Problem


A/N: I don't usually take requests, mainly because I don't receive them, but the ever-so-lovely Snowstew47 requested a Jacob/Kate imprint fic, and I am honored to fulfill it. Honestly, I would have never thought of this. It's a bit of a crazy idea for me, but I came to love it. Thank you for having faith in me, Snowstew47. This is for you. And of course, I hope the rest of you enjoy this as well. And yes, the name thing was inspired by the beginning of "Lolita." Also, this is rated M for some sexy-sexy.


"Are you sure Bella would want to do this?"

"I think so."

"And what makes you think that, Edward?"

"They're family, Rosalie. Everybody needs family."

Jacob Black sighed and settled even further into the leather couch of the Cullens' living room. His eyes slowly shut, just for a little while, just so he could get a sense of himself, but everything was so hard to drown out. He had nothing to himself; everything was always about Bella, Bella, Bella. Yes, he loved her, and yes, he was in as much concern for her as everybody else, but things didn't have to be this way. She was a living, breathing, angst-ridden problem that he didn't want to deal with anymore. He would have already gone back home to La Push if it weren't for Bella still wanting him around, yet refusing to talk to him. Didn't the Cullens have other things to be invested in, though? Seriously, what was the point in living forever if they were only going to spend it worrying about another person?

Jacob suddenly felt like a jerk; if anything, he should have been more concerned with Bella than anyone, though if it weren't for her mental state, she would be okay. He got what he wanted, hadn't he? She wasn't pregnant anymore, and God forbid he wished a miscarriage on the object of his affection—even as it was the half-human/half-immortal fetus that had been tearing her apart—but shouldn't she be a little happier? She wasn't dying anymore. Much to his distaste, she was a reeking bloodsucker, but she was not dying. She didn't have the child she wanted, but she was definitely not dying. At least, not on the outside. Then again, maybe Jacob truly was a jerk. This had been his wish all along, not Bella's.

And of course, there was always Edward to blame. Even when Jake had messed up, Edward had always found a way to do worse. That was his forte.

"You're not helping, dog."

Edward Cullen read Jacob's thoughts, naturally, and when Jake's eyes opened, he shot him a dirty look along with his remark. It was funny how he could tune out anybody else's thoughts—and did, on a regular basis—yet still scold Jacob's little asshole comments. It was like a game, and Jacob lost. Maybe he was just a loser in everything he did.

Jacob's eyes left Edward's and darted to the girl he was helplessly in love—and annoyed, at the same time—with. Bella Swan—no, Cullen—looked just as dejected as she had for the earlier parts of her pregnancy, even as she should be more aware and lively. She hadn't gotten anything she'd wanted: neither a child nor an enjoyable time as a vampire.

She had just given birth when the child choked on its own umbilical cord. She could have given birth at any moment. That was how far into the pregnancy she'd been. Jacob had seen everything from how Bella's spine had cracked to the birth of the child and everything else. Edward hadn't been entirely aware that the child had been suffocating, since he'd been focused on changing Bella, so he hadn't been able to hear the child's thoughts. Bella hadn't been able to hold the child before it passed away, and much to everyone's surprise, it had been a girl. Bella had revealed her baby name choices sometime later, and she would have named her daughter Renesmee, a combination of her and Edward's mothers' names.

Tonight, Bella, who was a newborn, was curled up on the couch, a blanket wrapped around her as if she were still human. Maybe she'd merely gotten used to the feeling of dying. She sort of resembled a zombie to Jacob—which Edward must have agreed with, since he didn't give him another look—but it was mostly in the eyes. Bella's blood red eyes stared off into nothing in particular; it was like she was sleeping with her eyes open. Everybody knew it, but only Jacob was thinking it openly, if that made any sense: Bella was a sad, sad excuse for a newborn. She was supposed to be a bloodthirsty, soulless creature that scared or disgusted Jacob. He'd anticipated that. Not the cold statue that made him want to hug her.

But, oh, she was so selfish! Her turning into a vampire was supposed to unite her even further with Edward, and it should have broken everything she'd had with Jacob. He'd promised to love her until her heart stopped beating, and maybe even then, but now that is was "then," he wasn't supposed to still be loving her. He'd never depended on that happening; it was just some sappy thing to throw in when in actuality, they both knew damn well that he would not love the cold, dangerous monster that Bella would soon become, and now was.

Yet here he was, staring at her like she was still the helpless, pitiful girl that he'd fallen in love with. Like she was his favorite person in the world. It ached him to admit to himself that yes, she very much so was his favorite person in the world still.

"She's not really family, when you think about it," Rosalie Hale told Edward, continuing their conversation. Of course, she'd been on Bella's side during the pregnancy and left it as soon as it had ended. That was typical, even to Jacob.

"And what could you possibly mean by that?" Esme Cullen demanded, coming to Bella's defense as if the subject of the discussion couldn't defend herself.

"I'm just saying," Rosalie said fairly, "that nobody is thinking about our cousins. We just can't leave the state and storm Tanya's house to make Bella feel better because, honestly, it won't. She's not close with them, and it would be rude to go to their house and make them babysit her."

Esme opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted. "She needs company," Edward told his sister through his teeth. They were always bumping heads and it never failed to annoy Jacob.

"She needs family," Rosalie corrected him. "Surrounding her with people she doesn't know with questions she doesn't want to be asked will not be good."

"She's isolated!" Edward yelled. "She needs to be around other people! This house does nothing good for her."

"SHE'S SURROUNDED WITH ALL THE PEOPLE SHE NEEDS."

"NO, SHE IS NOT."

"HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT SHE'S THINKING, WITH YOUR FLUKE OF A GIFT."

"Stop it," a quiet voice finally said. It was Bella's voice—or her new one, really. She straightened up on the couch and looked to her husband and sister-in-law. "It's been enough."

Everybody stared at her. Edward's gaze was peculiar. "Would you like to make your choice?" he asked. Jacob half-expected him to go running to Bella's side, but he didn't. His feet stayed firm on the ground.

"Yes," Bella replied. Her voice was smoother than it had been before, but still lifeless. "I'm staying here. You guys can go to Denali, but I won't."

Edward rushed to her side like Jacob expected, and grabbed her hand. "Are you sure, love?"

She nodded. "Positive. I know you're begging for an escape."

"No, of course I'm not," Edward lied. "I just thought it would be a good experience for you."

"I have the rest of eternity for good experiences. You can go. All of you can go. I'll be fine. I'm not a child, after all." She flinched at the end of her statement; she'd used a bit of a sensitive word.

"I'll stay with you," Rosalie offered, jumping to Team Bella again. Jacob rolled his eyes.

Bella's lips cracked something short of a smile, and it broke the heart of the werewolf sitting on the couch across from her. God, she was beautiful (yeah, even as a leech), but God, she was miserable. Maybe that had just always been Jake's type: sad and lonely and heartbreaking and utterly unappreciative, but damn pretty. The pretty ones were always fucking nuts. That was always a problem.

A chorus of voices chimed in, stating whether they were going on a short vacation to Alaska or not. That's what it truly was to some: a vacation. Jacob knew that Edward wouldn't want to admit it, but it was obvious he was looking for an escape. He'd been trapped in this house for weeks now, and even though vampires could stay in place for a long time, Edward could not. This house was only a mess now, even after it was sterilized of the physical messes it had held. The home still held demons, though. It held something bad, and it even made Jacob want to leave, too, if not more. So, he couldn't be mad at Edward's need for a vacation.

Everyone looked to Jacob for his choice. He actually had a choice now. He was seen as a person, not a dog, which was pretty damn cool. Only what wasn't cool, though, was that he had to choose between losing his mind even further by staying in the house, or disappointing the girl he loved by leaving. Jacob's brown eyes met Bella's red ones for some sort of permission, but he didn't need one. Bella gave him an understanding look. With a slight nod and shrug, Jacob knew he had been set free—again.

"I'll go," he told Edward, his eyes still focused on Bella's. Anything to get out of this.

x

Jacob didn't know who the Cullens' cousins were, but from the information he'd gathered leading up to the moment he'd gotten into Edward's Volvo the following afternoon, they lived in Denali, Alaska. Also, the leader's name was Tanya. Esme had told the coven that the group that was visiting—herself, Edward, Jacob, Alice, and Jasper—included a werewolf. Hopefully the Denalis would understand… sort of.

Prepared to be forced to sit in the back, which meant utter torture on his long legs for two days, Jacob made a beeline to the right backseat of the Volvo to avoid disappointment. Edward had told him that Alice always called shotgun, but that wasn't the case today.

After a friendship had been found between the two, Alice and Jacob could tolerate each other well now. Maybe they were even friends. Alice gave up the passenger seat for him, and he smiled tentatively at her. "Thanks," he said.

She just smiled back.

Edward drove, and upon pulling out of the driveway, he looked to Jacob and said, "Yes, I do consider this a vacation, for your information."

At least he could admit it.

x

The next two days were torture for Jacob. He'd fallen asleep and been woken up a lot, and if it weren't for Esme acknowledging that he did, in fact, have to eat, he would have starved to death and Edward would not have stopped driving.

But eventually, they were in Denali, where there wasn't a trace of snow with the month being September. Edward pulled into his cousins' large driveway, and Jacob got a view of the huge house the vampires lived in. They were related to the Cullens, for sure. Filthy rich bloodsuckers.

The Stressed-Vampires-in-Need-of-a-Vacation/Volvo Brigade exited their vehicle, and the cousins were already outside, walking towards them warily. Jacob stuffed his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans. He would kill to go back home now, but when he thought about it, he didn't have a home.

"Half of your group is missing," observed one of the vampires, a shorter woman with pale blonde curls past her shoulders.

"And you brought one more," said a tall man with black hair.

"We'll explain in a minute," Esme told the both of them.

Five Alaskan vampires stood in front of the five from Forks, and they stood in a line. There were two with brown hair—a tall man and short woman—and three blonde women—the one with the bouncy curls, a tall one with waves (who looked particularly sad at the sight of Jacob), and an average-sized (or short, to Jacob) one with hair as long, pale, and straight as corn silk, who he had somehow heard being addressed to as Kate.

Someone was speaking, but Jacob wasn't paying attention. His eyes panned over the group that stood before him, and his eyes met the golden ones of the blonde with the long, straight hair. Her eyes were narrowed and her nose was scrunched up, like she smelled something bad, and it was then that he felt like he was just hit with a truck.

What. The. Hell. Is. That.

Jacob's entire world started spinning and spinning, faster and faster, until he suddenly felt like he was floating. Anything he'd ever felt before flew away, and he was positive none of it would come back for as long as he felt like this.

His chest felt heavy, and then he fell to his knees in front of everybody, his eyes still on the blonde with the straight, silky hair. Then his chest felt suddenly light, and his vision blurred, only to focus half a second later. Nothing was the same anymore. A glowing hue surrounded her—it was like he could see her aura, and it was beautiful. It was the most gorgeous thing he'd ever seen because she was the most gorgeous thing he'd ever seen. The grass had already stained his jeans at the knees, but he did not care—he was burning up, and it was physically impossible for him to care about more than this amazing, celestial being that stood before him.

He exhaled and sank further into the grass. He didn't care about what he'd had with Bella, or his newly stained jeans, or that he had felt out of place. He was only thankful that the entire world hadn't caught on fire. With what had just happened inside his heart, truly anything was possible.

x

Katrina, summer of his soul, winter of his vivacity. His solution, his complication. Ka-tree-na: the mouth opening to invite, the teeth enticing the victim in, and the tongue confirming the fate. Everybody called her Kate, which was pretty in itself, but albeit, just a little plain. Only her sisters called her Katrina, and only on occasion, in which this was one of them, only for a sister to ask, "Katrina, why is he staring at you like that?" Katrina was a personal name. He was determined to be personal. That was his only mission, and his only problem.

After everybody failed to understand what had happened to the silly, stowaway werewolf and went inside, Edward quickly dragged Jacob back to the car.

"What the hell was that!?" he demanded.

Jacob was in a daze, still staring over at the house in which Kate had retreated to. "I…" he tried to explain. "I think I imprinted."

"Thank you for being obvious," Edward said sharply. "Why would you do such a thing, Jacob?"

Jacob looked down at him, incredulous. "Excuse me?" he asked. "Imprinting is involuntary. I just…" His attention went back to the house, where the object of his soon-to-be-given affection now sat, as beautiful as ever. "Imprinting's supposed to be for… breeding or something. I don't know why it happened to be her, though."

"Me neither," Edward said, his face still tense. Then it softened, and he laughed. He just laughed and laughed as if he'd heard the world's greatest joke.

"What's so funny?"

"Everything," the vampire replied, a huge smile on his face. "You're on your own, mongrel." He started to walk back to the house, and Jacob went after him.

"But what is so funny?" he asked. "Why are you laughing?"

Edward's annoying laughter started up again. "Kate," he said, "is going to pummel you until you're nothing but kibbles and bits."

x

Jacob took Edward's warning, and didn't talk to Kate for four hours. Once he thought it was safe, he tried to start a conversation with her, but his heart got the better of him.

"So, uh…" he began, standing next to her in the corner. "Do you, uh…?"

Kate had a fairly bitchy expression on her face. It was challenging, which only made Jacob adore her more. "Do I what?" she prompted, her voice sharp and straightforward.

He kept stumbling over his own words, struggling to find the right ones to say, but he got lost in her intricate, lovely eyes, the color of topaz with drops of melted caramel mixed in. When he wasn't lost in her eyes, he was absolutely astray in her full, luscious lips. He wanted to kiss them, to be enveloped in their softness and never have to leave.

She then turned her head to her family member, the shorter brunette, and sneered. "Look, Carmen," she said. "The Cullens brought a statue as a present."

Everybody in the room laughed; Edward was especially audible.

Jacob blushed and looked down at his shoes. He was such a fool. How was he supposed to let her know that he was hopelessly—and freakishly, to be honest—in love with her? Sure, he was attractive. He was tall and tan and muscular and he could sometimes be funny. He knew how to make charms and could build anything that drives. He was sort of talented, as well as attractive. How could he prove all of that to Kate, and even succeed in getting her to love him back?

As of now, there was just one answer: he couldn't.

He felt his hand itching for the telephone that was set up by the fireplace. He could easily call the Cullen residence and get Bella to answer the phone, just so he could tell her, Honey, I'm coming home. You shouldn't have set me free. I don't know how to use my freedom the right way, and I don't think I ever will. I'm your slave again.

x

Jacob eventually got tired from all the vampires, so tired that he even had to take a slight break from the glorious Kate, and it was said glorious person who showed him a room to sleep in. Nobody else was going to "take one for the team" and let a werewolf sleep in their mainly unused room, but Kate did, probably not because she liked him, but because she would never hear the end of the problem if the werewolf didn't have a place to sleep.

"You don't have to do this," Jacob told her, even though she did have to, as she led him down a long hallway to a tall, spiraling staircase with steady, gray stones for steps. They climbed the steps and stopped at the first landing, a new story. The hallway only had four doors, which were two sets of double doors.

"Yeah, I kind of do," Kate replied, standing in front of the entrance to the right. The doors were a royal purple. "So this is me and Irina's floor," she said, changing the subject, her words coming out at a hundred miles a minute. "These doors are mine, and those"—she pointed a few yards away, to the other doors, which were royal blue—"are Irina's. The next floor up is all Tanya's, since she feels the need to have an entire floor to herself"—which only led a voice downstairs to yell, "Don't be jealous, sister!" and cause Kate to roll her eyes—"and the floor above that one, the top floor," she continued, "is Carmen and Eleazar's. I'm sorry if you hear them having sex tonight. You might not, but at the same time, you might. It's not my fault the walls in my room aren't soundproof; I usually tune it all out." She sighed and started speaking again, her words coming out so fast Jacob could barely keep up. "So this is my room. It has its own bathroom and everything. Don't go through my things. As in my personal things. I mean, you can if you want, but it'll make you look like a creeper, which isn't cool. Besides, I don't know what you could do with my clothes or hair stuff since you're a guy and you're huge. So yeah, don't touch my stuff. You can sleep in my bed, but don't expect me to come in or anything. If you hear Carmen and Eleazar having sex, I'm not going to bring up a cup of warm milk and tell you a story. Like I said, I'm sorry if that happens. You should probably clean up after yourself tomorrow morning, but I don't know how long you guys are staying. I heard you're all stressed because of Rosalie or something. I wonder why Bella didn't come, too… So, anyway, yeah, this is my room. Don't break anything, don't turn into an animal, and I swear to God, if you get cum or any other substance on my walls, you won't be able to find your penis to use it again tomorrow morning since you won't have any arms because, trust me, if you mess up my walls, you won't have any limbs when you're through with me, and if I feel the need to chop off your head and put it in the freezer, don't think I won't. Are we clear?"

Jacob just stared down at her. Was it possible to be even more in love with her? He thought so.

"Are we clear?" she repeated, her voice slow, as if she were speaking to a little kid.

"You're perfect," he said airily. "I—I mean, we're perfectly clear."

She smirked, either at her amazing skill at threatening people or her vainness, because she could agree that she was pretty perfect. "Good." She turned to the doors and swung the purple doors open. She revealed a spacious, modern bedroom that was in shades of purple and gray, with the occasional black and white. Her bed stuck out the most, huge and perfectly placed with black linens and purple pillows.

"Wow," Jacob breathed. He looked at the back wall, which consisted of five floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a cliff and into the green forest.

"I know," Kate replied. "You should see Tanya's room, though. It's all black, and instead of windows, it's all mirrors. Incredible."

"No, this is incredible. You're… you're an incredible woman."

Her eyebrows rose as she cocked her head to the side. "Well, I wouldn't say that…."

"Yes you would," Jacob immediately said.

She snickered and looked at him. "Maybe you're right," she said sexily.

He was about to say something else, but she started leaving the bedroom. He turned around and called to her. "Wait!"

She looked to him. "Yes?"

"Thank you, Kate."

"Thank you, Jason."

"It's Jacob."

"Close enough, I suppose." She swiftly left the room, closing the doors on the way, and Jacob fell back onto the bed, which was surprisingly soft. He wondered why a vampire would seek such comfort she couldn't fully appreciate.

There was suddenly a knock on one of the doors. He quickly sat up. "Yes?" he called.

One of the doors slowly creaked open, and Kate stepped in again. "That was rude of me," she said quietly. "I'm sorry, Jacob."

"It's okay," he said. "People call me out of my name all the time."

She nodded solemnly. "Maybe it's time for that to change."

"Maybe," he agreed.

She turned around to leave the room again, and he knew he wouldn't see her for the rest of the night, if not in his dreams. I love you, he told her in his mind. It was quite a shame she wasn't gifted like Edward was. That would be the one time that gift would come in handy.

x

Jacob dreamed of Kate like he expected, and it was a good dream. He'd held her in his arms and kissed her and loved her even as she was very cold, and he was very desolate, and this was all very unreal. He wanted to get lost in her pretty long hair, and her sweet scent, and her amazing personality. He wasn't sure he knew her yet, but he was aware that she wasn't like anybody else, and that was damn good.

He was woken by sunlight peeking through the clouds, and once he woke up, he couldn't find a way to fall back asleep. So, he decided to take a shower. He climbed out of Kate's big bed (though his feet still hung off the edge) and walked to her bathroom, which probably took up a quarter of the space of the bedroom. Even though Kate told him to not get any substances on the walls, he managed to get some in the bathroom, and it all went down the drain. His thoughts of Kate made him excited, he confessed, and Jacob had never fought fair with anybody's rules, anyway.

After spending a decent time in the shower, he got out and wrapped a purple towel around his waist. He was whistling to himself happily, as if being in a vampires' home and being in love with one of the monsters themselves was absolutely normal, until he realized he didn't have any clothes with him. He'd brought nothing to Denali with him besides the clothes he'd arrived in, and that wouldn't suffice. He didn't want Kate to think he stunk even more than he already did! And even worse, they were stained with last night's dinner.

He started to panic, and stupidly enough, he frantically went through Kate's dressers and large closet. Of course, everything was in her size like he'd expected.

The towel still wrapped around his waist, he ran to the double doors and cracked one open just enough to see out. "Psssst!" he noised. "Pssssssst!" When that didn't work, he loudly whispered, "Kate! Kate! KATE, I NEED YOUR HELP."

Kate appeared in a different, sexier outfit than the one she'd worn yesterday, though she hadn't visited her bedroom with Jacob in it (or had she?), and looked at him up and down, pursing her lips. It drove him wild. "Why are you only in a towel?" she asked.

Ignoring her question, he asked if she had some clothes he could borrow.

"Well, none of mine, obviously," she replied, "but I'll see if Eleazar has anything you can wear. Would you like to come and see?"

"I don't need anyone else to see me," he said.

She shook her head. "They all went hunting," she informed him. "It's just you and I."

"Really?"

"Really."

Jacob would have loved to go if the towel wasn't pushing away from him so embarrassingly. "I'll just—just stay here," he said. "I'll stay."

"Alright," she replied simply, though her face presented otherwise. "I'll be right back."

As an awkward Jacob sported a purple towel and a cold washcloth over his boner to make it go down, he tried to not think of Kate. He was supposed to think of other, non-sexual things, like… like… the national debt. Or times tables. Yes, that would be easier to be distracted by. One times five is five. Two times five is ten. Three times five is fifteen. Four times five is—

Kate entered the room and tossed him a folded stack of dark clothing. "Tell me if they fit okay," she said, exiting the room and shutting the doors.

Jacob managed to wriggle into Eleazar's irritatingly scented slacks and sweater, though the sweater was a bit tight because of his broad chest and shoulders, and his slacks were a bit tight because of Kate, but this was better than smelling bad to her. There wasn't anything romantic about smelling like a wet dog.

He found Kate downstairs at the kitchen table, and she looked up at him from her tablet and smiled. "Looking good, wolfie."

There was a similar, genuine smile on his face as he walked to the table and she didn't mind him sitting down next to her. She still played some sort of game on her tablet, her right index finger swiping all over the place, making patterns, but she didn't mind a wolf sitting next to her, and that was okay with him.

"So it's true?" he asked. "Everybody's gone?"

She nodded, still staring down at the tablet. "Everyone else went hunting."

"Why aren't you with them?"

"I thought you'd go just a little insane, being in this house all alone."

"You took one for the team," he assumed.

"Mmm, no. We drew sticks."

"Oh."

She cracked a smile. "Kidding. I just decided to be nice."

"Are you normally not nice?" he wondered.

She smirked. "I'm plenty nice. People just get a little frightened."

He stared down at the game she was playing, and couldn't figure out what was so fun about it. Kate was just connecting blobs, making patterns. She did it incredibly fast as the patterns got bigger and more difficult, but it didn't look fun in the least bit.

"Why's that?" he wondered.

She paused the game and set her tablet down. Then she looked at him, a small smile on her face. "Would you really like to know, Jacob?"

"I would love to know, Kate."

"Take my hand."

"What?"

She put her hand out to him, the many rings on her fingers glinting. "Take my hand," she repeated.

He grabbed her hand into his without hesitation, and mindlessly, he began to press his lips to the back of hers, but upon contact, he felt a jolt of electricity run through his lips. It was so powerful it sent him falling out of his chair and onto the wooden floor.

Unsure what just happened and breathing hard, he looked up at her, who was now standing over him with her hands on her hips.

"What was that?" he panted.

"That's my gift," she told him, "and that's why people are a little afraid of me."

He sat up, his mind still ablaze. Wow. "What the hell is in your rings?" he asked.

"Nothing. It was all me."

"What's that called?"

She rolled her eyes. "Psychic electrokinesis. Sometimes they call me Firetouch."

"Wait, what is that, exactly?" he asked, still sitting on the floor.

"Take a walk with me," she said, offering him her hand again. He stared it dubiously, and she laughed. "I'm not going to shock you again," she promised. "I can control it. Just don't try to kiss it, alright?"

He took her hand, and she pulled him up. They then left the house and started walking outside. She didn't start talking until they were deep into the woods.

"I didn't physically hurt you," she told him, her face forward. He didn't know where they were going. In fact, as far as he knew, she was leading him to the edge of the earth.

"I'm pretty sure I felt that," he replied.

She shook her head. "It's a mind thing," she informed him. "It puts the illusion in your head that you're being shocked, and then you feel it because it's already in your head. It's hard to explain."

"Does it only work in your hands?" he wondered.

"Are you asking if I could shock you and kick you in the face with my bare foot at the same time?" she asked back. "Because I can. I can project it all over my body. It used to be just in my palms, though, but I worked on it."

"How much power did you even use on me?"

She shrugged. "Barely anything. I didn't expect you to fall out of your chair. You must be weaker than I thought."

He looked at her. "Excuse me? That was barely anything?"

She looked back at him with a naughty smile. "I can show you real pain, if you want," she said. "Believe me, it gets better."

Jacob was glad she didn't possess Edward's gift; she would have kicked him in the face and shocked him at the same time if she got to peek inside of his hormone-driven mind.

"Well, uh," he began, "I sorta have a power, too."

She laughed. "Turning into a giant dog doesn't sound very impressive."

That barely hurt, so he kept going. "I mean, there's more than just that. I'm more than just a dog. I even, uh, have… um… the strong ability to love?" The last part came out as a question, as he was testing to see if it sounded right.

"How so?" she asked as they continued walking.

"I actually just fell in love… no, no, it's different than that. It's called imprinting. I just found my soul mate, who I'm supposed to love and cherish and stick with forever."

"And you can do that with a thousand other people, over and over?" she asked.

"No."

"That sounds like a crappy, tiresome power, then."

"No, I mean, uh… Kate."

They stopped walking and she looked up at him, totally confident and unaffected by his height. "Yes?" she asked.

"I imprinted on you."

She made a face, the initial disgusted face she had made when she'd first seen him, and crossed her arms over her chest. "What does this mean?"

"I don't know where it came from," he said, "but it means you're my soul mate. I'm in love with you."

She pondered that for a moment, and he was afraid she would hit him, or like Edward had said, "pummel him into nothing but kibbles and bits." However, she didn't. She just nodded and told him, "Alright."

"Alright?" he repeated. "That's it?"

"Yes, alright," she said. "I've had plenty of men claim to be in love with me."

"What? No—I mean, Kate, this is for real. I'm not just saying this. Remember yesterday, when I first got here?"

"Of course I do. My memory is excellent."

"Well, that was when I imprinted. That's why I looked like a fool on my knees, staring at you like I was nuts—"

"That's silly," she said. "You can't really be in love with me. I mean, I'm a vampire."

"But that doesn't matter," he said. "Look, Kate, I really think I am nuts, and that whole thing was nuts, but get this: I'm nuts about you, and there is nothing you can do about it."

She stared at him for a while, likely considering whether to hit him or not, but she didn't. Instead, she just sighed. "I just don't know how we're going to make this work," she said quietly.

"All we can do is try," he offered.

"Then try, we will."

x

Later than afternoon, Jacob took one of the cordless phones of the house and sat in his—meaning Kate's—bathroom. Carmen had helpfully told him the number of the Cullens' home, and now he was dialing it. He felt the need to talk to Bella just one last time, though he couldn't bring himself to admit that he still loved her.

The phone was picked up on the second ring, and the voice he first heard was Carlisle's. "Hello, Jacob," the doctor greeted him. "Would you like to speak with Bella?"

"Yes, please," he said.

Bella was on the phone in less than an instant. "Hey, Jake," she said, sounding a little brighter than she had a few days ago.

"Hey, Bells," he replied. "What's up?"

"Nothing, really. Just trying to put things back together… sort of. How's Denali?"

"It's great. Just… just wonderful. I love it here. I just may never come back home."

She chuckled, and he could imagine her face now. "That's funny," she said. "I should go there sometime soon, just to see if it's all that it's cracked up to be."

"Haha, yeah."

"So why'd you call?" she asked politely. "Is everything alright? Is Edward okay?"

"Everything's fine," he assured her. "Edward's still in one piece and everything. In fact, I think he's having the time of his life. He's been hunting and everything. But I called to tell you that… well, Bella, I imprinted."

There was a moment of silence, and when Bella spoke again, Jacob was glad she hadn't asked, "What?" Instead, she said, "Oh." She understood.

"Yeah," he said. "I'm tied down all over again." He chuckled to himself.

"Tell me about her," Bella said. "Did you meet her on the drive?"

"Uh—"

"Is she pretty?"

"Bella, she's your cousin."

"Oh my God, Jacob."

"I know, I know, but—"

She quickly went into hysterics. "How is that even possible? That makes no sense whatsoever. Can't you find a way to break it or—?"

"No, I can't," he interrupted. "And Kate's sort of okay with it. We're going to try to make it work."

"Kate," she echoed. "Wow. At least it wasn't Irina; she would have killed you. Literally."

"Wait, what?"

"Your pack killed Irina's mate a while back," Bella said. "Has she tried to poison you yet?"

"No." When he thought about it, Irina avoided Jacob as much as possible.

"Well, that's good, I guess. But seriously, Jake? My cousin?"

"She's not even really your cousin," he said. "And honestly, Bella, you sound a little jealous."

"Why would I be jealous of you?"

"I dunno. It just seems like you'd have a problem if I imprinted on anybody. If I imprinted on someone I met on the drive, you'd be pissed. If I imprinted on someone who I knew back at home, you'd be pissed. If I imprinted on the greatest girl in the world, you'd be pissed."

She was silent.

"I don't give a damn if you like it or not," he went on. "Kate is who I am going to be with. You let me go in the first place; don't be mad that I don't belong to you anymore. And if you don't like it, you don't have to visit."

There was more silence, which Bella broke by asking, "Are you done?"

"I'm done."

"Then so am I."

She hung up her phone, and Jacob angrily hung up on his. He set the phone down on the counter of the bathroom, and wondered to himself why he ever liked her. Bella was selfish. She was completely selfish, indecisive, and destructive. She didn't want him to be happy. That had never been the case. She wanted him to suffer, and now that he wasn't suffering anymore, it was like he didn't have the right to be happy.

He scoffed. Women and their man-eating ways.

There was a knock on the bathroom door, and he told whoever was on the other side to come in, though he knew it was Kate. And there she was, entering the bathroom, shutting the door, and sitting down next to him on the little bench across from the counter.

"I heard about you and Bella," she said softly.

He sneered. "Heard what? That she's a damaging wench who doesn't—"

"That you love her," she confirmed.

Jacob shook his head. "No," he said. "I do not love her. Not at all."

"Then why do you still deal with her?"

"I…" He took a deep breath. "You know what?" he asked.

"What?"

"I haven't got a clue," he confessed. "I mean, you said you're used to men falling in love with you, right? How do they get over you?"

"They usually die," she said bluntly.

"For real?"

"For real. You know what a succubus is, right?"

Jacob nodded. He'd only seen them a thousand times in Embry's comic books.

"Guess who's an original?" she asked with a smile, like she was giving good news.

"What the—are you serious?"

"Jacob, if there is anything you must know about me it is that I am in no way, shape, or form a liar. And yes, I am serious. Tanya, Irina, and I were—are—the original succubi. We used to have sex with human men, though they usually died. We don't really do that anymore, but yeah. Men would claim to be in love with me in the heat of the moment, but then snap—off goes their dick."

"Shit."

She nodded. "Scared yet?"

He was, but he shook his head. "No."

Kate shrugged, and then made a funny face.

"What's that face for?" he asked.

"You stink."

He sighed. "I'm beyond tired of people telling me I stink!" he exclaimed. "I know I'm a werewolf. I know I stink to you guys. Stop telling me all the time."

"No, Jake, seriously," she said, "you need a shower. You don't just stink as a default; you especially need a shower."

"Well, alright," he said, standing up and opening the door for her. "Can get me some clothes or something while I shower?"

She looked up at him, her bottom lip between her teeth. "Are you sure those are necessary?" she asked. And before he even knew it, she shut the bathroom door again, and pushed him against it.

"Because I think," she began to explain, her hands tugging at his sweater, "that they are very unnecessary." She started pulling his sweater up as high as her arms could go, and he finished the job, pulling it off of him and throwing it to the bathroom floor. She stared at his bare torso for a minute, her eyebrows raised.

"Nope," he said. "They're not necessary at all."

She sauntered over to the shower and twisted a knob, starting it. Upon returning to Jacob, steam filled the room as she slowly undressed the rest of him, stripping him down to his boxers. Before slipping those down, she strategically wrapped her hand around Jacob's shaft, and smiled up at him. A tiny jolt of energy struck in him, and he wasn't entirely sure if it was just her hand that did the job.

Even though she kind of scared him sometimes, he loved her, he loved her, he loved her. Maybe, just maybe, if she weren't a vampire and he weren't a werewolf, and if the world made a little more sense, he would love her the natural way. It wouldn't be hard to. She was pretty and interesting and incredible… Charismatic, magnetic, and electric, too. She made him feel electrified just by being around her, and that made her more than just the Firetouch; it made her enthralling. It made her an electromagnetic, if he were to pair science with all of this.

Of course, they were even more different, aside from the species part: she was a heartbreaker, and he'd only been heartbroken repeatedly; she could make people feel pain at the touch of her hand, or anywhere else, and he had only felt pain; people were afraid of her from what she proved herself to be, and people were only afraid of him from what they thought he was. They didn't have much in common—at least, not yet—but he didn't mind. He didn't need a girl he could expect the typical from. He just needed her.

Jacob smiled down at Kate, and quickly—not with the speed of a vampire, but quick enough—removed her clothes, revealing her lack of underwear. He should have known; a succubus didn't have to wear underwear.

Jacob removed himself from the wall and walked him and his imprint back to the shower, their lips glued together with all the force in the world. His hands were everywhere and nowhere at all, trying to decide on a place to focus on her amazing body, and hers were simply making circles along the muscles of his back. She still felt icy to the touch, but somehow less icy.

"I love you," he told her as he blindly stepped into the shower. He couldn't bring himself to open his eyes again. He was in his paradise. "Kate, I love you."

"Jacob…" she breathed against his skin and freed one of her hands to close the door. "Oh, Jacob."

He waited for her to say the words. "Kate… Katrina… Please." He put his lips on hers again, taking her in like a vitamin, trying to collect any little pieces or loose fragments of her that he could. His hands moved up to her cheeks, and he looked at her for a second, only to close his eyes again and caress her forehead with his lips. "Kate," he murmured. "Oh, Kate."

"Jacob, I can't," she said. "Don't make me."

His eyes remained closed, trying to focus on what was happening. "Please."

"Don't you know?" she asked. "Do you know where we are?"

"Your shower."

"No," she replied.

He pouted. "No?"

"I'm not real to you, Jacob," she whispered. "We're in your dreams."

"No," he muttered. "No."

"Everything will be right in the world again in three…"

Jacob's eyes snapped open, and he stared down at the woman before him. "Kate, please," he pleaded. "Don't do this."

"Two."

"I love you, Kate. I don't care if this isn't real. Do you hear me? I. Do. Not—"

"One."

x

Jacob blinked and sat up. He was still in the Cullens' living room, sitting across from a newborn Bella looking just as miserable since before she was turned.

No, he thought. No, no, no, no, no.

He glanced around the room. The rest of the Cullens were gathered around, and Edward and Rosalie looked like they were about to slash each other's faces off. Jacob knew just what they were fighting about.

Jacob sighed.

It hadn't been real.

None of it had been real.

Edward then turned to Jacob and asked if he wanted to go to Denali, Alaska with him and whoever else wanted to go. Bella hadn't spoken up, either. This was just Edward wanting Jacob's opinion, though it still wouldn't have been a good idea for him to go, with Irina's hatred of wolves and all. He was still being treated like a person to Edward, which was good for him, in a way, but he looked to Bella for her approval, like a dog would beg for a treat. It was almost on impulse, like everything else with him and his problematic, indissoluble love for her.

Stay, she mouthed.

Jacob turned to Edward. He knew what would be in store for him in Denali, and he knew it would be nothing like in his dream.

He shook his head. "No," Jacob said. "I'll stay right here."

Bella cracked a smile. "Thanks," she whispered.

"It's no problem," he told her.

It was no problem at all, even if it was. And if it was a little problem, it was barely a problem, because he wasn't allowed to have a problem with Bella, even if he had all the problems in the world with her. Like everybody knew it, the entire world was all about Bella, Bella, Bella. Was that a problem? He thought so.

Jacob sighed again and leaned back into the couch. Maybe he would have another dreamscape—maybe not. Maybe he was just destined to have problem after problem, person after person. He doubted what had happened in his dream would happen in real life, but it would certainly be new to him.

Her made a quick change, since all the best decisions in life were impulsive, and turned to look at Edward. "In fact," he said, "I would love to go to Alaska with you guys."

Edward made a confused face, which Jacob ignored, and Bella looked immensely upset, which Jacob just smirked at. It was really too bad for her now. She wasn't his problem anymore.


Fin.