ENTITLED: Murdered By Her Mouth
LENGTH: 2,000 words
SETTING: Picks up near the end of New Moon.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Twilight. I'm not even sure how this thing came into being.
NOTES: I AM ACTUALLY NOT TROLLING. Believe me, I am just as surprised as the rest of you. For She Who Wishes On Dandelions.
SUMMARY: Because sometimes your boyfriend is a year younger than you, drives motorcycles, and all his smiles lean a little to left. Because some boys would rather make-out than get married, and some things are better than perfect. — BellaJacob
The first time he kissed her, in the groaning exhaustion of her battered car, she should have pushed him off. Should have, but didn't.
And afterwards, when he looked at her, something about his expression suggested the sweet, earnest boy she'd met over a year ago. "I really like you," he said, looking a little to the left, maybe at her ear, "And you kissed me. So I think we should date. Maybe. Definitely."
A recycled event, but the 'no' felt tired in her mouth.
But Edward. Edward would come back. He had to come back.
Bella bit her lower lip, and looked away.
After a long minute, Jacob sighed. She wondered how to go about politely throwing him out of her car.
"Well," he said at last, "It wasn't a no."
Silence, Bella soon learned, could very easily be taken for assent.
When Charlie caught Jacob walking her up to the front door, he said nothing, but blinked to hide his wet eyes. Relief leant a certain tension to his jaw.
"This is stupid."
"Yes," Jacob agreed. "Also, awesome."
Bella watched what must have been the eighty ninth explosion. Awesome? Really?
Jacob whooped at the ninetieth. She shoved her nervous hands between her knees and clamped down. She hadn't been like this with Edward. Dating hadn't been like this. There was never that—that awkward, frightened leap.
Jacob glanced over at her, and pried one of her nervous fists from her lap. He held it, gently, until her fingers uncurled. His shoulder was warm against her cheek.
At ninety four, she said, "Jake."
"This is the tackiest movie I have ever seen in my life."
"Me too," he agreed, "Wanna play twister?"
She punched his arm as hard as she could, a car exploded, he grinned, and she somehow found herself smiling back.
She flattened a hand against his chest, and felt...heat. Feverish, too-hot, but life. Burning, reckless life, and a pulse that lulled against her palm.
She looked up, into his dark, human eyes. And she wondered, not for the first time, if Edward could even cry.
"He ever kiss you?" Jacob asked. She blinked, realized the road she walked down, and wondered over which direction she should take.
"Of course," she said at last.
Jacob's nose wrinkled. He raised one hand, tracing her cheekbone with his thumb and then sliding a dark lock of hair back behind her ear. "What was that like?"
Her lips slid apart, and she stared at him in bewilderment, "What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean."
"No, I—" she shook her head, though not hard enough to dislodge the hand that rested against her neck, the fingers that curled into her loose hair, "You hate it when I talk about him. Why on earth would you want to know something like that?"
"Because I kissed a girl with cold lips once," Jacob grinned suddenly, mischievously, "Weirdest thing ever. It's like taking a piece of steak out of the fridge and putting it against your mouth. Which...was much less appealing a year ago, but whatever. You get the point."
"It wasn't gross!" Bella snapped, her eyes flashing, and without thinking she shoved at his chest, hard enough to send a human man stumbling. Edward wouldn't have budged. His skin wouldn't have flattened and stretched with pliancy at the touch.
She teetered her way along the top of a guard-rail, Jacob's hand wrapped bracingly around her own, keeping her steady. Edward would never have let her do something like this. When Jacob snorted, she realized she'd spoken aloud.
"It isn't as though you have to listen to him. Or to anyone. Me, you should listen to maybe fifty percent of the time," he finished his grousing with a wolfish grin. A familiar knot twisted her stomach.
"Don't make it sound like he was ordering me around."
"No," she shot back, leaping to the ground, "He was just being protective."
She didn't have anything to say to that, so she pulled her hand free from his in protest, and started down the road. "He wasn't ordering me," she reasserted, "And I don't see why you're so against that."
"I'm not against it. I just think you should, you know, experience things. Like...well, look, it's like..." he sucked his lower lip, "It's like a photograph or a movie. You can have a photograph of—of the most beautiful person in the world. And you can look at them forever. For the rest of your life, until you end up like that guy in the Greek myth who wound up dying of starvation."
"Yeah, sure. Anyway. So you can have that one perfect moment, or you can have a movie. Which is a lot of moving pictures. A lot of ugly moments mixed in with the good ones. And there's, you know, tension and danger and intrigue and KABANG! and like, making out. And stuff. And then the movie's over. But that's okay. It's worth it."
Bella's lips pressed together, and she looked unhappily to the side, fingers curling into her arms. "He isn't—we weren't like that."
But even as she said it, the protest sounded feeble to her own ears. And a little swirl of unease coiled into her stomach, wondering if it was disloyal to feel as she did. "It's a movie that never ends."
"Well, Jesus," Jacob widened his eyes at her, "You can only watch TV for so long, you know."
Bella looked at her feet, and her toes curled in towards themselves. "I hate your stupid analogies. They twist everything."
Jacob rolled his eyes, "Don't sulk just because I'm right."
"You know," she snapped, "Edward never tried to make me look stupid."
He glared at her, and began to say something hot and mean, before visibly changing his mind. She waited second, fists at her side, jaw locked. "What?"
"Nothing," he muttered, looking sullen.
"I just doubt that your precious Edward ever wanted you smart," Jacob shot out, and looked guilty almost immediately afterwards. Guilty and embarrassed and trapped, and it was trapped that won out, and it was trapped that made him walk off the road and into the woods, leaving her alone with her ugly shoes and her burning eyes.
Because he was wrong. All wrong. And there's a part of her that wants to run after him and give him a good smack, and tell him that he would never understand the love that she and Edward had shared. Never. Because what did he know, anyway? Where did he or her divorced father or the damn president get off thinking that they knew more about her love life than she did, huh!
"I loved him!" she screamed into the dark woods, into the after-image of Jacob's back, knowing that he must have heard her, knowing that every word must cut into him. Well, good. She hoped it hurt. She hoped it drew blood.
She walked half a mile back to her car and drove home crying-angry, and lay in bed punching her mattress, furious that she'd said loved, and not love.
She refused to go to school.
She refused to eat.
She refused to answer her worried father.
She refused to put on a brave face.
She refused to—
"You stink," Jacob said, and tore the window open. The cold, early spring air leeched into the room, raising hairs on her arms. Bella contracted, turning her face into her mattress. She was still wearing the clothes she'd fought with him in.
A feverish hand closed around her ankle, and yanked. For a second she tried to grab onto the bedpost, but she'd reacted too slowly, and so slid off the mattress towards him.
"You are such a baby sometimes."
"Jake, get out of my room!"
"Seriously. I get that you're sad and all but this level of doom and gloom is kind of astonishing. Really. It must be exhausting."
"Go away!" she snapped, with as much cruel authority as she could manage, and she struggled against the arms that dragged her towards the bathroom. "Just go away!"
"Look, Bella, this feeble protest thing is cute and all—shit!" he dropped one arm, clapping a hand over his face, "Ow! Jesus, that was my eye!"
She wiped her hand guiltily down her thigh, then stumbled as he resumed dragging her towards the bathroom, ripping back the shower curtain.
"What are you doing!" she tried kicking up her legs as a brace, scrabbling for some purchase, "Are you crazy? Put me down! Put me down right—"
She shrieked as he got the water on, and the frigid wet droplets flattened against her clothing and hair, matting into a wet second skin. If he hadn't still been holding her, burning against her right side, she'd have been shaking from the cold.
"Just wake up, Bells," he panted, water dripping down his bangs and into his handsome face. Handsome, but flawed, maybe—her eyes did not forever wander in search of some error, like they had with Edward's. "Just...come on. I can make you smile but I can't fix you. Only you can do that."
Edward could have fixed me, she thought, but didn't say.
The water drummed against the base of her skull, seeping into her skin. Warming. She looked up at him, still breathing a little fast, eyes a little bright. Flushed and wet.
"I would—" he licked his lips, "If you ever asked me for...for anything, really, I would make it happen. But I can't—If I just do it, if you don't ask, then there isn't any point. You know? I don't want to be like him. I don't want you to be—it's twisted, Bells. It's wrong. You can think for yourself, you know. You don't always have to be the victim. And you don't have to be afraid of scaring me off, because it doesn't matter how much you hurt me, or how many times, because I would do anything to make you happy again," he ended on a sigh, and hunched so that their foreheads pressed together, wet skin on wet skin, and the water was hot now too, and her wet clothes were nearly as heavy as the hands hanging gently onto her arms. His eyes closed.
The shower hissed into the silence.
She could feel his heart beating against her chest.
And without knowing why, she started to cry. Softly at first, but then the violent kind, and she dug her face into his chest, felt his skin yield, and his heart, oh, his heart was there beneath her cheek. She could feel it rage against death.
"He left me," she whispered, so she could pretend she hadn't said it, "And I am so afraid."