Hey guys! Sorry for the delay in posting. Just after I posted the last chapter, my dog was diagnosed with lymphoma. We decided to do chemo and the cancer has responded well, but then her kidneys started failing so she's been in and out of the hospital. She has improved quite a lot since the beginning, but everyday is different. Anyway, I hope this chapter is worth the wait! And thank you to everybody that reviewed last chapter! I love reading them!
Much love and thanks to Breanna3593 for prereading!
This chapter is not Beta'd yet...All mistakes are mine. Wanted to get it posted since it's been so long since I updated.
Much to Bella's disappointment, Paul and Jake were seated in a different section. The other waitress had got to them before Bella, but that didn't stop her eyes from wandering over to their table every few seconds. Apparently, he was having the same problem as every time she glanced in his direction, their eyes would meet.
Mrs. Rayburn, one of her customer's, learned first hand how distracted Bella was when she overfilled her tea glass by quite a bit, leaving the liquid dripping to the floor.
"I'm so sorry Mrs. Rayburn." Bella said embarrassed by her behavior.
"It's fine Bella dear. I can see why you're so unfocused." The little elderly lady replied knowingly, her gaze darting to Paul. "He's very handsome." she continued, causing Bella to blush.
"Yes...that he is." Bella replied dreamily, looking quickly in his direction once again, only to find him watching her with a smirk on his face.
Realizing that he had probably just witnessed her blunder and possibly heard what she said, Bella quickly diverted her eyes and got busy cleaning up the mess she made.
The next time she risked a glance at their table, she saw him talking to their waitress and giving her that smile Bella loved so much. Jealously raged through her body. She didn't like it...not one bit. Why would he flirt with Jessica? He could do so much better.
The guilt set in just as soon as she thought it, making her feel horrible. Bella didn't know Jess all that good, but she liked her and she was very pretty as well.
Paul must have felt her staring at him because he looked over at her just as Jessica walked away. Bella turned away when she heard her name being called.
"Bella, I'm trading tables with you. I need you to take that table." Jessica said to her, pointing at Paul and Jake's table. "And I'm taking that one." She added, pointing to the group of high school boys.
With that statement, the anger and jealousy floated away. She couldn't help smiling at her revelation. He was jealous and maybe...just maybe...he had missed her too.
"Hey guys." Bella said as she leaned in giving Jacob a hug, making Paul wish she felt that comfortable with him.
"Giving Jess a hard time?" She questioned as her gaze landed on Paul, causing Jacob to snort through his nose at the exchange.
Paul watched as she tried really fucking hard and failed to keep from smiling. She knew exactly what he'd done and why and she was calling him out. 'Oh well,' he thought, 'no need trying to hide it.' He didn't like the way those mother fuckers were looking at her. Not to mention, he really wanted to spend some time with her.
She's not going to let me get away with anything, Paul realized and that made him happier than it probably should have.
"Nah...We just wanted to see you, Bells." Jake answered, saving Paul once again – or at least that's what he thought until Jacob opened his big mouth again.
"And Paul here showed up at my house looking like somebody had eaten his last cupcake." He continued, causing Bella to glance back at Paul, who was suddenly studying the menu as if it held the answers to all of life's question. "Did you know that Paul has a huge sweet tooth?"
"No. No, I didn't know that." She answered through her laughter.
Paul had no choice but to look up then. He loved the sound of her laugh. Slowly, his eyes met hers and a grin began to stretch across his face. He could handle a little embarrassment if the reward was her laughter.
"Good thing I like to bake." She added. When her brain caught up with her mouth, she blushed profusely and covered her face with her hands. "I did not just say that." She stated to herself out loud.
"Yeah, you really did." Jake answered, followed by an "Ouch!" as Paul's foot connected with his shin.
Paul reached out and gently pulled her hands from her face. "It's a great thing." He told her when she finally looked at him, flashing her a wicked smile.
"Yeah?" She asked, relieved that he didn't seem to mind her assumption that he would want her to bake for him.
"Yeah." He answered, nudging her chin just because he wanted to touch her some more.
In a small town with too few dining establishments, the dinner rush was chaotic, forcing Bella to get back to work much sooner than she had wanted. After agreeing to plans for a picnic and cliff diving later that afternoon, Bella went back to taking orders and refilling drinks.
As they were leaving, Paul watched as the table of boys continued gawking at her and he was pissed. Growling and taking a step forward, he was stopped by a strong hand clamping down on his forearm. Mother fuckers better learn their fucking place...Quickly.
"Come on Tyson. All you're gonna do is embarrass her if you go over there...or cause her to lose her job." Jake said seriously.
After taking a few calming breaths, Paul nodded, knowing Jake was right. He didn't want to cause any problems at her job, but they were just asking for it - begging by the looks of it.
"Better get used to it." Jacob added, knowing all to well the attention Bella received from men.
She was a mixture of beauty and innocence – every man's wet dream. And if you were fortunate enough to get to know her, well, that made you a lucky son of a bitch.
Paul's lip raised in response, but he would worry about future assholes later. Right now, he had to do something.
"I'll see you in a little while Bella." He called out to her, sending a look of warning to the guys. Maybe that will give them a hint.
That seemed to catch their attention. Almost instantly, they took notice of the intimidating figure that was Paul. Unnaturally tall and muscular, wearing a murderous look directed directly at them. It only took a second for them to heed his warning, turning their attention away from Bella and back to their food. I guess they're smarter than they look.
As he stepped up to the register, he caught sight of Bella, grinning and shaking her head at his little display of possessiveness. He smirked in response.
Yeah, definitely not going to get away with anything.
Growing up alone meant he had never learned to share and he wasn't about to start now. Mine. The sooner people were educated about that, the better.
Later that afternoon, as Paul arrived at the cliffs, he heard Jacob and Bella having, what appeared to be a serious conversation.
"No way." Jacob told her.
"You can't tell me what to do. I'm older than you." She said back to him, obviously upset with Jake.
It made Paul feel like a jackass for getting turned on watching her stand up to a werewolf and loving that she wasn't intimidated by that knowledge. She still viewed them all the same way she had before she learned what they were. And that impressed him.
"No." Jake growled with finality.
"What's going on?" Paul interrupted, after adjusting himself, disliking the way Jacob was talking to her.
"She," he stated, pointing at Bella, "wants to jump off of that cliff." He continued, pointing at the edge of the cliff, as if it he couldn't believe that someone invited to go cliff diving would actually want to do it. Paul almost laughed at the irony.
"Oh." Paul replied, thankful that this was Jacob's argument and not his. He really didn't want her to jump. As a matter of fact, his heart was jack hammering in his cheat at the thought of it.
"Yeah...Oh." Jacob responded sarcastically, rolling his eyes at Paul. Chicken shit. Thanks for your help.
"Oh Jake, but I wanna jump too." Bella said sweetly, batting her eyelashes at him. Jake had to look away, knowing that he'd give in if she kept looking at him like that. He never had been very good at saying no to her and she knew it. It was a miracle he'd managed to hang on this long.
There's no way he'll be able to resist now, thought Paul. However, just as he finished thinking it, Jake surprised him.
"It's too high up...I'll go with you off the lower one in a little bit. I just don't want you getting hurt." He replied, placing his hands on her shoulders and giving her a little shake, doing his best to placate her.
Bella finally agreed, but she wasn't happy about it. She knew Jake meant well, but she didn't understand why he was so against her jumping. It was safe to assume that it wasn't all that dangerous when everybody else returned unscathed.
Thinking everything was settled and he had won, Jacob announced, "Let's eat. I'm starving."
That was his first mistake. Unknowingly, he'd provided a distraction, giving Bella a chance to slip away undetected. She couldn't believe how easy this was going to be. His second mistake being that he seemed to have forgotten who he was dealing with.
They had been one upping each other for years. Like the time Quil convinced Jake to sneak out with him. Bella had begged Jake to let her go with him, but an unspoken promise between him and Charlie had Jake refusing. It was an understanding that Jake would always look out for Bella and he wasn't willing to lose Charlie's trust over one of Quil's stupid ideas. On top of that, there was the possibility of them getting caught and Bella would spend her summer grounded. And Jacob wouldn't risk it – losing what miniscule amount of time he had with her during the summer.
So he'd flat out lied to her – telling her he'd changed his mind and wasn't going. Since he'd never lied to her before, she had no reason not to believe him. To prove it further, he'd even invited her to sleep over, but when Bella woke in the middle of the night, Jacob was gone.
At first, Bella's feelings were hurt. Of course, after Jacob explained his reasoning behind it, she'd forgiven him, unable to stay mad knowing their time together was special to him. They had laughed about it later, but that incident was a turning point in their friendship. Since then, the pranks and the teasing had only gotten worse.
But what Bella failed to notice as she walked off quietly to strip down to her bathing suit, was that there was one wolf here that couldn't be distracted by food. He would always be watching. Nothing would ever be more important to him than her. Especially her safety.
With his eyes never losing sight of her, he watched as she made her way closer to the edge before stopping to glance around, apparently to ensure that nobody was privy to her plan. Game on, little girl. Game on. Show me what you've got.
Meanwhile, Paul had retreated from the group and was waiting, unnoticed, near the cliff's edge.
When Bella was convinced that she was in the clear, she turned and ran as fast as she could, but just as she reached the edge, warm arms wrapped around her from behind, effectively stopping her.
"Oh no, pretty girl...That's so not fucking happening." Paul's deep, gravelly voice spoke softly into her ear.
Twisting in his arms, she raised those big, brown eyes of hers to his, poking her bottom lip out in a pout. It was the most pitiful face he'd ever seen.
"I'm sorry...I just...You can't..." He trailed off, trying to explain why he couldn't let her jump by herself. But that face. That face had rendered him speechless.
Reluctantly, Paul released her and she jumped before Paul gained back his thinking ability, leaving him standing there dumbfounded. She'd just played him like a fucking guitar string. And he couldn't even bring himself to be upset about. A sneaky little player. That's what she is.
And now his ego needed a boost. Everybody had just witnessed how easily he'd given in to her.He would have to rectify the situation. Paul Lahote was no sucker.
He quickly jumped in after her, too concerned to enjoy the fall. Hitting the water, he immediately found Bella and reached for her hand, pulling her against him. His legs pushed hard against the water, propelling them upwards.
As they broke the surface, she was smiling and laughing, almost making Paul forget about how she'd suckered him. Almost.
Deciding a little payback was in order, Paul put on a serious face and pretended to be upset.
"That was a really mean thing you did up there, Bella." Paul told her, tilting his head back towards the cliff. "I mean..come on, playing me in front of my friends." He added, watching her smile drop from her face.
"I didn't mean... I was just." She tried to explain, looking absolutely distraught. And when Paul saw the slightest quiver of her chin, all games were off.
"I'm joking." Paul stated, as Bella's eyes dart between his, gauging the truth of his words. "Just trying to get my balls back." He finished.
Laughter bubbled up from deep within her and Paul soon joined in. She laughed until tears streamed down her face. And Paul was convinced it was the best sound he'd ever heard.
Soon though, the laughter died down and it was as if they both, only now, became aware of their position – their bodies wrapped around each other. They had drifted closer to shore allowing Paul to touch bottom, but he wasn't ready to release her. His hands were still gripping her thighs just above where they wrapped around his waist and her arms were locked around his neck, her chest brushing against his with each movement of the water.
"You feel so good in my arms, sweet girl." Paul told her, as he stared into her eyes, his hands tightening around her thighs, causing both of their breathing to speed up. "Like you fucking belong there." He continued, lost in the feel of her body against his, watching as her eyes dropped to his mouth and she licked her lips.
"You wanna kiss me, baby?" He asked, causing her eyes to snap back to his and a sexy blush to stain her cheeks.
Bella's mouth opened and closed a few times before finally taking a deep breath and nodding hesitantly, almost as if she was afraid that he didn't want the same thing. I want, baby. I most definitely want.
Slowly releasing one of her legs, he lifted his hand to the side of her neck, pulling her to him. When their lips met, both pulled back slightly, gasping, as unexpected feelings assaulted their bodies. After catching their breath, Paul's hand slid to the back of her neck, gripping her hair and pulling her face back to his, pressing his lips softly to hers – once, twice, and a third time before he felt her tongue on his lips.
His other hand moved to her waist, gripping her tightly as he opened up to her and their tongues touched for the first time.
"Mmm." He moaned, when he felt her little hands fist the ends of his hair and she pushed her body flush against his.
And then suddenly, her lips were gone.
When Paul opened his eyes, he sees her staring are him with a curious expression. Realizing she must have felt the affect her kiss had on him, he gave her a sexy smirk.
"Just ignore it...It just means I like your kisses." He stated huskily, without any shame. If she was going to kiss him like that all the time, she'd have to get used to it.
"Really?" She asked with a smile, happy that he enjoyed the kiss.
"Really." He answered, thinking that was the best kiss he'd ever had. "Hey, do you...um...you want to head over to my house?" He asked, hoping to spend more time with her. "We could order pizza or something. There's probably not anything left up there." Paul finished, trying really hard not to give her the wrong impression.
"Sounds good to me." Bella answered quickly, reaching for Paul's hand and leading them out of the water. Just like Paul, she wasn't ready to say goodbye yet.
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