"Take my hand," he whispered into the night. I would have done whatever he asked me to do. This was the way it had always been. I loved Jacob Black with as much as I could. Aside from my family, Jake was the only constant presence I had ever had, and I trusted him with my life. I trusted him with everything.
I did as I was told, allowing his much warmer palms to envelop my own. I closed my eyes, and jumped over the edge of the waterfall, located on the outskirts of the reservation. As we hit the water, the water pierced my skin with its ice cold temperature. When we surfaced, Jake looked at me with an amused smile. I attempted to return it, but the chill was simply too much for me to ignore (even in my hybrid state). The grin fell from his face as he pulled me against him.
"Ness, are you cold? I'm sorry, I figured…" he was always so considerate. That was one of the reasons that I had found myself so drawn to him lately. We'd always been inexplicably close, but recently, the relationship that we had wasn't enough. Not for me, anyway. Jake had seemed perfectly content to continue in our realm of platonic behaviors forever.
"No, I-I-I'm fine," I chattered. Pulling me flush against him and lifting me out of the water, he wrapped a blanket around my shoulders. The blanket warmed me only in the slightest. I knew that the true reason I was cold wasn't because of the water. It was the distance between us. I need him closer, all the time. And this moment was simply reinforcing all of the feelings that had been rushing through me lately- the feelings that I hadn't understood until now.
"No, Ness, come here," Jacob pulled me towards him causing this time a shiver of delight. I shrugged the blanket off of my shoulders, reinvigorated with confidence, brought on by our sudden closeness. "You really should keep that on. You might get-"
I cut him off, placing a kiss roughly against him lips. That silenced him and stilled the rhythmic pattern that he'd been rubbing against my back in order to warm me up. After a moment, the tension melted away, replaced then by confidence on both of our ends. My hands began searching his body, attempting to trace every line that I had come to know so well. He leaned the two of us back into the sand, propping himself up on his elbows.
"Ness," he broke away quickly, looking down at me with a strange mixture of pleasure and uncertainty, "what are we doing here? We should just be swimming, that's what I promised your father we'd come here to do."
Wasting no time, I leaned forward to kiss his neck, hoping to entice him back into our previous interaction. I didn't want to talk, to waste any more time. We had played that game for long enough, and I was ready to put an end to it. "Jake, please…"
"Please what, Ness?" He whispered back, his voice now barely audible. I hoped that meant my plan was working. That somehow, even despite the fact that we'd always been best friends, maybe tonight he could look at me differently. Look at me like I had hoped for so often lately.
"Just be with me; right here, right now… Don't worry about my father," I gripped the back of his neck, bringing him down to meet my lips once again. Finally, he obliged, allowing whatever powers that be overtake him. Perhaps it was the animal instinct of having a woman ready and willing to invite you to have your way with her. Although, deep down, I was wishing that he was finally returning my seemingly misplaced wonton affection.
"This isn't real, Nessie," I heard him say. "Ness, seriously, I'm right here," I reached out to him, to bring him back, but he was pulling away. Farther and farther until I could no longer see him. Still, his voice echoed through my thoughts. "Reneesmee, everything will be alright."
"No, no it won't!" I shouted.
I awoke in a startle; my breath heavy, lids drooping and Jacob Black looking down at me with concern. It had all been a dream. We weren't finally going to be together. It was my subconscious playing yet another trick on my mind. While sleeping was unique to only one Cullen, I sometimes wished I could avoid the ideas that pervaded my thoughts overnight. I had a tendency to allow them to not only overtake me, but project them onto other people. I was hoping that hadn't been the case tonight.
Jake had curled up on the floor at the edge of my bed, following his patrols for as long as I could remember. Knowing he was there had a calming effect on me as a baby, my parents had explained when I asked. So we'd never bothered to adjust the sleeping arrangements.
"Ness, are you okay? That was some dream you must have been having there," Jacob smiled again, extending his hand to my cheek. He grazed it gently, allowing his warm fingers to trace the outline of my face like he'd done so many times throughout my childhood as a comfort mechanism. Only tonight, things were different. It was no longer comforting, it was exasperating.
Pushing his hand away hadn't been conscious, it was instinctual. I shot up out of bed, careful not to allow my bedspread to fall below the sheer silk top that Aunt Alice had bought me a few weeks ago. If anything, the evidence of my dream Jacob interaction would be apparent through the fabric. His face registered unbelief as I attempted to keep my voice hushed.
"No, Jake, I'm not actually okay," I looked down at my lap. I knew that my parents were hunting in the vicinity, and while my mother had my thoughts shielded, my voice could still be picked up by my father, and some things I just didn't need him to hear. I raised my palm to his cheek to open our connection.
I am tired of pretending, Jake. Tired of walking around every day and acting like everything is the same as it's always been. It's not, and I think you can feel it too. I love you, and not as a best friend or big brother… As a man.
I brought my hand away slowly, allowing him a chance to process what I'd just shown him. "Ness, I…" He started, reaching for my hand.
"Jake please, you don't have to say anything. I just, I'm just a little confused, and that's all. This is all so new to me and I don't want to lose what we have," I finally met his gaze, his dark brown eyes looking more beautiful than I'd ever seen. I wanted now more than ever for him to just take me in his arms and claim me as his own, but I had a feeling we would never be able to mount the relationship that we'd developed my entire life.
Before I could say anything else, Jake's mouth descended on mine, leaning me back into the pillow softly. I opened my mouth, allowing his tongue entrance to dance with mine. As we explored each other, one of his hands found its way under the hem of my shirt, easing upward. Soon it grazed over the part of my anatomy that I had been so eager to protect only moments before, eliciting a gasp from me. I tugged at his shirt, pulling it over his head and tossing it to the floor.
I had seen his chiseled chest so many times before, but tonight it looked brand new- foreign. We were the same Jake and Nessie we'd always been, but now everything was different.
This time, he was mine. And finally, I was going to be his.