"Yes, Mrs. Summers." Bella says. She nods, even though she's on the phone. "I understand." Bella runs her fingers through her hair, her neat style long gone from the stress of this conversation. She's currently on the phone with Frances Summers, the widow who owns the old café Bella wants to buy for her bakery. The deadline she and Bella had agreed on is nearing and Bella is so close to having the money that it kills her to hear the woman explain that close is not good enough. It turns out there is someone else interested in buying the old café. If Bella doesn't have the money by their deadline, she can kiss her bakery goodbye.
"You know how much I adore you, Bella, but this is business," says Mrs. Summers.
Bella rests her head on the back of Jacob's couch, frustrated and defeated. Jacob looks up from his work on the coffee table and slides closer to her. He puts an arm around her and places a kiss on her temple. Soon, his hands rub soothing patterns on her back and shoulders but all she can concentrate on is Mrs. Summers telling her that she has two months, and she pushes Jacob's hands away. She feels terrible about pushing him away when all he is trying to do is comfort her, but even in her sweet old lady voice, Mrs. Summers' reminder only makes Bella feel defeated. Two months might be a substantial amount of time, but it's not enough for Bella to get the rest of the money on a waitress's salary.
She mouths an apology to Jacob and he shrugs it off in normal Jacob fashion, returning to his pictures on the table.
"I really hope you can have the money in two months, Bella," Mrs. Summers says. Bella knows she genuinely means it, since she and the old woman have had many conversations about how excited Bella is to run her own business. The best part about the old café is that she wouldn't even need to change much. There's already a great kitchen, a counter in place, and a wide open space for Bella to add tables and chairs for customers that would like to sit in. This is her dream.
And Bella can feel her dream slip through her fingers when she utters the words "I'll see what I can do." There's nothing she can do.
She hangs up with a sigh as she tosses her phone onto Jacob's arm chair. He puts his work to the side one more time and slides to her side again. This time, Bella welcomes his comfort and leans into his side. He guides her head to his shoulder and strokes her hair.
"Want to tell me what that was about?" he asks.
Bella is near tears by the time she's finished relaying the conversation with Mrs. Summers. "I've just worked so hard for this, you know?"
Jacob nods sympathetically. "I know, Beautiful. Have you thought about taking out a loan?"
Bella shakes her head sadly. "I already have."
"Well then I'll just help you out. My bank account isn't overflowing but I do have a good amount of savings and—"
"No!" Bella interjects, leaning away from him so she can look in his eyes as she refuses. "I can't ask you to do that. I will not use your savings to start my business."
"Bella, just let me—"
"I said no," she says in a way that makes it final.
Jacob sighs and although Bella knows he's not happy about it, he's going to leave the situation alone. Bella sighs again and when Jacob looks at her, she gives him a sad excuse for a smile hoping that will keep him from moping along with her.
He purses his lips. "You know, Beautiful, I'm hopeless when it comes to baking. Think you can help me out?" The smile that Bella gives him now is anything but pathetic as she thinks about how wonderful of a man Jacob is for knowing exactly what will get her out of her sour mood.
Bella jumps up from the couch and runs into Jacob's kitchen, excited to spend this time bonding with him and sharing her talent, only to have her smile drop when she raids his fridge and cabinet to find none of the ingredients she needs.
"You have nothing that's necessary for baking, Jacob."
He comes up behind her and glances into the fridge. "I've got butter," he points out.
Bella turns to face him, fighting the urge to roll her eyes. "Grab your keys."
Their trip to the supermarket is eventful and Bella doesn't think she'll ever be able to understand how Jacob can make even the simplest tasks fun and unforgettable. Bella decides she wants to teach Jacob how to make chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese filling. It's become one of her specialties since that recipe is Angela's favorite.
When they get to the supermarket Jacob grabs a cart and then makes a detour and heads into the produce aisle, grabbing a bag of grapes. "We don't need grapes."
"It's a shopping snack," he says, opening the bag and popping a few grapes into this mouth.
"That is so illegal!" Bella chides.
Jacob simply shrugs and as they continue to walk through the supermarket, Bella caves and grabs for a grape. Jacob jerks the bag away from her. "Go long," he says.
Bella backs up and Jacob tosses a grape her way. She catches it with ease and Jacob fans his hands at her to go farther. This time as she's backing up, Bella collides with someone behind her. She turns around and apologizes profusely to the older man she'd knocked into. Bella has a hard time containing her laughter as the old man complains about how rude today's youth is because Jacob mocks the mans gestures as he exits the aisle. Bella walks back over to Jacob finally letting her laughter loose as he laughs with her.
"Do you always crash into people in supermarkets?" he teases.
"Shut up. You're the one that crashed into me. You said so yourself."
"I felt bad for you, you beautiful klutz."
"Don't call me names while I'm down. I didn't even get to catch that second one." She pretends to pout.
Jacob laughs. "Well then, here; you get this one challenge-free," he says placing a grape in her mouth.
When they get back to the house and begin putting the ingredients together for the cupcake batter, Bella realizes that Jacob was definitely not kidding when he said he was hopeless when it came to baking.
"Three eggs, take out the milk. Yes, and the butter," she says, completing the list of things they'll need. She explains to Jacob that it's much easier when everything is already out when he complains about the cluttered counter.
After he's preheated the oven, Bells instructs Jacob to add one and a third cup of flour to the bowl and then one cup of sugar along with half a cup of milk. She laughs when he cracks an egg the wrong way and gets shell in the batter. "Okay, this is sad," she says, taking over and pushing him to the side to fish out the shell and crack the rest of the eggs the right way.
"Only you could make cracking an egg sexy," he says, watching her.
Bella laughs and says, "Well, someone has to. You sure didn't."
"Ha ha, very funny. I'm usually not so bad at this stuff," he defends. Bella knows it's true because he's made her breakfast countless times. "I'm only messing up because I'm trying to impress you," Jacob continues.
Bella finishes adding the ingredients to the bowl and begins to stir, having decided that Jacob is better off watching. "Well you don't need to impress me. Baker or not, I'm happy with you just being you."
"Oh yeah?" She can hear the smile in his voice.
Bella grabs the cupcake pan and pours the batter in and then places it in the oven. "Well yeah," she answers with her back still to Jacob. She begins wiping down the counter.
She stops when Jacob slips his arms around her waist and lays his head on her shoulder. "Same goes for you, Beautiful." He kisses her neck.
"Oh yeah?" she asks breathily.
"Well yeah." He kisses her again, his lips lingering his time. Bella's smile widens a little when she feels him hard against her back. She turns around and unbuckles his jeans, hoping the cupcakes don't burn.
"My God, Jake. These are amazing," Bella says, looking over Jacob's shoulder as he continues to sort his pictures. She takes a bite of her cupcake. Thankfully, they didn't burn.
"That's because you're in most of them."
It's not often that Bella blushes anymore, but Jacob always knows the right thing to say. However much the comment embarrasses her, Bella really can't help but agree that she does look beautiful in Jacob's pictures. A lot of them were taken last weekend before she and Jacob left Forks. After their parents finished their trip down memory lane, Jacob had gone to grab his camera and did not stop clicking the rest of the weekend. He'd taken pictures at the family dinner they'd had, during their trip to Sue's organic food store and their second trip to the beach. Bella always got annoyed when her mother would snap picture of her as a child but she couldn't help but smile when she saw how passionate Jacob was.
Which is why she says, "I'm serious, though. I honestly think you should start doing something with your personal photos."
Jacob responds with the same thing he always does. "We'll see what the future holds."
Bella is determined though and that night when Jacob is asleep in his bed beside her, she pulls out her phone and sends a text to Angela.
What does Ben know about creating a website? -B
A/N: If you'd like the recipe that I use for the cupcakes, just let me know in a review. They taste amazing!