"Hey Bells, I'm heading down to hang out with Sue Clearwater for a while. Will you be alright by yourself for a few hours?" Charlie asked as he pulled his hands through his jacket sleeves.
"Yeah, I can man the ship for a while," I said as I pulled myself up form the couch and looked over at him. "Besides, it's probably safer that way: Jacob and a couple of his friends are going to be here in a little while, and I can't really see you as the type that likes to spend a whole lot of time with young rambunctious teenagers."
He stopped in his tracks and looked over at me. "You?" he asked with skepticism and an underlying hint of humor. "Bella, did you just refer to yourself as rambunctious? Isabella Marie Swan, my daughter, the girl who hasn't spent time with anybody with the exception of Jacob in the past three months, let alone her own Father, calling herself rambunctious. Okay. Alright… I guess I can live with that. I mean, Jacob has seemed to be cheering you up lately, but I wouldn't go so far as to say rambunctious-"
"Okay you can stop making fun of me any minute now," I cut him off. "And in case you didn't hear the first time: Jacob and some friends. Not Bella and herself. There will be more people here than just myself and Jacob. So my whole 'rambunctious' statement was on reserve for them, not me."
"Okay," he smiled with his hands up in the surrender stance. "I will see you later, try not to hurt yourself having too much fun. Call me if you need anything."
"Yeah," I said as I watched him pull open the door and step into the dark evening. "You know, 911 has been on speed dial since I was born. And don't let the door hit you on the way out," he nodded his head and gave me the soldiers salute on his way out as he pulled the door closed behind him. I knew it wasn't exactly in good taste to speak to your father in such a way, but what he had said really struck a nerve. I knew I hadn't been the most extraverted person in the world after Edward left, but had I ever? He made it sound like it was the worst thing in the world having Edward leave, and that just made me seem sappy and pathetic, and I was neither. I just hurt.
I slid my hand into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone to see I had received a new text about ten minutes ago.
From: Jacob Black
Hey Bella, just picked up Quil and on r way 2 u. B there soon.
Received: Sun, December 18, 5:37pm
"Hey," came Jacob's voice as I went to slide my cell phone back into my pocket, but was cut off by the sound of my own voice screaming bloody murder as my cell phone slipped from my grasp and dropped to the floor.
"Jacob!" I complained as I looked over at him, my cheeks burning red as I saw three pairs of unfamiliar eyes looking back at me. "You could have… knocked, or something… you didn't have to scare me to death."
"Was not my intention, I promise," he laughed as I pulled him into a hug in attempt to hide my burning face from the strangers standing in my front entryway. "I thought you would have heard us," he said with a straight voice, hugging me to him. "I'm sorry."
"It's fine," I told him. "But seriously, there are four of you… I have heard mice louder than you guys," I told them as I backed away from Jacob and looked over at the three strangers. "I mean is the doorbell not working?"
"We rang three times Bella," Jacob told me with a confused look on his face, and I stepped in between what looked to be the youngest and oldest of the strangers towards the door.
"Are you serious?" I asked as I yanked open the door and pressed my finger against the knob. "We just had it fixed again!" as my finger made contact with the round plastic knob my ears were filled with the familiar chime of the door bell. "Perfect…" I trialed, heat again rising up my neck.
"I was kidding," Jacob said as he came up behind me and cupped his hand around my shoulder.
"I can see that," I nodded as I turned around to face him. "Thanks for that, by the way," he smiled and walked back into the house. "Really awesome," I told him while closing the door behind me. "Totally cool," what's the first thing my best friend does when he gets here? Embarrasses me in front of a bunch of people – yes, three people is a bunch of people – that I have never met before. Excellent.
"Sometimes the one at my house sticks," the younger looking one said. "Sometimes it takes hours to get it working again, I keep telling my Dad we need a new one, but he never listens. People show up all the time and scare us, just appearing on us."
"Really?" I asked skeptically.
"Yeah, ask Jacob, he in specific likes fucking with me," he laughed, looking over at Jacob, then back at me. He extended his hand and added, "I'm Quil, by the way. Quil Ateara."
"Bella Swan," I said, taking his hand into my own. "But seeing as you came here with Jacob you probably already knew that, huh?" he laughed and nodded his head.
"No I told them your name was Wanda," Jacob shook his head. "I hope you don't mind, it's kind of a pet name I have for you but have never actually used in real life. But hey, I figured no time like the present time."
I narrowed my eyes at him as the next in line extended his hand towards me. "I'm Sam Uley," he said as we shook hands. Why we were all being so formal, I had no idea. I pulled my eyes away from Jacob to look at Sam, and when I did I was filled with the most peculiar feeling; electricity racing up my spine and grounding me where I stood.
"Wanda," I smiled at him, sliding my hand from his. I couldn't explain it, but I had to force my eyes away from his.
"He likes to call me Ralph," the last person said with a wide smile as he took my hand. "But you can call me Embry."
"Ralph?" I asked, forcing myself to keep talking to him to distract myself looking back at Sam.
"Don't worry," he laughed softly, sliding his hand away from mine and folding his arms across his chest. "It's a lot better than what I call him when his back is turned."
"What about Wanda?"
"Even better," he smiled.
"Alright, now I was just kidding," Jacob cut in. "There is something I call you when you're not around Bella, but what it is isn't important… I have never called you Wanda, and I have never called you Ralph… What do you call me?"
"Wait, what?" I turned towards him.
"Bet that was a slip!" Embry laughed.
"You call me something when I'm not around?" I asked him.
"Now whose turn is it to be embarrassed?" Quil laughed.
"I want to know," I told him, stepping towards him. "Jacob, what do you call me?" I was truly curious.
"It's not important," he said, turning his head away from me.
"Important or not, I'm curious. And stubborn, you know that better than anyone: I won't let up until you tell me, so might as well save yourself the pain and just tell me now."
"You'll laugh," he went on. "I'm not going to tell you, you'll laugh," he looked down at me with his arms folded across his chest.
"What difference does it make if I laugh or don't?" I wondered. "Does it change anything?"
"Oh come on Jake!" Embry whined. "Now we're all curious that you're making such a big deal out of it!"
"Yeah, this must be good," Quil agreed. "Or else you would have told her by now."
"Okay, even I am curious," Sam chimed in. "What do you call her behind her back?"
"It's not 'behind her back'," Jacob told him.
"Oh I'd beg to differ," I breathed. "Come on Jake, tell me," he looked down at me with hesitation in his eyes, and leaned forward, brushing his lips against my ear.
"My baby," he whispered so softly, I wasn't sure if I heard him properly. As he pulled his lips away from my ear and looked back down at me I knew I had.
"What!?" Quil whined.
"You can't only tell her!" Embry moaned. "We were all curious!"
I was speechless, I did not know what to say to that or how to react. I just stood there like a mute idiot, contemplating words and meaning. Did Jacob just inform me that when I am not around he refers to me as his 'baby'? He was my friend, and I loved him… I would have felt flattered, you know, if it wasn't so creepy…
"Bella's speechless," Sam began. "And Jacob is standing there staring at her, also speechless… I think it is something we don't need to know."
"Who cares about needs anymore?" Embry asked him. "We want to know!"
"I think Jacob telling her was hard enough," he said. "If Bella feels like telling us, I am sure she will, but if not…" he let his words hang in the air.
"Fine," Embry gave up. "But don't think I am going to let this go."
"Jeez Sam," Quil shook his head. "Why do you always have to be the mature one all the time? Some of us still like to have fun sometimes, you know, you may want to give it a try some time."
"Anyways," Jacob cleared his throat. "Why don't we stop acting like a bunch of weirdo's standing in the hallway and move to the living room?"
"Sounds like a plan," Embry said, heading off in that direction. He jumped in beside Jacob, "Seriously dude, what do you call her?"
"Not gonna happen," Jacob shook his head as they made their way into the living room.
"Come on Jake seriously!" Quil added as he jumped over the couch and took a seat on it. "You know I hate disappointment!"
"Too bad," Jacob said as he took a seat in Charlie's usual chair. "Get used to it."
"Hey," came the sound of Sam's voice as he appeared beside me. "Are you okay?" he asked.
I nodded my head and looked up into his eyes. "Yeah," I told him, feeling glued to my spot, and wanting never to move. "I'm fine. Just a little… shocked," I decided, choosing the proper adjective and folding my arms across my stomach.
He chuckled. "Yeah, I can see that," he smiled.
We stood silently looking into each others eyes, def to the sounds coming from the others. I was stuck where I was, unable to move even a toe. The pull I had to stay where I was, to stay standing before Sam, looking up into his eyes… it was intoxicating, and I found it difficult to breathe.
"Hey!" came Embry's voice. "Are you guys gonna join us or what?"
"What?" Sam and I asked in unison, looking over at them, then back at each other, smiling.
"You've been standing there staring at each other for like five minutes, it's starting to get awkward. Are you going to come in here or are we going to have to come and drag your asses ourselves?"
I forced my feet away from Sam and made my way into the living room; Jacob in Charlie's chair, Embry on the chair on the opposite side of the coffee table, and Quil lazing on the far side of the couch, closer to Embry.
"About time," Quil said as I took a seat on the couch closest to Jacob.
"You really didn't bring a shy bunch to my house, did you?" I asked, looking over at Jacob. He shook his head and breathed a, "Not really," as Sam took a seat between myself and Quil.
"Life's too short for shy," Embry said. "It is a mental inconvenience that prevents you from living your life to the fullest and doing things that you really want to do. I say risk temporary embarrassment and do what you want, or else the opportunity will have slipped, and you have the regret of not doing it for the rest of your life."
"Jeez Embry, you make it seem like every life event is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Quil said, kicking his feet onto the coffee table.
"Isn't it though?" Embry went on. "I mean… Okay, imagine this: you see a girl and think she is hot. You have two options, walk up to her and talk to her, or not walk up to her and just be the creep in the corner drooling over her. Let's say you chose option two out of sheer cowardice, let's say you see her again the next day only she is with another guy. Boom, gone. Never gonna get that chance again," he shook his head. "What do you think, Wanda?"
Jacob and Quil let out a holler of laughter, and I couldn't help but laugh with them. And Sam.
"Hello to the new nickname," I shook my head. "Well, Ralph," I began. "First off, if I thought a girl was hot and was unsure whether or not I should go up and talk to her… I believe I would begin to question my sexuality, for a start. And secondly… What does this even have to do with what we were talking about?" I asked, turning my body to face him. "I mean I get that it's that whole spur-of-the-moment thing, but I feel like talking to girls isn't the only example. And, it was your example: I am the only girl in the room, why would you ask me about it?"
"She's gotcha there Ralph," Jacob sighed.
"Yeah dude, she's into guys… kinda weird to ask her, out of all of us," Quil added.
"That's not what I even meant!" Embry sang. "I meant what she thought of missing out on opportunities by being too shy!"
"When did you ask her that?" Sam wondered.
"Yeah, I don't remember you specifying that," Jacob agreed.
"Yeah, what?" I said, looking over at him. "As far as my ears could tell you were asking what I would do, given the situation you provided for me."
"I did though!" Embry complained.
"Ah, but when?" Quil asked, looking over at him.
"I didn't even… I meant from her point of view… She is a girl, I am a guy, all of us are, except her. I meant what she would… If she were the girl in the example…"
"Wait, now I'm confused," I shook my head.
"N'aw, Ralph's got a little crush-crush," Jacob teased him, pushing out his bottom lip and looking over at Embry.
"Who's the shy one now?" Quil proclaimed, tossing a pillow at Embry. "Maybe you should walk up to her and talk to her, or else the opportunity will be gone forever," he hissed.
"I'm gonna go get something to drink," I said awkwardly as I stood up and added, "You guys want anything?"
"What do you have?" Embry asked, shaking off his friends teases.
"Ah, we have-" I began, but was cut off.
"Oh we already know what you want," Jacob teased again, flashing his eyebrows at him. "But unfortunately they don't make glasses big enough to fit Wanda in, so you'll just have to deal without."
"Fuck off," Embry told him, and Jacob slapped his hand against his chest.
"Ouch! Shot through the heart… Oh, no wait, here, Bella," he said, fake-handing me the invisible arrow. "I think this was meant for you."
"Embry, come with me. I am sure you know what these guys want more than I do, seeing as I only know Jacob. You can help me carry?"
"Be careful Bella!" Jacob shot from the living room as I walked with Embry to the kitchen.
"Yeah! You're only getting his hopes up!" Quil added, and I heard Sam's fading voice add, "Be more immature guys?"
"I'm sorry," I said as I closed the kitchen door behind us. "I didn't mean to start that."
"How could you have?" he asked me, shaking his head. "No, they start stuff where there is no stuff to start, let alone poke fun at."
I rolled my eyes and I opened the refrigerator. "We have orange juice, all kinds of soda, milk… Choose your poison," I said as I stepped aside to let him examine his options.
"What are you having?" he wondered.
"Hmm… I tend to favor orange juice, love them vitamins."
"Sounds good to me," he shrugged. "We can give them water. Well, Quil and Jacob, Sam likes Dr Pepper."
"We have that," I said, reaching in and pulling out a can of Dr Pepper and the orange juice. "But, I think I have a better idea for the other two…" he looked at me quizzically.
"Thank you," Jacob smiled as I handed him his tall glass of iced water. Not that it had started out iced, I had taken the two-cup measuring cup and filled it to about 1/4th cup with salt, and then added another cup and a half of regular water, and placed it in the microwave for three minutes, giving the salt a good and nice chance to dissolve in the water. I then took the two glasses of ice and poured the saltwater into them three-quarters to the top, and filled the rest with cold water from the refrigerator.
I sat down beside Sam as he was popping open his can of soda, and smiled at him. I took a sip of my orange juice and set it down on the coffee table while looking over at Embry, who gave me a knowing smile.
"So," I said, leaning back comfortably in the couch. "What do you guys want to do?"
Jacob put on his thinking-face as he tilted the glass into his mouth. His face quickly changed from thoughtful to sour, and I turned to see Quil taking a large gulp of the stuff. He squeezed the glass in his hand and thrashed his head back violently against the head of the chair. Jacob was kicking his feet in the air and had his eyes squeezed tightly shut.
"So refreshing," Embry smiled, taking another drink of his orange juice as he watched the two boys struggle. "Don't you think, Bella?"
"Yeah," I agreed, leaning forward to grab my orange juice. "It really hits the spot," I nodded while taking a long drink.
"What the fuck!" Jacob screeched.
"Why!?" Quil complained. "Why!? I've never done anything to you, ever!"
"Wait, what?" Sam asked, totally oblivious.
"You know, I am actually truly surprised that neither of you spat it all over the place," I sighed. "What champs!"
"I'm missing something…" Sam trailed, taking a long drink off his soda.
"Salt water!" Quil shuddered, setting his glass onto the coffee table.
"She put salt in the water," Jacob nodded, setting his glass down and wiping his tongue on the sleeve of his shirt. "I drank salt water!"
"Hey! Why are you so quick to assume it was me? Embry was in their too, you know."
"But it was you," Embry pointed out.
"Oh thanks! I do something to help you out by punishing them and you turn against me!"
"Don't worry Bella," Jacob whispered. "I am always on your side," his voice came soft and wheezy.
"Creepy!" I said, looking over at him. "What was that!?"
"Yeah that was pretty creepy Jake," Quil nodded. "Ugh, wrong… gross… I need something to wash that taste out of my mouth," he complained, and leaned forward and lifted his glass of saltwater in his hands and raised it to his mouth and took a large swallow. "Gah!" he complained, the stuff dribbling down his chin and onto his shirt. "Forgot! Oh, God! I forgot!"
"Nice!" Embry smiled.
"Screw you man!" Quil spat at him. "At least I swallow; you would have spit it out as soon as it touched your tongue! Only real men swallow!" Sam choked on his soda and leaned forward, coughing and laughing.
"Fuck you Sam, you know that's not what I meant!"
"No no," I laughed, shaking my head. "I think you worded yourself perfectly there."
"You know what?" he asked. "I did! I did word myself perfectly; I know what I was talking about, and you do too! You are all just gross." he huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Come on," Jacob sighed as he stood up. "I appreciate the humor… But if I wasn't thirsty before; how much salt did you put in there, anyways?" he asked me as I stood to follow him into the kitchen; rubbing at his throat.
"A decent amount," I shrugged. "Really, were you expecting me to let you get away with that, and Quil? Come on Jake, you know me better than that."
"Get away with what? We were having fun."
"Yeah," I nodded. "Especially after you told me what you told me in the hallway?" I pulled the kitchen door closed behind us and leaned my back against it, holding the handle behind my back in both hands and looking up at him.
He slid his hands into his back pants pocket and dropped his head. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner," he said softly, raising his eyes to look over at me.
"I don't really think an apology is warranted here," I said, stepping away from the door and releasing the handle. "I think more of an explanation," I suggested, stopping before him and forcing his eyes to meet mine. "Jake, I love you, you're my best friend… I just want you to talk to me, more than you recently have been, it seems."
"I know," he nodded. "I just… I've been so stupid, Bella. I know what you said about still not being over Edward yet, but I guess while my mouth and ears listened, my mind didn't, or, hasn't been, listening. I guess you could say I've been half living in a fantasy lately. Pretending…" he trailed, his voice fading. The fact that he secretly referred to me as his 'baby' didn't bother me because I wasn't over Edward. If anything, it bothered me that he didn't tell me to begin with. Edward… When I woke up this morning I was so sure I was still in love with him; I missed him… But for some unexplainable reason, since Jacob arrived with his friends, Edward had been completely forgotten about. Like he never even existed in the first place; like he had promised it would be.
"Pretending what?" I asked, already knowing the answer.
"Pretending we're…" he said softly, the feel of his fingers brushing against mine. "Edward's been gone for three months, and I know for you that isn't really enough time to move on from someone… But would it be, if I asked it to be?" he said, pulling my hand into his and looking deeply into my eyes.
"Jake," I breathed. "I really don't think it works that way… And anyways, I'm over him now."
He knitted his eyebrows together. "Since when?" the moment was gone.
"Honestly?" I asked. He nodded. "Pretty much since now, or, since you got here with your friends… I don't know how, and I can't explain it, but I think of Edward and… Nothing."
He dropped my hands and took a step away from me. "You mean as soon as we got here?" he asked. "Like, I scared you, then? Or… Did it… Do you remember anything about it, like, what you were doing? Who you were talking to?"
"Okay, Jake, why are you being so weird?" I asked. "I mean people get over people all the time; they move on, as does life," I sighed. "But," I added, "if you must know, I was talking to Sam. I can't really explain it, it was like gravity rooted me to my spot and I couldn't move. I mean you saw, all of you did, I couldn't move for five minutes. I'm not saying I was thinking of Edward at the time, but the pull that I once had for him had definitely left at that point. Like he was never in my life to begin with… Jake?" I asked, placing my hand on his arm. "You okay?" his face had changed, he looked… sad. Upset. I didn't understand. Was it something I had said?
"Nothing," he shook his head, forcing a smile and looking down at me. "I'm fine, just thirsty, it's hard to focus on anything else. Go on back to the living room, I'll be there in a minute. Okay?"
"Jake, you're clearly not-"
"I'll be fine," he cut me off. "Stop worrying about everybody else. Go."
"Fine," I folded my arms across my chest. "I didn't want to hang out with you in the lonely kitchen anyways," I spat my tongue at him as I spun around to exit the room. He laughed softly as I hopped away, and I knew we were okay.
"Seriously man?" I heard Embry whispering as I drew closer to the living room. "Like, really?"
"Jealousy," Quil whispered.
"Guys, you can't control it…" Sam said softly. "Up until now I thought it was just a myth," he breathed. "But, yeah, I did," I could hear a smile in his voice.
"I am feeling envy," Quil added. "So jealous. Unfairness."
"I second that," Embry whispered. "But in a less direct way… Man, I wish it had been me."
"We know," Quil quickly added.
"Guys, it'll happen," Sam told them. "Just be patient."
"Boo at that," Quil said. "I'm impatient. What did you do to have it happen first? Why are you the lucky one?"
"Yeah, seriously. Not fair," Embry chimed.
"Well I am the oldest," Sam sighed. "But I don't really think that has anything to do with it; it chose me. Or, more, she did… we did… Anyways, it is an excuse, anyways."
"In my mind I am throwing apple pies at your face," Quil said. "It is entertaining my brain."
"I wouldn't suggest it," I said as I walked into the living room. "Throwing apples – of any sort – is a dangerous business," I told them as I took a seat beside Sam.
"Are you educated in the art that is apple throwing?" Quil wondered.
"Pretty much," I shrugged. "When I was in eighth grade I threw an apple at someone who I was semi-close with at the time. I was very proud of myself; I don't have aim to save my life, and I was standing a good fifteen feet away from her, and got her right on her forehead. Anyways, she ran at me and began beating my shins with her boots, which were, I may add, steel toed. And if that isn't bad enough, later on she jumped me in the coffee shop: grabbed me by the backpack and threw me against a wall of cupboards. Once I hit the floor she began literally beating the shit out of me. So no, I would not suggest apple throwing."
"I would more call that an overreaction," Embry said with wide eyes. "Like, you mean she literally beat you up?"
I nodded my head. "Yes, for real and truly… I had a limp for days, and she got suspended for a week. It took two of the office women to rip her off of me, and my true friends jumped in between us once she was off of me."
"They probably weren't your true friends," Sam said.
"Yeah, if they were I think they would have helped you as soon as it happened," Embry added.
"No, they just kind of stood there and watched…" I trailed. "You know? I don't actually have any clue as to who it was that got help in the first place. I mean, it was either someone told or it was that loud… I mean I was begging her to stop the whole time."
"Are you sure that's all you did?" Quil asked. "Throw an apple?"
"Absolutely," I nodded. "I was standing outside near the back entrance to the cafeteria, and I took a bite out of the apple I was holding. I then saw her, and wondered to myself if I could hit her face, and, totally thinking I wouldn't be able to, did. I was proud of myself… then my shins felt like they were breaking."
"I remember that," Jacob said as he walked into the room. "Charlie told me and Dad about it; never heard the man so pissed in his life. We were almost positive he was going to drive down there himself and set the girl who did it straight. We both think he should have," he finished, unscrewing the cap to his root beer. "Okay," he added, looking over at Sam; Sam smiled back at him and took a drink off his soda.
"Okay?" I asked, looking between the two of them.
"Nothing," Jacob told me. "We'll tell you later. And why would you want to throw an apple at someone's face; why not target a wall or door handle or something?" I knew he was trying to distract me from the 'okay' thing. It didn't work, but I played along all the same.
"Because a wall and the handle of a door are solid; unmoving. She was walking, I figured a moving target would be more of a challenge and less plausible. Turns out I was wrong," I shrugged, and leaned forward to grab my glass of orange juice.
"Wait, she was walking?" Jacob asked. I nodded. "That part I never heard before. Okay, yeah, now I am proud of you too."
I glared at him. "I have also been known to walk and chew gum at the same time," I smiled.
"Make sure you wear a helmet," he said softly while taking a drink from his root beer. "You can never be too careful," the glass in my hand was quickly and brainlessly thrust towards him; the contents dousing him.
Sam, Embry and Quil burst into laughter, and I folded my arms over my stomach and leaned back, glaring at him. "My eye," Jacob breathed, clamping his hand over his right eye. "It got in my eye… Ow…"
"Hm," I mused. "Maybe you should consider walking around in a pair of goggles; you never know what may come your way."
"Owned!" Embry laughed.
"Classy!" Quil cheered. "I like her!"
"Me too," Sam added, setting his soda can on the coffee table, laughing. "I may have to keep her," I looked over at him. What he said should have bothered me, but as our eyes met, all I could feel was happy. I smiled at him.
"Are we going to discus the cat in the bag?" Quil asked. "You know, the cat? In the bag?"
"Cat?" I asked, my eyes still locked with Sam's; I didn't understand it, but every time I looked at Sam, the pull to be closer to him, to not move away from him, became that much stronger. "There's a cat?" I wondered, forcing my eyes away from Sam and over to Quil.
"In a bag," Quil added.
Jacob was wiping his face with a towel, and his shirt had changed into one of Charlie's. How long had I been lost in Sam's eyes?
"Yes, Quil," Jacob said. "Bella, can I talk to you in the kitchen for a minute?"
"Excellent," Quil smiled proudly.
"Indeed," Embry nodded.
"Why can't we just talk here?" I asked, not really willing to move away from Sam.
"Because, you have been my friend longer than any of these guys. And I don't know how you are going to react to what I am going to say, so I'd prefer to speak to you in private first," he said as he grabbed my hand, and I allowed him to pull me up.
"Why not?" I said as I followed him from the room. "I did just douse you in OJ, I suppose I owe you at least that."
"Oh no," he shook his head, laughing. "I will be getting you back for that one in due time, I just actually need to talk to you."
"Sounds serious," I said as we made our way into the kitchen. I walked over and sat down at the kitchen table as he closed the door.
"It kind of is," he sighed, taking a seat across from me. "And then again, it kind of isn't: it kind of depends on your mind set about it, I guess."
"Cryptic much?" I asked, gently kicking his leg under the table. "Seriously Jake, you're kind of freaking me out… What's so important you had to pull me away to discuss? And why did Quil keep talking about a cat?"
"Because Quil is the most indirectly direct person you will ever meet," he told me. "Bella, how much do you trust me?" he asked, leaning across the table and taking my hand in his.
"With my life," I told him. "Jake, I trust you with everything. You know that…"
"So you know I would never do anything that would put you in danger, or risk your own personal health or safety?" I nodded, looking over at him suspiciously. "You know I would never do anything bad to you, you know I would never ask anything stupid of-"
"Jacob, please stop dancing and just out with it," I pleaded.
He let out a long sigh. "When I first told the guys I was going to hang out with you, and asked them to come… I told them you had been in the dumps for months, barely even hanging out with me, and no one at school. They were all totally willing to come and hang out with you, but Quil, had another idea on his mind… We all thought it was stupid, but eventually he was able to talk us into it."
"More dancing," I said, pulling my hand from his. "Please Jake, don't make me grab the extendable faucet from the sink," he chuckled softly and looked over at me.
"Fine," he breathed. "Bella…"
"Sam," it was the first name the popped into mind.
"Brought… marijuana to your house," his eyebrows were raised halfway up his forehead; his nose scrunched up with his eyes, and his lips in a long straight line. It was hard to not laugh at his expression: I kept on my poker face. Really, what did he think I was going to do? Blow a gasket and have shit hit the fan? Seriously, I thought he knew me better than that. It was marijuana; pot, weed, stick, dope, reefer, sticky green, cannabis sativa… It's not like it was meth or cocaine. It was a natural plant. As far as I was concerned, God made pot and man made alcohol.
I remain silent, willing him to go on.
"You're not… You're supposed to say something," he said nervously. "You're not saying anything; say something, anything…"
I let out a long, exaggerated sigh and looked over at him, my eyes falsely severe.
"Jacob Black," I began, shaking my head. I heard him swallow a large gulp of air. "My Dad is a cop…" I trailed, looking over at him. He nodded solemnly and closed his eyes. I pulled myself up straight and folded my hands in my lap. "Which means we've gotta do it outside. I mean, it is Washington and it is legal now, but I still don't want to risk pissing him off," I said, standing up and looking down at him. "Come on, you're the one that wanted to talk, now let's walk."
He breathed a sigh of relief and stood up, shaking his head and chuckling.
"Oh, crap!" I stopped in my tracks. "It's December; it's like thirteen degree's out there… Let's just go to my room. We can keep the light off and open the window all the way, and I can light a few candles to help mask the smell and I'll shove a towel at the base of the door. I have a bunch of blankets and a space heater so we'll all be warm enough, and we just sit in pairs on opposite sides of the window so our heads don't poke out."
"Bella?" he asked as he grabbed my wrist. "Have you done this before?"
My poker face broke; a wide smile covering my face. "Okay, fine, I admit it. Three times when I was in Arizona. Happy?"
"Unreasonably," he smiled while pulling open the kitchen door. "Honestly, I never would have guessed. Did you like it?"
"No I hated it."
"Then why do you…?"
I shoved my hand against his chest as I passed him. "Jacob Black why would I be suggesting any of this if I hated it? I was kidding!" I spat my tongue at him and jogged ahead of him, and waited for him at the base of the stairs. "Quil, Embry, Sam!" I called. "The cat is officially out of the bag, we're moving upstairs!"
"I'm sorry," Jacob shook his head with a smile. "I just wasn't expecting you to be so cool about it, is all," he shrugged as he stopped beside me and shoved his hands into his pockets. Sam, Embry and Quil seemed to appear out of nowhere.
"Apparently I am full of surprises," I smiled with wide eyes as I led them up the stairs. "I can walk and chew gum at the same time and hit moving targets with apples, too!" I sang. "And I also have been known to smoke pot."
"She's fun!" Embry laughed. "Jake, why the hell didn't you introduce us to her sooner?"
"Yeah, why didn't you, Jake?" I wondered as I pushed open my bedroom door.
"So sorry," he said as he passed into my bedroom; Quil and Embry trailing closely behind him. "I didn't realize you were so social."
"Life's too short for shy!" Embry repeated his earlier statement, and I smiled. Sam smiled back at me as he stepped past me into my bedroom, our hands brushing as he did so and electricity coursing through me. I watched him disappear in the darkness and closed the door behind the five of us, locking the handle.
"Sorry if I bump into any of you," I said as I turned to face them. "It takes a while for my eyes to adjust to the dark."
"You know this room better than we do," Embry said.
"Yeah, you know cause we've been here so many times before," Quil added sarcastically.
"Hey, I have," Jacob said.
"I've been here once," Sam added.
"When?" Quil and Embry asked in unison.
"Wait, I don't remember hearing about that?" Jacob added. "When were you here?"
"The night I found her in the woods," Sam told them. "Charlie didn't want to risk waking her up and overwhelming her with all that was going on, so he asked me to carry her up here to her room."
"I have no memory of that," I said.
"You wouldn't," Sam told me sympathetically.
"Yeah Bella, you're eyes weren't even open when he came out of the woods with you. None of us were even sure if you were conscious," Jacob added.
"You weren't," Sam went on. "You were sound asleep when I laid you onto your bed."
"Wait, what?" Quil asked. "You put her to bed without even knowing who she really was? You carried her unconscious body and went into her bedroom alone with her? Now who's the creep."
"That was uncalled for," Embry told him.
"What?" Quil asked him. "I'm sorry, when I hear something like that I-"
"Her boyfriend and his family left her; he left her in the woods, Sam found her. He saved her life," Jacob said.
"What?" Quil asked. "I had no idea… I'm a dick. Bella, I am sorry."
"Don't apologize to me, Sam's the one you insulted," I told him.
"Sorry dude," he breathed.
"It's fine," Sam shook it off. "Just don't jump to conclusions so quickly, you were a bit late catching on, Quil."
"I'm slow," my eyes had almost fully adjusted to the dark, and I saw him shrug.
"Great," I nodded as I chanced making my way to the window. "I'm Wanda, Embry is Ralph, and you can be Turtle."
"Turtle?" he asked.
"Yeah," I nodded, stepping over a foot. "You know, slow?" as the last word left my mouth I realized the foot I had been stepping over was my own, and I let out a shriek as my body twisted in its place, and I began my descend towards the ground. I threw my hands out to catch myself, but before my body had a chance to get even halfway to the ground a pair of arms wrapped around my waist and my feet were lifted from the ground. I was held securely with my back firmly against someone's chest; their arms still wrapped tightly around me. My heart raced in my chest and I let out a nervous chuckle.
"Told you," Jacob breathed humorously; his voice halfway across the room.
"What?" Embry asked him, about the same distance from me as Jacob.
"The girl needs a helmet 24/7," Jacob told him. I ran my hands gingerly over the arms that held me in my place, and that familiar jolt of electricity coursed through me. I knew without thinking who held me.
"Maybe you should keep me," I said to Sam.
"It would appear so," he said back softly, subtly tightening his arms around me. The feeling thrilled me, and I felt myself leaning into him.
"I think a helmet would be more entertaining though," Quil said as I heard him take a seat on my bed beside Jacob. "We could get her one of those with the mowhawks. You know they come in adult sizes, too."
"No, adult would be too big for her," Jacob suggested. "And child's size would be too small, hm, do you think they come in adolescent? If so, I think that would fit her like a glove."
"You both suck," I told them, my feet now back on solid ground and still held tightly in Sam's embrace.
"Yeah, but," Quil said softly, seductively, "Only each other," I could just make out him stroking the side of Jacob's head.
"Dude! What the fuck?" Jacob said as he slapped his hand away. "I am the sole property of Ralph."
"And don't you forget it," Embry nodded with a now clearly visible smile.
"Fine, that's cool," Quil told them. "I'll just sit in the corner and watch you guys and do it myself, I don't have a problem with that and you've never seemed to mind in the past."
"Now everybody needs to calm the fuck down and keep their pants on," I told them, reluctantly stepping away from Sam and his embrace.
Quil let out a long, overly dramatized groan. "Fine," he whined. "But only if we can smoke pot now."
"That's what I thought we were gonna do," I said as I walked over to my window and thrust it open. "But then you all started talking about sucking each other and watching each other suck each other… I just wanted to get high, if you guys would rather do that then there is Charlie's bedroom just down the hall," I shivered from the nippy winter's night air.
"What do you think baby?" Embry asked, looking over at Jacob.
"Whatever you want," Jacob told him. "It is your night to choose after all."
"Okay I am seriously starting to question the authenticity of you two," I said as I bent down to turn on my space heater. "If you ask me, you're a little too good at this."
"Come on Bella we just love each other," Embry told me. "Why've you got to be so judgmental about it?"
"Yeah Bella, gosh!" Jacob spat in a flamboyant voice. I rolled my eyes and walked over to my bed and bent down, looming over it. "Wow! Was I not clear enough with Quil?" Jacob asked me, aghast. "I am Ralph's!"
"That's nice," I told him. "But I need the blanket your ass is on."
"Oh," he nodded. "Okay, do you need any help?"
"No," I told him with a modest smile. "But I am sure if you do Ralph will be more than willing to help with anything you may need," he jumped off the bed and threw his arms around Embry and the two started jumping up and down excitedly. I rolled my eyes and began pulling the blanket away from my bed.
"Can I still watch?" Quil asked the two.
"Ha!" Jacob threw his head back.
"You wish," Embry told him.
"Fine, I'll just go to Sam," Quil said as he turned and began walking towards Sam.
"Oh no you don't," Sam told him. "I belong to Bella," warmth filled me at his words.
"I thought I belonged to you?" I asked him as I pulled the blanket against my chest and turned around to face them, looking at Sam.
"We can belong to each other," he said with a smile.
"T'is a cruel fate," I forced my eyes away from his and sighed, looking over at Quil. "Guess you lucked out, Turtle."
"It is what you get for being slow," Embry nodded.
"Better luck next time," Jacob sighed as he and Embry, now a few feet apart, walked over and sat at the base of my window. Quil plopped down beside them and crisscrossed his legs.
"Okay, so, like I told Jacob, we're gonna have to sit in pairs because we don't want our heads to show," I said as I dropped my blanket down on the left side of my window. "So you three stay to the right, scoot over a little more, and me and Sam will sit on the left side."
"Do we also get a blanket?" Quil asked.
"Yeah, just a sec," I said as I turned around and dropped down to my knees. I reached my hand under my bed and pulled out the long narrow wooden box one of my cousin's had given me for Christmas one year, and slid it in front of me. I unclasped the front and lifted the lid, pulling out two thick quilts. "One for you," I said as I handed it to Quil, "and one for you," I said, dropping the second blanket between Embry and Jacob.
"Snuggle buddies!" they sang together.
"I feel so left out," Quil pouted. I spun around and grabbed my stuffed, aged bunny from my bed and threw it into his lap. "Treat him with love, he is old."
"I will protect him with my own life," he said as he hugged it to his chest. Sam was sitting at the base of the left side of my window, the blanket untouched at his feet. I took a seat beside him and scooted as close as I could to him without making it obvious; our knees brushing against each other. I leaned forward and pulled the blanket over us, spreading it evenly between us. I couldn't be sure, but as I leaned my back against the wall below my window, it felt as if Sam had moved closer. Not by much, but I could definitely feel more of him that I couldn't before. Before when I could feel his knee brushing against mine, I could now feel his whole leg.
"We all good?" Quil asked, the quilt wrapped snuggly around his body and my bunny held loosely in his lap. Jacob and Embry had their quilt wrapped around their laps with their back pressed against the wall. Sam and me looked at each other, and smiled.
"I'm good," Jacob said.
"Good here," Embry added.
"Same here," Sam told him.
"I'm good," I said, my eyes still glued to Sam's.
"And that's make's five goods," Quil said. "Let's get the ball rowli-"
When you were standing in the wake of devastation,
When you were waiting on the edge of the unknow-
"Sorry," I muttered as I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket. Charlie. "Hey Dad," I chirped.
"Hey Bells," he said back. "You sound cheerful; they boys are there, I wager."
"That would be accurate," I told him with a smile, feeling Sam's leg against mine.
"Hey Charlie!" Jacob said, half yelling.
"He said hey," I told Jacob. "So, what's up? Just checking in?"
"Sort of…" he hesitated. "Bella, can I ask you a question and risk being a terrible parent in the process?"
I shrugged. "Shoot."
"What would you say if I told you I was thinking about crashing over here tonight?" he asked. "Now before you answer, I know you are with Jacob and some of his friends, and I know you aren't alone. I have no problem with them staying the night over there as long as you keep in PG-13."
"Whoa!" Quil hollered.
"You sure about that Dad?" I asked him jokingly. "Have you seen how intense PG-13 can be these days? Are you sure you know what you are asking?" I teased.
"No sex below the neck. I am hanging up now," he told me uncomfortably. I stifled a laugh as Jacob and Embry grabbed each others faces and began 'making out' through the air. Quil grabbed my bunny and began kissing its face. How loud was my phone? Was I just def? Sam leaned further into my wall and looked over at me.
"Roger that," I nodded. "See you tomorrow Dad. Oh, and, Dad?" I asked, hoping to catch him before he hung up.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Stay over there as long as you want," I told him. "I know how happy Sue's been making you."
I could hear him smile through the phone, and he let out a sigh. "I love you, Bells."
"I love you too Dad," I told him. Everything we couldn't do face-to-face was so much easier over the phone. Quite the opposite of most people.
"Alright, I will see you tomorrow. Probably in the early afternoon."
"Stay as long as you want, no rush, I will still be here no matter what time or day you get back."
"Good night Bells, have fun with your buds," he told me.
"Night Dad, you too, with Sue," I hung up, and set my phone on the exposed part of my floor separating Sam and me from Jacob, Embry and Quil. "Okay, I think we're- oh, shoot, I forgot to stuff something under the bottom of my door. Hold o-" I was pulling the blanket away from my lap, and Sam gently grabbed my wrist to stop me.
"I've got it," he told me as he quickly shot up to his feet, as if the blanket hadn't been covering his lap at all.
"Okay," I said. "You can just kick a couple of my pillows in front of the gap at the floor," I told him as I watched him walk over to my bed and grab three of my pillows. He walked over to my door and bent down, delicately setting the pillows at the base of my door and shoving them tightly against it. He stood up and walked back over to me, taking his seat beside me I folded his part of the blanket over my lap and waited as he sat back down. I tossed the blanket back over his lap and he adjusted it so it wrapped around him. Like before, he was closer to me now, my leg practically resting on top of his. I grabbed a bundle of my blanket and bunched it in my lap, subtly attempting to move closer to him still.
"Okay, we all set?" Quil asked.
"For real this time," I nodded. "Just don't call again, Dad," I said, looking down at my cell phone.
"I am sure Sue will keep him occupied," Jacob told me.
"Oh that's gross," I shuddered. "He's my Dad, Jake… That is just not right."
"She has a great movie collection; action, suspense, horror, crime, supernatural…"
"Oh…" I said, backing further into the wall. "I knew that's what you meant…" I could feel my cheeks burning, and was very happy that the room was dark.
"Sure you did," Embry chuckled.
"Sure, a likely story," Quil added, and was followed by the sound of a glass jar being set on the floor. "It's cool though, we're adults and easily make sexual references when they don't exist."
I nodded. "It's kind of true."
"Pretty much," Jacob added. "This is going to be epic."
"Getting high?" I asked.
"Well not just that," he told me. "Seeing you high, it is something I never thought I would see. I know your prejudices against alcohol so I know that would never happen, I guess I just assumed drugs was on the list, too."
"Hey pot is not a drug," I told him. "Well, I mean yeah it technically is, but it grows naturally from the ground, it's not messed with in a lab or anything. Man made stuff… stay away from that."
"Word," Quil agreed.
"True that," Embry nodded. "They say it's a gateway drug. I disagree. I think it is only a gateway drug for people who want to fuck up their lives, pot just chills you out, the other stuff fucks you up and I mean more than the high."
"There you go," Quil said as a lighter was thrust gently into my lap. "I only brought three… don't ask why. You and Sam can share that one, I'll use my red one and you two can use the black one."
"Like your last name!" Embry swooned. "So thoughtful!"
I looked down to see the one that had been thrown to Sam and me was white. "And white for Swan," Quil sighed. "I am creative."
"We can pretend that's why I got the white one," I told him slyly.
Jacob let out a burst of laughter. "She's got you there."
"Yeah, smooth," Embry added, laughing.
"Very subtle," Sam added while nodding his head.
"I get points for trying," Quil shrugged.
"No," I told him. "No, you don't," this made Jacob and Embry laugh harder.
"Maybe try a little harder next time?" Sam suggested.
"I thought I was…" Quil trailed. A medium sized glass vial was tossed into my lap, and I picked it up and could just make out the shape of five medium sized nuggets in it. "For starters, I don't think you'll need anymore," he told me, looking over at me. "Here," he added, handing me a smooth glass pipe. "Enjoy."
I looked over to see Jacob and Embry setting their pipe up, and Quil his. I turned to Sam and looked up at him. "Do you want to?" I asked him. "It's been a while since I've done it, and I don't want to drop anything…"
He smiled. "Sure," he said as I handed him the pipe and vial containing the nuggets. I held the lighter in my hand and watched as he pulled the cork from the vial and tilted it until one of the nuggets fell into the palm of his hand. He picked it up with his opposite hand and set it delicately in the bowl of the pipe. "Ladies first," he smiled as he handed me the pipe. The smoke was already filling my nostrils as he handed it to me, and I looked over to see Quil and Jacob taking hits off theirs, Embry laid back against the wall watching Jacob. He took the pipe from Jacob and took his own hit.
I smiled over at Sam before taking the pipe and placing it in my mouth. Placing my thumb over the little hole on the side of the pipe, I lit the lighter and held it down over the bud, allowing it to light. I inhaled the smoke and pulled my thumb away from the little hole. I closed my eyes and leaned back, letting the THC course down my throat and into my lungs.
I held my hand out to Sam and listened with closed eyes and he mimicked my movements. After about twenty seconds of holding I opened my mouth and let out a long, slow stream of the smoke. I looked over at Sam to see him sitting with his back against the wall, eyes closed and holding his hit. I took the pipe from him and took another. When I opened my eyes and blew out the smoke I saw him looking down at me with a content look on his face.
"What if they made a movie about the life of pie," Quil droned. "Like, not the number pi, but an actual pie…"
"That would be intense," Embry nodded. "Like, you'd see it made and then baked… ha-ha, I said baked. Ahh… I'm baked."
"We could make the movie about you," Quil suggested.
"Even better," Embry said. "I would be like, hello, I am a pie… please do not eat me. I know I smell delicious, but how you would feel if I ate you, little squirrel?"
"Can I be the squirrel?" Jacob asked him, blowing out a long stream of smoke. "I'd be like, I'm a squirrel."
"You'd be the best squirrel," Quil smiled. "And I can be your noble turtle-steed."
"Excellent," Embry smiled, leaning his head against the wall with a small thud. Jacob handed him the pipe and he took a long drag. "Rawr!" he said as he blew out the smoke. "I'm a scary dragon!"
"You guys are fun," I said, looking over at Sam as he handed me the pipe. "Like, so much fun."
"So are you," he said with a smile. "Like, a lot of fun. I wish Jacob had introduced me to you sooner, or that I had introduced myself to you sooner."
"Me too," I said as I tilted my head back and leaned it against the wall, and looked up at my ceiling. "I wish I knew you sooner… Did I just say that sentence out loud?" I asked him before taking another hit off the pipe and handing it to him.
"Yeah," he said, holding the smoke in. "You did."
"Oh okay good," I smiled, leaning my back onto the wall and looking up at him. He parted his lips and let the smoke slowly drift out on its own, and smiled down at me. "I'm high," I told him.
"Me too," he smiled, handing me the pipe. As he placed the pipe in my hand our fingers brushed, sending waves of electricity coursing through my overly-sensitive body.
"We could call it, The Life of a Pie and the Squirrel that Rode a Turtle," Jacob was saying.
"You guys are so silly," I said, looking over at them. "And I love you all."
"Aww," Quil smiled. "We love you too, Bella. You can be in the movie, too. You can be the swan that rescues the pie from the squirrel and turtle. You can put the pie on your back and fly off to safety."
"But what about Sam?" I asked, taking Sam's hand in mind and pulling it into my lap. "He has to have a part too, and an important one. The most important one."
"He can be one of those monkeys that fits on your finger," Embry suggested. "He will try to protect the pie, and when he sees the squirrel coming with his turtle-steed, he starts jumping up and down and signals the swan to come save the pie, and they fly off in the horizon together, the pie and the swan and the monkey."
"I love those monkeys," I smiled. "They are so cute. Okay, Sam, you're the monkey the signals me to save the pie."
"Okay," he said, taking another hit off our pipe. "I can live with that, as long as I get to stay with you," he said as he set the pipe into my hand.
"Okay, it will be, The Life of a Pie and the Squirrel that Rode a Turtle and the Little Monkey that Signaled the Swan that Saved the Pie," Jacob breathed out a long line of smoke. I lifted the pipe to my lips and took another long hit.
"Okay," I said, slowly blowing the smoke from my lungs. "Okay, if I smoke anymore I am going to pass out," I said as I handed Sam the pipe.
He took it and said, "Me too," and set the pipe on the base of my window sill. He pulled his hand back to his lap and looked down at me, smiling. Totally inebriated, I smiled back and leaned into him. He pulled his arm up and wrapped it around my shoulders, hugging me against him. I took my hand and placed it against his chest and leaned my head against his shoulder.
"Comfy," I said, snuggling further into him. He took his free arm and wrapped it around me, pulling me into his lap. I slid my hand further up his chest and laced my fingers through the base of his hairline, feeling its silkiness between my fingers, I smiled. "I like this," I said through closed eyes.
"Me too," he said softly, rubbing his hand along my back and hugging me close to him. "It's because I imprinted on you," he said, and I pulled my head away from his shoulder to look at him.
"What's that?" I asked, softly rocking back and forth – high – in his lap.
"It's like…" he began, looking down at me. "It's like, when you find the person you're supposed to be with. Remember how we stood looking at each other for like five minutes after we got here? Well that's why, I didn't move because I didn't want to, because I wanted to be with you."
"Me too," I told him. "I didn't move because, well, I don't know why, but I didn't want to leave you," again, without thinking and totally inebriated, I leaned forward, pulling my lips up towards his, and kissed him. As our lips met I was filled with electrifying heat, and the pull to be with him and never leave filled me, devouring my will power.
Our lips parted, and he looked down at me, smiling. He took one of his hands and ran it down the length of my head, brushing his fingertips over my cheek. I took my hand up and traced my fingertips delicately over his lips, exploring ever inch and crevice. "So warm," I told him, slowly pulling my hand away from his lips.
"So soft," he said back, gracing his fingers across my lips. I smiled up at him, and he leaned forward and kissed me. "Beautiful," he added, pulling his lips away from mine, only to bring them right back. I ran my hands up his shoulders and wrapped them around the back of his head, pulling him further into me.
"Well I guess its official now," Embry breathed.
"Yep," Jacob added.
"Indeed it is," Quil said.
Not that I was ignoring them, I was just too lost in our kiss to focus on anything else. The way he held me against him, the way his lips moved against mine, I had never been kissed in such a way before. A way that showed he cared about me, and my comfort. He kissed me in a way that showed he wanted me to kiss him back. With Edward, all he ever wanted was to boss me around and control my every step, Sam seemed happy to just be kissing me and holding me. I never wanted to move away from his lap, or his lips. I kissed him deeper; our tongues dancing together in synch.
I pulled myself closer to him, and he hugged me tighter.
"Dude, what if there was a dancing elephant that swooped down riding on the back of a fire-breathing dragon that tried to steal the pie?" Jacob asked.
"That sounds so scary," Embry told him. "I don't want to be taken by a dancing elephant riding a fire-breathing dragon!"
"Who is under the control of a musical-composter field mouse," Quil coughed. "It would be so intense."
"And the field mouse would get into a fight with the finger-monkey," I said, pulling my lips from Sam's. He smiled up at me as I went on. "And the Dragon would swoop down and drop off the elephant, not thinking, cause elephant's are scared of tiny creatures. The Dragon would chase the swan in an epic flight battle, and the field mouse and finger-monkey would fight, the finger-monkey trying to protect the swan and pie from the evil dancing elephant and fire breathing dragon, and then they would look up and see the elephant and go 'Ah! It's a elephant!' and try to run away, but the elephant would be scared too, and dance around trying to get away from them. Then the squirrel riding its turtle-steed would appear and see the elephant, and they would get scared and turn around, and the finger-monkey would defeat the field mouse and the field mouse would go running, and the finger-monkey would control the elephant and dragon to go away, and then the swan would come back down to the ground and pick up the finger-monkey."
"Oh my God," Embry gasped.
"You're a genius!" Quil announced.
"We should totally do it," Jacob nodded. "We should totally do it, guys, guys," he said, smacking his hand at Quil and Embry; they looked over at him. "Guys, we should totally do it. We should totally do it, like for real. Like we need to do it, we need to do it right now. Right now…"
"How?" Quil asked him, blinking his blood-shot eyes repeatedly.
"We need a camera for that," Embry nodded.
"No we don't," Jacob told him. "We can use our minds," he told them, taking both index fingers and placing them against his temples.
"Oh my God," Quil said. "I never knew… You can do that?" he wondered, poking at his own head. "Oh my God, guys… I have a head!"
"Oh my God me too!" Embry said, poking his own head. "I have a head!"
"Oh my God! I don't only have a head, but I have a brain, and in my brain I am watching the movie! Oh my God… Oh my God… So intense… So intense… I can't even describe…" Quil gasped.
"Oh my God I see it too!" Embry added, nodding vigorously. "Oh my God so intense I am the pie! Ahh!"
"I'm a turtle… turtle… turtle… turtle…" Quil sang slowly.
"I'm a squirrel… it's intense," Jacob told them. "Like, so intense."
"Turtle… turtle… turtle…"
I looked down at Sam and smiled. "You are a genius," he told me, running his hand up and wrapping it around the back of my head. I leaned in towards him, but before I had a change to reach his lips he leaned into me and pressed his lips against mine. I breathed in his scent as he slid his hand away from my head and wrapped his arms around my waist. I became lost in his embrace; the winter air from my window going unnoticed, the sounds of Quil, Embry and Jacob fading into nothing. I heard nothing, I felt nothing but him.
"Whoa!" I said as I opened my eyes to find we had somehow migrated to my bed, and were now laying down, facing each other with our arms wrapped around each other. "What the fuck happened?"
"I'm sneaky," he said as he leaned forward to kiss me.
"I didn't even feel us move," I told him.
"I know," he smiled. "Hence the sneaky." Not only were we on my bed, but were also wrapped warmly in my blanket; not that we really needed it, I hadn't really noticed before, but Sam was hot, and not just in the I-like-what-I-see way, but really and truly extra-warm… I also liked what I saw.
"How are you doing?" he asked.
"Good," I smiled, leaning into him. "So good… Better than I have in my whole life." I added, "I'm happy."
"I make you happy?" he asked. I nodded, opening my eyes and looking over at him.
"You do," I told him. "I want you to keep me for real, but only if I can keep you, too," I said, pulling myself tighter against him and nuzzling my head into his chest.
"Then it's a deal," he said, brushing his hand over my hair and holding me close.
"Good," I said with a smile. I felt his lips press down gently against my forehead, and I drifted asleep.
I let out a long yawn as I pulled the keys from the ignition, and looked up at the house. Bella's window was wide open. What was she thinking? It got down to six degrees last night, and at the moment it was no warmer than thirty-three. Shaking my head, I pushed open the door and stepped outside. The bite was bad after coming out of my toasty seventy degree cruiser, and I hugged my arms around myself after locking the car and jogged up the front steps.
As I entered the house I threw my keys onto the table beside the front door, and shook myself out of my jacket. I hung it in the hall closet and kicked off my shoes, to find not only my and Bella's shoes, but four other pairs, as well. So the boys had spent the night.
Closing the closet door I walked into the living room, expecting to find at least one person asleep on the couch, or a chair, I found none. Scratching my head, I turned around and made my way to the stairs, but as I was about ready to begin the climb I heard a rustle in the kitchen, and changed my course.
"Morning," I said as I entered into the kitchen, and found Jacob behind the stove cooking up a few eggs and strips of bacon. A high pile of pancakes sat in the middle of the kitchen table beside the butter and maple syrup, and two of the boys I recognized from the reservation looked up at me and smiled and waved, their mouths full.
"Morning Charlie," Jacob said as he slid the eggs onto a plate, and looked up at me and smiled. "Can I tempt you with anything?"
"It does look and smell good," I nodded. "Where's Bella, still asleep?"
"Her and Sam both," he nodded, piling two eggs and a handful of bacon onto a plate.
"Sam?" I asked, rubbing the back of my head. "You mean Uley?"
"The one and only," he smiled, and walked over to the table and sat down in Bella's usual spot.
"Yeah, I'll have something to eat. I think I'll just go up and check on Bella first," I told him, and turned on my heel and walked towards the stairs.
"Cool," he said through a full mouth. "See you in a few," his mouth already full, he took a bite of toast.
I placed my hand along the railing and climbed up the stairs.
As I made my way to the landing I headed towards Bella's room, and pushed open the door, and froze. What I saw was not at all what I was expecting. Bella was in her bed alright, and she was sound asleep, but she was not alone. Sam Uley laid behind her, holding her back against his chest, completely sound asleep with her. I should have been mad, I should have been filled with rage. I should have shouted and demanded he step away from my daughter… if it weren't for the content look on her face. She looked totally and completely relaxed, at ease; safe.
I folded my arms across my chest and leaned against the door frame, and let out a sigh, and just watched them. Or, more specifically, her.
"Cute, isn't it?" Jacob asked as he appeared besides me, a half eaten piece of toast caked in strawberry jam in his hand.
"Is she happy?" I asked him.
"You tell me," he said as he took a bite of his toast. "You have eyes just as me."
"Yeah," I said, deciding she was. "Yeah, she is."
"Then there isn't anything to complain about, is there?" Jacob asked me.
"No," I smiled, and leaned away from her doorframe. "There's not. Come on," I said as I placed my hand onto his shoulder and steered him from the room. "Let's get something to eat, they deserve their privacy," and I pulled the door closed behind us.