perfectly, and picked up on her thoughts with no effort whatsoever.
"Stay away from him," he pointed at Tyler and then at Barry. "And him," he grinned. "I think they're harmless, but if their hands were allowed to go as far as their imaginations? I'd have to chop them off," he joked, kissing my cheek and heading toward Alice at the other end of the makeshift dance floor.
I felt lonely already. I tended to get lost in crowds.
I turned around and saw three tall, dark figures all dressed in black come through the front door. The largest of the three turned my way, and flashing a smile that literally brightened the room, came toward me.
My heart leaped at the sight of him; he'd come after all! But I didn't want to let him off the hook too easily for the kiss last week.
"What are you doing here?" I asked him, feigning annoyance.
"You invited me, remember?"
I cocked my eyebrow at him and pursed my lips. "Was my right hook too subtle for you? That was me uninviting you."
"Look Bella," he frowned. "I'm sorry about, you know, the kiss and your hand. I'd blame it on the whole inner animal thing, but it was really just me – being an ass." He looked down. "I'm really sorry."
He reached into his pocket. "But I brought you something. A graduation present. I made it myself."
He placed something in my hand and the first thing that caught my eye was a wolf. It was very intricate and carved from some kind of wood. I picked it up and saw it was a charm bracelet. It must have taken him hours, no, days, maybe even weeks to make this.
"Wow, you made this? It's really pretty."
He'd been forgiven before he'd even come in the door, but now it was official. I smiled at him to let him know I wasn't mad anymore.
I opened the clasp and put it around my wrist. "Could you clip it for me?"
He took both ends in his giant hands and hooked it closed.
"Thanks," I grinned.
I quickly scanned the room. Alice and Edward were still kneeling on the floor going through CD's on the other side of the room. Jasper was dancing with Rosalie and I think Esme and Carlisle were in the kitchen, staying out of sight as the designated chaperones.
"I need to talk to you," I told Jacob once I'd made sure all the Cullens were out of earshot.
"Not here," I shook my head.
"Come on," I took his hand and led him toward the massive oak double door.
I led him down the walkway, the thick trees leading to the woods on the other side of the driveway my destination.
But there was a small impromptu party going on. Jessica and Lauren were sitting on Edward's Volvo parked in the drive. Mike and Emmett were on either side of the girls and Embry and Quil flanked them.
"Dude, come here!" Embry called to Jake. "Look what the lee-, I mean, look what Emmett's passing around!"
As Jacob and I approached the crowd, Embry brought a huge joint to his lips and took a deep hit before holding it out to Jacob.
I watched in shock as Jake took it. I reached out and grabbed it away from him before it hit his mouth.
"What are you doing?" I hissed quietly to him. "I told you I wanted to talk to you."
"One hit isn't going to matter. Besides, it's better than drinking. Alcohol burns off so fast, I hardly feel the effects, but this - ," he reached for the joint in my hand and I pulled it away again before he could grab it.
"No!" I started to hand it to Emmett, but on impulse, I brought it to my lips and took a hit. I inhaled the smoke into my lungs and tried to hold it in like I'd seen other people do, but it burned so bad, I coughed it all out before it had a chance to do anything.
"Nice try, Bella," Emmett laughed, patting me rather roughly on the back.
"Whoa Bella, I'm shocked. Next thing you know, she'll be drinking a beer." Lauren said snidely.
"Give me that, Bells." Jacob took it away from me and took a couple quick, deep puffs before handing it to Quil.
"Dude," Mike passed a beer over to Jacob. Jake screwed the top off and shrugged at me before swigging it.
"Mike? Hand me one too, please." I put my hand out.
Jacob's eyes widened and he shot me a dirty look, but he didn't say anything.
Gah! I still had a brace on my broken hand and I couldn't even twist the top off. Jacob took it from me, opening it quickly, and handed it back to me.
We all turned as a figure came down the walk from the house. Jasper quietly joined the crowd, standing alongside his brother.
Emmett nudged Jasper and smirked at him, nodding his head at Mike as he took a drag off the joint still being passed around.
Oh, I got it. Emmett's idea of fun: get the humans stoned for his own private entertainment. Since vampires are basically brain dead, Emmett could suck in all the marijuana smoke he wanted and it would have no effect on him.
Jessica took a puff and passed it to Lauren. "So, I meant to thank you, Mike." Jessica wrapped her arms around his neck and put her chin on his shoulder. "Wasn't my speech today awesome? Mike helped me write it."
"I heard he helped you with some other stuff too," Lauren snorted.
The boys laughed and I took a gulp of my beer. Yuck.
"Mike's been pumping iron." Jessica announced randomly as she ran her hands up and down Mike's arms.
"A little," he grinned proudly, his face reddening.
"I wanna see what he's got under that sweater," Lauren said, finishing off her beer and staring straight at Jacob.
"Ooooh yeah! Take it off! Take it off!" Jessica chanted. Lauren joined in with her.
"Yeah, Jake, take it off and show em what you got," Embry laughed.
I looked at Jacob, whose ears were pink. He shook his head. "I don't think so."
The two girls were clapping their hands now and still chanting. I noticed Mike's eyes were narrowed and his hand gripped his bottle tightly.
"Show them what a real man looks like, Jake."
Jacob sighed and handed Quil his beer. He pulled his sweater over his head in one smooth motion and stood there in just his tight jeans.
The girls quieted immediately and both of them sucked in a breath.
Jacob really was beautiful.
I drank what was left of my beer.
There was complete silence for a good 30 seconds. Finally Lauren broke the quiet.
"Now all of you drop your pants and let's see whose is the biggest."
The boys laughed nervously and Lauren giggled at her own joke. She was stoned.
"I've already put all these boys to shame once tonight, I don't want to embarrass them again," Jake joked as he pulled his sweater back over his head.
At least I think he was joking. I could smell his musk scented deodorant as he pulled his shirt down.
On that note, I took Jacob's hand and captured his gaze, nodding my head and telling him with my eyes it was time to go. I'd had all the partying I could take for one night.
Lauren watched as I pulled Jacob toward the trees. If looks could kill, I'd have been dead before I left the driveway.
I led Jacob far into the trees. It was dark, but I held onto his hand, guiding him, while he made sure I stayed on two feet and didn't fall. I felt a little more wobbly than usual thanks to the beer. We went as deep as I dared, to ensure that Emmett and Jasper were out of earshot.
We hit a clearing about 5 minutes in and I stopped, letting go of his hand and leaning against a sturdy cedar.
Now I didn't know how to start. So I just blurted it out.
"Jake, I'm getting scared."
"Aw honey, it was only one beer and one hit on a joint – you didn't even inhale all the way. You'll be fine."
"No, not that. I mean, it's here; it's graduation. You know what that means."
Even in the minimal light I saw his hands clench into fists. I waited for him to say something, but he didn't.
"Jake, I'm scared," I repeated.
"Then don't do it," he replied tersely.
"I have to do it. I mean, I promised, and the Vol-."
"Oh bullshit! You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You know I'll protect you. Edward's not forcing you." He took a step closer and the menacing look on his face scared me a little. "He's not, right?"
"No, no, he's not forcing me. But I commit-"
"Then you don't have to do it." He crossed his arms as if that were the end of the discussion. "Just don't do it Bella."
"Can I talk?" I yelled, flinging my arms. "Would you stop interrupting me and let me finish a sentence?"
"Sure, sure. Finish. But I don't see what there is to say. It's simple Bella. You're scared? You don't want to? Then you don't. End of story."
"God Jacob! It's not that easy! And I didn't say I didn't want to! I said I was scared - totally different. Can't you just let me talk and listen to me? Hear me out?"
"What is there to talk about Bella? You're so stubborn, why do you make things harder than they have to be?"
"Shut up Jacob! I didn't want to talk to you so you could fix it for me, or, or tell me what to do, or save me! I just wanted you to be a friend and listen to me. Why can't you do that?"
"So you're still going to go through with it?" Now he was mad. "Then what are we even doing out here?"
"Can't you just be my friend? I don't have anyone else to talk to about these things with. You're the only one. I'm not saying I'm not going through with it, Jacob. I'm not saying I am going through with it either. I just wanted to talk about how scared I am now that it's here." Tears were threatening and I blinked them back fiercely.
"So you're still going through it."
He wasn't listening to me!
"Forget it! Just forget it Jacob!"
I pushed past him and started back for the Cullen's. I'd made it about 4 whole steps before tripping on a tree root and falling on my hands and knees. Jacob tried to help me up, but I shoved his hand away.
"Don't touch me. I've got it."
I saw him shake his head and put his hands up in surrender out of the corner of my eye "Whatever."
We walked the rest of the way back without speaking. He grabbed my elbow a couple times to stop me from falling as I tripped.
Once we hit the driveway, the outside lights were bright enough I could see where I was going. I also saw Emmett standing at the edge of the drive. He must have heard us walking through the trees and was waiting for me. He gave Jake a hard look and put his arm across my shoulders.
"You okay, Bella?"
I shrugged his arm off. "I'm fine," I mumbled.
Great. Emmett had probably heard Jacob and my whole conversation. Now he was going to run and tell Rosalie. Which meant that by morning the whole Cullen household would think I was having second thoughts. Including Edward.
Then I remembered that Edward would know even before Rosalie. He would just pluck the information right out of Emmett's head.
I pushed open the front door and quickly made my way to the stairs.
"Are you alright, love?"
I jumped twenty feet. "I'm fine," I smiled tightly at Edward. "I just… I need a break."
"I understand," he kissed my forehead and I practically ran up the stairs to his bedroom. I opened the door and a chill hit me. This house was beautiful, but it was always cold.
Just like them.
The window was open. I crossed the room and looked down at the driveway below. Jacob stood alone with another beer in his hand, leaning against Edward's Volvo.
God! He was so… exasperating! So frustrating. So intoxicating.
Wait. Did I just say intoxicating? How did that get in there?
I was pulling the window closed when I saw Lauren slink over and lean against the car alongside Jacob.
She took Jacob's beer from him and took a sip before handing it back to him.
"We all know how she broke her hand, you know."
How the hell did she know?
"Oh yeah?" Jake took a drink from his beer. "And how do you all know that?"
"Jess heard Alice talking to Jasper in History."
Jacob ignored her and said nothing. Lauren didn't like being ignored.
"You kissed her."
Jacob's only reply was a swig from his bottle.
What a bitch.
"I wouldn't have punched you."
Jacob pushed away from the car and stood at his full height in front of Lauren. "No? What would you have done?"
"This." Lauren took the bottle from Jacob's hand again and placed it on the roof of the Volvo. Then she took a couple steps closer to Jacob, and standing on her tippy-toes, reached her arms up around his neck, bringing his face down to hers.
Time stood still and I drew in a sharp breath to scream, when Jacob unhooked her arms from around him and gently pushed her away.
"Sorry Blondie, aint gonna happen."
Lauren looked pissed, her eyes narrowed and her body rigid.
"What a waste. You're saving it all for Bella, huh? The girl who punched you so hard she broke her hand? You're pathetic."
"No offense, but I'm not the one throwing myself at strangers in the street."
Lauren's face contorted as she looked for the right words to put Jacob in his place. But the best she could come up with was a loud, "You suck!" before she stormed back into the house, slamming the front door hard.
I realized my heart was beating wildly.
I shut and locked the window.
"Wake up, love, wake up." I felt someone gently shaking my shoulder and opened my eyes.
Shoot! I'd fallen asleep on Edward's bed. That's right, it had been cold in the room, so I'd lain down and pulled his comforter up over me.
"What time is it?"
"It's going on one in the morning." Edward pushed the hair off my face and hooked it behind my ear.
"Is everyone gone?"
"Mmm-hmm. The last guests left just after midnight."
"Just like Cinderella." I mumbled, snuggling deeper into the soft down pillow.
"So that must make you Sleeping Beauty."
I smiled and said nothing.
"Come on Sleeping Beauty, time to get up. You've got to go home."
"Whyyyyyy?" I whined.
"Because if you don't go home, the prince will get a shotgun shell in his, uh… "
"Butt?" I giggled.
Edward laughed gently and lay down beside me, his arm around my waist. I was so comfortable; I just wanted to stay this way forever.
"Did Jacob leave with Embry and Quil?"
I felt the muscles in Edward's arm tighten. "I guess so, why?"
"No reason. Just wondering." I remembered the altercation I'd watched outside Edward's window earlier.
Sorry Blondie, aint gonna happen.
I rolled onto my back and put my arms around his neck. "Kiss me Edward."
"Bella," he protested. "We need to get you home." He pulled my arms away, but I placed my hand on his face and guided his lips to mine. I inhaled his sweet scent which dizzied my senses, as usual. I pressed my lips more firmly against his and felt him draw back just slightly.
"Kiss me Edward. Kiss me like you want me," I murmured against his mouth.
I parted my lips against his, forgetting for just a moment who it was I was kissing. I tried to deepen the kiss, but Edward's lips were hard and unyielding, not like the other ones. I wanted this kiss to be like the other one. Softer, deeper, open-mouthed.
"Careful, Bella. Don't get carried away." He pulled his face away.
"Why?" I demanded. "Why can't I get carried away?"
He looked at me patronizingly. "We've had this conversation a million times before, Bella. You know why." He told me softly.
"Because you could kill me. Because you could turn me. But it's graduation, Edward. Just do it."
He looked at me like I'd struck him, then he sat up on the side of the bed.
"I'm serious. Do it." I got up on my knees and put my arms around his shoulders and spoke urgently into his ear. "What are we waiting for? Do it!"
"What about your father?" he whispered. "What am I supposed to tell him? We lost you?" He shook his head. "You're my responsibility tonight. I won't do that."
I pulled my arms slowly away and sat back on my feet. "It's never going to be the right time is it? There will always be some excuse, some reason it can't happen."
I sighed as I stood up and hopped to the floor. "Just take me home Edward."
I awoke the next morning to the sound of voices and the sun shining through my bedroom window. I squinted as if that would help me identify the voices floating up from the kitchen downstairs. I couldn't understand the words being said, but I placed the husky baritone of Jacob's voice, and then my father's laughter.
It was 10:30 am. I must have been tired. Edward had driven me home and dropped me off. He didn't stay. I think my insistence that he change me last night shook him up.
I got out of bed and threw some shorts and a t-shirt on, running a brush quickly through my tangled bed-head hair. I stopped in the bathroom to brush my teeth before heading to the kitchen.
"Well, look who decided to get up," my father smiled when I came into the room. He and Jacob were both seated at the table eating bagels and drinking coffee.
"What are you doing here?" I hoped I didn't sound rude. I felt bad after our conversation the night before.
"I'm gonna get started on that lawn," Charlie announced out loud before getting up and heading for the front door. "Nice seeing you, Jacob."
"See ya, Charlie."
I sat at the table next to Jacob with a cup of coffee and broke off a piece of his bagel.
"I came to see you," he told me.
I stuffed a piece of bagel in my mouth so I didn't have to say anything.
"I came to apologize. You were right. I was rude. You wanted to talk last night and I cut you off, I wouldn't let you talk and was just an ass in general."
"Yeah, you're getting good at that," I smiled.
"Well, I want to apologize right. So stop eating that bagel and put some shoes on. I have a surprise."
"A surprise? What?"
"Just go put your shoes on and grab a sweater."
"Will there be food? Cos I'm hungry."
"Yes, there will be food. Go!"
"Wow, this is great!" I exclaimed, sitting down on the quilted spread Jacob had laid out on the ground, right by our old log.
"Yeah, well, we don't get too many perfect days like this. It was just my luck that it happened to be this beautiful out the day I needed to say 'I'm sorry' to my best friend."
Jacob had dragged me out to his Rabbit and driven me to First Beach. When we'd gotten out of his car, he pulled out the quilt we were sitting on now, and an ice-chest full of food.
"This chicken is still warm," I groaned, licking my fingers after taking a bite.
"Yeah, Emily made the fried chicken for me and the macaroni salad. The fresh baked bread is one of a couple of loaves that Sue dropped off for my dad and me yesterday The sodas I picked up on the way to your house."
"Sue dropped it off yesterday and there's still some left over today? Wow, you're slipping."
The food was excellent. Emily and Sue were both amazing cooks. Jacob and I stuffed ourselves stupid. By the time we were done, there was nothing left. I packed up the garbage and put it back in the ice-chest. We both leaned back against our log and shut our eyes, letting our food digest and soaking up the sun.
Jacob broke the silence about 10 minutes later.
"So you're getting scared?"
I decided on the spot not to tell him about asking Edward to change me last night. It hadn't happened, so why get him upset again?
"Yeah," I whispered. "I keep thinking of everything I have to give up."
Both of us were still leaning back against the log, our eyes shut. I think that helped us have the conversation this time.
And I told him. Everything. All my fears, all my sacrifices, everything. I even told him about Edward refusing to have sex with me and how even kissing was a challenge. I told him how much it hurt my feelings when Edward pushed me away.
And true to his word, Jacob stayed quiet and just let me talk.
As I rambled on, I discovered other things I would miss which I hadn't even thought of before. So I told him those too. By the time I was finished, a slight breeze had kicked up, so I sat up and pulled my hoodie on over my head.
He had handled this so well, I felt like we had crossed some kind of milestone. Maybe things could be different. I had to ask him something.
I stood and stretched, stalling a little to gather my courage. He followed my lead and stood as well, raising his hands up over his head and yawning. I took a deep breath.
"Jacob?" I surprised him when I took one of his hands in both of mine. I felt suddenly shy. "When I change? You won't really stop being my friend, right?"
He didn't answer me right away, but when he did, he looked at me earnestly.
"Bella, you need to know all the facts, because when you make your choice, you need to make an informed decision. And I don't want you to go into this thinking anything other than the truth."
He gently pulled his hand free and placed it under my chin, forcing my eyes to meet his. "If you change," he spoke slowly and emphasized each word. "You won't ever," his face moved in, just inches from mine. "Ever see me again."
Then he calmly stepped away and reached for the ice-chest and started up the beach back to the car.
I guess the picnic was over.