Author's Note: Hi, everyone, just another Twilight fanfic! Please note that this story picks up near the end of New Moon, in the middle of Chapter 16, Paris, when Bella freezes in Jacob's arms after she "hears" Edward tell her to "Be happy." Only this time, when Jake releases her, she stops, and this story is what happens. Please let me know what you think!

I do not own Twilight, any characters, or anything else you might recognize.


"Wait," I said. "Just a minute."

Jacob's head swung back to look at me. His eyes met mine, a question in their dark depths. "What?" he nearly whispered, as if I had a secret to tell him.

"Let's not go in yet," I said quietly. My heart suddenly pounding, I reached out to him, beckoning him for the first time. I put my hand gently on his bare forearm, and he pulled it back as if I'd burned him.

"Bells?" he said in confusion. I swallowed, suddenly shy when I'd never been shy with him. How should I do this? What was my next logical step? Kiss him? Put my arms around him? Edward had always led the way before. I had no experience here, and I didn't think Jake did either.

I was wrong. In a rush, as if he knew exactly what was on my mind, he reached for me and pulled me close. I was pressed against his hot, bare chest before I knew what was happening. He held me tight, in one of those stifling wolf-hugs. Only this time it was different. This time I could breathe.

"What's going on in that head of yours?" he asked softly.

"I…I," I stuttered.

"You what? You want me to stay? You're scared?" he asked, his eyes careful, his brows drawn together.

"Yes," I said in relief. That was as good as anything. He could stay, like Edward had done. Stay, because I was scared. "Can you? Will they let you?" Suddenly I was eager. Oh, please let him stay, Sam, I thought. Lying in bed with Jacob would be different than lying with Edward, not the same at all; but at least Jake was warm. And I'd been cold for months.

"Let me just…" He shifted his weight and pulled his arm from around me. Already I was used to his heat and shivered at its absence. "Uh, I'll have to let them know. Stay in the truck and lock the doors, I'll be back in a few."

"Where are you going?" I asked, alarmed, as cold air washed through the open door.

"I gotta phase, Bells. So I can tell them where I'll be. Be right back." He disappeared into the windy darkness

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I knew the pack was all around the house, that I was likely as safe as possible given the situation, but I still glanced around the truck nervously. The doors were locked, but would a locked door matter to Victoria? I knew it wouldn't. But I also knew that Jake wouldn't let me out of his sight. He'd be phased, too, so that made me feel a little safer. While he was gone, I considered my decision. Was this fair to Jake? Was it fair to let him in, to let him love me, where there was no way I could love him back the same way?

But what if I did learn to love him? Not like I loved Edward, never like that, but maybe there was a part of me that could love Jake the way he deserved to be loved. I did love him, just not in the way he wanted. Would I be able to love him in that way, in a romantic way?

His appearance at the passenger's side window made me gasp. I could see his grin, Cheshire-like, before I saw the rest of his face. Evidently it was a go. Sam had given him leave to stay with me.

He yanked open the door and pulled me out by the hand. "I said I was staying here. It's not a bad idea, really. Even if she does get through them, she'll never get through me. I can phase and she'll never know what hit her!"

I laughed unwillingly. He was so single-minded. I was inviting him to sleep in my bed and all he could think of was how great it would be to have the element of surprise on his side in case Victoria showed up in my room!

I reminded myself to react as if I were relieved, not excited, that he was staying. After all, I was pretending to be scared, right? "Yeah," I agreed. "You'll blow her mind. I just hope the house survives."

"Awesome!" agreed Jake, pulling me up onto the porch and reaching under the eaves for the key as he'd seen me do a million times. He unlocked the door and tugged me inside.

The house was dark and immediately I turned on the table lamp next to Charlie's chair. The soft light fell across Jake's face as he grinned down at me. "Wanna watch TV or something?" he asked.

"No," I said. I looked at him levelly. "I want to go to bed."

Jake suddenly seemed to realize what we were doing. This wasn't about Victoria anymore. Carefully he asked, "You're tired?"

Again, I was shy. "Well…" I began, drawing out the word. "I did almost drown today. So maybe I'll take a shower first. But yeah, I'm tired."

"Yeah, I could use a shower too," he said absently, then realizing what he said, he looked at me guiltily. "When you're done," he amended.

"Come on up to my room. I don't think Charlie will be home tonight, but if he does come in, I don't want him to know you're here." I led him up the stairs. I gathered clean underwear and pajamas, choosing the camisole and silky pants I used when I wanted to impress Edward, pushing the ratty sweats to the back of the drawer. "I'll be back in a sec," I said, going down the hall to the bathroom.

When I'd showered and shaved my legs, I combed through my hair and pulled it up in a pony tail, which I then braided. I was back within ten minutes to find Jake pawing through the papers on my computer desk. He barely looked up at me as I sat down on the bed.

"Looks like you have some homework over break," he commented.

"Just a paper for English. I'm almost done," I told him. "Do you want some clean sweat pants? I could probably get some out of Charlie's room."

"Yeah, that would be good," he said, still not looking at me. "Just hang 'em on the bathroom door." He walked out of my room and down the hall to the bathroom. Why wouldn't he look at me?

I dug through Charlie's drawers until I found the biggest pair of sweat pants he owned and hung them on the bathroom doorknob. Going back to my room, I looked in the mirror. Were the pajamas I was wearing a little too sexy? Is that why he wouldn't look at me? I didn't want to scare him away, but I didn't want to change either. That would be embarrassingly obvious.

My cheeks were flushed after my bout with the near-drowning, and I was tired and subdued. Harry's death weighed heavily on me. I knew Charlie would be devastated, as Billy had been. I was thirsty beyond belief, so I quickly went downstairs and grabbed a pitcher of ice water from the kitchen along with two glasses and a bag of chips for Jake. Maybe some food would make him a little less jumpy. He'd seemed nervous ever since I'd brought him upstairs.

When I got back to my room, he was seated at the computer, wearing Charlie's sweatpants and surfing the internet. He didn't turn around as I came back in and shut the door behind me. "You hungry?" I asked.

He finally turned to look at me, and I saw a blush wash over his face as he tried not to look at my breasts, covered by the soft camisole. He dragged his eyes to my face, abashed. "Always," he answered with a self-conscious grin. I didn't miss the double meaning. Without waiting for an invitation, he grabbed the bag of chips out of my hand and tore them open. He pulled one out and crunched it into his mouth.

"I'm dying of thirst," I said, pouring the water into the glasses. I set one on the computer desk and warned him, "I usually don't drink anything on that desk. So don't spill anything on my computer."

"I'm not you, Bells," he said, turning back to the computer. I went and stood behind him, lightly resting a hand on his bare shoulder.

"What are you looking at?" I asked.

"Facebook," he answered, stuffing more chips into his mouth. He slugged the water back as I looked at his page over his shoulder. Someone named Tori had put, "We neeeeeddd to have some classes together Jakey!" on his wall, followed by three hearts and two smiley faces. He'd answered, in classic Jake fashion, "yup." There were pictures of him I'd never seen, taken with picture phones in the res school hallways. A picture of him with a pretty, dark-haired girl, holding hands and grinning, his hair still long and silky. One of him with long hair again in a sea of girls, all of them with their tongues out and dyed blue from some candy or gum. Another one of him with Quil, his hair pulled back in a pony tail, both of them holding giant cups of soda and pretending to smoke the straws like cigarettes, their eyes squinting sexily. One of him running in gym class, this time with his hair cropped short, his massive biceps bulging out of his gym shirt, a look of concentration on his face. There were several comments under this picture, all from girls who seemed to be smitten with the swarthy look and his giant arms. "LOOOVVEE your hair!" "Run by me any day, baby!" "Ooooo, those arms!" "Sexxxaaayyyy!"

"Who is this?" I asked tartly, pointing at the girl with whom he was holding hands.

"Oh, that's Katrina. She's a friend," he said evasively.

"Looks like more than a friend," I mumbled. "And who's this Tori chick?"

He looked up at me, his face innocent, chip crumbs on his lips. "You jealous or something?" I could see the smile in his eyes.

"Hm!" I sniffed, shrugging. "Makes no difference to me!" I went over and sat on the bed. Jake shut the computer down, coming over and sitting next to me. He smelled like shampoo and soap. His black hair had little drops of water on the ends. Just his innate maleness being so near me made me catch my breath.

He looked right into my face, forcing me to look back at him. There was a tiny grin on his lips. "I think you're jealous, Bella Swan," he accused teasingly.

I felt my face warm and knew I was blushing. "I am not!" I said hotly, unable to look away from his dancing eyes.

"You are. Look at you! You don't like the fact that I have a fan club!" He laughed.

"Fan club!" I spluttered, forcing a laugh. "Please! Some little bimbos write on your wall and hold your hand? That's a fan club?" I made my voice high and sing-songy. "Oh, Jakey, you're so strong and handsome! I need to have some classes with you so I can look at your big arms all day!" I batted my eyes, giggling.

"You want to join?" he asked with mock seriousness. "There's a waiting list, but I think I might be able to pull a few strings for you." His grin was contagious, and I smiled back at him before I realized that his hand was suddenly on my knee. I stared at it as if there was a tarantula there.

"Is this okay?" he asked softly, raising his eyebrows and moving his hand just a tiny bit on my leg.

I looked up at his, my heart pounding. Was it okay? He was so near, I could feel the heat radiating from his skin. It was so welcoming, so different from the icy blast I was used to. Slowly I nodded.

"Are you still scared?" he asked. Scared? What is he talking about? My mind fumbled to understand until I remembered, that was what I'd told him to get him to stay. I nodded again.

"Don't worry, Bella. You're safe here with me."

And I knew I was.