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Title: Finding Our Way Back
Picture Prompt Number: 28
Pairing: Jacob/Bella
Rating: M
Genre: AH Romance
Word Count (minus A/N and Header): 9,951

Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation): Bella left behind her two best friends, their secret dock and her heart. Now she's coming home hoping to get it all back.

Warnings and Disclaimer: This story is for mature readers only due to mild sexual context. I do not own any of the characters or places involved. No copyright infringement intended. All characters belong to SM.

Finding Our Way Back

We'd shared everything as kids, we were best friends. Our fathers called us the Three Musketeers because of the trouble we always seemed to find. Until that one fateful day when my mother took me away; away from my father, my two best friends, my home. We'd been resigned to summer visits until I couldn't take it anymore. I missed them too terribly whenever I had to leave….I missed him. So I decided to end the visits completely. A few letters had been exchanged but with my flighty mother constantly on the move it became too much. I thought about them often. How much would they have changed? Were they still friends…or more? Had someone else taken my place in the trio? Did they still spend their days on our dock? Would they recognize me? Would they even want to see me?

"Leah has been asking about you since I told Harry you were moving back," Charlie stated flatly as we drove towards Forks. I kept my gaze focused on the passing scenery, trying to remember if it had always been this green….and rainy.

"I bought an old truck from Billy for you. Jake did all the work on it. That kid's a whiz with cars," Charlie continued rambling nervously like I would disappear if he didn't talk to me. I looked at him with sincere eyes and patted his arm.

"I'm here to stay, Dad. I'm not going anywhere, okay? Thanks for the truck. I'm sure I'll love it." I sighed heavily as the next words ran through my mind. "Maybe I'll go down to La Push tomorrow and thank Jacob and Billy personally," I replied with a tense smile. I knew he was apprehensive about my sudden decision to move in with him. It wasn't that I didn't love my dad; I just knew that, until her recent marriage, my mom needed me more. Besides I could never tell him the real reason I stopped our summer visits six years ago. My chest ached with the memories.

The rest of our trip was made in companionably silence since I'd reassured Charlie of my intentions. I felt a small knot begin to form in my stomach as we passed the 'Welcome to Forks' sign on the highway. For reasons I didn't want to acknowledge, I was suddenly nervous about what moving back here would mean for me. Small town, loads of gossip, tight clicks. Would my best friends still think of me as one of them? Would we be too different now? Would I be able to fit in and find new friends? Would I even be able to see him again?

"We're home, Bells," Charlie called, bringing me back from my reverie and suddenly spirally emotions. I smiled weakly as I climbed from the police cruiser that he drove everywhere to grab my bags. The mammoth red truck parked in the driveway caught my attention immediately. Well, at least I won't get hurt if I get into an accident. I looked at the tank in front of me with a small smile. It had a classic feel to it that actually fit me perfectly.

"So you like the truck?" Charlie asked nervously, running his hand over the back of his neck. I smiled as I wrapped my arms around him in a quick hug.

"I love it, Dad, thank you." I looked over the truck one more time before following Charlie into the house. He carried my bags up to my room for me as I stood in shock just inside the doorway. Nothing's changed.

"I'll order pizza if that's okay with you, kiddo," Charlie offered, as he came back down the stairs. I nodded my agreement as I moved further into the house silently taking everything in. School pictures lined the mantle while the walls and furniture seemed to have been untouched. I shook my head lightly in astonishment at how much my dad really hated change.

"I'm going to go upstairs and unpack. Let me know when the pizza arrives," I called, walking up the stairs towards my bedroom. The door was wide open with my bags setting just inside on the floor. I looked around and noticed that, other than a few modern conveniences, everything was the same. My bags were quickly unpacked and the room arranged to give me the maximum space.

The beeping from my cell reminded me that I'd forgotten to check in with Renee when I arrived. I flipped the phone open and quickly read her text. I shook my head at exactly how flighty my mother was.




I flipped my phone shut after receiving her final text and made my way downstairs when I heard the pizza guy arrive. Dad and I ate in relative silence while he watched some sporting event on TV.

I still had a few weeks of summer vacation left before I'd be forced to start a new school. My mind wandered to how I wanted to spend those few weeks. Hopefully with Leah and Jake. I made up my mind to go to La Push first thing in the morning. I'd been preparing for this since I left six years ago. I can do this.

"I think I'm gonna head to bed. I'd like to get an early start in the morning….maybe head to La Push," I said, watching Charlie for his reaction. I could see his mustache twitch into a slight smile.

"That sounds great, Bells. Leah is looking forward to seeing you. I don't think she's had a good friend since you left," he finished off-handedly, shrugging his shoulders. I wondered exactly what happened after I stopped coming back for the summers.

"I'll be working a double shift tomorrow but you know how to get a hold of me if you need me right?" he asked as I stood to clear the plates and pizza box.

"Sure, Dad, I remember."

"Oh, I almost forgot. When I talked to Harry he said Leah wanted me to tell you that some of the kids from the rez are having a bonfire tomorrow night. I guess she's hoping you'll go with her or something. So if you decide to stay down there just call and let me know," he said, turning his attention back to the game.

"Thanks, Dad," I replied as I walked out of the room to clean up and go to bed.

I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable my bed was as I drifted off into a peaceful sleep. The morning sunlight was even more of a surprise. I stretched out slowly, waking each of my muscles up before opening my eyes to the unusually bright day. I am in Forks, right? The sun shining in the window made me wonder as I looked out. The clock told me I'd slept longer than I'd expected to which meant Charlie had most likely left already. I listened for any sounds coming from downstairs before climbing out of bed and walking to the bathroom.

I looked around with a satisfied smile, nothing's changed at all. I stripped off the tank and shorts I'd worn to bed and looked into the full length mirror hanging on the back of the door. I never saw myself as beautiful but I'd been complimented numerous times on my smooth, pale skin. Not a flaw anywhere. I let my fingers trail down from my cheek. I noticed the fullness of my breasts as my fingers traced the areola of my left breast before pinching the nipple lightly. I did the same thing to the right breast as I turned slightly so I could see my profile in the mirror. Well, at least they seem to be filling out more. I cupped them both in my hands.

I studied myself as my right hand drifted lower, tracing over my flat stomach. My eyes fell to my narrow hips as I turned again to take in my slightly rounded rear end. At least I have my mom's butt…small and firm. I slowly slid my panties down my legs, letting them fall to the ground silently. I'd taken health class so I knew all about the human body and how it worked….I'd just never 'used' mine before. My fingers moved of their own accord up my thigh, barely grazing the skin. I cocked my head to the side wondering what it would feel like to have someone else's fingers touching my skin like this…his fingers.

My left hand went back to my breast as my right hand covered my sex. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feeling of my fingers. A strange tightening began in my stomach as I rolled my nipple between my fingers. Oh god, that feels good. I let my middle finger press against my wet slit. I slowly began to slide my finger between my wet lips, pressing lightly on my swollen clit as I passed over it.

The tightening in my stomach increased with each pass as my left hand continued to work my sensitive breasts. My eyes were locked in rapt attention on my dripping center when I got the courage to push a finger into my opening. A small gasp escaped my lips at the sensation, causing me to pull my hands quickly away from my body. I turned the cold water on full blast and stepped into the shower without another look at the mirror.

After scrubbing my body clean and washing my hair, I stepped out of the shower. Since Charlie was gone, I went to my bedroom in just a towel. I quickly grabbed some clothes, making sure to at least pick one of the matching bra and panties sets Renee had insisted I get. I had never had a boyfriend before, but my mother made sure that I start taking the pill last year. At the same time, she made it her personal duty to teach me about being a 'proper woman', no matter how much I blushed. She'd told me to always make sure my bra and panties matched. "You never know if you'll be in an accident or when you might meet some really hot guy," she'd said. Although I insisted that the accident would be more likely than me jumping in bed with some random hot guy. She'd also taken me for my first waxing and bought me a personal grooming set. So while I've never had anyone appreciate my diligent work at least I was prepared and felt beautiful.

After packing a bag with some extra clothes, just in case I decided to stay with Leah, I ran down to the kitchen. I grabbed an apple off the counter on my way out of the house for the day. The truck was loud but started without a problem and drove perfectly. As I made my way down to La Push I wondered if Jacob and Leah would even recognize me. I didn't think I'd changed that much but my Dad hardly recognized me at the airport yesterday. I bet Leah's beautiful. They're probably one of those ridiculously gorgeous couples that everyone envies.

I sighed heavily as I entered the reservation and passed First Beach. We'd spent most of our time on that beach growing up. I wondered if our dock was still standing. A laugh escaped as I remembered when we found the abandoned boat dock. Leah and I had been chasing Jake down the beach at the base of the cliffs. He was always trying to prove that he could climb the rocks better than we could, well better than Leah anyway. I was a lost cause when it came to climbing anything. I'd always come home with scraped up hands and knees. Jake had scrambled over some large boulders and stopped. When Leah and I finally caught up with him he was looking across the rocky, desolate beach towards a small wooden boat dock. We'd never been to that cove before but it seemed completely isolated. We'd all looked at each other, wondering why the dock was even there before making our way to it. Trio Cove, as we named it, became our secret hideaway. I couldn't even count the hours we spent laying on that dock watching the clouds. We shared all of our dreams for the future, our darkest fears and our most secret fantasies. We'd never kept secrets from each other…not until the end anyway.

I shook my head to clear the memories as I stopped in front of the little red house that had been my second home for so many years. Music thumped from somewhere behind the house as I made my way to the front door. I knocked softly just in case anyone was still sleeping. Not that anyone could sleep with that music! Charlie had said that Rebecca and Rachel had both moved away last year but he never mentioned if Billy and Jacob were the only ones living there. Barely a minute had passed before I heard the deep baritone of Billy's voice calling out, "Come in."

I opened the door slowly, unsure if he was expecting someone else. Billy was sitting in the living room, watching the door as I came in. A look of surprise and then delight crossed his face as he recognized me.

"Bella…Is it really you? My goodness, when Charlie said you grew up he really meant it. Come in, kiddo," he gushed, motioning me towards him. I walked swiftly to his side and into his embrace. Charlie was never one for outward affection but Billy was one hundred percent a hugger.

"How are you doing, Billy? I've missed you," I whispered, trying to keep the emotion out of my voice. I hadn't realized until just this second how much I had really missed this place and my family here. He pulled back to look at me appreciatively before motioning for me to sit down.

"Wow, I still can't believe you're here. I wasn't sure we'd ever see you again let alone get you back for good." The smile on his face spoke volumes about his love for me. "Charlie told you the girls moved out, right?" I nodded while Billy sighed.

"Jacob's growing like a weed. He's out back, in his garage with the guys." Billy motioned with his head towards the back of the house. "He's rebuilding a car or something. I'm never too sure since he does so much. He's rebuilt two motorcycles, a car and that truck of yours. Speaking of which, how do you like it?" he asked with a smirk. I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face.

"I love it, Billy, thank you. That's actually why I came down here, to thank you and Jacob." Billy gave me a knowing smile before patting my knee.

"Well, go say hi to Jake. He'll be shocked to say the least," he finished grinning like the cat that just ate the canary. I couldn't help but wonder what that was about as I leaned in for another hug before walking out the back door. I shook my head at the music coming from the makeshift garage at the edge of the property. How in the world can anyone even hear anything in there? I thought as I approached the half opened double doors.

I opened the door slowly and froze at the sight before me. Three of the sexiest back sides I had ever seen were bent over, looking under the hood of some unknown type of car. I began to feel that tightening in my stomach from this morning as I took in their muscular legs and bare backs. Their perfect copper skin was glistening slightly with sweat from the warm garage. I wondered mindlessly which one was Jacob as I took in the differences I could see, the length of their hair and their build.

The male standing on the left corner of the car had shoulder length black locks that hung over his face. His hips were narrow and his shoulders only slightly wider. He reminded me of the professional basketball players on TV that Charlie is always watching. The boy, or man, on the right had a short military style cut but was built more like a football player with broad shoulders and a stocky frame. My eyes finally fell on the one in the center. His long, black hair was tied in a ponytail, hanging down his back almost to his waist. He was almost as tall as his friend on the left, except wider. His back showed strong, broad shoulders and a slightly narrowed waist. My eyes drifted down a little further to his tight ass when a movement from the guy on the left caught my eye. I looked up, mouth still agape, to see him nudging his friend whose ass I'd been ogling.

I quickly regained my composure as the volume of the music suddenly decreased and three very gorgeous, half naked young men turned to look at me. My eyes fell to their toned chests and tight abs before I could even chastise myself, causing me to lose focus once again. One of them cleared their throat, bringing my eyes back up only to be faced with three identical smirks.

"See something you like, beautiful?" the one on the right asked.

I glanced at his face before looking to see if I could tell which one was Jacob. Our eyes met and my heart skipped a beat. I felt helpless as I fell into the depths of his dark eyes. Is this my best friend all grown up? Damn I'm in trouble. Time lost all meaning until I heard him breathe my name. "Bella…"

"Well, that explains a lot, huh, Embry?" the one on the right spoke again. The one on the left nodded with a chuckle while Jacob and I finally composed ourselves.

"Wow, Jake, I guess you have grown up?" I said, trying to sound nonchalant about the ogling I'd just given him. He chuckled, a deep, soft sound that made my stomach clench in anticipation. I can't do this.

"I could say the same about you too, Bells," he replied as his eyes raked slowly over my body. I shifted nervously when the one on the left, Embry, cleared his throat.

"Are you going to introduce us to your friend, Black?" he asked still smirking at me. The look of hunger in his eyes took me off guard as I tried to process what was happening. I'd never had a boy look twice at me before and now I had three gods looking at me like I was a sucker they wanted to lick. Jacob shook his head slightly, looking back into my eyes before speaking.

"Yeah, man, Bella Swan this is Embry Call," he said, pointing to the boy that'd spoken on the left before nodding towards the one on the right. "This is Quil Ateara." I smiled as Embry stepped forward, taking my hand in his and placing a gentle kiss on the back.

"It's very nice to meet you, Bella Swan." My heart stuttered in my chest as his eyes glinted mischievously. He stepped back while Quil moved towards me.

"Don't mind Embry," he said, before lowering his head to whisper in my ear. "Jake's told us all about you…except for how beautiful you are." A shiver ran down my spine as his warm breath fanned over my neck and his fingers trailed down my arm. He chuckled lightly as he stepped back to lean against the car again. Jacob nudged him out of the way so he was standing in front of me. I had to tilt my head back to see him clearly as he wrapped his arms around me in an awkward hug.

"I'm glad you're back, Bells. I've really missed you," he whispered, causing my body to react to his embrace. My heart rate sped up, my nipples hardened and I felt my panties dampen. I lifted my arms to hug him back when I felt a tingle, like low voltage electricity, run through my body.

"I've missed you too, Jake," I whispered back, trying to slow my breathing as he stepped away from me. I can't do this…this is Jake…my best friend…he's not mine! The other two chuckled as I felt the familiar flush in my cheeks.

"God I missed that blush," he breathed as his thumb caressed my cheek.

"So you gonna stand there and block the view or let us enjoy it too," Quil asked with a quirk of his eyebrow, causing my cheeks to flame more. Jake laughed before taking my hand and leading me to a couch on the far wall.

"Here sit. We were just working on this old Rabbit. How'd you like the truck? I didn't hear it pull in," he said, looking quizzically at me.

I laughed. "Yeah I wasn't sure how you could hear each other with that music so loud. I love the truck. That's actually why I came out. I wanted to thank you for fixing it up. Charlie says you're a whiz with cars. You must be good with your hands."

"Yeah, I hear Jake's really good with his hands," Embry said as he and Quil shared a hi-five. Jake glared at them before turning back to me with an apologetic smile. I blushed furiously as their meaning sunk in.

"Hey, no reason to be embarrassed, they're just…guys, sorry." Jake looked at me hopefully as if I could ever not forgive him.

"I know, it's no big deal. I should probably head out anyway," I said, fidgeting with my fingers. "You probably want to get back to work and I want to go see Leah."

"The ice queen….you're going to see the ice queen?" Quil sputtered while Embry shook his head in disbelief. I glared at them before turning my focus back to Jake who seemed uncomfortable all of the sudden.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I demanded angrily, waiting for Jake to defend Leah. "You're going to let them talk about her that way, Jake?" I spat standing up; suddenly unsure of what had happened between my two best friends. I never imagined they wouldn't be speaking to each other.

"Bells….it's just…Leah…." I stared at him as he struggled to find the words he wanted.

"Spit it out, Jake. What about Leah? She's not good enough to be your friend anymore? She's what, Jake?" Embry and Quil had the decency to look ashamed for their words as they turned back to the car. Jake reached out and touched my arm.

"Bells, Leah and I haven't been friends since a few months after you left. Now she keeps to herself and ignores everyone, especially me." Jake looked almost heartbroken as he spoke.

"What happened, Jake?" I asked softly, placing my hand over his on my arm. He looked over at Quil and Embry and then back to the ground. A heavy sigh hissed out of his mouth.

"I don't know, Bella. One day everything was fine and before I knew it she was refusing to speak to me." He ran his free hand over his head, pulling on his ponytail slightly.

"Do you want to go for a walk…talk, before I take off?" I asked, watching his eyes as they refocused on me. There was something new there that I'd never seen before when Jake looked at me. Before I could try to figure it out he'd turned away again.

"I'm gonna go for a walk with Bella. I'll be back in a little while."

Embry and Quil gave each other a knowing look as Jake took my hand and led me out of the garage. "It was nice meeting both of you. I'm sure we'll see each other again," I called back over my shoulder.

"You can count on that, sweet cheeks," Embry called after us. I shook my head and laughed lightly at his antics.

"Should I be worried?" I asked Jake.

"Nah, they're harmless….well, unless they haven't gotten laid but that's not usually a problem." He chuckled as we walked towards the forest behind his house.

We walked in silence for a little while before Jake stopped at a downed tree and sat. He took my hand and pulled me down next to him. His fingers began to trace patterns on my hand as he composed himself.

"I wish I could tell you what happened after you left Bells but I don't know what to say. She just pulled away from me and never looked back. Most people call her the ice queen because she's very cold hearted and sometimes cruel." His eyes met mine with a pleading look. "She's not the same Leah you left, Bells. She's bitter and angry now but no one seems to know why. It was just little things at first but over the years it's consumed her. I can't even tell you the last time I saw her smile."

I sighed heavily as I thought back to my last conversation with Leah that summer. She'd told me that she liked Jake. She wanted to tell him but she was scared. She didn't want to ruin their friendship but she couldn't stop thinking about him. He was her first real crush and I was so happy for her…at least I told myself I was. I gave her ideas on ways to tell him how she felt after I left. I was sure that Jake felt the same.

"Didn't she tell you….she was in love with you," I whispered, looking up to see his response. I heard his gasp as his eyes closed. He gripped my hand tighter like I would disappear if he didn't hold on to me.

"I didn't know….she never told me," he said, opening his eyes to look at me with a sad smile. "We talked, every day after you left. We spent hours on that dock talking about our summer. How much we missed you. What we'd do next summer when you came back to us."

"Why wouldn't she tell you? We talked about it, before I left. I was sure you felt the same way about her." I looked for confirmation in his eyes but he looked away.

"Bells…." he breathed, "…it was always you." His eyes were alight with sincerity as he cupped my cheek. My breath caught at his touch. I watched, frozen as he leaned towards me. His eyes darted down to my lips nervously. My heart began to race. This is Jacob….Leah's first love…I can't do this to her….no matter what I want. I turned away before his lips reached mine.

"I'm sorry, Jake," I whispered as I stood up and walked quickly back towards the house. I ignored his shouting, running straight to my truck. I needed to get away from here….from Jake. I needed to see Leah. He was going to kiss me…he's always been in love with me….I wanted him to kiss me...I can't betray Leah like that…My head was spinning. Filled with memories and emotions I was in no way ready to deal with, I ran faster.

The drive was short and surprisingly Leah was outside when I pulled up. I quickly gathered my emotions and locked them away so I could see my friend. I threw the truck into park and jumped out as Leah stood in shock on her front porch.

"Oh my god….is it really you, B?" she cried as she jumped off the porch and ran to me. We hugged and cried then laughed at each other for our puffy, red eyes. Even after crying, she is just as beautiful as I thought she'd be.

"I can't believe you're actually back…for good?" she asked hopefully. I smiled as best as I could.

"At least until I graduate next spring," I answered as reassuringly as I could. She smiled and pulled me into her arms again.

"Well then, we better make this the best damn year of our lives." We laughed together as Leah led me into the house to greet her parents.

We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and catching up on everything that had happened since my last summer here. We intentionally avoided the topic of Jake until I couldn't anymore. My curiosity was just too much.

"Leah, what happened after I left…with you and Jake?" She sighed heavily before answering.

"Have you seen him yet?" she asked, eyeing me suspiciously. I nodded but avoided her eyes.

"I know…he's hot as hell," she laughed, but the disappointment was clear in her voice and on her face. "I tried Bella, I really did. We spent so many hours on that damn dock. I felt closer to him than I ever had but after a few weeks…."her voice trailed off and she looked at me with sad eyes.

"I don't know how to say this, B. Please, don't be mad at me. After a few weeks I started to realize that he was already in love…with someone else," she paused to take in my expression.

"Me," I whispered as I studied my hands in my lap. She reached over and lifted my chin so we were eye to eye.

"He told you?" she asked, I nodded.

"Earlier, when I stopped to thank him for the truck, I asked about you…." my voice broke as I thought about what happened with Jake in the woods.

"I was never mad at you, B, you didn't know. I was mad at myself for not seeing it earlier. I felt so stupid for falling for someone who was already in love with someone else. I pushed him away. I couldn't stand to hear him talk about you and see the adoration in his eyes. Then when we heard you weren't coming back I got mad at him. I blamed him for your choice. I told myself that if he'd been man enough to tell you how he felt you wouldn't have stopped coming back." She laughed a deep, humorless laugh that caught my attention.

"I used to think that he'd get over you. He never dated or really even talked to girls until about two years ago. I'd been watching him and biding my time hoping for a chance. After his third 'girlfriend' or whatever they were, I started to see what he was doing. None of them lasted more than a couple of months but every one of them had some feature that would remind me of you. He was trying to find a substitute." She looked at me with a pained expression and shook her head.

"I confronted him about it too. We hadn't spoken for almost three years. I stopped him at his locker with his newest 'replacement'. He denied it but I could see the truth in his eyes. That's when I finally gave up and moved on." She patted my leg affectionately. "I thought about how upset you'd be with me if you knew I was moping over a guy…especially Jake. That's how I earned my nickname, 'Ice Queen'. When I pushed Jake away I ignored everyone else too." She laughed. I looked up in shock at her mention of the nickname.

"Don't look so shocked, B. You know I'm not stupid. I knew what people were saying about me. I decided that I was worth something and whoever wanted me was going to have to prove themselves. I didn't want someone that was too weak to be honest with me. I revamped my wardrobe. My curves had finally come in full force so I decided to use them to my advantage." I covered my mouth to hide my giggles. I could so picture Leah strutting her stuff through the school with no intentions of giving any boy the time of day.

"So here we are. I've got a guy that's amazing in bed, sexy as hell and is willing to do anything for me. I couldn't be happier than I am right now, B. This is going to be a great year…for both of us," she said, wrapping her arms around me.

"I've been monopolizing the conversation though. Tell me about all the hotties in Phoenix," she gushed. My face flamed red as I realized what she wanted to talk about.

"Um…I…there's not much to tell. I guess the guys are cute." Not as hot as Jake. Leah scrunched her face as she looked me over like she was examining an unsolvable puzzle.

"You're still a virgin, aren't you?" I nodded, totally embarrassed. "Oh, B, don't be embarrassed. It's not like you've never kissed a boy…." Her voice dropped off as I squirmed in my seat.

"Don't tell me you've never even been kissed!"

"I'm not like you, Leah," I practically shouted before catching myself. "Boys just don't look at me like that I guess…at least not in Phoenix. Besides, I don't want to kiss just anyone or have sex with some 'random hottie' as Renee would say." I sighed heavily as my mind wandered back to Jake again. I twisted my hands nervously as Leah watched me.

"I'm sorry, B. There's nothing wrong with any of that….but there's something you're not telling me." I knew she wouldn't speak again until I spilled it. I'd played this game with Leah too many times over the years.

"Jaketriedtokissme." I blurted as fast as I could. She laughed at my rushed words, shaking her head and cocking her eyebrow until I repeated myself at a normal pace.

"I told you he still loves you, B. If you're attracted to him then let go and see what happens. Besides, how could you not be attracted to him? He's gorgeous." She lifted my chin so we were looking at each other. "Go for it, B. You deserve it and I promise it won't affect our friendship. Who knows, maybe we'll find our way back to that dock….the three of us." I pulled her into a hug as the possibilities flooded my mind. Could we really come back together….maybe with a stronger friendship than when I left six years ago?

We spent the next hour getting ready for the bonfire on First Beach. Leah insisted on picking my outfit, from her closet, of course. Usually, I would have been ecstatic but Leah showed a lot more skin than I ever did. We finally agreed on a dark wash jean skirt that hung just above my knees and a fitted scoop neck t-shirt. I was a little uncomfortable with the cleavage but Leah insisted that I was modestly dressed compared to the others that would be there. By the time she'd finished my hair and make-up it was already getting dark.

"Okay, so Sam has his own place…." Leah said, letting her words hang as if waiting for me to understand them. When I continued to stare blankly at her as we walked toward the beach she chuckled. "Usually, on bonfire nights, I stay at his place. The house will be unlocked. Mom and Dad never wait up and even if they did they wouldn't ask any questions. So in case I leave before you tonight, just make yourself at home in my room and I'll see you sometime tomorrow." My mind was racing a mile a minute as I processed what she was telling me.

I stuttered and stammered for a minute before I could get a complete sentence out. "So your parents don't care that you stay at your boyfriend's apartment?"

Leah laughed. "No, they love Sam. Besides after so many years of bitchy Leah they're happy that Sam's making me better. He's really good for me, B." She smiled shyly. I grabbed her hand as we walked.

"Well I can't wait to meet this god-man of yours," I replied, giving her hand a squeeze.

When we arrived at the beach, the party was obviously in full swing. I glanced around realizing that I didn't know anyone. Then my eyes fell on the trio of gods by the beer keg. My heart actually ached when I noticed the trio of goddesses hanging from their arms; tanned, blonde, perfect tens. Leah noticed what had caused me to stop in my tracks and nudged my shoulder.

"I wouldn't worry. That's Lauren. From what I understand he dumped her two weeks ago when he heard you were moving back." She looked down at me and noticed I was still staring. "In case you're wondering, it's her eyes and I guess she bites her bottom lip…like you're doing right now." She giggled. "Although I think she does the lip thing trying to play innocent. It doesn't really work for her because everybody knows she sleeps around."

Great, not only is she perfect but she puts out too. There is no way I could ever compete with that. Maybe Jake and I should just stick to being friends. At least then he won't be disappointed…..or left horny. I sighed at my thoughts as Leah drug me over to a log where two very sexy men sat. They were obviously older but only by a couple of years.

"Hey, baby, I was beginning to wonder if you were still coming tonight," the older of the two said, standing up and pulling Leah into a gentle embrace with a passionate kiss. I looked down at the sand embarrassed to be witnessing their display.

"Sam, this is Bella Swan. Bella, this is Sam and his friend Jared," Leah said, bringing my attention back to the men in front of me. Sam stuck out his hand as he spoke.

"Nice to meet you, Bella. Leah's been talking about you for weeks now. I feel like I've known you forever," he said playfully as we shook and Leah swatted at his arm. The other guy stood up and held his hand out also.

"Yeah, Leah just forgot to tell us how beautiful you were," Jared said in a deep husky voice that made my knees weak and my cheeks burn. His dark eyes danced playfully as he pulled me towards the seat next to him instead of letting my hand go after we shook. I couldn't help but smile back and relax a little. Maybe tonight won't be so bad.

"Do you want something to drink?" Sam asked still holding Leah close to his side.

"A soda would be great," I replied. Sam and Jared both looked at me strangely, causing Leah to giggle.

"Her dad's the Chief of Police in Forks, guys. You honestly didn't expect her to drink, did you?" Leah said still giggling like a school girl. "I'll get something for you, B," she finished, pulling Sam behind her towards the coolers. Jared squeezed my hand, reminding me that he was still holding it. I shifted nervously.

"So, Leah says you moved back here from Phoenix. How'd you like it there?" Before I could answer a familiar voice interrupted.

"Bella, Bella, Bella…." Embry called as he walked towards us. Quil and Jacob were following while the blonde trio hung back watching with sneers.

"Damn, you look hot tonight," Quil said with a smirk as they stopped in front of us. "Doesn't she look good, Jake….well, if she wasn't sitting with this loser?" Quil said, nodding towards Jared with a chuckle.

"How you doin', man? Long time no see," Jared said, standing up to greet the guys. They slapped shoulders and grunted at each other like men do before turning their attention back to me.

"You guys know Bella?" Jared asked his voice laced with confusion. Embry and Quil chuckled while Jacob shifted nervously behind them. I kept my eyes down, hoping the earth would open and swallow me up.

"Oh yeah, her and Jake go way back. Don't you, Jake?" Embry said still chuckling. I looked up to catch Jake's pained expression.

"Yeah, we go way back," he replied, obviously disheartened. Our eyes locked momentarily until the blonde trio descended. I kept my gaze down as Jared offered the guys a seat, eyeing the girl at Jake's side. Sam and Leah reappeared and Leah gave me a reassuring smile before sitting in Sam's lap.

"Bella was just getting ready to tell me about Phoenix," Jared said, looking at me expectantly. I shrugged.

"Not much to tell really. It's hot and sunny year round, even at Christmas. There's very little green but it's very beautiful…in a stark, deserty sort of way," I replied, hoping no one would ask me anything else.

"So are the guys there as hot as ours here? I bet with the constant sun they're all golden gods," one of the blondes said, wagging her eyebrows at her friend. I could feel my face flush.

"Um…I guess there are some cute guys there…." I let my words hang not sure what else to say but desperately hoping for a topic change.

"What about your last boyfriend? Was he as built as my Quil? Hung like a horse and not afraid to use it," she rambled with a giggle, wagging her eyebrows at Quil. My blush intensified tenfold as I looked desperately towards Leah. I did not want to get into my lack of experience or boyfriends in front of these people.

"Just because you like to kiss and tell doesn't mean everyone else does, Jessica. Leave Bella alone. Shouldn't you two be off somewhere groping each other?" Leah spat, showing me exactly how she earned her nickname. She turned and gave me a wink as Jessica huffed under her breath. I suddenly got very nervous as Quil looked between me and Leah several times as if he was trying to solve a difficult math equation.

"You've got to be kidding me!" he practically shouted as if a light bulb had suddenly gone off in his head. I could see Leah's face turn hard as my heart plummeted. He was going to call me out….

"That smokin' hot body and you're still a virgin, aren't you?" Quil said with a chuckle. "Damn, Jake, you're one lucky S-O-B." All eyes were focused on me as my eyes shot up to Jake's with Quil's last statement. Did he think Jake and I….what exactly was that supposed to mean? I was brought out of my frantic thoughts by the blonde at Jake's side, Lauren.

"What's he talking about, Jakey? You can't honestly be interested in her," Lauren sneered. Jake's eyes hardened as he turned towards her.

"DON'T, Lauren. Do not say one word about Bella," Jake spat. I slipped off the log as all eyes fell to Jake and Lauren. I headed down the beach as Jake continued to yell. "I dumped you two weeks ago. You have no right to be concerned about who I'm interested in. If I want to screw the whole cheerleading squad that's my business not yours, so back off. Stay. Away. From. Bella."

How the hell did this happen? A simple bonfire…should've been easy, right? Coming home…should've been easy, right? Reconnecting with my best friends…should've been easy, right? So why am I here, walking down a deserted beach alone? I've been humiliated beyond anything I ever suffered in Phoenix. Maybe moving back here was a bad idea. Maybe I should just chalk it up as life and forget about all of it. Forget about Jake. Forget about childhood friendships. Forget about Trio Cove. Forget about our dock. Forget about ever being enough…

"Bells," Jake's soft voice called. I looked up and realized I'd walked to a very familiar wall of rocks. Our secret spot. I felt the warmth radiating from Jake's body as he stopped behind me.

"Bella, I'm sorry," he began as I shook my head cutting him off.

"Don't, Jake. You have nothing to be sorry for. Just go back to your friends. I'd rather be alone anyway," I finished softly as I stepped towards the low wall of rocks in front of me. His strong hand grabbed my arm and spun me so my back was pressed against the boulder on my right.

"Bella, I can't do that," he said huskily as he looked down into my eyes, searching for something. "I'm sorry I made you uncomfortable this afternoon…in the forest. I won't apologize for trying to kiss you but I should have asked first." His eyes shone with the sincerity of his words. I looked away from his intense gaze as he continued.

"I'm sorry Quil's an ass sometimes. He shouldn't have embarrassed you like that." He pulled my chin back up. "I promise, when I'm finished with him, he'll never embarrass you again." A single tear slid down my cheek as I thought about why I was really embarrassed. It wasn't because of my virginal status but because now Jake knew I was inexperienced…he wouldn't want me anymore.

"Don't cry, baby girl, please," he said as he wiped the tear away with his thumb. I closed my eyes to prevent any further tears from falling. Jake's thumb continued to brush across my cheek as he stepped closer to me.

"I'm sorry about Lauren too. I broke up with her as soon as I heard you were moving back home. For some reason she can't seem to get the picture. I don't want her, Bells….it's only ever been you," he finished in a whisper, laying his forehead against mine. The heat from his body was beginning to cause the familiar pangs of excitement to build in my stomach.

"I just want a chance, please. I know I can make you happy, Bells. Just a chance…let me kiss you," he breathed softly, burying his nose in my hair. I pulled my lower lip between my teeth nervously as I slowly opened my eyes. Jake pulled his head back just enough to look down at me.

"I-I…" My throat was suddenly dry and my mind wouldn't form complete thoughts. I looked up into his dark eyes, trying to convey the worthlessness I felt.

"No, baby girl, don't. You're everything…." His thumb brushed over my lips, causing my heart to race and my breath to catch.

"You're all I've ever wanted, Bella. You're my every dream…my every fantasy." He chuckled softly before his eyes revealed the desire he was feeling. His hand slid to the back of my neck, tangling in my hair, while the other grasped my waist and pulled our bodies together. His lips hovered barely an inch from mine as his eyes bore into me.

"You have to say it, baby girl," he breathed against my lips, waiting for my response.


His lips brushed against mine softly, chastely…once, twice, three times before becoming demanding and full of desire. My breathing was erratic as our lips moved together; testing, searching, wanting. His tongue slid along my bottom lip, requesting entrance as his hips pressed against me, causing me to gasp. Jake took complete advantage and plunged his tongue into my mouth. He dominated the kiss; exploring, tasting, challenging me. I reveled in his taste, his warmth, the feel of his body against mine. His lips moved to my jaw, biting, and licking. Better than I ever imagined.


"You taste so sweet, baby girl," he whispered into my ear as his teeth grazed the lobe. "Tell me, Bells, has anyone ever kissed you like that?" I shook my head unable to form words as his lips moved up and down my neck, nipping, sucking and kissing. He pulled back to look into my eyes. "I've dreamt of kissing you for so long…touching you." His thumb came back to brush against my cheek as he watched me.

"Has anyone ever touched you, baby girl?" My eyes dropped in embarrassment as I shook my head again. "Stop, Bella…not with me….you won't be embarrassed or ashamed with me. Do you understand?" he asked, lifting my chin so I'd look at him. I nodded as my cheeks burned with embarrassment.

He leaned in and placed one chaste kiss on my lips. "Have you ever touched yourself?" he asked as his lips moved slowly up my jaw. I nodded my head as images of my morning in the bathroom flooded my mind. He nipped at my earlobe before whispering, "Did you make yourself cum?" I shook my head as his hips pressed against me again, allowing me to feel his erection against my thigh. He let out a heavy breath as his head fell onto my shoulder.

"I need to touch you, baby girl," he whispered, his voice tense with need. My mind went into overdrive at his words, causing my breathing to turn into panting. "Please…" he murmured as his hand gripped my hip a little tighter.

I nodded my head. "Okay." Okay….OKAY…what the hell are you thinking, Bel…My mind went blank as his hand began moving slowly up from my hip to my waist.

"When you touch yourself…" he began as his fingers slipped under my t-shirt, leaving a trail of goose bumps up my stomach. "…do you rub your nipples…" his hand cupped my breast from underneath as his thumb brushed over my already hardened nipple. "…or do you pinch them?" he finished, giving my nipple a quick pinch. A low moan escaped my lips as he chuckled against my neck. His fingers continued to work my breasts through my bra; rubbing, squeezing, pinching, while his lips moved over my neck; sucking, licking and kissing. My body was in overdrive with all of the sensations he was causing.

I gasped when he ceased his ministrations and pulled his face away from my neck. "I'm waiting for an answer, Isabella," he said firmly. My mouth opened and closed a few times before I found any words.

"Pinch," I managed to squeak out, causing a smile to grace his handsome face as he leaned in to kiss me. His tongue plunged back into my mouth, coaxing mine to follow his lead, which I did happily. I was so consumed with our kiss that I didn't even notice that his other hand had moved down to my thigh. I gasped into his mouth as I felt his hand sliding up my leg raising my skirt with it.

"Do you like the way my skin feels against yours?" he asked, moving his hand from my breast to my stomach in slow caressing circles.

"Y-yes." His hand moved around to my back and unclasped my bra as his lips moved up my jaw to my ear.

"How does this feel?" he breathed into my ear while his hand moved under my bra to cup my bare breast.

"Oh god, Jake," I moaned as my head fell back. He continued to pinch and palm my breasts. His other hand moved slowly up my thigh towards my already soaked panties. Oh god, he's going to touch me 'there'. My mind raced with what was happening and what I wanted. My mind told me to stop him but my body was screaming for more.

"Tell me, baby girl," he whispered, nipping my earlobe, bringing me back to the moment. "…have you touched yourself here?" he asked as his fingers ghosted over my panties. He groaned into my neck, "god, you're already so wet…"

I shifted my hips nervously, causing Jake to lift his head and look into my eyes. "Yes," I said, gaining courage from the intensity in his eyes.

"But you never made yourself cum?" his voice was full of surprise as I shook my head. His lips found mine in a gentle kiss as his finger dipped below the waistband of my panties. "Where were you?" he asked, pulling his lips away from mine and eyeing me curiously. I scrunched my eyebrows together in confusion. "When you touched yourself?" he whispered in my ear. My face flushed as my breathing sped up.

"In the bathroom…" His eyes came back to mine, shining with curiosity.

"Were you watching…in a mirror….while you touched yourself?" he asked as I turned away in embarrassment. His hand slipped from under my shirt to lift my chin back towards him. His eyes were encouraging as I pulled my bottom lip between my teeth nervously so I nodded. "Is that why you stopped?" I nodded again as everything disappeared except the feel of his fingers as they slid into my panties.

I moaned wantonly as one of his fingers slid between my wet folds. "You like that, baby girl? Do you like the feel of my fingers on your pussy?" he whispered into my ear as he pressed on my clit.

"Y-yes…J-Jake….s-so….m-much," I panted breathlessly. Jake groaned again as he pressed his erection into my thigh.

"So wet…so hot….tell me, baby…did you touch yourself like this…." he panted, continuing to slide his finger over my clit and down my slit. I nodded as he squeezed my breast and circled my clit, eliciting a low moan from me.

"Did you ever touch here…" he asked, pushing his finger against my opening.

"Yes," I whispered.

He kissed down my neck before pulling back to look in my eyes as he slowly slid his finger into me. His eyes closed and I gasped from the intensity of the feeling. "…you're so tight…damn, baby."

My hips moved against his hand. "Mhmm…" Jake moaned as he began moving his finger in and out of me. My eyes rolled back. The sensation in my stomach was continuing to build as he circled my clit before pushing his finger back into me. "So wet….so tight…I want you to cum for me, baby girl…." I moaned again as he pinched my nipple. "I want to hear you scream my name as you cum on my hand," he whispered, nipping my neck.

Suddenly, the sensations, his words, his touch were too much. I screamed his name as stars exploded behind my eyes. I clutched blindly at his arms for support as his finger slowed but continued to move within me. "That's it, baby girl….I've got you…just enjoy it," he murmured against my neck.

My head fell against his shoulder as my orgasm subsided. I watched as he pulled his fingers from my panties and held them in front of his face. His eyes locked with mine as he sucked his fingers into his mouth. He groaned as his eyes closed momentarily before he looked at me again. "So sweet…so good…you taste better than I ever imagined."

"Jake…" His eyes bore into mine searchingly.

"Just a chance, Bells…please," his voice was pleading as he cupped my face. I could hear the fear of my rejection in his voice. I could see the tears shimmering in his eyes under the moonlight. I reached up and laid my hand on his cheek. He leaned into my touch. "Do you know when I fell in love with you?"

"Tell me," I whispered.

"It was two weeks after you came back that last summer. Rachel and Rebecca had gotten in another fight with dad about mom's things; her photos, paintings and stuff. I ran out of the house, went to our dock. That's where you found me…" his thumb brushed over my cheek as he spoke. He chuckled lightly, "…I was crying. You sat behind me, wrapped your arms around my chest and laid your head on my back. You didn't say a word. You just held me. When I finally stopped crying I told you about their fight. I told you that I couldn't remember what my mom looked like anymore." My heart faltered as I remembered that day.

"I told you it was okay if you didn't remember what she looked like because there would always be pictures. I said it was more important that you remembered the things she taught you….the stories she told you." A slow smile spread across his face as he gazed into my eyes like I was his reason for breathing.

"You sat with me for hours that morning, listening to all the things I could remember about her. You even told me some of the things you remembered." He paused for a moment. "The moment I knew though was when you sang her song….the one she'd sing to me every night before bed. You were sitting on the edge of the dock with my head in your lap. You began running your fingers through my hair as you sang. I knew then I'd never love anyone the way I loved you. You understood me…better than anyone. You always knew what I needed when I needed it. You saved me that summer. I'd been thinking about running away when you found me that morning." His voice cracked slightly as he spoke. "If you hadn't come for me…."

I pulled his face down to mine as I pressed closer to him. Our lips met in the slowest, most passionate kiss I'd ever had. Two bodies melding into one….two souls; once separated now reunited…two hearts being given freely to each other. My skin burned for his touch. My lips needing more pressed harder….moved faster. My tongue probed his mouth, begging him for entrance this time. His fingers tangled in my hair as his other hand grasped my hip holding me to his body.

Our kiss slowed before ending with several chaste pecks. As our eyes met I spoke, "Do you know when I realized I was in love with you?" I giggled softly at the shocked look on his face. I brushed my fingers over his cheek as a slow smile formed on his lips.

"…On the plane ride home. Leah had told me she liked you the day before I left. She was so nervous and excited. I'd never seen her so happy. I knew I should be happy for her. But something inside of me ached every time she mentioned your name. We talked about how she'd tell you. I was convinced you liked her too." I gave him a sad smile as I continued. "I don't know if you realize it, but you started acting weird around me after that time on the dock. When it was the three of us things were fine but you were never alone with me after that. You and Leah spent time together when I was out with my dad though. I blew it off as nothing until Leah told me how she felt. I started thinking about all of that stuff then and figured you liked her too." I took a deep breath.

"The farther the plane got away from First Beach the worse the pain in my heart was. It hurt so bad at one point I cried. That was when I decided not to come back again. I knew Leah would be telling you how she felt and I thought that you'd feel the same. There was no way I could face seeing the two of you together and happy. I had foolishly believed that if I stayed away my feelings for you would go away….that I'd be able to come back after a year or two….but they never did. That's why I never came back. As summer approached every year my heart would still ache for you."

"I guess we were both fools…" Jacob whispered as he leaned down to kiss me once more. "I'll never let you go again," he breathed into my ear with such conviction and love I could feel the truth of his words course through my body.

"Never…" I answered softly as his lips met mine once more.