Sappy and idealistic, it's got more plot info and "vibe changes" than a normal epi should, but it's always been how I see it playing out so I thought I would share. Not sure if the technique works either – unfolding timelines all linked together? Think "nested Russian dolls."
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy.
So I wanna live in a wooden house.
I wanna live life,
always be true.
Yeah I wanna live life,
and be good to you.
I wanna fly, and never come down.
And live my life,
and have friends around.
Fuck, she tasted so good.
Jacob picked her up with an arm under that delicious ass while he devoured her whimpers.
"Need," Bella gasped, throwing her head back.
Jacob's mouth pounced on the column of her neck. "Whattaya need, honey?" he mumbled between bites and licks.
She answered him in a groan as his free hand rolled a straining nipple between his fingers while his other set her down on the hood of the Rabbit.
Heels clamped around his ass, she rubbed her crotch over his aching cock telling him exactly what she meant. It was Jacob's turn to moan against her racing pulse. Fuck, he could feel the heat through her shorts, through his straining jeans.
Oh, he needed too. Something fucking fierce. Like always
Bella tipped her head down and captured his ear between demanding teeth, sending a sensual lightning bolt through his body. Chill bumps raced over his skin cumulating in incinerated balls.
"Gimme, Jake," she breathed in his ear, soft, seductive.
Lupine anticipation howled through his bones and he shuddered. His mate's arousal hung heavy in the air like a honeyed fog. She was ripe, wanting, begging for him to take her.
He couldn't stand anymore.
Pulling her from the hood of the car, he turned her around in his arms. She purred in approval as she tipped her head and leaned back into his hungry kisses down the side of her neck. One arm wrapped around her slender waist as the other tugged her shorts down. She wiggled her hips, helping him and driving him crazy at the same time.
His hand took a moment to smooth over that pert round ass, groaning into her neck in utter bliss. Fuck he loved her ass.
His hand slipped around front to the heated slick evidence of her need and his middle finger automatically found that magic button.
Her cry rose up to the rafters of the old garage while her fingernails tattooed it his forearm. "Jake!" she shrieked.
Taking a step forward, Jacob readjusted his arm around her, slipping his hand across her chest to her shoulder so she was supported in a tight embrace while he nipped along her jaw. He leaned them both over the hood of the Rabbit as his free hand flew to his cutoffs. Urgent fingers fumbled with the top button and then with a growl of impatience, ripped open his fly with the tinkle of zipper teeth across the cement floor.
His erection was swollen and throbbing as he guided it to the place it would be 24/7 if it were humanly (or otherwise) possible. With a grunt, he buried himself to the hilt in one firm stroke. Bella hands slapped against the hood with a metal thunk, as she arched back against him with a gratified gasp.
Jacob's hand smoothed possessively up her side while his hips tested the waters with slow priming strokes. His palm smoothed over her forearm with contrasting tenderness on its way to brace against the car beside her own hand.
"Ready, Bells?" he whispered in her ear.
She gasped an unintelligible mumble. Jacob's lips curved while his cock slid slowly in and out of her slick heat – he liked that he could make her lose her mind like this.
Biting his lip, Jacob let his craving off its leash.
And started fucking his mate.
Buffering her body against the metal with his arm, Jacob pounded his need into her body with abandon. He slammed his hips into that soft, full ass and felt her breasts jiggle against his arm while she groaned in shameless pleasure.
Over and over he thrust into her body as she arched into him with breathy pants of his name, egging him on. Each plunge stoked the flames higher and higher, their scorching need fusing them together. She was made for him – the way she felt, the way she tasted, the way she smelled. Never did he feel as whole and at peace as when he made love to her whether it was slow, sensual worship or unfettered carnal desire.
His name disintegrated on her lips in a throaty groan as Jacob caged his growls behind gritted teeth and he pumped the pressure up to unbearable heights with stuttering hips.
Slamming into her, she cried out and her body bore down. The world exploded and he ripped her shirt from her shoulder…
And Jacob sunk his teeth home.
Bella's gasp had Jacob's eyes popping open just enough time to dive across the kitchen and catch the bowl of salad greens plummeting to the floor with handy reflexes.
Straightening, his gaze darted to Bella where she was frozen with round saucer eyes. He tried to smother his amusement at her expense – rather unsuccessfully – and his laugh came out in a snort. (It was a pretty funny expression.)
Giving him a bland look, even while a blush rushed to her cheeks, Bella turned back to the counter and started chopping tomatoes with a stubborn purse of her lips.
Jacob chuckled softly as he set the bowl down on the counter. Slipping his hands around her swelling waist, he stepped into her body, pointedly pressing his erection into her back and smiling at her soft gasp. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. Her arousal smelled like seven kinds of heaven – she'd enjoyed that little fantasy too.
"Oops," he whispered impishly by her ear. "Did I think that out loud?"
Bella tried to twist that smile into a frown as she shrugged a coy shoulder against his smacking kisses.
She was going to make him work for it, huh?
He snuck in a well-placed tickle and finally those giggles burst free. With a smile, Jacob's arms wrapped back around her ripening Belly as he settled his chin on the top of her head and waited for her laughter and embarrassment to fade. It had been three years since they'd sealed the imprint and their sexual relationship – along with everything else - had matured quite a bit. But he still found her blushes adorable.
He hadn't meant to let that little fantasy slip (that was a replay of that night on Billy's kitchen table, but a different location), but it was just so hard to keep up his boundaries around Bella. When he was with her, it was the only time he could really just be himself outside the constraint of duty.
Whether he was reaming a wayward wolf, changing an alternator, or meeting with a Council of crotchety old men Bella was his solace and his kryptonite. She made him crave her body with an insatiable hunger that crouched ready and ravenous in his groin. The slightest hint of her scent, the touch of her hand, the brush of her mind… he was undone.
Even though she had fundamentally changed not only him, but his Pack in three short years, as Alpha of a Pack of shape-shifting wolves who needed tight reins, Council member, and future Chief of his tribe, there was a certain level of restraint, decorum and dignity that they both would just have to learn to live with. But she was helping him figure out how to draw those lines without bifurcating his heart.
Truthfully she made it easy.
Because he could endure all the bloodsucking demons, whiny wolves, busted cars and boring Council meetings in the world as long as he got to come home to this:
And soon their son too.
"On the Rabbit, Jake?" Bella laughed softly as she started chopping tomatoes again.
"Mmm hmm," he leaned back down, pulling her hair over her shoulder. "On the Rabbit," he crooned as he pulled her sweater to the side and lapped over his mark at the crook of her neck.
The knife fell heedlessly to the counter as she instantly melted in his hands with a sharp hiss of desire. A gratified lupine rumble rose up in his chest he provocatively pressed his erection into that delicious ass.
She wore his mark and it was incredibly satisfying, even though it had scared the shit out of him that night he'd lost it and finally bitten her like instinct so ardently demanded. No matter that they'd both cum so hard they'd nearly lost their minds, he'd felt like a monster.
It was Bella who – chin lifted stubbornly in spite of literally crimson cheeks – had fearlessly asked his father what it meant. On that Sunday morning, they'd had to face what they'd both ignored for as long as possible: the impossibility that at least part of who they were was a legend incarnate.
Since Taha Aki had lost his human body and taken that of a wolf, he was more animal than the others and therefore the most savage warrior of them all. But all that feral power needed grounding so the Spirit had also given him the perfect mate to be bound to so closely that they shared eyes, mind and heart. The stories told how Taha Aki had marked his Third Wife and true mate in the way of the wolves. His father thought it was only natural that Jacob would too.
All Jacob knew was that it changed him. Settled him. As much as his mind rebelled against it, after marking her, it satisfied something deep and primal and he felt peace.
They never thought of talking about it after that - the Alpha and man in him rebelled at the constraints of the past – he wanted to write his own stories like any true warrior does. Bella said it didn't really change much about being Jake and Bells except show that practice made perfect: Jacob had chosen her first this time and she had stabbed herself in the arm, not the heart to distract his mortal foe.
"We're already late," Bella complained in an unenthusiastic mumble as she turned in his arms and yanked his face down to hungry lips.
"So it doesn't matter if we're later," Jacob crooned, scooping her up and setting her on the counter beside the tomatoes so he could properly worship that mouth.
"How the fuck am I gonna survive without Starbucks?" Rachel passionately petitioned the iconic white paper cup.
"Learn to work a coffee maker?"
Rachel cut dubious eyes over at the man fluently yanking a Prius around the cliffs like it was a sport car and not a sissy hybrid. Josiah just gave her one of his broad and easy smiles that showed off perfect white teeth contrasting as strikingly as his eyes with his rich complexion.
"How 'bout you just move in on the Rez and be my personal coffee maker, Josi?" she batted her eyelashes.
The man made kick-ass coffee – it was one of the many things she was going to miss about rooming with her best friend. She'd met him at a Capoeira rondo at Berkeley years ago and they'd hit it off immediately (in spite of the fact that she was work-study/full-ride and he came from old-money Pacific Heights). Despite his family's wealth he was humble and with his good nature and relaxed vibe he was the perfect foil in a Capoeira spar or in real life for Rachel's hardened heart and hot head.
"Pay's not good enough," he murmured out of a sly smile as he returned those striking green eyes back on the road. And that was what she loved about him – he was laid-back, easy-going, but would pop you in the jaw good if you crossed him or one of his friends. It never got to that though – he had a way of subtly bending his unsuspecting victims to his wily will all while charming their fucking socks off.
She loved him to pieces.
But not like that.
Contrary to popular rumor – that neither of them bothered to correct – they weren't sleeping together… actually never had. It was something Rachel had certainly propositioned (several times) but Josiah had somehow refused in a way that had kept their friendship intact saying he always played for keeps and Rachel would have just broken his heart.
It was true.
Rachel wasn't ashamed of that fact in the least. She didn't have time for needy men and burdening commitments. She just wanted a pretty face, a nice dinner and a good lay. Then she'd conspicuously leave his phone number on the nightstand in the morning and go back to business as usual.
Josiah was the only constant in a fast life (but in all fairness, he had snuck in on her blind side) where she kept too busy to pay attention, too distant to care and basically looked out for number one (and Josiah, but he didn't count).
Unlike her twin (emphasis on the UN… they weren't identical in any way) she hadn't grabbed the first man who'd floated her way (on his surfboard) and frantically tried to reconstruct a home and family that had gotten ripped away when they were 17. Rachel unequivocally needed nothing and no one.
Except maybe Starbucks.
"Seriously, Jo, I mean maybe I should open one up in Forks or something. Wanna front me?" Rachel continued her impassioned lament for rocket-fuel and comfort.
"Aww, boo," he said softly like hot cocoa spiked with rum as a hand slipped over her stockinged knee.
Uh –oh. That voice always meant trouble.
"It's going to be a head-fuck, but it'll be good, Rache," he continued, glancing over at her and deconstructing her panic in a nanosecond flat. "You can tie up all these loose ends that've been dragging you down. And it's not forever. Just until your brother's wife has her baby."
Rachel closed her eyes as she readjusted her boots on the dash. She hadn't even come home for Jacob's wedding two years ago. She hadn't come home at all since she'd high-tailed it out of there at the ripe old age of 17. Truth is, she didn't know how to face it all. She'd left her brother when he was 10 with their disabled father – but it had just hurt so bad.
Her palms flew to her face. "I can't believe I'm doing this."
Paul pulled open the passenger door and leaned into the truck, taking a long indulgent inhale. Jacob had to cage his growl behind firm lips. He knew it was ridiculous – but it was just so fucking hard to keep himself under control these days.
"Fuck Bella," Paul purred, pulling back with a wry smile. "You bottle that shit and you'd make a mint."
"Um… it's kinda a niche market," Bella laughed. "And you guys certainly don't have the cash."
Jacob sat in the truck staring out the window peevishly as his hands gripped the wheel. Whether it was because his sister was coming home for the first time in a decade or whether he just hadn't gotten his fill of his mate this morning, he just wasn't in the mood to share today.
And make no mistake, he'd be sharing.
That's one of the reasons he'd had the team meet down at his dad's place instead of their house around the corner where the Pack hung out too fucking much as it was. Since Bella had gotten pregnant Jacob was pretty sure the entire Pack would be content to just sit around and pass her from lap to lap, sniffing her all day while they watched TV in his family room.
They'd waited until she'd turned 21 (well he was pretty sure it had been a few days before - she had smelled so fucking sweet) but the imperative to mate was as driving as every other instinct and, like phasing and imprinting and dominance and possession, there were some things that just weren't worth fighting even if he could find a single reason why to ever want to. Smelling his scent growing roots in her own, seeing that glow to her cheeks and sparkle to her eyes, watching her body swelling with his child was by far the most satisfying experience of his life to date which - considering she was in it - was really saying something.
But it hadn't been this bad when Emily was pregnant – the wolves certainly reacted protectively to the scent of their sister carrying the Pack's cub, but their focus hadn't been so myopic. Leah thought it was probably something instinctual (when was it not?) about Bella carrying their Alpha's cub combined with the fact she was "den mommy" as Leah called her (and Bella slapped her for it every single time).
But what whatever it was, it was fucking grating on Jacob's last nerve. They were all what could only be called overprotective, especially Paul – which should have been completely understandable since he followed her around like a puppy anyway.
Except if the Pack were overprotective, Jacob was somewhere several miles past painfully, obsessively, shamefully possessive.
But then his mate knew that.
'Love you,' Bella's voice washed over his mind like a sea breeze and he turned just fast enough to catch her warm honeyed kiss on his lips.
And like she always was, Bella was patient, understanding, kind even when he was being a big fat wolfy dork (as she loved to call him).
But she never let him get away with sulking too long.
Bella started pulling back with that laughing gaze, and his hand slipped up to the nape of her neck, capturing her just long enough to pull that knowing smile into his mouth's possession. After he'd turned that amusement to a gasp of pleasure, he swallowed it down along with the nectar of arousal that rose from her thudding pulse in her neck while he unapologetically laid claim to his mate in front of his Pack. They were used to it by now.
Especially these last six months.
Bella knew he was keyed up about seeing Rachel. But it was time for Jacob to mend this last broken part of a past that had been torn apart by secrets and shame. And for Billy to heal.
Rebecca had been coming home several times a year for two years now – it was Rachel's turn. Bella had been trying to get him to bring her back for a while now and the baby was perfect excuse.
Not that Billy was any trouble… he lived right around the corner and over the years the Pack had grown into a family that took care of their own. (That along with the fact that Tiffany Call was over at Billy's house more often than not these days – a long story).
Under Jacob's brave and relentless leadership secrets had become a thing of the past. They laid bared hearts and accepted the past to stand united facing a future together. All family now knew about the wolves, and conversely, all wolves now knew about their families.
"Bro, you gonna let her breathe or what?"
Embry's chuckle pulled a growl from Jacob's lips before he pulled his them from Bella's. She grinned past her mate to Embry's sly wink. For him more than anyone perhaps, this was a loaded meeting but that cashmere smile was completely easy and unfettered - sins of the past had been forgiven long ago. He now had that loving family, a kick-ass Pack who had his back and a wife he absolutely adored (and a secret that she and Jake wondered if he'd figured out yet).
"How long've you known?" he accused with a humorous frown.
Finally he had.
Jacob's face changed from surly to sunny on a dime as turned more and clapped forearms with his brother. "How long's it been, Bells?" he glanced over his shoulder.
"Almost three weeks," she answered blithely turning and grabbing Paul's hand to help pry herself out of the car.
Angela hopped once before wrapping tentative arms around Bella, overly-careful of her swollen middle (if only she knew what she and Jake had been doing not 20 minutes earlier).
Bella squeezed her hard. "Congratulations," she breathed in her best friend's ear. They all got along like sisters with the younger girls, but she, Emily and Angela were thick as thieves.
"How did he know?" Angela pulled back and shoved her eyeglasses up with a brilliant smile.
"Alpha crap," Bella tapped her nose with a wink.
"What?" Emily asked as she stopped her descent of Jacob's childhood steps with little Dakota on her hip and the daddy's girl reached out in demand to her papa.
"I'm pregnant," Angela gushed.
Claire squealed like the little girl she still was and it was like a starting gun for the celebration. Every time the Pack came back together - which went double when it was she and Jacob, no matter how short the reprieve (in this case overnight he'd given the Pack to Leah so they could spend some time before today) - it was a fabulously chaotic and ebullient greeting like they hadn't seen each other in years.
Bella endured the usual subtle reconnecting touches and unapologetically brazen sniffs while she carefully kept the attention focused on Embry and Angela's good news. They were Jacob and her best friends (other than each other, of course).
"Yo, sis," a strong arm wrapped around her shoulder and she was pulled into Leah's saucy side. It was a Pack label that was about three months from being official. Her father and Sue Clearwater were tying the knot this summer – more new beginnings to celebrate.
"How you feelin'?" She leaned down and pressed a kiss to her temple. "Other than sore..." she chuckled wickedly.
Leah obviously knew what they were doing 20 minutes ago (and all through the night). Damn lupine noses.
Gagging on her embarrassment, Bella slapped uselessly at her arm while the wolf just grinned in triumph at Bella's blush.
But everyone froze at the low vicious growl scurried across the driveway. As one, all faces whipped around to their Alpha who was baring teeth at his Second, frozen himself in the middle of a high-five with Quil. Even the birds seemed to be momentarily at a loss for words.
But Leah handled it like the pro she was. "Simmer down, Chief," she drawled with a forced casual veneer. "You know I just mess with her 'cause I love her."
But her arm had subtly changed from cavalier to protective – their Alpha's mate's pregnancy was throwing everyone a little off these days, but they were all edgier than normal with the newest Pack member arriving. Rachel would find out about the wolves as long as Jacob felt she could keep the secret (like every family member)– a sad state of affairs when it was your own sister, but she'd been away so long.
Jacob's high-five with Quil seamlessly transformed into clasped hands as his face abruptly jerked over his shoulder. "Dad, they're here," he called absently toward the house.
But with the attention and tension instantly slipping lax to Jacob's wordless absolution, Leah leaned down and whispered by her ear. "And that blush is just too hard to resist," she laughed softly, pressing a tender kiss to her hair.
Bella was kind of the perfect irresistible foil for the dominants of the Pack. In Paul and Sam it manifested into a jacked-up protective instinct, but in Leah it translated into nothing but ruthless teasing. Leah never took it too far and Bella never took it personally except in that it really did show how much she both respected her and cared (and she knew she could take it… because she could).
"I can't freaking wait until you imprint, Leah," Bella gave her a megalomaniacal evil laugh.
"Maybe it don't happen to bitches," Leah snorted, showcasing just a little of that insecurity. In subtle ways, Bella was the only one she let peek under that tough veneer - she knew Bella would never call her on it but give her what she needed anyway.
"Oh it's gonna happen," Bella laughed theatrically as she wrapped an arm around the woman's waist. "Otherwise I'm writing a personal complaint to the Great Spirit. I need that fodder for revenge."
Leah sniffed a laugh, cutting her eyes down to her gratefully, before they snapped back up. All wolves looked out to the empty road at the same time, finally hearing what their Alpha's senses had beat them to.
A car glided quietly up the driveway with eerily nothing but the crunch of gravel. She could see Jacob's sister staring out the front of the car with wide eyes. Bella wondered how Rachel felt being greeted by a crowd of people (10 of them over 6 feet tall), but Bella hadn't so much as even thought about asking Jacob about it.
The Pack did everything important together, end of story.
Especially the hard messy stuff.
Bella glanced over at where Jacob was standing beside Embry and Quil and watching his sister tensely through the window – she could feel his mind silently entrenched with hers like they were holding hands.
They tried to keep physical distance as much as they could around the Pack because they each had their roles and "charges" as they called them – they meant different things to different people. Paul stepped up beside Bella as behind her she heard the screen door bang open and Tiffany rolled Billy out onto the porch.
The tension was suffocating.
The door opened, and a swede leather boot with pom-poms stepped out on the gravel. Rachel stood slowly, looking painfully uncomfortable, but also freaking awesome. Obviously playing on the nouveau hippie theme with a conveniently appropriate Native American spin, her shoulder-length hair was hanging in two braids with some rawhide threaded through them. From her copper make-up to her tight top under a leather vest down to an obscenely short mini-skirt (with dark stockings the only things making it anything approaching decent) she looked every bit the stylish hipster graphic artist from San Francisco that she was.
But in her eyes she just looked lost.
"Oh my God! You're driving a fucking pussy Prius?" Leah balked beside her with her usual caustic charm. (She and Rachel used to be best friends back in the day).
Leah and Paul could tear a leech apart without reserve or remorse, but they handled emotional stress the same way.
However Rachel just smirked at her, seeming grateful for something familiar at least – Leah's bitchiness.
Bella heard a sharp intake of breath beside her and her gaze darted up to see Paul's brow crumple over stunned and horrified eyes. Bella reached out and grasped his hand in concern. He nearly broke her fingers in a death-grip.
"Long time no see, Lee-lee," Rache was saying. "And it's not my car, it's Josi's," she snorted indignantly.
Bella tore her eyes away from Paul's panic-stricken face.
A tall man unfolded from the driver's side of the vehicle with the grace and poise of a panther. He was striking. Somehow even with green almond eyes that looked backlit in his tawny complexion and long curly hair pulled into a ponytail, he oozed masculinity in spite of flowing balanced features. He looked part Black, part Hispanic and a bunch of other things but 110 percent sure of himself.
Leaning an indolent elbow on the top of the car and cocked his head with slow silky smile. "Now I know I didn't hear you call my car a pussy," he chuckled richly. "Cause I might have to take exception to that."
"Oh shit," Leah gasped as her arm slipped from around her shoulder to snap onto Bella's other hand like she was a drowning woman.
Bella's gaze darted up to see that she certainly was. Leah's eyes were as round as saucers and her lips were slowly mimicking them with her slackening jaw.
"MY FUCKING SISTER?!"
A roar gouged the spring afternoon, tearing every pair of eyes (but two) to the seething form of one Jacob Black in a murderous prowl across the driveway.
Bella quickly shimmied her hands free of two sets of stiff fingers and stepped in to do what she did best. She'd intercepted him two strides and placed her palm over his jackhammer heart. Instantly his body froze, his muscles shuddering under her fingertips.
"Hey, honey," she whispered, as she brought soft calming memories up to the front of her mind. "We stick together. This is just another thing we're doing together, right?"
Her fingers slipped up to his jaw and heated eyes snapped down to hers as she replayed this morning's lovemaking as a (very effective) distraction until he got hold of the beast.
His arm slipping around her rounded body,
Gentle hands cupping full, heavy breasts
As he entered her from behind.
Slow sensuous thrusts that made her shamelessly moan.
Low laughs in her ear at how the baby kicked back…
Jacob's groan made Bella's eyes snap open.
He was staring at her with wide eyes just outside their bathroom, his hands frozen in the middle of toweling his long hair.
Bella's smile turned sultry. "Sorry, was I thinking that out loud?" she arched a knowing brow.
"Mm hmm," he hummed, readjusting the burgeoning and corroborating evidence to that fact through the towel around his hips.
Her breath caught with the erotic shiver went through her body and he gave her that roguish grin she loved. If anything it looked even more boyish in the deepening lines of his face.
"If you don't stop it we're going to be even later," she chided playfully as she stood up from the couch and wagged the brush in her hand meaningfully. This day was really the first beginning for them as a couple.
Today Jacob was stepping down from his position as Chief of the Quileute Nation and Head of the First Nation Assembly of the Americas.
"I'm pretty sure you started it, Bells," he chuckled, rubbing his hair a little more before letting the towel drop to the floor.
He crossed the room, the water glistening on musculature that was still tight and toned. Anyone would be shocked to think he was a day over a fit and fabulous forty-five… when he was really seventy-five. They both were.
And it was time.
Jacob leaned down and pressed his warm, freshly shaven lips to hers and she sighed softly. His palm reached to her waist to steady her – after all this time his touch still made her weak in the knees. That hand slipped down with a naughty pinch to her butt and she yelped.
Jacob chuckled and plopped unceremoniously down on the couch spreading both hands out over the back.
Bella ran a palm lovingly over his bulging muscles and then over the tattoo on his shoulder. That first year that the Pack had really starting coming together they had all gotten one – imprints included. Emily had designed it in the Quileute style. Even if tattoos weren't part of Quileute technical cultural inheritance, it still made more sense than something like… matching team Jacob shirts (said with a gawky laugh by Quil more times than she could count).
But the point was that they were one team, one family, one Pack.
And they'd stood beside one another through it all: human secrets, shattered hearts, healing minds, broken bones, mending bonds… the many flavors of rebirth in all their many seasons.
"Sit up a bit," Bella murmured, tugging at the long silken flow of salt and pepper stuck between his broad shoulders and the couch. He did and she pulled the nearly waist-length locks free, her eyes snagging like usual on the deep jagged scar that zigzagged down the smooth caramel of his back like lightning.
She'd almost lost him.
Jacob's hand slipped up cannily to capture hers as he sat back. "It's over, honey," he whispered and then brought her fingertips to his lips.
Bella closed her eyes as she bit her lip and nodded brusquely to reassure herself more than anything. It wasn't the first time they'd thought it was over.
"Shhh…" he soothed, turning around as his lips trailed a penitent trail of kisses up her arm. "It's really over this time."
Bella sniffled and then opened her eyes to his worried amber gaze. It had been less than a year that he'd worn that scar. After the injury at the end of the Great Volturi War that had nearly taken him from her, he'd stopped phasing… for the second time.
"Do you want this, Jacob?" she asked quietly.
Jacob's brows knit as his eyes paced intensely between hers. He understood how much her heart had bled over those long months of recovery (and years of frightened worry before).
"Am I sick of watching our friends grow old while we stay the same? Do I think it's time for me to leave Councils and Wolves and Wars to our grandchildren… our great-grandchildren?" he whispered and then paused, enunciating each word. "Do I want to spend the rest of my life enjoying a little peace with my imprint...
My best friend?"
Bella bit her lip as her eyes burned. Jacob pressed a kiss over her lifeline and then turned into her hand.
"You know what I think," he breathed, nuzzling her palm. "What do I want more than anything, Bells?"
Bella tried to catch her rising sobs with pursed lips. It was an emotional day.
"Me," she mouthed soundlessly.
"Don't you think I've waited long enough?" Jacob whispered.
Bella cocked her head as she stroked her fingers over his cheek. He looked as handsome, distinguished and regal as his father had at this age (well, this physical age, not the technical one). His eyes could be fierce or loving, his brow intimidating or empathic, his mouth severe or sensual – lips lifted from canines in a vicious grimace or curved up in a sunny smile. He could be loving husband, tender father, ferocious Alpha, doting grandpa, stern Chief. But in all of his many iterations, there could be no mistake: this man was a warrior.
And her very best friend.
She loved him beyond the bounds of the human heart. Still impossibly more every day… and there'd been many days. It was a gift from the Spirit befitting his burden – when he was phasing and had stopped aging, she did too.
But he had waited long enough. Both of them had.
"You have," she breathed, leaning in to kiss the lips she adored.
Bella pulled back, breaking eye contact as she gathered his hair in her hands and started pulling the brush through their shiny wet lengths.
Jacob watched her a moment with concerned eyes and then turned back around. She needed a few moments to reset.
And like every new beginning there were things to mourn as well. He knew how last year had shattered her life when he'd come back so victorious but so broken. They had both given their lives for their families and people… over and over and over.
His father's old stories had been right – Taha Aki's spirit had returned in him to guide his people through turbulent times. Because these times had certainly been turbulent.
But he'd done it. Together with his mate.
Now the stories told around the campfires to squealing children and cuddling couples (by the shaking voices of his Pack, now grown from young and lost to old and wise) weren't about Taha Aki and his Third Wife. They were about Jacob Black and his imprint, Bella.
In other words, Jake n' Bells.
Jacob had stopped phasing the first time a little after thirty - like most of the Pack - so they could grow old together. The original ten had already put in more than their time and their children and others had started phasing already. The Pack had grown to twenty because of all the wars they'd fought.
The Cullens had of course returned to cause trouble along with other covens who grew bolder each day. Like the changing human world that tried to suck the life out of love with greed, materialism and selfishness, the vampire population grew along with that cancer too.
But by 45 Jacob as Chief had succeeded in forming alliances with other First Nations worldwide who remembered magic and the old ways. The world had started subtly shifting. In a good way.
In fact, they had thought they were home free: the Cullens were no more and every vampire on the planet knew the rules they'd set down (and to stay the fuck a million miles away from Washington State).
But like the spirit he carried had had to do before him, only several years later, the Volturi declared war. Jacob had been the only one of the original Pack strong enough to return to the wolf even at the ripe old age of forty-nine.
So he could lead and protect his people.
And the next twenty years had been nothing but leadership, strategy, alliances and war.
He'd nearly been killed when years of plot, intrigue and tactic had culminated with him finally infiltrating Voltura...
Where he'd taken out the fucking head of the proverbial snake once and for all: Aro.
He was a very old and powerful vampire and it had almost cost Jacob everything to kill him (again). Everything, meaning something he'd been looking forward to all of his life:
time of his own with Bella.
Oh, they'd had more seasons of fun and bliss than most on the planet, raising four children with the best friends and family and Pack anyone could have. But those days had also been riddled with duty and fear and keeping as many steps ahead of the enemy as humanly (or otherwise) possible every second of the fucking day.
Now it was time for them.
Their bodies were strong, their minds sharp (and Bella still got carded at the Seven-11 convenience store). Like most gifts there were things to mourn as well: passing family, old friends, older memories.
But now it was their time… theirs.
With a soft satisfied sigh he leaned back and relished the feel of his mate's tender fingers braiding his hair with love. He smiled as the wind-chime on the porch tinkled over Bella's soft tuneless hum. (That girl never could carry a tune to save her life.)
Fuck, he was looking forward to this.
He loved her past the bound of a human (and otherwise) heart. Impossibly more every day. And there'd been many days.
There could never be enough.
He felt her tie off the braid with rawhide and then slip the beaded sheath up its length. He'd brought his people into a new era – where First Peoples had power and purpose and pride again. Slowly, together they were changing the world back a little and making it safe from monsters of many kinds. He'd written new stories and ones that would last for generations.
Jacob was proud.
"I'm proud of you too," a breathy voice fluttered over his ear, before delicate teeth sent shivers down his spine to settle in his balls.
Holy shit, just her touch…
"Mmm… what about my touch, Jake?" she murmured sexily in his ear and then nipped the lobe.
Unlike those young innocent years, she knew exactly how much she affected him. Lucky for him, she'd always used her powers for good.
Jacob wished he could say the same.
With supernatural reflexes – and gentle human hands – he had pulled her over the back of the couch and into his lap.
"Lemme show you what I mean, Bells," he growled softly, capturing that smile between hungry lips.
He kissed her breathless and then trailed hot ardent want purposefully over her jaw.
The first of what would be many moans rose up in the back of her throat. "Jake, we're already late to the Council," she mumbled in a valiant (but feckless) attempt to stop the inevitable.
"So it doesn't matter if we're later, huh Bells?" he mumbled over her skin before Jacob's mouth found his mark and shamelessly carved a deep luxuriant groan from his mate's lips.
Bella arched ardently in his arms and he used the opportunity to rip the towel from between them as he flipped her over on the couch and pushed her dress up. His heated gaze darted over that beautiful face, the lupine fire that would forever run through his veins cataloging every last pore of his prize. Her eyes had lit and were burning with inarticulate want. He loved that he could make her lose her mind like this.
His fingers unerringly found her panties and had them ripped in two in a millisecond.
Bella's hands slipped up and tried to yank his face down by his freshly braided hair. "Need," she gasped.
Jacob's lips hitched up in a dark wry smile as he lowered his mouth to her petition.
"Crave," he growled.
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