A/N: Hello! I apologise for the long gap between updates. A BIG thank you to every person who reads this story—the reviewers, the ones who put me on their favourites and alerts, and the silent readers.
Anonymous reviewer Marlene wrote that the previous chapter sounded like an epilogue. The story still has a few chapters to go. And as you read, the story might seem like a never ending sequence of lows. I try to add the occasional light-hearted moment but trust me, it leads the two of them somewhere better emotionally. I'm glad you guys have stuck with me so far. I hope you do until the end.
Fair warning, this chapter gets graphic in more ways than one. And remember, safe sex always! Jacob and Aurora can't have their author writing the usage of condoms in every sex scene...one runs out of creative ways of describing something as banal as wearing a hat. *winks* LOL. So let's just assume here on out that the two horndogs are conscientious teenagers.
One year later...
After months of convincing Emily's father, Sam and Emily were finally married. Emily had wanted "everyone" to be on board or the wedding was never going to take place. It had taken a seemingly calm Sam, inwardly gnashing his teeth at the old geezer, to reassure him that his daughter was going to be in good hands. All of Sam's efforts had finally led up to this very point at their wedding reception where the boisterous pack of young shape shifters among other family members were milled around the newly married couple.
Jacob tried to catch Aurora's eye; she stood in a lime green dress that had cost her daily pay at the surf shop. She looked awkward and uncomfortable "dressed to the nines" as she'd said to Jacob. She craned her neck half-heartedly over the hulking frames of her shape shifter friends. Someone wolf-whistled, and the small crowd jeered and hooted. Sam's rare rumbling laugh could be heard above the din.
Jacob linked fingers with Aurora and yanked her away. He made her sit down at one of the stools around the makeshift bar. Taking full advantage of their large adult-looking selves, the pack had gone scot-free ordering large amounts of alcohol. Aurora opened her mouth to order…she needed some liquid courage…she had been feeling uneasy all month…hell, all year…ever since he found out…
She decided to swallow her anxiety and change the subject.
"You think Sam or Emily will notice?"
"They're making speeches. Won't they notice we're not there?"
"That we're not watching them go googly-eyed at each other? We're only sitting at the bar, Ro. Technically, still the same room. And trust me, Sam's thoughts weren't PG last night. I don't want to stick around watching him watch Emily knowing all the nasty..."
"Emily's been holding out on him. She says the wedding night will be more—"
"Lalalalalala. Gross, Jake. I don't want to know…just…ew."
"Speaking of holding out…"
"Hey, I just jerked you off in the car earlier. Wipe that perverted grin off your face, Jacob."
"Is it wrong for wanting more?"
"Why can't you keep your hands to yourself? I swear, it's like being with a sex octopus."
"Well, I do moonlight as a sex octopus when I'm not fighting bloodsuckers."
"Ha ha, very funny…aahh…oh, fuck! No…"
"You like that, baby?"
"I'm going to make you wet and ready for me."
"Gaawwd. No, Jake…unf…"
"I'm going to make you beg for my…"
"Jacob, everyone's here…!"
"That's it, baby. Say my name."
"Please, stop it! We're…aahh…in the middle of a fucking wedding reception—"
Aurora's rickety bar stool zoomed backwards. She had pushed Jacob away forcefully only to have him solid and stationary as a stone while she was thrown backwards. She clutched onto the bar top to right herself, her breath knocked out of her lungs. Jacob flashed his guilt-free smile at her.
"Perv." Aurora huffed. Her thighs felt weak from Jacob's ministrations under the dress she had reluctantly worn. She would've welcomed this form of attention from Jacob any time of the day. But there were certain limits, especially when extremely sensitive shape shifters were holed up in one single community centre party hall.
Jacob seemed unabashed. He lifted his Aurora-coated fingers and licked them clean. He noticed her look away pointedly.
"Better than anything I've tasted so far this evening," Jacob stated.
"Amen, dude. Amen."
Jacob and Aurora jumped. They stared at the ponytailed bartender frozen in the act of wiping a shot glass. Aurora buried her face in her hands in embarrassment. Jacob glared warningly. The man hurried to the other end of the bar, busying himself with clinking glasses.
"You're not going to get rid of me that easy," Jacob muttered, pulling Aurora's bar stool effortlessly towards him. Their knees bumped awkwardly, and suddenly the atmosphere changed.
Aurora caught on his thinly veiled remark. It had been a bone of contention between the two of them ever since Jacob had stumbled onto Aurora sitting amidst a pile of crumpled balls of paper writing out a draft of her essay for her scholarship applications. Jacob had erupted like the passionate volcano that he was, accusing Aurora of not telling him about her plans to go to college.
Fuck college. Fuck scholarships. Motherfucking leech out there. No protection from the Pack. Can't protect you. Jacob had yelled, resorting to sentences that tree-swinging Tarzan might have prided on using. Aurora had squeezed her temples while Jacob held the application in the air, threatening to tear it into oblivion. She had known this was coming.
You can't go. I won't let you.
Aurora definitely hadn't known this was coming. The innate feminist in her exploded to the surface, flinging anything she could get her trembling hands on at his stubborn, troubled face. Textbooks, pencils, sweatpants, a bike helmet. No one was going to tell her what to do.
Fuck you, Jacob.
She had stomped up to him and snatched the crumpled application from his hand. Up close, Jacob's expression had knocked the wind out of her lungs. She realised she must have had the same expression 10 years ago, clinging to her father's leg while he tried to prise her off to go to work…her mother had started drinking heavily…she was scared of this drunken, tottering woman masquerading as her mother…she didn't want her father to leave her home alone with this woman…she was clutching onto the only ray of sunshine in her life. And she didn't want to let go.
Jacob didn't want to let go either.
And suddenly it was too much pressure for Aurora. Being the reason someone lived everyday. Being someone's ray of sunshine. Being Aurora for Jacob.
After the sad epiphany, Aurora had said nothing, choosing instead to keep mum and let Jacob rant and rave. True to himself, Jacob was every bit of a stubborn pig-head, picking every moment to bring up the subject of her going to college—outside the door while Aurora showered, passing notes during Trig at school, or at dinner. Billy could only sit helpless between the two of them because he wanted what each of them wanted. Six weeks had passed until it finally got through Jacob's rhinoceros hide of a brain that Aurora was serious about this. While she had always been quick with retorts, arguments or flying plates, her silence unsettled him. When Jacob drove her to her interview in Seattle and kissed her good luck, Aurora knew she had finally won him over with her silence.
Knees still uneasily bumping against each other, Aurora's heart churned at the sight of Jacob's face. It spoke of sadness. Fear of abandonment.
She knew the day of the interview had been too good to be true. Sure, the interview went well. They loved her. Jacob was few yards away on the other side of the polished oaken doors of the Dean's office, his presence a comfort. Even though he finally seemed to have accepted her going away, she would always be haunted by the true emotions seen on Jacob's face…for days on end…for months…
Right up to this moment…
Jacob's warm hand slid on top of Aurora's thigh. He saw her eyes follow Leah as her tall figure slipped out the door. She stood up, the warm, gentle hand on her thigh forgotten, and said distractedly, "I have to see if she's okay." Jacob watched with his heart sinking with every step Aurora took towards Leah outside.
"Fuck. What the fuck should I do?" Embry muttered worriedly as he plopped down on the empty bar stool, his eyes trained in the direction Leah had left.
"Go after her," Jacob said half-heartedly.
He listened to his own advice as he found himself darting out the door with Embry. They came to a stop a few feet before where Leah and Aurora sat on the steps hugging tightly. Embry stifled a growl as he saw Leah sobbing on Aurora's shoulder. Leah finally disentangled herself from Aurora, sitting up and gazing at her folded fingers in her lap.
Embry sat on his haunches in front of Leah while Jacob sat on her other side. Leah instantly wiped her nose hastily and tried to appear brave. Jacob gave her hand a squeeze. He had Leah to thank for mentally slapping him out of his stubborn self. She had given him the choice of either losing Aurora forever by forcing her to stay or keeping her by letting her do her own thing. Bombarded with this ultimatum laced with Leah's choicest swear words, Jacob had finally driven Aurora up for her interview and keep up a smiling face.
Aurora was unaware of their new friendship. She sat on Leah's other side, trying to suppress the bile rising in her throat. Her insides flared with jealousy as she watched Jacob try to cheer Leah up with Embry looking on sadly. Aurora knew Embry's insides were burning with jealousy at Sam's continuing hold on Leah's emotions even after his marriage to another woman. She didn't care. All she cared about was prising Jacob's hand off Leah's…
She shook her head. No, they were just friends. Aurora had seen a certain amount of respect growing between the two of them. Quil had said it was because, according to Leah, it was the first time Jacob hadn't chosen a "frail, manipulative sorry excuse of a girl". Even though Leah told Aurora she could do miles better than Jacob, their relationship met Leah's approval. Aurora always put it down to the fact that spending three years in each other's heads had caused them to finally be friends.
"Look at our boy's face. Face of an angel. You hit the jackpot here, woman. You don't need Mr Rod-Up-His-Ass in there," Jacob said, cradling Embry's face in his hands as he looked at Leah. Aurora smiled despite herself. Jacob looked like he was trying to market Embry as a particularly juicy chunk of beef to Leah.
Leah's chuckle was drowned by Embry's loud snort of disgust. He shoved Jacob's hands away, looking nauseated. "Eeeyyyuuuch. You've got Aurora juice all over you."
Aurora, Jacob and Leah laughed as Embry shuddered and wiped his cheeks vigorously.
Leah caressed Embry's cheek. She asked sheepishly, "Are you mad?"
Embry shook his head feebly. His face betrayed his stormy mood. He looked close enough to clobber the living daylights out of Sam. Instead, he chose to remain silent. He pulled Leah in roughly for a kiss. Soon, wet tongues started slapping noisily against each other.
Jacob grimaced and mouthed to Aurora, "Let's get outta here." He pulled her up by the hand and led her down the road.
"Where are we going?" Aurora asked.
"You'll see," Jacob said softly.
In the dim streetlight, Aurora looked at Jacob. His crudely worn tie hung jauntily at an angle around his neck, his silhouette in formals causing Aurora's groin to tingle. She stopped in her tracks and pulled Jacob close by yanking his tie. Aurora kissed him deeply, running her hands up his shirt-covered arms to tangle in his hair. Her lips were soft yet insistent against his surprised ones. Coming up for air, she pulled away and placed a small, loving peck on his parted lips.
"What was that?" Jacob asked breathily against her lips while his hands clutched her hips tightly.
"Just felt like it." She shrugged, trying to hide her face in the shadows of the streetlight. Both of them knew the kiss was an apology for her distraction back in the wedding reception. Jacob chose not to mention it.
"Well, save it for inside 'cause…well, here we are," he said, gesturing to the red cabin ahead of them.
Aurora looked at him, confused.
"This is home. Why—?"
Jacob clasped her hand and pulled her inside silently. He opened the door to their room and waited eagerly for her reaction.
Aurora gave a small laugh of delight, giving Jacob's hand a squeeze. Her eyes landed on the few candles set around the room, their flames flickering in the breeze from the window, shadows dancing across the walls. They seemed out of place in the cramped room.
"When did you do this?" Aurora asked laughingly as Jacob threw an arm around her shoulder.
"I have my ways."
"What about Billy? Oh my God, we forgot Billy! Who's going to give him a ride home…?" Aurora trailed off and saw Jacob's grin widen.
She looked at him suspiciously. "This is part of a plan, isn't it?"
"So we'll have to do it before Billy comes home?"
"God, will you stop going on and on about the old man, woman? He's not going to be home tonight."
"Hold up, J. You mean, he's actually leaving us alone? At night?"
"Said we deserved it."
Aurora looked around at the candle-lit room happily. A few boxes of her packed things were littered around the room. Jacob's bed, among other things in the house, had been sold to pay for the spare parts that Jacob used to fix Rachel's dying Saturn. Aurora was to use it to commute to and from Seattle. A mattress lay bleak and bare on the floor that only just fitted Jacob's long limbs. Aurora noticed that it was now fitted with a clean blue sheet and some pillows.
In the midst of the mess, the candles blinked back at Aurora reminding her that the two of them had hardly had the time or the resources to have romantic encounters. Aurora and Jacob had to make do with the smell of diesel in the garage or the cramped room with the molding walls. But this…this cramped, messy room in which the cheap drugstore candles seemed out of place…Aurora wouldn't want it any other way. And Jacob knew this about her…her love for the simple things…hell, he knew how to get her panties down faster than gravity could...
Aurora grabbed his head and pressed her lips to his with a savage need. She jumped onto him with ease and wrapped her thighs around his waist while her hands roamed over his short, cropped hair. Her legs locked over his ass, her heels pushing his groin into hers. His barely concealed bulge that she had been eyeing at the bar earlier was now pressed against her clothed slit. She couldn't wait for him to impale her…in fact, her hands itched to tear the white shirt off his shoulders…
"I guess the candles work, huh?" Jacob said laughingly as Aurora attacked his neck with vigour.
"Fuck. Me. Now," Aurora demanded breathily. The look in her half-lidded eyes…Jacob had seen it before…she was going to miss him…miss her too…anguish…limited time…need…skin…on…skin…his…
Language didn't make sense anymore. Jacob lived and breathed as an animal for the moment. The dim candlelit room seemed to blaze before his eyes as his sensitive nostrils revelled in the heady scent of Aurora's arousal. His wolf took control of his limbs, a mere marionette in his beast's consuming desire.
Jacob flipped Aurora around in his arms, pressing the length of his body against hers, soft and quivering in trepidation. His ears picked up the rhythmic thump of blood pumping under the skin of her neck. He nuzzled her shoulder desperately, drinking in the taste of her salty and sweet skin…the taste his wolf craved…the taste that his DNA had hardwired his nose to sniff out…the taste that would complete him. It would make him more than complete. He would be Alpha. Aurora's Alpha.
It was motive enough for his wolf to nudge her down to a prostate position on the plain mattress on the floor. Aurora sensed the urgency in the atmosphere; she merely lifted the hem of her dress up and moved her panties to the side to expose her slippery centre. She lay on her stomach, the mound of her ass lifted slightly to receive him. Jacob whipped his painfully erect cock out of the fly of his black slacks. The soft globes of her ass glistening with anticipation and sweat curved perfectly against his groin. She was his mate. There was no doubt about it. What was more, he was going to show her.
Jacob slipped inside her with a possessive growl, burying himself to the hilt. He slid his fingers over her throat, tilting her head back until he buried his nose in her hair while her mouth was open in a moan. The beast wasted no time in picking up the pace, his hips slapping into her ass, sending ripples across the soft, supple skin. She was soft and wet and supplicating. It was enough to drive his beast crazy.
Aurora cried out in pleasure as Jacob pumped into her impossibly fast. Her heart beat rapidly in apprehension as all his fingers closed around her throat. Firm yet gentle enough not to choke her, Jacob's hold on her neck screamed domination. It thrilled and scared her as Jacob pounded into her from behind. She could no longer differentiate between pain and pleasure. Her body was merely an endless string of nerves that Jacob twanged with his aggressive cock over and over and over and…
Aurora came. Once. Twice. Thrice. Countless number of times. Perhaps she came endlessly. One long toe-curling, eye-scrunching, screaming orgasm in a blissful vacuum where no one existed but Aurora and the pummelling beast that was now Jacob. Aurora let loose a scream of pleasure and ecstasy and pain…she did not know which feeling it was…she was surely losing her mind…but...something changed…
Jacob had mounted her, perched on his haunches over her ass, his hips pounding into her with merciless ease. He was ready. Ready for the final moment. The moment that had Aurora's wolf agitated…no, she was Alpha…there was no way he'd do that…but she knew how easy it was for him…she…she…fuck… she couldn't ignore how dead on his cock was hitting the right spot inside her over and over …she was in heaven…she was in beautiful hell…she was all over the place…
Jacob's loud, lust-filled growl rippled through her flesh. He ran solely on his feral instincts, feeling his beast's pure, raw energy surge through every molecule of his body. He did not register Aurora's thighs turning to steel and then melting as he'd learnt over the years would happen during every orgasm he brought her to…or her cry of her sensations exploding…or his name being called out in tremulous gasps. He was only aware of how his body seemed to exalt gloriously as he marked her...teeth piercing through soft, compliant skin…crimson metallic liquid rushing through his growling lips…locked limbs juddering.
Jacob's beast purred in satisfaction, slipping away from his waking consciousness into the deep recesses of his mind, exhausted yet content. His human thoughts flickered on as though a light had been switched on, filling and driving away the feral darkness of his mind. The glowing colours of the candlelit room became less vivid…the room did not seem to blaze with fire as much…but the air was thick with the scents of their spent sex…and Aurora…Jacob felt her soft body…the body he had worshipped for three years…trapped between the mattress and his enormous, scorching bulk…
As he lifted himself up on his elbows, Jacob became aware of their clothed states. His white shirt and black slacks stuck to his body with sweat just as the lime green dress clung to Aurora's shivering frame. No ripped shirts or panties anywhere. It was then he'd realised how possessed he'd become by the beast he'd kept at bay for three years – for Aurora's sake – to fuck her hard without introduction. He had finally let his beast out of the cage…would he regret it…?
Jacob moved to push Aurora's hair away gently. She made an irritated sound and flicked her face away from his gentle, apologetic fingers. Aurora was instantly filled with regret at her rudeness yet she could not ignore the waves of conflicting emotions crashing down on her repeatedly, one disturbing tidal wave after another. She had collapsed under a growling, possessed Jacob, riding the waves of disarming pleasure…no, there was no word for it…it was just raw, uncharted territory that Jacob had stumbled into...and yet, the sharp, aggressive prick of his teeth on her shoulder reminded her that she had been at his mercy…the extremely snappy Alpha in her chafed at this…but this was Jacob…he never intended to hurt her…well, he didn't hurt her…physically, no…but he hurt her pride…her birthright…the she-beast won out finally and…just like that, she couldn't control her wayward mouth and limbs…
"Get the fuck off me," Aurora hissed dangerously, trying to wriggle out from under Jacob's bewildered form.
He sprang up, moving forward to help her up to a sitting position. Aurora's shoulders involuntarily twitched away from his touch and somewhere in the cavernous depths of her human thoughts, she registered Jacob's expression of deep hurt and anger. Nostrils flaring, teeth grinding, Jacob stumbled backwards as though he meant to put as much distance between the two of them in the small room. He looked at her as though he'd ripped her heart out. Aurora felt rage lick at her insides. He had no right to be mad. She had every right…how…how…
"You bit me…you…you branded me!" Aurora pulled her damp, sweaty dress straight, her fingers shaking. Jacob let a faint growl slip through his lips as Aurora advanced towards him cautiously but menacingly.
"I'm not your fucking property. I'm not cattle that you brand like…like it belongs to you." Aurora raised her voice, her words tearing through the eerie silence of the night seemingly gone wrong. Jacob stared her down, the urge to defend his actions shooting through his eyes. His mouth opened to speak but Aurora placed both palms on his shirt-clad chest. She tried to shove him backwards, but he remained infuriatingly boulder-like. She screamed out in frustration.
"HOW DARE YOU, YOU STUPID CAVEMAN, ASSHOLE, IDIOT—!"
Jacob held her arms, torn between desperation and anger. "How dare I, what? Love you? Love you so fucking much that just the thought of you leaving…"
Aurora's beast retreated humbly just as Jacob trailed off, his countenance defeated and sad. Her human side however was still raging against the situation. She couldn't help herself when she said, "I knew it…I knew it was about me leaving. Are you going to keep me here under lock and key? Thought you'd start with the biting, didn't you? Why not just take a piss on me while you're at it? Huh? Why don't—"
"Don't! I…I've been controlling myself…for three fucking years! Do you know how difficult it was…every time we'd fuck and…your skin would be right there and…and…," Jacob said in a rush, his hands gesticulating wildly.
Aurora knew she wasn't going to win the fight. The least she could do was go out with a vain verbal uppercut. "Of course, my skin is right there! Honestly, Jacob—"
"I never…and I mean never…wanted to mark you…I…don't look at me like that. I wanted a normal life for you…that's what you wanted, didn't you?" Jacob paused, looking deep into Aurora's eyes. Considerably cowed by his sincerity, Aurora looked back into his beautiful, brown eyes.
He continued in a subdued tone, "Look, I never wanted this…I mean, it seals the deal…and I didn't want you to be tied down in case…"
Aurora felt her heart skip a beat like it did whenever Jacob held her eye for a long, lingering minute as though to communicate through them. Jacob cut his sentence short, his eyes leaving Aurora's and instead travelling down to the bleeding teeth marks on her clothed shoulder. She longed for him to look back into her eyes and tell her how much he loved her...and how he never meant to mark her…and she was going to forgive him…he was her Jacob after all…but…wait…
"Wait! In case what?" Aurora called after Jacob as he started to walk out the room.
She heard him mutter as she saw the last of him disappear out the door, "In case you walk out."
Her entire being froze with shock. It took her a few seconds to unglue herself from her position to rush out after him. She collided with his solid chest, damp with sweat. She made to hug him but he directed her to the mattress.
"Take it off," Jacob said softly, gesturing to her blood-stained dress. He held up the old first-aid kit to her questioning gaze. She silently lifted the dress off of her, sitting down on the mattress in her underwear with a sigh. Jacob kneeled down in front of her and set about to clean her wound.
Hissing with the pain that she was only now beginning to feel, she placed her hand on Jacob's cheek. He avoided her eye studiously.
"Hey, look at me."
Jacob didn't look up.
"How can I walk away from this, huh?"
"It's easy. There's not much to stay back for," Jacob replied dejectedly.
"You're right, Jake."
"I'm always right."
"Yeah. So I'm going to walk away from the only place that's ever felt like home. It makes perfect sense. Why didn't I think of it before?"
"Cut it out, Ro. Sarcasm is my department."
"I think feeling sorry for yourself is more your department. It's very sexy, you know."
"Are you telling me I'm not sexy?" Jacob muttered, having caught onto Aurora's veiled sarcasm, and finally looked at her.
"If you spent less time pissing and moaning about losing me and more time with me, you wouldn't lose me. Ever."
Jacob sat subdued.
"I always had this fe—I always thought that maybe you deserved better and you'd wake up and realise it someday and…now that you're leaving…going out there…and it's a whole world with richer fuckers out there who can give you a better…just promise me that you won't go falling in love with someone out there—" Jacob stopped, shuddering at the possibility.
The world outside of La Push, according to Jacob, was a nightmare—in other words, millions of suitors infinitely wealthier and less bound by supernatural duties lurked in wait in every seedy corner for Aurora. He did not notice Aurora jump up in indignation and stride to the window. Her tsk of irritation snapped him out of his dread-filled haze. She folded her arms across her chest, pushing her bra-covered breasts closer together, and glowered at Jacob. He knew there were more serious things at hand but he could not ignore his slacks beginning to get tight. Aurora in underwear never failed to get a response from him.
"You do know you insult me when you say that, don't you?" She asked in a low, dangerous voice.
"Say what?" Jacob replied stupidly.
"Do I look like a fucking gold digging slut?"
"You go on and on about how I might leave you for someone with money!"
Jacob's mood darkened again. "You go on and on about how you 'need to get a college education so you can get a job and we can have more money'—"
"For Billy! Never for me!" Aurora grabbed one of Jacob's T-shirts discarded on the floor and flung it across the room. It flopped frustratingly a few feet away extinguishing the candles in the draft.
"I told you I'll figure something out about Dad. I'm the man of the—" Aurora cut Jacob short with an angry stomp in her underwear.
"Love can't buy Billy that new wheelchair he needs…or…or his Insulin shots." Aurora was quick to remind him.
Jacob growled loudly, his male pride deflated. He advanced towards her, desperate to make her understand how much her words hurt his pride…how real his fear became now that Aurora was leaving him…in a twisted sense perhaps. "Do you know how that fucking makes me feel? Like I'm not loaded…I'm poor and—"
Aurora slapped him to no avail. He stood towering over her, incensed yet wounded like a lost puppy. "Stop! I don't want you feeling sorry for yourself…or I swear I will kick your Sasquatch ass right into next week. When have I ever wanted anything, huh? I haven't complained even once about money or how you never seem to have time for me because of school and patrol and all the bullshit in our lives…I worked hard for the full fucking scholarship so I wouldn't have to worry you about the money. There were some times when I wanted for us to maybe go out and…I dunno…but…but I am happy…content with what we have…you see, Jake…I never wanted anything else. I…I only want…"
Aurora pressed her half-naked body against Jacob, her flesh moulding perfectly against his. Her hands slithered into his hair and pulled his face down, lips colliding. She tried to convey the intensity of her emotions through the kiss…and no matter how much she tried, it didn't feel enough. Her heart plummeted when Jacob continued to stand rigid, his warm lips unyielding, hands stiff by his sides. His heart beat rapidly…from anger or desire Aurora didn't know. All she knew was…rejection.
Being rejected by Jacob seemed infinitely more painful than it did with Ricky. Her heart felt like it was drawing itself in, puckering, breaking, re-assembling, and becoming brittle as chalk. She swallowed down the sobs threatening to burst from her chest.
She cried out, "You…I only want you. Look, I don't want to fight…I'm leaving…I don't want to spend the time we do have fighting. I love you—"
Jacob smashed her surprised lips to his. His rigid hands now pulled her close as though they had been spark-plugged into animation. His grip was tight, frantic, and inconsolable. His lips devoured her, moving, undulating, surging, rising and falling in a pattern. A crazy pattern that somehow was unscrambled and made perfect sense in her melted goop of a brain. He didn't need words. The way he held her, the way he kissed her, the way he made choked sounds—it was Morse code for his emotions.
Together, they were angry. Raging, fuming, and seething from their fight not even one second ago and yet…they continued to kiss passionately. They were clumsy yet synchronised. They were ecstatic yet sad. They were angry yet serene. It was weird. Everything was weird. They broke apart for air.
"No, no. I'm sorry. I should've—"
"I'm the one who has to apologise—"
"Ssh! Tell me Jake. What are you really scared of?"
"I'm not scared!"
"Okay. Let me ask you again. What's troubling you?"
Aurora held onto Jacob tightly as she sensed his body language turn from exhilarated to defeated. His eyes were downcast, his chin resting lightly on the top of her head.
"Spit it out, Jacob!"
"Are we still going to be us?"
"What? When I go off to college? When have I ever said otherwise?"
"You've been talking in riddles all year. Yes or no?" Jacob stared down at her.
Jacob continued to stare at Aurora, her shoulders squeezed between his paw-like hands.
"Does that answer your question, J?"
Jacob huffed, released Aurora from his tight grip, and walked over to the bedside table with a determined air. Aurora said to his broad back as he rummaged for something in the drawer, "I want to ask you something."
Jacob grunted in question as he furiously pawed his way through the contents of the messy drawer, flinging empty condom wrappers and lint aside in his search.
"Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?" Aurora continued.
Still busy. The bottom drawer was yanked open. More rummaging. "What?"
"I mean you've ruined me for other guys."
Jacob whipped around instantly. A large grin appeared on his face, masking the wayward emotions that had marred his features.
"Go on. I'm listening." He swaggered over to her, his clenched left hand gone unnoticed by Aurora.
She rolled her eyes. "You've gotta stop, J. It's too dangerous."
"You might tip over 'cause of that big, fat, inflated head of yours." Aurora mumbled, burying her face in Jacob's chest as he engulfed her in a hug. Jacob kissed the top of her head. She sensed the unresolved tension from the fight still hanging in the air, uncertain and awkward. Their joking seemed like a flimsy ruse.
Aurora felt Jacob slip a rough rope-like band around her right hand. She pulled back and saw Jacob's chunky fingers trying to fasten a braided bracelet on her hand. It was a deep reddish-brown, a colour that brought Jacob's magnificent wolf to mind. The air was suddenly heavy, pregnant with things that Aurora hoped would remain unsaid. What did this mean? She still held onto her belief of marriage being suffocating as strongly as she had when Kim and Jared had gotten married. She couldn't…
"It was Mom's…I mean, uh…Dad gave it to…they were the same age, I think…uh…" Jacob's voice trembled as he finally fastened the bracelet, his hands clammy with nervousness.
Aurora looked at it more closely. It was old and frayed, and Aurora realised it had turned the colour of wet mud over the wear and tear of years. Hidden tints of blue, green and orange peeked at her from among the frayed, braided strands. Oh, God…she didn't deserve this…
"J, I shouldn't…I mean, if it's your Mom's…"
"Then…then it obviously belongs to you—"
"Really. Billy won't be happy you're using your Mom's—"
Jacob cut her off with a shaky, humourless laugh. "Dad wanted me to give the bracelet to you."
"He did? Is that why he let us have the night alone?" Aurora asked as she traced her finger over the roughened weaves.
"Yeah. He thinks we...need the security…you know, things are going to change so it would do good if you knew at least some things are going to remain constant."
However much she seemed unrelenting to the idea of marriage…a small seed of hope had been planted…the idea of her and Jacob spending the rest of their…no…what in fuck's name did he really mean by giving her the bracelet…?
"Wait, you didn't want to give me this yourself?" Aurora asked, her own voice trembling.
"What? Of course I want to! If I could, I would marry the shit out of you and we'd run away to…I don't know…Hawaii, maybe…no one would know…just the two of us…no one would trouble us…at least a hundred miles away from where Beccy is…she gets bossy and if she knew we were close by…," Jacob quailed at Aurora's mingled look of horror and amusement and rambled on, "B…b…but, of course, that's not what I meant…I mean, uh…this doesn't have to mean anything…it does mean something but I don't want you to…this doesn't mean…I'm not asking you to, you know, marry me now…I want us to be together…but uh…"
Aurora clapped her hand over his rambling mouth. She couldn't say anything just yet. She wasn't overly excited about the promise the bracelet held and yet she wasn't exactly suffocated at the message it conveyed…why couldn't she make up her mind?
Jacob mumbled against her hand. Aurora removed it and he said more clearly, "It's just good to see what we have, you know. The bracelet's proof of that. Makes it more real." He fingered the bracelet reverently. The chill blast of an epiphany surged through her being.
Jacob was a supernatural being. The stuff legends and myths were made of. The kind mere mortals wished hopelessly that they could be. Jacob could be immortal if he wished. And yet he continued to hold onto a talisman—objects that weak, mortal humans cling to desperately to provide a meaning to their insignificant, puny existence. Maybe there was something in being human…to feel pain, love, anger, sadness, joy…Maybe the eternal Gods above envied us.
It was then Aurora realised how wrong Jacob had been. He had always lamented that being a shape-shifter meant a one way ticket to "non-humanness" or whatever he called it. Aurora knew now he was more human than any other mortal out here on Earth. For that, she loved him more. It was human to place such unfailing faith in trivial objects as the one that encircled her wrist. If that was what made Jacob as human and normal as he'd always desired, she endorsed it.
"You're right," Aurora whispered, kissing him lightly on the cheek.
"I am?" Jacob smiled unsurely.
She nodded. "It's more real this way, isn't it?"
"Ro, I…I'm not asking you to marry me…"
"Okay. Just wanted to be clear on that." Jacob smiled, looking as though a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He added, "I just want it to be a reminder of your Sasquatch wolf waiting at home for you."
"Oh, God. I'm going to miss you." Aurora started to look sad but Jacob squeezed her close.
"Hey, no, no, no. You're leaving so let's not be sad tonight. You said that, didn't you?"
"Fucking rollercoaster, tonight." Aurora was muffled against his shirt. She realised how they had gone from seething to desperate to sad and now to mild melancholy.
"Marking does that. Hormones are all over the place. Jared almost got his dick chopped off with a kitchen knife," Jacob said sagely.
Aurora chuckled. She pulled him down onto the mattress and pushed him down, peel his damp shirt off. With the shirt hanging off his shoulders, Jacob watched her greedily, drinking in the sight of her face as she stroked his chest. Committing to memory, that's what they were doing. They wanted to forget and just live for the night.
"Tell me about Hawaii…"
A long, piteous whining sound filled Aurora's being and went right through her as though she were a ghost…she looked about her…she was a spirit…ether…she had no body…she looked around for her body…she found a body…
…a furry body…an animal…a wolf lying on its side. The grassy earth on which it lay grew into focus. Large trees slid into her vision. They showed signs of a struggle. A large branch hung by its last tethers to a tree. It swung precariously in the cold breeze that ruffled through the panting wolf's unusually long fur. Aurora's eyes trailed over a long splatter of thick liquid…what…could it be…she didn't know…everything was in shades of grey around her…
Blood was mercilessly smeared over the short blades of grass. Aurora looked at the source of the blood. The wolf was whining and whimpering in excruciating pain. Its chest was ripped all the way down to its heaving stomach, the pulpy underlying flesh gleaming sadly.
Its fur was spread out about it, long and shining in the sunlight streaming from among the trees. The grass seemed to shimmer as well…Aurora felt her non-existent heart plummet…there were chunks of body parts…glittering body parts…she whipped her non-head this way and that…a brown-haired head lay there facedown…a large, beefy arm lay here…
A loud male scream of anguish blasted through her from behind. It sounded so familiar. Aurora whipped around, the vision dissolved before her eyes, and she woke up with the image of a grinning plastic garden gnome broken in half imprinted in her head.
Aurora blinked nervously and focused around her. The beautiful caramel skin of Jacob snoring beside her. The dark brown of her bracelet. The lime green dress discarded on the floor. Colour. All around her. It comforted her from the monochromatic chill of the nightmare.
She jumped up unsteadily, holding onto the wall for support. It wasn't Jacob's marking or their rigorous session in the sack that seemed to drain her of all her energy. The dream…no, the nightmare…had bled her of all her strength. Was it only a nightmare? Who was the wolf?
She looked at Jacob's beautiful, sleeping form. She turned her head this way and that. No, it wasn't Jacob's wolf she'd dreamt of.
It was someone else's.
I would love to read what you thought of this. Thanks for reading :)