Just a Kiss Contest
Story Title: The Invitation
Summary: Instead of running away after getting the wedding invitation, Jacob confronts Bella about it. In a heartbreaking moment, the truth of his feelings comes out, and he extends an invitation of his own. Jacob/Bella.
Word Count: 4860
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Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight.
Prereaders: LuvinJ, TeamJacobYeah, JBlackFFR
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I can hear my dad shouting at me from the house. I'm pretty far away, though, since I phased immediately and got the hell out of there. My werewolf ears allow me to hear his words, even though I don't care what he has to say. No one can say anything right now to get me out of my head. I'm so enraged that it's borderline psychotic.
My body is shaking even though I'm a wolf already. I feel like I'm about to split again into something else - something more aggressive, more monster than I already am. Any bloodsucker that crosses my path is dead. There would be no challenge whatsoever. The adrenaline coursing through my veins, coupled with my innate sense of responsibility to rid the earth of every leech, would certainly do the job.
My paws pound the earth below me. A thick paper is clenched in my teeth safely as I run my way to Bella's. She can't do this. She just can't. I have to stop her before it's too late. I'm nearing her house; it's just through this passage of dense ferns and large evergreens. Just as I reach them, I can smell it. Leech is thick in the air. It's the little one. Good, 'cause I'd rip Edward to shreds right now if I caught him with Bella.
I howl my warning as I cross the last stretch of trees and phase just as I hit the edge of the woods, walking the rest of the way, completely naked and too pissed off to care.
"Bella!" I shout from below her window, clutching the invitation in my hand. I hear a scuffle, and a curtain moves. "I'm coming up!" Without preamble, I leap into her tree and make quick work of the branches. The window lifts, and there's a sudden gasp behind it. "Move," I command then quickly jump into the room. I land in a crouch and then stand to full height.
The little one with the black hair is looking me straight in the eye. She's glaring. "Get out!" I huff, my jaw clenching with my rage.
"I'm not leaving Bella here with you."
"You won't have a choice when I rip your head from your body. Now. Get. Out!"
The little one turns to Bella, who looks flushed and is holding onto her belly, her pale hand grasping bright white satin. I narrow my eyes as I realize she's wearing her wedding dress. Perfect. I bare my teeth and growl on instinct, unable to control myself.
"I'll stay if you want me to stay."
"Tell her to get out, or I'm gonna drop kick her head from the window and send her limbs soaring after it."
"You don't have to be so-"
"Get the hell out! Now!" I lunge towards her, and she moves quick but not quick enough. I've got her by the arm. It's tweaked against her back, and I know if I twist it just so, it'll pop out. This wolf stuff is so easy when you don't fight it.
"Ow, geez. Jake, you-"
"Alice, get out," says Bella, her voice quiet, frail, and sad. But about what? What does she have to be sad about? According to her, she's getting married to her soul mate - her as-good-as-dead, soul-less mate if you ask me. But who am I? No one of consequence, apparently.
I let go of Alice's arm but shove her away from me towards Bella's door. She leaves promptly but not before saying, "Call me if you need anything."
"Right, because she can't take care of herself," I say, my anger filling the room like a swarm of bees ready to attack.
The door slams, and I keep my eyes on it for a minute, wanting to make sure the leech actually leaves. A moment later, the front door opens, closes, and a car peels out of the driveway. The engine sounds good.
I turn my head to face Bella. She's looking down at the floor, her hands clasped against her belly still, very proper like and stupid looking. Everything about her right now looks stupid. She's a young woman. She should be in jeans and a t-shirt or sweats and a ratty flannel, but instead, she's playing dress up so she can marry Ken - only Ken's a bloodsucking pansy who plays the freaking piano and sparkles in the sun. Who sparkles? It's the stupidest thing ever.
"What do you want, Jake?"
"Are you kidding me?" I ask rudely, having been drawn out of my internal attack on Edward's stupidity.
"This," I say, flinging the invitation at her chest cruelly, "came in the mail today. Your super rich, super bloodsucking fiancé sent it to me.
"This summer, Bella? As in, weeks? You have eternity. Eternity! And you're getting married this freaking summer?" I'm pacing now, my hands gripping my hair and pulling as I increase the volume of my voice.
"I don't even know you! The Bella Swan I know has a brain in her head. She makes decisions for herself and takes care of herself. She doesn't go around marrying her first-ever boyfriend and ending her life after a whirlwind piece of crap romance that, if you ask me, isn't even all that romantic. He left you. He didn't look back. I was just as good as there. You looked terrible and continued to look terrible until I brought you to back to life. Me. I did that.
"I pieced you back together, and this is what I get? A freaking wedding invitation that you didn't even send. Am I worth so little that it couldn't even have come from you? From my supposed," I say, exaggerating the last word, "best friend. Well, you know what? To hell with you, Bella Swan.
"You wanna die? Fine. Let him suck your brains out for all I care. Plan it, even, but at least do me the freaking courtesy of telling me yourself!" I shout the last bit at full volume. I kick her bookcase hard, dislodging the bottom shelf, sending Bella's books falling to the floor.
"Dammit, Bella!" I turn and walk my way to the window, gazing out, my stance firm. My body is shaking in rage. I can feel myself on edge. If I don't keep my cool, I will certainly phase in this room.
The air is thick with tension. I can hear Bella breathing. I can hear the occasional swish of her stupid white dress. I can hear her heartbeat. It's thrumming in her chest, alive and well, yearning for another day to just keep beating. If only she'd let it keep beating.
We're silent for several minutes. She stays on her side of the room, and I stay on mine. My anger is starting to subside, my body calming, but now I feel my despair creep in. I feel like I might collapse with the weight of it.
"What do you want me to do, Jake? I'm in love with him." Her voice is quiet, calm, and sad again, like before.
"I want you to leave him and be with me," I say, answering honestly, speaking to the trees outside her window. I can't bear to look at her in that dress – that dress that's meant for him.
Bella sighs loudly, and I hear a rustle of fabric. She's moving around the room and opening and closing drawers. She steps up behind me. I can sense how close she is. I can smell her soft perfume and the vintage lace on the dress that still has the faint scent of mothballs. She runs her hand down my arm and intertwines her fingers with mine. I can't take it anymore and jerk her into me, crushing her body to mine in a firm hug. My body shakes with my fierce emotions. Before I know, it I'm crying into her neck, gasping softly for air and asking her "why" on a loop. Why aren't I good enough? Why aren't I the one? Why can't she be with me? Why is she doing this? Why does she want him? Why is she taking her own life? Just, why?
Her hands are wrapped tightly on my shoulders. When I lift her off the floor to pull her closer to me, I feel a swatch of fabric against my face, flannel I think. She holds onto me just as I hold onto her. I make no move to let her go, and she makes no move to force me, nor does she say anything about her discomfort if she's in any.
After a few minutes, I release her softly to the ground, wipe my eyes with my forearm, and clear my throat. A soft, gentle hand brushes against my cheek and cleans off the remaining tears that I missed. "It'll be okay."
"It won't," I say, my voice barely a whisper, unable to look down at her sweet face - the one I love so much, that I long to see everyday if only she'd let me. Why won't she let me?
"Look at me. Please," she says, pulling my face towards hers with her hands. "It will be okay."
"No, it won't," I reaffirm. "You'll be dead."
"I'll be exactly where I want to be." She nods her head minutely, and I close my eyes.
She pulls my hands into hers and places the flannel material between them. "Can you please do something for me?" she asks.
"Sure, sure," I say, completely out of habit and open my eyes when I feel her body shake with light laughter. She's so damn cute. I'm going to miss her forever. This totally sucks.
"Please put these on," she says, looking down at my hands. I follow her gaze and realize I'm holding some plaid boxers. I also realize that below them lies my entirely nude male anatomy. If Charlie were to walk in the room right now, I would certainly be shot. It's a good thing he's at work.
I nod and take a step back, not bothering to cover myself up as I step into the boxers one leg at a time. No use in hiding what she's already seen.
Once dressed, I shrug and let my hands fall carelessly to my sides, then look myself over. They're a bit snug, but they'll do for now. I look up at Bella and take in her expression. She looks amused, and I don't think she's angry with me for being here, for yelling at her, or even for throwing out her friend - her future family. Ugh! It's just blasphemous to think about.
She turns abruptly and walks towards the bed, plopping down gracelessly on it. I hear her knees knock together awkwardly beneath the dress. There's white fabric everywhere around her, crushed beneath her feet even. She puffs out an exhale and flops onto her back on the bed. "What am I going to do with you?"
"I don't know, but I don't think I can just let this go without a fight. It's not in me to just walk away. I can't. Not from you. I love you, Bells."
"I know," she says, sounding exhausted and resigned. She props herself up on her side, using her elbow. In the process, she creates some cleavage at the top of her dress. I try not to gape, but Bella doesn't often go around showcasing her cleavage, and who knows how many more chances I'll get to see it. So I stare. I can't help it. I don't want to help it. I like it.
She follows my gaze then looks back up into my eyes unashamed. She pats the bed, summoning me over. I lay beside her, and without seeking permission, I tug her to me so we're lying on our sides. I plant my face on her chest, wrap my hands around her back, and hold on to her for dear life. Because that's what this is – her life.
"Do you love me, Bella?" I ask earnestly, gazing up at her. She shifts her head down to meet my eyes, and she nods in assent.
"We've already been over this," she says.
"I don't care. Tell me again. Tell me everyday until you let him suck the blood from your veins, until your heart stops beating, and you have no more breath to say it. I want it to be the last thing you say before you die in his arms. He needs to know how much you love me so that he can understand what a selfish bastard he is."
"I love him."
"I don't care."
"What?" she says, a sigh in her speech.
"I'm sorry. I just can't . . . you're everything to me. Everything." I drop my head back down, laying it on her chest. Her breasts seem fuller like this, pushed up in this stupid dress. They're soft against my cheek, and I have to resist rubbing them with my nose. I really want to. Instead, I move my left hand from her back and glide my fingers over her neck. I pass over the curve of her collarbone and end up on satin. I continue downward over her sleeve then get to her bare skin again. I follow the inside of her elbow with my finger, tracing a blue vein down to her fingertips. I jump then, from her fingers to her waist, and follow a seam straight to her hip, where I rest my large hand and squeeze. "You have a really beautiful body, honey. Did I ever tell you that?"
"No," she says, her voice with a bit of an edge to it. She sounds different this close to me. But then again, my proximity to her could be tricking my mind into imagining something that's not there – something that I want to be there - desire.
"I should have told you everyday since you moved here." I really should have. There's not excuse at all. I should have told her everything I loved about her everyday. I try not to focus on my shortcomings and continue on. "There're so many things I won't ever get to say. I won't ever get to say 'happy anniversary' or 'it's a girl' or 'where did I put my socket wrench'. We're gonna miss out on so much together. Don't you see that?"
I look up then, and what I find breaks my heart. Bella's pale face is covered in a slight blush. She's smiling softly at me, but the tears streaking down her cheeks betray her smile. I slide up on the bed, grazing her body with my own, and lean in, kissing the tear from her right cheek. "I didn't mean to make you cry," I whisper as I hug her head to my chest and prop her up a bit.
"It's okay. I cry all the time. Edward's constantly asking me if I'm okay."
"That's because you're not," I say calmly, tucking her hair behind her ear and kissing it. It's so small, just like the rest of her features.
"I am. I'm okay," she says, sniffling.
"Who are you trying to convince?"
"No one. I don't need to convince anyone, because I know the truth. Me. I'm the only one that knows the truth."
"That he's the one." I drop my hand from her neck and shake my head. "I'm sorry if that hurts you, but it's true, and there's nothing you can do about it."
"Nope, you're right. I can't do anything about it, but you can. For starters, you can stop playing dress up. This dress . . . so not you. And this fancy invitation . . . there's nothing Bella about it. Not at all. Don't you get a say in your own wedding?"
"Of course," she says, getting off the bed and exhaling a bit loudly as she trudges over to my crumpled invitation. She bends over and picks it up, pressing it against the corset of her dress and trying to smooth out the wrinkles. It's fruitless, so she gives up and sets it on her desk.
"Imagine this is our wedding . . ." I say, getting off the bed. I walk towards her, and for the first time, I really look at her in her dress. She does look beautiful despite the fact that her hair is a mess and she's wearing a dress meant for someone else.
"You pick out your own dress, one much different from this one." I stop in front of her and place my hands on her shoulders, grounding her.
"It's plain and simple, but beautiful like you. It has a train because your mom wants you to do something traditional. You fight her on it, but then decide on a small train just to appease her. It sways the tiniest bit when you walk, giving guests a glimpse of your white Converse that have 'Jake and Bells' Sharpied all over them. You show them off when you lift your train up for our first dance." I run my hand down her ribcage to her waist and settle it there. My other hand trails along her arm until it fastens itself to her hand, thus bringing us into a formal dance position. I sway us back and forth the tiniest bit, and I continue talking. I can't stop talking.
"Your mom watches and swoons because you look so happy. And it's not because you look like a perfect porcelain doll. You're happy because you're so in love. I'm in love too." I pull her in closer and squeeze her hand in mine, resting them both on my heart. We move together fluidly, dancing to the beat of our hearts. I lower my head and whisper into her neck as I tell her my dreams that will never come true. "We dance with our friends, and Quil and Embry say something stupid at the dinner, making us laugh. We jet off to some mediocre hotel that a million people have already consummated in, but we don't care because it's our first time together, and we're so in love. We're so in love, Bella.
"We go on a lame honeymoon to Disneyland, where we eat junk food and make ourselves sick on the teacups because we're too tired from all the sex to wait in any long lines for the cool rides.
"We start our lives, you and me. Go to school, get sucky jobs, pay the bills, but all the time, we're happy because we love each other. We start a family. A little girl first, with beautiful large eyes like yours. She has me wrapped around her finger just like you do, and I spoil her silly along with her Grandpa Charlie and Grandpa Billy, who gives her rides in his wheelchair. She calls him Grandpa Wheelie, and he complains like it bothers him even though he secretly loves her made-up name for him.
"We have two more fast, by accident, because I can't keep my hands off of you because you're still the love of my life. You decide to stay at home because it's too hard to keep up the house, raise the kids, and work, so I work long hours, and you hate it. You miss me. We fight, but we always make up. Always, because we love each other."
Our swaying slows down, and I simply hold her to my chest. I hear her deep breathing and know instinctually that her eyes are closed, and she's silently crying. I rub my nose along her jaw and up her cheek, mixing my tears with hers and kissing the side of her mouth.
"We grow old together, Bella. We're old and gray and still in love. I own ten beat up cars that I never fixed up but always said that I would. You razz me about them anytime you can just to get a rise out of me. The kids visit often but don't stay long because we say weird things about new technology we don't understand and prattle on about our irritable bowels. But we don't care; we like to be alone. We like being together because we're perfect together. We're perfect for each other." I take her face into my hands and look directly into her eyes. "We're perfect for each other, Bells, and nothing will change that. Not your marriage. Not even your death. You and I will always be perfect together, no matter what."
Her tears are falling endlessly now, dripping onto the delicate lace of her white dress, staining it.
"Why are you making this so difficult?"
"I'm not. You are," I say and kiss her cheek. I pull her into a hug once again. She whimpers and slumps into my arms, letting me take on her full weight, like she can't hold herself up at all without my help. Maybe she can't. Maybe that's what she's waiting for – for me to just make this decision for her, to pry her out of this house and take her away from all of this. But I can't, and I never will. It has to be her choice. She has to choose me, and I'm afraid, by the desperate look in her eyes, that she won't. So I decide on getting the next best thing – a lie. A lie that will keep me sated, hopefully, for the rest of my life.
I begin subtly, setting myself up for what I want, what I need. "I got an invitation in the mail today. One I certainly didn't want. In case there's any confusion on the matter, this is me RSVPing with a big, fat hell no. I won't subject myself to the torture of watching you walk willingly to your death."
I take a few deep breaths and readjust Bella in my arms, pulling her arms from around my waist and bringing them up around my neck.
"I have an invitation for you of sorts." I wait a beat and then start up again. "Kiss me. Today. Do it, not because you feel sorry for me, but because you want to. Do it, not to say goodbye, but to say I love you and I always will. Kiss me in a way that proves to me that you mean it, that you want it just as much as I do.
"What I'm asking you to do, Bella, is this – lie to me. Pretend you love me more, just for today, just for right now. Pretend we just got married, pretend we just made love, had our first child, or bought our first house. Do whatever you have to do to lie to me, to convince me. I promise I'll believe you. I'll always believe you. Anytime you kiss me or tell me you love me I'll believe you. I have to because it's the only thing that keeps me going, that keeps my heart beating. Kiss me now, and then I'll walk away. I'll leave this room and never come back."
"But just know that I'm only walking away because that's what you want. It's not what I want. It will never be what I want. In fact, if ever," I say and close my eyes, shifting my weight and gripping her waist in my hands, "if you ever want me, ever . . . I don't care what's happened, who you're with, what you've done, what you are, if you want me, I'll be-"
I don't finish. I can't because Bella's mouth is on mine in a searing, heart-pounding kiss. She's pulling me closer to her, grabbing at my hair and tugging at it painfully. I pull her flush against me, ruining the satin of her dress in my big hands. I rip a seam when I lift her bodily from the ground. She wraps her legs around me, and I squeeze tighter and move my lips more roughly over hers. I'm probably hurting her, but I don't care. I've never felt this good. In fact, I'm convinced kissing has never felt this good. For anyone. Ever.
Just as soon as our tongues touch, our hands seem to get the 'go' signal, and they start to roam. I smooth my hands over the back of her dress, moving until I reach the soft skin of her upper back and shoulders. I have to kiss her there, so I set her back down. I pull my lips from her mouth and run them down her throat, over her neck and collar bone, to her back. I turn her around roughly, shoving her hair onto the opposite shoulder and attack the pale skin on the nape of her neck and the top of her bare shoulder. Her breathing has picked up, and she's swaying like she's going to faint. I grab ahold of her waist, wrapping both arms around her, creating a barrier for her. There's no where she can go. I don't want her going anywhere, anyway.
I kiss her skin roughly, covering its pale expanse with my mouth and occasionally smoothing my tongue over her delicate bones. Bella covers my hand with her own and intertwines our fingers. She places it back on her taut, white-satined stomach. She reaches around her body with her opposite hand and grabs ahold of my head, pulling me towards her. She turns her head, seeking me out. I oblige quickly, aiming to satisfy any desires she might have and place a deep kiss on her mouth.
It's slow and meaningful and begs to be written about. It's probably like one of those end-of-story kisses in her favorite books about lust and undying love. Because that's what this is. I will never stop loving her. Ever.
I remove her hand from my hair and come around to face her once again, all the while kissing her anywhere my lips happen to fall. I look deep into her eyes and see it. She loves me. I know she does, but perhaps she's right. Perhaps she doesn't love me enough for it to make a difference, and this is it – my final chance.
I lace my hands behind her neck at her hairline and press my forehead to hers. "Bella," is all I say. It's all I can get out. My heart is bursting with so much more than that. No matter how hard I try, I just can't put my love for her into the right words that will make her see how right this is. So I'm done.
I lean back, looking into her eyes one last time. I close the gap between us, cup her face in my hands, and kiss her gently, molding her mouth with mine one last time.
"I hope you're happy, forever. I mean it. I love you, Bells. I always will." I release her face and take a step back. She's staring at me with a look of fear in her eyes. She blinks, breaking our connection, so I leave. I walk to window, and without looking back, I jump and bolt into the forest. I phase and take myself home, where I'll most likely stay for the rest of my life, waiting for her. My heart will always be open for her, and so will my invitation.
I lay on my bed among used tissues and Edward's embroidered handkerchief. I bring it to my eyes and wipe again, surprised that I'm still able to produce any tears at all. I've been crying for two hours, and I just can't stop.
Edward came over shortly after I cut my dress from my body. I tried to wriggle it around so that I could get to the buttons, but I wasn't successful. I began to panic, feeling claustrophobic. Once the hyperventilating kicked in, I did what I had to do. I grabbed my orange-handled scissors from my desk and cut it down the side. I stepped out and slumped to the floor in my despair.
Edward found me in my underclothing, sobbing onto my ruined dress. He put some clothes on me and placed me on the bed, so I'd be more comfortable. But nothing seemed to comfort me, not even Edward. Not this time.
What did Jacob do to me? How did saying goodbye to him have this effect on me? This is worse than the last time.
Edward rubs soothing circles on my back as I continue to cry. I can't say anything to him; my voice is caught in my throat. He keeps trying to get me to talk, but I can't. I just can't. Nothing seems like the right thing to say, so I don't say anything at all until he asks me the one question I know the perfect answer to.
"Are you okay, love?"
I sit up finally and look into his eyes. I can see the hope there – the hope that I'll finally communicate with him. But his face drops as soon as I speak.
"No, Edward, I'm not okay."
Author's Note: It's come to my attention that more of this story is desired. I'm toying with the idea of continuing it with another follow-up one-shot. If you'd like to read it be sure to put me on Author Alert. Just fyi, I cannot post it until the contest is over (and I have to write it first:)). Please enjoy the other one-shots for the contest and vote for your favorite starting 7/10.
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