Jake was at my side in a second, after I hung up with Charlie. "Holy fuck, Jake." I couldn't keep this from him- my distress was too obvious, and I didn't want to lie to Jake now of all times. Way to start an honest relationship.
"What's going on?"
"Okay... don't get mad, please." I said cautiously. "But Alice- Alice… Cullen called my house."
His jaw clenched immediately and his hands balled into fists. I knew what this would do- send us both spiraling unnecessarily into the past, and hated Alice for it- although a bigger part of me was just curious, so curious.
"Jake. I'm going to call her back and see what the hell she wants- that's it."
"Bella," he said in a low voice. "She doesn't deserve a call back."
"I know, Jake. But I have to know what she wants. It'll bother me if I don't."
He hesitated. "Fine, then." He went bustling around the kitchen, putting away dishes.
I dialed the number I still knew by heart- my heart pained as I realized this.
"Bella," Alice breathed, picking up on the third ring, which surprised me. She always picked up on the first ring. "Are you okay?"
"I'm totally fine. What's going on? What's happened? Did you see something?"
"Are you sure? Where are you? What are you doing? Bella, I'm so sorry to call you like this, I know it's been so long, and… Oh Jasper!" She sounded far now, her high trill distant. "She's okay, she's okay," she trilled.
"Yeah," I said stupidly, my voice shaking slightly, "I'm just here with Jake on the La Push rez, about to have dinner... umm. It's okay, Alice."
"Bella, I'm so sorry. Your future disappeared, literally vanished, and I have no idea why that might be..."
Before I could reply, I heard a loud crash in the background on Alice's side.
"YOU'RE LYING!" He roared. I gasped at that voice. Alice must have dropped the phone but I heard the muffled sound of a series of crashes. A rush of emotion hit me and for some, absurd reason- tears hit my eyes like sudden darts.
I knew that voice- I knew that fucking voice
"Alice! Put me on speaker phone, now." I said, angrily. I knew they could all hear, even if I wasn't.
"Okay, Bella... you're on."
"Listen, I don't know whats going on. I know you just care so much- but I'm fine. I know why you did what you did." I addressed him now, and I knew the effect it would have- on both of us. "Not the… lie. I'm living my life, in fact, I'm on a date with my best friend. So please believe me when I say this. I'm fine."
And then I hung up, my heart racing in my chest.
When I told Jake, he started laughing and didn't stop for a full twenty minutes.
"You should have seen the look on your face, Bells."
I groaned, and rubbed my face in my hands. "That was so not funny. Oh God. What if they come back to Forks?"
"Is that what they called to tell you?" Jacob asked, strangely.
"No, She just called to see if I was... okay."
"Okay," he said, incredulous.
"Let's get away from here, Jake. I don't want to see them if they come back," I lied. I knew they couldn't come here, per se, but here was close enough to Forks, and I just didn't know if I could handle seeing them.
"Hey, how about this. I'm needed in Seattle for a few days, we can head up there tonight and stay in a hotel, relax a little, till Sunday night. A little getaway. It'll be fun. I'll call Ang," Ang? really? Were they that close? "And tell her your back in town. I'm sure everyone will be up for drinks and a night at the club... Especially if they know who's in town." He winked at me.
I grinned, sudden excitement pervading the odd, uncomfortable feelings of the phone call. "Let's start packing."
What did he care, anyway? Being all violent… he wasn't allowed to care about me forever. He shouldn't be feeling anything toward me, I thought, selfishly. I just didn't want him to, for some flawed, inane reason.
That night we took off, just before sundown. I watched Jake's hand on the steering wheel. He wore a dark navy jacket that flattered his skin tone so nicely, and the cut emphasized his angular sunset glow in Forks was a beautiful gold/orange hue, coloring the sky. Jake and I were like a couple of kids on Spring Break.
Jacob called Angela on speakerphone.
"Jake!" Angela exclaimed. "So good to hear from you. So how are you? Have you been watching any Casino royale lately?" She sounded… teasing.
Jake sputtered. I turned in my seat to look at him curiously. "I'm actually headed to Seattle right now. You won't believe who's in town- Bella!"
"No way," she said, sounding shocked. "In Forks? Have you heard from her? It's been years and years."
"Ang, she's actually here with me right now." He said, sounding restrained.
"Oh my gosh, Bella! It's so good to have you back." I couldn't help but grin.
"Good to be here. How are you?"
"I'm great, actually, Ben and I are having a baby!"
"Congratulations!" I told her, meaning it. I'd heard they'd gotten married a couple years ago. "That's so exciting, Ang. I'm so happy for you. I guess that means we won't be able to get cocktails this weekend."
"No, no, I'll just be DD." She laughed, "Virgin drinks are good, too, you know."
After we hung up with Ang, I just had to ask. "Why did she ask about Casino Royale? That was so random, Jake."
I watched his face. He looked sheepish. He sighed. "That's Angela's way of asking me if I'd been getting laid lately."
I gave him a confused look. "Okay, okay," he said, chuckling, "I'll explain. See, when I meet girls.. and they come over to hang out, you know. I always ask them to watch Casino Royale with me. And then I get laid. End of story."
"That seriously works?"
"Yes!" He laughed at me incredulity. "At first, the lady thinks it's so cute I asked them to watch a movie with me. Like I actually just want to spend time with her. Then, in the movie, the characters burst through walls! They jump from beam to beam! They almost fall to their deaths! It gets the lady's pulse racing, heart pounding. And when it's over and our hero, Daniel Craig, is safe(ish) on the ground after blowing up the embassy, the lady relaxes and subconsciously, she realizes, you never know what could happen. You might die tomorrow. And it gets their adrenaline going. It only helps that I'm hotter than Daniel Craig." He threw his head back and laughed at his own genius.
I shook my head at him, smiling, "Shameful, Jake, absolutely shameful."
"Hey, it's my favorite movie, too." He said defensively. "I did actually date some of those girls for more than one night. The movie just speeds things along."
"So..." I said brazenly, my fingers reaching out to touch his firm bicep. "When are we going to watch Casino royale?" I trailed off in a whisper.
"You little minx." He grinned. "You talk like that again and I just might swerve this whole damn car."
"Okay, I'll stop." I sat back in my seat, staring at the front, humming along to the radio.
After a few moments, he burst out. "Okay, I changed my mind. Talk like that again. Please. Please, Bella?" It was my turn to laugh heartily.
Later, when we reached the hotel and dropped our bags off, Jake tipped the Bellhop and grabbed my hand. The cool outside air excited me. The sexual current between us and our endorphins were already releasing, just by the insane amount of fun conversation we'd had. I'd tried not blush at the fact we were sharing a room. I had to remind myself I was twenty-seven fucking years old. One room, with Jacob. For 3 nights. Damn.
Jake was excited to take me to Jack's, a bar by day and a small club by night. He said the music was really good. We both took turns changing and freshening up, and I was careful to keep something over the dress I had saved for an occasion like this. I wanted to wait until we were at the club until he saw it. Nothing like perfectly dim lighting.
I loved the place as soon as we got there.
It had such style. It was like New York, a loft style ceiling, very industrial, rustic. It was classy, with blaring house music and blue flashing lights on the packed dance floor.
We coat-checked. I took off my long, black-tiered coat and felt Jacob's eyes on me. My creamy skin was exposed in a black backless dress, the cut dipped and curved just above my bum. The dress stopped entirely just under that, and the cut made my legs look long, especially with my 4-inch heels. His dark, hooded eyes appraised me, giving me goose bumps.
He pressed his hand against the curve of my lower back, right above my bum, and tingles shot through my body. While he guided me to the bar, his voice rumbled low in my ear. "You look so sexy, Bella." I leaned in closer to him.
"What shall I get you to drink?"
"A vodka tonic, please."
"One vodka tonic for my girl and a Kamikaze for me," he told the bartender.
We stared at each other for a few moments and I had to gulp and break the silence before I spontaneously combusted. "The club is great, Jake. Very classy. I like it a lot."
When our drinks came we sipped, and Jake kept telling me things in my ear and pointing, his hands hovering over various parts of my body, not quite touching.
"That DJ over there owns the club. He's a customer at the new shop. He's the one who told me about Jack's. Your whole ex-gang loves it here- and some of my friends."
It suddenly occurred to me how different Jacob was, it was hard to forget we had so much history, and that it was, essentially, history. Apparently, although most of the guys lived in La Push still, Embry and Quil had moved to Seattle and were meeting us tonight. Our drinks practically emptied themselves before we had another. And another.
When a new song came on, Jake's eyes lit up. "Dance with me." He said, pulling my hand and we were gone.
The bass thundered as Jake and I danced near each other. I felt every pass of his body where it teased me, light grazes here and there. I almost groaned in frustration.
Halfway through the song he came up behind me and I felt his hands grip my waist, holding his back to me, amongst... other areas. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back, enjoying the feel of him.
We danced until my body glittered with sweat, which you could only tell from my back. Song after song, neither of us wanted to leave.
God, we were just so good together. Just having him next me felt amazing, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I wanted to scream with excitement.
It occurred to me then, I'd never felt like kind of excitement, and passion with anyone else before.
When he offered me a drink again, I was pumped. "Absolutely." Quil and Embry at the bar, I almost blushed. By the look on their faces, they'd been watching us dancing. Like Jacob they had both gotten taller and lost all childishness, packed with muscle, although neither was taller or bulkier than Jake.
"It's good to see you, Bella." Embry pulled me into a hug. "Meet Erika, my girlfriend."
I greeted her.
Quil smirked at me, looking me up and down. "Looks like you two were having fun out there."
"Quil," Jake warned while I tried not to look embarrassed. Jake put his arm low around my waist and pulled me to him.
"You're so fucking cute when you do that." He murmured in my ear.
I laughed, a little tipsy now.
Quil watched the whole exchange with wide eyes.
"So who's DD tonight?" Huh. I hadn't even thought about that. New York was cab city.
"I am," Embry said. "I have to work early tomorrow, by 7, so I'm better off. Where are you guys staying?"
"The Mariott on Winston and Steeles." Jake told him.
Quil said something to Embry and I just heard bed. They both laughed. I blushed again. Jake laughed at me.
These guys were going to be the death of me tonight.
"Another drink, anyone?" Jacob offered.