A/N: Please read and review! Pretty short, I know, but I have a LOT more.

Disclaimer: I do not own nor make money from the Twilight characters or story.

Music: Bittersweet Faith, by Bitter Sweet (More for the sexy sounds than lyrics. Listen, you won't regret it)

No regrets

Everything will work out fine

We'll hold our breath

Wait for another sign

I've tasted

Your bittersweet faith

My heart aches for you

Prologue: Merry Christmas, Black

Jake's warm hand rested on my leg, under the table, while he spoke to the entire familial clan at Christmas dinner in the new Black home. A fire crackled nearby; jazzy Christmas music played dimly. We had all laughed and conversed, obnoxiously louder and louder as wine bottles emptied. I felt the enticing heat of his hand burn through my stockings. He traced a finger from my kneecap, up my thigh, over and over again... higher and higher. Agonizing-ly good.

A shiver crawled up my spine.

I just stared at him, not hearing a word...

the side of his handsome face,

a high cheekbone, full lips moving, quirked at the ends, as he finished his silly story... a story that had both the children and adults laughing, their forks tinkling against their plates, I could see them moving in my peripherals, almost in slow motion—

He never ceased his shiver-inducing movements on my thigh.

I couldn't help but imagine the feel of his slightly scruffy cheeks on the insides of both of my thighs. I was buzzed— from head to toe. I eyed his arm and chest brazenly, imagining his warm skin under my hands and his muscled body pressed against mine.

His dark, deep eyes suddenly captured my vision. I couldn't fathom his expression.

He leaned close in to whisper in my ear, his voice husky, "You're staring, Bella. If you keep that up I'll have to rip off this sexy, little black dress— right in front of our entire family."

Our, I repeated in my head, buzzing still.

"Don't ever wear it again." He continued. "No one deserves to see you like this— but me. "

I leaned in close to his cheek, not caring that the entire family could see us; they were all too busy talking, laughing. From behind me, I knew it would appear as if we were we were kissing.

"And then, what would you do, Black?" I whispered back. I knew he would like it if I called him that— yes, his eyes became fierce. "Bella… I'm going to pull on those long brown locks of yours and ravage your full lips senseless." He breathed. "Can you handle it?"

I almost groaned. My tongue darted out to lick my lips unconsciously. My body was humming with electricity. It crackled, and we were beginning to spark.

Jacob Black was now a man, I realized, and I had to fucking have him.

"Meet me in the kitchen, now, Black." I muttered. "And don't you dare make me wait."

We were about to set off a fire.

1. One

Music: Iris & Jasper, by Hans Zimmer.

Chapter One: Begin Again

Although I detested the wet cold of Forks in the Holiday season, I knew it was when Charlie missed me most. And truthfully, I missed Charlie, too. Loads.

So, that was why I was currently boarding the last plane to Port Angeles from my home in NYC, this December 17th, nervously patting my hair and dressed to a T.

Okay, I was totally lying.

The real reason I was going back to Forks was for Jacob Black.

The past few nights— I had dreamed him, and beautiful, familiar, warm, perplexing, and oddly stirring dreams they were.

The first night was the most familiar. After I had finished writing the next 6 weeks lesson plan for my English 11th graders, laying across my big, cozy white bed, the fire crackling nearby, I pushed my laptop away and snuggled in my pillow, drifting away after a long day rather quickly.

I dreamed russet skin basked in a fire's glow, Jacob hugging me in my truck, his big, warm chest against my back, driving me home from La after a day on the beach and bonfire... myself in his lap, myself nuzzling his warm neck, while he kissed each one of my fingertips and laced my fingers through his.

But this Jake was different from the one I had known. He was no longer the kid I had left behind years ago... The dream was so vivid and th unshakable. I longed to return to that feeling, whatever it was, made me so content. I almost wanted to cry that I had lost it. I found myself... yearning for it.

And that's how Forks started calling my name.

The next thing I knew, I was calling Charlie and hearing his voice asking me to come home— I simply was unable to resist. I booked my flight within the hour for next week and emailed Charlie the itinerary. Charlie was thrilled.

A feeling of intuition had so strongly called me there.

Was I absolutely insane?

I had taught Charlie to text before I moved away, so we could better communicate. The last text he had sent me said:

Jake will get you from the airport.

As I walked down the downward slant to the awaiting families and friends seeking their arrivals, I found my hands trembling while clutching my carry-on's handle from nerves or excitement— I was sure it was both. I made a quick stop in the bathroom to do a once-over and take a few deep breaths. I smoothed down my freshly blown-out locks, slightly curled at the ends. I hadn't slept on the plane at all, instead the endless coffees had made me a bit high-strung. Or maybe I really was just excited.

I knew my outfit was out of norms for the Bella that Jake and Charlie used to know. I wore brown leather boots (that I knew made my legs look long, and, as Alaina, my best friend back in New York, would say, fuckhot), and tight, flattering jeans with a light fitted, white v-neck cotton sweater, the deep cut 'v' revealed my slender, shapely shoulders and collarbones quite artfully. Although it was casual, it was still sexier than my old jeans and t-shirt routine.

I scoffed to myself. Those days were long over. If only they knew the lingerie I had on underneath.

Needless to say, I was still Bella, just a much more adult-Bella. A stronger, sexier Isabella Swan. Alice would approve. That thought always me smile.

I somewhat expected to have to wait, considering the major traffic the city often had in this weather from Forks to Port Angeles, and also the tailwind th. plane had caught got me here a good half an hour than scheduled. But—

He was there. He was there, standing and waving, towering over everyone else, Russet skin and deep set, large dark eyes I couldn't miss. I saw his mouth move.


Holy, shit.

I was staring at a male model, I was sure. Abercrombie & Fitch worthy.

Jacob Black stood at 6'4", a wide set of shoulders, buff arms and chest, shown off in a light grey, long sleeve-tee amazingly, and jeans. He was so drastically different; cheekbones met with perfect lips, no longer hidden by teenage fluff, jaw line stronger, more squared, a slight, days old scruff that I had not seen before made him look much older and sexier, and surprisingly a bit mysterious in a hot-stranger way. The eyes especially added to this. His hair was short and matured, a drastic change in comparison to the long locks I had left behind.

He was the most handsome man I had ever seen.


If you looked up fuckhot in Alaina's dictionary, (that girl made up a lot of words, most of which I learned when we went out for drinks and had too much), a picture of Jake was there.

I found myself shreiking, "Jake!" Lightning shot through my veins, and I was suddenly out of patience. I couldn't help the dopeshit grin that came over my face, and as soon as I was within ten feet of distance from him with a somewhat clear path, I let my bags fall to the ground and took off running towards him. Ten years.

He was already holding out his arms. I threw mine around his neck and he lifted me, swinging us around. We were both cracking up, I felt his entire body thundering with booming laughs when he stopped to clutch me in an Emmett-worthy bear hug. His large, warm hands sprawled across my back, and I felt tingles where they gripped me.

I pulled back a little to look him in the eyes. "God, Jake, it's been so long. You look amazing." My eyes flickered down to his full, smooth lips and away. I could hardly help it, they were two inches away. I saw him notice and smile wider, to distract him I kissed him softly on the cheek, which was scratchy. I noticed his musky, woodsy scent. It was lovely.

"No, Bella, you look amazing. Not that I expected any less from you." He breathed, his voice huskier and softly, his forehead rested against mine. It felt so... natural, good, to be so close to someone again— no... to him again.

We never could keep our hands off each other, Jake and I, even platonically. Did that mean something? I wondered.

I felt a little dizzy when I realized there was no way I'd rather it be.

We stared into each others eyes for a second too long before he put me down. My head was already spinning. What was that? What the fuck.. That immediate attraction had hit me like a good round of cosmos did. Not to mention Jake's actions. I saw a couple eye us in my peripherals.

"Welcome home, Bells," he said cheerily, picking up my bags. The space between us practically fizzled. I filed it away for future debate.

"It's so good to be. Charlie sent you?"

"No, I volunteered myself, actually. I was worried I might've taken away a special moment for him but now... I think it was completely worth it." He teased.

"Oh?" I smiled at him, "Thanks Jake. You're so... different." I remarked, teasingly.

"In a good way, I hope. You look like you just walked out of the Hamptons," he smirked, before adding, "You seriously need to come home often."

It's true, I wasn't as pale as I usually would be. Thank goodness I discovered the miracle of a light spray tan. You'd never mistake me for a vampire now.

"I know," I muttered guiltily. Then I gasped in shock. "My truck!"

My rusty old Chevy was waiting for us in the lot. Leave it to Jake not to be cold in the dead of winter, while I had to put on my new leather coat, pulling it smoothly from my carry on. I ran my gloved hands along it, breathing in the cold, rainforest-like air of Forks. It felt good. I couldn't stop smiling.

"You took care of him for me! I thought he'd be dead by now."

"Yup," Jake said proudly. "He's still chugging along." He turned on the truck and blasted the heat before putting my bags away while I climbed passenger seat.

"Speaking of Charlie," he called out. "I didn't really steal his thunder. He doesn't get up and around as much as he used to. Tired, you know?"

I waited until he returned to speak, watching his ass shamelessly through the mirror as he loaded up. Damn.

"Hey, truck managed to get you here early, that's some feat."

"Traffic wasn't too bad, but you might have to stick near your personal heater, because truck's heat is nottt the greatest." He admitted, dragging out the word in a sing-song voice.

I sighed. I was looking forward to the hour-long drive back to Forks with Jake, but I guess I just wasn't that lucky. Suck it up, Bella, I scolded myself. Enjoy him while it lasts. Only I would wish for more traffic.

I turned to Jake. "You just want me as near as possible. I bet you intentionally neglected it." I teased bravely.

He laughed, throwing his head back. "I missed you, Bells. Come here." He extended his right arm to me. I snuggled into his side while we waited for the truck to warm up.

"I missed you, too." I looked up into his face, studying him. "How have you been?"

"I've been... good." He answered honestly, lightly. "It was tough for a while, losing Dad, but business has been really good and keeping me busy. I insist that you come see the shop in Seattle while you're here. Oh, that reminds me, how long are you here?" Jake's distracting hand moved to take the shift, putting it into reverse. Then, we were off.

I could abruptly see a hardness in Jake's face, just as he mentioned the business and Billy. This new Jake was more mature than I anticipated. I had heard from Charlie all about Jacob success, despite having almost nothing when Billy passed away. The man didn't have much savings. But Jake and his buddies pitched in and got shop in La Push going, even bringing in business from Port Angeles by word of mouth for good prices and rumored expertise. Dad had even joked Jake was a household name. Five years later, Jake opened Black's Auto Repair in Seattle as well.

"Oh, congrats on the new shop! I would love to. I.. think I'll be here for just about 4 weeks. Plenty of time. What else do you have planned for while I'm here?"

"Don't worry. You won't even have time to be bored." He grinned at the street.

We bantered on. Jake seemed pleased that I planned to include him in all my plans, but I couldn't imagine why he thought I wouldn't. Jake had once been my family more than anyone else.

I continued to question him about Embry, Paul, Sam and the gang, his sisters and their new lives, and his dating life. It appears Jake and Leah been on and off for years, but they were currently in the awkward stage of "who knows." I tried not to let it bother me while he questioned me on New York. I couldn't help but light up a little.

New York was exciting.

Even though I was a plain old high school teacher, I had plenty of friends from NYU who I had remained close to. They had dinner parties, weddings, coffee date set-ups, and other streams of events constantly keeping me busy. I told Jake about the awful dates and about my crazy friends. It had all helped me forget and move past Edward. After I had finally come to terms with the realization that he left and why he really did, l made a conscious decision to take advantage of it. I didn't want to hurt Charlie and Renée anymore with my ghostly behavior. I might as well take advantage of the life I had. It was painful, and it took years of therapy, self and professional. Edward left so that I could be human, make mistakes and have babies, enjoy my parents, and more. I thought about the Cullens almost everyday, the family I'll never have. I missed them. I cherished memories with them. I forgave Jasper. I forgave Edward. Even though what I wanted was eternity with him, he obviously didn't see me fit to make my own decisions. So maybe we wouldn't have worked out in the end. (Sometimes, I told myself this.) He had no respect for my decisions, and now we both lost out.

Jacob always respected by decisions. He encouraged me to apply to NYU and I luckily got a decent scholarship. He helped me convince my parents that this was a good idea. He brought me out of my shell. He would miss me, but he let me choose my life, even if it was away from him.

"I bet your male students are mad for you," He chuckled.

"They are not!" I protested. He gave me a look, dubious, eyebrows raised.

"Okay. Maybe a little," I admitted, laughing. "They often ask me if I have a boyfriend."

"Yeah, and how often do they drop their #2 pencils to stare at your perfectly round booty?"

I smacked him, hard.

"Seriously, Bells. Do you wear those jeans to school? You're torturing them."

I had the grace to blush and Jake brushed his warm knuckles over my cold cheek.

"Some things never change."

And it's impossible to tell
How important someone was
And what you might have missed out on And how he might have changed it all And how you might have changed it all for him And how he might have changed it all And how you might have changed it all for him Did I, did I
Did I, did I
Did I, did I
Did I, did I
Did I did I miss out on you? Intuition, Feist