A/N: It's been a long time, lovelies. I'm happy to be back back with three- four consecutive chapters and faith restored in the outcome of this story. Thank you for being my guinea pigs on this writing journey... Please do me a favor and reread, if possible?

I'll definitely be posting more often. Maybe every Wednesday? Okay. Cool.

I know it's been a long time... and I feel right to share that my mom has been diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer. So these last eight or so months have been a terrifying, life-altering roller coaster. I take care of her full time, and it's been an emotional journey. But things are looking up :) Any words of advice or encouragement are welcome during this time. I'm just happy to be writing again.

His dark brown skin flexed and shimmered, I studied, suddenly, the distracting shine on his forehead, his brow furrowed, engaged in thoughts that I suddenly felt heated over, deep concern heavy in me.

"Are you sure?" He asked again.

I stared at him hopelessly. Cold, cold air blasted noisily from the vents above and I shivered.

He stood then and came quickly in front of me; his knees touched the furry carpet below us as he swept me into his chest.

"I don't want to lose you, Bella… Not yet… Not so quickly…"

I hugged his familiar warm body back. "As long as you're still my Jake," I whispered, frightened.

"Just promise me one thing."

"What?" I muttered, confused.

"You'll come to my house for Christmas. Promise me that," he insisted. "Everybody will be there and they're only letting me have my way that day, having Christmas at my house and all, because you're here," he laughed lightly, tension still rigid in his stance.

"Okay…" I waited, curious. It's only a few days away, now.

He sighed. "I've just really enjoyed being human with you these last few days, Bells…"

My hands dropped— my back pressed against the chair. "Fuck." He muttered under his breath, gazing at me wide-eyed.

Was it because of the use of my old nickname, I had that feeling deep in my belly?

The sudden feeling that all at once, we were teenager's again- weren't we? No, we weren't, he wasn't Edward, there was no Edward, there was no mystical world, but he said…

No, he didn't, no, no.

He didn't.

"You must know that I— I didn't choose this. I didn't want this. Bella, please. Know that."

"You have…" I attempted to comprehend. "… no control?"

Strangely, so strangely, Jacob turned and sat down at his chair again. He slouched into his desk, his hand fisted, pressed against his temple— it was as if he wanted to berate himself, beat himself in the head. The fisted hand shook with the pressure I imagined he was exerting.

"I'm sorry." He said so quickly. "I'm so sorry. I know you've had to deal with this before. I know this is why you left. This is why I've been holding back. I didn't think that it would happen so fast— god dammit!" He slammed his palm on the desk.

"I'm assuming that desk choice was intentional," I muttered confusedly, it was a rustic, steel looking desk, like the old, aged material of a space rocket. It seemed heavy, it certainly didn't budge under the shock he just implemented.

He scoffed. "You have no idea."

"So that's why you didn't want to sleep with me." I concluded. "You're sleeping with… her."

Jacob cringed.

"She wasn't supposed to be here today," he muttered. "I knew seeing her would give it all away, she's so—"

"She's so different." I finished for him. "And masculine. And… Wait."




"My god." I took a sharp little breath at the shock that pinched my chest and my heart started to soar, imagining.

"The gene is very strong in her…" His eyes grew very, very sad, his voice somber. "We've all succumbed to the pull at some point… the temptation just gets to be too much, too much for anyone…"

"You've all slept with her," I understood carefully, my fingers twitching, padding random patterns against my leg. What the f—

The elevator doors, many feet behind us, suddenly opened with a ting.

Quil stepped out, he seemed to be replacing a card in his shirt's breast pocket.

"Jacob, I ne—" He stopped in his tracks when he saw me. "Oh." Seeing my expression, he grew uncomfortable. I probably looked like a deer caught in headlights, my eyes wide. "Should I come back later?"

I didn't know if Jacob nodded, but Quil gave him a long, unfathomable look and turned to step into the elevator. The warm pot lights disappeared as the doors closed. The floor we remained on was lined with windows that held view to the cold, dim grey sky light of Seattle.

"By the way…" I remembered, released from the tense conversation. "Where the fuck are we?" I stood up, ready to stomp around.

He sighed. "My, uh, floor. I guess."

I merely glanced around us, responding to his resistant tone. Besides the desk, there was a treadmill to my far left, and a big, pretty ficus tree. Again, I was impressed. With its hardwood floors, a big sitting/meeting area where a cozy L-shaped white couch sat nestled on another furry white rug, a sleek mahogany coffee table in the middle, more cute, potted modern plants, and a big flat screen TV in perfect view from the couch, it had a home-y touch. But still very efficient.

He began tapping on his keyboard, his typing rapid and impressive. "Do you have a hotel card key?"

I peeked in my little black cross-body purse, slung and hanging at my left hip bone. "Yes. Why do you ask?"

He nodded. Which didn't answer my question. Immersed into his computer screen, only after a few moments of ignoring me, he answered. Really, Jacob? I thought. "I expect you'll need it so that you can get your things and return home." He pressed his lips together. "I can arrange a car."

"I wasn't planning on leaving." I told him honestly. "You still haven't told me… anything really."

At lightening speed, he was in front of me, grabbing my arm. "It will change everything, Bella."

"I think you're forgetting," I emphasized. "I'm not a little girl in high school anymore. I can handle it. I'm stronger now…" My own little fist clenched tightly against my leg, my head was truly swirling with all the things he'd let slip, now.

enjoyed being human, Bells… the temptation… I didn't choose this…

"Jacob, tell me!" I demanded. I'm in a different place now. I can handle it." I repeated.

I paused when the elevator opened again.

"Jules is asking for you," a voice boomed from the elevator. Out stepped Paul.

"Oh fuck it." Jacob cursed, standing. "He's my best client. I think 70% of our revenue comes from his babies." He told me apologetically. "So much for not working for anyone and being your own boss…" he shook his head. "Paul, can you get Marco to get Bella something to drink at least? I'll be right back, sweetheart." He kissed my shakily on the cheek and jogged towards the elevator.

Paul nodded and stepped off, looking bored. He sat precariously on the arm of Jake's desk chair, plucking the phone with ease from its base, it seemed to soar to his ear and he caught it with his jaw and shoulder. He then pressed and held a number on the pad, before releasing. "Marco, can you bring Bella a… coffee?"

I nodded nimbly.

He watched me intently while hanging up the phone. I could feel judgment passing over his eyes. His arbitration had sounded in his voice. I scoffed, to what did he have to judge me for? He didn't know me from Eve.

"So, Paul," I started uncomfortably. Like the other boys, he seemed well built beneath his light blue oxford, tucked classily into khakis with a casual tie, and tall to boot. "How long have you been working with Jacob?" I was merely trying to be polite. My head was spiraling with what he could be judging me for. Did Jacob sleep with a lot of girls? Was I the new slut? What was it? Did he think I knew what Jacob was talking about?

He took on a jaunty demeanor, straightening up readily. "How long have you been running with…" His expression suddenly changed, mid-sentence, and became solemn. "How long have you been sleeping with Jake?" He asked, finally, a half-alive smirk on his face.

I harbored my deep offense and put on a brave face. "Go fuck yourself, Paul."

He then appeared to be attempting to say several things. But each time, his mouth closed and he seemed to think better of it.

"Try not to get yourself tangled in his mess, Isabella." Paul said heatedly, before he took off to catch the elevator. The man, finally, who didn't look Quileute, from before, clutched a white tray with a mug of steam and sugar and milk.

"You must be Marco," I said, smiling softly.

"Yes, Miss Isabella. Mr. Black will be a while. Would you like to watch some TV?"

With Marco's help, I gazed unseeingly at CNN on the flat screen high on the wall from the cozy, white couch. Marco even retrieved a blanket for me. I sipped on my black coffee hoping for clarity, hoping the the never ending swirl of my dazed thoughts would cease and peace would come to mind again.

I thought very, very hard.

I did not want to fuck this up.

My intuition had brought me to this entire adventure, discovering Jacob again. I'd never been so enthralled in my life— so painted with passion, so happy and loved and so full of love.

Then, it clicked. I hadn't wanted to know about Edward and the vampires. I still wish I'd never found out. It was one of those life-changing things that almost felt like I'd dreamt it— if I didn't have the vampire bite mark to prove it. There were things I wish I didn't know about Charlie… that he still loved Renee, foolishly, hopelessly, and held a torch for her that he took years to stop believing she might still come back… There are plenty, plenty of things I wish I didn't know about my Mom. Her needs. Her penchants.

There were these things.

I was still emotionally fragile. I always would be, I resolved to myself, solemnly. You don't ever really heal from a break like the one I suffered from Edward. You don't truly get a clean break…

Another life changing thing would break me…

"Bella," a deep voice urged me. "Wake up, baby." I felt a familiar warm hand grasp my shoulders gently, waking me.

My eyes fluttered open, Jacob's office was dim. It was almost dark outside. I must have slept for a couple hours.

I started to sit up quickly. "Relax," Jacob whispered, hushing me back down. "It's winter in Seattle." He reminded me. "The sun sets at, like, six."

"Oh thank god," I exhaled in relief. "I still want to get something for Angela's fetus."

"Angela's fetus?" He smiled. Jacob sat at my feet, his arm long, muscled arm draped across the backrest behind us. "I got Marco to pick up something… If you don't like it, he can get something else." He nodded towards the bag on the coffee table in front of us. I peeked over. I felt Jacob's eyes rake over me as I lay across the shorter side of the "L" of the couch, and he sat at the corner where I ended.

This was another thing I loved about Jacob. He wanted me, he wanted to touch me, to join me, I could see it in his eyes— but he understood that after our odd, elusive day I wasn't ready for that.

We always had that connection. He always seemed to intuitively know what I was feeling and thinking without me having to tell him.

"You look comfortable." He commented, smiling.

"I am," I admitted, stretching, my fingertips reaching me. "I like it here… It's very cozy. How were things with Jules?"

"Fine. Crisis averted. Repairing classics are always tricky." He scowled. "We haven't ruined any… yet."

"Can I see?" I asked, inclining towards the gift bag on the coffee table. He handed the bag to me. I scooted up to sitting, keeping the blanket over me. "Why on earth is it so cold in here?" I asked him, removing the present from the bag.

"I run at about 106 to 108 degrees," he answered casually.

I blanched, my hands stilling, and then continued unraveling the soft little thing in my hands. It was a plush baby blanket in a delicate light gray, with a matching outfit and cap to match. It was so tiny, perfect for a newborn. I would have picked it out myself. Smiling, I told him so. He stared deeply into my eyes for a few moments. I wondered what he was thinking.

After he broke away, I replaced the outfit in the bag and set it on the table.

"Alphas typically have the most children in the pack…" He mused. "I guess I'm three behind." He said jokingly.

"What are you talking about, Jacob?"

"Nothing," he added. "Never mind."

"Listen— now that I think you've… brought it up," I sighed, pushing my hair out of my face. "I've made a decision. I don't want to know. I think I already do…" I felt harebrained then, I pushed the thought away. "But I haven't thought too deeply in to it and if I don't have to, I really, really do not want to know."

He watched me quizzically.

"I've been thinking, too, Bells." He interrupted. "I know I made it all sound so horrible, and it's completely up to you. But…" He played with the thread at the edge of my blanket, a small smile on his face. "If you change your mind… it's also really awesome. It has its cool stuff, too. It's part of my culture… and my brothers… and who I am. And I think… I think I want to share that with you." He met my eyes. "I also think it's inevitable that you'll find out. But you're right, it's definitely too fast now." He concluded.

Brazenly, I held out my right hand, the one with the mark. Jacob flinched so hard, backwards, away from it— I might've thought he'd been tazed.

"I'm sure it has its beauty," I muttered, gazing at it as well. "But it has its dangers when you're not careful. Am I right?"

"You're right." He said, softly back, leaning into my hand, as if to see it better.

"It's okay,' I assured him at a soft whisper. "It doesn't hurt anymore." He traced it slowly with his warm finger.

"How were you… How did you not…" He looked at me, question in his eyes. I just shook my head. "It was nothing, really."

"Okay." I decided then, standing. We had to move on now. "Let's go to my high school reunion."

"God," Jacob groaned, sinking in his seat. "I hope, to God, my crazy ex doesn't show up."

"I hope she does." I replied. "So I can do this." I pressed the front of my body against his, specifically, my chest and hip area. He stood stalk still. "Riiiight in front of her." I laughed all the way to the elevator.

A/N: I know this was a bit messy, but I'm excited for the next few chapters... action-packed, sexified, glorious chapters. Until then x