"Bella, Jacob just got home. Don't you think Billy would like to spend some time with his son?"
"Well Billy doesn't have a problem with it, Dad."
I knew Charlie's reticence had more to do with him spending time with me than any concern for father-and-son time for Jacob and Billy.
"Besides," Charlie reasoned, "do you think a vacation with Jacob right now is smart? I mean, you just got back. You've had a rough summer."
"Exactly Dad. And that's why I think getting away for a few days with my best friend is exactly what I need right now. We have a lot to catch up on. It's only for four nights. Plus Jacob has to go back to school in less than two weeks."
I knew it was playing dirty, but I made my best puppy-dog eyes at him. "Jacob has always been able to make me feel better. You know that."
Charlie sighed and ran his hand through his hair. Which I noticed had a touch more gray now at the temples. It only made him look more distinguished.
"You will bring your cell phone and call me twice a day, young lady."
I squealed with happiness. I was going with or without Charlie's blessing, but I really wanted his approval. "I promise! Oh, wait," I stopped jumping up and down as a thought occurred to me. "Jacob said there's no electricity. How can I charge my phone?"
"You can borrow my car charger and charge it up in the Rabbit. Okay?" He stepped back and gave me his best stern parent look. "You are taking Jacob's car and not that damn motorcycle, right?"
"Yes," I nodded. I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him. I found myself a little more relaxed and demonstrative in an affectionate way since we'd been back. Some part of me instinctually learned to appreciate the people I loved, and showing it a little more often made me happy. It seemed to please Charlie and Jacob too.
I ran upstairs and started to pack a small bag. I put some underwear and light clothes for the daytime in as well as some heavier things for the nighttime. You could never tell up in the mountains what the weather would be like.
I pulled my backpack out from the back of my closet and quietly shut my bedroom door and locked it. I still had the manila envelope zipped up inside. I kept $35,000 in there, and hid it in the floorboard where Edward had hidden my pictures after he'd left last year. That left a little over $2500 after what Jacob and I had spent on food, plane tickets, the night in Tillamook and the cabin rental in Russian River.
Also the couple hundred dollars Jacob had had to pay to get his bike back. Two weeks ago, he and Embry drove to the airport where we'd left the motorcycle. Embry drove the car back and Jacob followed on his bike. They'd been gone two nights, that felt like two weeks. But I know Jacob was happy to have his Harley back.
I told Jacob we were going to use the leftover money for school. It would definitely help us with both books and supplies when he was done with high school, and this winter when I decided where I wanted to go and what I wanted to study. I was happy with one of the local community colleges for now. I was in no great rush to leave.
I tried to make Jake take the $2500 and use what he needed to buy a computer, but he refused. He rebutted every one of my arguments of how it would only help us in the long run with our education. But Jacob was nothing if not stubborn.
So we were still undecided what to do with the left-over $2500. In the meantime, I was excited. We were going back to the shack.
Jacob always kept his promises. And there was one that I was going to hold him to when we got there…
"Let's just get a bunch of hot dogs. Those are cheap and easy. And trust me; the guys can eat a lot, so hot dogs are filling and cheap."
"You said that," I told Jacob as we pushed the cart through the grocery store. We wanted to get some things to load up in the Rabbit before we left for the cabin. The pack was coming and having a cook-out with us. "They are not staying with us though, right? I mean, you did tell them that they could not stay?"
"I told them, Bella. Seth just wants to come up and check the place out. It is his land now. They're going to hang out with us and eat, and then they're leaving."
"Okay," I said warily.
"Don't worry, Bells, you'll have me all to yourself. I'll make good on my promise without any witnesses."
"Shut up," I giggled, elbowing him in the ribs. "Let's get some hamburgers too. I don't really like hot dogs."
"You love hot dogs."
"No I don't," I made a face. "They're alright, but they're not my favorite."
"You like my hot dog."
Jacob finished his sentence haltingly as we rounded the corner and I stopped suddenly, surprised at seeing the two people we almost ran our cart into.
The four of us stood staring at each other with wide eyes.
"Oh my god! Bella?" Mike Newton finally broke the awkward silence.
"Oh my god!" He repeated, grasping my shoulders and giving me a warm hug. Once he let go of me, Jessica stepped closer and gave me a little squeeze.
"Hey," Mike nodded his head at Jake. "Jacob, right?"
Jacob nodded and shook Mike's hand, a tight smile on his face.
"So, you're okay. That's great," Mike said to me. "We saw the posters and heard about, uh, Edward and his family. I'm so sorry."
"It was so sad," Jessica said, looking genuinely forlorn. "Are you doing okay?"
I nodded, my eyes lowering to the ground. It was still not something I liked to talk about.
Mike reached out and touched my arm. "Are you sure you're okay? You know we're around if you wanna talk or hang-out. Jessica and I are both going to Peninsula, so we'll be here."
"Thanks," I told him, touched.
Another familiar face came around the corner just then, a look of shock on her face when she saw me. Jacob stepped closer and took my hand when Lauren's gaze went from me to him. I intuitively moved closer to him as well.
"Bella," Lauren greeted me.
"Hey Lauren." I bit the inside of my lip. The last time I'd seen her was when she had tried to kiss Jacob at the graduation party.
She refused to even glance at Jacob after her initial sighting of him, purposely snubbing him for brushing her off that night. Some people never changed.
"So, we'd better get going." Jessica broke the second uncomfortable silence. "We're going to a tailgate party. We're just picking up some things. Lauren's sister is here and she's getting," her voice lowered, "the alcohol."
"So don't be a stranger, Bella. Take care. Bye Jacob." Mike gave me another quick little hug and we all murmured our goodbyes.
Jacob and I went down and around the next aisle, putting some distance between them and us before I turned to him.
"I like your hot dog, did you say?" I reached out and smacked him, commenting on the last thing he'd said before our encounter with my old friends.
He laughed giving my waist an affectionate little squeeze.
What could I say? I did.
We settled on hot dogs and hamburgers and a few tubs of potato salad and 5 loaves of French bread.
We loaded it all into the trunk of the car and headed up the familiar climb to the mountains.
One thing hadn't changed since we'd been here – the water was still freezing. I screeched as I threw myself into it.
"Look at you, all naked and not trying to cover up. That's my girl." Jacob took my hands and pulled me out into the deeper water, skimming me quickly through the cold lake. "Lavinia would be proud," he joked.
This time I was not too embarrassed or afraid to wrap my body around the heat radiating from him in the frigid depths. My legs locked around his back, my heels resting against the backs of his thighs.
"Well, cold water has no effect on you, I see," I teased, feeling him at half-mast already.
"Not where you're concerned," he smiled.
"Do you know what time the guys are coming?" I glanced nervously at the shack.
I had been afraid when we'd driven up - what if the Volturi had thrashed the place? What if they'd burned it down? I'd caught myself when we'd driven over the ridge; my hands were clenched tight and I was holding my breath.
But everything was exactly as we'd left it. The canned goods we'd bought, still lined up against the far wall. The fishing poles leaning against the side of the shack, and the camp stove still sitting in the middle of the floor.
The only sign that someone had been here was the door, which had been left wide open, allowing the almost-fall leaves that were already drifting off the trees to blow inside. The broom was still leaning against the fireplace and as soon as Jacob came back from outhouse duty, getting rid of bugs and spiders in there, I swept the leaves out.
"Don't worry, honey. We've got plenty of time before the pack gets here."
I hung on tight to him and held my breath as he ducked us under the water. Before he came back up, I pressed my lips against his.
He popped back up to the surface and I could see the shack in the distance. I was so happy to be here again. It was like Jacob and my own private sanctuary. Maybe it wouldn't have been such a bad thing to be stuck here with him forever.
"I love you."
"I know. I love you too, Bells."
"What?" He asked, distracted as he planted kisses along my jaw, heading for my ear.
"You're poking me."
I let go of his neck and leaned back, my upper body and head supported by the water.
"Uh Bells? That position is definitely not going to help any with the poking problem."
"I know," I smirked as I mimicked him.
I screeched as he let go of my rear end and I started to sink. He quickly grabbed onto my ribs and lifted me higher, his mouth reaching out for my frozen to bursting nipples.
I mumbled incomprehensibly as my sinking body landed directly on Jacob's poking device.
"Mmmm," he hummed, still latched on tightly to my breasts.
"The only part of you that's always hot," he growled as he pushed my waist down, forcing himself inside.
I caught my breath, sighing as my legs fought for leverage against his body to control my movements. But his strong arms lifted me up and down while his hips pumped steadily under the water, guiding me. I held onto his shoulder with one hand, the other snaking up behind his head, his hair tickling between my fingers as I pulled his mouth to mine.
I nibbled on his lower lip and then, moving my tongue, I simulated our thrusts.
The gentle fluidity of the water relaxed me. Everything became quiet around us, my senses blocking out every intruding sound and breeze that wasn't Jacob.
My pelvic bone was gliding against Jacob's, causing all kinds of tingly sparks. That, combined with him so deep inside me, brought on the rhythmic spasms that coursed through me. I continued to move, holding on tight to his shoulders to propel myself up and then dropping down, till Jacob groaned and held his breath. He grasped my waist and held me in place, astride him.
I opened my eyes just as he did.
"Well darn, so much for making love on the raft, under the stars," I told him sadly.
He side-eyed me incredulously. "You do know I can do that again, right? I can do it as many times as you need it, Bells. Trust me."
"Once more tonight is good." I glanced up at the cabin again. "What time is it?"
We begrudgingly got out and dried off. The boys would be here soon.
Jacob had a fire lit in an impromptu pit he'd fashioned in the dirt. It was too hot to light the fireplace inside. He'd just stood up, looking at his ingenuity in satisfaction when a cacophony of howls came from the trees just beyond the back of the shack.
The howls were replaced with laughter as Paul, Jared and Sam were the first to burst from the woods and hit the path toward us.
"Hey! Where's your car? I thought you were driving? How'd you get here?"
"Hey man," Paul came over and smacked Jacob's shoulder in greeting. Embry, Quil and Seth appeared a few seconds later.
"Where's Leah?" I thought she would be with them.
All the boys looked at Sam and no one said anything for a minute.
"She has a date," Sam finally said, shrugging.
Wow. Well that was news.
"So this place looks just the same, hah?" Embry said, looking around. He stepped into the cabin and everyone followed him in.
"You've seen it here?" I asked him, surprised. Had he and Jacob stopped here on the way to pick up the motorcycle at the airport that time?
"We've seen this place a million times, Bella," Embry smiled. "Jake thinks about it constantly."
Oh yeah. Pack mind.
"Yeah," Paul smirked, pointing at the floor. "Especially that time right here on the floor when he put some stuff he learned from me to good use."
"Hey ass-hat!" Jacob smacked him upside the head.
"Hey, by the way, how'd you get here?"
"We drove over to the other side of the lake and set up some tents there. We're gonna camp out over there tonight." Quil told him.
"Oh, cool," Jacob nodded. "As long as you know you're not staying here with us tonight."
"Uh, excuse me," Seth spoke up. "This is my land, dude."
"Don't worry," Jared laughed when Jacob didn't reply. "We don't want to stick around for when you put your cheesy moves on Bella."
I blushed. "You look good, Jared," I told him, changing the subject.
"Except for that knob sticking out the side of his neck that makes him look like Frankenstein," Paul snorted.
"Hey, screw you Lahote. Kim likes it." He looked at me. "It's some kind of bone calcification or something," he explained. "It doesn't hurt or anything, so who cares?"
I nodded. He did have a protruding kind of knob on the side of his neck, but if that was the only reminder of his injuries, then…
We roasted the hot dogs and the hamburgers and the boys made me laugh with their bantering and hi-jinx. After it got dark, the food eaten, and stories told, everyone began to wind down.
Sam was the one who announced it was time to leave around 10:00. We threw all the garbage away and I was briefly mooned as 6 young men pulled off their shorts and ran for the trees, screeching and yelling. A moment later, the night filled with howls and yelps that died down in the distance as they made their way toward their camp on the other side of the lake.
Jacob and I grinned at each other in the dark. It was almost time for what I had been waiting over a month for.
It was darker floating out here than I thought it would be, despite it being a clear night and a full moon as well. I could see the moonlight reflecting off the water and the outline of Jacob. Once we'd made it out a ways from shore, my eyes adjusted and I could see a little better.
Jacob had been quiet as we floated on the water.
"Everything alright?" I put my hand on his arm.
He smiled sheepishly at me. "I wanted to do this differently. Smoother."
Uh-oh. I'd heard those words before. Right before he'd sprung a kiss on me that I wasn't expecting. What was Jacob up to now?
He looked out over the water as he spoke, avoiding my eyes. "I don't know. When you find the girl you want to spend the rest of your life with, you make a promise to her; you give her a ring, before you ask her to marry you."
My eyes got big and he continued talking before I could protest.
"I know how you feel about marriage, Bells. Don't worry, I'm not asking you that. I am only 16," he finally turned to me and smiled reassuringly. I smiled, confused.
He looked down shyly. "Do you think you ever want kids, Bella?"
I hadn't really given much thought to children. I'd resigned myself to the fact that I would never have any when I planned on being immortal. But now…
"Anyway, like I said, when you find the girl you want to marry, you give her a ring. I don't know what you're supposed to do when you find the girl you want to have your children one day."
He hesitated. "So. I figured I'd make love to you… kind of… mark my territory." He grinned at me. "And give you this."
He reached into his pocket and I heard the crinkle of plastic as he pulled something out.
"Purple is your favorite color, right?" He asked me as he removed something from its plastic wrapper.
"Yeah," I answered hesitantly.
He took my hand. "Bella, will you have babies with me someday?"
Hmmmm. I could maybe see a couple of dark-haired babies with bright sunny smiles in the hazy distant future.
"Jacob, I would be honored to have babies with you one day."
His smile was like a light in the middle of the dark expansive night.
He slid something on my finger and I held it up to look. I now wore a huge, purple gem-shaped ring-pop on my finger.
"Awww, you shouldn't have," I giggled as I took a lick.
"So," I told him, turning all seriousness. "I guess this makes it official. You are now my legally binding baby's daddy."
"That'd be me," he laughed. "I promise to keep you in rings of all varying colors and flavors until I knock you up."
He lifted my hand to his mouth and took a lick. "Mmmm, grape."
"But you know what we have to do now, right?" I asked him, pulling my shirt over my head and leaning into his warmth.
He nodded with a sly smile. "Practice."
"Now we seal the deal," I whispered against his lips. I laid back with my arms thrown over my head, my fingers trailing in the water behind me.
His big dark hand touched my collarbone and trailed his fingertips between my breasts. "You glow in the moonlight," he murmured reverently, watching his own hand on my skin.
"Are you making albino jokes again?"
"No," he shook his head firmly. "You're beautiful."
He carefully maneuvered himself on the raft so he was lying beside me. His index finger traced around my nipple and I shivered. I lifted his hand from my skin and raised it above me, studying it against my own. I pressed my palm into his and marveled at how tiny mine was in comparison. I noted the contradiction of his large coppery hand against my small pale one. So different, and yet we fit together so perfectly.
He leaned his body over mine to kiss me and the raft wobbled with the movement. I giggled underneath him and we undid each other's shorts. The raft rocked again as I lifted my hips and slid my clothes over my thighs.
"Uh-oh. How are we going to do this?" I snickered nervously. I tried to move into the right spot to balance the raft out, as it was desperately tilting to one side.
"Maybe we didn't think this through."
I pulled my shorts past my feet, my arm sweeping up with the motion, and I accidently flung both my shorts and my underwear right into the lake.
"Did you just throw your clothes in the lake?" He chuckled as I shrieked out a laugh. "You really were looking forward to this, weren't you?"
"Shut up, Jacob. Shoot, I liked those underwear too."
"They were cute, but I like you better without them." He slid his hand between my legs.
I closed my eyes as his fingers worked their magic, slipping between my slick folds.
I could hear crickets chirping, and an owl vocalizing an occasional hoot. The water lapped at the edges of the raft and every once in a while something from under the depths would leap with a little splash.
I sighed contentedly and Jacob rolled on top of me, his mouth coming down on mine, kissing me.
His hair was getting so long, it was tickling my jaw and throat as he moved his lips against mine. I bent my legs, drawing my knees up, resting my heels against the wooden surface. He was at my core, languidly pushing against my entrance, the tip gliding in and then back out. The most sensitive nerve endings were right there, where my tight entrance gripped him.
"Oh Jake," I sighed as he slowly pushed himself in deeper. I moved my hips, matching his rhythm when the raft wiggled under our movements. I froze, but Jacob continued, the small wooden craft wobbling dangerously.
"Jake!" I grabbed the edge. "I think we're going to - !"
I screamed as the whole thing capsized, knocking us both into the freezing black waters. My teeth were chattering as I held onto the side.
"Are you alright?" He grabbed onto the edge. I could see his white teeth as he smiled in the darkness.
I let out a snort, and we both started laughing.
"Wanna try again?" He asked me.
I shook my head, rolling my eyes. "I'm too c-cold."
"Sorry, Bells," he chuckled.
He pulled the raft to the shore as I hung on. Once I could stand, I helped him pull it onto the beach. We both ran to the shack, shrieking and giggling, dripping wet.
Once inside, I bent over to catch my breath, laughing.
I realized that I had a lifetime of this to look forward to. I looked up at him standing by the door, water running off him and onto the floor. No one but Jacob Black incited such feelings of happiness and light-heartedness from me. I felt drunk; dizzy and giddy.
His eyes caught mine with a secret, wicked grin.
Goose bumps raised on my still damp skin as a breeze blew in from the open door and washed over me.
I couldn't wait for the rest of our lives together.
A/N: This is it. I'm sorta sad to see it end. Thank you to all the readers who stuck through this with me to the very end. And thank you for trusting me enough to give Intoxicating a chance. I know Reality and Dreams disappointed a few of you, so I promised a HEA on this and I hope you've enjoyed it. I really enjoyed writing it. I've also appreciated all your nice reviews, they were what encouraged me to push on and finish the story, and get the chapters out there every week. You know who you are! I feel like I made a lot of friends while working on this, as well. I've enjoyed corresponding and PM'ing with you, getting to know the readers on a personal level. I'll miss you all! Until the next one!