Someone knocked on the door and both Jake and I looked at it. He got up, opened the door and stepped aside so Sam could walk in. He stood awkwardly, just inside the door frame, twisting his fingers.
"What's wrong, Sam?" I asked, sitting up all the way. Jacob walked back to me and sat down on the other end of the couch, waiting. Sam took a deep breath and blew it out, sighing.
"I don't know how to say this better or how to prepare you for it, so I'm just going to say it." We waited. He sighed again. "When Harry was driving Billy back here, he suffered a heart attack. The car drove off the road and landed in one of the lakes. Harry was dead before they hit the water.
"Billy couldn't get out of the car in time and the truck filled up with water. Sue had been babysitting for their neighbors and put the child proof lock on the door. She forgot to take it off afterward. Paramedics tried to resuscitate both of them when they arrived a few minutes later. Neither of them made it. Charlie was at the scene and is suffering from slight Post-Traumatic Stress and he's going to be kept at the hospital overnight. He'll be fine. Don't worry."
I looked over at Jacob. How could I get off so lightly while two of the people he cared for and respected died? 'Life isn't fair' should not have gone as far as death. Jake's face showed shock, then it wiped clean, blank. I knew he was trying to hide his emotions from Sam.
"Sam, I—I think that's about as much as we can take right now. I'm sorry for what you had to go through, too," I said. He nodded solemnly, turning to go after mumbling an apology at Jacob. The door clicked softly after him. I turned around and hugged Jake to me. He was so big, it was like trying to cuddle with a large bear.
"I don't want to live alone. Not here, where all of his stuff is," Jake said, mumbling into my neck. I nodded. I pulled away so I could stand up and search for the keys to my truck.
"Bells?" Jake asked. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going home so I can take a shower and make dinner. Or, at least, bring something to make." He looked confused. Rightfully so. But, he was going to have to wait.
"Can't you stay here, though? I mean—"
"That's what I'm doing, silly. I just gotta get some stuff first." He sighed, obviously happy about this. "You can come with me if you want. I just need to clean up first." He stood, helping me into my coat.
As we headed towards Forks, the idea of his dad really being gone seemed to settle into Jacob's mind. His eyes grew distant, and his jaw set roughly. I knew he was trying not to cry. He looked so alone. I reached over to take his hand and squeezed it softly. He glanced up at me for a moment, but didn't say anything. When I pulled up at my house, he had successfully evaded the tears. For now, anyway.
We went into the house, both of us heading straight for the kitchen. I packed a few fish into a cooler and added T.V. dinners when I realized he probably didn't know what to do with any of it. He grabbed a Coke from the fridge and leaned against the counter, watching me. I let my hair fall in front of my face so he couldn't see my concern.
"Why don't you watch T.V. while I take a shower? I won't take too long," I suggested. He shrugged. He looked so sad and lost. I walked across the room to hug him. He put the Coke on the counter so he could wrap his arms around me. He leaned his head on top of mine and relaxed a little.
"I know it hurts and you don't want to think about it. I'm sorry. I wish I could take some of the burden away from you," I said. He took a great, shuddering breath, enveloping me in warmth.
"Can't you just take a shower at my place? Please," he pleaded. I sighed.
"I guess. But I still have to get my stuff if I'm going to stay over at your house tonight." I could feel him smile into my hair.
I walked upstairs to the bathroom where I'd accidentally left my bag. I just added a new outfit: the shirt Edward had liked and a pair of blue jeans. I immediately reached for my usual underwear, but stopped when I saw the set Alive had bought for me once. When I thought about Alice, I tried to pull my chest back together, but there was no hole; just an ugly scar.
Why not? Why shouldn't I wear those skimpy little things she'd bought for me? She'd hoped Edward would be the first to see me in it. I snorted. Yeah. That'd worked out well. They still had the designer tags on them. I deserved to wear them. And not just because of Jake.
Wait. This was only Jacob. Why was I trying to impress him with something that he would not see. Hopefully ever. Right?
I slipped them into my bag and walked down the stairs to the living room where Jake was sitting, staring at two teams running a football around the field. He turned when I stopped at the end of the couch. He eyed the bag.
"You ready?" he asked.
"Yep. You?" He nodded. We headed out to my truck with Jake carrying the cooler, and I realized I didn't have the keys. Jake did.
"You're driving?" I asked. He smirked and held the passenger door open for me. I growled as I passed him. I hated it when anyone else drove my truck. Once I was situated, he leaned through my window. For a second, I thought he might kiss me. But he only growled back.
It was a deep, rumbling thing that made me both incredibly scared and yet, incredibly loved and safe. After I smiled at his antics, he walked around the car to the driver's side.
He drove us back to the rez, straight to his house, faster than it would have taken me. He knew my truck, though. He deserved to drive it.
"Sleeping arrangements?" I asked. I didn't know if he wanted to sleep in his dad's room or if anyone would at all.
"Well, we both know we're going to have the classic argument where we both want to take the couch,and even though I'm the guy and should spare you the pain, I'm going to skip all of that and suggest that we both sleep in my bed."
I shrugged. "Yeah, okay. Just, no trying to make a move on me, alright? I'll be in a weakened state while I'm sleeping." I continued on my way towards the kitchen. "And no listening to my sleep-talking. No matter what." He followed me in, dragging the cooler with him.
"Oh, yeah? How will you know?"
"'Cause you'll bring it up, Mr. Black. Trust me," I said, opening the freezer door so he could load the fish into it. The freezer was almost empty. The only things in it were frozen peas, berries and ice packs. The empty ice dispenser was sitting on the counter.
"Are you so sure, Miss Swan? Maybe I'll keep it to myself now, hm?" I turned toward him. He was rearranging plastic bags of fish so they weren't touching each other. I gently pushed him aside so I could do it faster. His slow beginner status frustrated me.
"Pretty sure. I still owe you for shoving your sisters and me together during summers. I'd rather have been hanging out with you. It's easier to be around you," I said, piling them in with deliberate care. I hated when the fish stuck to each other because of one droplet of water that found itself frozen between two bags. They'd stick and stay stuck.
"Really? Do you mean it?" he asked, eagerly.
"Yeah. Why?" I glanced at him.
"Nothing. Just tribal legend stuff," he mumbled, still smiling. He wanted me to drop the conversation. Well, I wasn't going to. I mean, what else was there to talk about? Harry and Billy's deaths? Or our blurred relationship? This seemed the safer route.
"Really? Like, which ones?" I asked, honestly curious.
"Just imprinting," he said, hoping I wouldn't know what it was.
"Oh, yeah. It's a werewolf thing, right? Isn't it a way to find your soul mate or something? Like with Emily and Sam?" He paled slightly. Definitely not a good sign.
"Uh, yeah. Kinda."
"So, why were you thinking about it?"
"'Cause I may have imprinted."
"Oh. Well, I'm happy for you," I lied. "She's lucky." I turned back to the freezer, stacking the fish less carefully than I had before.
"Yeah, but I don't think she likes me." Who wouldn't like Jake? Wait. Why was I bitter? Why was I so jealous of this girl I'd never met?
"Why not? Have you asked her out or something?" I asked. I was worried now; my brow furrowed. Were girls judging Jake? Just 'cause he's abnormally large? That was one of the things that I loved about him.
"Yeah. She just doesn't seem that interested in me," he said. I nodded understandingly. I knew what it was like to love someone and find out that they don't feel the same. Kind of like how I treated Jake. Wait...
"Why do you think that? She could just be pretending. She may love you and you'd never know. I say go for it." I was half hoping it was me. But when he didn't say anything more, I figured I was just crazy. I didn't love Jake. Not like that. Right?
"Thanks for the advice," he said. I sighed. Definitely not me, then. "So, are we eating and watching a movie tonight?"
"What? Oh, yeah. Sure. Did you have something in mind?"
"Yeah. I stole one from your extensive collection." He grinned and I couldn't help but smile back.
Once we ate what was left of the fish fry, we settled down in his living room. I sat on the couch while he put in the DVD. He leaned against the foot of the couch, next to my legs. I shivered a bit when his arm brushed against my leg by accident. I was shocked I was so cold. Or maybe he was just too hot. Jake scooted over so he was sitting in front of me, my feet dangling near is stomach. He placed each leg over his shoulders, running his hands up and down my shins. My legs were instantly warmed, as if in an oven. It helped calm me.
We watched the first half of At First Sight before I noticed he kept rotating his neck, pressing on his shoulder blades occasionally. I tentatively pushed down where he was trying to reach. He sighed.
"Thanks, Bella," he said, the end of my name turning into a soft moan.
I'd never given anyone but my mother a back massage. She said I was good, but I never believe parents when they say things like that. They're usually just being nice because they feel obligated to.
I flexed my leg muscles and pulled myself closer to him. He ran his hands up my calves, warming them further. He started kneading the muscles he was rubbing. I leaned into him, pressing harder on his back. He groaned. I loved making him make those sounds. No! Bad Bella.
My fingers trailed across his shoulders and down his chest. I rubbed above his collar bone, making him shiver. I dragged my hands back to his neck, gliding them down, making a V on his back. I leaned in even closer so I could whisper in his ear.
"Better?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, collapsing against me. He was so tired.
"Do you wanna go take a shower and then go to bed?" I asked. He nodded in response. I let go of his torso and he walked down the hall, closing the bathroom door after him. I sighed and settled in to watch the rest of the movie.
A few minutes later, he came down the hallway, a towel wrapped around his waist, another one drying his hair. I watched his biceps and abs ripple when he walked.
"You can use the shower now," he said.
"Did you leave me any hot water?" I asked, teasing.
"Tried to, but who knows." I stood up and grabbed my bag as he took my spot on the couch. A nice hot—or cold—shower would do me well. I had ocean salt in my hair.
After my shower, I was faced with another dilemma. I'd forgotten my sweat pants at home and my shirt was definitely not long enough to cover everything. Damn it. I opened the door and walked back into the living room where Jake was watching an episode of Two And A Half Men. When he heard me, he glanced over, eyes frozen to what little cleavage showed, and immediately averted his eyes.
"I forgot my clothes at home. Could I borrow one of your shirts?" I asked. One of the shirts he never used would probably hang down to about mid-calf on me.
"Yeah. Sure," he said, lending me down to his bedroom. He pulled out a large shirt and handed it to me.
"Thanks, Jake," I said, hugging him. I made my way back to the bathroom and changed into Alice's gift and the shirt I'd gotten from Jacob. It came to the bottom of my thigh. Oh, well.
Jake was pulling another blanket and pillow onto his bed. He looked at me and gestured to the remote on the pillow of what I assumed was my side. I picked it up and turned on the tiny T.V. he had squashed between his bed and wall. I flipped through a couple of channels, resting on TMZ.
Jake flopped down onto the bed beside me. I was facing away from him, sitting up, legs crossed. His left arm was next to me. If I'd lay down, he'd wrap me up in his arms. I turned and looked at him.
His eyes were closed and his breathing was even. I knew he wasn't sleeping, though. He was just so tired. I felt sorry for him. He'd been running around my house all night for weeks, months even. I worried he hadn't got much sleep, but he always brushed it off when I asked about it.
When he felt me watching him, his eyes opened slowly and he smiled. It was a sad, knowing smile. He suddenly seemed so much older—and younger. Jake was like a lost little kid. He didn't know where he was going anymore. I lay down and hugged him. He hugged me back fiercely. We sat in silence until I started to succumb to my dreams.
"It's you, Bella," he said as I drifted off to sleep. "It's always been you." I was too tired to ask him when he meant.